Spring Flowers

April 30, 2011

Which have since been covered in snow a few times.  April snow brings May something or other.  Hopefully not more snow!

Purple Sweaters and GGM

April 28, 2011

Althea received this beautiful purple sweater from the talented MerlPerp, and it’s been getting a lot of use.  The pattern is from her Vintage Baby Knits book, which has many cute patterns.  I can highly recommend this pattern, it fits my 3.5 month old nicely, and is going to fit for awhile to come.  The pom-pom closures are delightful, and it’s really easy to get Althea into and out of it.  Althea tends to spend a lot of the day hanging around in her sleepers, with a little sweater on for some warmth.  I gave up on indoor hats once she was older, it’s hard to keep them on her head!

Last Sunday we went over for Easter lunch at GGM’s house.  She had wanted us over for dinner, but I asked for a lunch instead so that we could get home in time to start Althea’s nighttime routine, I had also wanted to avoid any baby meltdowns due to being tired.  The visit wasn’t too bad, GGM and GM got lots of quality time with Althea, who is now smiling back at people and interacting really well.  There was of course a lot of ” put her down”, “Why can’t you just put her down”, “Won’t she just fall asleep if you leave her lying on the couch”.  Well, no actually she won’t fall asleep in a new place just lying on the couch by herself, and she is going to roll over any time now, so I wouldn’t do that either.  I explained that being in a new place leads to a lot of stimulus, and Althea isn’t really able to shut that down and fall asleep on her own her.   All the books are saying she isn’t expected to be able to do this until she is over 4 months old, so I’m not too worried.  Of course GM had great advice “It’s okay if they cry a little bit you know”, which may or may not be true, but I’m not about to let my baby cry over some thing she may not be capable of developmentally yet!  I put the baby in the carrier twice in order to get her to sleep, which she does quickly, and walked her around the house.  GGM couldn’t really believe that, why would I carry the baby instead of using a stroller?  I tried to explain why I like it better, but I don’t think it quite computed.  They think we’re just daft, but I think the older generation thinks that of most of this generation.  All our new fangled ideas based on studies and data.  It is also true that if you do something different raising your child than another woman did, it is very hard for that woman to accept it, as you are automatically stating that you thought she made mistakes.  That woman will fight forever to try and convince you that they way they raised their child in the fifties is the way you should be raising your child.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the happy contented glow around new mothers is actually them smiling and singing to their babies as they totally ignore all the advice from their relatives who are trying to convince them to leave their babies on the street to cry.

Honestly the worst part was the liver dumpling soup, and the fact that GGM, GM and even Mr. J pressured me to “try them” even though I know I hate liver.  I hate liver with the hatred that comes from being made to eat liver once a week growing up.  I’ll leave you a second to absorb the horror of the previous statement.  It’s not only that liver tastes horrible, smells horrible, and looks horrible, it is the organ that cleans the blood, and all the chemicals that chicken was force fed are probably in there, along with many other nasty things you don’t want in your food.  I secretly think GGM has now made this liver dumpling soup the last two visits in order to have chicken liver on hand to secretly feed the baby if I’m not vigilient, or she feels the need to feed me liver in order to “strengthen my milk”.  She also put bacon on perfectly good broccoli salad, but that is a whole other problem, bacon on everything.  Did I mention I also hate bacon?  Here’s the thing.  I have my ideas, and you may have yours about what you should eat, and I think we are all entitled to those ideas and should be allowed to practice them without pressure.  I’m not going to sit at your lard, liver, and bacon laden table and spout reasons why you shouldn’t eat those items, I just don’t want to eat them myself.  Please don’t make me eat those things in order to not be rude, and we’ll all get along.  And for once and for all, I HATE LIVER!!

Wedding Knitting

April 27, 2011

With the days counting down quickly to our wedding now, I’ve started my wedding knitting.  I’m pretty sure I won’t get all three projects done, so I’m starting with the most important one, my wedding stole.  I’ve stuck with the plan of knitting Bleeding Hearts Stole, but I have changed my mind on colours.  Instead of a green stole, I’m now using white lace merino yarn.  With my orange flower bouquet, I was of the opinion that it would be too much colour to also have green shoes and stole. 

I’m making both sides at once, using two balls of yarn that I wound up, hopefully equally using my scale.  In this way the day before the wedding I can bind off wherever I am, stitch the two pieces together and walk down the aisle.  The main pattern graph is to be repeated 10 times, but we’ll see how far I get!  I’m hoping to knit another stole for my Matron of Honour, but I’m not going to be upset if I don’t get that finished, but I would be upset if my stole isn’t done! 

The wedding plans are going ahead, and this Friday I’m going to look for a dress!  This is exciting and nerve wracking for me, but I’m sure my Matron of Honour will give me good advice if something looks horrible.  We’re heading down to Fernie soon for our first family trip away with the baby, and to finalize all our plans.  This will be good practice for us to start with a smaller trip, as we have some other trips planned. 

I’m really looking forward to the wedding, and seeing not only family but some old dear friends.  One of my dearest friends moved back to Sweden right after university, and the last time I saw her her son was 3 months old.  He just had his ninth birthday!  She and her family are all coming for the wedding, and I’m so excited to see her I tear up almost every time I think about it.  It is going to be a wonderful time, and I can’t wait.

Action Baby

April 26, 2011

Action Baby Demands Action!

Action Baby is Tired.

Beans on Toast

April 25, 2011

When I was a kid my Dad had a few special dishes he would make the kids, one of which was beans on toast.  This seems to be an English thing, as I was surprised when I went to England back in the last nineties how many restaurants served beans on things.  The beans are those normally called “pork and beans” or beans in tomato sauce, I usually buy the vegetarian kind to avoid the pork bits.  On my trip I indulged in beans on jacket potatoes, beans on yorkshire pudding, which was particularly yummy.  There is a very specific way to make beans on toast for optimum taste:

1) heat up the beans in a small pot

2) toast two pieces of bread

3) Butter the bread

4) smother the toast with beans

5) cover with liberal amounts of salt and and pepper

It all goes together so well, the toast gets a bit hard, the butter melts and gives a lovely flavour.  The beans soften the toast, and of course the English love their salt and pepper.  The beans should go over the side of the toast, and fill the plate.

Doesn’t that all sound so simple, easy, and delicious?  All parts going together in a smooth melody, no part of which should be changed?  Here is where I explain that Mr. J is doing a lot of the cooking and food preparation these days, as I’m usually busy with the baby.  We’ve gotten good at me starting a receipe, and him having to finish it.  Unfortunately he has a problem with making something like beans on toast exactly as required, but instead needing to change things!  Change things, you can’t change something like that, not when I’ve been eating it since childhood!  The English aren’t really known for changing things either, after all they still wore their wool suits in India, and the women their full gowns.  You don’t “Make the World England” by changing receipes.  But he insisted on his batch of beans on toast; not adding butter, using hot sauce instead of salt and pepper, painstakingly making sure none of the beans fell off the bread instead of “smothering”.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as good as the original, but he maintained it was better.  I think he was just being stubborn on that point, but to each their own!  Both of us being home with the baby is a lot of fun, even if we have huge pretend arguments over how to make beans on toast.

Our World

April 22, 2011

 Our world is still pretty snowy, with two major snowstorms in April so far.  However the snow is slowly melting, and flowers are starting to poke up!  This is the time of year when my friends in Utah are busy posting photos of their lovely flowers, and we are busy talking about how instead of four feet of snow in our yards, we’re down to 2!  I am excited that all the tulip, crocus, and daffodil bulbs I planted last fall are starting to come up, and we even have flowers in the back yard!  A cute fluffy hare was in the backyard this week, and I angrily glared at his cute fluffy tail, waiting for him to eat my flowers, but he has not (yet).  Good thing I don’t like rabbit, rabbit, ’cause if you eat my flowers, I may seriously consider threating you with the stew pot.  And when I say seriously consider, I mean it!  The hare is very brown now, not much white left, so they must know the snow days are numbered.  The temperature has been much mildly however, with days above freezing.  Althea and I have been getting out for daily walks, if we aren’t busy with other tasks.  She really loves the carrier now, lighting up with smiles when I get ready to put her into it.  She can even sit and look around quietly for a long time before falling asleep, which is a huge change from when she was just a month old – she had to be asleep or she would be screaming!  She can now also sit quietly in the car seat for awhile and look around before falling asleep.  She still screams at times, like when we stop at a red light, but it is  a huge difference from two months ago! 

As the weather warms up, and it’s getting easier to take Althea places, I hope we get out more to do more fun things in the city.  I’m enjoying thinking of all the places we will go for walks, new places we will explore.  And of course when it gets much, much nicer, and the foothills start to melt out, I hope we will be out there taking our walks in the woods. 

Althea got her first shots yesterday, and she was such a brave little girl.  She screamed pretty loudly for a minute, and then quietened right down.  Everyone is always very impressed by her lung power.  She is doing well so far, without any bad reactions other than crying whenever she wakes up, which just breaks your heart.  But it’s a lovely sunny day out there, if still a bit nippy, and once she wakes up from her nap, we’ll head out for our walk, and visit with some neighbours as many people have this day off.  Many cuddles are planned for the baby, which always makes her feel better, and us better as well.

I’ve got a few things on the needles right now, two things which I had to pick up more yarn for.  I’ve also been knitting something not for the baby, but some lace! 

 This is alpaca lace from Wooly Wonka in Sage and Cedars Colourway, or colorway as it is US yarn!  I’m making the Swallowtail Shawl from an older Interweave Knits magazine, its a nice simple small lace shawl to make.  Althea is still in the habit of nursing on her pillow, and falling asleep on it, and on me.  I can bring my arms around and knit something light like this on the other side of her.  This shawl is actually finished now, and is ready to block once I get around to that (which could be today, or a month from today!). 

 I also started a Little Sister Dress using some Socks that Rock lightweight in a lovely bright colourway.  Bright is an understatement, almost every colour is represented here!  I bought this from Miss Joce when I was pregnant with something like this in mind, she had gotten in in the Sock Club.  It is going to be a darling little dress when it is done, I’m making a larger size so that she may only be wearing it in the fall.  There is also a Big Sister pattern, so perhaps more of these in the future if this one works out well!  Every little girl needs a multi-colour dress don’t you think?

Reading About Anne

April 12, 2011

When the baby came, I knew that I would need some easy, happy reading.  I went to my beloved bookshelves, and found my copies of the six Anne of Green Gables novels, which I had last read when I was a teenager.  I believe I never finished the whole series, only actually reading the first four novels, and stopping for some reason.  The story of Anne has always been close to my heart, not only because we share the same name, but also because the character is so charming, with an outlook on life that is to be admired.  The tv adapation of the first novels aired when I was a teenager as well, and remains one of the best classics in my mind.  As I grew from a teenager I went back to the tv show over and over again; when I was sad, depressed, or otherwise feeling down it always, always picked me up and made me feel good.  I disctinctly remember my Canadian roomie and I in Boston watching it one gloomy afternoon when she was having boy troubles, crying over the sad parts, being happy at the ending. 

The last three books in the series are encased in a bit of a cardboard sleeve, and obviously haven’t been removed from it since I was a teenager.  I’ve dragged them from my childhood home to Guelph, Boston, Salt Lake, and now Calgary.  I read the first three novels as Althea nursed, and went to get the 4th from the sleeve.  As I pulled it free, out flew a pressed rose in wax paper, and a piece of paper with a name on it, the name of a boy I dated when I was a teenager.  I had drawn a heart around his name, in true sappy teenage fashion.  If I hadn’t done this, I would never have even remembered who gave me that rose so many, many years ago, as I had not only completely forgotten the rose, but the boy as well. 

My handwriting back then was script, very rounded, and fairly neat.  What a difference from how I write now, years of taking down notes in university morphed it into shorthand printing that has a rather unique flair so to speak.  Another way of saying this is that pretty much only I can read it, and sometimes even I can’t.  I like to think of it as a unique expression of my individuality.  Who I am at 38 also feels light years away from the 15 year old girl who wrote that name down, pressed the flower and put it into her favorite books.  It’s not like I wouldn’t know what to say to that girl, it is just that I would have too much to say to her!  And unfortunately until she went through all the experiences I have, she won’t truly understand what I’m talking about.  Life is a journey, and it’s not to be missed, but looking back on where you started can be a bit of a trip sometimes.

FO: Green Overalls

April 9, 2011

I finally managed to finish these little overalls up!  They look hilarious, as Mr. J says, like superhero tights!  Even if she only wears these once or twice (which is likely, as they are already tight to do up, but the feet fit!) the amount of laughter, giggling, and hilarity this photo has already brought us is totally worth it.  Of course it would have been better if she had these to wear when she was a newborn, but what can you do!  Here is a link to the pattern, which I can recommend as being well written.  The overalls are also generously sized for cloth diapers, which is good.  The black feet; of course because I ran out of green yarn!!  Overalls with rubber boots!

Waking up with a Scream

April 7, 2011

Last night I tried something new, putting Althea in her crib when she was only kinda asleep, instead of fully asleep, totally out, nothing would wake her asleep.  It was going pretty well, she was quiet, not waking up, slowly drifting off, I sat on my bed in her room and stayed close for support.  Then Mr. J came up with my dinner (we weren’t organized enough to eat before the bedtime ritual commenced at promptly 6:30 pm) and I decided to pop to the room next door to eat it, so as not to disturb almost sleeping Althea.  I munched on fries, looked around Ravelry for the perfect peaked cap, and congratulated myself on having such an advanced baby that at three months she can fall asleep in her crib like a big 4 month old.  Suddenly the quiet of the night was rent by horrible screams, not crying, SCREAMS, S.C.R.E.A.M.I.N.G!   I got into her room in a nanosecond, Mr. J was up from downstairs in the next nanosecond.  I grabbed my poor baby and went into full soothing mode, we both expected to find her covered in blood, missing a finger, a cat in her crib (this possibility was discussed, Piper was downstairs innocently sleeping on a chair, Jack was in the room, under the bed, and no landing noise of a cat was heard, and he wasn’t seen except under the bed) or some other horrible possibility.  The sound coming from our tiny baby took ten years off our lives.  Our top options now is that she was lightly  asleep, then jolted awake, found herself alone, and remembered abandonment in a past life, or burning at the stake, or some other horrible thing that happened to her and relived it.  Or she really is a banshee.  After a few minutes of soothing she began to calm down, and wake back up.  I could tell when she woke up, because she smiled at Mr. J, like nothing had just happened.  We could then check her diaper (which prompted horrible shrieking moments earlier) and verify that shards of glass were not present and causing the problem.  Unbelievably, she then went back to deep sleep after some nursing and rocking, and we didn’t experience the shrieking again, just the crying in her sleep, that eventually wakes her up, which is also very strange, but not so disturbing.