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Christmas time is here

December 10, 2016

Baking cookies

Christmas with a baby is so much fun!  It seems like we’ve done something festive almost every weekend for the past month.  We’ve had our tree up since mid-November.  Two weekends ago we were in Wichita, celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.  We visited my grandparents, watched a couple of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies with my mom, and spent lots of quality time with my brother & his family.  Last weekend we took Cleo to our town’s old-fashioned Christmas horse parade, but of course she slept through the whole thing.  I was so excited for her to see her first horse, and Santa, but oh well.  Next year.  We had our first snow on Wednesday — it was so beautiful, and Cleo’s face lit up when she saw it!  That felt pretty special, and it made up for her lack of interest in the parade.

During the week, I’ve been busy getting everything ready for Christmas day.  Wrapping presents, planning the feast, mailing out Christmas cards, finishing up knitted gifts.  Everything is just about done, so this week I’ll be resting up for the busy week leading up to Christmas.  Well, “resting up” as much as Cleo will allow!  I think I’ve taken exactly one nap since she was born.


Terra shawl

November 19, 2016

Terra shawl

Terra shawl

Terra shawl

Pattern: Terra, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK in Fairy Tale

Yesterday I finished knitting my first ever shawl!  When Brooklyn Tweed recently released their Arbor collection, I fell in love with the beautiful emerald green Terra shawl.  I especially loved the photo of the model wearing the shawl as a scarf.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make one for myself, but the Arbor yarn was just too expensive.  And then Julie wrote her awesome post about not participating in Slow Fashion October, and I was inspired to look for an alternate yarn that fit my budget.  Knit Picks Gloss DK turned out to be a perfect choice.  It’s a blend of Merino wool and silk and comes in a palette of beautifully saturated colors, similar to Arbor.  I chose the color Fairy Tale, a lovely raspberry shade.  I wore the finished shawl for the first time this morning, when we took Cleo to the library for Russian story time and a little walk around downtown.  It was super cozy!

How we fill our days

November 4, 2016

Wednesday walk

Cleo is almost 2 months old now, and we’re starting to find a rhythm to our days.  So far I’ve managed to get a shower in every day, believe it or not.  I also cook dinner most nights (nothing crazy — the way I cook has definitely changed, but that’s a post for another time).  We try to go for a walk every day, either downtown or just around the neighborhood.  Walking around with her in the Ergo is sometimes the only thing that calms her down when she’s overtired and needs to take a nap.  It seemed counterintuitive to me when I first read this, but it’s absolutely true that the more she sleeps during the day, the better she sleeps at night.

Cleo loves music, and we listen to a little bit of everything — classical on NPR, lullaby CDs from the children’s section at the library (Tumble Bee by Laura Veirs has been a favorite), the 1960s station on Amazon Prime Music, a Louis Armstrong album of Disney songs.  She’s not a big fan of books (yet!), but we’re working on it.  I’ve been reading Winnie the Pooh to her, and we look at lots of board books.  We also work on tummy time — she’s a pro at holding up her head, and she’s even started rolling over from her tummy to her back!  And when Cleo naps, I wash dishes, do laundry, try to keep up with the housework, and occasionally manage to sneak in a bit of knitting.  I finally finished the little dress I was working on while I was in labor, and now I’m working on my first ever shawl.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is a dream come true for me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.  Some days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, but overall I think I’m adjusting well.  I’ve found stores of energy that I never knew I had.  And so far, every day has been different — something I try to keep in mind when I’m having a rough day.  Tomorrow will be better; tomorrow I can be better — more fun, more patient, more gentle with myself — but at the end of the day, if she’s fed and safe and happy, that’s all that matters.

Cleo’s 1st Halloween

October 30, 2016

Cleo's 1st Halloween

My little bumblebee!  We’ll be taking her trick-or-treating tomorrow night, but we won’t have time to take pictures before it gets dark — so we dressed up a day early!  🙂

Our first family portrait

October 10, 2016

Fall 2016 family portraits

October 8, 2016 – our backyard
Photo taken by my mom

Introducing Cleo Ilenia

October 2, 2016

1 week old

I had a baby, y’all!  Cleo was born via c-section on the evening of September 12th.  She’s healthy and perfect, with my nose and her daddy’s dark hair.  We’re completely in love with her!

I’m not gonna lie, the first couple of weeks were hard.  I was disappointed that I’d had to have a c-section.  Breastfeeding wasn’t going well, and Cleo was losing too much weight.  We didn’t have the help at home that we were expecting to have.  I caught a nasty cold (and couldn’t take anything for it!).  But we’re figuring it out.  I’m recovering really well from surgery.  I started pumping, which relieved a lot of stress for me and also made Cleo more relaxed about feeding (she’s now gained a whole pound since we left the hospital!).  I’ve gained mommy-confidence a lot faster than I probably would have if I’d had more help.  And not only is my cold mostly gone, but Cleo got all the benefits of my antibodies without ever getting sick herself.

I’m so grateful for this strong, healthy, beautiful baby girl.  Some days (and nights) are difficult, but I’m not in any hurry for her to grow up.  She’s already grown and changed so much over the last 3 weeks.  Before I know it, we’ll be celebrating her first birthday!

Killing time

September 1, 2016

Y’all, the last month of pregnancy is BORING.  We made the rookie mistake of getting all of our projects done in the first and second trimesters, thinking I’d be too tired to do anything important in the third trimester.  Well, I am tired, but you’d be amazed at how well I can power through that when I’ve got a task to complete!  So I’ve been trying to kill time by knitting through my stash (while binge-watching Parenthood on Netflix).

About a million years ago, I bought approximately 4,972 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK in the color Mist (a light matte gray).  My intention was to knit a Coraline sweater for myself, but I got bored with it pretty quickly and decided to use the yarn for other things.  So here we are, 9 years later, and I’m still knitting down that stash!  A quick look at my Ravelry projects page shows that I’ve made no less than six things with this yarn, and I still have 341 yards left!  Most recently, I used some of it to knit this sweet little sweater dress for Cleo:

Little Liza Jane
Little Liza Jane
Pattern: Little Liza Jane, by Alison Green
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft DK in 505 Mist
Size: 6 months

My next project was this little pullover.  I actually knitted all the pieces back in the spring of 2008, but never got around to finishing it.  On Tuesday, I pulled the pieces out of storage, wove in the ends, blocked it, and seamed it.  I also changed out the buttons on the shoulder.  Originally I had used domed pearl buttons, but they looked a little too fancy next to the casual stripes of the sweater.  I found some flat pink plastic ones in my button jar that looked a lot better.  I’m so glad I found the time (and motivation) to finish this pullover.  I can’t wait to dress my little bear cub in it this fall!

Jo Jo Striped Crew Sweater
Pattern: Jo Jo Basic Crew Sweater, from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft DK in 517 Donkey and 807 Pixie
Size: 0-3 months

Last but not least, something for myself!  I had about 130 yards left of Quince & Co. Osprey leftover from Cleo’s baby blanket, which was just what I needed to knit Ripley, a hat that’s been in my queue for a while.  I didn’t make it quite as slouchy as the pattern called for (only knitting 8 rounds between the last pleat and the beginning of the decrease rounds), but I love how it turned out.  Bonus: it took less than 24 hours to knit this hat, thanks to size 10 needles and pregnancy insomnia!

Pattern: Ripley, from Whimsical Little Knits 2 by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Quince & Co. Osprey in Audouin
Size: Large, slouchy version with lace band

There’s yarn for three more projects wending its way to me from Maine, and in the meantime I’m going to add a little embroidery to a onesie I bought to go under the gray sweater dress.  That outfit will be one of Cleo’s Christmas presents this year! 🙂