Thursday, January 28, 2010

This nap powered by vitamin D

getting some vitamin D

Prepping for the party

Josh had toe issues last week so we didn't get all the cleaning we wanted to done for the party this weekend. I have to work on it today and I'm hoping Maegwin will stay asleep or be happy in the Ergo. I managed to get a great shot of her gazing at Daddy in her new bunny hat though and I wanted to share it with everyone. We think she looks very impish and happy in it.
snuggling with daddy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Squash-the unloved vegetable

I've been trying to come up with recipes that will use butternut squash. Since we plan on growing it in our garden this year and it will be a staple during the fall and winter I want to make sure we use it. I think it is sad that not everyone eats squash. What other vegetable can be a living piece of artwork for months and when you finally decide you're tired of looking at its beautiful outsides you can eat its delicious innards? It's the hardest working vegetable in show business! Since the family has started reading my blog and I actually have a few other readers I thought I would share my two favorite recipes for butternut squash:
butternut squash pancakes
Butternut Squash Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup buttermilk (additional to thin as needed)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup butternut squash, grated

Steam butternut squash in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir together all ingredients. Add additional buttermilk as needed to get batter to proper consistency. I go for pourable but still fairly thick. We like to have these with peanut butter and maple syrup but they are also great with just a little bit of honey.

Vanilla Butternut Squash Cake

for the cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 Tbs distilled white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup buttermilk
2-3 cups butternut squash (I use roughly half an average sized squash), grated

for the icing:
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs buttermilk, more as needed to get consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
crystallized ginger to decorate

Preheat oven to 350, grease a bundt pan.
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time mixing well for each. Add vinegar and vanilla and mix again until just combined. Add half the flour and baking soda, salt, and spices, mixing on low until combined. Ad dhalf the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Be careful here, for some reason it always splashes me so take it slow. Add the other half of the flour and repeat. Add the other half the buttermilk and repeat. Stir in the squash and transfer to the bundt pan. Bake until toothpick in center comes out clean. Allow to cool and transfer to serving plate or cake saver.

Make the icing
In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, spices, and salt until smooth. Add more buttermilk as needed to get a smooth, pourable, but still thick icing. Pour over cake. Sprinkle with the crystallized ginger to decorate.

You can refrigerate the cake for up to a week and it goes great with coffee!

We've started something new with Maegwin at bathtime. She really hated her baths so some of the ladies on my new moms board of Ravelry suggested we take her in the tub with us to build her confidence. She really seems to like that better and spends time kicking in the water and floating with us holding up her head.
baby belly

I finished up two knitting projects this weekend. One was the scarf for my mom. I only ended up using two skeins of my yarn and got a 58" scarf out of it. There is still some left that I could probably use for a hat or legwarmers for Maegwin.
Taliesin scarf complete
I want to get some modeled shots but it has been rainy and crappy the last few days so hopefully those will follow soon.
The other project was a quick knit from Itty Bitty Hats called the bunny tail hat. I omitted the tail and worked it in a variegated yarn. I only knit 5 1/2 inches for the hat in the 0-6 month size before I started the ears.
what is this
Maegwin didn't want to hold still so I got a blurry but cute picture of her as well.
Bunny in motion

We've been enjoying Josh having three day weekends. Not really doing anything, just hanging out at home. It gives us a good chance to mix some bottles into the feeding rotation. She is hit or miss about liking them and has drunk anywhere from 1 oz to 2.5 oz depending. We're planning to have people over this weekend for board game night and I have stamp camp earlier in the day so it will be a very busy Saturday.

In other family news my grandmother on my mom's side, Eleanor, passed away on Sunday. She had an abdominal aortic aneurysm before Christmas that she was going in to have surgically fixed. That went fine but while in there they nicked another artery and had to go back in. AFter that from what I understand various complications ensued, eventually ending with her kidneys shutting down and her being on a ventilator. They decided to take her off the ventilator on Sunday and she passed away shortly after. I hadn't been super close with her in more recent years but I know it was an ordeal for my mom. She is off on leave until Wednesday and I think will be coming up to see the baby. Hopefully a bit of grandbaby time will cheer her up.

My last fav shot of Maegwin is one from the other night. I laid her in the bed while I was making it and the covers landed perfectly over her. She managed to leave a nice big drool puddle on my pillow in the meantime. :)
in the big bed

Friday, January 22, 2010

Five weeks old

Baby Maegwin is five weeks old today. I can hardly believe I'm already halfway through my leave and I know it will be hard to take her to daycare. I do miss going to work and interacting with my co-workers but sorry guys, she out-cutes you. Barring winning the lottery or randomly coming into some money we can only afford for me to take ten weeks of my leave instead of the full twelve. I'm trying not to be disappointed about it. I know many people don't get any time off at all so I should count myself lucky. Even with insurance though those hospital bills are nutty. Doable, but nutty. I honestly don't know how people afford to have kids who don't have insurance. :p

This week Maegwin seems to really be getting into playing and lifting her head. She also loves music. I've put on Bob Marley and Nina Simone, both of which she enjoys and looks around for the source of or falls asleep to. Last night when Josh was singing to her we got our first very spontaneous smile. It was so cute!! Unfortunately capturing the newborn smile on film is like hunting a wild animal. I will succeed eventually but that first one was a total surprise so I wasn't armed with my camera. Here are the latest play mat photos though:

Contemplating the zebra tail
hmm zebra tail

Lifting that cute little noggin
head lift

Reaching for the monkey
reaching for monkey

All the photos feature a cardigan I just finished knitting for her. It has been my go to layer when I just want her in a onesie around the house. She gets a little cold but not enough to wear a full on sleeper. She is sort of a hot baby which she definitely gets from her daddy not me. I am perpetually cold. I used Blue Sky organic cotton yarn in a color aptly named Circus Peanut. I made the three month old size, intending for it to fit her when she started daycare. It fits her now instead. hehe I'm really glad I seamed it up early and tried it on her or it might not have got any wear at all. Luckily the hoodie I had started for her is in the 3-6 month size so it should fit her for a little longer and give me time to finish knitting it.

The scarf I'm making for Mom is almost done. A bit after Christmas but hey, it's the thought that counts. I was a wee bit busy at the time. I'm probably going to give it to her without buttons or have her help me pick them out. I want them to be something she likes. I was thinking either wood or shell buttons but can't decide and it would make it a more dressy or casual scarf depending on the choice. It is so soft and warm though. I wrapped it around my neck last night to decide if it was long enough at 56". The pattern calls for knitting to 60" but I think this is the perfect length once I put on button holes and add another inch after that. It will leave enough yarn for her to make handwarmers if she wants to match it.

We got some of our seeds for the garden this year. The rest of them and the seed potatoes, leeks, and onions are on backorder. They typically send them closer to planting time so probably not until April. We can't wait to get back out there. This year if we can we want to put in raised beds which should take only a minimal investment of some lumber and top soil. All our neighbors swear they will keep the critters out which was our main issue last year. I hope so because we are really planning a lot. Once I get some time I will draw out a diagram and put it up for everyone to see. Right now the winter rye is out there growing away despite the cold.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mostly better

Things are mostly better today though Maegwin & I were up until about 2:30 last night. I think she may not like hot chocolate. I'm going to see tonight by avoiding it. We also switched to having a salad late at night and it might be too much roughage for her. I'm hoping that isn't it because I'm really enjoying eating them and my own stomach feels so much better having moved back toward what we normally eat. She had a nice long nap after her morning feeding though. I was trimming her nails and accidentally caught some skin in the clippers. It was bleeding a bit and I felt horrible. I iced it until it stopped and she fell asleep once she stopped crying. She has been sleeping so well on her tummy today that I'm going to do that for her naps from now on. I know I'm supposed to put her on her back but she really hates it. If I do that I have to carry her around because she will start bawling as soon as I lay her down. During her nap I managed to get the dishes done, a load of her diapers through the wash and laid out to dry, my desk cleaned off, and some documents shredded that I've had in a pile forever.

We also played some on the mat. I alternated putting her on her tummy and on her back so she could see the mat and all the fun things hanging above it. She is doing really well reaching for things. She was hitting this little spinning disc thing that has monkeys on it and batting at the toucan. I got some great shots of her.

Observing the toucan while hitting the monkey disc:
happy playing

Batting at the toucan:
hitting the toucan

I also took a video of her yesterday while she was sleeping. I really love the little sounds she makes and her tiny gassy smiles. I can't wait until she smiles for real.

Today is my 32nd birthday and I couldn't be happier with where things are. We probably aren't doing anything special but my co-workers called to wish me happy birthday on speaker phone. It was nice to hear from them. I love being home with the baby but I miss having some other social interaction. Maybe I'll make some apple crisp and use up all the extra apples we have in the house. It doesn't have to be a cake and I'm not putting 32 candles in it anyway. :P

Planck is doing much better and I'm slowly mixing back in his regular food with rice. No more throwing up. Einstein has strained something in his right front leg and has been limping around for two days. He's slowly putting more weight on it but I was worried I'd have to take him to the vet for a very expensive set of x-rays, etc. Josh and I have been making sure we pick him up to put him anywhere he might want to jump to and carrying him outside to go potty. With all the ice around he probably slipped while he was out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rough Night

We had a pretty rough night here with the baby. Maegwin spit up quite a bit last night which she hasn't really done up until now. She also nursed like crazy from about midnight until 2:30 am. She was fairly inconsolable and finally fell asleep around 3. We had changed her at some point and didn't fully tighten her diaper so it all leaked out around one leg while she was in the bed with us. Thanks for that waterproof mattress pad Mom & Kevin! At least now I just have to wash sheets. As if that wasn't enough, just as I was finally falling asleep Planck emerged from the blankets, drank some water, and vomited all over my pillow. Josh and I contained the mess and luckily I already had a towel down for all the spit up/etc. He seemed ok afterwards so he snuggled up against my back and I got an alternate pillow. An hour later at 4 am I was awakened to him puking all over my back. At that point I decided to give up on sleeping anymore, got up and took my shower, and threw more towels down until Josh woke up. Maegwin has since been extremely clingy and anytime I try to lay her down after she falls asleep she starts bawling. I'm going to put her in the Ergo soon so I can maybe work on getting the kitchen cleaned up. Oh and while I was in the bathroom a bit later Planck got up on my computer chair and vomited all over it. Sigh, some mornings are just like that. I'm going to keep him on water only for the next day and see if he improves. If so we'll add in some rice for him. I'm dreading breakfast though when I feed the other two and he doesn't get anything.

We've had lots of snow here over the last week...apparently as soon as our visitors went home so they couldn't enjoy it. Probably for the best though as the temperatures have been in the single digits or teens until yesterday. It made for some very pretty icicles along our gutters.

We found a daycare for Maegwin so I'm going to have my first day back at work on March 1st. Just in time for close, but hopefully I won't have to work long hours. At least now I can do entries from home if I need to. In anticipation we've been working a lot with Maegwin on tummy time and going down for naps in her bassinet. She much prefers the swing but I think they always put babies down in their cribs for naps. Tummy time is very tiring.
tummy time is tiring

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The knitting continues apace & visits from California

We had a great visit with Mom and Laura when they came out from California. I realized that I took absolutely no pictures with my camera! They took quite a few but put them up on Snapfish. Luckily I made an account years ago that I had to get the password reset for. Josh & Laura went out on one of the less cold days and made a snowman in the backyard. It was tiny but he is still out there standing vigil at our firepit.

They explored the backyard and went down to the creek.  I was inside the whole time with Maegwin but I really love this picture of brother and sister.  :)  I know Josh has missed hanging out with her.  As you can see, there is definitely ice in there.  We had a few three degree mornings so I wouldn't be surprised if it was completely frozen now.  I have not ventured out beyond the car area so I have no clue.

We went out to see my mom and stepdad on New Year's Eve and they took some photos of all of us.  I think Maegwin's new grandma might kind of like her.

Oh and I have to remember to stop turning sideways in photos until the baby belly is completely gone.  :P  Oh well how I look two weeks after delivery can be preserved for posterity.

Our dvd player finally crapped out after our guests left luckily.  I guess it couldn't take anymore.  We had it for several years and bought it for cheap so we got what we paid for.  Now I just have to figure out how to do my yoga dvd in the dining room with the table there.  sigh.

Maegwin had her first well baby visit this week and she is up to 9 lbs 9 oz and 22.5 inches long.  She's definitely growing although she has a bit of diaper rash.  I'm waiting for our liners I ordered to get here since we can't use diaper creams directly with the cloth diapers.  It ruins the absorbency.  I uploaded some cute video today of her.  She has been doing amazing with tummy time.  She picks her head up and is so strong she can scoot totally off her blanket when she has something to push against.  We think she will probably be an early crawler.  I've also discovered that cabbage and cheese don't sit well with her.  We've resolved to drastically reduce cheese in our diet.  We had kind of been straying more towards it because it was easy but we need to get back to eating more steamed vegetables and salads like we used to.  She doesn't need all that junk and neither do I.

The dogs are really settling in with her.  They often snuggle while she is napping.  Cordova likes to stand guard.
you're getting sleepy
Planck just likes to cuddle and sleep.
Planck snoozing with Maegwin
Einstein just likes to do his own thing. He has been having some problems with his legs lately so he just lays around in his clothes bin mostly. I think winters are hard on his joints.

I knit up a quick pair of baby mittens for the cold days we have to venture out. Since we are interviewing daycares this week I think she'll get a lot of wear out of these.
baby mittens
The yarn is Craftsmeow Banana Split II in a colorway called Cherry Freeze. I have made some socks from the same skein of yarn also. The background is my Taliesin test knit scarf that is now almost 20 inches long. I'm getting a ton of knitting out of one skein. I'm only about halfway through it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2010 everyone! I'm very excited about the new year and new baby. This year will be seven years since my husband and I met, my 32nd birthday, our three year/two year anniversary (depends on which one you count), and we've been in our house for a year. So many great things happened so quickly.

Today we are all just chilling out at the house. The snow is falling gently outside and the temperature is about 22 degrees. Brr! We've been re-watching Star Wars with Laura and plan to see the new Harry Potter movie later on. Maegwin is being a super good baby as usual all snuggled up in her bunting. What makes a baby more perfect? Wrapping them in silk and cashmere I say!
in the bunting

Yesterday we went out to Mom's house and visited for a bit. Sadly our lack of foresight meant we all went without lunch. Maegwin actually handled the hour and a half car ride well until we hit the city limit of Urbana and then she started wailing. At least it was only a few minutes' drive to Mom's at that point and the poor thing hadn't eaten for three and a half hours since I was the last one to get a shower and get ready. We were also going to stop and see Dad but they had plans to go bowling at 4:30 and we didn't get out of the house as early as I wanted to so we had to nix that. Ah well, I'm sure we'll get out to his house soon.

I've finished about 12 inches on my scarf for Mom. It may not even be that belated of a Christmas gift after all. I'm getting an amazing amount of knitting done with a grandma who is motivated to hold her first grandbaby. :) I don't mind the break at all. If I can finish the scarf I might even get to my brother-in-law's socks. I have all of like two inches done on them so far.

This year I'm participating in a stashdown contest with a group on Ravelry called Yarn Snobs. I've been a member for a while now and really love the camraderie. The idea is that we track our yardage in and out-counting yarn in when we buy/receive it and yarn out when we finish a knitted object completely. There are prizes for most yardage out, best ratio, and zero yardage in. I'm not a huge yarn purchaser but I like the fun of tracking how much I actually knit. I think I'm getting a bit faster and it's nice to have concrete evidence of it. It is also helping motivate me to finish up some stalled projects. I have a pair of socks for me that I haven't worked on in months and I actually took them out the other day and started knitting on them again. We'll see how I do, so far so good though. I also weighed myself at Mom's last night and I'm within five pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight so I definitely want to start knitting some of the sweaters I had planned before I got pregnant. I was super happy to discover that though. My original goal was to be back in shape by the family reunion in August but I might be able to step that up a bit.

Hope you all have a restful and fun New Year's day!
sleeping in the swing