the preggo ten

Wow – has it really been several short decades since I did a 10 Things Tuesdays?

You can all throw your tomatoes now, I won’t duck or deflect – I promise.

This 10 has to do with – you guessed it – being pregnant (which I very much still am)!
Enjoy…

 

10 Things About Being Pregnant:

1) I now look pregnant. For months people have been saying,  “But you don’t *look* pregnant!!” which was somewhat distressing because my clothes started not to fit almost immediately. Immediately, I say. I felt extremely pregnant really fast and I have to say that I am glad I finally look like it to the rest of the world! I have a decent baby bump that sticks out and gets me stuck in tight places and makes me look like a mama.

2) 25 weeks – that’s how far along I am. 15 weeks left. Craziness.

3) It’s a BOY! Yes, we found out. No, it’s not a secret. Yes, I am thrilled. No, I don’t feel like it’s ruined any surprises. Yes, we have a name. No, that’s not a secret either… it’s Bruin. Yes, I can’t wait. No, he is not named after the hockey team. Sorry.

4) The sickness finally stopped around 22 weeks – one of the reasons why this blog-o was so cruelly neglected, I was sick out of my mind. I am sure other women have had it much worse and I certainly don’t mean to say that it was unbearable, but I am not a good sick person. I like to be able to do what I want, when I want and I want to feel good while I am doing it.

Can we say, “Proud and Stubborn Mama!”

Can we say, “Lesson Time!”

I feel as though I took the crash course “How to Not Be a Miserable Person but Deal with All Things with Thankfulness and Patience and Joy” and just slid through by the skin of my teeth. I won’t be posting my report card on this blog *that’s* for sure!  At any rate, I am so exceedingly thankful to be feeling better. So thankful. So happy. I’ll take tired, I’ll take sore, I’ll even take spacey and ditzy and hormonal – the sickness is over!! I was definitely humbled my the first half of this pregnancy, and that’s a good thing. I was expecting to breeze right through it on strength of mind and steeliness of will. Um – no.

5) El’Ditzoid. What was I saying? Where was I going? What was I doing? What? Why? Huh? I don’t remember. I can’t think. My brain has died. I’m so sorry, can you start again? I can’t quite figure that out. I don’t remember how I got here. Was I asleep? Did I eat already?  When did I say that? You already said that? Math? What do you mean I ate my piece already?  ‘Nuf said.

6) Gymnastics. It’s what Bruin loves to do best. If this little boot is *half* as active out of the womb, we have some fun times ahead of us! I lay in bed in the morning and imagine him spinning and punching and kicking all at once because I am SURE that is what he is doing in there and will continue to do until I get up and get something to eat. He does not like to be hungry. Not. At. All.

7) Crazy curly hair has been downgraded to crazy thick wavy hair. Interesting. And, even though I know I flirt with ‘oversharing’ when I say it, the hair on my legs has all but stopped growing (nice) and I have a beard (not so nice). Hair – it does crazy things under the influence.

8) Cravings? Not so much. I craved spaghetti for a couple of weeks, then pickles and now I’m just hungry. I drink a lot of smoothies packed with good things like chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds, fruit, homemade yogurt, etc. and they seem to be doing a pretty good job of keeping my cravings at bay. I do, however, thoroughly enjoy *other* people’s cooking and will eat monstrous portions of it when I have the opportunity.  Food weakness? Organic Cheese Puffs. No joke. I’m trying hard to stay away from junk food and caffeine and too much sugar, but organic cheese puffs….. yum.

9) Exercise? I do ‘labor-prep yoga’ and take walks. Sometimes. I fail. A lot. But I have glorious plans to do better tomorrow. Really.

10) 15 weeks left and I have quite the list of things yet to do. It’s just hitting me now in the past couple of days that this thing is happening, and we’ll be there in no time at all. There were three of us young pregnant ladies in our church at the same time, all 10 weeks apart. The first one had her baby a little while ago and the next will reach her appointed time in a month – you know what that means, folks – I’m next. It’s like waiting in line for a scary ride. I’m frantically taking notes as I watch the ones before me bravely step up for their turn and I can’t help but feel like I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. It’s exciting, and I’m looking forward to having this baby in my arms, but boy howdy – there’s quite a bit to get through before that happens!

God is good and we pluck on. I am blessed to have so much love and support from my dear husband and family and friends, it’s overwhelming.

We shall do well.

Until next time… What’s your life looked like for the past few months? Can you sum it up in 10 things? Please share!

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this is what rehab looks like

 

No, this is not a cup of coffee. It’s a cup of Hot Chocolate – the addiction which has replaced my coffee habit.

As some of you may remember, I gave up caffeine about three months ago (wow- it seems much longer than that…). I didn’t go through headaches or withdrawals, but I sure do miss the habit. I miss walking to work on chilly mornings with a warm cup in my hand. I miss having something hot to sip when I am thinking hard or feeling dreamy. I miss the taste, the scent, the hipness, the comfort it gave me in uncomfortable social situations because as we all know – there is nothing more acceptable nor mysterious as a slightly withdrawn sort of person drinking coffee in the corner of the room.

I loved coffee, and now it’s over.  Gone.

I walked about in life with a hole in my heart and empty hands. Chilled by every breeze, not able to concentrate when I needed to be creative and my politically correct mysterious attitude was replaced by blatant social awkwardness.

I don’t think rehab has done me much good because that gaping chasm in my life has been filled with torrents of steamy milk chocolate. I thought surely I was going to become a decent tea-sipping gal, but then I was introduced to Hot Chocolate.

It’s not that I never had it before, but I could easily *not* drink it. I’m not sure I would have even said I ‘liked’ it. But now, boy howdy, I like it.  I seek it out, I drink it, I scrutinize different brands and feel that a little of my mystique has been returned to me. I’ve always thought of coffee drinkers as being hard-core, where chocolate drinkers always seemed… fluffy. I feel like I’m bringing a little hard-core to the hot chocolate scene, in my own way, and try not to purr when I drink it. We’ve both benefited from the transfer in addictions.

**BUT** chocolate has caffeine in it!! Yes, good point, it does, but not enough to count. So there, I’m safe.

Anyway, in case you were wondering how the whole “No Coffee” thing was going… that’s how it goes!

the truth is

As of 7:30 this morning, I am officially back from our glorious vacation in Maine.

Back, I say, seven pounds heavier (she modestly admits, with a charming blush), my chin sprouting a small crop of delightful little black hairs, and a tan as deep as a Thanksgiving turkey’s. *sigh*

This *is* the life.

But we now return to our normal programing and I have laundry on my mind.

We traveled up to Maine to attend Alex’s best friend’s wedding (he was the best man) in Boothbay Harbor. It was incredible. Incredible.

We stayed at an oceanside resort complete with all the complimentary bottle water we could bear and a mysterious grounds keeper with a thick accent who appeared to be everywhere and anywhere all at once. Oh my. The wedding was grand, Alex was breathtaking in his steel-gray tuxedo, we went sailing and biking and ate WAY too much food (of course) and danced and sang and made new, bacon-loving friends and it was just lovely. I loved every moment.

Then, after the bride and groom sailed away on their boat, we packed our bags and headed further up the coast to spend a few days at Alex’s dad’s cabin. Quite the change from our first days at Spruce Point Inn, The A-Frame has no running water or electricity and is seated right on the rocks, facing a very wild, very open ocean. The weather was perfect for boating and exploring the empty neighboring islands and we even donned wet suits and took a dip in the briny deep where the icy Atlantic proceeded to almost give me a heart-attack. How do the seals do it? Even with my extra pounds I nearly froze to death… in a good way. It was invigorating and I managed to impress my swarthy father-in-law, not an easy feat to pull off.

We had s’mores and too much lobster (if I say, “Oh yes, let’s have *lobster*…” anytime in the next two years, someone please slap me.) which we bought off the dock from the lobstermen my husband used to work with, and not much else. Marshmellows – lobsters – sounds like a complete diet, right? I think I had potato chips, too, and one very muddy clam. Yum.

So here we are, working our way back into civilization and everything seems so close and loud. And I miss the seals. It’s like a drug, that ocean air – I’ll spend the next few days getting over it and becoming reacquainted with real life, but it will stay in the far corner of my mind- when can we go back??

 

Someday, Davies

Meet Davies.

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Davies is a little mallard duckling I found frantically running around in our driveway yesterday on my way to work. I have no idea where he came from, but there he was – in the middle of the day, almost in the middle of downtown, all by his lonesome.

With the help of Lady Shopkeeper from downstairs, I captured him and put him in a box with a tiny bowl of water and carried him to work  where he sat in his bowl of water and glared at me – the entire time.

I’ve raised ducklings before on our little Ohio farm, and they are usually sweet, docile sort of creatures, but I’ve never dealt with a wild baby duck – he was pretty fierce for being tiny enough to not quite fill a teacup. Anytime I came near his box to check on him he would charge right out into the open and stand there, demanding to be let loose. I’ve never had something so small and fragile be so bold. I swear he was looking me right in the eye… Then he would rear up and spread his unfeathered wings and open his mouth in a silent hiss, defying me to make darling baby noises.

He was ticked off.

If he weren’t so stinking cute, I probably would have been quite terrified.

I called Alex, who was on duty, so that he could come and see our new charge. The little guy was too small to let go of, so I thought we could just raise him for a couple of weeks and then send him to go live on our friend’s farm. Until then, he could just live in the bathtub, right?

Right.

“Where is it?” My husband asked, and I led him to the back room where Davies was passionately plotting his escape. Alex immediately started making darling baby noises, and duckling made threatening, “I’ll kill you if you touch me…” faces and I just sat there and melted.

“Why is he doing that?” Alex asked.

“I’m not sure, he either hates our guts… or thinks we’re his parents and wants us to feed him… he must be a teenager.”  We chuckled, and I melted some more. Thinking about having a baby *thing* in our tub was quite delightful, I was busily planning how to take him on vacation with us next week.

How would he be in the car?  Would he ever get used to us? Would it ruin him to raise him for even a few weeks? Would he be able to make it on his own out in the world when he was older?

I so badly wanted him to feel safer than I knew he was feeling, but you can’t explain such things to duckling…

“Ok, I gotta go… what’s its name?”

“I don’t know yet-  we can keep him?! I can get duckling food at the feed store, and he needs duck vitamins, too!”  Alex laughed and said he loved me and then left.

The day wore on and Davies emptied his little bowl of water in protest and stared me down until he literally fell over in exhaustion. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how unhappy he was going to be in a little city apartment, even with all the love and duck vitamins he was going to be showered with.  So I, very reluctantly, called up a friend who has a farm and asked them if they were better equipped to deal with a wild, spirited little duckling.

They were. They had a little home and duck food and vitamins and a wildlife vet and a pond all ready. Beats a cardboard box and cornmeal any old day! I felt so inadequate.

After work, I bundled Davies up in his box and drove out the friend’s farm and let them have him.

Then I went home and cried like a silly girl over that silly duckling.

Sometimes it’s hard to wait for what you want so badly.

Alex and I have all these grand ‘someday’ plans about a home of our own, and a farm and babies… sometimes we get a little teaser like this and it’s hard to let it go and remember we’re still in waiting mode.

Someday I would like to have a place where all the lost little ducklings we encounter can come and be safe and find a home. A place that’s sprawling and nurturing and full of life and places to hide away when you’re feeling wild and fierce, places to explore when you’re feeling bold and places to be comforted if you need a mother.

I’d like to be the mother of such a place, someday.

The Grubby Munchkin – a free pattern by Andi

Howdy All!
So here’s the scoop; I shut down my Etsy shop last winter after I got married (because I was kinda busy for a while… being married and all) and have been slowly working on a stash of Stuff with which to reopen the shop this August.

So exciting.

The shop is in its roughest stages since I am no whiz at web-design and can barely take a decent photograph, but it’s coming along and I hope the next few weeks will bring forth a lovely, new, fun place full of knitted things*and*such. Fingers crossed…

Until then, I have a pattern to share with you – The Grubby Munchin, it’s a bib I designed a few years back and have been tweaking ever since. After a dozen or so bibs, I think I finally have it where I want it and am ready to share.

This is my default baby gift. I’m not into stuffed animals or baby quilts as gifts (I have nothing against either, I just can’t make them…) and I love this bib because it’s rather durable, easy and quick to make, practical and cute to boot! If I hear that a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a distant cousin of a friend of a friend is having a baby, I get out my size 7s and start a bib. I’ve made so many, I didn’t even have a pattern… until now!

The Grubby Munchkin

2 oz worsted weight cotton yarn

size 7 needles

1 button

Cast on 40 stitches

Work in Seed stitch ( knit one, purl one on one row, then purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches on the next… repeat) until the bib body measures 6 inches.

You can see the Seed Stitch detail. I like this pattern because it makes a very fine sort of  fabric. You could easily work in garter stitch (knit every stitch, every row) and have a wicked cute bib, too. These are so nice and thick and absorbent – – it really is delightful.

Once the bib body is long enough (6 inches), work 14 stitches in the pattern, cast off the next 12 stitches, and then work the last 14 stitches in the pattern.

It will look like this:

Now you are only going to work the first 14 stitches for a while, making the first strap. If you had a third size 7 needle, I suppose you could use that for knitting the strap, but I just slide the ‘waiting’ stitches to the back and use that needle.

At the neck, decrease one stitch each row until you have only 9 stitches left on your needle, then work those in pattern until the strap is 7 inches.

Here’s a close-up of the shaping at the neck… I think it looks more ‘finished’ than just leaving it blocky.

Once the strap is 7 inches long, I like to decrease at both ends a couple of times (3 times, to be exact) to round off the top, but that is completely optional.

Bind off.

 Now, back to the other strap, patiently waiting its turn. Join the yarn to the body of the bib, making sure to leave room to weave in the end. Start knitting the second strap, decreasing one stitch at the neck each row until you have 9 stitches. Work those stitches in pattern until the strap is about 6 1/2 inches long.

The button hole: I know there are some fancy ways to make a button hole, but this isn’t exactly a fancy bib, so I work 3 stitches, cast off 3 stitches and then work the last 3. Then, turn the strap, work 3 stitches, cast on 3 stitches using a crochet hook or just yarn overs, then work the last 3 stitches.

The cast off stitches…

The button hole…

Same thing goes for this strap, I decrease at both ends of the next three rows, then bind off all the stitches.

Now it’s time to weave in all the ends, which I find it is easiest to do this with a big-eyed needle and sew in the ends. This little trick changed my life and I no longer faint at the thought of having to weave in ends!

Button time! I like these cute wooden ones because they are nice looking, but not real bulky – this is going to be behind some little sweetie’s neck and it needs to be comfortable.

Viola!

The bib, she is done! Ready to be packed off for the next baby shower to be attended, or maybe your own little one.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions – feedback is always welcomed!

Ciao, lovely people!

if you are reading this

it’s because I’ve gone away on my six-month wedding anniversary.

Yup. Six months. Wowsers.

To think that six months ago that handsome young man walked up to me and said, in a bit of a fluster, “I was able to get half a day off tomorrow- so if you want, we can go get married. I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning at 11:00.”

So I went and packed my little gray suitcase, toothbrush and all, and waited. In 24 hours, my life was going to change as it never had before.

Life happens fast, eh?

I don’t think I will ever forget the hours that followed.  I got ready for bed that night and kept thinking – “this is my last night as a single person – tomorrow evening I am going to be married.” What an incredible thing – it makes my heart stop even now to think back on it – which, life has been so full and fast since then I haven’t really stopped and looked hard at that night. I felt so sure, so quiet inside – everything in my world had tumbled and crumbled around me in the previous two weeks until I wasn’t sure of the ground beneath my feet – but I was sure about Alex.

I spent nearly the entire night writing and listening to my hodge-podge of music. When I had first really known that Alex was ‘The One’ for me, I had started writing every night in a notebook – anything and everything I have ever wanted to say to the man I was going to someday marry. It was my plan to give it to him on our wedding day. I searched through old journals looking for things I had written about ‘him’ and collected them- years of thinking and dreaming and praying and waiting all in one little volume. The book was half-full by that night and I wrote like crazy – it just poured out of me. You would think that as much talking as we did I wouldn’t have anything left to say, but I did.

All the years of wondering what would occupy me the night before my wedding, I always assumed I would be primping and organizing and making sure my eyebrows were plucked just right. Instead I was camped out like a refugee at a neighbor’s home, a handful of outfits in piles on the floor, my suitcase propped up as a make-shift dresser at the end of the bed. There was nothing to organize – nothing to settle – nothing to prep or primp. The white linen fabric we had bought for me to make a wedding dress sat untouched on the little desk in the room. Suddenly, my eyebrows didn’t really matter. All I had to do was walk out the door and into a totally new life.

I got up extra early and decided to work on the dress, see if I could somehow manage to make it up in time. I showered and put the music on loud- my friends who owned the home had headed off to work – and started to cut.  While I worked on it, I called a couple close friends and told them the news. It was a simple pattern, but 11:00 rolled around before the second sleeve was sewn on. It got thrown into a shopping bag and into Alex’s truck, maybe I’d get some time to work on it before we actually got married.

Not really.

Everything seemed really slow and busy at the same time after Alex picked me up. We listened to music, didn’t say an awful lot. When we got to his mom’s house, there were several things that needed to be done – we had to get a license, find a place to get married and see if the JP would even have the time to do it.

The rest of this story is recorded somewhere in the archives of this blog – the JP *was* able to marry us, so all we had to do was go home and wait for 6:30 to roll around. Alex got his hair cut – by me, the terrified bride – and then we had a dance or two in his mom’s kitchen, Pandora’s Wedding station playing sweet old love songs in the background. How incredible.

It wasn’t what any of us had originally planned – but it was perfect in so many ways. I just wanted to be with him, my whole soul rejoiced that I was never going to have to see him head off to his home again- without me 🙂

So then, it’s been six months, and I still go to sleep some nights thinking, “I’m married… to Alex!”

It certainly hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it *has* been the Best, and I love him more now than I did at the start.

And I hope you’re ready to hear me say that again after the next six months has passed, because as far as I can tell – that’s exactly the way it’s going to be!!

So, dear reader, I am off somewhere in Maine celebrating with my man 🙂  And someday I am going to finish my wedding dress!!!

Enjoy your week…

Andi

Murders, Flashbacks, Fences and Micro Greens

Hot Quinoa Cereal for breakfast, Lovelies and Gents, and the sourdough starter sits on the stove, waiting to be named.

 

Here it is on Day Two – it bubbled up an astonishing amount and had to be swiftly stirred back into a liquid state WITH A WOODEN SPOON. I realized that the problem with the last starter was that it had been murdered, by me, with a metal spoon. Oops.

 

And so, I made a note…

Oh my. I will try extra hard NOT to murder this one, especially after it has been named.

Today’s agenda includes putting up a rabbit proof fence around our little garden out back (rabbits seem to be awfully fond of our beets…) and eating BLTs using the micro greens we harvested by thinning the lettuce yesterday. Itty-bitty little lettuce leaves – they’re so cute!

I think everyone in Vermont had a little PTSD yesterday during the afternoon thunderstorms that popped up and were more than just a little terrifying. Alex and I were trying to leave the home improvement store (where we were buying the rabbit fence) during the hardest rain – it was dumping down in great sheets of water. We both thought the same thing -“Irene”. Last fall’s hurricane ended well for us personally, but it really was a tragic time for many New Englanders. The rain fell so hard and so fast it was pooling on the roads and the storms drains were shooting water *out* of them like five-foot tall fountains in the city streets – it was eerie.

We made it through though, and had a nice date where we had the best tasting calzone and then watched a movie at the theater. Remind me to make calzones sometime…

Anyway – onward! There’s a fence waiting to be put up, breakfast to be eaten and uniforms to be ironed…

Any more suggestions for names???

Have a good one, y’all!

Andi