Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just too busy

I'm sorry, dear readers, for not being more attentive to you lately. I'm not going to give you a long song and dance about my lack of posts recently. Let me just say this - from 6pm Thursday until 7am Monday this past weekend, I did not touch my knitting once. Does that help you understand my world right now?

Life consists of trying to do a decent job at work, trying to maintain a sanitary home, feeding my family, and creating a happy holiday (especially for Heather since she's old enough to "get it").

So I've gone above and beyond my usual holiday preparations in that Heather and I have baked some cookies this year. But in other ways I am just barely getting by (there is clean laundry, but most of it is sitting in baskets getting more wrinkly by the day).

Other than the sleep department, things actually haven't been bad, just busy and tiring. There was a moment last night when I was making dinner, entertaining Heather by making cookie dough and trying to tend to Todd in the high chair that my life felt just a tad ridiculous...but that is really just because R was running a quick errand and his return made things feel semi-normal again. I have high praise for single parents, especially as this extra-busy time of year.

I'm hopeful for a little knitting/picture/blog/ravelry/me time during the holiday break. But that will be determined by how Heather responds to getting a big girl bed for Christmas and if Todd agrees to nap in his crib anytime soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'll ask again this weekend...

For the past few weeks we've started to talk about Christmas with Heather. The tree is up (no ornaments yet) and we've mentioned Santa a few times. Each time his name comes up, Heather tells us that she doesn't want to sit on his lap. Um, ok. I have trouble believing that she remembers doing so last year (we have the obligatory crying on santa's lap picture), but we certainly aren't going to force her. The current plan is to go visit this weekend, but we have no illusion that she'll talk to him. Fine.

So last night at dinner I asked her what she would like Santa to get her for Christmas.

Her response (while shoveling macaroni and cheese into her mouth) was "Mac'n Cheese".

I asked her what Santa should bring Todd.

"Mac'nCheese because he'll be able to eat it when he gets bigger".

I guess we could have saved ourselves a lot of money on presents if we would have asked sooner...

Monday, December 07, 2009


For those who are concerned, we basically seem to be healthy again. There are still some nose wipes and limited coughs, but no worse than before we were hit with this plague. The worrisome thing is that we're still busy and not getting enough sleep, so it feels like we could be hit again at any time. Trying to get as much sleep as we can and wash our hands a lot...

I'm up because Todd wouldn't let me put him down all evening, no matter how passed out he appeared to be in my arms, and I had a few things I had to finish once R took him off my hands. I felt the edge of his first tooth and gave him some hopefully this clingy phase has an explanation and will be over soon.

And, in the embarrassing column, R and I might have to come up with something more encoded than just spelling. No, Heather hasn't learned to spell the words we spell to each other, but she's becoming better at repeating the spellings. R spelled a more adult word at dinner and she spelled it right back even though she didn't know what she was spelling. It's a good thing I didn't have anything in my mouth at that moment, because I couldn't stop laughing for about five minutes.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There is a draft of a post that I started on 11/9. I promise to come back to that subject matter sometime soon, but for the moment just a quick catch-up from M-family land.

On 11/10, after my pile system triumph I went home not feeling so great. I managed to plow through the regular evening routine and then collapsed in bed as soon as Heather was settled. I stayed home sick Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday night R was struck by it and all four of us stayed home Friday. I was still feeling too poorly to take the kids to school and I didn't want to share my germs with all the kids. So, of course, after a day of taking care of Heather, she woke up with it Saturday morning. And just when we thought we were out of the woods, Todd was sent home with a fever Tuesday and Heather went to school but felt not-so-great on Wednesday. (If I could have a do over for Wednesday morning, I would listen to her and give her the medicine she asked for. I continued taking motrin even after my chills were gone for the general achiness, so why didn't I listen?!?!) Thursday was our final family day of being home sick. Heather woke up cranky, but was feeling better after a few extra hours of sleep. Todd was cranky and coughing. And after the mommy-guilt on Wednesday I decided it was better just to take one more day of recovery at home.

Since last Friday we've all been back to our regular schedule, and slowly we are shedding the coughing and crankiness and tiredness of being sick. Being the last to get sick, Todd is the last to get back to normal...but he is generally happy and the worst coughing seems to be in the morning, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that four days of being able to sleep in and nap as needed will get us all back to our healthy selves.

I know that I could use some more sleep. Last night, Todd fell asleep with Rudy around 8:30. I grabbed him when I went up to bed at 10, and he nursed. Then the little stinker opened his eyes and gave me a big smile, and proceeded to play and kick in bed for the next hour. Sigh. It would have been really cute if I wouldn't have been desperate to

See? Adorable smile. But more so at 8pm than 11pm.

I guess if he does it again this weekend we can just give him to an available grandparent and go to sleep until he gets hungry...

ETA: For those who are curious, I have no idea what we had. From a little WebMD reading, it sounds more likely that we had some sort of flu than a cold. But our fevers were mostly mild and at least for me the achiness was limited to my head and neck. I suppose I could bug one of our pediatrician friends to suggest a diagnosis, but none of us (so far, *knock on wood*) was sick enough to need to see a doctor. And motrin was all that was administered. So there is a little part of my brain wondering if what we had was a mild flu...and given the earliness of the season, was it h1n1...but I suppose we'll never know for sure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The pile system

I used to be a pretty organized person. In school and my first few years of work, I was pretty darn organized. My system at work has slipped over the years. I can generally find things, but it takes a little longer and I don't have the same confidence about being able to find things...even though I know that they are probably there. I think it is probably representative of how my brain feels...and I assume that my organizational skills will rebound when I am less sleep deprived and mentally scattered. (I hope.)

Working on multiple projects at once has generally resulted in a system of piles on my desk. There are a few things in binders or folders, but it is mostly piles. And sometimes when I leave for the day they are neat piles. And sometimes they aren't.

We just got a phone call asking questions about a conference call that occurred 2 weeks before Todd was born. There were no meeting minutes because we were closing in on a very tight deadline, but I knew that I would have taken notes.

I managed to find the notes from the conference call in question WHILE we were still on the phone with the client. Woot! Makes me feel like my old organized and dependable self again.

I think I will reward myself with some chocolate from Mr. Vendy to eat while I type up these notes for the client.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It was a big year for me. Putting together a resume and portfolio. Graduating from college. Getting my first apartment and living alone (well, you know, besides the cat). Getting my first real job. My first relationship that would last for more than a few months. Changing my legal residence to Pennsylvania. My first cell phone. The first time I got snowed out of Buffalo on my way there (Thanksgiving).

Really, the one big thing that could have happened that year and didn't was getting my first car. (Thank you public transportation, for all of the money you saved me!)

All of that makes 2009 a constant stream of "10 years ago" memories. I talked about my 10 year anniversary at work at the beginning of the summer. Now it is time for the other biggie.

10 years ago today was my first "official" date with my wonderful husband. (The unofficial first date happened a week earlier. Long story. :-P )

It's not something we really celebrate and I'm not looking to start. I probably wouldn't even remember what day in October it happened, except that it happens to fall on my BFF's birthday.

So, to the two most important R's in my life...
Happy ten years and Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Almost Halloween

Sometimes, I want to be one of those bloggers that has one topic per post. The kind who writes about things in a timely manner and posts with pictures regularly. Maybe someday, but not right now...for now, I hope you are just all happy that I'm posting more than once a month. I know I am!

First of all, Todd is 6 months old today!

Yeah, it went fast for us, too. In fact, I would say that his first 6 months seemed to go by a lot faster than Heather's. The combination of two kids + knowing what we're doing (as much as a parent ever does) + a somewhat easy going baby = whoosh!

How can you resist that face? And it isn't just the face, he has a lot to say, too. He's just starting to use some consonants and he really seems to like playing with the sounds that he can make. Not sure if he wants to be heard along with his chatty sister or if he just likes hearing his own voice.

He's sitting up great with support and starting to sit on his own for longer stretches. He's not usually upset when he topples, but he was not a fan of a face plant he took in the leaves this weekend during picture time. Oops.

Speaking of pictures, we had a session with Seedlings Photography this weekend. I haven't seen the preview yet (trying to be patient, since it has only been two days...), but the weather was gorgeous and the kids looked adorable, so I'm confident we'll have lots of great shots to choose from. And as long as there is at least one family picture where we all have decent expressions I will be happy. Heather was much less interested in sitting for those, especially after some time on the playground.

I realized Sunday morning while sprinting around to straighten up the house that I really hadn't given our wardrobe any thought. Partially because I assumed that we'd have to wear coats and partially because I've been so focused on Heather's costume that it just hadn't crossed my mind. But I think I managed to throw together some good choices, which included handknits for Todd and me.

And before you have a chance to ask me where the pictures of my 2009 sweaters and vest are (sigh), I will distract you with the finished sea horse costume. Worn for approximately 8 minutes. (My fingers are crossed that it stays on longer for future costume opportunities. If it doesn't, I won't be counting the ratio of time that I spent working on it versus the amount of time it spends on her body. I'll always have the pictures, right? Maybe we can get some video and a few more photo angles during trick or treat, too.)

I'm interested to see how trick or treat will go. I have a few neighbors in mind that aren't on our street and a few on our block. It's hard to predict if Heather will think that it is cool or a bit overwhelming. I'm not sure how much to talk it up or just be more matter of fact about it. I suppose we shall see!

Now that the big Halloween project is done, I'm trying to get caught up on life - sleep, laundry, dishes, yadda yadda yadda. I'm also hoping for a big stash dive this weekend and a case of startitis!

For those keeping score, I finished the sea horse costume on the car...on the way to the party. Some things never change.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"scr" evolution

And a note on Heather's evolving speech.

Sunscreen used to be "sun-skeen". Now it is "sun-skween".
Ice cream is now "ice kweem" instead of "ice keem".


Still kicking


Yesterday I opened a blogger window on my desktop and left it open all day so that when I thought of something to write I could jot it down. I only managed to think of things to write while I was upstairs pumping and when I returned to my desk whatever I had been thinking of was lost.

I'm not going to use this post to whine or vent or complain. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, I've got a lot on my plate. But I know that it is just the current situation and it will get better and worse and better again. Todd's sleep will improve (it already has a itty bitty bit), I will finish Heather's costume and the other "almost done" projects in my basket, I will (eventually) get caught up on laundry and dishes again, etc, etc.

I am mostly here to remind myself of why I do this. I want to document my life. Sure, it would be great to be the kind of blogger that posts every day and always has pictures and takes pictures of my projects as soon as I finish them...(for the curious, the vest is done and has been worn several times, but hasn't been photographed yet)...but at this moment in my life that isn't me. Maybe I can be that blogger someday, but for right now I want to document what I'm doing, what my kids are doing and how I'm "surviving" as a working mom of two.

I also wish I was walking around with a tape recorder or a very convenient notebook. I hear Heather say something and think "I should post that"...and whoosh, the thought is gone as quickly as it came. I should probably look back at my facebook status updates and see if there are any gems in there that I should share here, too.

A few things:
- Todd is Very close to consistently sitting up on his own. He can sit pretty well in his new high chair (I took the leaves out of the table so we're all sitting around a circle instead of allowing half the table to be taken up with clutter) and we'll start offering a little food in a week or two.

- He's also going through some sort of developmental spurt that means he's eating every 3 hours around the clock and not staying asleep in his crib (mostly) even after being dead to the world in our arms. I'm waiting patiently for this to get better.

- Heather is looking and often sounding like a little adult, but she is 2 1/2 and no where NEAR adulthood. Trying to maintain patience with a child who looks like she should be totally rational and capable of following reasonable requests, but really isn't ready to do so 100% of the time is a challenge. Most of the time she is a pleasure and a lot of fun. When she isn't I try to put myself in her shoes and understand what part of our complicated adult world is giving her fits. Giving choices of the things she *can* do instead of telling her what she *can't* do has saved us from a tantrum more times than I can count.

- She asked to be a pink sea horse for Halloween. You can't buy a pink sea horse costume, so I'm making it. It is close to being done. I asked her to try it on Tuesday night and she refused for 30 minutes, claiming that she wants to be a butterfly instead. I'm proceeding with the sea horse costume. She's going to be that or nothing. She's got four chances to dress up...

- Heather is a constant observer of the world around her. She notices when other kids are crying. She notices when other kids are being unsafe. She watches older kids play. She occasionally jumps in without thinking, but is mostly somewhat cautious - feeling confident in her place in a situation before joining in. (Can't IMAGINE where she gets that...)

- Todd watches Heather, listens when we read and is generally a happy guy. He does get upset when he's hungry or overtired. But he is surprisingly happy to hang out while we are nearby. He is in the mouthing, grabbing, chewing stage, so I generally try to keep a toy available to him all the time.

- Heather loves to sing and listen to music. Reading books is a highlight of the day. And she loves being outside, swinging and climbing at the playground. The bike we have is still a little big, but I anticipate that it will be a big hit next spring when she has a little more length and strength.

- With few exceptions, Heather has only had her pacifier on the second floor of our house for the past couple of weeks, primarily in the crib. R suggested that we try for a week to keep it in the crib at all times. It took lots of reminding for a few days and several days after school I distracted her with a drink or a snack, but it seems to be easier now. She still comes out of the crib with it while she's still "waking up", but we leave it in her bed before we go downstairs. I don't think Todd is as dependent on it as Heather was, so maybe we will be a pacifier-free house sooner than I anticipated...

- Many of Heather's statements are "I'm going to do x, okay?". Sometimes this is said as she's already starting to do what she's said, not waiting for confirmation. Sometimes it is a confirmation of her strategy based on previous conversations. And sometimes is a statement about what she's pretending to be doing - what she's making in her kitchen, etc. The "okay" is said in a sweet, how-can-you-possibly-say-no tone of voice. Very similar to the "please" she uses when she's asking for a third serving of applesauce even though she hasn't touched the rest of her dinner.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Before I forget...

I want to write down what I did last night in the hope that I can do it again. It wasn't a whole-family favorite, but I thought it was super yummy and I know it is a healthy side dish. Thanks to Shelly for the inspiration!

Quinoa stuffed peppers

Cook 1 cup quinoa in 1 cup portabella mushroom soup and 1 cup water according to package directions. 2 to 3 minutes before cooking time is up, add in 1/2 can of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp basil, 1 cup shredded jack cheese and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (approximately). Stir together and simmer for 5 minutes.

Clean, and cut the top and bottom off of 4 peppers (I used orange peppers). Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of your casserole dish and spread it around with one of your peppers to coat. Set peppers in casserole and fill with quinoa mixture. Sprinkle the top with more shredded jack cheese and cover the dish with foil.

Bake on 375 for 25(?) minutes. I baked them for 20 minutes. This was not quite enough cooking time. The peppers were cooked and still had a little crispness (I hate soggy peppers), but probably could have used 5 more minutes or so to make them a little easier to cut. Although not everyone has to eat left-handed because they're nursing a baby with their right arm, so 20 minutes might be just fine for your family.

(I briefly thought about taking a picture of the finished peppers as I pulled them out of the oven...but then both kids started whining to eat and any thought of taking a picture was dashed until I sat down to write this post...)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Vest

I started describing the vest process in the notes section on Ravelry and realized I should probably blog about it with pictures in order for my description to make sense and possible help someone else. I apologize for the not-so-great cell phone photography, but honestly that's the only way a post like this is going to happen right now. If I wait until I have time to photograph it in natural light with a real camera, all of the evidence would be gone because the vest would be finished first. :-) There are better blogs out there if you really want precise directions, but I still wanted to share!

And surprisingly, the color rendition of the pictures I got (especially this one of the back) is pretty accurate.

Next, we look at the front. Can you see the steeks?

The yellow lines show the edge of the steek area stitches and the blue line shows where I'm going to (gasp!) cut my knitting. I will do the crochet reinforcing on either side of the blue line.

The depth of the yellow lines is also the amount of my knitting that I ripped out last Friday night. I went all the way back to the armholes in order to properly center the v-neck on the fair isle pattern. I also changed the way I did my decreases. See the nice line of "V" stitches along the arm edge below? That's my standard decrease method for sweaters. It maintains the nice line of "V" stitches and the body of the sweater kind of dies into it.

Turns out, this doesn't look good in fair isle knitting. Blech. (I've got no photographic evidence, you're just going to have to trust me on this one...) So the opportunity to switch my left-leaning decreases to right-leaning ones and vice-versa was an additional incentive to riiiiiip back.

I started knitting again on Friday night right after pulling out what was wrong. I knew I was going to have some good car knitting time on Saturday and I wanted to be able to GO without having to think or plan. Knitting the next few rows after 10pm did mean that I could GO on Saturday, but it also meant another dumb mistake. At the bottom of the armhole, I bound off 6 stitches. I should have bound of 6 stitches on each side of the midpoint of the armhole. The wide yellow line shows you how far I knit before I realized this mistake and the width of my bind-off.

Unwilling to rip back again unless absolutely necessary, I came up with a surgical solution. On either side of my steek area, I dropped down three stitches to the armhole bind-off row and added in extra decreases in the rows after the bind-off as I picked the stitches back up again. So instead of having a decrease every other row, after the armhole there is a decrease every row...getting to my desired number of decreases within 3 rows of the armhole bind-off.

But leaving me with extra yarn between my vest and my steek area. (In the white area below)

So before I can reinforce and cut my steeks, I'm going to have to spend a little time pulling the yarn slack into the cutting area of the steek. Basically, once it is done, I'm going to waste a little extra yarn. But since I'm not worried about running out, I decided my time was better spent fixing these areas at the end rather than re-knitting several inches.

Clear as mud?

Since Amanda just documented crocheted steeks on her blog and I'm going to do the same thing, I might take one of those fun "scissors with knitting" pictures for you, but I doubt I will document the whole process.

I've only got 12 rows left to the shoulders, and I will be able to deal with the yarn slack and the crochet reinforcement in the bus/car. So I hope to be cutting my knitting and picking up for the ribbed edgings sometime this weekend!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Todd at 4 months

Before I forget again, Todd had his 4 month check-up on Friday. (4 months and 2 weeks to be exact)

His weight is 13 lb, 12 oz (17th percentile) and he's 25" tall (40th percentile) with a head circumference of 41 cm. So he gained 3 pounds, grew 2 1/2" and his head got 2 1/2 cm bigger in 2 months.

Todd is doing everything that the doctor asked about developmentally - starting to roll, putting his hands together, grabbing at things around him, using his voice - and during the exam he commented on how strong and what a pleasant baby he is. The doctor continues to give sleep advice that totally doesn't jive with our parenting style, but we're confident enough as parents that we're just ignoring that part of the visit. :-)

Personally, I could deal with a more consistent (and earlier) bedtime and more predictable naps...but since he's such a pleasant baby, he's just waking to eat overnight (*knock on wood*) and he doesn't need to be held/rocked/swayed for hours to get to sleep...I'm not motivated to do anything to change his sleep habits!

Todd enjoys being held to stand, likes sitting in the Bumbo much more than his sister did, still likes to just be put down on his own a few times a day, enjoys watching the world around him and loves sucking on his blankets. I'm also getting the impression that he's not a fan of driving at night. During a daytime trip he will alternate between sleeping and watching out the window/looking in his mirror. When he wakes up in the car when it's dark out it takes a long time to settle him back down and he usually doesn't settle totally unless he goes back to sleep. Looking back on it, I think Heather was similar. But it was easier to deal with since I was sitting next to her and had the glow worm in my arsenal...

Small Projects Calling...

I think there is going to be a little detour from this goal in my knitting 'verse.

I'm looking forward to sweater weather (sorry, other than a few trips to the pool I'm not really a summer gal) and before too long I'll have two new cardigans and a new vest. And I'm really excited to have them. The cardis just require me to carve out a little time with sewing needle and thread, and the vest is moving along well now after friday night's ripping back. I'm less than 3" from where I was when I ripped. Other than a dumb mistake made at the bottom of the armholes, which I fixed in a manner that looks sloppy now but won't be noticable once it is steeked, it is going well. :-) I'm also down to the waist on my top down bombshell and I only have about 20 more squares that need to have their ends woven in before I can start crocheting more on babette.

Really, the fact that I just have 3 projects in progress and 2 that need finishing is about right for my overtaxed brain. I don't want to have a ton of projects on the go. My brain can't handle it and I know from experience that you finish things faster if you just focus on one or two at a time. The problem, is that I have a really strong desire to FINISH something. Now. And, I kind of want to START something, too. Oh, and carrying a LITTLE project on the bus would be nice. I'm feeling simultaneously pulled to chip away at my big projects, because I know that's how they get done, and pulled toward my stash to do something little and fun. (I'm probably remembering the thrill of finishing a baby sweater and making a bib and 4 washcloths in one weekend the last time we went to Dayton.)

I think there is a really good chance that a hat or pair of mittens for someone in my family will get started soon. The only question is whether to follow in Stephanie's footprints and make a fair isle masterpiece for myself with local wool in my stash or to grab some nice, washable yarn to make new hats for one of my three family members (all three of them will need new winter hats due to growth or hat misplacement). I guess it just depends on what yarn calls to me when I hit the stash. And when I actually have time to look at the stash...

(I'm also thinking about next year's weekend retreat and imagining that it might be fun to just take a bunch of small projects so I can have the thrill of starting AND finishing multiple things on the trip. Oh the thoughts that make me giddy. ;-)

Friday, September 11, 2009


I just ripped back a substantial section of my fair isle vest. I've been debating it for a week. The vest has been sitting in "time out" and I've been working on my cotton top.

In addition to having an issue with my stitch count on either side of the v-neck, I took a look at my decreases and really decided that I wasn't happy with them. I decreased the way that I normally do along the armhole and neck edges, and I just didn't like how it looked with the stranded knitting.

I decided that there was no reason to keep aspects of the design that I didn't like when the vest has so much going for it. Add in the fact that I'm going to have some decent knitting time this weekend to reknit what I ripped and I decided it was time. I'm pretty sure that what I ripped back was about a week's worth of bus knitting. Maybe 1 1/2 weeks. So it's not like I just undid months of work. ;-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

6 years ago... this moment, I was on an airplane flying to Grand Cayman. Yep. 6 years ago at this time, R & I were heading out on our honeymoon. And I'm pretty sure my stomach was growling. Despite getting up long before the sun, we were stunned by the number of travelers at the airport on Monday morning (duh, business travelers) and we walked up to our gate just as boarding was finishing up. We had planned to buy breakfast in the airport, but had to settle for free (ah, those were the days!) beverages and pretzels to tide us over.

I'm actually finding it a little hard to wrap my head around the last six years. But having been back to work for a month now, I'm finding it a little hard to wrap my head around anything. I think I'm purely in survival mode for the time being. There is just too much to do, too few hours in the day and not enough uninterrupted sleep. But I'm not complaining. It is all worth it for these two happy campers that are clearly one of the outstanding outcomes of the decision to tie the knot 6 years ago.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Looking back at this post, it's time to do a little scorekeeping and see where I am with 8 months of the year almost gone.

1 - Amelia, done
2 - Heather's striped sweater, done
3 - Samus, just needs zipper, 99% done
4 - Bristow, just needs reinforcing, 99% done
5 - Todd's blanket (I'm counting this under rule #6), done
6 - Fair Isle Vest, 65% done
7 - Former Bombshell Cotton top, 40% done
8 - Babette blanket, 50% done?
9 - Venezia Vest, yarn purchased, 0% done

At this point, I think getting all 12 items done before the end of the year is a stretch (unless the cleaning fairy shows up and Todd starts going to bed at 8pm...) but I'm pretty happy with the results of focusing my knitting time on a limited number of major projects and I could see myself continuing with the same strategy in 2010. Especially since Todd has such an impressive sweater wardrobe from my friends that I don't need to make him anything else for this winter!

Knitting (& crochet)

When I started a draft of this post, it was going to be about knitting in July. I suppose that ship has sailed. Maybe it is more accurate to just call it Summer Knitting (& Crochet). Or Knitting (& Crochet) in 2009, since this represents all of my projects from this year other than Amelia and Heather's sweater (which I apparently never blogged about - oops!). So for those of you not on ravelry and the ravelers who have too many friends to keep up with, here are some project updates with pictures.

1 - Two projects for Todd.
The hat was made during one of our April trips to Dayton. I knew by that point that his blanket wasn't going to be done before he arrived and I was feeling a wee bit of guilt given that there was a fair isle hat ready for Heather upon her arrival and nothing for Todd. A fair isle hat would be silly for a May baby, but cables seemed reasonable. Somewhere during my maternity leave he started filling out the hat really well.
And, his blanket. Other than a pair of mitts, this is my first big completed crochet project. I found the pattern for the center of the square online and added rows of double crochet around it to make each square bigger. There are aspects of the square construction that got better as I went, and I bet in a few years there will be aspects of this that make me cringe. But given how much Todd loves nibbling on this blanket and the fact that it is a perfect light-weight but still snuggly blanket for a summer baby, I have no regrets.

I put the squares together with a single crochet-chain one combination that was inspired by the patterns in "Blueprint Crochet". Much simpler than Robyn's work, but it avoids sewing or creating a heavy "bump" of crochet stitches at the seam.

I think I had 6 or 7 squares of the blanket done before Todd was born. The other squares, the crocheting together and the crocheted edge were finished on maternity leave when I let Todd sleep on me so he would nap for longer than 15-20 minutes at a stretch or when I didn't feel like starting a household task because I knew he'd wake up in 15-20 minutes. ;-) It was a great project for picking up and putting down, especially the long rows of double crochet.

2 - Sweater for Baby Evelyn

(The photos should be adjusted to be less-yellow. The lightest shade in the stripes is really a light robin's egg blue.)

I'm really happy with how this one turned out and was a little sad to give it away, although I've known E's mommy my whole life and was glad to make her something special. The genesis of it was the result of a stash dive and a glance through my ravelry queue. This sweater was one of the reasons I bought the book that it is in and although I'm not crazy with the way the patterns are written and I think the book could be greatly improved by more charts and fewer abbreviations, I'm a confident enough knitter to rewrite things in a way that makes sense to my brain...which is what I had to do with the lace edging.

The original pattern is knit in one color and includes a textured/lace pattern on the sleeves, which I didn't do since I felt that it wouldn't work well in 4 colors. The stripes were really just because I didn't have enough of any one color of purple for an entire sweater and once I imagined a solid color flower on a background of stripes I was dying to make it. Weaving in the ends was a pain, but worthwhile in my opinion for a striking result.

3 - 95% Sweaters

I've got two projects listed as being 95% completed on ravelry. Really, if listing them as 99.99% completed was an option I would. I don't have photos yet, just snippits.

This is the sleeve of Samus. Everything is done except for sewing in the zipper. I've got the zipper and ribbon to back it with. I just need to sit down with the sweater, the zipper, the ribbon and sew the darn thing in. It's even blocked and fits great on my post-pardem body. I'm sure the heat and humidity is 95% of the reason that I haven't sat down with this wool sweater yet to finish it.

Below is the lovely yarn that I've used to knit my Bristow. It's really even further along than Samus since it is technically wearable. It's ends are woven in and it even has buttons. The thing I've discovered is because it is a fitted cardigan, the button band and button holes need reinforcement. I own the bias tape to do the reinforcing, I just need to sit down and sew it in. Again, a wool-silk yarn is not compatible with the heat and humidity we've had lately. Although it is chilly enough in my office that I probably could be wearing it...4 - Fair Isle Vest
This project was started earlier this year with alpaca yarn I bought at the local Knitting Festival from the alpaca farmers themselves. It didn't take me long to determine that I didn't buy enough of the chocolate and tan yarns to complete the whole thing, so during a visit to my local yarn shop this spring I purchased one skein each of a light pink, cranberry and eggplant alpaca yarn to make the fair isle more colorful. The i-cord was monotonous but the fair isle is surprisingly good bus knitting.

5 - Babette (still)
I have been forcing myself to use my "me" time at home to work on weaving in ends on the squares for this blanket. I'm not letting myself finish the bigger squares until the ends on the small, finished squares are done because I know that if I have to go back and weave in ALL of the ends when the squares are done this blanket will NEVER get finished, no matter how pretty I think it will be.

It's been so long since I've done any actual crocheting on this project, I'm hopeful that my tension won't be totally different when I get back to making the squares again. I also don't know how I'm going to sew or crochet them together, but I do know that I don't want to start until they are all done and I can lay the whole thing out in a cat/baby/toddler-proof room!
6 - Cotton!
When things really got too hot and humid to have any wool or alpaca fibers touching my skin in any way I ripped out a cotton top I started last July and started over. This time I'm making the neckline V-neck and am adding more simple details with the purple yarn since I only have one skein of it. (I tried to make everything below the chest purple last time, and there is not enough yarn for that.) I'm using the formulas from Barbara Walker's "Knitting from the Top" (this book has been in my library for a while - why have I not read it before?!?!) and trying it on as I go. It's on a little bit of a hold since the humidity went back down and I'm finding a lot more interest in the fair isle than endless stockinette...but I want the end product and the sleeves should be fun, so I won't let this sit for too long. I also think this will be better camping knitting than just about anything else, so this should see more progress before it gets too cold to wear it. :-)
7 - Next in line...
And last but not least, I have this yarn waiting in the wings. It's going to be a v-neck, vest version of the Venezia Pullover by Eunny Jang. Can't wait to get started, but I'm holding myself back until I get a few more things finished. My limited time and persistant tiredness means that I just can't deal with too much multi-tasking in my knitting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to work, etc.

Comments and Observations:

1 - Pumping is MUCH less stressful when you're getting more milk than you need on a daily basis. It's a combination of having a stronger supply this time and Todd taking less at daycare than Heather did. I'm very thankful and I hope it lasts. I pumped almost as much as I need for all of tomorrow in today's first session. Of course, I hesitate to say that for fear that Todd will suddenly want a lot more at school...but given the way he's been cluster feeding with me I'm not too worried.

2 - We will not speak of Todd's sleeping habits for fear that the good will end. I'm still tired because I can't get to bed as early as I would like and his bedtime is still adjusting, but I'm not complaining. And as we approach 4 months all of my fingers and toes are crossed...

3 - My knitting mojo is back in full force. It's almost debilitating since my desire to knit far outpaces my available time. It's great to have bus knitting time back and to be getting caught up on podcasts, but I know that having lots of projects in the works right now would be too much for my overwhelmed brain. So I'm not casting on until I do some finishing, and the daydreaming about new projects is almost more than I can handle. I also don't want to stop knitting once I start. (Just one factor in not going to bed as early as I should - although knitting helps to calm my brain and fall asleep faster once I turn off the light, so that part is positive.)
I managed to upload some knitting photos this weekend. So those of you on ravelry can go check them out and my next post solely about knitting will probably have pictures. Probably.

4 - I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince this weekend. I enjoyed it quite a bit, although I don't think it will be my favorite movie in the end. It's a little difficult to judge since I spent quite a bit of the movie mentally comparing it to the book. Once I get a few more viewings under my belt it will be a little easier to judge it as a movie in its own right. But overall, I think it got the general feeling and important points of the book right. I know that others were unhappy with the ending, but I wasn't. I found that in the book I needed a mental rest between the major death and the battle that follows, the kind of rest that one can't get while watching the movie. So I liked that the movie minimized the battle and allowed the end of the movie to be about mourning and preparing for the battles to come.

The only change in the movie that I noted that I didn't like was that Dumbledore and Harry never discussed what the other horcruxes might be or the importance of Voldemort picking objects that were his "trophies" or otherwise valuable to him. I think that's a critical piece that Dumbledore figures out and shares. I assume that we'll be shown how Harry figures that out on his own in the next movie, but that was the one missing scene that bothered me while watching the movie.

Now is not the time, but I am feeling the urge to re-read HP7 soon.

5 - I'm on Season 7 of The West Wing. I started rewatching the series soon after Todd was born and borrowed all but the first season from Mom and Dad. I finished with Season 5 when I returned to work and am making more progress during Todd's cluster feeding. Also, the oppressive heat and humidity this weekend helped because I didn't feel like doing anything...even when he wasn't nursing.

I've really enjoyed rewatching the series. There were a lot of small moments that I had forgotten and a lot of minor players rediscovered. I now know why John Locke looked familiar when we started watching lost (military advisor to President Bartlett in later seasons) and it was fascinating to see Sun's "boyfriend" and father play a North Korean pianist and his handler, respectively. I should have kept a running list of interesting actor sightings, but didn't think of it at the time. I had also forgotten before I started Season 7 that a CMU alum I "knew" was a member of the Santos campaign team. Those darn CMU alums are everywhere!

6 - I think the only thing to report about Heather is just how big she looks. There are moments when you just see little girl and there is absolutely no baby or toddler to be found. R captured one of those moments at the playground this weekend. I think part of it is how long and lean she's getting and part is just from all that she can do. It's really fabulous to watch.

Despite her older appearance, she's totally refusing to sit on the potty and is still clinging to the pacifier as a strong comfort object. (We had a little success with PT, but she's reverted to refusal since Todd started at daycare.) For right now we are reminding ourselves that she won't be using diapers and pacifiers forever and the transition of "sharing" daycare with Todd has definitely affected her, so we won't be forcing any changes right now.

I think the hardest moments are when we are on a "schedule". Trying to balance some happy, relaxed minutes together or letting Heathr do things "all by myself" with the need to keep things moving on our busy weekdays. There is little leeway in our Monday through Friday routine, but allowing for a little flexibility helps keep everyone happy. There is always a happy balance we are trying to acheive...and the needs will just change again when Todd gets older and more mobile.

7 - My family has experienced a few losses in the past four months. I'm finding it very difficult to write the condolence cards. I stared at the blank cards for a bit this weekend. I've been told that its better to say something that's not quite right than nothing at all, but it still feels pretty impossible. It's much easier to get caught up on thank you notes, but of course I didn't do that either...

8 - Thanks to everyone who has inquired about the past two weeks. The return to work has gone pretty well for me. Enough work to keep the days from moving too slowly. But not so much work that I'm feeling totally stressed or overwhelmed. Things are kind of slow right now, but we're short listed for a large project that would really help the firm out financially. So if you could all keep your fingers crossed that we get this big job, it would really improve the job security for all of us.

I'm still not totally on track with the meal planning thing. But there are meals in the freezer and I'm 10 times better at it than I was before maternity I'm happy with my progress and that I've added a few recipes to my repertoire. In the past couple of months I've made meatballs, banana bread, pot roast, lasagna and pancakes (not on the same night!) for the first time and my confidence in the kitchen is up. I am a happier cook when I don't have to look at a recipe every five minutes, and even happier when I can improvise with the ingredients I have. So I expect that meal planning and nightly cooking will get even better as my skills and experience improves.

Of course, all three of us still love easy things like mac'n'cheese and frozen its not like I need to turn into a nightly gourmet. ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kid Stats

My good intentions keep getting away from me as I seem to be spending 90% of my weekday evenings in the kitchen, eating dinner and nursing Todd. So I'm going to try to make myself write brief posts instead of waiting to have time to write what I really want to write with pictures, etc. :-)

Heather had her 2 1/2 year check-up on Monday. She's 34 1/2" tall (+2 1/2") and weighs 26 lbs (+2 1/4 lbs). She did great with the doctor. She was cooperative and responsive (just a little shy) and really seemed to impress him with her language. She didn't tell him any stories, but spoke in some long sentences. He didn't express any concerns and wasn't even worried about the lack of potty training. I suppose he might feel differently in 6 months, but I think R and I both hope it won't be an issue by then...

I have a feeling I've missed both Todd updates, so let me fix that before I get three appointments behind!
1 month, 1 week - 8 lbs, 13 oz (+3 lbs from birth) and 21 1/2"(+2" from birth)
2 months, 1 week - 10 lbs, 13 oz and 22 1/2"

He's had good appointments. Since I've done this before and he's a fairly easy baby I haven't had a lot of questions for the doctor. And since he's growing well the doctor hasn't has a lot of questions for me. Can't ask for much more than that! The doctor commented on how strong he is and that he seems to be catching up to the milestones for his age, so we don't expect we'll have to worry about his adjusted age much at all. And, bonus, Todd only cried for about 30 seconds when he got his shots. I didn't even have to nurse him to calm him down!

We go back the second week of September to find out how far he has outpaced his sister on growth. She was 12 lbs, 14 oz at 4 months and according to our scale at home he's already 13 1/2 lbs! The funny thing is that everyone keeps telling us that he's a "little guy", but from our perspective he's not.

We are definitely blessed to have two healthy kids!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blogiversary and the kids

4 years began.

I'm not posting on my actual blogiversary, but given the relative silliness of the event I'm sure that you all won't mind me being a few days late. I'm sure you're just happy to see anything here at all, given how quiet I've been.

I've enjoyed blogging and I plan to keep going. I'm sure my focus will continue to shift as it has over the last four years, but I'm also pretty positive that knitting, Heather and Todd will stay the most often discussed topics for the foreseeable future.

Given all of the things I'd like to cover today, I'm actually going to break my thoughts up into a few posts, instead of forcing you to deal with a big jumble like I usually do. :-)

I suppose that most of all, reaching my blogiversary is a reminder of all that has happened in the last four years. When I started this in July 2005, I knew that we wanted to have kids, but it still felt like that would be far in the future. Even though I knew we planned to start trying in less than a year it seemed like such a big deal that I wasn't even really letting my mind focus on it yet. Serious denial. Despite knowing I wanted to be a mom, it was still a big step to be willing to give up our comfortable DINK lifestyle and the ability to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I remember one night that R and I were eating some sort of random dinner on the couch because back then I only cooked a real meal sporadically, and I realized that once we had kids I was going to have to cook every night. And the thought just made me feel suffocated.

I'm not telling you this to make you think that I have any regrets about becoming a mom, because I don't. I guess I'm just trying to express that even though I'm not always a big fan of making dinner every night or having to do chores every evening, it's a worthwhile trade-off for my two adorable, charming and lovely children. And I suppose I think this is worth saying because back in 2005 I wasn't sure if I would feel that way. What I mean, is that back then I was much more looking forward to parenting older kids (say 5 or 6 years old) who could fully communicate and be somewhat independent. I didn't know that I was going to enjoy the young stages quite so much (other than the sleep deprivation, of course) or that a 2 1/2 year old could communicate so fluently.

I say this in part because I know that the transition back to work in two weeks isn't going to be easy (let's not even talk about how early I'm going to have to get up!). But I know that with time we'll find our groove and that everything with kids is a constant state of flux - when one thing gets easy something else takes its place and gets hard. So just when we get our routine figured out Todd will start crawling and mess it all up again. ;-)

But the jist of this long stream of consciousness is that in the end I know it is all worth it. The challenges make the fun times that much sweeter.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Consonant Clusters

My favorite words in Heather's vocabulary right now are the ones with consonant clusters...

"grape" is "gape"
"blueberries" are "booberries"
"playground" is "pay-gound"

You get the idea. There are more examples, but my mind is turning to mush.

I'm also a big fan of "shovel" (suh-bul) and "yellow" (yeh-woh).

She's really speaking well. I think these words are especially cute because they are among the few that aren't quite right and because they are contained in long sentences and intricate stories. She is even learning harder concepts like "because" - "Todd doesn't need his pacifier because he is nursing". Although sometimes it isn't really needed in the sentence, it is just used to amplify her point - "I need to eat some grapes because I need to eat them".

I know it will be a while, but I can't wait until Todd starts talking, too. ;-)

Next time, I owe you a post about Todd's stats (he's growing great!), but the numbers are in my purse ALL the way downstairs...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three weeks in a hurry

I just really can't do justice to the past three weeks in a long, picture-heavy post...especially because Todd has been sleeping while I ate lunch and moved laundry around and he could wake up every minute. So you'll have to settle for relatively recent pictures of each kid and let me try to sum it up...

The past few weeks have mostly been really nice with the occassional hint of miserably tired and overwhelmed with housework. The nice weather has afforded two trips to the zoo (one with Nana & Bapa and one as a family of four), many trips to the playground, the neighborhood yard sale (see bike above, walks around the neighborhood, a couple of trips to the neighborhood city pool, dinners on the porch, planting of flowers and playing in the backyard. We've also had some rain and one really impressive storm. (We are fortunate to live at a higher elevation, but some residents of our area were really hit hard and lost significant property - our thoughts are with them.)

We've spent time with the grandparents and we're trying to navigate life with two kids. A life where one of these kids wants to nurse often and the other can be sweet as pie one minute & defiantly saying "no" the next. I think we're doing well, but I'm trying to examine our house, our habits and our lifestyle to find anything that could make things easier when I return to work. I'm trying to clean up and clean out (see hint of overwhelmed by housework above), and my mom is going to come for a week to take care of Todd whenever he isn't nursing so that I can get as much done as possible. I've also been stealing moments here and there to put his room together, since his furniture finally came during the past two weeks. The room needs some plaster patching and could use some paint, but its mostly occupiable both of us.

The current balancing act also invoves trying to get enough sleep to function well, to get out to enjoy the nice weather, to have a few more playdates and to have fun with Heather when she's home. Oh, and one day this week I'm going to keep her home and test out a full day alone with two kids. I'm assuming I'm not going to get any chores done that day. ;-)

Yesterday (I think) we had a nice Father's Day. The four of us took the Father's Day brunch cruise on the Gateway Clipper. For those of you not in Pittsburgh, the ship cruises the three rivers of Pittsburgh in and around the area where they meet. It's a great view of downtown, the stadiums, the bridges and of Pittsburgh in general. Heather had been asking to take a boat ride, and the weather was great. She wasn't thrilled about posing for pictures, but overall she seemed to like it. Todd was less obvious in his feelings about the trip. Just like our zoo visits, he spent the whole time sleeping or nursing, so it is hard to judge his thoughts.

Todd's beginning to stir, so just a few short words on the knit/crochet front and I'm out of here. First, Todd's blanket is done - yay! I blocked and washed it this weekend, so now it just needs a photo shoot. It's done just in time for the hot weather so he can still be swaddled without sweltering in a blanket. Second, I've started a baby gift for a friend. I've gotten the blanket done and this gift started by finding time when I can let Todd sleep on my chest while I work. Add this in to the balance equation.

Other than that, my three sweaters in progress are calling to me. I can try Samus on my post-partum body to measure for the zipper. The pieces of Bristow are ready to be blocked so it can be sewn together. And I want to put the alpaca vest on waste yarn so I can try it on and make sure my gauge and measurements will actually fit me. There are also lots of squares for Babette that need to have their ends woven in before I do more crocheting. Hopefully my tension hasn't changed too much since I started the think last year.

ETA: Oh, and I've watched the second season of Family Ties on DVD and I'm on the 3rd season of The West Wing (I have the 1st season and borrowed the rest from my parents. It's interesting to watch it back from the beginning). I'm watching whenever Todd nurses and I'm feeling less lazy & gluttonous when I don't just have random TV shows on in the background all day long...

Monday, June 01, 2009

10 years...

...ago today was my first day at my job.

Even though I'm not in the office today to celebrate, I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have found a firm right out of school that was such a good match to my abilities and interests. In talking with other people in my field, I feel grateful to have found a place that is supportive of my as a mom and a set designer and a person, as well as being a place that has supported my growth as an architect.

I'm thrilled that I've gotten to work on theaters and I never realized the satisfaction I would get from working in higher education. We all have our ups and downs, and days that we just want to stay in bed, but at this point in my life I have trouble imagining a job I would enjoy more. (Especially since no one is going to pay me to go to work and knit what I want!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

A few Observations

Ignorance is Bliss
The other day I read about a baby born at 35 weeks, 1 day who was 3 1/2 pounds and 15.5 inches at birth. Todd was born at 35 weeks, 5 days. I was worried enough about going into pre-term labor. I'm really happy that I didn't know how scary it could have been.

Timing is Everything
Last night I was reading about a developmental spurt at 2 1/2 years old. It may or may not affect Heather's sleep, but one of the main emotional and cognitive developments is the ability to feel jealous. This will be about the same time that Todd turns 4 months old. *Awesome*


I started this last week thinking I would add things as I think of them and post every few days. Ummm...apparently not. So here is a quick little update and maybe I'll get a few pictures posted this weekend.

Todd is acting less like a premie and more like a baby. He's still a pretty good sleeper, but he's having more awake time during the day and today he seems to need a little more encouragement to fall and stay asleep. I think we'll be seeing more of his personality emerge soon. Although I won't be surprised if the "laid back" impression that we've gotten so far sticks. He's been pretty pleasant today even though he's gone a few hours without a real nap.

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend as a family. There were a number of trips to the playground, a trip to Target & Supercuts, a trip to the zoo, a birthday party to attend, and Heather and I finished planting the flowers. Also, R and Heather went swimming and Todd & I went out to dinner with some of my friends. It was BUSY three days.

We've got another three day weekend coming up since daycare is closed on Friday, and I'm hoping that this one will be similarly fun but less busy. I could use a little time to catch up around the house while Heather is sleeping and Todd is being entertained by daddy. :-)

Heather is still doing well. She has her 'rough' moments, but they could just as easily be attributed to her age and development as they could to her new status as big sister. She's not always careful, but so far she's been kind and gentle to Todd, so I think we're doing well.

I might have both kids at bedtime by myself tonight for the first time, so fingers crossed that they are both cooperative...

Oh, and Todd is still regularly rolling to his side and to his tummy. He doesn't seem to believe me when I say that he shouldn't be doing that yet!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


A few short months ago, this was not how I expected to be celebrating Mother's Day in 2009.

Physically, I'm feeling almost totally back to normal (I accept that my body won't be totally "mine" again until Todd is done breastfeeding, but otherwise its pretty close to what it was last summer.) But emotionally and mentally, I'm a bit all over the place. I'm sleep deprived, so everything I'm feeling seems to be magnified about twenty times...

Thankful for my beautiful children.
Anxiously wanting to make sure that Todd eats enough but tired of waking him to eat.
Happy to be spending the weekend with my mom.
Mourning the loss of my grandmother a few weeks ago but not wanting to mourn on such a happy weekend.
Loving my time with Heather while she is learning and being so engaging.
Simultaneously missing Heather and Todd while they're napping, and later looking at the clock to calculate bedtime so I can rest myself.
Still in shock that I'm the mother of TWO children.
Incredibly impressed by all of the SAH moms who take care of a newborn and don't send their older kid(s) to daycare Monday through Friday - hats off to you!

I'm happy, healthy and very lucky. I can't really ask for more...except maybe for a little more sleep. ;-)

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 08, 2009


Can someone please inform my son that a 2 week old should NOT have the strength or coordination to roll himself from back to belly?!?!

This was just a one-time thing until he gets much bigger, right? But still...I think we're in trouble with this one!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A little bragging...

...about Heather.

The girl loves her ABCDs. I don't think we've tested every letter, but she knows most of them. She definitely knows her H, Stewart's S, Todd's T, Nana's N, Bapa's B, Mommy's M, Daddy's D and Karla's K. She likes P and Z, too.

She also loves singing. She knows almost all of the songs that Daddy has on his iPod and others, too, that they sing in music class.

She's regularly saying 'thank you' and saying 'please' pretty often.

Heather loves her duplo blocks. She got another bin last weekend when she and daddy were running errands, and now we have enough blocks for all three of us to be building at the same time. :-)

She's doing a good job of being gentle with Todd, and she refers to him as 'her baby', 'baby brother' and occassionally 'Todd'.

Heather looks really big now, compared to Todd. She's still a peanut for her age, but to us she looks so much bigger than she did two weeks ago.

I'm sure there are more cute stories, but I need to decompress my brain so I can fall asleep after Todd's next feeding.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thoughts and Observations from week 1

Todd, R and I came home from the hospital a week ago. We are slowly moving into our new life as a family of four. We are learning about Todd, watching Heather's responses to the changes and trying to sleep whenever we can. I'm healing well and Todd's weight check yesterday was a success, so forward we go.

Todd is definitely a more laid back baby than Heather was. (And I highly recommend having your higher maintenance baby first. If we had a newborn like Heather along with a 2 year old I don't think we'd be surviving nearly as well as we are.) He still sleeps quite a bit (and doesn't fight sleep?!?!) but he's starting to have a couple of alert periods each day. Otherwise, the day is about eating, pooping and napping. Classic newborn.

Unlike Heather, Todd is not content to sit in a dirty diaper. He's even been known to refuse to eat until he gets changed. Figuring that out was a big help. As was figuring out that he throws a fit when you change his diaper, so its a good way to wake him up when he needs to be eating instead of sleeping. :-)

Heather seems to be taking well to her little brother. She is of course finding some frustration when she can't get the attention she wants from one of us or in the fact that I can't pick her up and carry her around. But overall, I think she's been very patient and loving toward Todd. We've been sending her to daycare, and I think keeping that little bit of consistency in her life and sending her to a place without Todd has been good to keep her at an even keel. The only two changes we've noticed are a renewed interest in using her pacifier outside of her crib and some separation anxiety overnight. She also seems to be interested in giving Todd a pacifier and we now know that all four of us can sleep in our queen sized bed. (Six if you count the two cats, although they don't stick around when Todd wakes up crying to eat.) This isn't an ideal long-term sleep solution, but it is working for us during this transition period and allowing R & I to get some rest. I'm sure by next week we'll be doing something different again!

Oh, and if you ever need to lose 18 pounds in one week, just have a baby and breastfeed. ;-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An important quickie!

Lots to tell you, but I'm low on energy and I don't know when I'll have much time or energy in the near future. If any of you haven't heard yet - we have two kids now. ;-)

Some photos of the little guy are here.

Todd Eldon was born on 04/27/09 at 2:08pm.

Todd, Heather, Daddy and I are doing well, and as long as Todd passes the car seat test tonight we'll both be headed home tomorrow. :-)

He decided to follow in baby Jude's footsteps and come before 36 weeks, which caused a bunch of extra tests due to his prematurity, but so far he's passed them all with flying colors. Good temp, good weight, good glucose levels, etc. Mommy just wishes he would eat a little more, but he has a good sucking reflex and the pedi says he'll eat more in a few days when he's hungry. He's pretty laid back right now - hopefully he'll stay that way, but I'm prepared for a lot more fussiness when we get closer to his due date. Stick out tongue DH and I were just happy to get sleep and keep him in the room with us last night, unlike our experience with Heather.

For those interested in the birth, I was able to do a VBAC and even though she wasn't able to get there right away because I went early, my doula was a big help. My water broke just before midnight and I was 1 cm when we got to the hospital. I was doing well but progressing VERY slowly and getting tired for potentially a long labor ahead. So I decided to get the epidural around 10am. It actually helped my body relax and progress really well - I was fully dialated and ready to push before 2pm! My anesthesialogist did an awesome job, the epi was just strong enough to help me relax and rest, and strong enough that I could still move and feel the pressure of the contractions. 10 minutes of pushing (I have no idea how anyone pushes for two hours!) and Todd was welcomed into the world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I've got nothing

Sorry if you're checking in for interesting blog content, I'm going to disappoint you today.

I'm tired. I've got lots of work to do. There is a lot to do at home, and I'm not going to get any of it done this weekend.

But I've been reminded recently of how lovely and supportive my friends are. The girls weekend I went on last month was a great respite, and I've since been reminded in a number of ways how lucky I am to be a part of the give and take from a lovely group of women. And even friends who I don't talk to or communicate with as much as I would like to (or should) have been reminding me a lot lately how much they mean to me - whether it is sharing a story, gushing over the same TV show or just letting me know that they are thinking of me. And, of course, the time to spend with family and longtime friends over Easter gave me the usual warm and fuzzy feeling.

Consider this a blanket reminder that I am thinking of all of you and I promise that when things get less insane I will find more tangible ways of reminding you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter!

Heather enjoyed seeing her family this weekend and loved when the weather was nice enough to take the ball outside. This was a camera phone pose to send home to daddy.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Heather asked about the garbage truck as soon as she woke up this morning.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Possible stash solution

I tossed the stash last night. It was in need of a tossing because it's been at least a year, there are multiple new yarn purchases that had either not been properly stored or not stored with similar weight yarn, and I was pretty sure a reorganization would result in a few less containers by making better use of my bigger ones. There were lots of project leftovers that needed to find a home, too. I'm also a little paranoid about the m-word* and wanted to head off any problems before they become big ones. (There are three bags ready to go in the freezer due to signs of problems, but luckily nothing flew out of any container I opened...)

*for the uninitiated, I'm talking about m-o-t-h issues. I find I don't even want to use the word, like the superstition of not mentioning "the scottish play" at the theater.

I was also keeping an eye out for potential baby yarns and possible yarns to help with my vest issues. I need to do a little swatching, but I may have found an alpaca solution for the vest. I've got 200 yards of a 100% alpaca purchased at The Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio in fall 2006. The big pro is that it is a from-the-farm yarn like the ones I have, which will keep the whole vest "sustainable" without needing to add a factory yarn to the mix. The caveat is that it is hand-painted, so I need to see how it works up in a fair isle pattern. I'm also a little concerned that the lighter portions of the hand-dyed will be too similar to the oatmeal yarn and no provide enough contrast. But if it does work, it would be really beautiful.

Hopefully we'll get the nice weather we've been promised this weekend so I can take some progress photos to document this little journey.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Vest woes

Let me start by saying that I would probably be better off right now working on things like shawls, blankets, hats, know things that are actually compatible with the body of a woman who is 7 months pregnant. I do have the advantage that I've made/I own several sweaters that fit my not-pregnant body well, but there are times that it would be simpler if I could just put what I'm making ON. The prime example being the nearly finished but zipperless Samus cardigan that I have no use for until at least October.

But my current yarny fever seems to be all about sweaters and vests, with only a mild interest in crocheted blankets, so I just seem to keep going with the things I can't wear.

I've got two things on the needles right now. I'm working on Bristow in my solo silk from Brooks Farm and so far it is turning out spectacularly. I can't know for sure since I can't put it on, but it looks comparable in size to things in my closet.

The other is this vest (pictured above) from Vogue Knitting Fall 2005. Consider the pattern really as a jumping off point. 1 - I'm not doing the body in ribbing because I'm using 100% alpaca, which doesn't hold ribbing well. 2 - I'm going to put an i-cord under the fair isle to emphasize the smallest part of my waist. 3 - I'm going to knit the whole thing in one piece and steek the openings. 4 - I was hoping to do the fair isle in just two colors (chocolate and oatmeal). 5 - I'm using a 100% alpaca in DK weight while the pattern calls for a heavier yarn in a wool blend.

My primary concern is that I just finished the first hank of chocolate brown yarn. I have 8" of body done, and I need to do 11" to get to the fair isle section. I was going to do the ribbed edging in the chocolate, too. I can do some math and weighing, but I'm just really not sure that it will be enough. And if I steek, there is no going back.

I'm considering:
- washing the body of the vest that is done so far to see if it grows in length (I did wash my swatch, but I didn't measure it before I washed it. Although I guess I could compare the row gauge of the washed swatch to the row gauge of the unwashed knitting...)
- working the fair isle back and forth so it would be possible to rip back if I run out of chocolate yarn.
- calling the alpaca farm to see about getting more chocolate yarn. (I was just being too thrifty while I was shopping)
- adding a third color to the fair isle pattern in order to need less chocolate yarn. (Pro - add more color to the sweater and I have a lovely pink angora blend that could work well, Con - vest is less neutral and might go with fewer shirts)
- weighing the knitting, weighing the skeins and counting the stitches I've knit so far to do some more advanced knitting math and see what's really possible. I enjoy being a "figure it out as I go" knitter most of the time, but I don't think that's a wise path this time.

When I'm not obsessed with things for me, I'm on the lookout for a good spring/summer hat pattern for baby-yet-to-be-named and I'm pondering a crocheted blanket for him made with these squares in either a sock yarn or Cotton Fine.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I keep thinking of snippets of things that I could post, but nothing really seems to be worthy of a whole post. I need to get over that and write what I'm thinking, even if it is only a few sentences. (I should probably realize that being brief isn't a problem...)

Highlights from the last 10 days:

1 - Heather's favorite phrase is absolutely "by myself". She would do EVERYTHING by herself if she could and we usually give her a chance to try whenever time allows. She can (generally) put on her coat, put on her shoes, get out a bib and put it on, eat a banana or orange and climb onto the coffee table. 8-|

Most of these efforts usually involve a little assistance (starting the banana peel, starting the zipper, etc) and some are not ideal activities, but life with a two-year old seems to involve finding the right balance between letting her have some freedom (walking on the inside of the sidewalk without holding our hand) and providing boundaries (not letting her walk on the curb along the street). No doubt it is entertaining and exhausting, especially when you're 7 months pregnant.

2 - Some actual, visible progress has been achieved on my office. The closet is as empty as its going to get, some shelves are empty, one doll house has vacated the room and there is less stuff. A whole trash bag has been filled, as well as a number of recycling bags and a box for donation. The beginning of Saturday was spent cleaning our room and dressing room, since I knew some of my stuff was headed for those rooms and they both really needed a good cleaning. My office/the baby's room will need a really good cleaning when the organizing process is done, but for now I'm just cleaning things as I encounter them or remove them to other parts of the house. I don't see much point in trying to dust and mop the whole room when there is still "stuff" sitting all over.

If anyone has any great tips for storing a fabric stash, displaying old toys, washing musty doll clothes or otherwise dealing with "stuff" from the past I'm all ears. I think I'm doing well at letting go of a lot and "giving up" on projects that haven't gotten done in 5 years of having the materials, but I'm too sentimental to chuck it all. :-)

3 - Knitting update:

Heather's sweater is done. I found great buttons and it washed beautifully. I think it could have been a little longer, considering how much extra width there is, but it definitely has a lot of room to grow for the fall. She wore it all day Saturday without complaint and remembered that mommy made it all but one time. (I admit, it can be hard to remember which sweater's were made by mommy and which ones were made by nana...even daddy forgets. ;-)

On a whim, I made a granny square on Wednesday night. A ravelry friend had a few really pretty crocheted squares in her favorites, and the patterns were free, and I have leftover yarn from Samus. So I made one while we watched LOST and some other TV. I'm pondering a baby blanket, although the wool for Samus isn't machine washable and the one I made is probably too "open" for a baby blanket. The idea of using the pattern with sock yarn and a smaller hook is stewing in my head. But I really should make my future son a coming home hat first since Heather had one of those. It's only fair!

The cardigan and vest I mentioned in my last post are both progressing. I've finished the back of the cardigan and 2/3rds of the left front. I have to wind more yarn before I can continue. I've started the waist decreases on the vest. It is 200ish stitches around, so I only get about an inch or so knit in a day of bus commuting. Even though it will require more finishing later, the cardigan feels faster since I can finish whole pieces in a few days.

4 - I'll be 32 weeks pregnant on Wednesday.

Seriously?!?! I guess we're in okay shape. There are some things that we still need, but if push came to shove buying some diapers and setting up the bassinet, pack'n'play and infant car seat are the only things that *have* to be done before baby comes home. The rest are things that we could improvise around or get before too long. Food, diapers, clothes, a car seat and a place to sleep are really the basic necessities.

We did meet with a doula this weekend, and I have vague notions of what I'd like to purchase before the furniture is delivered, but we are so incredibly laid back this time it is a little scary. :-) Oh, and choosing a name would probably be a good idea, too...

5 - Congrats to blogless Jen on the birth of her son William this morning! I suppose his arrival just pushes the rest of us closer to our turn in the queue!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knitting Update

For those curious, last weekend at the cabin was fabulous. The weather was sunny and mild (not that I left the cabin property all weekend, but I did go outside a few times), the friendship and laughs were wonderful and I look forward to doing the whole thing again. Yes, it was even worth a day of illness after I got home - especially since I got off relatively easy on that front.

Yarn related accomplishments from the weekend:
- I finally mended my winter gloves which had developed two small holes.

- I seamed up Samus and knit an i-cord edge all the way around. It still needs a semi-aggressive blocking and a zipper, but I can't install the zipper until I can put it on my post-partum body. So I will be packing it away until this fall.

- I swatched two of the yarns I bought at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival for future upcoming projects.

- I organized the completed blocks of my Babette blanket and wove in some of the ends.

- I knit the majority of a new sweater for Heather. I had about 3 inches of yoke done when I was picked up Friday morning and when I came home on Sunday I had about 15 rows left to finish the second sleeve. I finished that and the button band this week, so all that remains is to weave in ends, find buttons and block it. Pictures soon.

Given my recent progress, I think I'm doing pretty well on my 2009 NaKnitSweMoDo goals

"1 - I will focus my 2009 knitting energy on 12 sweaters, tops and vests."

I've got 3 items completed or nearly completed - Amelia, Heather's yoke sweater and Samus (ravelry links) - which I think is pretty good for mid-March. I've made some Babette progress, too, which I'm willing to count as one of the 12 if I can reconnect with it and finish.

I realize that my knitting mojo is going to take a nosedive in two months, but I'm trying to take advantage of it while its still going strong!

The two swatches I made over the weekend will inform my next two projects - a cardigan and a vest. I admit to being a little more excited about the cardigan since I'll at least be able to try that on for length. The vest is a little more daunting since the only thing I'll be able to do in the short term is hold it up to other things that fit pre-pregnancy. And also, I can't find a pattern that is quite what I want, so a lot of it is going to have to be worked out as I go along using a published pattern as a (very) rough guide.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The View

We were here. :-)

No cell service at the cabin.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


As a parent of a baby and later a toddler, you spend a lot of time wondering what is going on in their heads. Do they dream? Do they understand the question? What train of thought led them to remember someone they saw a few weeks ago? What is the obsession with ravioli? :-)

Well, I think one question has been answered for us. There is no doubt in my mind as of this morning that Heather dreams.

Last night about 1am she started whining and calling out for "mommy". We waited, and after about 60 seconds she was quiet again. It is moments like those that you wonder if she was awake and upset, and managed to settle herself down again or if it was just a dream.

At 6:40am, while I was between alarm snoozes and trying to wake myself up, she began calling for "my kangaroo, my kangaroo, my kangaroo"... Considering that she doesn't have a kangaroo in her crib or any toy kangaroo anywhere in the house, I'm pretty confident that she was dreaming. :-)

Monday, March 02, 2009


Heather seems to have figured them out this week. Certainly, as a 2 year old, her sentence structure isn't perfect (and it's pretty cute when its not!), but we noticed this week that she's starting to replace names with pronouns. Many uses of Heather have been replaced with me, my and I. And many uses of mommy and daddy have been replaced with you and your. It's pretty amazing how suddenly it has "clicked".

As I think I've mentioned, she's been speaking in longer sentences for a few months now. We've loved listening to her progress and she really is communicating well. But a few weeks ago R and I realized that we were spending a lot of time artificially speaking in the third person. I would say "Mommy is getting milk for Heather" instead of "I am getting milk for you", etc. I think we were initially doing it to make sure that she knew her name and our names, as well as a way of making ourselves very clear. When there are multiple people in the room, pronouns can be confusing, even for adults. :-)

So we've gradually been changing the way we speak. I don't know if her speech change is a result or a coincidence, but either way it is very cute.

Overall, except for occassional bouts of toddler stubborn-ness, she's not making me feel *too* worried about having 2 kids under 3. I know that its going to be exhausting no matter what, but she's not giving me that "I can barely handle one, what are we going to do with TWO" kind of feeling that I had back when we first talked about having another. I'm sure in two weeks she'll go through a phase that makes me want to pull out my hair. But at the moment *knock on wood* she's an extremely pleasant child who's only tiring request is the need to be rocked before bed.

More later about Franklin and fun with my friends!