Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!



And, yes, it was still snowing this morning. I do love watching it fall.




We just had a few presents under the Christmas tree this morning, since all the grandparent presents were conveniently stored at the grandparents' home (at Hubby's parents' home) where we were supposed to be. However, Anna sured scored big.

Since she often "borrows" this from friends, we thought it would be best that she had her own.


And this was the gift that I was the most proud of. It started as a somewhat beat-up white rocking horse with dingy yarn hair and tail. Quite the improvement, don't you think? And I'm not just talking about the really cute equestrian. It was too big to take with us if we had traveled, but since we didn't go anywhere, Anna was able to find it under (or next to) the tree, which made me very happy.



Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 22, 2008

(Please Don't) Let it Snow!

I love snow. Really, I do. Even despite dire predictions of friends in Utah that I would soon tire of it (I was from California and therefore only liked snow because it was a novelty), I still love snow. And then this last weekend happened. This is the view from our window as of this morning.


And here is the view of the park from our roof deck.


Over the last few days we have gotten over a half a foot of snow. And it sure is beautiful. There are, however, just a few problems. First, church was canceled (yes, we here in the greater Seattle area are pansies). Second, there are no tire chains to be had, "not even for ready money"(Act I, scene 1). Third, there is not deicing salt to be had. Forth, and by far the worst, we've had to cancel our Christmas travel plans. Yes, that's right. We were planning on spending Christmas with my in-laws, but with deep (ok, ok, we're pansies) snow here and very icy roads there and no chains to be had for our new car, we just can't risk it. I am very disappointed as this was to be the first Christmas we spent with them. However, I am excited to have Christmas on our own, if only because Anna's present was too big to travel with us if we had gone. I can't wait to see her face when she comes into the living room and sees it sitting under the tree. So, I'm a little mad at snow right now. You know, the kind of mad you get with someone you love, where it doesn't change how you feel about them, but you are still angry with what they did. I still love snow. The crunch of booted feet...

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... the chill and brightness of the air, the way snow sits on everything that stays still for even a moment, and most of all, the way it falls so gracefully to the ground.

Merry Christmas and may you all travel safetly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mange ton gateau!

"Let them eat cake." If that doesn't just sum up the French, I don't know what does. France and anything French is near and dear to my heart ever since I was able to live there as a missionary (I've been home 5 years!). Luckily for me, there are four other sisters in my ward that also served French speaking missions and so we try to get together once a month to indulge in a French menu and speak in French. Today was our Christmas celebration.

My assignment (self-imposed, I must admit) was to make the Buche de Noel, or Yule log cake. And I had a little too much fun.





I found this recipe on Epicurious.com and it sounded wonderful. Really, who wouldn't love a nice sponge cake with marzipan cream filling, ganache (basically pure chocolate) frosting, and cute little marzipan mushrooms? While the recipe wasn't all that hard, I did have to make the frosting twice. Word of advice: always use a double boiler for melting chocolate even if the recipe says otherwise! The cake tasted wonderful, even if I did forget to buy flour and ended up making the cake with mostly whole wheat flour. In the end, the cake was a success and I was successful in sending cake home with everyone, "for the husbands" (wink, wink).

Making this cake was very good for me. I love being successful and creating things, whether it be food, knitting, or otherwise. I was giddy when I went to bed last night after finally getting the frosting on and couldn't wait to show the finished product to my friends. President Uchtdorf, of the First Presidency of the LDS church, had it right when he spoke to the Sisters of the church this last October. Creation does bring "deep satisfaction and fullfilment". Creating this cake has certainly made my week, and even perhaps my Christmas season. Well, perhaps not as much as Anna's Christmas present, but I'll post about that once it is finished and Anna has claimed it as hers.

Merry Christmas and don't forget to eat cake!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Musings of an Obsessed Knitter: Knitting and Twilight

When you are obsessed with something, you find your mind inserting it into daily life, your thoughts, and your actions. Take Twilight, for example. I'm not really all that fond of the book (it's the only one of the series I've read), but with all the hype about the movie I've been thinking a lot about the story and one thing that keeps coming to mind is the vampires' amazing reflexes. For example, Edward drives at insane speeds when taking Bella back to Forks from Port Angeles all the while avoiding other cars, trees and not ending up at the bottom of Lake Cresent.

How does this apply to knitting, you may wonder? Well, my mind, which is obsessed with knitting, keeps asking itself what whould happen if vampires knitted. What would happen? I would assume that they would be incredibly fast knitters and never make a mistake no matter how hard the project is. Hopefully, that wouldn't take the joy out of knitting.

Then again, perhaps if a knitter became a vampire, it would become their special talent, like Alice's second sight. I could just see their "bedroom" walls piled high with the largest yarn stash that you have ever seen. There would be piles of knitted afghans, shawls, scarves, sweaters etc lying all over the place. And the hospital in Forks, and every hospital on the Olympic Peninsula, would have more than enough knitted infant hats, chemo hats, receiving blankets, etc.
So, am I crazy or what? Perhaps my current project is just too hypnotic...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mathias, Wonder Boy

As all newborns do, Mathias has been growing and developing with lightning speed. His smiles are adorable, he is almost starting to laugh, he is starting to sleep more at night, and he nurses well and has a noticable affinity to his thumb.

Mathias is a big boy. He started big and has kept up the pace ever since. At his first doctor visit at a week old, he had gained 12 ounces over his birth weight. And then came his two month visit. Let me state that Mathias is not chubby, despite what his weight may imply, but he weighed in at 15 pounds and 11 ounces. When his pediatrician took a look at him, she thought she was playing it safe by asking if he was four months old. She thought he might be six months! He is just a large little boy. (And no, I don't feed him straight cream.)

As you can see, he has already reached the limits of his bassinet.


We just borrowed another bassinet from a friend so that we don't have to move him to a crib and into Anna's room. I'm just not ready for that!

On another note, Mathias has begun sucking his thumb with a vengence. He sucks his thumb when he is in bed.

He sucks his thumb at play.


I'm still not quite sure how I feel about thumb sucking. I remember vividly the struggle my parents had trying to get one of my brothers to stop and there is always the concern of dental issues. At the same time, what a great self soother. He can never lose a thumb like you can a pacifier!

We are so proud of our little boy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What to write?

Well, it has been some time since I've posted, but not because of lack of subject matter. I just can't seem to find a time when both kids are asleep and I have nothing better to do. And now that the planets have aligned and my children are asleep, there aren't many dishes in the sink, and I am somehow able to restrain myself from knitting, I can't decide what to write about. Let's see, there's how much I love Picasa (I've always wanted to hyperlink text!), a thumbsucking little boy, Christmas baking, a little boy who is almost 16 pounds at 2 months, a little girl who says "Dude" (still need to get the video for that one), Mathias' blessing, sleeping, long overdue pesto recipes and the list goes on and on.

Perhaps I should just go through the list I just wrote in the order I wrote it? I'll start with Picasa. (If you see something there that you would like to hear about sooner, please let me know and I will do my best.)

A few weeks ago, I went to open Picasa to do some more organizing, or perhaps to indulge one certain narcissist toddler, and was informed that there was an update available. Ok, sure. I always takes updates, even if they do mess up my computer sometimes. But this was no ordinary update. This was the introduction of Picasa 3.

Now, you must keep in mind that I'm a geek. When something new comes along, like a cell phone, camera, or computer program, I start exploring. I love discovering how things work and how to do what I want/need to do. This time was no different. I sucessfully managed to ignore children and Hubby while I checked out all the new buttons. Of course, many of the things that thrill me about the new version were probably there in the old, but I just didn't notice them. Here are some of the things that thrill me:

Albums. I had no idea that I could organize photos and videos into albums. No more scrolling through everything to find a video for my narcissist toddler!

Collages. My desktop will never be the same.


Uploading. Photos are automatically organized into albums and then it tells you how many photos are online. Then I can just press a button and any new photos I add to the album will be added to my web album as well!

Well, I could go on and on, but I won't. There is still more to discover and I do want to get some knitting done before a hungry little boy decides that 16 pounds just isn't enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sleep like a baby

Since Mathias was born, Anna has had a few sleeping issues, such as waking up way too early, not sleeping long enough during her naps, and having trouble going to sleep at night. While this can be rather frustrating at times and rather exhausting, it can give us a good laugh from time to time.

Here is Anna waking up in the middle of her nap yesterday (she went back to bed and slept for another hour, thank goodness).


And then early this morning I went out to go to the bathroom and noticed that Anna's bedroom door was open, a sure sign that she is not in bed. Our bedroom door had not been opened, so the only other place that I could think to look for her was here:


Yes, Anna is sleeping in the laundry hamper. That is one of her hiding places when she doesn't want to go back to bed, or get clothes on, or ... I just knew I would find her sleeping in there some morning, and this was the morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween, finally

Sorry it has taken me so long to post about Halloween. Honestly, it was the amount of information and pictures that stalled me. With so many activities, there are too many pictures that need to be shown and it can be daunting to try and show them all. So, here goes...

It all began with the costume. A week before Halloween we had our church Trunk or Treat activity and we did not have a costume for Anna. We tried looking at DI for something used, but I just couldn't justify the cost. Then I had the most brilliant idea. Anna has a set of "piggy" pjs and all I would have to do to complete the outfit would be to make a set of knitted "piggy" ears for her to wear on her head. Instant costume! And super cheap, since I already had pink yarn that I could use.


So, Anna woke up from her nap the day of the activity and was able to put on her set of "piggy" ears. (She now asks to wear them almost every time we leave the house. Sigh.)

At the Trunk or Treat, Anna refused to say anything. Not a "thank you" or "trick-or-treat" to be had, though she had proved herself an expert in the car. However, she very quickly understood that all she had to do was hold her bag up and she would receive a treat. Why go to all the effort of saying something?


We returned home and Anna had her very first taste of Halloween candy, which she enjoyed very much. Mathias did very well the whole evening in the sling, but no one was able to see his cute lederhosen. Here he poses with Anna while she eats her candy.


The next Tuesday, we went pumpkin hunting. We found some great pumpkins, if you ask me, including the one I was carrying.


The pumpkins were dutifully carved, though Anna did not like to touch the inside and spent most of the time eating her candy instead of helping Grandma cut out the face. But she did enjoy playing with the little battery operated tea lights Grandma brought!


If I say so myself, I picked a great pumpkin for myself (not shown) that made some pretty amazing pumpkin puree. We're going to have some great pies for Thanksgiving!

Finally Halloween night arrived and we celebrated by taking Anna trick-or-treating at the local businesses. Once again, she refused to talk to strangers (not a bad thing, I suppose) and simply held her bag out to be filled. Here, she got to pick out her own piece of candy.


Whew. There it is. Our Halloween was quite fun and full of candy. My mission for next year? Teach Anna to pick the kinds of candy I like to eat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting

Last night Hubby and I stayed up late, not because Mathias didn't want to go to sleep (he didn't) but because there was a voter's pamphlet that need to be studied. The entire time, I had the unsettling feeling that I was studying for a test and was woefully unprepared. I really don't get politics, don't know how to educate myself on key issues, and, unfortunately, don't care enough to do so. Yes, I know I should be a good citizen and know the issues, but where does one find the time? And with the media so skewed one direction or the other, how does one find the truth?

In any case, the deed is done and my vote is cast. I must admit, on one county amendment that came on the ballot, I voted "No" simply because it would make an appointed position in the county an elected one. I.E. one more decision I would have to make at a future election. Is that bad?

As we walked home from the polls, I mentioned my feelings to Hubby and he commented that, yes, it did feel like taking a test, but there is no score posted as you leave the building. And, honestly, because we don't get the newspaper, I will probably not hear how half of the things I voted for turn out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Before and After

Last week after giving Mathias a bath, we were given a reason to laugh.

So, here is me toweling him off. See the look on his face?



Now, this is what he was doing while my mom was taking the picture. No, none of the wetness is from me and no, most of the wetness is not a result of giving a child a bath.



It only looks like I peed my pants, but it was someone else doing the peeing.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cloth Diapers and the Reason for Green

Though I threatened to start with Anna, I just couldn't bring myself to use cloth diapers, until now. Over a week ago, I overcame my fear of buying the "wrong" prefolds and covers and took the plunge. And I must say, I'm pretty happy with it! The prefolds are easy to put on (thanks to a Snappi) and the covers that I bought do a wonderful job of holding everything in. We haven't had a poop stain on Mathias' clothes yet! I also made, with the help of my mom, many cloth diaper wipes which work amazingly well. Most importantly, Mathias looks great in them.



Now comes the big question: Why? Why do I want to use cloth diapers? There are several questions that one could ask me that would fall in this catagory. Why do I use cloth bags at the grocery store? Why do I save my produce bags and reuse them? Why do I recycle my food waste? Because I'm crazy? Unfortunately, the only response to those questions that I can think of is "Why not?". I have spent time thinking about why I do the green things I do and it is not because I am passionate about saving our environment. I was just fine not doing those things before. I do those things because I can.

Here in Seattle, there is a significant portion of the population that actively seeks to have a "green" lifestyle. I was quite astonished when we moved here by what people do and talk about. And here I thought that my neighborhood in California was pretty progressive because we had recycling. I didn't even know that I had a "carbon footprint" until I had lived her for a year or two. In any case, the city of Seattle makes it easy to be green. I can take the bus just about anywhere. I can put my food scraps in our yard waste container to be made into compost (which is then used by the city to fertilize all their landscaping and is also sold fairly cheaply at the store). I can buy cheap cloth bags at the grocery store and then get a bag refund each time I use them. So, why not? It's easy enough.

To end a long musing, I like being green. And though it may be easy right now, I don't plan on stopping if/when it gets harder (ie we move). It makes me feel good that I am doing things to help our environment even though I don't go overboard doing so (at least in comparison to some that I know). So, here's to green and cloth diapers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Got Milk?

The other day, my sister-in-law asked me what the perks of having two children were. Not only was this a great reminder to look for the positive in this experience, but among the perks I thought of, I was reminded of how much I love nursing. Sure, nursing a baby can be frustrating, exhausting, painful, and time consuming, but I still love it.

Granted, I have been blessed to have an easy time breastfeeding. Anna didn't give me all that many problems nursing and Mathias has been that much easier. Mathias does frustrate me by falling asleep and not eating as much as I think that he should, but he certainly doesn't look like he is not getting enough, now does he?


It is hard to pin down exactly why I enjoy nursing so much, but I think it comes down to two things. First, I love the closeness I feel with my child as I nurse. To sit there looking down on my child's face as he contently nurses brings me such joy. That may be from the hormones, but I'll take it any way it comes. Second, nursing is something only I can do for my children. Hubby can't do it, no matter how many times I ask him to take care of a night time feeding. Grandma can't do it, no matter how much advice she gives. Anna can't do it, though she does like helping me pump when he doesn't eat "enough". It is a job for me alone to do and being able to do it brings a lot of satisfaction, especially as they gain weight and I know it is all from me.

Now, I know that not everyone can nurse or that people choose not to nurse for very long or at all, and I respect that. But for me, nursing brings me so much fulfillment as a woman that I will continue to nurse for as long as my children want to, within reason.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What I have learned...

I have now been the mother of two for a week and I just have to share what I have learned from this experience. Please be advised that there will be talk of "bodily" functions, but nothing that will turn your stomach.

1. The first child will learn/regress to an action that makes life more difficult, like learning to open one's bedroom door and not wanting to go to bed peacefully.

2. It is possible to have one's milk come in and not have problems with engorgement.

3. It is possible for a baby to lose weight at the hospital and still weigh 12 oz more than his birth weight after one week. See #2.

4. Being woken up in the middle of the night is no longer a novelty.

5. A bedtime of 8:30 sounds so appealing.

6. All babies are potentially dangerous during diaper changes.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but it sure sums up this first week. Thank goodness for grandmas!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Welcome to Mathias Daniel!

The time finally came and our first son made his appearance on September 30th at 2:20 am. He was 9 lbs 8 oz and 23 inches tall. Everyone is doing well and we are all happy to be home!


Anna seems to be doing well adjusting to her baby brother, but we'll see how long that lasts. She does, however, often ask to hold him.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter

Before Anna was born, my mother gave me a dress my grandmother had made me when I was two. Along with it, I received a picture frame with a picture of me wearing it as well as an empty frame in which to put a picture of Anna when the time came. A week or so ago, I happened to be putting one of Anna's dresses in her closet next to this dress and realized that they were the same size! That very next Sunday, Anna wore my dress to church. Isn't she cute?

Now, I think this is a pretty cute picture of me, but my husband says that Anna is much cuter. What am I supposed to think of that?
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Monday, September 1, 2008

An Acceptable Addiction

I have a confession: I'm addicted. Badly addicted. And I don't feel bad about it. And don't tell me that I need to stop knitting, or so help me...

So, you might ask, what is a good little Mormon girl doing justifying an addiction? Well, knitting is such a release for me and I love being productive with my time. I just love knitting. To see my hands creating garments, toys, and anything I want from needles and yarn gives me such a sense of accomplishment. My knitting makes me feel special and different; it is something that brings me joy.

The other day, I was reading on Ravelry forums (a knitting geek website) about knitting and feminism, and Ravelry member leTonBeau had the most beautiful retort to those that consider knitting anti-feminist, despite the poor wording. She said "My personal feminist/ craft rant is that to consider in “traditional women’s work” is anti-feminist is to deny the worth of the women who came before us and did it out of necessicity rather than choice." I certainly don't knit because I have to and I don't knit because it is considered a "womanly" thing to do. I knit because I enjoy it.

Ok, I need to stop rambling, so I'll just end with a few pictures of projects I have finished recently.

This is Hitty, a doll Anna will be getting for her birthday in a few weeks. I'm working on making some more clothes for her.


This is a poncho that I made for a friend and her new baby. I've made this poncho several times and absolutely love it. I made a few changes this time just to make it more interesting.


This was my very first lace project and I was very pleased with how it turned out. Unfortunately, I just used yarn from my "stash" and I didn't have any good colors to choose from, so it is a nice, lovely brown.


Thanks for letting me rant and show off my knitting!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For the Bounty of the Earth

We live in such a beautiful world! Last Thursday, I picked up two bundles of basil from the farmers' market (Oh, how long I have waited for this day!) and picked at least a bundle's worth from a pot in our garden. That night, we had pesto for dinner, and even better than that, made seven more batches of pesto to put into our freezer for the winter.

While Hubby worked on the pesto, I took a large bowl out behind our building with a stepstool and got to work picking blackberries. Since they hadn't been picked since before I left on our vacation, there were tons of super ripe berries just falling off into my hands. I ended up with twelve cups of blackberries and about half that much in juice and puree after I had seeded them, just enough for two batches of freezer jam.

The whole time that we were working on making pesto and picking blackberries, I couldn't help but be grateful for the bounty that the Lord puts on this earth and for the desire that I had to take advantage of it. Once again, we won't have to buy jam for another year (especially since I've made another batch since and have enough juice for one more) and I certainly won't be tempted to buy pesto, or even basil, from the grocery store. We'll certainly be making more pesto while the market still has basil and with the jam and pesto, we'll be eating summer all year long.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Week to remember

For the past week, Anna and I have been off galavanting in Oregon while Hubby stayed at home to keep down the fort. And quite the week we had!

First, Anna's favorite single aunt wanted to take her to the beach. There we enjoyed lots of wet sand, cold water and good company.






video
Anna "helped" her aunt by demolishing all the sand towers she could possibly make. If you listen hard to the video, you might just hear Anna say "Helping!" while scurrying from tower to tower.

Anna got some sand on her leg. While that might be normal for the beach, Anna did not think so and held her leg up hoping that we would clean it off for her.

After the beach became too cold to handle, we went back to Grandma's house, with a short stop at a farm stand that had a few goats, bunnies, and chickens. Anna had a lot of fun feeding the goat.












Here's our little sunflower!


After the weekend, Aunt, Anna and I went to the Portland Children's Museum, which is next to the Zoo (Can I just say I love Cultural Passes?!). There, Anna got to color, play with clay, trains and balls, "drive" an ambulance, and dig. All the while, her aunt and I were running trying to keep up with her. Well, her aunt was running; I was trying to sit down as much as possible. What a great time she had.





Digging!







Our last day there was the opening day of the County Fair and we just had to go. We had a busy day looking at all the cows, goats, sheep, poultry, llamas, and rabbits. And that was after getting cheesecakes ready to enter into the daily contest (we didn't win, but we did get in for free!). While the highlight for Anna was probably all the animals, or the ice cream, my highlight was seeing this:




This was the very first year I have ever entered anything in the fair, and I won! I entered a sourdough loaf (Thank you to the Bogardus family for the recipe and the sourdough start!) that I didn't think turned out that well, but it won. Of course, I had entered it into the sourdough section and there were only two other entries. I got to taste the other two, and mine certainly was the most sour of the group and my mother-in-law just raved about the texture (I thought it was a little lacking). To say the least, I was very proud of my accomplishment and maybe I'll be able to enter more in the future. I am getting better at making 100% whole wheat hearth bread...
So, now we are home and glad to be there. But it was a wonderful vacation!
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Green Thumb

Because of pregnancy and the distance we had to travel to garden, we decided to garden at home this summer. This, of course, is rather limiting since we live in an apartment and have to use containers to garden. However, we have a few containers up on the roof deck of our building (it certainly is nice to have an "in" with the managers) and we are very proud of our plants.

This is our garden.
We have three tomato plants (one cherry, two larger), a pot of basil and parsley, a bell pepper, arugula, Swiss chard and chives. As you can see, the tomatoes are doing quite well, especially the cherry which is covered with baby tomatoes.

Our pepper has 13 peppers growing, according to my husband's count. I haven't bothered counting. They seem innumerable.

Our cherry tomato is huge. We can't even fit all of it in the tomato cage! We lost a few tomatoes while we were gone for the Fourth of July, but it is still covered.

This is one of our other tomato plants. See how many tomatoes it has?

Before I took the pictures of our garden, I had pretty much decimated our Swiss chard to make dinner. But look how much we got out of a little container!

Growing this garden has been very good for me. I've always loved fresh produce (thanks, Mom, for spoiling me) and I like to see success. Gardens, while they don't provide instant gratification, certainly progress fast enough to be either very satisfying or very discouraging. I'm feeling very satisfied this year.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Growing up

Anna certainly is growing up. Just this morning she did what every other toddler girl does at some point in her life: insist on wearing a bathing suit, just because. Granted, I did just buy the suit yesterday, so when she saw it this morning, she insisted on putting it on.
Doesn't she look cute! It sure was hard to get her out of it though!

Anna is also enjoying trying on Mommy's shoes. She got the zippers on these boots done by herself.
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