Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn-Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things this Wednesday for another Yarn-Along...


On the Needles: Finished the Pimp My Longies pattern, which turned out beautifully (will post photos soon) and cast on the R2D2 Hat for T. R2D2 has been frustrating to say the least because the directions aren't the clearest. If you're experienced in fair isle knitting and reading colorwork charts you probably wouldn't have a problem with this pattern at all, but since this is only the second time I've tried my hand at color stranded kniting it's been a struggle for me. I had to rip it out and start over four times, but I've finally got the hang of it and it's now become a project that I look forward to. I love watching the design come out and this time I'm very aware of my tension as I knit, so I won't have the puckering I had the first time I tried color stranded knitting. You can't really see it in the picture, but the bottom of the hat reads: May the Force be With You. T is very excited and keeps saying he'll be the envy of his co-workers. The maroon edge is a provisional cast-on that I'll eventually take out and put a lining in its place. This should be one really warm hat.

Reading: The newest issue of Poets & Writers, which has a great interview with Joan Didion.

Check out the Linky List on the Small Things Blog to see what others are knitting and reading this week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving

During the week of Thanksgiving I was thankful for...

Grandparents and the constant smile they put on my boy's face

Time in the kitchen with my Mom

Homemade whipped cream

Yummy food in our tiny apartment with people we love

Sharing my maternity pillow, or the "nest" as the whole family refers to it

My guys

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week 36

Sorry for the long blog silence. We've been busy with Thanksgiving and relatives all week. My parents are in town, and I've hardly been on the computer since.

Here I am last week at week 36. I'm at the point where regular clothes that used to work just fine for maternity don't fit at all now and many of my maternity clothes are getting tight. I had to pair this dress with jeans because it was just too short in the front.


Week 36 Highlights:

*Another surprise baby shower at work, this time from my knitting circle. I love those ladies and will miss them while I'm on leave.

*All the pieces are falling into place with work. It looks like I'll get a six month leave and be able to return to work part-time, working weekends and one weekday.

*Lots of sweet moments with both of my guys. Snuggly mornings in bed, fun at the park, yummy Saturday dinners at our favorite diner.

*Anticipating my parents' visit and counting the days until they'll be here.

*Baby seems SO big now. I love feeling little legs stretching and feet in my side. Lots of hiccups these days too.

Week 36 Lowlights:

*Regular old discomforts of pregnancy increasing during these last few weeks. Lots of pressure and belly button pain, indigestion, round ligament pain, more contractions, varicose vein pain.

Despite the complaining, I still LOVE being pregnant.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 35


Highlights of Week 35:

*A surprise baby shower from my Circulation staff! Even though my last day of work won't be until December 6th, I was shocked (big time) when I came back from a meeting/luncheon to find my department decorated in baby stuff and full of yummy foods (homemade apple cake, a raspberry chocolate mousse cake, homemade cupcakes , cookies, cheese and hummus and crackers). They even brought in plastic champagne glasses and organic sparkling apple cider. I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I work with some amazing people. All the people in my department I'm happy to call my friends, and a couple of them have become some of my very closest friends. I'm a very lucky lady.


*This week my boss made me a wonderful deal that I just don't think I can pass up. Hoping it works out because if it does it would mean getting to stay home with my kiddos four days a week if I decide to come back from my leave.

*Also this week I found out I was approved for a six month maternity leave.

*Making and decorating gingerbread cookies with S.

*Warm fall weather, perfect for swinging with S at the playground.

*T helping with the housework and laundry.

*Late night Uno games with T.

*Daily hiccups from baby and little feet always stretching and kicking in my side.

*Getting excited and nervous about labor and meeting this new person; daydreaming about it constantly.


Lowlights of Week 35:

*Oh, so tired and feeling like there's waaaay too much left to do before baby arrives.

*Extreme belly button pain. Sometime the pain is so intense I feel nauseous. I remember getting this with S too but not this often. Everything I've read says belly button pain is normal, but I'm going to bring it up with my midwife on Monday.

*Lots of round ligament pain and pelvic discomfort. Feels like my body is definitely getting ready for labor.

*My long walks to the train station in the morning and long walks home at night are the worst part of my day. I'm counting the days until my maternity leave begins.

*Feeling guilty for snapping at and being short with S and T a lot this week. I don't know if it's hormones or general discomfort but I've not been the most pleasant person to be around the past several days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things for another Wednesday Yarn Along...


On the Needles: About to finish up a pair of longies for babe, using the Pimp My Longies pattern. One leg down and one to go. (It's a terrible photo, I know. I took it in my office with my awful fluorescent lighting.) This has been a super simple and fast pattern and it's free! Next in the knitting que, a Star Wars Hat for T. I'm hoping to get it done before the babe arrives or at least before Christmas.


From the Library: Just checked out Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut after a great conversation about him with a co-worker (and dear friend) at the Circulation Desk this morning. I remember every Vonnegut book in my parents' bookshelves from my childhood and this was one of them. I've only ever read Cat's Cradle, and I figured it was time to read a few more of his. Every copy of Slaughterhouse Five is checked out at the moment since it's required reading for a class. Yep, every once in awhile this fashion and design school assigns students reading material other than a draping pattern.

To see what others are knitting and reading this week check out the Small Things Blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nesting

I'm antsy. And have been for a few days now. My nesting instinct kicked in full force the other day, and even though I'm tired most of the time and could and do fall asleep at the drop of a hat, I've been washing and folding and putting away all of baby's clothes, blankets, diapers and diaper covers and generally getting the house ready for our new arrival.


Making room for the new family member, required a lot of clever space finagling. Since our apartment is only two bedrooms and S's room is too tiny for much more than his bed and toys (his dresser lives in his closet if that tells you anything), T and I have made a baby "area" in our room, which consists of a mini-crib--since the normal size wouldn't comfortably fit in our room--with a mobile and some wall hangings for baby to look at.



In order to fit the mini-crib into our room, we had to move T's dresser into our closet, which meant cleaning out said closet and reorganizing all of our clothes and shoes. There was no room for baby's dresser in our room, so we had to move it into the living room. This move also entailed a furniture shift, requiring us to relocate S's craft shelves that were next to the couch into his room, which meant moving his bed to the other side of his room. But, I'm happy to say, it's all done now...thanks to my wonderful husband, who did it all in two days and managed to refinish a beautiful old dresser we found on the street side waiting for the garbage truck. This became my dresser because I gave up my cherished cherry wood dresser for the baby. It's a child's dresser after all.


The baby's dresser is a special piece of furniture, handmade by my great-grandfather and given to my mother when she was a girl. You can even still see my mom's little girl handwriting in the bottom of the top drawer where she wrote her name in green crayon.


This was my dresser for many years, most of my childhood and all of my adulthood, and I'm so happy to give it to this baby who will hopefully keep it in the family for a few more generations.

There's still quite a few things to do before the baby arrives: sew a mini-crib skirt; finish up some last-minute embroidery to go on the wall above baby's bed; sew a nursing pillow cover or make a nursing pillow from scratch; whip up a few batches of diaper rash ointment; buy a nursing gown for the hospital; pack the hospital bag; purchase a breast pump (my old one has disappeared from the face of the earth); purchase a Christmas tree; purchase another vehicle and finally obtain a New Jersey driver's license; make a couple of test drives to the hospital where I'll be delivering...and I'm sure a few other things I'm not thinking of at the moment.

In the meantime, I'm tackling as much as I can on my days off and enjoying all the daydreaming that goes along with this sweet nesting phase.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 34

This may very well be the most pathetic belly pic ever. With S sick over the weekend we didn't venture out of the house much, and I realized much too late that we never took a 34 week belly photo...so to the back yard I ran with the tripod and the camera and snapped this photo of me looking very tired and a little sloppy.



Highlights of Week 34:

* The beginning of week 34 marked Halloween! And I had a wonderful time wandering around the neighborhood with my guys, and watching S act like a Ghostbuster. This year he was big enough and brave enough to go up to most houses by himself, while T and I stood at the edge of the yard and watched.

* Yummy falafels (with rice and beans, lettuce, tomato and olives) with a friend and co-worker from a street vendor outside our workplace. Another $5 NYC lunch.

* Sweet late-night talks with husband discussing all of our dreams, worries and goals. Several times last week and this we've stayed up talking and catching up well past our bedtimes, and I've felt groggy all the next day. But it's totally worth it.

* Feeling baby feet, hiccups and a little baby bum.

* Falling asleep with S while he holds my hand nearly every night after his bedtime story.

Lowlights of Week 34:
* Wobbling a bit more than walking to the train in the morning.

*Heartburn morning, noon and night.

* Just being pregnant and caught up in rush-hour train service, not getting a seat on quite a few trains. For some reason I always take this personally.

* Having to buy more maternity clothes, sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, even though I won't need them in a few weeks.

* Missing Tennessee and missing my family.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things for another Wednesday Yarn Along...


On and Off the Needles: Finished up one Vanilla Soaker and will probably make a few more. However, I just found out my mom has been knitting soakers like crazy for this baby, and I may not need to make more. We'll see what handknits she brings up at Thanksgiving when she and my dad visit. Still have lots of Fisherman's wool left over and may knit up some longies with it.

In the meantime, I've started knitting a three-month-sized pair of longies in Crystal Palace's Taos. I'm using the Pimp My Longies pattern and so far it's knitting up nicely. I love the Taos yarn, with it's myriad of colorways. I love babies in bright primary colors.

From the Library: Still Reading...poetry. Actually I'm not reading too much these days as I fall asleep every time I do, but on breaks at work I've been reading more poems from Mr. Simic.

To see what others are knitting and reading this week check out the Small Things Blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 33


Highlights:
*Snow in October! A record-breaking snow storm hit our region, with some areas seeing up to 18 inches of snow at the beginning of fall. My little town only got about an inch or two. This is a highlight for me, even though it was a slushy mess and over 1 million people in our region lost power. The snow was beautiful, and I don't think I've ever seen it so soon in the season. Also, our town was very lucky. Even though we had some downed limbs and trees, no one lost power and the weather very quickly warmed up.

*My sweet mom ordered me a new maternity pillow that arrived at the beginning of week 33. Now that I'm well into week 34 I can tell you the maternity pillow is one of the best pregnancy inventions ever. I'm sleeping soundly through the night, only getting up for the bathroom and not because I'm in pain. AND every bit of hip and back pain I'd been experiening is now totally gone. It's also been great for propping up my legs and helping with my varicose veins.

*Baby is still moving around like crazy and now responds when you scratch his/her back by arching that little back up and closer to your fingers, just as S used to. The whole family has been having fun with this new little trick.

*T and S have been treating me like a queen. Fetching things for me, giving me lots of hugs and kisses and generally making me feel special all day long.


Lowlights:

*The only lowlight I can think of is having to pay $80 for a maternity coat, even though I'll only need it for seven or so more weeks. I'd tried oversize non-maternity coats but they just didn't work and my old workhorse Marmot (which is the warmest coat I've ever owned) won't even zip over my belly. The problem with maternity coats is they aren't warm and they're usually cheaply constructed out of polyester and rayon, which won't cut it in these extreme Northern winters. But if I layer and layer the coat I purchased works out ok. Fortunately, real winter temps shouldn't hit NJ until after the babe is born, and then I can go back to my trusty Marmot.

T took these photos in our backyard at the last minute. We had a busy week 33 and forgot to take belly photos on our usual Sunday. While my photo was being taken, Mr. S was running around the yard looking for evey available metal surface to attach his new Bakugan toys to. I should say new-to-him toys. A co-worker gave me a small bag of toys her boys no longer played with, as if we needed more toys in our small apartment.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yarn-Along

Yarning-along this Wednesday with Ginny from Small Things...


On the Needles: The first of many Vanilla Soakers. Sorry guys, but this is mostly what I'll be knitting for the next few yarn-alongs. Although I promised T a Star Wars hat or socks for Christmas and that might spice things up. For this soaker I'm using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. I like the idea of using a virgin wool with no dyes for a soaker. Although I'm also on the look out for inexpensive organic wool with natural dyes.

Last week I finished up the Toorie hat I was working on, but I've not had a chance to take any real pictures of it. If you look at my Halloween post you'll see me wearing it like a beret and looking like the Great Pumpkin. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. At least two people in my knitting circle have decided to make it as well. Very fun and fast pattern.

From the Library: Still reading poetry and working on getting my writing back on track. I keep reading and re-reading this Charles Simic book. It's amazing, and I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Head on over to the Small Things blog to check out what everyone else is knitting and reading this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homemade Halloween

Halloween just keeps getting better each year. Now that S is old enough to enjoy a costume, help with cookies, trick-or-treat and stay up late watching scary movies, we try to stretch the holiday out as long as possible.

This Halloween S wanted to dress up as Ghostbuster Peter Venkman. Ghostbusters is one of T's favorite movies and S is starting to know it just as well as T.


We decided to make his Halloween costume this year, and I have to say we ended up spending less money and got a much cooler costume than we would have if we just bought a Ghostbusters costume.


First, we ordered a real flight suit from an army/navy surplus store online (this was the most expensive part of the whole costume, but still cost less than anything from Party City or Halloween Express). T made some iron-on transfers for the Ghostbusters patch and the Venkman name tag. But most of T's work on this costume went into the proton pack, which he made mostly out of spare pieces of wood we already had around the house. A nylon rope and a little spray paint and acryllic paint finished it up. He also added a few last minute glow sticks to make S more visible in the dark.


S LOVED his costume! I have to say I married a truly handy man; he never ceases to amaze me.

I made a big batch of sugar cookies and spent nearly a whole day decorating them with a little of S's help. I have such a love/hate relationship with royal icing. It's a once or twice a year thing for me, but after this batch I may only do it every other year.

We gave cookies to S's class, T's co-workers, my midwives and one of our neighbors. We also ate quite a few ourselves.

T and S carved the pumpkin together this year...


After trick-or-treating, we all shared S's candy. It just wouldn't be right to let a 4-year old consume all that junk food; T and I had to save him from some of it. We still have quite a bit left over, which we'll dole out over the next few weeks.


In the midst of all that trick-or-treating, S stopped to pick me a flower. I love that boy so much! He's such a little charmer.


We also stayed up late Halloween night bobbing for apples and watching Halloween movies. This year we saw, Disney's the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Monster House, and a few days ago we watched The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.


It was such a fun Halloween! Can't wait until next year when we'll have two costumes to make.
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