{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Remember when I said that I'd done some sewing for Juniper over the weekend?  Well it's done!  A little jumper to wear over a onesie and leggings.
This was our 'fitting' session.  The straps cross in the back and are attached with buttons.  I needed first to see where to actually put the buttonholes.  
I got brave and even used the buttonhole foot and stitch on my sewing machine (which was kind of a pain to figure out, but I am glad that I soldiered through- there will be more buttons around here from now on). 

I love that this fabric is slightly gothic for Halloween, but is not orange and black and covered in jack-o-lanterns.  I am sort of borderline on whether I think it is truly appropriate for a baby, but it turned out so cute that I think it doesn't matter.  Fabric is Nightshade by Tula Pink in the absinthe colorway (see, so not baby appropriate, but if you don't make a Halloween baby jumper with this fabric, what then do you make with it?).
I had to take a picture as soon as I finished, even though it was 9pm and not the best light.  It just adds to its ghoulishness, no?
I actually think it might also work as a skirt (with the straps tucked in) when she is bigger.  I got the pattern here.  I was a little wary of the whole pdf pattern thing, but it was very easy.  The pattern was great (I got two others as well), but I will say that although these are billed for the 'beginning seamstress', I was glad for my sewing experience.  Yes, it was a simple pattern, but there were some details missing from the instructions about how to execute certain steps.  This wasn't a problem for me because I've done things like make a placket before, but if it was your first time sewing a dress, you might be a little confused.  Overall though, I'd recommend their patterns.  

My cooking continues!  I am so glad that I can actually cook dinner again, and now I even have ideas for what to cook.  It's amazing.  
This recipe is the kale salad from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. [I highly recommend this cookbook.  It is full of such good ideas for flavor combinations, and it is divided into sections by meals- including one for snacks.  It is great inspiration]. It is really not a salad (to me) since it is baked and served warm, but it is so simple and so good. It's kale and coconut ribbons (so key rather than shredded coconut) and I added tempeh, dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce, and baked until the coconut gets golden.  
You toss it with more dressing when you pull it from the oven.  Next time I'd do more dressing if I did the tempeh again, as tempeh tends to suck up liquid.  
The flowers were brought to us by our sweet friends who had them leftover from an event.  They just drive around town dropping them off at people's houses.  

Juniper is sitting up supported pretty well now, so we set up her high chair and gave it a go.  

She loves it.  She is so stoked to be with us at the table, and I am stoked that I don't have to have her in my lap for the entire meal.  

This is what I walked into during naptime a few weeks ago.  What mom?  I just wanted to say hello to my animals
Today has been a rough day in the lymphedema department.  We had our first therapy appointment in about a month and a half yesterday and we figured out what our strategy is going to be for getting Juniper into a compression garment during the day.  Right now our plan is to meet with reps from different companies starting in February-ish so we can decide which company to go with, and we'll get Juniper into something by the spring.  We decided we don't want to wait longer than that for a number of reasons. Mainly we don't want to have any regrets down the road about not trying it sooner, and because we feel that by getting her into a garment soon, it will become her normal, and this way we [might] avoid some struggle than if we waited to introduce it when she is, say, two.  The appointment was great and all, and our OT did a good wrap on Juniper's leg, and I did what I do every time: I got my hopes up.  This morning, her leg looked great, so small in fact that I could, for the first time since she was a newborn, see some definition on her thigh.  Then I picked Juniper up after work and her leg looked as big as ever.  It is what it is, I know this, but it doesn't make it easier.  
This face, however, does make things easier


She's Crafty

I got some sewing done for the bug over the weekend (a little subversive Halloween jumper which I'll share when it's totally finished) and I realized that I never shared these pants.  
Fabric is Cocoon by Valori Wells: Cashmere on the outer, Shine on the bum, and Metamorphosis on the lining
They are the Quick Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner's book, Little Stitches for Little Ones, and they were the number one thing I wanted to make from the book. They came together really easily, and they were fun to put together.  

 Since we cloth diaper, I sort of followed the modifications from sew liberated for cloth diapered babies, but sort of not.  She alters the pattern to drop the rise a bit, and since you drop the rise you have to lengthen the pant leg as well.  That was just too much for me, so I just followed her advice to use a smaller seam allowance.  For the next size up, I will actually follow her directions to modify them totally because they fit Juniper over her diaper fine, but the rise is still a little bit low, and I think in the bigger sizes it will be more necessary.  

My M.O. for baby clothes seems to be to buy the craziest fabric that I can, because if you can't wear circus butterfly fabric when you're four months old, I'm not sure that you ever can.  These pants are reversible, which is awesome because of the contrast you get when you roll the legs, but also because it makes them a bit warmer, and I think more durable.  I'm going to do a flannel lined pair next, and just the idea of that makes me jealous that I can't wear crazy pants.  
Sewing for her is just so fun because it's fast (so satisfying to have something mostly finished during a nap), but also because all the pressure of whether something will look good on is pretty much off: if the pattern is cute, and I've got good fabric, things are going to work out okay.  I've done enough sewing for myself at this point that following patterns is easy, it's the fitting and actual dressmaking part that is difficult for me.  There is none of that with baby clothes, since their bodies are pretty much all the same.  You're also working with such small amounts of fabric when you sew for littles that it's not a huge waste if you screw up.    
Yesterday we were supposed to have a therapy appointment, but I screwed up the time.  Luckily we noticed before we did the hour drive, but it was still an 'ugh' moment.  Going today though!


Lymphedema Treatment Act

Okay everyone, now is when I ask for your help.  
It will not take very long, I promise.  If I could write I would do it myself, but I can't yet.
I think we’ve established that it is pretty sucky that Juniper has lymphedema, but I don’t really know that we’ve established that it is also very costly.  And not always covered by insurance.  Obviously, we have jobs and will manage, but I really don’t know how many people can afford the treatment, and specifically the super-expensive compression garments on their own.  We are panicking a little bit knowing that we will probably have to pay for Juniper’s compression garments out of pocket, or at the very least battle with our insurance company to cover a portion of the cost. What is really crazy is that compression garments are not covered by Medicare.  Seriously.  
I know, it's nuts, right?
So you have someone who has very little money and expect that they will be able to pay for a $700 garment (you'd think tiny garment=less expensive, but it's not the case since tiny garments are custom sewn) on their own?  Yeah, it is probably not going to happen.  Without compression garments and proper treatment, lymphedema can become a very scary thing.  Did you know that Medicare sets the bar for what is covered by insurance companies?  So, if Medicare doesn’t cover it, then insurance companies aren’t required to cover it either. 
Friends, I’m asking that you write to your state representatives to help get legislation passed that will make sure that lymphedema treatment is covered by Medicare.  This link takes you to a site that makes it very easy.  If you’re a writer or you are so inclined, please personalize the letter by saying that you know a super-cool baby who is impacted by this disease, and you’d like to help make sure that she always has the treatment she needs available to her. 

Juniper thanks you!!!
Go here for more info


Four Months

Did you know that today I am four months old?  
I partied last night with elephant and sea otter, but we woke my mom up and she made us go back to sleep.  I just wanted my friends to know that I am really good at rolling over now, and I'm awesome at slithering in a counter-clockwise direction.  

Happy four month birthday little one!


I realize that I haven't said much about Juniper's lymphedema in awhile.  I guess because not much has changed.  If I think about it too much I get discouraged.  Right now, in the moment it doesn't seem like a huge deal.  We've gotten used to what we need to do every day, and the future seems so distant for now.  Today we have things to deal with, like the drool issue seen above.  I think we've entered the 'pre-teething' stage, or at least I hope it's pre-teething and not for real teething yet, or I am in trouble.  

We took Juniper swimming for the first time over the weekend.  I've really been wanting to take her since she flaps around in her bath so much.  She didn't quite know what to think at first, and I think was a little confused about why her mom and dad were in this huge bathtub with her.  Once she got over her initial confusion, she had a great time and kicked up a storm.  

Swimming is supposed to be great for lymphedema, and after swimming, I think her leg looked a little better, but honestly I'm not sure.  Juniper will stand (assisted) for a few seconds now, and when she is standing you can really see the difference between her legs- or maybe it seems that way because I'm just not used to seeing her at that angle.  D and I are both a little worried because it does seem like she favors her right leg when she stands, but I guess it could be totally unrelated, or even if it is related, it might just feel weird to her to begin with.  She does put even pressure on both legs after  she gets her bearings.  Maybe it is kind of uncomfortable to put pressure on the fluid in the bottom of her foot at first?  So many things I wish she could tell us.  

We are still wrapping her leg at night.  It still looks good (okay? I guess not really good) in the morning, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed that we aren't seeing any real impact in the size of her leg overall. I'd hoped that after a couple of months of wrapping at night we'd start to see a difference, but I really don't.  I think that her diapers are actually causing some problems, because her thigh is bigger now than it used to be, and I think the fluid is kind of getting stuck in the space between where the wrap ends and her diaper starts.  Not much we can do about that really.  I'm glad that we are doing EC, because hopefully she will be out of diapers a little earlier and this will be an issue for a shorter amount of time.  She is dealing with the wrapping, it's just a part of her bedtime routine now.  The only thing that I think bothers her is when she is really tired and my wrapping her kind of keeps her awake- then she gets annoyed that I'm messing with her and she can't just go to sleep.  She has also gotten good at kicking the whole thing off in her sleep.  A few times I've found the wrap completely off her leg in the bottom of her sleep sack.  

We haven't had a therapy appointment in over a month.  Now that we've had that break, I'm realizing just how much time that took up, and how much her lymphedema totally consumed my summer.  I think we've gotten a little lazy, or maybe we're just getting used to all of it?  I'm not sure.  I still feel like if I did just a little more, then her leg would be better.  Our therapist went to a lymphedema conference at the beginning of the month, so I'm hoping that at our appointment next week she has something new to offer us- just something a little more concrete about what we should be doing, and what our timeline should be for getting Juniper into a stocking during the day.  Anything really would be nice.  

The other thing is that every day Juniper is more and more aware and engaged.  She isn't just this passive little being anymore, and this makes her lymphedema a smaller part of who she is.  It is definitely that way for me when we are at home, but when we are out I find myself doing things to hide her leg (dress her in leggings, drape the tail of the sling over it, put my arm over it, etc.).  I just don't want to explain it to people, and, honestly, I don't want strangers staring at me thinking I'm a bad mom in some way.  It's funny, because since I had Juniper, I am so much less self-conscious than I used to be, but not about this.  I need to get over it soon though, because I don't want Juniper to think in any way that she should hide her leg.  Man does being a parent make you own up to your issues.  

Coming up, a floor bed update!


Montessori Madness: The Hanging Toys

 I'm pretty sure if Maria Montessori were still alive I would follow her around like a groupie.  I pretty much believe in her total philosophy totally.  There is no "this is great, but...."  There is no "but," it's all great.
We've moved on from the mobiles to the hanging toys (though Juniper does have the dancer mobile hanging over her bed now).  A great idea in my mind because they replace something that is hideous and not helpful (ADD machines activity gyms) with something that's not hideous and is helpful.  Amazing. We got this one for Juniper.  Kind of wish that we'd seen this tipi one earlier because you can turn it into a fort later, but the one we have works great.
Juniper started playing with the hanging toys about a month ago.  We started with a bell hung on a strip of ribbon.  I started with the bell because I figured hearing it ring when she hit it accidentally would help her learn that her actions cause things to happen.  
It went well with the bell so I tried the wooden ring and she seemed to like that too.  I was all ready to post singing the praises of the hanging toys, and then she kind of lost interest.  Hmmm. 
Then a day or so ago I hung the wooden ring lower and it was like a lightbulb went on. Juniper is a wooden ring grabbing fool.  You sit peacefully with her in your lap, and she stares over at the toy arch building resentment for her teenage years.  

She is obsessed.  Obsessed, friends,  with a simple, wooden ring hung from a piece of ribbon (I did get crazy and add the elastic).


{pretty, happy, funny, real}

This week has been pretty rough with going back to work and having to leave Juniper.  I won't go into my diatribe on how it is no good the way our modern economic system pretty much requires you to be a double-income family, or how ridiculous it is that we do not have year-long maternity leave in this country, but know that each of those things are both no good and ridiculous.  Instead I offer you:


The hummingbird mint is doing so well in the garden, and has managed (unlike some of its other plant friends, ahem) to not become a midnight snack for the deer


I went back to work this week, which was decidedly not happy, but this picture is from Monday, the day before I went back to work, so it is happy

The best part about the floor bed is seeing all the interesting positions Juniper gets herself into.  Why use the full expanse of the bed when you can snuggle with the wall?  
Here, Juniper offers her explanation on the wonders of wall-snuggling.  Well, you see...

The deer in our neighborhood have spread the word that our yard offers up an excellent salad bar.  I woke up the other night and could smell basil so intensely, so intensely I tell you, that I made Daniel get up to check and see if the deer were nibbling on the basil growing on our deck (Daniel: "Margaret, the deer didn't come up on the deck. We would have heard their hooves." Margaret: "But all I smell is basil, BASIL")   Nope, basil was all fine, the mint on the side of the house, on the other hand, was being enjoyed by Bambi's mom.  She also enjoyed some baby lacinato kale.    I wonder if she needed to cleanse her palate after the kale or before? I also obviously really need to learn the difference in scent between mint and basil.  Sigh.