Saturday, November 27, 2010

thanksgiving wrap-up


cleaned the house - check
set the table - check
made a special breakfast quiche - check
defrosted the turkey the rest of the way in a sink of cold water - check
woke up early - check
prepped the stuffing & brussel sprouts - check
stuck my hand in the bird to pull out the giblets - check
made giblet gravy - check
roasted my first turkey - check
hosted my first thanksgiving - check
made 40 granny squares - check
saw my boy on ultrasound - check
did not get yelled at about my weight - check
ate a burger to celebrate Curtis' first day after Thanksgiving off in the last 4 years - check
did some shopping - check
picked out our Christmas tree in record time - check
drove it home in our car instead of on top of it - check
decked the halls - check
put away everything autumn - check
gorged on leftover turkey sandwiches - check
watched elf - check
watched Curtis snore on the couch - check
started some Christmas gifts - check
slept until 8 - check
ate Leanne's leftover cinnamon rolls for breakfast - check
sipped my morning coffee by the fire with a lit tree behind me - check
balanced my checkbook - check
planned our afternoon - check
give myself a manicure - check
had some apple cider - check
gonna go get ready for day three of four days off in a row - check

Thursday, November 25, 2010

:: thankful ::


every year there's so much to be thankful for...but this year especially i am giving thanks in a whole new way.

First there are all the things that are easy to be thankful for this year:

my husband {my biggest blessing}

my {unborn} son, but my son nonetheless {I can already tell he’s gonna try to steal my heart from his daddy}

my dog Mea {my little furry companion especially during the evenings when Curtis is in school}

my little white house {that’s so small but so cozy}

my family {and Curtis’ family that is now my family too}

my church {who are quickly becoming another extension of our family}

Then there are all the things that took place this past year which some may think of as unusual to be thankful for:

the gift of infertility {which led to}

the gift of adoption {which hasn’t quite been realized yet, but has been a gift I’m not certain we would ever have chosen if it weren’t for not being able to get pregnant easily – although I hope it would’ve been}

the gift of morning sickness {which didn’t seem like much of a gift for the first four months of my pregnancy, but even still, every day that I felt awful was just another reminder of what amazing thing was happening inside of me}

the gift of migraines {because without having migraines, I would never know how great being nearly migraine free could be}

the gift of debt {because now we’re weeks away from being out of it and it has changed the way we will forever view our finances for the better}

the gift of an uncertain future {which has caused faith to grow and doubt to diminish}

those are just a few of the things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

from a wise friend

I got an email from a friend a while ago. Below the text of her email, in orange font, was written this:

There is no grace for your imagination. But there is grace for today.

“As your days” it says in Deuteronomy, “so shall your strength be”
(33: 25). 

Charles Spurgeon says, “The Lord, the ever-merciful, has
appointed every moment of sorrow and pang of suffering.  If He ordains
the number ten, it can never rise to eleven, nor should you desire
that it shrink to nine.”

I thought it was thought-provoking enough to share.
Applicable to pretty much any difficult situation you may find yourself in.
So, be encouraged today.

...from my friend to you, through me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

an informal survey


I know a lot of people read this blog
And most don’t comment
(thank you to the ones that do – it always makes my day!)
I look at my google analytics from time to time and wonder to myself
who are all of these anonymous readers
I mean, I’ve passed up the 1,000 readers a month mark
How did this even happen?
Who are the 50ish people who read my blog on a daily basis?
I don’t even post on a daily basis (although I try)
friends? family? strangers? stalkers?
This really does baffle my mind…
I mean, I’m flattered, don’t get me wrong
But it’s strange nonetheless

I also have quite a fair amount of people read my {A Single Sentence} blog
I started this one on January 1 and now, with December right around the corner
I have started to debate the thought of continuing it into next year.
I mean, I enjoy doing it.
It doesn’t take much time
But sometimes I think it’s begun to get stale.
My life is not all that exciting.
Although I can forsee a shift happening if I keep it going come march
I’d imagine the daily sentence will become a bit more motherly focused
Or maybe you’d get to read some sleep deprived slap happy rants
Or lovey-dovey baby posts
Who knows
I am not one to predict what will take place in my brain post delivery.

So here’s my question to you
Faithful readers, lurkers and the handful of commenters I treasure so dearly
Would you mind coming out of the shadows and letting me know if you think I should
continue with my A Single Sentence blog in 2011.
Thank you kindly

Monday, November 22, 2010

a closet full of clothes


Curtis counted my pants the other day
Jeans to be more specific
I won’t tell you the number he threw in my face
But it was a lot
(although he was counting jeans and skirts – it was still extravagant)

In silence I took his criticism
And rebuke of my large wardrobe
He’s right
I have a lot of clothes
Not just jeans
But shoes and jackets and scarves and rings

The truth is, I love getting dressed.
Even pregnant, I feel like what I wear expresses a part of who I am
In a way that other things do not.

This is the reason I have not gotten rid of my duck skirt from my days at Anthropologie
Even though those at work would probably ridicule it
I love it
It is a part of my history. my past.

I have many articles of clothing like that
Clothes hold memories for me
Much like others find nostalgia in other possessions.

But I am not a packrat
Although Curtis would probably disagree.
I do not hold onto pieces I no longer wear

A few times a year I purge
Not an extreme purge to minimalism
(I will never be a minimalist as much as I may try)
But I go through stacks of everything
Try on everything
and usually end up with a few garbage bags full of giveaways.

This past month it was purses, sweaters and boots.
I got rid of everything I no longer “needed” or liked or wore.
The purge still left me with a lot in my closet.

I like options, choices
I get dressed based on my mood
That is why it is so hard for me to pack for a trip
I usually pack three times as many shirts as I’ll need
because who knows what I’ll be in the mood to wear when away
(I’m the same way with books when I travel)

It’s funny that in my closet with so many options
I am feeling rather minimal about what I want to buy in terms of maternity ware

It took me almost five months to break down and buy some jeans
And now I can’t imagine my life without the  blue stretchy band that’s letting me breathe easier,
Suck in a little less.

But something in me isn’t letting me expand my maternity wardrobe far past a pair of black maternity tights
(which I didn’t even buy), a few pairs of jeans (two of which were a gift from my grandma) and a couple of target maternity camis long enough to cover the blue band of the jeans.

It all just seems like a waste for a time frame so brief.
I am trying to make do with the clothes I have and a few items loaned from a friend
And I think I’ll be set. I hope I will be.
I was talking to a stranger the other day and mentioned this aversion to buying maternity clothes.
I told her of my goal to only buy a few pairs of jeans, and to make everything else i already own work.
she just smirked at me and said,
When you're in month 8, let me know how that's workin' for you.
Although I am dreading winter without the luxury of being able to button my coat (because I don’t want to splurge on a maternity coat I’ll only wear for a few short months)

I’m sure I’ll break down and add a few maternity items to my well-rounded wardrobe.
But until I do, I’m sticking with my current closet.
And trying not to alter my non-pregnant style too much
At least not until i'm so big i just won't care anymore...
but i know myself and i doubt that will ever happen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

pregnancy + reading novels = not an equation i'm familiar with at the moment

summer saturdays

I have not been reading enough.
Not of the fiction variety at least.

Since I got pregnant I can name the books I’ve finished on one hand.
If you know me, you know that this is uncharacteristic of me.
But let’s be honest,
The first 4 months of pregnancy were torture for me
nausea all day, vomiting many days, extreme exhaustion and on and on...

I did not read before bed
Bedtime usually consisted of any time after 6 p.m. when I started to feel queasy again
Instead of roughing it and sticking it out
I’d go to sleepy town
Where nausea couldn’t touch me

That and the fact that I was ready to go to bed while I was still at work most days
There’s no exhaustion like that of the months in which your body is literally creating a new life.
Maybe the infancy stage is comparable, but we’ll see.
A whole new ballgame I’m sure.
There were days I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open past 7.
I’m glad that first trimester is over.
Long-gone, forgotten,
Almost enough to think about doing this all over again in the future.

All that to say that I haven’t
Finished a book in months
I’ve barely picked up a book in recent weeks

I started Water for Elephants
Which I heard was fantastic
And it was weeks between readings
So I returned it back to the library
Only up to page 30 or something pathetic like that

Then I started The Help which I got with great expectations
It came with such high recommendations from many,
I just knew this one would put me back in the reading game

So I started it, then came with me to Dayton and Chicago
And was never cracked on either trip
I think I’m on about page 40 with this one 
equally pathetic

It sits and stares at me from my nightstand
And I ignore it’s great reviews in lieu of the extra hour of sleep 
Not reading allows me each night

I hope this isn’t a trend
Especially when entering into motherhood
I hope reading isn’t the first thing to go.
First reading, then my writing, then my style.
Keep the mom jeans away, oh for the love!

Actually, I feel like I’ve read quite a lot since getting pregnant.
Just not novel-wise.
I read a few pregnancy books early on.

this is the one that gave me my unnatural fear of pooping on myself when giving birth.

I’ve made it halfway through {What to Expect When You’re Expecting}
and have just gotten into a few labor, delivery and feeding books now.

I’ve also started a few of the adoption books that were on our must-read list for the agency we were with
But eventually I had to put them aside, as I found they were actually making me sad and anxious to skip ahead to the future.

I told a friend today, I want to be fully and completely present in this stage right now
And adoption is not the season we’re in.
I believe we will be soon enough, but for right now, I want to immerse myself in the joys of pregnancy and childbirth and breastfeeding.

This is and will be my life for now. I will have time for adoption books soon enough, but for now, I think I’m supposed to lay it down.
Not forget all about it, but let myself enjoy and be immersed in this stage – there’s certainly enough to read about, that’s for sure.

So last night I started two books.

The highly debatable {Becoming Baby Wise}
And another that was recommended to me - {The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth}

Also on my desk sits a book on {The Bradley Method}
And another related book about {Husband Coached Childbirth}

Both of which I have yet to sit down and start.
At this point, we have principles that we know will guide our parenting decisions and our family as a whole, but when it comes to hard and fast “rules” I for one am weary. So right now I am taking it all in and forming opinions of my own.

When I was done reading last night, I left the open books on our coffee table so next time I lounge on the couch they are right there, just waiting to be picked back up from where I left off. No pressure to read before bed or to trek up to the nightstand to grab some reading material.

I read a fantastic blog post the other day that referred to something she read by someone else after they heard a feature on NPR (got that?) anyways, you can read what i'm talking about if you're interested - {here}.

In essence, it was about how formative the fact that her mother always had books lying open around the house. Music always playing and the tv always on.
While I’m not a fan of leaving the tv on all the time, or playing music in rooms where I’m not listening to it, I am a HUGE fan of leaving books around the house.
And not just books, but books in the midst of being read.
Books left open (in an orderly fashion, of course)
Books started and not yet finished, left lingering as reminders to finish.

I love that. And I think a parent’s love for books can only transfer to their children.
I hope that my children love to read.
But I also know that the love for books is rarely innate.
But it must be mentored and nourished and children must be taught the love of books
Shown the love of books
For them to appreciate them themselves.

That is one area I am most excited to parent in.
Passing along the love of the written word
And I don’t think it can be done too early.

So here’s a question for ya,
As we begin to build our children’s library
What are your favorite children’s books that must be included?
Not just the classics, but the lesser-known books that I just have to have in my book-loving arsenal…

Sidenote: one of my goals in life is to write (and ideally publish) at least one children’s book.
Seems much less daunting (and perhaps much more rewarding) then writing and getting an adult  book published – although that is one of my ultimate life goals…

ok, your turn. Please share.

*this photo is not current, my hands/legs aren't nearly as tan right now -- but my toes are painted the same color.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

sick day

photo 1

for the last few days i've been sick
sick as in
hacking my head off until M* kicks me in the lungs, probably out of anger and frustration
at the shaking and heaving that i'm putting him through
poor little guy
or until tears are streaming down my face and i can't catch my breath
gagging with that feeling of choking that you can't make stop until the episode subsides.

i went to the doctor yesterday, after a long night of coughing
curtis even said i wimpered in my sleep like a little baby
crying and moaning with every breath or turn to my other side
i don't remember this but it does sound pathetic
pathetic enough to bring me to the doctor i guess

she said i had two near ear infections
and had something akin to a sinus infection and bronchitis combined
i left with an rx sent electronically to my pharmacy
of a z-pack - halelujah!

unfortunately, i slept the same last night as i did the night before
but this time smelling of vicks vaporub
slathered over my chest, neck and under my nose
just like my momma used to do

i drifted to sleep with that familiar smell of my childhood
not coughing, just breathing in that heavy aroma
but it wasn't long before i was coughing and coughing
Curtis was gracious
i think he put in earplugs
just as i had done when he was sick with the same last week
a pathetic wimpering mess yet again,
i woke up this morning feeling like a truck hit me
ran me over, backed up and then did it again.
so today i worked from home
and stayed pretty much on the couch all day with my vicks and kleenex
some orange juice, my laptop and my little companion, my lapdog (shown above)

it wasn't a pretty sight
i'm just hoping that these antibiotics kick in before M* kicks me so hard
he punctures my lung.
that or curtis gets so annoyed of my coughing that he kicks me and punctures my lung...
i kid, i kid. hehe

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

and i tip


I can wade grief
Whole pools of it - I'm used to that.
But the least push of joy
Breaks up my feet,
And I tip - drunken.

-Emily Dickinson

I used to feel like this 
truly i did
especially as a writer, 
i found that the more pain or heartache i felt
the more internal agony
the better, 
more raw
my writing was.

i think that changed once i got married
my eyes truly opened to a world of happiness
a deep-seated contentment
not based solely on circumstances

now this isn't to say that since marriage i haven't 
experienced any sadness or pain.
i have and i have.

but perspectives changed and i was no longer 
caught up in it all alone
i had a companion to walk through the storms with

all this to say that this has become ever more true
since getting pregnant.

and although my tendency was to tip 
in the shadows of joy, 
waiting for the rains to pour and
soak out all fragments of my happiness

i am learning to accept that utter and complete joy 
can be a part of my life
without checking behind each door to see
what lingering doom awaits.

i am slowly coming to accept the fact that
God truly delights in granting our requests
and helping us find joy in him as we enjoy the gifts he gives.

two of our good friends have had their babies in the last three days.
the first was one day late
the other, born this morning,
came four weeks early.

the latter family was supposed to be guests at our thanksgiving table
next week
oh how plans can change in a moment.

we got a call from the husband at the strike of seven a.m. this morning
telling us that his wife was already 6 cm dialated and they'd been at the hospital since 3 a.m.
i don't know who was more shocked. him or us.

these friends didn't find out the sex of either of their little ones before birth
a boy first, i think everyone, including me, was convinced this one was a boy too.
we were all wrong. at around 10 a.m. this morning, a girl they had to all of our suprise and delight.

birth is a wonderful suprise, whether a day late or a month early.
we are 16 weeks out from the due date of our boy.
with these births both having already taken place already
we are now, more than ever, anxious to meet out guy
these new babies will be his buddies in no time flat
and i'm just excited to get this party started.

and i tip with joy.
tip but don't fall over.

Monday, November 15, 2010

rug + rocker

When we got this rug

a few months ago, i knew i either had to keep the rest of the room rather simple.
neutral walls, simple bedding, etc...
except for the rocker
somewhere down the line i got it in my head that i wanted a red or a green rocker to match the rug.

so i started my online research 
i knew i didn't want a traditional wooden rocker, or the heavy fabric covered ones they sell at Target. Then, knowing the in-laws live ten minutes from an Ikea, i found two chairs that were contenders.

these two were the front runners

So, this weekend, while in Chicago, we made a trip to their Ikea and test-sat both.
i loved the first one. it was comfy and small enough for a small room, and inexpensive, 
but it did not rock.
Curtis was adamant about the nursery chair needing to rock so and since i really did like both, we went with this one of the two:

and better yet, Curtis' parents bought it for us for a baby shower gift - amongst a cart full of random other  baby goodies. It was the most fun i've ever had on an Ikea trip and not just because they footed the bill. 

It's just fun to be inspired and imagine how this and other children will influence our design style and aesthetic in the future, and Ikea is the perfect place to do it.

Now i have just one more reason to look forward to the new year, when i'll have this adorable rocker up there in that nursery of ours!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

granny square blanket: the humble beginnings

I have always loved the look of the classic crocheted granny square blanket.
So when I came across {this post}
I was smitten, and decided I wanted, scratch that, needed to make one of my own.

Forget that I haven’t crocheted, pretty much since I learned how to knit.
I just enjoy knitting so much better – it’s more of a challenge
Plus, I never learned how to read a crochet pattern
So my options were limited.
Scarves – which I’ve made a ton of in my younger years
And blankets – I’ve made one – we joke and call it a car cover – it’s charcoal grey and HUGE. Huge as in we can fold it in half and it still covers our entire king size bed. We use it during the coldest winter months.
I have another striped blanket started in the basement somewhere. I will finish it someday, it’s just that it doesn’t match anything so eventually I just stopped working on it.

All that being said, I HAVE to make a granny square blanket. And it has to look very similar to the one in that blog post.
Bright colors, a white or off-white background –
I just know it will look fabulous with the crazy rug that we bought for the nursery. And the red rocking chair that my in-laws just bought for us for our baby shower this weekend at Ikea.

I told a friend about my newfound passion for granny squares and she joined in my enthusiasm (or at least the enthusiasm to learn something new) and we scheduled tomorrow night to learn the long lost art of the granny square. Then we invited another friend who wants to learn how to crochet and so we’re going to enjoy a riveting girls’ night of crocheting, eating and gabbing.

So my original plan was to wait until Monday, THEN learn how to crochet a granny square, but in my typical fashion, when Curtis was watching football last night, I dug out my crochet hooks and some old yarn, popped open my computer and gave myself a crochet refresher. I learned how to {chain stitch} again
then taught myself how to do the two other stitches that each granny square requires.

I then perfected the {double crochet} (dc)
and the {slip stitch} (sl st)
and I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I put it all together and came up with this

So I read and re-read the pattern and tried again.
A little bit of progress was made – but not much

Then something clicked and I figured out what I was doing wrong in the center and attempt #3 was a lot better – but not perfect.

By then over two hours had passed and I was exhausted.
I studied the photos in the post and again, realized I was doing something wrong with the final edges of the square,

But with no energy left and three "squares" later I made a note to myself and decided to stop for the night.

the next night i went at it again and this is what i came up with:

now i know what you're thinking, it doesn't really look that great.
but oh, compared to the other three, it's world's better -- plus, although it may not look like it, i now understand how to make a corner look like a corner. i still have to work on some spacing and tightness issues, but this one is a far cry from the first couple. trust me.

Then, this morning during a little downtime before leaving Chicago,  i made this one:

my favorite by far. not perfect but close. and i'm nearly satisfied with stopping with the practice yarn and starting the real deal.

So now we are heading home. and tomorrow night i will attempt to share my granny square knowledge. should be a good time.


So again,  for your future reference, enjoy these links next time you go to crochet a granny square blanket!

Pattern: How to Crochet a Blanket:

double crochet stitch (dc):

slip stitch (sl st):

chain stitch (ch) –

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