Friday, January 16, 2009

critter update


gettin' mama

blue eyes

hippie and critter working together


helping daddy
maybe fridays are the right time to check in on the critter, or at least post some pictures of him. kieran is two weeks from his 9-month doctor's appointment. he is growing by leaps and bounds and will soon be completely out of his 6-12 month PJs. time to go shopping again! he's a blast lately, although i could do without the sleepless nights that come along with this whole teething thing. the bottom front two teeth came in pretty easily, but man--the top two are a BITCH! you can see them through his swollen and tender gums, and he's clearly not enjoying the process. i wish they would just hurry up.

other than the teeth, though--we are having a great time with him, as is jennifer (our friend and nanny) and her whole family. he's become one of the pack at her house, which is perfect. he loves them as much as he loves us, and while this is sometimes hard sometimes emotionally for me, i think it's definitely the best thing for him. he's happy to go in the morning, and happy to come home in the evening, too. gabriella loves him and reads to him and makes up games for them to play. and he immitates her and wants to get into everything she's doing. she is why he can climb stairs like a champ at 8 months old. she's why he loves throwing himself down on the bed and laughing over and over. she's a big part of why he loves his books so much. we are lucky and grateful.

he continues to astound us with his mobility and crazy development. he can draw lines on paper, keep rhythm with his maracca (favorite toy in the world!), and LOVES LOVES LOVES music. he is superfast at crawling, pulls up and climbs on everything, and is a huge fan of the stairs. it's all awesome and scary as hell at the same time. mostly, we let him explore and spot him. he laughs at everything new, claps his hands* with excitement over things he loves, and is definitely developing some rather strong opinions about things. he is starting to initiate games with us, which is great fun, and oh, so cute! he's showing signs of becoming more and more independent, too--preferring to feed himself rather than have us feed him and to get his own toys off the shelves and out of the baskets instead of us giving him things to play with. all normal and good. again with the lucky and grateful.

it also continues to scare the crap out of me on a daily basis--this whole parenting thing. i pray more. i hope more. i fear more. i just want him to be happy and healthy, and i hate that i can't just guarantee that for him myself. i am sure every new mother goes through this. it's so weird--it's not that i want to protect him so much as i want to somehow ensure that he doesn't get more than he can handle, if that makes sense. or more than WE can handle. mostly i just try to backburner these thoughts, since they are all related to things over which i have zero control. in spite of that fear, he is just a wonder and a delight, and i am so happy to have him in our lives! it's really truly unbelievable.

this series of pictures is from hanging out at home last weekend. kieran was "helping" his daddy put some chairs together. he "helps" a lot these days--must be in the thick of things at all times. wonder where he gets that?

* a note on the clapping thing: we've been playing clapping games with him forever, but something clicked in his head on christmas day when my 6'3", 280 pound, barrel-chested tree of a brother was playing pat-a-cake with him. this was one of the funniest things i have ever seen--doug was hamming it up insanely, and the critter was totally enthralled. 5 minutes later, he was clapping himself--it was such a sweet moment. it NEARLY made up for the horrific stomach virus doug gave me that day. nearly...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009



for christmas, my friend jenn gave me a crock pot--something i have wanted for literally years and have just never gotten around to buying for myself. this weekend was my first foray into the world of the slow cooker, and it was AWESOME. we made a BJ's run on saturday and came home with a lot of meat--a perfect time to bring out the crock pot, right? having no idea what to do, i googled, read a bunch of recipes, and then just made some shit up. here's what i did.

1 4-pound pork loin roast
8-10 shallots
1 cup chicken broth
5 cloves garlic
4 large, lush rosemary sprigs
~1 pound green beans
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

peel shallots and cut each in half. place cut side down in bottom of crock pot until the bottom is covered in shallots. salt and pepper the roast all over and rub in. this would be an excellent time to apply any spice rubs you find intriguing, but i didn't this time. heat some olive oil (maybe 2-3 tablespoons?) in a heavy skillet and brown roast on all sides. (this step also known as--make a big spatter-y mess out of your stove, but whatever.) place roast on top of shallots. pour cup of broth over roast. cut garlic cloves in half and place in a line longways down on top of the roast. lay rosemary sprigs on top. place the lid on the crokpot and cook on low for 8 hours. when there's about 45 minutes to go, add the green beans.

when everything was done, i picked out and discarded the rosemary sticks, put the green beans in their own dish, and pulled out the roast to slice it--little did i know that it was going to fall completely apart. this was ok with me--i am open minded. i used an immersion blender to puree the shallots and garlic with the broth and pan juices to make a gravy, and then added the pork back to the pot. i served this over rice noodles with the green beans on top, but in retrospect, i think it would be better with some wild rice or something with a little more body than the egg noodles. in any event, it was YUMMY! i would definitely make it again.

a note on the immersion blender. i borrowed one from my friend jenn to try it out, and now i need one. it was AWESOME--so fast and not too messy. i am currently lusting after this one. you need one, too.

i have been asking around for crock pot recipe recommendations from people who know from food, and here are my three faves so far, in order of how strongly they were recommended:

fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker (book)
a year of crockpotting (blog)
not your mother's slow cooker cookbook (book)

if y'all have favorite recipes, i'd love to hear them. i am all about trying stuff in this thing now!

Monday, January 12, 2009

monday knitting update: the amanda hat

amanda hat, front

amanda hat, back

amanda hat, WIP
mondays are for knitting updates. i guess--why not? i made a hat. hats are about all i can swing lately, but that's ok, as i have not yet gone through a round of hat gifting. there's a group of people on ravelry knitting 3 hats for january, and i thought about joining it. but man, i don't need the pressure. i am just knitting hats when i can get to them. i bought a bunch of malabrigo so i have many colors to choose from, and i downloaded many free patterns. excellent.

anyway--this is the amanda hat, which i knitted for kerstin, my friend and one of my bosses. this was my ONLY christmas knitting, and well--i gave it to her last wednesday. the good news is, she loves it! it fits her perfectly! it matches her shearling coat, which has this lovely ribbon trim in white, silver, and champagne. this hat is made from malabrigo, my current favorite hat yarn--soft and boingy and semi-solid. the color is called polar morn, and is the same color i used for my own foliage hat a while back as well as for one of the many umbrella hats i've made. love it.

note: posted on ravelry here.

ps--if you knit or crochet, and you aren't on ravelry, get on there. i mean it--there's just no reason not to!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

in for it

so it turns out that we have a crazy baby. he's 8 months old now--time flies. and lately his favorite activity is what the hippie and i refer to as, "gettin' into some shit." last night while i was out knitting, the hippie was on point. he turned his back for a moment, only to turn back and find this:

naughty baby

it's a blurry as hell picture, but i think it gets the point across.

the kid wanted a music box that was too high to reach on the living room book shelf. so he took an emptly diaper box (one of his favorite things), pushed it over to the shelf, climbed up on it, and helped himself to the lovely little hand carved music box i have had since i was 8. naughty.

this problem solving thing he's got going on is a little scary. as is the climbing. whew.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

ah, 2009...

some thoughts on the last year:

so glad that i have a happy and healthy family and a great village in which to bring up a baby. so in love with that baby and his daddy, it's not even funny. so grateful to have a job, a house i love, two kitties i love, and a neighborhood i love. i have plenty (too much!) to eat and clean water to drink. there are many people in this world i love and who love me. i feel so lucky! i feel so lucky, i almost feel guilty about how much more i have than so many people in the world. i am blessed.

this past year hasn't been all fun and games, and it's been one of the biggest adjustments of my life so far. i am sure that's not over--we are continuing to find our groove with each other as a family and to re-prioritize all our stuff. but overall, it's been a good year--a great one, even. the hardest thing has been time--i never ever feel like there's enough.

for 2009, i have more overhanging goals than resolutions.

i'd like to focus the first two months of this year on finishing up with all the loose end things hanging over my head, so that for the rest of the year, i can focus on enrichment, personal development for all of us, and play.

in january,
  • i'm going to hang the aplhabet cards i got for the critter's room.
  • i'm going to get all packages in need of mailing into the mail.
  • i'm going to organize the crawl spaces.
  • i'm going to trim the crepe myrtle tree.
in february,
  • i'm going to finish all the almost-finished knitting projects (there are a few...)
  • i'm going to finish my massive flower bed overhaul.
  • i'm going to do my level best to get two trees planted--a redbud and a dogwood.
  • i'm going to get my studio organized.
general goals for myself for 2009:
  • spend more time in the studio.
  • focus on debt riddance.
  • walk more.
  • try yoga.
  • read more.
  • spend more time outside.
knitting goals for 2009:
  • finish kerstin's hat!!!
  • make the critter a sweater.
  • finish and felt 3 almost finished bags.
  • pick up the baltic sea stole again.
  • get started on a sweater for the hippie.
  • make hats for the critter, the hippie, tristan, and amy p.
  • make baby gifts for 3 babies.
  • start on a blanket for my house.
note: i have all the yarn i need for all of the above projects. and more.

two possible big-ass long-term house and home things:
1) ditch all the carpet and put in bamboo flooring?
2) puppy?

and last, but definitely not least, this is a year when i want to do something to give something back to the world. i need to live greener and lessen my footprint on this earth. and i really want to do something for others this year, whether it's volunteering or knitting for charity or what--something. suggestions are welcome.