Saturday, August 13, 2016

Caleb's Birth Story

Hello.  It has been such a long time friends.  The last stages of my pregnancy just left me feeling so uninspired to write in this space. But I've missed it.  I've missed sharing all of the creative happenings here.  I've missed all of you as well. There has been so much going on in this little corner of the world that we share.  Some of it joyful.  Some of it sad.  For those of you who don't know, baby Caleb Keaka was born on July 10th, and then went to be with our Heavenly Father five hours later.  I wanted to write down his birth story so that we wouldn't forget it. If you are of the heart to read,  I would like to share it with you all.  
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We found out that our family was going to expand in December of 2015.  My first trimester was just like Liam’s – mommy was so fatigued! Brother Liam got quiet a few movie hours while mommy cuddled up in bed to rest those first few months.  But by our second trimester I started to have more energy and I was able to think more on you – to start preparing a place in our home to welcome you.

            I remember there was one Sunday when I started to move furniture – your daddy and I got into a little argument – he wasn’t ready to start rearranging – on the Lord’s day nonetheless, and I started crying because I wanted to prepare a place for you and I felt that your daddy wouldn’t help me! Daddy had a point though – it was the Sabbath – but oh how I was ready to prepare a place for you.  Daddy and I prayed about it, and talked about it, and after that moment we began to prepare for you in earnest.  Your baby quilt was cut out, and I sat and hand quilted it on the couch while brother Liam watched movies.  Whenever I worked on that quilt, putting in those imperfect little stitches, I could feel you tumbling and kicking.  I felt connected to you.  Often times you would wake me up at 3:30 in the morning and I would wake up and sit on the couch and talk to you while working on projects for you.  Little pants to guard your legs when you learned to crawl.  A toy cube with pull tabs and bells to encourage you to chase it.  I learned to knit with you – my first ever sweater for you to keep you warm during the winter months.   So much preparation for you little one. 

            My pregnancy with yours was similar to your brother Liam’s – just a bit more back pain since I had to lift Liam up all the time.  We were so excited to see your ultrasound pictures at 20 weeks.  Every time we went in to the hospital to get checked, we were excited to hear your heartbeat.  You would kick upon hearing it, just like your brother did. 
            We went to the mainland to visit with mommy’s family for the whole month, and during that time mommy was having so many contractions.  I had a feeling that you were wanting to come into the world early.  And early you did come.  
            I started having contractions while I was teaching piano on the 8th of July.  They lasted throughout the entire night and next day.  We slept over Uncle Braddah and Auntie Denni’s house because we didn’t know if brother Liam was going to have to stay with them when we went to the hospital.  But even though my Braxton Hics contractions  were sharp, they didn’t have any pattern.  We stayed with them all day waiting for the contractions to get active, but it didn’t come.  Mommy was a bit worried since you were a little early, just a few days shy of 37 weeks, so we went in to get checked at the birthing center on the 9th of July.  When we went in, mommy was dilated at 1.5 centimeters.  They monitored your heart and it was strong! Your movement was good too.  We checked out and then went home to rest. 

            Mommy woke up the next morning at 2 in the morning.  I started knitting a vest for you.  It has been cold yesterday up in Waimea and if you were coming, you were going to need something warm for your chest.  I remember contemplating making cinnamon rolls for church, but I got so tired and started cramping again that I went back to sleep.  When I woke up, I was feeling so crampy and off.  I remember walking around the kitchen and thinking we didn’t have a middle name for you! Daddy and I were looking at names, and then we came upon Keaka.  It meant God’s precious gift.  Because I didn’t feel good, I asked daddy to make pancakes to share with the brethren for breakfast… but he was worried about me, so we decided to pick up cereal to contribute for breakfast at church.  Daddy bought all the good stuff.  Captain crunch and Cherrios and Honey Bunches of Oats.  Mommy had a bowl of Peanut butter Captain crunch and a bit of spam at church.  During the preaching hour, mommy went into the hallway to walk.  Mommy counted 11 sharp contractions during the preaching hour.  Pastor Darrell preached on the tongue.  During break Auntie Celeste and Daddy came to check on me and just at that moment a sharp contraction came and caused my eyes to water.  Daddy wanted to drive up to the hospital right then, but I asked him to wait a bit longer.  I made a goal to wait out the devotionals.  It took a couple hours.  I bounced and walked and the contractions kept coming.  I told daddy to wait until we had a break between the devotionals and Pastor Darrell’s next preaching hour.   Well, the devotionals finished but Pastor Darrell didn’t call for a break, but just started into his message! I asked daddy to go because I don’t think I could have waited for one more message.
            We left for the hospital around 2 and got checked in at 2:30.  Mommy was dilated at 5/6 centimeters.  After church Auntie Celeste came to help daddy coach me during your birth.  By the time she came, my contractions were very close together.  At 4:30, mommy was at 8.5 centimeters and ready to push by 4:50. 
            You were born on July 10th of 2016 at precisely 5:00.

            The midwife on call was Bridget Malloy and she let daddy help catch you.  Daddy was the first to hold you as you came into this world.  They placed you on my chest and you curled up and looked so tired and sleepy.  When I saw you – oh sweetheart you were so beautiful.  I noticed right away that you had daddy’s nose.  The Pagat nose.  It’s a strong trait and hard to get away from.  You looked like your brother, but with lighter coloring.  Just in that first glance, I knew that you were going to change our lives.  I just didn’t realize how much you would change us. 

            When they saw your chord, everyone exclaimed how large and healthy it was.  Now that I think about on it, I think our connection was so strong, because my body knew that you would have trouble breathing on your own.  So it strengthened the bond between us to help what your little lungs just couldn’t do.  When they cut our connection, you started to change colors.  The nurses took you from my chest and started to give you Oxygen to help you.  Daddy rubbed you and called your name, “Caleb.  Caleb”.  When they wheeled you out, daddy went with you and Auntie Celeste stayed with mommy.  I didn’t fear for you because I thought you just needed a bit of help.  I trusted you with the Lord.  It wasn’t until Doctor Gree came in to explain what was happening with you that I began to realize that the Lord might have different plans for you other than the ones we imagined.  I had time, those few hours in the room to pray, and to resolve that the Lord’s will would be done.  That you belonged to him. 
            The staff at the hospital labored so hard in trying to help you to breathe. To find out what was wrong with you.  They were going to fly you and daddy to Oahu to see doctors who might have been able to better see what was going on with your little body.
            But the Lord had different plans for you. 
            The airplane that was to take you and daddy couldn’t land in Waimea because of the weather so they got redirected to Kona.  The Waimea ambulance went to Kona to pick up the crew so they could come and get you.  You returned to the Lord just as the crew came racing up the hallway. 
            This is a blessing I constantly thank the Lord for – that daddy was with you just before you passed away.  That you felt his hands on your little body before you went to be with our Heavenly Father.  I thank the Lord that daddy was able to tell me in person that you went to be with the Lord.  That we got to hold each other and pray together and we got to see each other accept that the Lord’s will would be done. 
            You weren’t there when I said goodbye – but I got to hold your tiny body and sing to you from Isaiah 40.

            “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,
 because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.
 Surely, the people is grass
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth
But the word of our God shall stand forever
The word of our God shall stand forever”
                                                                        ~ Isaiah 40:7-8

Oh my sweet sweet baby boy.  Your life was so short, but you changed us so much.  The Lord used you in such amazing ways. 
He used you to open up my heart – to teach me about surrendering to His will.  To trusting in His plan.  I have such an amazing understanding of loss, and grief, and compassion and love.  Your dad and I now pray every morning together – asking the Lord to give us our daily portion of grace.  To use us for His honor and glory.  Did you know little one, that your short life, and with God’s grace - our surrender, has caused people to turn their eyes to the Lord? To come together as a people to pray?  Amazing. 
Concerning your name little one. Caleb: Faithfulness Keaka: God’s precious gift. The meaning of your name is Faithfulness… God’s precious gift.  So many layers of meaning.  It was our hope for you to be faithful to God – but oh sweet boy,  it was our faithfulness that was strengthened. You my son were indeed a precious gift. 

Your short life had such an amazing ministry. Beacause of you, I know what it means to keep my eyes on our Savior.  I know what it means to yield.  I know what it means to be weak so that our Savior can be strong.  I know what it means to trust. You’ve made me stronger in my walk with our God, and for that I am so grateful for you my sweet sweet baby boy.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

                                                                        To God be the Glory. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

In the restlessness

I am starting to understand why so many become knitters when they are pregnant.  There is a call to create and nest for this brand new life that will enter into yours and change everything.  There is a restlessness.  Perhaps from not being able to get comfortable due to a changing body.  Or perhaps just due to a mind that won't settle down to the possibilities and the hopes and dreams one has for this little person and their family.  Today was such a morning.  I found myself awake and unable to go back to sleep at three a.m..  So what does one do? Gets up and creates... naturally!  I could have set up my sewing machine in order to finish those booties that are still half done. I could have worked on father's day presents.  But the hum and industriousness of the sewing machine just didn't feel right for this moment.  No.  The stillness of sitting with my feet up on the ottoman and wrapping yarn around two pieces of bamboo called me.  The morning is so still - even though this little one in my body is not.  I wanted something where I could sit in the stillness and concentrate on baby's little squirms.  I wanted to create for baby through the pain twisting in my back as baby tries to find its spot.  For this baby I wanted to be calm and totally aware of him or her... so stitch by stitch, breath by breath I sat until the sun rose and the pitter patter of little toddler feet calling "mama...mama..." found me.

Good morning everyone! Blessings on this weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A toy for baby

Reflecting on Liam's early stages has been so sweet.  Thinking about all of his milestones and the elation we felt at watching him.  Crawling, grasping, scooting... so many.  Thinking back to the way that he played, I remember wishing for more tab toys.  He loved to pull on things and manipulate small items with his fumbling chubby fingers.  So I made the baby a toy block, complete with tabs.

The block is actually quite large and can be rolled around and chased... perfect for encouraging baby to reach that crawling milestone.  I also added a jingle bell.  I wasn't sure about the jingle bell at first because Ross and I aren't a fan of noisy baby toys - but the little bell makes such a sweet sound that it is actually quite musical and I don't think that it will be too abrasive for baby's ears.

This block was actually inspired by one of Ayumi's old creations  for a toy color block for her baby girl.  Mine isn't as square as hers, but I am very pleased with it none the less.

Scrappy sewing is such an elated feeling. Taking little bits of this and that from here and there and constructing an entirely new piece of fabric.  That is the best kind of sewing in my opinion!

The projects on the list for baby are getting crossed off.  Which is wonderful considering we only have three months to go.  Baby's kicks are getting harder, a constant reminder that baby is growing and waiting to join our family.  It is a very exciting time.

Linking up to Finish it Friday! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sick day(s) ~ a new trick for my bag of tricks.

Our days have been so long lately.  Liam has been running a fever for the past three days and we are once again at home.  It has been hard on him - this little boy of mine who wants to play and run and use his body.  I have been trying so hard to expand my little sick day bag of tricks, but most of my activities were starting to become tiresome, both to him and to me.

So I picked up a much wanted item on our art list.  A spin art kit.  In our little town, our hardware store has an aisle with children's art supplies (isn't that great!), a lot of it by Melissa and Doug.  I am usually such a fan of Melissa and Doug products, but this one I wan't too thrilled with.  It doesn't rotate in a constant circle, but instead goes back and forth as the child pumps it with the handle.  It is nice because it has suction cups on the bottom of the device that allows the child to use both hands to pump. It will be nice to use for art playdates, but I think I am eventually going to try and invest in an old salad spinner for this particular art project.

Liam didn't seem to mind or notice that his mama wasn't too thrilled. He was really into spinning.  He got a kick out of pumping the handle back and forth.  But squeezing the paint out of the bottles was hands down the best part about it for him.  He was really into squeezing. Like, using one whole bottle on one little square. But that's alright - because today was more about discovering the materials. What they are and what they can do. Squeezing is a skill set that he is very interested in right now.  During bath time he has an old ketchup bottle that we fill with water and he spends several minutes just squeezing and refilling.  I am a fan of anything that helps to develop those tiny hand muscles.

On a mama note - I have been trying very hard to focus on the joy found within our day and once again I find myself so grateful for this space.  It has been helping me to focus on those one or two moments glittering through the hard spaces of a hard day stacked upon harder days.  It helps me to stop and document the laughter, the beauty, the joy that can always be found when we look hard enough.

That picture above was something that brought me great joy.  It has been hard to do anything because all Liam wants to do is be close to me.  When I'm working in the kitchen, he often peeks over the couch and holds out his arms for me, wanting me close to him.  Before I sat next to him, I got my camera, intending to capture his sad little face, and instead that little ham of a boy lit up for me.
Smiled at me.  And it made me smile.

Oh yes ~ there is always a joyful moment when we look hard enough.  I just have to continue to open my eyes and my heart to them as they come along.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


We are still battling this cold bug here in our little corner of the world. I have been grateful for the snatches of time that I have been able to find to do a little creating in between my current full time job of nurse, cleaner of vomit, cook, and giver of cuddles.  A creative outlet is indeed so refreshing - even ten minutes during a hard won nap time with a few hand stitches can make such a difference in my day.  It really helps me to slow down.  Not just my pace, but my thought process - which currently tends to race at how to keep this under the weather little boy loved and nurtured.

But on to the project at hand!

So many of my mama friends have exclaimed that children make you brave.  In this case I have to whole heartedly agree.  As long as I have been reading blogs, I have envied those who had the skills to knit their children clothes.  A child in a knitted sweater just seems so wrapped in good intentions.  So slowly, this hand project has been worked on a little by little.  It is the classic cardigan from this book and the yarn is Madelinetosh Tosk Merina DK in the color way Silverfox.  I think the fact that I am in love with this pattern and utterly head over heals in love with this yarn have kept me going.  Have pushed me forward even though the  many times I've had to frog because of miscounting have made me want to just pull everything out and make really expensive knitted wash cloths. What has motivated me the most I have to say is imagining this new little baby being able to wear this knitted cardigan when the weather cools.  I've chosen the 3-6 month size since that is how old baby will be when he/she is ready to wear it.

I'm not good at learning things two dimensionally.  I never have.  My learning style is very visual.  I need to be able to see what I need to do. and youtube have been such amazing resources. I've turned to videos on those sites several times to get me through new things.  Like casting on for sleeves? Oh my.  I worked myself up to a semi-panic when I realized I had to do something that wasn't purl or knit stitch.  But as all new things go... it is only hard until you learn it.  And then you have that skill set down.


The hoping heart that our children give us totally make us brave. Wouldn't you agree?

Linking up with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On at Frontier Dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A time for everything

We have been hit so hard the past three weeks with sickness. Like a vicious circle, each getting sick after one after another. I think the hardest thing I've ever done in my life has been to take care of a toddler, while sick, while pregnant.  Oh my.  I don't want to dwell on the hard though.  This isn't what I want for this space.  I want this space to reflect the joy and the love and the blessings.

And oh there were blessings amongst it all.  Like the fact that Liam was such a trooper while we stayed holed up in the house during my battle with this cold bug.  Like the fact that his smile is so readily given.  Or the fact that his type of play is changing before my eyes.  The way that he imitates. The way that he imagines.  This little boy of mine is loosing the baby in him... and then when sickness hits him, a glimmer of that baby returns in the need for snuggles.  In the need to be close. And I take every advantage of it... as I rock him, and hold him close to my heart.  Those moments are fleeting, every kick of this new baby growing in my tummy reminds me.  Change is in the air and it is coming fast.

I want to stop and relish these moments.  These moments of quiet. These moments where it is just him and I with his ear near my heart as I hold him close and listen. Listen to his rhythm.  Listen to him just be.  

The changes in my body though constantly remind me that there will be another little person that will expand my heart.  That things still need to be made ready.  I've put the to do list away and have stopped trying to cross things off.  Instead, I listen to my body and my heart, letting me know want I to work on - and working on it slowly as time and energy allow.  Slow.  Slow hand stitching and detailing seem to be what I want.  That is how this little squirrel came to be stitched. Booties are in the works from this book.  And the process is coming together slowly.  Cutting here while Liam naps.  Pinning there while he eats his snack.  Eventually they will come together.  I'm not worried.  Instead I'm taking more time to get in as many cuddles as I possibly can.  Because there is a time for everything I am constantly reminded.  A time for everything indeed.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Art in our Home

I checked the book, The Artful Parent by Jean Van't Hul from the library a couple of months ago and I was so inspired and moved by it that I began diving deep into the importance of process art for children.  My little home library on children's art actually really grew and I have been reading voraciously on the topic. A lot of my creativity is being channeled into these projects and I'd like so much to share it with you all.  

Usually I have three goals for Liam to accomplish every day.  An art activity, a sensory activity, and to be engaged in a meaningful work activity for our home.  Usually art is done in the mornings after breakfast, or it is done after nap.  Sometimes Liam is really into it and activities can last up to an hour, and sometimes it can last about a minute.  I try not to get discouraged when activities last a minute with two marks on the page and clean up for it lasts about twenty.  It's about the process - not the product.  It's about the experience I'm giving my child.  I repeat that to myself when I get discouraged and it really helps.  

Painting with a paint brush is a common activity.  It has been so interesting to see Liam's grip change from a hammer grip to a modified pencil grip! Although painting with a paintbrush is a common activity here, it is often action art that really engages him.  

Painting with cars was a big hit.  We don't tend to buy plastic toys for him, I am a big fan of a few wooden toys.  Once in a while though plastic toys make their way into our home as gifts or hand me downs, and they have actually found a place in our play during art. They are great because they wash so easily! 

Q-tip pointillism was an activity from The Artful Parent.  It's a great activity since most of the materials are already on hand.  

Marble Art.  Oh this activity.  We must have done this activity at least twenty five times in the past two months.  He just keeps asking for it! This activity engages so many different things.  He is really into transferring with tongs, so developmentally, this is right on track with him.  Rolling the marbles around with the cardboard box is extremely entertaining for this little guy.  Oh I wish I could capture every smile and laugh that this experience has given! 

Having Liam help to clean up after art is a big thing for me.  I want him to associate clean up with the process of making art.  A bucket of warm soapy water is always readied for him and then he helps me to rinse all of the materials used.  Often times, it becomes a sensory game and water gets everywhere... but that's ok I remind myself.  What is spilled water to the experience that my child is getting? 

And last but not least, my personal favorite part.  Documenting his work.  A date, a note about the materials, and a small note about the process.  We have a wire bound book used for a lot of his art, but also those art activities on loose bits of paper get housed in a container.  I plan on making him an art portfolio for his birthday so we can all have an artifact of his art during his first year that we really  started doing art.

Do you do art with your children? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

To Liam and my little kicker.  Thank you for making me a mother.  You are the best gift I could have ever received.  You make me a more patient, compassionate, and loving version of myself.  Thank you for rewriting my life's story.

To all you mothers out there.... I hope you have a wonderful love filled day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sewing what we need

I have been looking at all of the clothes that have been saved from when Liam was a baby and trying to take stock of what we have, what I can make, and what we should buy.  So much of Liam's clothes in those early months were hand me downs that got returned that we actually don't really have much baby clothes for those early months. Which actually really works out because this baby will be born in the summer, and the summer time is also hurricane time, and it can get so oppressively hot that we wouldn't want to burden baby with extra layers.  Liam was happy in a diaper or a onesie for the first three months of his life so we are going with that direction for this baby as well.  So looking to the winter months, or also known as the wet season over here, a few more layers would be needed to stay comfortable.  I fell in love with Anna Maria Horner's Knick Knack Knickers pattern and knew that I wanted to sew some up for this new baby.  Can't you see it being so cute paired with an envelope tee or a onesie?  Think of those chubby little six month legs kicking!

I have really been trying to hold myself back from making things that we don't need.  I have the cutest idea for a special receiving blanket for baby but we have so many leftover from Liam that I couldn't justify the fabric use for it.  But that's ok... because there are so many other sweet things on my list that I am excited about!

What are your favorite makes when you're expecting or for baby gifts?  Do you have anything in particular that you love?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Imperfect Love

Stitch by stitch. Breath by breath.  That is how this little play quilt for our second child was finished.  My second trimester brought about more energy than my first, but it also brought about those wakeful hours in the night.  That is how this quilt, the first of the sewing done for this new baby, found its beginning... early in the morning when the whole house was asleep.  When the meals and the chores were complete and a happy husband and sleeping toddler were found resting in this sleeping house.  That is when I would steal away and work on this project.  First the top was sewn.  Then a quilt sandwich made.  And then that moment - you know, when a project really speaks to you and tells you exactly what it wants.  Well, this little quilt wanted to be hand quilted.  It wanted a slow process.  It wanted time.  So hand quilt it I did.  And giving in and listening to that quiet voice was the best decision ever.

It was those moments, when the house was quiet and my tired feet were up, that I would sit and quilt this blanket.  When I would sit and dream about what my family would be like when our three finally became four.  What this new baby would be like.  Whether it would be a girl or a boy.  And this little baby would answer with kicks and flutters of its own.  Bonding.  That is what hand quilting this quilt has given me.  The time to sit and bond when otherwise I wouldn't think as much about this child with the constant demands of the day competing with baby for attention.

This quilt represents so much of what I want to teach this child.  Of what I have learned in taking this journey into motherhood.  How life is so much like a quilt.  Stitched together from patches of experiences and hopes.  Quilted together with imperfect hand stitches.  Very much like love.  How it is imperfect, how mistakes are sometimes made, but oh how it covers.  Oh how it warms and shelters and completely surrounds you.

So many blessings - in this craft that we do with our hands.

Linking up to Finish it Friday