Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas, we celebrate the greatest gift we could imagine our family growing from two to three. Beckett, we love you more than we can possibly say.
Because we have a six-week-old to handle, for the first time ever, we're not traveling for the holidays. Matt's parents visited this past week, so we were able to celebrate the start of Hanukkah and an early Christmas with them, and my dad and step-mom will be here for New Year's.
Beckett made it through his first church service yesterday as we braved the crowds at the Christmas Eve service, but today, we're staying home and celebrating with just our little family.
I made fabulous cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and Matt has a pot roast planned for dinner. I can't wait!
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope your Christmas is as wonderful and blessed as ours.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
--Luke 2:4-14

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A little holiday baking

With Beckett filling our days, I haven't had much time for sewing or baking lately, but I did manage to sneak in a little of both this week. It is Christmas, right? After finishing Beckett's stocking, I wanted to whip up a batch of cookies. I've bookmarked so many recipes that have appeared on the blogs I follow, but I finally decided on these Candy Cane Kiss Cookies from Bluebonnets and Brownies, partly because we already had the Candy Cane Kisses and partly because they looked fast and easy. :)
And they were. I followed the recipe as written, except I also added an extra half cup of white chocolate chips, as she suggests in the commentary. They're super tasty, with just the right hint of peppermint and plenty of white chocolate and buttery goodness.
I highly recommend adding them to your holiday baking fun.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Christmas sewing

It's been far too long. I haven't sewn one stitch since before Beckett was born, which was more than five weeks ago, so it felt really great to get back in front of my machine yesterday. While Matt watched football and took an afternoon nap with Beckett, I managed to finish at least one Christmas sewing project (oh, how many more I had on my wish list!), and Beckett now has his very own stocking.
I used this great tutorial from Fabricworm, and I think it turned out pretty cute. I used felt for the body and lining of the stocking, as well as the "B" applique. The cuff was made from a fat quarter I've had almost since I started sewing, and I don't know what line it's from.
I knew when I started that this was likely going to be a "temporary" stocking, basically something to get us through this year. Matt and I have generic stockings we bought at Target or Hobby Lobby before I started sewing, so my plan for next year is to make us all coordinating stockings, but that just wasn't in the cards for the weeks following Beckett's birth. Besides, I'm pretty sure he won't know the difference. Still, I'm glad to have a little something handmade to celebrate his first Christmas. Merry Christmas, little man!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beckett's one-month update

Beckett, you're one month old today!
November 12, 2011
December 12, 2011

We can't believe it's been a month already, but we've loved every minute of it (well, there were probably a few middle-of-the-night crying moments we didn't love, but we can overlook those). :) You're a very sweet baby, and we love to cuddle and kiss you constantly, which works out well since you love to be held all the time. While you do well in your crib at night, you definitely sleep best and longest in someone's arms or on someone's chest, and we've come to love the Moby wrap for letting us hold you and still get things done.
You're usually not a fan of tummy time, but you've still managed to build a lot of strength in your neck and can hold up your head well. You're also a great eater! Breastfeeding has (thankfully) gone really well. You took right to it in the hospital and haven't looked back. At your first pediatrician appointment on the Thursday after you were born, you'd gone from 8 lb., 5 oz. (your birth weight) to 8 lb., 1 oz., but by your two-week appointment, you'd shot all the way up to 9 lb., 6 oz. When we attempted to weigh you at home last week, you were around 10.5 lb. You're doing so well that we were able to start introducing bottles during your third week, and you're doing great with those as well.
You're starting to gain some focus in your eyes, and you definitely recognize and respond to mommy's and daddy's voices. You're also starting to turn toward sounds, including rattles, which you like to look at during your awake, active times, and you love it when mommy sings to you. You also like to dance with mommy and be swung (particularly in daddy's arms), and white noise and swaddling help to calm you down.
You had a lot of firsts during your first month:
first Thanksgiving
first bath at home
first walk
first (and second) pediatrician appointment with Dr. Plax (love him!)
first Christmas tree (and trip to Ted Drewe's)

You've also been blessed to meet a lot of your family already. Papa, Nana, Mimi, Grammie, and Grandmozzie all came for your birth, and Aunt Houdie, Aunt Nessie, Uncle Rip, and Roo joined you for Thanksgiving. Grandmozzie got to stay and help you for two weeks, followed by a week with Nana, and Grammie just arrived to spend two weeks with you as well.
We love you so much, and we can't wait to see what month two holds in store.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beckett's birth story

As you know, we welcomed our son, Beckett Fox Schunke, into the world three weeks ago. Here's the story of how it all happened.
His due date was Friday, 11/11/11, and we got up that morning determined to be proactive in getting labor started. Matt stayed home from work because I'd been having some contractions the previous day, and I just had a feeling it was going to happen. We spent the morning walking around the art museum, then Forest Park, and finally the SLU campus, where I started to have real contractions around 2:30 p.m. (I'd been having a ton of Braxton-Hicks contractions since around week 30.) We headed home to relax a bit, and over the next few hours, the contractions continued to strengthen and get closer together, so we headed to the hospital around 11 p.m., when they were about four and a half minutes apart. I was still at 4 cm at that point (which was where my OB had measured me at my appointment the previous day), and they began monitoring me for about two hours, until a private room opened up for me. By then, I'd gotten to 6 cm, and things seemed to be going well.
We'd been hoping all along to have a natural birth for a number of reasons (first and foremost because it's almost always better for mom and the baby, but also for the experience of it, to avoid interventions that were more likely to lead to a C-section, etc.), but by the time we reached the hospital, I had started to have strong reactions to the hormones or adrenaline, which caused me to shake uncontrollably. Anyone who's ever tried a natural birth (or even gotten through a few contractions before getting their epidural) will tell you the only way you can really do it successfully is if you're able to completely relax your body and breathe through the contractions. Unfortunately, I was shaking so hard that it was impossible for me to relax, so every contraction was a nightmare. Plus, I was worn out from the day of walking and hadn't gotten any sleep. After several hours in the hospital, I was so exhausted that after each contraction, I would immediately fall asleep until the next one started a few minutes later. I was also Strep B-positive, so I had to be given doses of penicillin every few hours, which confined me to the bed, limiting my ability to change positions and move around to help with the contractions.
When the nurse checked me again around 6 a.m., I was still at 6 cm, and it was at that point that we decided to get the epidural. I wasn't progressing at all, despite my contractions getting much stronger and closer together, and I was so exhausted that even if I'd been at 10 cm and ready to push at that moment, I don't think I would have had the energy to do it anyway. If labor went on for many more hours (as it eventually did), I definitely didn't have the confidence that I'd have more energy then, which was likely to cause more problems for me and the baby, including an increased risk of C-section, so we knew the epidural was the way to go. And boy, did it make all the difference. After I got it, I was able to sleep for a few hours, and the shaking lessened significantly.
Around 9 a.m., the resident and OB on call tried to get us to agree to breaking my water, but we were hesitant to have any further intervention unless it was really necessary, so we had them call our OB, who agreed that we didn't need to do it. After that, they left us alone to see how things progressed. By about 3 p.m., I'd progressed to 9 cm, but my water still hadn't broken, so we agreed to go ahead with it in the hopes it would push me over the edge. Instead, I digressed, slipping back to 8 cm and slowing my contractions. After Beckett's heart rate started to rise a bit, which worried the doctors, we agreed to a minimum dosage of Pitocin, which did exactly what we needed it to — increasing and strengthening my contractions and getting me to 10 cm around 6:30 p.m.
At that point, my OB arrived, and we started to push. I only had to push for about 45 minutes, and it was a great experience. I had had my epidural for about 12 hours by that point, and it had worn off to the perfect level, where I could feel the contractions well enough to push easily but painlessly. I had a mirror so I could see what was happening, which turned out to be a huge motivator. I'd push like crazy during the contractions, and then we'd all relax and chat until the next one came around. It was great. (Have I mentioned how much we love our OB? She's fantastic. Though she's part of a group practice and wasn't the doctor on call, she came in to deliver Beckett and then visited us again our last day in the hospital. I actually miss our weekly OB appointments, and I'm looking forward to my six-week check-up.) The first thing my OB said was "look at that hair," and before we knew it, he was in my arms.
Beckett arrived at 7:32 p.m., after 29 hours of labor. Matt cut the cord, and the nurse placed him on my chest. He was perfect. Though it didn't go as we'd planned, I couldn't have asked for a better experience, and we are so thankful for our perfect, healthy, amazing little boy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm trying to catch up on a few posts, so you'll have to forgive the extreme tardiness of this one (and the fact that it's subbing in for a Thankful Mondays post). My mom came up from Texas for Beckett's birth and stayed for the first two weeks to help us out. This overlapped with the Thanksgiving holiday, so we were joined for a few days by my step-dad, two sisters, and brother-in law, which was wonderful.
My mother (with a little help from Matt) made an awesome Thanksgiving feast, and we definitely chowed down as we watched the Cowboys win(!) and the Aggies lose :( their football games, but mostly we just enjoyed a few wonderful days together as a family, passing Beckett from one set of arms to another and even getting in a few games of Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan.
My contribution to the feast was two pies, a pecan pie from an America's Test Kitchen recipe, and a buttermilk pie, for which I used this recipe. Based on the reviews from the family, they turned out great. I'm still pretty much a novice pie maker, but I've been trying to make them more often over the past few years, as I'd like to improve my skills. The crust has always been the touchy part for me, but this time, they both turned out perfectly flaky, buttery, and delicious. The crusts were also from an ATK recipe (can't fail!).
I love my family, and it was great to host a holiday for once and to share it with so many people I love, not to mention getting to introduce them to Beckett. I'm immensely thankful for them and their willingness to drive all the way from Texas to help us celebrate.
 Grandmozzie (my mom)
 Uncle Rip
 Aunt Vanessa
 Roo (my step-dad)
Aunt Houston
 I hope all of you had as much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!