And also because I'm so not above a little bribery now and then, I made hubby's favorite treat yesterday.
This was designed to ease the pain of revisiting my not-super-exciting-to-begin-with chili from the night before. And I think it worked!
The Pioneer Woman featured this recipe on her blog recently when she invited Smitten Kitchen to visit, and as soon as I saw it I knew Gus would be delighted if I made them.
He loves soft pretzels and has been disappointed by a local establishment that serves them more than once because they've always "just run out" when he tries to order one. (Actually, I think pissed might be more descriptive. He's been known to mutter "it's flour and water and yeast- how do you "run out" of that?)
There they are, fresh from the oven and oh- so delicious. I dunked one in a little bit of mustard, but Gus decided we needed to take it to the next level with cheese sauce. He made up a slightly modified batch of Alton's cheese fondue, and the deliciousness just kept on coming. Exponentially. It was truly magical. Smooth and creamy and magical.
We've made pretzels before with the recipe in the bread book, but they weren't nearly this amazing. I credit this to the fact that Smitten Kitchen adapted her recipe from Martha, and everyone knows that Martha does everything right. Well, with the obvious exception of insider trading, but everyone gets one free pass.
We were stuffed fat with doughy goodness and could barely move for the rest of the night, but it was all worth it when he said:
I just had to make a second version of Rae'sruffle top. It comes together so quickly and there's just something really satisfying about cutting a bunch of rectangles and making it fit a curvy body that appeals to my more logical side.
This time I used a sheer silvery vine print fabric for the body and a simple printed white on white calico for the bodice, both from my stash. It makes for a very different finished product than the first one.
I also left off the sleeve ruffles and attempted to tweak the sizing a bit from last time. The bodice band of the yellow and brown one is a little big, so I took an inch off. I also added an inch in length to better accommodate the still-growing baby bubble.
The result was a bodice that fit a little bit better, but my giant pregnant boobs were practically bursting the seams of the pleats.
I took Rae's advice for a full-bust adjustment and pulled the stitches of the pleats. The result is a much more forgiving and relaxed fitting top. Way better!
Be sure to visit the flickr pool to see all the submissions for Spring Top Week. It's so fun to see everyone's designs and check out various interpretations of the same styles.
Gus is coming home from a business trip to Vegas in less than an hour and I can't wait to see him! I missed him a bunch as always.
I find this whole traveling for work thing to be interesting. On one hand, he gets to go lots of places that I would love to visit, like Atlanta and Vegas and New Orleans, and I get a little bit jealous sometimes. On the other hand, he spends ALL DAY in the convention centers when he's there, so it's not like he's doing a bunch of fun stuff that I'm missing out on. That makes it easier.
And although having no job and no obligations and no one in the house waking up to go to work messes with my sense of time, when he's gone I'm really productive! Usually I paint or rearrange furniture or something, but this time I just sewed and sewed and sewed. I finished my third top for Spring Top Week this morning, and I'm so happy with it I actually wore it today. In public! It was another super easy pattern (Simplicity 2892, view D), and despite my choice of slippery fabric and skipping a couple of steps, it still turned out well.
I'm also really excited to have hubby home for the sake of my poor baby's diet. I really have very little motivation to cook normal healthy meals for just myself, so I usually end up eating whatever's lying around. Take the last few days, for example, when dinner has consisted of ice cream and a piece of toast with cheddar one night, macaroni and cheese and some grapes the next night, and leftover pad thai and potato chips another. Yeah, it's not pretty. I figure since I'm pregnant though, I can just blame it on weird cravings instead of my laziness!
So tonight in honor of my man's homecoming and my return to some semblance of a schedule, I have a pot of chili bubbling away on the stove and I went to the grocery store today! I know, it may not sound like much, but that's really quite an accomplishment for a gal who showered at 5:30 pm yesterday!
So today was the big day. Glucose tolerance test AND a chat with the doctor regarding our desire to never see her again. Combine my distaste for confrontation with being all hopped up on 50 grams of glucose, and it's no wonder that my blood pressure was a little high today!
Thankfully, our wonderful doctor was very sweet and kind when I told her that we had decided that we wanted to deliver at home. She even admitted that home births could be quite lovely, but was careful to temper that with a suggestion that we make sure that there is a good emergency plan in place, because when things go wrong they can go wrong very quickly. Noted, thank you. Lucky for us, the hospital is in spitting distance, so if I were to really need emergency care like right now, I think we'd be good.
She also said something about how since this is my first baby, we can't be sure that my pelvis will be cooperative and that's always a concern- but I'm fairly certain that just means that she's never really looked at me, because hello? Have you seen these birthing hips? That the baby will fit through my pelvis is seriously the least of my concerns.
My visit today did definitely cement in my mind that we've made the right choice though. Everyone is really nice, but there is that impersonal nature to the office that I just can't overlook. Even my glucose blood draw, which they want to take place exactly one hour after you drink the magic potion, was double-booked. It still happened on time, but it made me think about just how many women I might have been sharing my doctor with on delivery day as well.
Now we just have to have faith in our plan and in my body to take care of business as it should. I have no doubt that Lincoln will be cooperative and in a few months we'll be meeting him for the first time in the comfort of our own home. I can hardly wait!
A surprising bonus of using apple tree branches for the pea trellis? Blooms! The branches are sporting over a dozen cute little blooms, and a couple are almost ready to open up. Such a cute and unexpected treat!
In related news, the peas are really doing amazingly well considering our spotty weather lately. They're growing up big and strong just like I requested. The bok choy and the lettuce are also thriving in that bed.
The green beans, on the other hand, aren't looking so hot. We planted them a few weeks later than the peas, so maybe they just need some time to catch up? We'll see...
I also planted just one lonely tomato plant. Last year our tomatoes were disappointing at best, it just doesn't seem to get hot enough for them to really thrive. But I LOVE the scent of the tomato plant itself, so I couldn't resist buying just one when we visited the nursery last.
And these. I don't know what they are, and I think they're volunteers, but they are just gorgeous! It makes the yard feel so tropical and lush when there are beauties like this cropping up in the rock wall unexpectedly. Just beautiful.
As promised, here's my rendition of the Ruffle Top by Rae. I love this pattern and I just wish it looked as cute on my as it does on Rae's sister Kricket, but to be fair, she's not huge with child so I guess I'll take what I can get.
This pattern comes together really easily, and the tutorial gives great instructions for making it fit your own measurements perfectly. I highly recommend giving it a try, and I'll likely whip up another one as well before too long.
So that's two, and there are plans for two more still to come. I feel so accomplished! Half-way there.
Inspired by the Spring craftiness happening all over the internets, I've decided to join the club and make a couple of submissions for Spring Top Week hosted by Made By Rae. Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that I'm coincidentally fatting-out of all of my clothes. Nothing.
I started with a simple tank from a McCall's pattern (M5388, view B) that I picked up on sale at Joann for 99 cents and some fabric from my stash. This is not a maternity pattern, but thanks to the generous cut and lots of gathering, I had no trouble packing my 27-weeks of belly inside of it with room to spare. I actually ended up adding a tie to the back to lessen the effect of the tent-like proportions.
This tank was super easy and came together in just a few hours. I think if I were to make it again I would probably take some of the fullness out of the back, and maybe shorten it up a bit.
I have plans in the works for two or three more tops including one from Rae's own adorable ruffle top tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, but we'll see how I do. I've been known to occasionally drop a project mid-stream for no particular reason (oooh- shiny thing across the room!)...
I finally finished the adult version of the apron for Mom's auction (the Lola apron) and I'm so relieved! Naturally, I procrastinated (as I am wont to do) until the last minute, and then of course my sewing machine broke down approximately twenty minutes after I got started.
I was able to borrow Mom's machine, but it just wasn't the same and I spent a good deal of yesterday swearing and mumbling under my breath. By mid afternoon I had to just leave it, or I was sure I was going to throw the whole project out the window. Today I woke up refreshed and ready to give it another shot, and then twenty minutes after I began I ran out of thread. Seriously?
It was just one of those projects, but I really do like the way it turned out. I think the mommy/daughter pair is just precious and I do hope they can get something decent for them at the auction.
Monday is my next, and most likely final, visit to my current OB. We're breaking up so Gus and I can start seeing the midwife we met with yesterday in preparation for our new home birthing plan.
I'm excited for this new start, but also a little nervous too. Breaking up is hard! Especially when the person hasn't done anything wrong, like our lovely doctor. She's a sweet lady, we just want different things. I'm really hoping that she'll be understanding and wish us well on our new path, not all "alarmed and alarmist" as our midwife warned that she might be.
We believe that we know and understand the "risks" of not delivering in the hospital, and we have to be prepared for the fact that many people may not support our choice. That doesn't make the prospect of Monday's visit any nicer, however.
Our new plan involves the support of Seattle Home Maternity Service and the team of midwives there. From the moment I called last week to schedule a consultation, I've been impressed by the kindness and helpfulness of the entire staff. It just feels a lot more personal and natural than our OB experience has been, and I'm hopeful that it will only get better from here as we get to know one another better.
There's still a lingering part of me that thinks that the whole concept of delivering at home is still just a little bit weird, but when I think of how much more comfortable and in control of the whole process I will feel, I know that it will be the right choice for us.
Of course, there is still a chance that we could end up being transferred to deliver in the hospital if it is deemed necessary, but I feel better knowing that if that does happen, we'll be transferred to a place that is supportive of midwife involvement and shares our views of the importance of a natural and drug-free labor and birth.
The next few months are going to be full of learning and preparation in a whole new way now. We're also signed up for a class in the Bradley Method of natural childbirth that begins at the end of May and will take us right up to a few days before our due date. I'm really hoping that we'll be able to finish the series before Junior makes an appearance, but I guess only time will tell!
Whatever happens, it should prove to be an exciting time!
A few weeks ago, Gus remembered a poster that we had purchased during a trip to the Gorge for the Dave Matthews Band concert in the summer of 2006 and mentioned that it might be perfect for the nursery.
After just a bit of drama getting it framed and hung (involving me breaking the glass, buying a new frame, and then having the finished project fall off the wall thirty seconds after I hung it), I think I have to agree. The colors are a great match to what we've got going on in there, and it even makes the pink stripes in the curtains okay with me now, screw the girly connotation!
I love the graphic nature of it, and it's Sasquach, which is essentially a monster, right? All these factors indicate that this will be an instant hit for a young boy all without being offensive to my delicate tastes!
Of course, it doesn't hurt that the poster is special for sentimental reasons too since we bought it during our first concert/road trip/camping adventure together. Should make a great story for Lincoln someday.
There it is, the yard that nearly did us in this weekend!
Saturday was sooo beautiful that we were pulled outside immediately to tidy up and finish some projects we had begun in earlier weeks. Gus set his mind on ridding the yard of the piles of trimmings he had made, rhodies on the right, huge pine bush on the left, cutting them down and filling bags with debris.
I made a new little brick path, and pulled weeds and grass that had escaped through the fence from the neighbors' yards, amazed at how difficult my round belly made it to do something as simple as squat and bend my uncooperative and unfamiliar body.
The next project we tackled was burying the drip irrigation line that has been a source of my constant whining. It just looked so haphazard and messy strewn about the garden on top of the mulch, that I demanded that I either be allowed to pick it up and store it away, or that my wonderful husband help me bury it. We agreed that although I may have plenty of time on my hands to water the garden regularly, it wasn't the most efficient use of our water supply, so bury it we did. I think we must have dug fifty or sixty feet of trench to hide that stuff away, and did I mention how comfortable squatting is for me? We managed to do half the yard, and decided to save the other half for another day (thank god).
Around the time we finished that project we were absolutely inundated with flies. Like, a fly swarm out of the old testament or something. It was epic. And disgusting. There must have been a hatching that occurred and then all of the flies decided that our neighborhood was an awesome place to hang out for a while, because they were everywhere. And not those tiny little gnat things either, these were actual flies. Gus caught one in a jar and we decided that it looks most like this:
That's a stilt-legged fly, and it's possible that's not what it is, I'm no entemologist. I also wasn't able to figure out why they appeared out of the blue or what to do about it. We ended up making a trip to "the birder store" to see if we could get some bird seed that would attract a natural predator to the yard just so we could get some peace. The ladies there didn't have a good solution and said that they would probably be gone as soon as they appeared, but they were happy to sell us a bag of seed anyway. At least we got a few minutes respite from the nastiness out of the trip, and sure enough, the crazy swarm had dissipated quite a bit by the time we got back.
Bone weary and exhausted from a day's hard labor, we enjoyed a dinner of barbecued steel-head, corn on the cob, and cold beers (non-alcoholic for me, of course!) and admired our work. Much of the rest of the evening was spent exclaiming in pain whenever a trip up or down the stairs was required, or it became necessary to lift our broken bodies up off of the couch even temporarily.
And, apparently a good night's sleep can put just enough distance between an addict and their vice that they can forget the pain of the previous day and dive right back in to the cycle of self-destruction that got them there, because there we were again on Sunday, slaves to the dirt.
It all started with more whining gentle suggesting, from me of course, about a lattice that had come loose in a storm and lay twisted and broken in a heap near the shed. We had installed the lattice last year in kind of a make-shift manner to give a grape we had purchased something to climb. The grape never did take, and I only appreciated the lattice's visual contribution to the yard once it was gone. Our latest issue of This Old House has a tutorial on constructing a great big beautiful lattice that looked a lot sturdier than our roughshod approach, so I thought we could use that for inspiration.
And of course, hubby came through again! A master of re-use and reclaiming, he constructed a brand-new lattice for me entirely from materials we had at the house, and I think this time it's there to stay. There was a bit of a set-back that involved severing the newly installed irrigation line with a shovel at one point, but we recovered nicely and a beautiful clematis has taken the place of the poor grape that wouldn't grow. I have high hopes for that corner now! Can't wait to see it in action.
And since that still wasn't enough, hubs also doubled our vegetable garden space by adding a new raised bed in the previously empty wasteland of side yard that I might have mentioned just needed "a little something" to define it. We've got big plans now for onions, garlic, and shallots- you know, just in case that pesky fly problem should become a vampire problem at any point in the future.
Love you baby! You're the best husband in all the land.
Twenty-six weeks. That's half a year! The little monkey's been in there growing and swimming around for half a year! Crazy. Here's what his house looks like currently:
Last time I was at the doctor she said I was measuring a little bit big, so I'm curious to see if that trajectory continues for the next couple of months or if it was just a fluke. In other weirdness, you can now definitely see the belly moving when Baby gets to kicking, and it's much easier for Gus to feel from the outside. I was so glad for that landmark to arrive because I felt so selfish getting to feel everything all alone!
Also, I've been talking natural childbirth with some friends and we've recently watched The Business of Being Born and I think we're pretty much convinced now that we want to deliver at home instead of at the hospital...
I know, we didn't see that coming either. I never thought of myself as "one of those women" but I guess maybe I am. More news on that front to follow once we've met with the midwife and officially made up our minds.
Last night I felt Jr. kick for the first time. There have been little movements up until now but it's been hard to distinguish between Lulu's heartbeat and twitches, and the acts of the little monster inside. But last night, we got into bed and baby came alive. I placed my hand on Lulu's belly and got a good swift attack. Every one of these little firsts, hearing the heart beat for the first time, seeing the baby on the ultrasounds for the first time and feeling Jr.'s kick for the first time just amaze me. It's hard to fully realize that we are going to have a child in a few short months, but these little things help mentally prepare me. Thanks baby for reminding me you're coming.
maybe because he could sense that it would be appreciated, one perfectly placed, perfectly timed kick. The first that I actually witnessed from the outside, emerging as just a tiny little bump growing out from my belly for a split second.
I do not know any of these people, yet as I sit here and read their stories my eyes pool up with tears and the knot in my throat grows. I feel vaguely like I might vomit, guts twisted because the loss I imagine is just so intensely physical. I've worried sporadically that "something" might happen, and I wonder how on earth we could ever go on if it did. I just cannot imagine the pain and the hole that such a loss would create, so I don't. Except today, when the wholedamnworld seems to be diabolically united to force me to. A few hours ago I walked into our own nursery and I looked at the place that we have carved out for Lincoln in our lives, and I imagine what would happen if our life took that crooked path. We don't even know him yet, but he is so much a part of our life that I can't imagine it without him. Don't want to and won't. Shouldn't have to, really. It's just so unfair, the things that life can bring. So unfair.
Kind of disappeared for a couple of days there, sorry! I know you were probably worried and all. I was taking advantage of the abundance of free time I seem to have at the moment and headed out to the sticks to visit some friends. They've got 20 acres of beautiful farmland outside of Spokane and are settling into a new life of homesteading and self-sufficiency.
We hung out with the chickens, went shopping for a mini-donkey and some goats, and played around with the adorable baby ducks and geese that are currently residing in their living room until they grow up a little. Cuteness abounds around those parts, let me tell you!
Jack the miniature donkey is headed home to Eckland Acres in the next few days. He's going to keep the goat company. Nobody wants a lonely goat!
These are the baby geese, Harriet and Jefferson Blackbill. They're easily the most adorable things ever.
This is what happens when you cross a llama and an alpaca. You get a llamaca! Okay, maybe he's the cutest thing ever!
Pictures from the whole rural adventure can be found here.
My mom works at a daycare that hosts a big auction every year in an effort to raise funds for the facility. This is the second year that mom has requested that I make something to contribute to the cause, and this year I chose to sew up a pair of mommy and daughter aprons.
So far I just have the daughter version done (Lolita). The Lola apron will follow in a couple of days I'm sure. The pattern is from Sew Liberated and it's one of two apron patterns that she has that I own. I made my beloved Emmeline apron a few months back, but haven't taken the time to photograph it. Must do that soon.
Anyway, this was a really fun pattern to do. A little time consuming with all that binding, but it turns out really cute. More photos here if you're interested.
I just can't help but be a little bit shocked by this photo. Even though I'm carrying that thing around with me all day and I know that it feels huge, it really takes a profile shot to put it in perspective. And the terrifying part is that I know that this is just the beginning! I'm likely to double in girth before this whole ordeal is over! Wow. Just wow.
Well, the 23rd week of my pregnancy is wrapping up, and I thought I would share what's been happening in and around my bun-oven lately.
1. I can now say with conviction that the gurgley feeling in my belly is definitely Baby flopping around and not indigestion. It's taken me a while to identify it, but now I can absolutely recognize the feeling. It won't be long until I can point out a foot or an elbow bursting through my flesh, I presume.
2. I have discovered my first stretch marks. On my boobs. *sigh* I knew it was bound to happen eventually, but haven't my poor girls been through enough? I'm crossing my fingers that the magical cream I bought will work the wonders it claims.
3. Peeing has essentially become my source of full-time occupation. The book said that once the uterus moved up into the belly and off of my bladder that the frequency of urination would decrease, but um, no. Not so much. I'm still rising multiple times during the night, and often will find that I have to pee less than thirty minutes after my last trip, having consumed no liquid in any form whatsoever in the meantime. I'm like a miracle of nature.
4. The belly definitely looks like a baby-house now, and not so much like a beer belly. I've graduated to usually buttoning my jeans with a hair-elastic extender now, and pretty much have to wear a maternity shirt in public to avoid feeling like an exhibitionist in a crop top.
And in the not belly-related, but vexing category: I still haven't made curtains for the nursery and can't decide what to do about the decor in there. This boy thing has really thrown me for a loop in the decorating department. I need inspiration!