Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the new normal

boy, what a lot of adjustments.

when i was out on maternity leave, my nanny quit. she had really good reasons for this and had a super hard time making the decision to do it, but man--it was tough on all of us. the critter has known no other care since he was 6 weeks old, and he was/is a part of their family. very hard for him to get why he was suddenly not there with them every day. at least i was still on leave, so he got to be home with me and finn for a month.

i spent a few weeks researching the heck out of all the options, and in the end, decided that daycare was the best thing for us. right now, the boys are in two different daycares. turns out that wait lists for babies are really long, so it proved to be impossible to find a place that had an opening for both a 2-year-old and a baby without paying an INSANE amount of money. having them in two places is good and bad. it's good in that i really feel like both of them are in the best places they could be. it's bad in that i have to schlep finn and and out of kieran's daycare twice a day, and that i am losing any kind of sibling discount i'd get by having them in the same place.

kieran LOVES daycare. loves it. he's happy to go in the morning, and happy to come home in the evening. he's excited at the end of the day to tell me about what all he did and played with. his vocabulary is exploding. he has taken to it like a duck to water, and i am SO grateful! i love his center and his teachers and the staff at the front desk, and really--i could not be happier about how it's working out so far.

finn, after two days of daycare, got sick, and has been sick for three weeks. he gave it to kieran, then me, then the hippie. so that's been fun. i love the woman who is taking care of finn, but i still very much wish that he was with a person rather than at a center for the first few months. it's hard for him to sleep there with all the noise, and it seems like the hands on time with him is just, by necessity, limited. the awesome thing is that he's directly across the street from my office, which means i can go across and feed him a couple of times a day rather than pumping. pumping stinks, and i am super happy to not be doing it. i am also REALLY lucky that i have bosses who support this. finn's situation, while both good and bad, is also the best i can do right this minute, so we're learning to deal with it.

the weekdays are a flurry of activity. i know every family with two working parents deals with this, so i am not going to get whiney about it. but sometimes, i'll tell you--it's tough. that said--we're getting into a rhythm where it works for us. i'm managing to feed us home-cooked breakfasts most mornings, and home cooked meals most nights. we're all getting some sleep. we're all clean (mostly) and dressed in clothes that are clean. the house hasn't (yet) become a pit of utter chaos. the boys are happy for the most part. now if we could just all get healthy again, this new normal would be working for me. we're getting there...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

on birthin' babies, part 2

so--where were we... oh yes, the doctors wanted me to schedule a c-section, so i did. i did make my favorite doctor at my practice sit down and use statistics to convince me i was doing the right thing. and in the end, i have to say that, odds of vbac success were so low for me that i think i probably DID do the right thing. there's a part of me that will always wonder...

anyway--the differences between finn's birth and kieran's were nothing short of astounding, for so, so many reasons. here are the highlights:

1) pre-op appointment
for obvious reasons, you don't get this with an unscheduled c-section, and there was a part of me that was like--why do i need this? i've already had one c-section, right? i was so wrong--there's definitely an advantage to this appointment. for example, i learned that with kieran's birth, they gave me a dose of sedatives after he was delivered for no reason at all. this explains why the recovery, first feeding, and eventual move to the post-partum hospital room are all a blur. the doctors could not explain why i was given these drugs and why i wasn't told about it before hand, or even afterwards, but at least i knew enough this time to tell them not to do it. also, at this appointment, we filled out all the admission paperwork and had all the bloodwork done ahead of time, so there was no waiting when we got to the hospital

2) scheduling
with finn, we had a scheduled surgery at 10am on monday morning, which meant we needed to get to the hospital at 8am--perfectly civilized. and we did--we got there on time, went through prep, and had plenty of time to meet the OR nurses in charge of things. the nurses went over what to expect in the OR, what the spinal tap would feel like, and what to alert them about with regard to the drugs i had to have. this was also an opportunity to let the anesthesiologist's nurse know that i wanted no sedatives. she seemed surprised by this, but went with it. everything went as scheduled, and we were out of recovery and in our room at 1:somehting pm.

in sharp contrast to this schedule, with kieran, we had a "scheduled" induction, which means the hospital jerks you around for a day or so then tries to make you come in at 3am to be induced. we ended up with a pitocin drip at noon, fully dilated and pushing by 5pm, the decision to have the c-section at 8:30pm, and birth at 8:49pm. recovery took a while, and we finally got to our post-partum room at 2am.

now, the reason this matters is that, after you have a c-section and after you get to your room, they have to monitor your vitals every 30 minutes for 4 hours, and then they drop it back to every 3 hours. with finn, we were done with this monitoring by 6pm. with kieran, it was 6am. plus with kieran, we were both exhausted from the whole process. this time around, we got some actual rest after the birth--i can't tell you what a difference this makes.

3) expectations
going in for a scheduled c-section, you have nothing but acceptance to deal with. you are no longer hoping for a natural birth, or wondering who's on call, or whether or not you will need pain meds. you have accepted the surgery, chosen your doctor, and are no longer fighting the system. i can't tell you how much this reduces the anxiety for both you and for your partner.

4) drugs
the afore-mentioned sedatives, which i would have utterly rejected, had i known anything about them. what a difference not to have them this time!!! in the OR, i was alert, focussed, and able to talk to the doctors and nurses. in recovery, i could ask questions and understand what was going on. and last, and also most importantly, i was able to focus on finn and jason and myself. finn's first feeding went beautifully, which i think is a credit to the clear head. thank god for the clear head!

5) hospital crowding
when kieran was born, it was in this weird peak period of baby deliveries at our hospital. this means we ended up in the overflow to the overflow to the birth center in a crappy, tiny room with nurses and techs who were either called in from other hospitals or who had worked multiple shifts. they ranged from kind of tired and impatient to outright bitches, with two notable exceptions. we also never had the same nurse twice. this time, there was NO overcrowding at all. we were in an awesome new room in the birth center with the same day and night nurses both days. all of the nurses and techs were helpful and friendly and in good moods because they weren't completely overworked. it's truly amazing what a difference this makes. i wish i had had gifts to give these women.

this is all stuff i didn't know was bad the first time, until it wasn't bad the second time. this time, it felt like cheating, things were so smooth and easy. i am thankful i had good people all around me, in the OR, in recovery, and in the post-partum care. i am also thankful, they let us go home a day early, even though i am still kind of stunned that they let us.

and speaking of thankful, i am thankful i have a healthy baby, that the breastfeeding is going so well this time (which i fully credit to that first latch), and that i have healed beautifully in spite of over-extending myself during recovery. (hard not to with a 2-year-old in the house!)

the only bad thing i can say about the whole experience this time was that i came home with some nasty chemical burns. they hospital changed the type of adhesive they use on the pressure bandages sometime between kieran's birth and finn's. my sensitive skin does NOT like the new adhesive, and my belly was covered in some large, painful burns and blisters that were hiding under the bandage. i discovered them when removing the bandage--VERY unpleasant. but still--nothing some neosporin hadn't fixed up in a couple of weeks.

again--i would never encourage anyone to choose surgery over a natural birth. i will ALWAYS wish natural birth had been an option for me. and maybe it was, but not without defying a doctor i trust and possibly risking my or the baby's health. not worth the risk.

in conclusion--second birth experience WAY better than the first.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

on birthin' babies, part one

as i write this, it's 2am, and i am nursing my new boy. finn william coposky was born at 10:27am on monday, july 12th. he weighed 7lb. 13 oz. and was 20 inches long. he's the sweetest thing ever, and so far, everyrhing about him has been criminally easy. i can't even begin to tell you how lucky i feel to have two super-healthy babies at my "advanced maternal age" or really, at any age. given all that can go wrong in the development and birth of a baby, i know full well what a miracle i have on my hands. and dear lord, i am thankful!

let's talk a minute about birth, which has become such an industry in the US. y'all know me well enough by now to get that, given the choice, i'd rather have had my boys naturally than any other way, and that it hasn't been an optuin for me. when kieran was born, by blood pressure was slowly creeping up at the end, which means that my doctora were pressuring me to induce. i still, and will always, wish i could go back in time and fight for more time. actually, i'd love to go back and get a midwife, but this is because i didn't know then what i know now. but i digress... anyway. with the critter, i was induced 4 days after my due date and ended up having a c-section after full labor and 3.5 hours of nonstop pushing. not the best experience.

things were pretty different this time around.

this time, i never developed the gestational hypertension we were all waiting for. they monitored the crap out of me, but there was nevernany sugn of any problem whatsoever. however, given the facts of the first birth, my odds of a successful vaginal birth this tume were on the order of 25%. couple that with the fact that the doctors really didn't want me to go past my due date given my age, the size of the baby, my blood pressure issues, and my personal risk of developing pre-eclampsia, and with the hippie's desire to never watch me go through that whole meaa again, and i decided not to buck the system. i had a scheduled c-section 3 days before my due date.

now, let me make two points:

1) all of my doctors recommended that i schedule the surgery on my actual due date to give my body as much time as possible to go into labor on its own. however, the hospital schedule was full, so it wasn't an option. neither was the day after. then it was the weekend, and they don't schedule them on the weekend. they didn't wabt me to wait as long as the following monday, so... you start looking the other direction. the due date was a thursday. the doctor on call on wednesday is the dude who atripped my membranes last tine without talking to me about it. tuesday was doctor death--no thanks--i'd rather have my mother do the surgery. monday waa the doctor i trust the most, with whom the hippie was most comfortable, and who delivered the critter. dora that seem like a no-brainer to anyone else?

2) all of this said, if you are pregnant, i would encourage you to try a natural birth, with a midwife if possible. and if it's not possible, then choose your practice carefully. and do not be afraid to trust your instincts and stand up for what you want. listen to the doctors, but make your own decisions, and don't let them bully you. they will. keep in mind that your doctor, no matter his opinion of himself, is just a person and not the boss of you. you are an intelligent, grown woman. read. learn the facts. ask queations. be a pain in the ass. and if, after all that, you need medical help, take it! and if you end up with a medicalized birth, try not to feel like you have failed. harder than it sounds, but important.

ok the kid has finished eating, and i am about to pass out, so i am going to finish this tomorrow with a discussion of what all was different about this c-section and the previous one. so many things made this such a different experience!

Friday, August 27, 2010

1001 blog posts

as you may have noticed, i pretty much took the summer off. i've been focusing on living in the now and being with my family. i've had so little downtime that i have been unwilling to spend that time in front of a computer. i'm getting things back together at last, however, and i am ready to start writing again. i have written hundreds of blog posts in my head, but have found no time to get them out. i am bursting with words.

it's a weird thing, this blogging. whether you have a huge readership or not, it makes you start putting pressure on yourself to write. i guess this is a good thing if your goal is to make money from your blog or from being a writer. but for me, this blog is as much for me as it is for y'all, and i don't need the pressure. that said, i am also ready for blogging to become a larger part of my life again. there are so very many things going on, and i don't want to forget them. looking back at this blog, it's like a digital scrapbook for me--i love that. and that's where i want this thing to be. i want to write more and publish more pictures and knit more and cook more and share more, so that all of that will be there for me and my boys.


fresh start. fresh template. i am still playing with it, but i like all the easy options blogger has recently given me. i get to update the look with minimal effort. about time, blogger.

for those of you still sticking with me, thanks for that. i'm hoping to be around a bit more in the near future.

Monday, June 07, 2010

sweet, sweet corn salad

man, i love summer. and i know it's not technically summer yet, but we've had enough days in a row with 85+ degree weather that i consider it summer here already. and one of my favorite things to eat in the summer is this salad i made up out of some leftover random things i had in my fridge one thursday night a few summers ago. i still think it rocks, and i make it for cookouts, myself, for the critter, and for any other reason i can think of. it's so yummy--everyone but meredith will love it.

summer corn salad

4 ears of corn
1 red bell pepper
4 scallions
1 tsp chopped cilantro, or more
~ 1 tsp ranch dressing, just a little bit
black pepper to taste
1 avacado

clean corn, place in a large pot, and cover with water. bring to a boil, let boil for 5 minutes. submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. cut corn from cobs, and place in a large-ish bowl. chop bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro, and add to bowl. add ranch and black pepper. mix well, cover, and refridgerate for at least 20 minutes until ready to eat, up to a day. just before serving, chop avacado and stir into salad. that's it. simple and delicious.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

pregnancy update: entering the home stretch

34 weeks

belly 2010.06.02

seriously, people--only 6 weeks to go. i've been sailing though the past month, refusing to stress over anything, and telling everyone, including myself, that june is my get-my-shit-together month. it is upon me. i spent my lunch hour today ordering stuff for the baby's room. i have an official registry set up for the shower some friends are unexpectedly throwing for me. i have a plan of attack. what i am trying to do now is quell the sudden urge to repaint the new baby's room. so far, the urge seems to be winning, in spite of the fact that the room is a lovely green that's perfectly acceptable. i long for a light, clear, teal. *sigh*

anyway. pregnancy is progressing normally, in spite of the dire predictions of the horrible death-focused doctor at my practice. it's also not without its concerns, in spite of the pie-in-the-sky doctor's assessment. it's funny how well you get to know these doctors when you are on your second round with them and going in twice a week for tests. if anything is going to make me ill, it's the fact that i am spending too much time there. lol.

anyway, as you all know, i have had high blood pressure since my youth, which means there are things they watch for when you get pregnant, especially if you are 40. they monitor my BP of course, as well as the baby's size, the fluid levels in my uterus, the placental function, esp as related to the variation in the baby's heart rate, my weight, my kidney function, and any tiny signs that i might be becoming pre-eclamptic. well, so far--everything is a-ok. the baby is gigantic, my BP is running lower than it has since i was 16, there's no sign of anything wrong anywhere.

dr. death still talks about stillbirth a lot. dr. sunshine gives me unrealistic statistics for VBAC success and the ability to let nature take its course. dr. reality--the dr. who performed my surgery with the critter, is somewhere in the middle. it's pretty likely that i will end up with a c-section with him again this time. i am trying to come to terms with that, although it's still depressing to me that i am most likely not ever going to experience a natural labor and delivery myself. i am somewhere between the anger and acceptance phases of my grief over this. i keep reminding myself that the healthy mama and baby at the end of this process is the goal. but it doesn't change the sadness at the lack of control and over not being able to let nature do its thing without taking a bunch of possibly unnecessary risks.

anyway. my point here was--i'm feeling pretty good. the baby's doing great. we're sailing into the home stretch. my belly is huge, and once again, it's hard to believe it can get any bigger, though i know it can...

on the down side, i am bone tired. i am getting up probably 5 times a night with either leg cramps or to pee, or both. i have considered naps at red lights more than once in the past couple of days. my gums are so bleedy, it looks like someone has punched me in the mouth every time i brush my teeth. my pants are all falling off because the baby is stealing my ass much like his big brother did.

on the upside--he's a mobile little critter, and i am firmly in the land-sharking phase of this pregnancy. it's comforting really, having all that motion from him--let's me know every day that he's ok in there. i am motivated as all get out to Get Things Done. i have a temp lined up for my leave. i am eating all the cookies i want.

could be much worse.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

my thyme is blooming

isn't it pretty?

note: you can see the larger size on flickr if you click on the pic above, then go to "all sizes."

Monday, April 26, 2010

mmmmm, cake...

chocolate peanut butter cake

my weekends are filled with errands and catching up and trying to get 1000 things done at once. not that there aren't things mixed in there that i enjoy--there are--but sometimes, i feel like it's hard to get any real down time or time for myself. i've been trying to make myself take part of the critter's naptime on one of the two days of the weekend to do something i WANT to do instead of something i NEED to do. and yesterday, that something was to make this cake. and oh my god, it's good. my friends steve and tiffany gave me a lovely book a couple of years ago called heirloom baking with the brass sisters, and i have looked at it many times without actually making anything from it. this was the first, and it was both simple and delicious. the only downfall was that i over cooked the cake a tiny bit, which made it more crumbly than it should have been. however, the icing and peanuts made up for it. this is a chocolate peanut butter cake with a boiled chocolate and brown sugar icing and salted, roasted peanuts pressed into the sides. the combination of the rich dark chocolate in the icing with the saltiness of the the peanuts was SO GOOD! i am no food photographer, but man, these pictures make my mouth water all the same. good thing i have a piece of this right here to eat for lunch dessert, huh? :)

chocolate peanut butter cake 2

new (free!) yarn

oops--i wrote this post last week, but failed to actually publish it. let's hear it for follow-through! anyway, here it is--better late than never, right?

aslan trends santa fe

ella rae lace merino

one of my bosses is also a friend and fellow knitter, which sometimes works to great advantage. she has excellent taste and picks out lovely gifts as well. earlier this week, these things all coincided when she gave me a gift for administrative professional's day--enough yarn for 3 pairs of socks. now, granted, the likelihood of me making actual socks from this yarn is, as you guys well know, slim. and yet--the yarn--it is intriguing to me. the ella rae is so my color scheme, and it's enough for a swallowtail shawl (rav link). the others, who knows, but the possibilities are endless. are all these colors not lovely? here's what you are looking at, from top to bottom:

aslan trends santa fe: 2 skeins, 180 yards each. 85% merino, 15% polyamide. color SFE1327, dyelot 3810. made in argentina.

ella rae lace merino: 1 skein, 460 yd. 100% extra fine merino. color 120, dyelot 90021. made in italy.

opal: 1 skein, 425 m. 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide. color 2650, dyelot 102. made in germany.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

what the hell have i been doing?

i swear i look up and months have passed. it's a tad disconcerting. today, out of nowhere, i actually feel caught up enough to write something, so let's catch up, shall we?

today, i am 28 weeks pregnant. and TIRED. but otherwise, it's good. normal complaints from any woman in the 3rd trimester, but so far, all is well. baby is healthy, mama is healthy, and the rest of the family is adjusting to the whole mess. we're keepin' on keepin' on, as it were.

in the past couple of months, a lot has happened. there have been some excursions: we went to the celebrity dairy open house again, like we did last year. it was awesome again, too, but sadly i can find the pictures from that excursion nowhere, so you will just have to imagine cute baby goats, chickens, the critter playing on a bobcat, and us buying goat cheese having forgotten that i can't eat it right now. oops!

beautiful girl
on march 7th, gabriella turned seven. it's impossible to believe how grown up she is. she's almost done with first grade, and she's so much fun to talk to and so beautiful. she is smart and funny and a blast, and although she's not mine, i still love her like she is. i am so glad for a little girl i can get my girl on with, especially now that i know i'm not having a girl of my own. she's still the best big sister the critter could ever have, and such a huge part of his village and life. we're lucky to know her.

aside: g's birthday party was a bug-themed affair at the NC museum of life and science, which is an awesome place. the critter had so much fun running around digging for fossils, sitting on dinosaurs, looking at butterflies, and petting farm animals, we ended up joining the place so we can go back there often. highly recommended!

my friend emily and i snuck away for a beach weekend in march, which we seem to be making a yearly tradition. unlike last year, this time we had lovely weather, and i took not a single photograph.we spent time shopping in beaufort, eating seafood, walking on the beach, knitting, talking, and making a ninja strike on the salty sheep on the way out of town. i learned that amber, one of the owners of that most loved of all yarn stores, is also expecting a baby this summer. so cool.

inspecting the contents
easter happened. we didn't do that much, but we did set up a little egg hunt for the critter in our front yard, and then we went over and crashed a larger hunt in jennifer's cul de sac on the other side of the neighborhood. this year, the critter really GOT the egg-hunting thing, which was really fun. we put a couple of m&ms in each of his eggs, and then hid one larger one with a reese's peanut butter egg (the hippie's favorite!) inside. the kid was thrilled to discover this and to get to eat candy for breakfast. he was so cute looking for his eggs, i couldn't stop taking pictures of him. it's hard to believe that we are only a week away from his second birthday. the kid blows my mind.

in more recent news...

on gardening

beginning of charleston garden

charleston garden impatiens and sweet potato vines

charleston garden hastas and periwinkle

charleston garden pots and hastas

charleston garden pots
hippie and i have long discussed the possibility of adding a charleston-style garden down the side of our house. it's damp and shady, and it seems like a perfect place to make a walk with shade plants, ground covers, and big pots of things that will bloom. we've been slowly collecting pots and ideas and making plans, and last weekend, we jumped into it with both feet. it's a work in progress, but the photos you see here are the work of two critter naps plus a couple more hours. so far, i love how it's coming out. there's much to do yet, but we've done enough now that i can SEE it coming together in my mind. i can visualize what it will be like in 5 years, when the periwinkle and hastas have taken hold and the mosses we planted are all around the flagstones will will soon add to the path we're making. this, more than anything else we've done, really makes me feel like we truly live in this house--like we will be here for a long time. we are making it our own. so awesome.

in addition to the side garden, we've also been refining things along the front walk: getting the grass to take hold at last, replenishing the herb garden, adding annuals here and there, mulching around the perennials that have come back from last year and the year before. we have veggies (radishes, lettuce, onions, black cherokee, red pear, and flame tomatoes, orange bell peppers) in the garden box in the back, although this, too, is a work in progress. and the trees we've planted are thriving, and will one day give us a shady corner in the back where we will be able to add blueberry bushes. my head is full of plans, which is my absolute favorite place to be. loving the yard this year!

on cooking and eating

the farmers market is open again! this means i am inspired to cook. i've also been watching jamie oliver's food revolution, which only strengthens my resolve to feed my family well, to try new things, and to keep on cooking fresh, healthy things for all of us. i have come, over the past few years, to look at this as a serious investment in my health and future, as well as those of my family and friends. i am a food evangelist--i can't help it. and yes, i still love me some cupcakes, which i think is just fine. i don't make them every day, and i really only want the ones made by me or someone i know didn't add a bunch of random junk to them. anyway--i'm not about to start a massive food rant here (again)--i just want to say--hurray for spring and the farmers market and local fresh things that make me want to cook them.

rosemary garlic roasted pork loin
this is a roasted pork loin from fickle creek farm (recipe here)with some fresh grilled asparagus (from whole foods still--asparagus isn't in here yet) that i made on sunday. on monday, in accordance with my and the hippie's new plan to eat less meat and more veggies, i made a lovely roasted potato and wilted kale salad (recipe here). it was SO GOOD! i can't tell y'all how much i am loving the world of food blogs and epicurious right now. the food porn available is truly inspirational to me in the kitchen, plus trying to make more vegetarian dishes has sent me searching for new recipes at least 3 times a week. it also helps that my friend meredith has been having some of the same kinds of food epiphanies that we have over these past years, and that she and i have long loved to cook together. we madly share recipes and ideas, and it's been just great. loving my kitchen as much as the garden right now!

so. in conclusion--life is very full. overall, it's happy and good. as always, i want more time, more sleep, more time, more money, and more time. ain't that always the way, though? knitting and critter and pregnancy updates to come, but i have no more blog in me right now, plus i am totally out of writing time. y'all have a good afternoon and night, and tomorrow i'll show you my new yarn.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

pregnancy update: snakes, snails, and quilts

19 weeks, 5 days

so it's taken me a few days to get around to posting anything, because well--life is busy. and also--hello? i'm pregnant and tired. but anyway. the level 2 ultrasound was last thursday, and it was all good. we're having another boy, which is really bittersweet for me. i am happy for the critter to get a little brother, and i'm REALLY glad to have a healthy and normal baby above all things. but it's hard to let go of the idea of ever having a girl. it was a little bit this way when i found out the critter was a boy, too, but then, there was at least the possibility that we would have another baby. this time, we really hope to be done. so this time, it's really the last chance for a girl. and while i love my boy, and i love the idea of two of them running around together, and while i love the bond that brothers share, there is a part of me that will always mourn the loss of pigtails and dresses and ribbons, and a daughter who might have loved my grandmother's china. this is life, right? greener grass and all that. all of that said--yay for another little boy! i hope he and the critter will be great friends for life like my brothers have been. and also--yay for getting to reuse all those cute and adorable clothes i have bought over the past two years, or at least some of them.

here's what the little man looks like right now:
level 2, profile 1
level 2, ribs and guns

there were more pictures of him, but these are the most clear. and further, i don't think i need to post the pics of the man parts, even in utero! i will tell you that he spent half the ultrasound sucking his thumb and the other half investigating those parts. there is no doubt that this baby is all boy. lol.

so i've been shopping for stuff for his room, and i've been wholly uninspired by what's availble. it's all either too formal to just too damned blue. i like blue a lot, but man--they really pour it on for the baby boys.i get a little overwhelmed by it. i want more than one color in the room, and i don't want it too pastel or too crayola primary either. tough. the only alternative to that seems to be formal. yuck. so anyway--i've been poking around on etsy for ideas, and found this quilt:
quilt for the new baby

it's from an etsy shop called red staggerwing designs, and i love it! i love the amy butler fabrics in it, and i love that it's blue, but not ALL blue, and green, but not all green, and that it has many colors in it. i pounced on it, and i can't wait for it to arrive. i am going to make a blanket for this new baby boy like the one i made for the critter, but in a lovely dove grey, and i will use these two pieces to start designing a new nursery. yay! and maybe by the time i get around to picking out things like a bumper pad, there will be something out there i like that doesn't cost $400+.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

olympics progress

shoalwater shawl, WIP 1
as stated in the last post, i had people over and cast on my project for the knitting olympics. and then i ripped it out. turns out i can't actuall watch the olympics and knit lace at the same time. so i restarted on saturday, and made some headway by knitting through the critter's nap on both saturday and sunday. then monday, i had the day off and the critter was at his nanny's house, so i made some more progress. i knitted a couple of rows at lunch today, too. then i had a little progress photo shoot here at work where the lighting is bad and there's nowhere very light colored to pin out the shawl so you can see it. the light green chair in our work training room was the best i could do. but anyway--progress! yay! of course, it's getting slower and slower as i go, since the rows are getting longer and longer. that's just the way of things i suppose. it's still going to be an absolute miracle if i manage to finish this thing by the end of the olympics!

knitting olympics cake
so back to friday night for a minute. my friend amy made dessert int he form of this lovely cake. this is an AWFUL picture i know, as i had only my phone available to snap a quick one. this picture that THK took is way better, so go look at hers. but anyway--how cute is that?

meanwhile, i also have to say that i really enjoyed the opening ceremonies this time. punk rock tap dancing bluegrass fiddlers covered in tattoos? i mean--how can you go wrong with that. and that poet they found on YouTube??? go canada is all i have to say about that. awesome. no wonder i couldn't concentrate on the actual knitting.

Friday, February 12, 2010

the knitting olympics, 2010

it's time once again, for the knitting olympics. and as I did in 2006, i am going to participate by starting a project tonight that i will hopefully, by some miracle, finish by the 28th when the torch goes out. last time, if you recall, i had only known how to knit for a few months, and i knitted a clapotis from some wonderful cashmere yarn--i had to pull an all-nighter to finish. but that clapotis remains one of my favorite and most worn knitted items. i am hoping for similar results this go'round.

knitting olympics 2010 project
i've chosen to knit a shoalwater shawl from some lovely prism lace wool that the hippie gave me as a gift a few years ago. my friend beth tells me this isn't challenging enough, but for me, it's definitely going to be a challenge. this will be my first time working with lace-weight yarn for one thing, plus i am not very experienced with lace. so while this is a simpler lace pattern, i still think it's going to require a lot of focus from me. in addition, the sheer volume of knitting involved is insane. if i finish, it will be a small miracle, especially when you add in that whole, pregnant, tired-as-hell, atttention span of a gnat thing. cross your fingers for me, people!

tonight, i have invited all my local knitting friends over for a little cast-on party during the opening ceremonies. i've made two lasagnas and a salad, and the hippie is on board to help with the critter so i can actually knit a thing. of course, now the weather people claim it might snow (AGAIN!), so i may end up all alone with two whole lasagnas, a place no pregnant woman should be. anyway--here's to getting off to a good start. i'll keep you posted as t hings progress. :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


i'd like a day off. a real one. an actual day where no one needs me to do anything for them and there's no laundry to fold and nothing to wash or dust or anything, and no one's nose to wipe or diaper to change. i'd like to sit on the sofa and read or knit or whatever. maybe all alone. maybe take a nap if things got really out of hand. and while i'm over here in fantasy land, i'll take someone else doing all the cooking for that day, too. because sheesh. mama is tired. bone-ass fucking super-weary. i don't even have the energy to wish for more energy--i just want to lie down.

this probably has something to do with it. but still. *yawn*

i need a day off, y'all.

Monday, February 01, 2010

snow days

here in the South, getting any snow is like an earth-stopping Event. no one leaves the house unless they must, except to go play. they predict snow--we plan to stay in. we run to the grocery store to stock up on food and beer, and in my case, stuff to cook. when they said on thursday that it would snow on friday, i hit both whole foods, and the asian market. i had Plans. and luckily for me, it DID snow, so i was able to follow through on them and cook warm and comforting foods both days this weekend.



everything in the pot


on saturday, i made chinese pork rib soup, which i found on use real butter. and yes, i know that my pictures do not hold even a tiny small match to jennifer yu's, but i am posting them anyway as evidence of my efforts. this is the first time in a long while that i have made something completely new to me, following someone else's recipe and using some unfamiliar ingredients. i forgot how much fun that is! the soup was pretty damned good, and i will definitely make it again. however, there are a couple of small changes i would make for the second time around. the broth had a fantastic flavor, but it was just a little intense for me, even after i added a cup of unsalted chicken broth i had in the freezer. next time, i'll back off on the soy sauce a little bit as well as the star anise, maybe to 2/3 or 3/4 of the called for amounts. i would plan to add a little more chicken broth or water at the end to cut the salt a bit as well. lastly,i think i might add more ginger next time--you can never have enough ginger for me! all of that said, however, it was good enough that i can promise you there will be a next time. the flavor that the broth gave to the noodles and the spinach was just amazing, and the meat was out of this world. i think the meat and broth would freeze well, so next time, i will double or triple this and put what we don't eat in the freezer for some ready-made-meals. the hippie ate two huge bowls of it, and the critter was all about the broth, so this was definitely a success for the whole family. highly recommend!

lamb stew
on sunday, i made some lamb stew. this is something i almost feel obligated to make when it snows--it's SUCH comfort food! i picked up some good crusty bread from la farm on friday to go with, which was absolutely the right thing. i'm having some leftovers from this for lunch today for sure. and since this is my own concoction and is tried and true, i figured i'd share the recipe with y'all:

2 lb lamb stew meat (or really, any stew meat--beef, venison, etc.)
3-4 garlic cloves, cut in half
~2-3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups red wine
1 qt. beef broth
1 qt. water
3-4 bay leaves
4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 bag frozen pearl onions
1 8-oz pkg baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 small bag frozen peas

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup flour

in a large-ish pot, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan until pretty hot. add the lamb and garlic and turn until lamb is browned on all sides. add the red wine, beef broth, water, and bay leaves. bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. simmer for an hour or so, and then get to work on the rest of the stuff.

peel and slice your carrots, then add them to the pot. melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. add pearl onions, and saute until onions are golden. add them to the pot. saute mushrooms in the same pan until they get a bit of a sear on them and begin to sweat, then add them to the pot as well. cover, and continue to simmer for another hour or so until the meat has become tender. stir in the peas, turn the heat up to medium, and set about making a roux.

melt a stick of butter in your skillet, then add the flour all at once. stir rapidly and constantly until the mixture stabilizes and begins to darken. pay attention--this is easy to burn! you want the roux to be still a bit liquid-y and about the color of good caramel. when the roux is done, stir it into the stew. voila. you are done.

serve in big bowls with some hefty bread and a big glass of red wine.

critter in the snow

hot chocolate
and that's not all! it was snow, so there was also playing in the snow! we took the critter out for a romp, and he LOVED it! WAY WAY better than last year, when he was less than pleased. he stomped, threw powdery snow into the air, and generally had a time of it. he cried when we came inside, but i consoled him with some hot chocolate, which he also loved. he drank all of his, half of his daddy's, and would have been happy to keep going. lol. boy, i love this kid.

Friday, January 29, 2010

rockin' my baby

the past few nights, the critter, who has long gone to sleep easily and well, has asked to be rocked before he's put into his crib for the night. and at first, i was a little conflicted: should i do it? would it set a bad precedent and take away his ability to self soothe? would i be committing to a lifetime of having to rock him before he could sleep? and in the end, i just told myself to shut up and rock that baby. he's almost not a baby anymore already, and soon enough, he won't want to be held and cuddled and rocked on his mama's lap. and sometimes, consequences be damned, you just want to rock your baby! and i LOVE rocking my baby. he lays his head down on my shoulder and pats my back with his little hand or sucks his thumb or babbles quietly to himself about the dinosaurs on his pj's (boom boom boom, mama). it's the sweetest thing in the whole wide world, and i would not trade for anything the fact that sometimes he wants me as much as i want him. that's being a mama, i guess.

last weekend, i was telling my mother about a day a couple of weekends ago when the hippie and i blew everything off to take advantage of a nice day. we took the critter to the park and out for ice cream and made him late for his nap so we could play with him longer, and it was SO WORTH IT! and my mother, who is usually pretty negative about things but sometimes surprises me, told me she thought that was the Right Thing, and that sometimes you just have to take what time there is. she told me it reminded her of the poem my sister had cross stitched to hang in her first son's room when he was born--something about cobwebs settling and dust going to sleep and rocking the baby. all we could remember with certainty was the last line, "i'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." that conversation and that line has been stuck in my head for days, and i keep thinking about it while i'm rocking the critter. i finally went and found the poem from which it came:

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

and while i know it's a bit silly of me, i can't read that without tearing up a little bit. i'm going to miss my baby being a baby when he's all grown up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

yummy yummy yummy

my friend meredith, who is a fellow food person and with whom i have often happily shared and traded off sous chef-ing duties, recommended a fabulous food blog to me. it's called use real butter, and i cannot get enough of reading it and looking at the gorgeous photography. you should, too. it's cold here, so i'm gravitating to the soups. i'm DYING to make this french onion soup as well as this tomato soup that meredith made this weekend and swears is lovely and delicious. luckily, i just made a big batch of chicken stock last night--it's time to get cookin'! YUM!

Monday, January 04, 2010

looking back...

man, let's just call 2009 my year of unfinished projects (many of which are ALMOST finished), sparse knitting, and sporadic blogging. sheesh! i am not really making any new year's resolutions this year--i have enough pressure in my life, thanks--but if there's one thing i want to do, it's to do better here, on ravelry, and with all of my creative projects. i have so many things on the verge of completion, so many unposted pictures, and so many ideas. life has just been in my way a little bit this past year. *sigh*

so--here's to doing more and better, taking more pictures, finishing more things, and finding a way to make it all fit better into my crazy life. i need focus. now how do i get that?