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.