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!