Monday, December 28, 2009

Lovin' the Bum Genius

We finally went through the two bags of newborn diapers we got from the baby shower. We had decided to wait until the meconium was done and Maegwin's umbilical cord had fallen off to start using our cloth diapers. She absolutely loves them! They fit her so much better than the disposables, she stays drier because we notice when she is wet, and diaper changes have become less of an ordeal. When we were using disposables and disposable wipes she would shriek the whole time we were changing her. Now we use the flannel or bamboo wipes and get a new diaper on her with a minimum of screaming. Plus she looks so darn cute in them!
Planck & Maegwin snuggle
We're using the Bum Genius one size and they are fitted right now for the smallest size. The website says it starts at eight pounds so I guess that is one advantage to having a big baby. We also got a diaper sprayer by mistake that hooks on to the toilet and that thing works like a charm. We just spray the diaper down after we change her and it gets everything off and into the toilet where it should be. I washed a load of diapers yesterday and they all came out very clean and smelled great. I so want to tell everyone to use them. They are not harder than disposable at all and so much nicer.

On the day after Christmas we took Maegwin in for another bilirubin check and this time her level was at 8.6. That was well within the normal range so we were allowed to stop using the biliblanket. We were so happy. We took her to the store and went all over with her in the Ergo carrier. We even used it at home so she could be close to us. I think she had really missed it. She hadn't been sleeping well with the umbilicus attached to her. I'm glad she got off of it in time to meet her grandpa although she wasn't too happy about it at first.
Maegwin & Grandpa
She chilled out later though and was cooing at him in no time.

I'm progressing well on my test knit. I love the yarn I'm using and the pattern was very easy to memorize. That's a good thing when I have to drop it at a moment's notice to attend to the demands of a newborn. (Really she is a good baby). I took a photo of it in one of my favorite Christmas presents this year-a hand thrown yarn bowl from Jennie the Potter that my mom got for me.
scarf in progress
Isn't the color of the yarn amazing? That picture is more or less true to shade though it is a wee bit darker/richer.

Not a whole lot else going on...We're preparing for our visit with Mom & Laura from California. I think we might hit the zoo-they have a great light display that stays up until New Year's and the animals tend to come out more now than in the heat of summer. There are also some specialty exhibits that should be pretty neat.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Visited by the Christmas bat

This morning we woke up early (as usual) and began preparations for Christmas brunch. On the menu were cinnamon rolls, a frittata with mushrooms, peppers, and cheese, home fried potatos and stuff other people were bringing. I was running dishwater and looked over into the second sink where I saw something small, brown and fuzzy laying on the mat. My first thought was that it was a dead mouse. Having acreage can be a good thing but about this time of year the furry critters flock to warm areas to live out the winter. I understand the house looks rather warm and inviting. Upon closer inspection I discovered it was not a mouse but a bat...our second one in the house. Josh threw a measuring cup over it just in case it wasn't dead and as soon as he did it woke up and starting hissing and chirping. Good thing we had our previous encounter with a bat to know they look dead but often aren't. This time I remembered to take a picture for the blog.
the Christmas bat
We put him in Pyrex, Josh ran him outside, and then ran back upstairs. I watched the bat fly into our pine tree so hopefully he will stay there and eat insects like a good bat. I don't know how they are getting in. We assume it must either be through an opening in the old cellar stairs or coming in when the door is open at night. That would be mighty tricky though. It shall remain a mystery and I will think of him as our Christmas visitor bringing tidings of sugarplum vampires or something.

Christmas was nice and it was good to be hosting. We got to put our table to good use and everyone fit so nicely around it. Maegwin stayed asleep until I was done eating thank goodness. I hadn't had anything but a banana since waking up and I was pretty shaky by the time we got to sit down to eat at noon. I guess the whole perfectly balanced insulin thing didn't stick once the pregnancy was over. A shame, it was cool to be normal for a while. :) I'll take hypoglycemia over acne any day though. That's kind of sad, but true.

We managed to snap some photos of the family. We put Maegwin in a little snowman onesie with socks I knit for her and her little striped hat I knit her. She looked cute and waited to spit up on them until after all the pictures were taken. What a good baby! I only have two pictures of Maegwin and I since I tend to be the picture taker around here.
The family
We also snapped one of all the ladies
All the girls together
My dad and stepmom are supposed to come up tomorrow. They haven't met the baby yet so I'm excited to see what they think.

Maegwin is doing well with the phototherapy. Her doctor called back and said her bilirubin level has dropped to 12 from 17 so we are set to get blood drawn tomorrow and if her level is below 10 we can stop the blanket treatment. I want her to get off of that before her other grandma comes out to meet her. I miss having my baby be portable. Oh, and when I went to get her blood drawn yesterday at Children's Hospital Home care they took two minutes from start to finish. She barely even woke up. I am planning to ask for referrals anytime she needs labwork because that other woman at our doctor's office is not going to draw her blood ever again. :P They were so nice at the outpatient center and obviously specializing in children helps a lot.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Biliblanket and the insurance craziness

So after all the insurance hassle we added Maegwin to my policy for the rest of this year and will start fresh with Josh's policy next year. Hopefully that irons out all the kinks and is really better since I've paid most if not all of the deductible for this year and should be in the straight co-insurance portion of my plan.

The blanket was delivered around 2pm but unfortunately the smaller unit had no power cord. The guy had a larger unit in his truck and the cords were interchangeable but then the smaller one wouldn't stay on unless you held down the power button. It was pretty much par for the course yesterday. We ended up with the bigger one which made her much less portable. She seemed to be taking it all in stride though and spent a lot of the day in her swing quietly looking around.
hooked in

She pondered her zebra for a good ten minutes, lifting her head in an effort to get closer.
ooh a zebra

I have been calling her Maegatron when she would kick very hard in utero and when she gets really fired up after being born. I thought it was funny that it looked like she was charging her power cells with the blanket on.
powering up

Today we take her back to get more blood drawn (not by the woman who did it before). We're going to an outpatient center that specializes in children so it should be faster and at least not so traumatic. If her levels are going down, we may not have to keep doing the blanket. It makes things very inconvenient for soothing her and for breastfeeding. It basically covers her entire chest from armpit to diaper area and there's a really long, thick cord that Josh and I have been calling "The Umbilicus".

I'm also a bit concerned about Einstein. He has growled at her several times today while she's been crying and had a very weird body posture I don't care for. I need to look up some more info on that. I love him very dearly but if it came down to it, I would rehome him if he can't adjust to the baby. The other two have been great with her, giving her kisses and sniffing her nicely. I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Maegwin's bilirubin levels when we left the hospital weren't too alarming but the pediatrician on rounds told us to follow up with the doctor on Tuesday. Yesterday we bundled up the babe and headed out. She did well with the doctor but then she had a tech come in to draw blood. Now, I have nothing against phlebotomists (my sister is one) or techs but what is it about them having something to prove with blood draws? I'm what is known as a "difficult stick" so I have quite a bit of experience with this. My veins tend to roll away or collapse when doing blood work. Every time I go to get it done, I hear "Oh, I can always get a vein" or "I only have to stick once, don't worry". They then proceed to try veins, dig around, back out, bruise me, and finally after I am very pissed off and in pain get it. Or better yet, they start calling in all the different people in the office who are THE experts and I get to be stuck by multiple individuals. I know and understand this, I sort of accept it will happen. Unfortunately it seems wee Maegwin has inherited this trait from me. The tech proceeded to stick her heel twice, grab some blood, throw it out and get a fresh lancet (I have no clue why) and then spend an hour squeezing between two sticks on each heel to get half the amount of blood she needed. The doctor finally came in and said they could do it with what they had and made the tech stop. She couldn't believe we were still at it. By that point I was crying and Maegwin was into her not breathing crying. It was pretty awful and she slept so soundly it took forever to wake her up to nurse later that evening.

This morning I got the test results back and her levels have gone up seven points in two days. She has to use a biliblanket for some phototherapy and get bloodwork done every 24 hours until her levels stabilize or drop. I'm now waiting to hear if I have to go pick up the blanket or if it is going to be delivered. The doctor's office thought it was being delivered but the company called and told me they weren't in network for our insurance so we'd have to pay out of pocket but they could send it on to another company. I really don't care who gives me the thing, I just want to get started. I'm pretty stressed out about it and worried. She doesn't look anymore jaundiced to me so I can't believe her levels shot up that much. She's still nursing well, making the amount of diapers she should, and has a lot of alert moments so none of the super lethargic behavior we were warned about. I snapped a pic of her yesterday in her little onesie. I swear those are the cutest garments ever.
chillin with the milk mustache

In non baby news, I was selected to test knit a new project from Susan Pandorf of the A Few Stitches Short of a Full Row blog. I'm really excited about it. The pattern is called Taliesin and it is a buttonable scarf. I'm planning to use a really pretty yarn from Shibui that is 100% baby alpaca in a deep blue. No clue yet what I'll do for buttons but it is going to be really pretty.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby Maegwin is here

So our little baby finally arrived with some serious help. I was due the 11th and my doctor finally scheduled an induction for yesterday. We came to the hospital at 6am and then the nurses stuck me three times trying to get an IV in. I have small veins so I knew I would have trouble but I hate when everyone thinks "they can do it" and insists on trying. They finally called in an anaesthesiology nurse who was supposed to numb me. She came in and started prepping a needle and my husband was like "Aren't you going to numb her first?" and she said "I only plan on sticking her once. I'm going to get this IV in." Bless his heart he said, "Well I'm sure all the other nurses thought that too so why don't you just give her the lidocaine." She gave him the nastiest look but I was really crying at this point since they had blown two of my veins in both hands so I had swelling and we weren't even started yet. She numbed me, got in the IV and then they almost lost it again trying to draw blood from it. I told them to just take it from my elbow like normal, I'd rather have another stick then have to find another suitable IV vein.

My doctor showed up at about 7am expecting me to be started but the nurses hadn't even started my pitocin yet. I could tell he was not pleased. They immediately got me going with that and I was ok until about 11ish when the contractions started coming on pretty hard. Normally I'm not so bad at dealing with pain but this sucked. They gave me some narcotic since I wasn't dilated enough to get my epidural yet. It helped a bit but mostly just for relaxing between contractions, not for the pain itself. By the time I could get the epidural they told me I had to have 1.5 bags of saline first. I was sort of irritated that I didn't know that right off the bat so ladies, if you plan to get one, make sure to tell them to up your IV right from the start. Sitting up for it when having really bad contractions was horrid. :P

I was able to go to sleep/rest until about 5pm when they came back to check on me. At that point I was at 10cm and it was time to push. At first pushing was ok, but I developed a hot spot because the baby was on my sciatic nerve so my whole left leg and hip felt like it was on fire. That got steadily worse throughout and I pushed every four minutes or so until 7:05. I got the head out with the help of a very fast episiotomy but her shoulders got stuck in my pelvis so they had to dislocate one to get her out. Again, NOT fun. She had a bowel movement during the head/shoulder thing so they whisked her away and there were a few very nervous moments there where I didn't know what was going on. I was really out of it but it felt good to get her off that nerve. They suctioned her out, took her scores, and she was pinking up nicely.

End result:
Maegwin Elizabeth
height: 21.5 inches
weight: 9 lbs 3.9 ounces (the doctor on call said if she had been 4 ounces instead of 3.9 I wouldn't have been able to have her naturally-she is literally the biggest baby I am capable of having)

Totally worth it. :) She is already a champion nurser and latched on perfectly the first time once we were in the room and she had a chance to calm down. It snowed non-stop here last night so I'm glad we got to the hospital before that started. We are both very happy and proud parents. I guess if we do this again they will monitor me more closely by ultrasound for size so the baby doesn't get that big again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tomorrow's the day

Well since our wee babe doesn't want to come out on her own, we're going to make her come out. We're going in to be induced tomorrow morning at 6am so hopefully if all goes well our little baby will be with us by the mid to late afternoon. Bags are packed, Mom is coming up to kennel the dogs, all should be well. The only thing not ready is my hospital knitting. I'll probably take the pair of socks I've been trying to finish up and the present I'm working on for Gwen. I made a pair for myself and I love the pattern so much that I want to make them for her and my mom. I'm using two different fibers so it should be fun to see how it changes things. Mine match my cowl and hat I made. It's nice to have a set!
fingerless gloves

I'll post pictures as soon as I can. We aren't bringing the laptop so we won't have a way to interface the camera. The hospital posts pictures up though so I'll link to that. If Josh comes home I'll have him upload to Flickr. Everyone cross your fingers! I hope this goes as easily/quickly as it can.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Still nothing

one week to go
No baby yet. She's active in there but not coming out. We're getting calls from the family all the time asking if we're in labor. I had one contraction this morning I think. It felt stronger than the Braxton Hicks I've had in the past but no more have happened since then. We're planning to go out shopping a bit later today for a White Elephant gift for the gift exchange at my work tomorrow so maybe the walking will help. Yes, I know the whole concept of the white elephant is to regift something but I don't have anything I want to do that with other than some baby clothes. Obviously that wouldn't work for most of my co-workers. That and Josh and I love Cost Plus. It is such a fun store and they always have new things to look at.

I finished up a very cute hat that we're going to use to take Christmas pictures with Maegwin. It's the Candy Cane hat from Itty-Bitty Hats. I think it turned out really cute and is just waiting for a cute baby noggin to place it on.
Candy cane baby hat
I might knit some matching baby mittens since I still have lots of the cream colored yarn leftover. I'm debating between that or legwarmers with stripes. I'm just not sure I have enough of the red to do them. They'd be super cute though and keep her legs warm while not getting in the way of diaper changes.

We're volunteering for the Salvation Army on Monday to pass out toys and food to families. Last year I made it in the paper while sorting canned food. If the baby isn't here I'll be there. I guess it can be her first volunteering experience. hehe

Friday, December 11, 2009

No news yet

So here we are-the official due date. No contractions yet. I'm on an oral steroid to get rid of the poison oak which decided to start popping up everywhere. I have patches on my knees, back, elbows, legs, etc. It was pretty awful for the last several days. I've been able to wake myself up rather than itching it but this means I get even less sleep now than I was before. According to my doctor the steroids should be relatively safe for the baby since all her organ forming is done but I still feel awful about having to take medicine while I'm pregnant. Mommy is sorry she helped Daddy clean out the brush, Maegwin. You will learn I am a person who can't sit still and wants to be doing things. :p Stupid city code and making us clean it all out when I'm pregnant.

We had our work Christmas party last night but I could only stay for about two hours. There weren't places to sit so by that point I could actually feel my ankles ballooning up and my shins hurt. Of course, tons of meat but light on anything veggie there so I had to mostly eat when I got home anyway. Good desserts though and it was nice to chat a bit with my co-workers.

That crazy storm that made its way across the country hit us on Wednesday and brought tons of wind and COLD! We are loving our geothermal more than ever now that we can keep the house a relatively balmy 65 degrees. If you haven't read earlier posts, go back to last'll know what I mean. I don't have to dress like I'm going on an arctic trek inside the house now. I'm sure the dogs appreciate having freedom of movement too. Last year they spent most of the time shoved in the end of a sleeping bag together like portable foot warmers. They still seek out blankets of course to lay under but when they are out playing or exploring they aren't shivering. Always a good thing. My next knitting project is to make a draft blocking bolster for our back door. It's pretty and matches the wood but it doesn't go all the way to the floor. We have weather stripping but last year we saw some ice on it so it can only do so much. Right now we've wrapped a towel around one of my yoga mats which works as a temporary solution but I want something more permanent and more wooly and insulating back there.

I'm also kinda stuffy and thinking about staying home today because hello! I'm posting at 4:30 in the morning and have been up since 2 am. Sigh. I'm knitting on a Candy Cane hat for the baby with scraps from recently completed handwarmers plus a ball of ivory merino/silk that I got at the Knitters' Connection show in my goody bag. It's from the Itty-Bitty Hats book which I love. I totally adore Susan Anderson's designs. I have all her books with the exception of her new one, Itty-Bitty Toys which is winging its way to me even as I type. She has such fun and creative ideas and her blog is one of my favorites to read. Even if you don't knit, she will inspire you to want to craft something with her energy and ideas.

Oh, a huge shout out to my friend Gwen who is returning to the corporate world after being laid off from the company I left to move to Ohio. I'm sure I would have been in one round or another of layoffs had I stayed. She's still working on getting her yarn venture in the black and I really love her stuff so hopefully she can do both. I've been coveting this skein of yarn for a while and trying to think up reasons why I should order it:

Seriously though, go check out her shop here and tell me she isn't talented.

Wow this post is seriously lacking in photos. Maybe I'll post more later when I'm more awake.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Busy busy!

I finished two projects yesterday! We watched the new Terminator movie and the Star Trek movie and I knit away. My first was a pair of Fetching handwarmers from Pattern can be found here. I've made a few pairs of these and they never disappoint me. These were made with RYC Cashsoft Aran, a super soft washable blend of merino, cashmere, and microfiber. I'm working on a hat to match them in Louet Gems Bulky that I got in a goodie bag from the Knitters Connection show.
Red Fetchings
They will be a Christmas present for someone, not sure who yet but probably my sister.

I also finished up a very cute baby hat. The pattern is the Swirl Hat by SheepyTime knits. Ravelry link here. I had some leftover Handmaiden Casbah yarn from some socks I made. It's a super soft Cashmere merino blend. The socks I made from it are my favorite pair-very warm and cozy so I think a hat will be great. Maegwin can be spoiled by luxury fibers from birth.
Baby swirl hat

I have a vacation day today so hopefully I can finish straightening up the house. We've been trying to keep things more tidy since we don't know when I will go into labor and don't want to leave things a mess for days and come back to that when I'm unable to clean. Typically we just do this on the weekends. I've been waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in and give me all that energy but no luck yet. :P

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No rest for the wicked

I woke up last night about 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I have a rash on my left arm that looks and acts suspiciously like poison ivy. We got a notice from the city that we had to clear out some brush next to our driveway two weeks ago so over the long weekend we got out there and did it. Josh mowed over it and I cleared all the stuff the mower didn't get. I'm thinking I must have got into something then. I'm using some stuff called Zanafel that actually works pretty well but overnight I wake up to me itching it. I'm also taking Benadryl but obviously can't do that during work because it makes me sleepy. Hopefully I can get in to the doctor on Monday to see if I can get it cleared up before I go into labor. I can only imagine having to lay in bed for hours after getting my epidural and having to concentrate on not itching. :p So I was up until 5:30 knitting on a baby hat. It was COLD last night. The temperature got down to 12 degrees according to our thermostat and I guess we've learned the limitations of our geothermal because it couldn't keep up with the temperature we wanted. No big deal, it has an auxiliary heater for just such an occasion! We just had to set the default to be at 20 degrees instead of 5 degrees. It's already warming back up in here and I still think we will see way better performance than last year with our old horrid gas furnace.

We had a bit of excitement on Friday night. I was driving home and saw these huge wheeling, circling black clouds around the highway. At first I thought they were oddly behaving flocks of birds but then realized they were bats...thousands of bats. So I got to the house and we were just settling down to watch some Will & Grace episodes that had arrived when I saw something swooping down in the kitchen. A bat had followed me in the house! We quickly herded the dogs into their cage so we could have the doors open and give him a chance to fly out. No go, he just flapped and dive bombed around and then disappeared. We closed off the upstairs and bedroom and began our search of the house to find him. Josh wielded a broom and I, a Maglite. We methodically searched high and low but no sign of our batty friend. Finally just as we thought he might actually have gone outside, Josh spotted him in the living room and gave him a whack with the broom. Then we couldn't find him again. We searched in the general trajectory his body would have to have gone but to no avail. We had given up again thinking that he had eluded us and made for the door so I started putting away piles of laundry that were on the coffee table. I moved Josh's pile of clothes and heard a hissing. There was the little bat, wings spread out and perched atop my Victoria's Secret catalog. He seemed a little dazed but otherwise unharmed. Josh tried to get him with a handkerchief but he bared his teeth and wing flapped so we got a bowl and a trusty D&D Players' Handbook. After he was thus entrapped Josh took him out back, flung him away and ran for it back to the house. There was no sign of him the following morning so he either dragged himself away, flew away, or was eaten. Of course after he put him out I thought darn, I should have taken pictures for the blog. He was kind of cute in that freaky sort of bat way.

I've been working diligently on Christmas knitting and baby knitting. I'm almost done with a pair of hand warmers and need to work up the coordinating hat. I also finished another pair of baby socks though these will probably fit when Maegwin is a little older since they are longer than the newborn ones I have knit.
baby Maegwin socks

We have some progress in the slow and painful slog towards labor. I've dilated a bit and mostly effaced and the wee babe is head down and engaged. I was having random contractions last week but those seem to have tapered off more or less though I do feel a bit crampy this morning. Josh and I are both just anxious to meet her. I organized all the changing stuff yesterday into some bins and it looks really nice. Mom bought us some more Bum Genius diapers. Yay, Mom! We have 25 now so that should be ok until I need to start dropping her off at daycare. While I'm at home I can do laundry more often. They are a bit pricey up front but totally worth it. We also got some flannel and bamboo baby wipes so we can see which we like better. They are both pretty soft. A diaper sprayer came accidentally though I'd thought about buying it a few times so we just called them and had them charge us for it. We also got a pretty cool diaper pail. It has a washable liner (we got a spare), a place to put a carbon filter in the top, and a place to put deodorizing discs in it. I'm so happy to have found the Cotton Babies website and that cloth diapering has become so much easier. I read something the other day that I found disturbing. A disposable diaper takes 100 years to biodegrade so if you think about it, every single disposable diaper that has ever been used on a child is still out there. Mind boggling...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Two more weeks...please?

Roughly two more weeks until the due date. Maegwin seems to have no interest in preparing for her life at large. She is head down but happily floating there. No effacing. At least on the bright side I know doctors won't let you go more than two weeks past the due date anymore but that would put a damper on the holiday plans. We have Mom coming out on Christmas with the family here, Dad coming out the day after Christmas and then Mom #2 and Laura coming out for New Year's. I'd like some time to at least get into a little bit of a routine before then (or at least be home from the hospital :p) Ok, the fact that she is gigantic and crushing my lungs isn't helping either. The doctor estimates she will be between 7.5 and 8 pounds. I was secretly hoping for a smaller baby so that she would be a)easier to push out and b)stay tiny and cute for a little longer. Oh well, as long as she is healthy we will both be very happy.

In other news we found out at Planck's vet appointment last week that he has developed a bit of a heart murmur. Nothing too serious yet the vet says but they want to do some baseline testing so they can compare against it. Apparently it is common in the smaller dogs and many live for years without any effect. He has actually been more playful and active the last year or so than he was when we got him so I'm not too worried. I was very sad that day though and kept feeling the need to cuddle him constantly. I hope he is still with us for a very long time. I've never met such a mild mannered, sweet dog and I've had a ton in my lifetime. Never have I seen a dog so happy to occupy the bottom rung in the pack.

Things are pretty much ready for the baby to get here. We have the basinette set up. I even laid out the really pretty bunting my mom made in it. She is going to be so warm and comfy in that thing.
baby bunting in basinette
The last thing left to get is diapers which Mom is going to order tomorrow! My co-workers were kind enough to do a collection for me and got enough money to buy two things off my registry! We were so pleased. They got us the Ergo carrier (which Josh has already practiced strapping on with Planck playing the part of the baby) and the stroller base for our car seat. Yay! We also purchased a second car finally. We bought a 2010 Toyota Prius and boy do we love it. It took a while for them to locate a blue one but it was totally worth the wait. As Josh says, it's never been so much fun to drive the speed limit. We're averaging about 50 mpg highway and about 55 mpg city. Sometimes we can get it to go up to 100 mpg when we're running mostly on electric. It is amazingly roomy as well. It will be interesting to see how much overall our gasoline consumption goes down. Even though we now commute separately, we're using it for all our errands and weekend driving which is honestly where we tend to use the gas most.

I've been knitting mostly on Christmas things. I have finished up another pair of socks for Maegwin though. They are made of the same yarn as a pair I have. I'm hoping to get a photo of us both wearing them together. To give an idea of scale, Josh modeled them on his toes for me.
baby socks modeled by Josh
I'm hoping to whip up a few hats before she gets here. We had our first snow today-a gentle reminder of things to come.

I attended my last Stamp Camp sans baby and I was really pleased with how my cards came out this time. I'm excited to send everyone their Christmas cards this year. Here are a few of my favs:
christmas cards 2
christmas cards

Tomorrow we're doing the annual post-Thanksgiving yarn crawl. My mom, aunt, and I all go to as many local yarn shops as we can hit in one day. It should be fun though I probably will buy very little if anything. Yeah, I did buy a Prius...that's like my yarn budget for the next several years out there. Not to mention along with the baby coming is the reduced pay coming. It's totally worth it though to be home with her for at least a little while.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

T-minus three weeks and counting

Woohoo 37 weeks! We're getting pretty anxious for baby Maegwin to get here. She's getting really strong in there and kicking me. Sometimes I can feel her bony little heel or foot pretty clearly. We're almost prepared, basically we just need diapers. We're going to use disposable diapers for at least the first week or two since I don't want to ruin nice ones with the icky stuff. That gives us a bit more leeway on building up the Bum Genius stash. So far we have seven. All my co-workers had a shower for me and got us the Ergo baby carrier and the stroller frame to go with our car seat. I was really surprised. It was so generous of all of them. I'll miss them all while I'm out. One of my co-workers, Chris, also was purging baby stuff from his baby who is now two. We scored a swing, playmat, and cart liner for $50. I was very happy since we needed a swing and the playmat is really neat with lots of interactive things for when she is a bit older. The basinette came from Josh's family along with a tiny De La Salle sweatshirt that Josh was very happy about.

Lately I've been on a bit of a baking kick. As the weather starts to turn cooler I get excited about firing up the oven more often without worrying about it making the house too hot. I'm really into the bread making and Josh has been enjoying the fruits of my labors. I've tried whole wheat and a wheat blend loaf. I like them both and am going to try adding in some milk and honey to the next one to get a more sandwich bread kind of consistency. I also made cinnamon rolls which oddly are really easy. No more Pillsbury dough in a can or Cinnabons! I know, I know, *yawn* where are the pictures!? Well I documented my cinnamon roll making journey in steps. I used the food processor with the dough attachment to mix everything together and then rolled it out on the island (I'm better at this now and have since figured out that my silicone baking mat is awesome for dough rolling).
Once they were rolled out came the fun part. I slathered some butter on there and then coated the dough with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. I think the cardamom is the secret. It's such a neglected spice but it has an amazing flavor and just wants to be loved.
Note, the sun is now coming up in this picture. I'm glad my marble rolling pin made it in there. I love that thing. Anyone who wants to work with dough-spring for the marble, it is worth every penny! Nuts you say? Say no more!
Mmm, pecans...Then I rolled it all up and threw them into my beloved springform pan. Again, go for the glass bottom one. People always comment on it and it makes nice presentations.
And finally the icing. I made a double recipe and scraped out some vanilla from the beans we had to put in it.
Josh pronounced them the best cinnamon rolls he had ever eaten.

I'll have to post more later today, Planck has a vet appointment. We are also invited to an OSU vs. Michigan party. Now, I hate football or rather I am extremely indifferent to it. I'm treating this as more of a sociological experiment where I will observe the behavior of others. I'm just hoping a few people there will not be into the game and will talk to me. It is with all of Josh's co-workers so I don't know anyone. Otherwise, I'm packing some knitting so I can at least finish up some socks.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My first baby's birthday

Einy enjoys the sun

Yesterday was the birthday of a very special little man in my life-Einstein! 11 years ago he was born in a wood box in Stone Bluff, Indiana. A tiny scrap of a thing, weighing in at 1.5 pounds, he and his brothers and sisters were an accident litter. His mom and dad were both champion rat terrier show dogs but his dad got loose just after his mom had a litter and got her pregnant again. Sadly she was so calcium deficient she couldn't produce milk for his litter so he was bottle fed. Around the same time, the older couple who raised the dogs had a family tragedy where the husband found out he had cancer. They knew they wouldn't be able to devote the time they needed to the new pups so they sent out a call for people who could raise them. That is when I went and got my little Einy.

Through the years he has seen me through all the good and bad times of my adult life. We've lived on crackers and mustard for a while, lived in three different states, moved to countless apartments, had four dogs join/leave his pack. He's a good boy and I love him like no other. He's not so spry as he once was but he still can have spurts of puppy-like energy after a bath, when excited, or when doing naughty things with his stuffed Shamu.

Happy birthday Boo Boo!

Einstein hangs out while I browse Ravelry

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby shower & more

Two weeks ago I had a baby shower hosted by my mom and sister. I went down early to make sure that I could help out with the set up and had a very nice phone conversation with Dad on the way. He was busy shutting down an exit for a motorcycle parade or he said he would have pulled me over to talk to me. It probably would have scared me except I would have heard him talking at the same time I heard it outside, but alas he was too busy. My friend Michelle drove down with me and volunteered to help take photos. She was great.

We had quite a bit of food made by my mom and Pam and a pretty cake made by a friend of Pam's.
the spread

the cake
Everyone was very generous in the gifting for Maegwin.

the gifts

We played a few shower games-one that had questions about nursery rhymes, one on naming baby animals. Missy had planned a guess who this baby picture belongs to game but people had to start leaving fairly quickly after the eating so I settled in to unwrap. My niece Chelsea was my fabulous helper in taking the gifts and moving them over to another table as I unwrapped them.

First up-the gifts from the knitters and crocheters in the family. My aunt Lynn crocheted me three blankets, some booties, and some bibs.

My sister knit me a blanket consisting entirely of yarn she had dyed herself! She hasn't made that many things so I was super proud of her and I love it.

dyed and knit by my sister
My mom made me a fleece blanket with a silky edging that matches the nursery colors. She has also knit me a flower petal hat which I need to get photos of and a baby bunting which I'm super excited to get.

larger view
Then there was a slew of clothes in every imaginable shade of pink. Some of my favs were the organic cotton sleeper from my mom, the cute onesie and jeans from my old hairdresser Lori, the frog & duckie sleepers, and the Boppy pillow. Too many photos to put up here or this post will take forever to load. I set up an album here so you can check out all the baby goodness.

I've been busy the last few weeks with baking and holiday type things. I got into making bread and it is ridiculously easy! The kind I make can be refrigerated, takes about 15 minutes of prep time on the weekend and the rest is just letting the dough rise or rest. The dough can be refrigerated up to two weeks and you just cut off what you need and form a loaf, let that rise for forty minutes, then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Bam! Fresh bread every day. Josh and I are enchanted. Here's my first loaf I made which I thought looked pretty impressive.
first loaf
I also made marshmallows for a cookies & candies contest at my work and I won a $10 Panera gift card!
I made some pumpkin black bean soup that turned out well also. We have been experimenting with seasonal cooking, trying to make dishes that would utilize the type of produce we would be pulling from our garden at a given time. We figure that way we will be ready for next year when we can keep the critters out and expect a better harvest. We're trying to decide if growing pumpkins and other squash is worth it. I think it is and that we can definitely use them, especially since they keep for so long. The thing I love about squash is that they are so pretty you can use them to decorate your house and then pull one as you need it to eat and it is so easy to prepare. I think Maegwin will really like having some butternut squash and such next winter when she's starting to get into solid foods.

Josh has been busy putting out our winter cover-a mixture of winter rye, vetch, and austrian winter pea. We covered over all the plots with straw and I think it looks quite autumnal.

winterized plots
We got them done just before sundown which happens just after 6:30 now anyway. It was fun teaching Josh how to spread a flake of straw and what a flake was. He also poured the foundation for two of our brick compost bins that will be built in spring. All the quickcrete bags weigh 60 lbs each so I couldn't help him with all the hauling, but in big strong man style he got all 24 out there then dug tons of post holes and the foundation before mixing and pouring.
concrete man
I've been working on some knitting. I'm currently making a sweater called Presto Chango that has a detachable front panel as seen here. Mine is in yummy Blue Sky Organic Cotton in a colorway called Circus Peanut. It totally reminds me of those circus peanut candies and is aptly named.

Circus peanut sweater
I also finished up a hat for Josh for his birthday out of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply. It is super soft and I have enough to make a matching stocking cap for Maegwin. Josh really liked that idea so I'll probably whip one up soon.
finished hat

I took off work early today to get my H1N1 shot at a public health clinic. We got there forty minutes after it opened and they were already over capacity for how many shots they had. I'm starting to lose hope that I'll be able to get one before Maegwin is born which freaks me out a bit. I'll just have to keep trying but I can't afford to take time off to go possibly stand in line to maybe get a shot. Hopefully there will be more soon. So much for being in a priority group.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Things have been super busy at Le Chateau. Many of those home maintenance projects on our list are slowly making their way back off of it again. It has put us a bit thin on funds but I am very happy with how things have turned out and everything definitely needed to be done. First, we had our back porch roof redone and new gutters put on. The shingles on there were literally rotting and peeling off and the gutters were hanging oddly as well as not actually collecting any water.
I think this picture sort of gives an idea of the oddness. Note the exposed tar paper going from the slate to the flat part also. Shingles are not the right solution at all for this kind of roof since the pitch is so slight. We opted to go with a material called EPDM. It has a much longer life than shingles, is less environmentally impactful, and is a fully adhered rubber product so perfect for this type of roof. Amazingly the guys that did it (TDS2 Roofing for the locals) got it all done in one day!
First they stripped off all the shingles and cut out some of the bad wood. They couldn't find tongue & groove wood like ours so they just put in boards (I wouldn't have expected them to be able to considering they are the original woodwork).

This revealed some of the shall we say "interesting" patchwork that had happened over the years. I thought it was cool to watch them sawing. hehe

Then they hung the gutters and put down a nice decking layer over everything and put the EPDM on. I have to say, it looks a million times better and we had rain for a few days during which I didn't see a downpour of water coming out the side of the gutters. Yay! There are already a million leaves in the gutters though. We need to buy a ladder so we can get up there and clean them. The roofers also suggested a product called gutter brush that is like a huge brush that sits inside the gutters and lets water through but keeps anything solid from going down in them. We have to see where we can buy it but I definitely want it.

Our next project we tackled is getting the house scraped and painted. When we moved in supposedly the prior owners had just had the painting done. Well they didn't have it scraped or primed and only one coat was put on so it is already peeling and looking like total crap. The guys have been out a few times doing scraping and putting primer on the wood. It's all the old wood siding so they can't power wash it (did you know that wood in 1900 wasn't pressure treated?). They did a good job matching the yellow with the sample and it will be a relief to know the paint is in good shape going into winter.

We also had a wine, cheese, and chocolate party last weekend. Originally, we invited all of Josh's co-workers but only one of them showed up. I invited mine after he did but only two of them showed up. There was an OSU game that day of which we were happily oblivious so I think that is why we had such poor turnout. We spent all day cleaning up the house (I cleaned ALL the wood-a monumental task)

Josh arranged some flowers

and I even got all gussied up for the occasion as much as my limited maternity wardrobe would allow.
We had a good spread! Of course we had some antipasti-oil cured black olives, almond stuffed green olives, marinated garlic cloves, and marinated mushrooms. For cheeses we had an herb wrapped goat cheese, a medium cheese with black truffles, two kinds of brie, smoked mozarella with shaved chocolate, & Perano served with four kinds of water crackers, french bread, and Highland Oatcakes. For chocolate we had a honey & caramel milk chocolate, Toblerone, a dark chocolate with sea salt, a dark chocolate with earl grey tea, a dark chocolate with green tea, and marzipan as a palate cleanser. I think everything looked great on our new table and the table runner we found matches really well with our walls.

We had two types of organic wine, a white and a red. I can't recall the names of them since I didn't actually drink any. :( I wanted to but I was good. Even with the small guest list, the party was a great success. We played Apples to Apples and things wrapped up around 11pm. We want to start having a monthly board game night once the baby is born. Maybe when Mom wants to have Maegwin over...

Josh has been busy turning over all our garden plots this week and prepping them for the winter cover crop, a mixture of hairy vetch, winter rye, and austrian winter pea. We got two bales of straw to put out to insulate once the seeds are down. He's also going to try to pour the concrete foundation for our compost bins we will build in the spring. I have my baby shower on Sunday and Saturday we have our birthing classes. It should be a busy weekend!

We have already begun to receive baby gifts from the family in California. All the great aunts, uncles, and grandparents went together to buy us the crib we registered for. Josh put it together after some minor setbacks...
Einstein checked out the other baby goodies while he worked and I think he is convinced the baby tub must be for him. Oh the rude awakening that shall come!

My poor little boy, he's getting too old for this.
After getting it together we realized we have no sheets and I didn't register for any. Oops! We also got the car seat, extra base, food mill, bath thermometer, and baby food puree recipe book from Mom & Kevin in California. Hopefully after the shower this weekend we shouldn't have a ton more to buy. My mom asked what we wanted and I told her diapers. Not glamorous I know, but we will use them everyday and think of her. Plus though Bum Genius are cheaper over the life of the baby it is certainly a bigger up front outlay of cash. More after Sunday!