Friday, December 23, 2011

Sweater, take 2

B's sweater:


This one is better than the R's in some respects. kfb increases work better on the yolk of the sweater. And artistically, the stripes are nicer. But I wish I'd made it about 3 inches longer. And the cast off edge on the bottom could have been looser.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The finished product

Here is R, wearing his sweater.

I finished B's just this evening, but haven't taken a picture yet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost Christmas

December is always such a busy month leading up to the holidays. I've been spending very little time on the computer lately. Having two mobile trouble makers in my house takes a lot of time and attention. I did finish R's sweater, and it fits nicely. I'll eventually post a picture. I'm nearing completion on a similar style pull over for B. My baby elf hats and button scarves are selling really well at the co-op gallery. It was nice to take a gamble on some new items and have them sell so well. I need to get some new things churned out for the post Christmas shoppers. I really wanted to make the kids each a sweater this year though. It's been a nice change of pace to knit for my family.

Speaking of family, I am so excited because my parents and sisters are coming down here for Christmas! It's the light at the end of my tunnel after a what's shaping up to be a long, stressful, expensive week. I'm so looking forward to not traveling this year. Spending Christmas here, with the kids instead of on the go.

I've done really well with my second hand gift shopping. I've had to buy very few things new at full price. A shirt for my dad, a gift for J, and one thing each for R and B's stocking. Everything else has been bought second hand, or on clearance (a couple of items for my sisters), or homemade. I have one person left to arrange a gift for, and it's proving to be a little challenge. This person is difficult to shop for anyway.

Sounds like B's awake after another miserably short nap. She's in a big, bad sleep regression right now, and it's making me batty.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Work in Progress

I'm knitting a sweater for R. It's a top down, seamless pull over. I'm hoping to have it done before Christmas.






Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies

3/4c salted butter
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4c white sugar
1 3/4c all purpose flour
1/2c of your favorite jam or preserves

blend the egg, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly add flour until it forms a nice dough. If it's a little sticky, add a bit more flour until you can easily form the dough into small 1-2in balls. place the balls on a cookie sheet, push the center in with your thumb. The trick to filling the centers with jam is to use an icing bag, or simply cut the tip out of a plastic sandwich baggy. squeeze the jam into the cookies. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. My first batch made 24 cookies, but they were a little on the large side. They will spread some on the pan, so be sure to set them a couple of inches apart.

The Verdict: J and I liked them a lot. They'd be good with a nice cup of tea. J said they were decadent. R didn't care for them as much since they weren't chocolate, nor did they have frosting. I think you could up them a notch by drizzling chocolate on them, or powdered sugar.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments




Salt Dough

1c all purpose flour
1c salt
1/2c water


Mix together adding flour and water as needed to make the dough stiff enough to roll out. Roll flat and use cookie cutters. Poke a hole in the top for an ornament hanger. I baked mine at 220ish for about 30 minutes. The ornaments were very hard and dry and beginning to brown slightly on the bottoms. I let them cool and harden for a couple of hours, then let R paint them. I might have helped paint one or two ;)




Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving recipes

Because I don't want to forget next year, I'm typing up my recipes for stuffing and pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Pie:

2c. fresh pumpkin puree
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
pumpkin pie spices
1 pre rolled crust

mix together, pour into pie shell, bake for 15min at 425, then turn down to 350 and bake until knife comes clean out of the center. (about 20 mins for my oven, which bakes hot)

Stuffing for turkey:

1 9x9 cornbread, baked the day before, then crumbled
1 sleeves crackers, crumbled
1 egg
1 can cream soup
left over bread scraps, whatever you have- toasted
enough chicken stock to make it all moist and clump together.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lessons About Life and Death

We've been butchering roosters the last week or so. Well, just two roosters so far. One last week, which ended up being a sort of gory, tedious affair due to our own ineptitude. Today we butchered a second rooster and it went much smoother, and much less, ahem, goriness. The first time, we kept Robbie inside, didn't let him see anything. This time we decided to let him stay outside while we butchered the bird. He helps with the chickens, he knows they lay eggs for us. He didn't see the head get chopped off, and I kept him on the swings while the blood drained. But he got extremely curious when we were plucking the feathers and I couldn't keep him away. I was nervous about him seeing the bucket with the head and blood, but he looked anyway. He had a hard time articulating what he was feeling. He seemed to want the chicken to go back "home" with the other chickens. For it's head to go back on. He asked what happened to that chicken. He seemed sort of upset at first, although he never cried. So I sat him on my lap with me and told him that this chicken's life was over. Mommy and daddy butchered it, and it wasn't a chicken anymore, it was meat, and feathers, and bones. That it had lived a very good life, and it had been a nice chicken, but that it's life was over, and we would use his body for other things now. We went through this spiel several times, each time he was a little less upset. Eventually he wanted to help pluck a feather or two, and I let him touch the plucked body, and we talked about how the skin felt, and the meat and bones underneath the skin. He had fun gathering piles of feathers off the ground and tossing them around the yard. In the end, I don't think he was traumatized, and I hope he is on the way to learning something very important about the food chain, and where food comes from.

It seems that so much of the last generation or two has sort of lost touch with the life cycle of food. Example: J's old boss didn't know eggs came from chickens. This was a grown man, in his 30's, with kids of his own. Or people who think eggs are a dairy product. We'd like to try to break that pattern here in our family. I'll admit I had some reservations myself at first. I didn't grown up on a farm, and had no experience with livestock before we started our chicken ventures a few years ago. I thought maybe I'd be too squeamish to help butcher a rooster, or later to cook it. But I bucked up and J and I did it together. The second one was a lot easier too. I have people lined up for rooster feathers, I'm thinking I might even be able to sell them. And now we have some more meat in the freezer. Meat that didn't come from a factory.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some new work, hot off the needles:






I've felt like working in some neutral colors lately, which is sort of a change for me. Sometimes I like to challenge myself to work outside of my personal favorite color schemes. Cause ya know, not everyone likes the same styles and colors that I like (hard to believe, but there it is!). I must admit though, I really dig that deep cranberry color I used for the first tam. It's 100% wool, Paton Classic, which always knits up really nicely. My goal is to have a package of items ready to mail to Up and Dyed by Monday. I want to make one more button scarf, and at least one, maybe two more baby elf hats. They are selling well. I want this stuff on the shelf by Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Second Hand Christmas

Like so many folks, I've started my Christmas shopping this month. I'm doing it a little early this year because money is tight and I need to budget it in. I've made myself a goal this year, in shopping for the kids. Everything I get them will be second hand, or homemade. Two reasons: buying second hand is cheaper, and it's greener. So far in B's box are 5 cloth books, and a cabbage patch baby. I actually got 4 cabbage patch babies in a lot, for $15, free shipping. I cleaned them up, put some of B's newborn clothes on them, and will put 3 of them away for other gifting occasions. For R, he's got 4 VHS tapes and 8 books, all Richard Scarry. Also, an abacus by Melissa and Doug. Several of the books and tapes focus on letter and number and word learning. All of these things will be a good addition to our home school learning supplies. I'm still bidding (ebay) on some wooden train track, and a set of Mr. Potato Head toys. If I can get those two items, I think I will be done shopping for them, except for stocking treats. If they fall through, I'll keep looking, probably for books. Can never have too many books. I'd also like to knit the kids each a sweater. I've got the yarn for them both, it's just a matter of finding the time. I've been focusing all my knitting energy on retail, since is my biggest time of year for sales.

Knitting aside, this isn't the first time I've done second hand gifts, I think I've done them for just about every gift giving occasion since I started having kids. But this is the first year I'm aiming for 100%. I wonder how long I can keep it up before they notice? I wonder, will they resent it as they get older? We don't have commercial tv, it cuts down on a lot of the begging. There seems to be this sense of deserving and entitlement surrounding holidays, especially when it comes to our kids. I fall into the trap myself, even when I'm trying to be wary of it. "Oh, they deserve to have something nice and new at Christmas." Or I'll let guilt creep in, thoughts like: "That poor family can't afford anything new for their kids." Which isn't necessarily the case. It is part of my strategy for making ends meet, being frugal, stretching my resources as far as they'll go. I could buy everything new, but I wouldn't be able to afford to buy as much. Or buy the things I really want for the kids. I hope when they are older they'll understand, or at least not complain too much.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Long days

The last week and a half has been full of long days. J has been gone, out of state for work. So it's just been me and the kids. I've traveled alone with them before, but this is the first time I've had the kids alone at home for more than one night. It's actually gone better than I had hoped, but it does make for some long days, doing it all myself. Not gonna lie, several nights have ended with a beer in hand after the kids go down. The kids have done ok with his absence. Robbie has been acting out a bit more, wetting the bed a few nights. B doesn't seem to notice.

In almost every spare moment I haven't spent taking care of children, I have been feverishly knitting more baby elf hats. I finished 5, plus a button scarf, and they arrived at Up and Dyed today.

I was really pleased with how they turned out. Hopefully they sell well, they were actually really easy to make, and dont take much time or materials.

One thing I've noticed is that when J and I are apart, we communicate a lot more. We've had some amazingly productive conversations via IM while he's been away. I'm really looking forward to him coming home tomorrow so we can move forward with some of the things we've discussed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baby Elf Hat

Finished a new style baby hat. calling it a Baby Elf Hat. B was kind enough to model for me.





Saturday, October 22, 2011

6 months and counting

Happy half birthday baby B! Today you are 6 months old!


Your birth has brought so many positive changes to our family in the last half year. From the first moment I held you, I felt as if I had always known you. You delight us all with your sweetness and your curiosity. We love you baby girl!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Perfectly Easy Chicken Pot Pie!

2 rolls of pre-made pie crust
2cups frozen mixed veggies
1 can of cream of potato soup
1 can cream of something else (chicken is what I used)
red pepper, garlic to taste (i added cayenne, and then used a mixed peppercorn and garlic grinder)
2 large chicken breasts.

preheat oven to 350. cook chicken thoroughly, chop. mix veggies and cream soup and spices with chicken. i have a 9in deepdish pie pan i use. lay one pie crust in the bottom of your pie pan, spoon in mixture. lay the second crust on top. trim the excess then pinch the edges shut. poke some holes in the top crust to let steam out. cover the edges of the pan with foil. bake for 30min then remove the foil. bake for another 30mins. let stand to cool.

it really can't get much easier than this, and it's supremely tasty!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just an update on life

The last couple weeks have been really busy. The kids and I went to TN for a week to spend time with family and friends. J couldn't come with us cause the dirty, rotten, stinking USAF wouldn't let him have any time off. The kids were real troopers and for the most part we had a great time. It's great to be back home though. This place really does feel like home too. I marvel sometimes, at how far we've come in the last 6 months, and how wonderfully happy I am with our family. The kids absolutely make my world go round. B is just the greatest thing ever. And R is so clever and smart and full of energy. J and I are working so much more as a team. Our 4th wedding anniversary is in a few weeks. Unfortunately, he'll be at a class in TX. We'll have to celebrate when he gets home. 4 years of marriage and almost 10 as a couple, 11 as best friends. I really, truly believe we were meant to find one another. Even when he drives me batty (which is not all that often right now), at the end of the day, we have so much love for each other.

I'm still knitting, even though I took a semi-break from it over vacation. I made a sweater and intended it to be for B, but it was too snug on her baby chub, so I made a hat to match, and it's now for sell at Up and Dyed. I wish I'd gotten a picture before it left me, it was really quite cute. Now I have to knit another, bigger sweater for miss chubbness. But I have to finish this hat I am working on first. It's still a bit warm for sweaters here anyway. I'm not sure it will ever get cold. We're having an Indian Summer here right now, in mid October.

Someone gave the kids a used swing set while we were gone. Today I found a baby swing on clearance for B. The kids both love the swing set. They were so cute together.


We have so much fun playing in the back yard here, especially now that it's not miserably hot.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Fall Ya'll

I've been a busy knitter the last few weeks. Here are just a few of my finished projects:



I'll try to post some more pictures soon. Everything is available for sale, and will soon be displayed at Up and Dyed. I haven't had much luck yet with the Facebook Page for The Hippie Homemaker, but I also haven't been doing a whole lot to promote it. I just don't have the time to devote to it yet. I have a lot of stuff now for sale, hopefully some of it will start to move as fall rolls in. We really need the extra income. Two house payments and all. Cause ya know, our house in Fayetteville is still on the market. Our shitty ass realtors won't show it. Our contract isn't up until January either- but I digress.

We're putting in fruit trees and berry bushes here on our mini farm this fall. Apples, pecans, blue berries, blackberries, and hopefully PEACHES! J informs me there are huckleberries growing wild in back, and a grape vine. We already have several pecans, but J wants more. Fine by me. I like pecans.

The kids are a blast right now. Well, R. occasionally makes me want to pull my hair out. But I am trying so very hard to keep my cool with him. We're trying the 1-2-3 thing, and it seems to be working pretty well so far. We're doing some real unstructured preschool stuff with him right now. He's not really able to handle too much sit down learning at this point. So I work learning into our play and daily routines. He's done really well with colors, and now we're working on counting- 1 to 1 correspondence, and reciting numbers to 20. He knows through 12, and this week I introduced 13-20 and he got quite excited about the new numbers. We do lots of sing songs to help with letters, as well as coloring pages. We read a lot of books, we watch a few cartoons. We play outside. We color. I have all these fun ideas that he's just not ready for yet. We'll get there someday. Honestly, he's still just so little, even though he has a huge personality.
B continues to be her fabulous self. She's a rollin fool right now. She rolls everywhere. Happy as a clam most of the time. She thinks R. is hilarious, and they enjoy playing together. He gets down in the floor with her and gives her toys, and helps her get unstuck when she rolls up against the furniture. She is also totally a daddy's girl. She lights up when he comes in the room. Coos and hollars and grins and flaps her arms. She just loooooves her daddy. She's been trying a few bites of solid food here and there the last week or so. Mushed banana, green peas, mushed up rice. She is pretty offended by it when she actually manages to get a taste of it in her mouth. Which is fine. She's got her whole life to eat solid food. She's a great nursling.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Never Look the Gift Chicken in the Mouth

We were gifted two chickens last week, a male and a female, mixed breed. The rooster is very vocal, and quite cagey. He wakes us up every morning around 5:30. I can't wait til he's moved further from the house. He escaped from J while being transferred into their hutch and it took us all evening to get him rounded up. Silly bird. The hen is a much more docile, calm creature- and they are both just as pretty as can be. The male has lovely green tail feathers. Our other roos haven't really grown much in the way of tail feathers yet.



Eventually, i think we will try crossing the two breeds. We'll need to introduce some new blood into the Black Copper Maran flock anyway. They are so rare, there is a very limited gene pool for pure breeding. Too much inbreeding isn't good for the birds. You start seeing genetic abnormalities, like the one stunted bird we lost early on.

Now if someone would just give us a pair of goats....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chickens

Here are some pictures of our pretty birds, about half grown at this point.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

4 months and 3 years

Yesterday was R's 3rd birthday. We celebrated with cake and friends from church on Sunday, since J is out in the field this week. It's incredible to me that the time has passed so quickly. R is such a wonderful, bright, imaginative child. And even though we had a rough time after we moved, his behavior has really improved a lot in the last month. Some days he turns the drama on, but a majority of the time he's a pleasant little person. He's still just as intense as he was the day he came forth into the world, but he also still has that cuddly sweetness, a last hold on his baby days perhaps. I hope he never looses it. I love our quiet moments together when he climbs up into my lap and burrows in for a snuggle. And the way he whispers back "I love you too, mommy." I cry when I think about the day when he'll no longer want me to hold him, or kiss his "hurties." I know it will come all too soon. Some days I wish I could slow time and keep him this way forever.

We've started doing a bit of preschool type work at home. Our first baby steps on the road to homeschooling. He's finally doing better with his colors and I am no longer worrying about him being color blind. We spent a couple of weeks really focusing on colors and it finally seemed to click with him. At least yellow, red, blue and green. He still confuses orange with yellow and red, and pink for red, and purple for blue. But it's a start. We've also been working on sorting, and counting. He can recite numbers well, but is not as good as counting out individual items. So we practice a lot, and he's getting better. Plus he thinks it's fun to count, or to name the colors of objects, so it's not all nose to the grind stone. Mostly we just play.

B turned 4 months Monday, and we'll go to her well baby visit Friday to see how much she has grown. She is such a delightful baby. All smiles and drool. And spit bubbles. And a little hair pulling. I feel a little guilty because I feel like I am enjoying her infancy more than I enjoyed R's. She sleeps better, and is not nearly so clingy. It's amazing how much sleep can improve a person's outlook on things. She's a kinder, gentler nursling too. No pinching or kneading so far, and a much softer latch. She's beginning to be ticklish and giggles a bit when I tickle her belly. She has a desperate, burning desire to be sitting up right, but is still too wobbly to do it on her own. I prop her up on the couch next to me while I knit and she just hangs out watching her brother. She moved out of her bassinet and into a regular crib recently (which is in our room, I LOVE having her sleep in our room). she sleeps the first part of the nigh there, and the 2nd half in bed with us. I love part time cosleeping. Best of both worlds.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

R's Birthday Cake

From Wallace and Gromit's A Grand Day Out:





Facebooking it

The Hippie Homemaker is now on FaceBook ! You can view past projects, current items for sale, and place custom orders. Hooray!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fingers Crossed

I think I may be on the cusp of finally making a new friend here. I hope she doesn't smell my desperation and get scared off. I'm so bad at this. She has a little boy about the same age as R, plus a bunch of older kids. They go to our church. We're supposed to have a playdate with them some time this week.

In other news, I made some really amazing peanut butter frosting the other night and spread it over my homemade brownies.

1 stick of butter, softened but not melted
1/3c of PB, I used crunchy but you dont have to
dash of vanilla
1/3c cocoa powder
2-3c powdered sugar
about 1tbs milk

mix the butter, PB, and the vanilla, cocoa, then add the sugar. add enough milk to make it smooth. I started with two cups of sugar, then added my milk, then need a little bit more sugar to stiffen it up. Double the ingredients if you want to use it for a cake.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

some pictures of the kids

me and the girl

brother and sister


in honor of worldwide breastfeeding week, nursing at the beach


water baby!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dog days of Summer

Not much new here. The summer is slipping away one hot, sweaty day at a time. The kids are doing pretty well. We've slowly worked our way into a new routine here at the house. I've some how found time to knit again and have 3 finished hats and a fourth about half done. Building inventory for this fall/winter. I'll have to get some pictures up soon.

R's birthday is coming up soon, less than a month. I've already done all the shopping for presents. We won't have a party this year, no one to invite. He's getting some fun things though, I found him some cool Wallace and Gromit stuff on Ebay. He's really into those claymation movies. His behavior has been a good deal better lately too- thank god. He's doing a lot of pretend play now, which is a big developmental step. It's fun to play make believe with him and watch his mind work. He's also getting a lot better at counting- not just reciting numbers, but actually counting out objects. still working on colors and letter recognition. I try to work in a little bit of 'learning time' activities every day. We're not sending him to a preschool this fall, I'm going to try to home school with him.

B is wonderful, takes long naps, very happy and easy to get along with. Also very strong and mobile for her age and size. She's been rolling both directions for about a month. I am so very, very much in love with her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A new dilemma *sigh*

I'm figuring out that it's going to be a lot harder to find friends here in our new community. We have always had a pretty strict policy about keeping the Air Force out of our personal lives. Meaning work and home life don't mix. I wasn't friends with other Air Force wives for the most part, and I didn't often participate in work related family functions. BUT, I was still able to have a circle of friends for myself and R- Army wives and civilian families mostly. That's proving to be nearly impossible here. the mom's groups here are almost exclusively Air Force wives, and J is part of a large squadron now, and part of an even larger Com group. I miss my friends. I miss having play dates to take the kids too. I miss not worrying about what I have to say or our life style choices.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July already?

I can't believe it's July already! I've been off line for about a week, we traveled up to TN to take my mom home. She had come down with a uhaul load of furniture, and the kids and I took her back. While we were there, J got us some new baby chicks. Black and Copper Marans:


We have 9, although I think there are just 8 in this picture. About 3 weeks old. I'll be glad to have our egg business back up and running. Will have a roo this time too, and eventually raise meat birds.

Kids are doing great. B was 13lb 11oz and 23.75in tall at her 2 month app on the 23rd. R is slowly learning his letters and numbers. His behavior has settled down a bit this last week. He got to spend a lot of time with grandma, grandpa, and his aunts. He still doesn't listen, but I think that's par for the course. I've devised a new naptime strategy for B. I'm putting her down for her naps in the guest bedroom with a fan on for white noise, so that R. won't wake her up, and I can be in my room while she sleeps. We'll see how well it works out.

We're getting a lot more settled now, I spent a long time this morning unpacking things, putting up pictures, and moving furniture, and it's really starting to feel more like home. Maybe I'll be able to bust out the yarn here soon and start knitting again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just a few quiet moments

This week has been a hard one. J.'s been on 12-15 hour shifts all week, and R has been a maniacal beast, running amok and tearing shit up left and right. I'm just about ready to pack him off to the zoo. not really, but, ya know... some days its like having a wild animal loose in my house. B's great, she's my little bit of peace and calm amidst the raging tornado of toddler fury that is her brother. She's sleeping now, and R. is parked in front of a movie, so I have a few quiet moments to myself.

I'm in a bit of despair about my car. It really needs some work done to it. We've been putting it off, but really can't much longer. I went to the repair shop near our house this morning, but they say I have to drop it off. Big huge problem. I have no way to do that. We don't have another vehicle we can all ride in, and I don't know anyone here that can either A)give me a ride, or B) watch the kids for me. And the garage doesn't offer a pick up drop off service, nor could they give me a ride back to my house. Nor could I even make an appointment for one day next week, first come first serve only. Well sheesh, they sure don't want my money then. They didn't even have a waiting room or lobby.

The house is slowly coming together. we've still got boxes and stuff piled up under the car port. J hasn't been able to bring anything in this week. I've brought a few small things in, but it's been hard to get anything other than the bare essentials done here at the house this week.

Annnnnd R just woke his sister up, so I guess that's all for now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back Online

We moved in to our new place over Memorial Day weekend, and yesterday our dsl service was finally cut on. We're getting settled in out here in the country and really enjoying the change of pace from 'motel hell'. The unpacking is slow going. I rely on J to bring in boxes from the carport, and bring loads over from the storage unit, and if he doesn't do his part, I can't do mine. We're also waiting on some furniture to come TN later this month. I have the kitchen unpacked, and the nursery unpacked and set up, and mine and the kids clothes unpacked out of the suit cases. I still have stuff in baskets and boxes though, waiting on my dresser and chest of drawers. We bought some new furniture last Saturday. I have a new couch and a new glider with a foot stool, both of which are really nice. I am still on the prowl for a wing chair to put in the living room. I really want to paint, because the walls are pretty dingy, but I don't think I can do it alone, and I think it's pretty far down on J's list of projects right now. There are plenty of little, and big, projects to work on around here. I'm still a little peeved that we spent so much time and energy and money on the old house, making it nice for someone else. I feel like J. won't be nearly as motivated to help me make this place as nice for us. He is wanting to spend all our extra money right now on expensive lawn equipment and eventually a motor cycle to ride to work (to save money on gas he says).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Housing Update

We closed on our new house today. YAY! We might even be able to start moving in as early as sometime tomorrow, but if not, Sunday for sure. The owners said they would let us know when they were all done tomorrow. They are an older retired couple who are going to go RVing now and just travel around seeing the country. I went to the walk through with J today, and they were just about out, and they had a whole crew of folks helping them move. I wish we were going to have a whole crew of people helping us move. It's just me and J though. Mostly it's J. I'll probably do most of the unpacking of the household goods, but he'll have to physically move everything out of storage and into the house. I also have the two kids to take care of and keep out from under his feet. BUT we had a huge new yard for R to play and explore in. He didn't want to leave today when it was time to get back in the car. He's been asking all evening when we were going back to the new house. It looked today like I might need to do some painting at some point. They had lived in the house for 35 years. There are a lot of places where you can see the outlines of things that had been hanging on the walls for all those years. And grimy doors. But that might be a project that has to wait until B is a little older. I just don't feel up to the task yet.

In other related news, J is seriously talking about renting out the house in F'ville. *groan* I'd prefer to give it some more time on the market, maybe with a different relator, but he disagrees, and ultimately, it's up to him.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Madness

There have been a lot of things I have wanted to update lately, but I never seem to have the time. I'll open the page to start a post, but never get it started before I have to close the computer again.

We've had some exciting things going on in our lives the last couple of weeks. R and B and I went to TN for several days to visit my fam. J was on 12 and 14 hour night shifts last week, and since we're all still living in one room, the kids and I left to give him a chance to sleep during the day. During our trip, R. weaned! he nursed for 2 years, 8 months, and 22 days. We'd been working on gradually cutting out the bedtime nursing since I had B. First he had to learn to fall asleep without nursing, which was really the biggest challenge. But without daddy there to help with B during bedtime, R wasn't able to nurse at all. There had been a night or two before when he hadn't been able to, and what we did was offer "big boy milk" in a cup or a drink of water instead of nursing. Plus snuggles and a story of course. So while we were in TN, he got his drink of water and some snuggles and that was it. He's still asking at bedtime, even though he hasn't nursed in 10 days. But he's not sad about it, he doesn't cry or beg. And best of all, he falls asleep on his own now. And for the last 3 weeks, he's been sleeping through the night. This is HUGE! I'm so proud of my big boy, and so thankful that he's finally sleeping. It's a little sad for me that our nursing days are over, because that was the last little vestige of his baby days. But mostly I'm glad our bedtime struggles seem to be at an end, for the time being anyway.

B did really well on our trip too. She smiled and cooed at everyone, and was good in the car most of the trip. She had her 1 month check up yesterday, and she's 11.2lbs and 21in tall. She's ENORMOUS! Off the growth chart on weight and 95th percentile for height. She's gained almost a pound a week since we came home from the hospital, which is absolutely phenomenal. It's not a bad thing though, she's just a big healthy girl! R's growth was similar. He chunked up until he hit about 20lbs then stayed there for a long time. The other good news is that her ped. will allow us to delay her vaccinations like we have with R. I was worried they wouldn't continue to see her if we didn't vax on their schedule. Big relief there.

We should be closing on our new house on Friday, hooray! And be able to move in on Monday. I wish we could move in over the weekend, but the sellers are moving out then. I'll be so happy to have all my things out of storage, and leave this transient life style behind. It's been hard on us all to be living in this motel room for two months now. Tempers get short quickly. R. gets bored and watches way, WAY too much PBS Kids, and gets way too little time to play outside. We eat the same 5 or 6 meals every week because my cooking options are limited. We have no oven, and two tiny burners. And the laundry... oh the laundry. It's the very worst part. 4.50 (in quarters, mind you) to wash and dry a single load. and it has to be lugged down there to the room and back.

And now the baby is awake again :) love this little girl to pieces!

Monday, May 9, 2011

22 days

the hot water has been out since wednesday, our room has been full of ants for at least a week, and i've been covered in this horrible itchy rash also for about a week. Counting the days until we close on our house and move out of this dumpy room at the end of the month.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mama of Two for Two Weeks

Little B has been with us for two whole weeks today. She's such a sweet little thing, with her own special personality that is already so, sooo different from her brother. So far, she's slipped pretty easily into our lives without creating too many waves or stress. She's been sleeping pretty well at night so I've been getting rest, which makes a world of difference in how I feel and how my body has been able to recover. She's growing really well too, in one week, she gained almost a pound. Her umbilical cord stump came off a couple of days ago and Wednesday she got her first real bath. She's got a very gentle, contented spirit.

I had to break down and buy a new ring sling because J wouldn't get my carriers out of storage. I've been out to run errands with both kids a couple times, and didn't have too much trouble. I get B settled in the sling, then deal with R. We've been to the doctor, the grocery store, the playground (twice). Today, whenever B wakes up from her nap, we'll go to the post office. I have had trouble getting some things done when she's awake, like dishes and laundry. The most difficult time of day is R's bedtime. He nurses to sleep, and more often than not, B needs to nurse then too, and trouble ensues. I've tried nursing them both at the same time, and it's doesn't end well. We just have to take it one night at a time and do the best we can. J's been a pretty big help, especially while he was off work. He had about a week off, and spent a lot of time with R. They went fishing several times, and to the store and playground.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

the birth of baby B


B was born Friday April 22nd, at 12:32pm, she weighed 8lbs10oz and was 20.5in long. Here is the story of my labor and her birth.

Wednesday (22nd) was our EDD, and when my OB checked me I was 4cm, but not in active labor. My parents and sister got here later that afternoon. Thursday I stayed busy, walked a lot all day, had sex that night, then woke up around 3am having just a few contractions. I had a lot of restless energy, but the contractions weren't very strong or regular, so I got up and decided I would just walk back and forth in our room to see if that would move things along. After just a few minutes they started coming about 5mins apart, and being a little stronger. I would stop and sway through them. R woke at 4am, so I laid down in bed with him and let him nurse to keep the contractions going. From about 4 on, they were 2-4 minutes apart and strong enough to need to breath through. I used a lot of visualization and breathing through this part of my labor. I stayed in bed with him until he fell back asleep at 6:30, occasionally letting him nurse if the contractions started to slow down. I got up and continued walking and moving. I couldn't sit down or be still through the contractions anymore. At 7 I took a shower and called my mom to be on stand by. J got up and we had some breakfast, i knew i needed to eat to keep myself going. I had to stop and lean against the counter or the wall and really focus through each contraction. They weren't especially regular, but at 8 we decided to go on to the hospital before R woke up again. We got there and when I got checked around 9 I was at 6cm. By the time I got all settled in to a room, it was closer to 9:45 or 10. The next hour and a half I labored in the bed, on my side, breathing, vocalizing and squeezing the life out of J's hands through the contractions. J timed them but they were never very regular. some were milder and short, some lasted 2 minutes with multiple peaks. I could feel her descending with those super strong contractions. By 11:30 I was getting tired and losing my ability to focus. nothing was giving me relief. J gave me strength though, I don't think I could have gotten through the final hour without him there. they checked me around 11:45 and I was 9, almost 10cm and bulging. my ob came in at 12 and we decided to break my water since it hadnt broken on its own yet- that was our only 'intervention'. There was meconium in her fluid. they busied about getting ready for the delivery for the next 15 or 20 minutes. i lost track of everything but the contractions and joe when I started to push. He told me afterward that we pushed through 8 or 10 contractions. So maybe 10 minutes at most. Being able to feel her coming out was the most intense, amazing thing i've ever experienced. I got a 2nd degree tear this time, and broke a ton of blood vessels in my face. They got me stitched up quickly and I was able to nurse B for the next hour or so before she went for her exam and they moved me over to postpartum. The rest of our stay at the hospital was uneventful. everyone was really nice, the food was sorta yuck, we didnt get much rest, they sent us home with tons of freebies. B is very easy going so far. She sleeps well, is great at the breast and doesn't fuss much. She'll actually take a nap in her bassinet!!! My milk has come in, and she is a little piggy. Her latch is fabulous, I've had no pain at all and she's so different from nursing R. we're sort of finding our groove here this week as a family of 4.

Everything about my labor and her birth were so, so different from last time. I felt much calmer, more confident, and so did J. Afterward I felt so... triumphant in myself and my body's ability to do such an amazing thing. I have been on this incredible high ever since. It was exactly what I needed it to be and so is she.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby come out!

According to the ticker I attached to my little blog here, yesterday was B's edd. According to my obgyn, it's not til Wednesday. Can we compromise and have her come out tonight or tomorrow? Please? I'm really, really tired of being pregnant. Everything from the waist down aches.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

39 weeks

One week left until baby B's expected due date. I got to see my new doctor this morning, after plowing through a mile or two of insurance red tape Monday. 1-2cm dilated, just waiting to go into labor at this point. Everything is still looking very good. BP was good, so was baby's heart beat. Having plenty of BH contractions today since having my cervix checked. I'm hoping she doesn't take another week to make her appearance. I'm ready for this stage of the misery to be over.

R and I went to granny's funeral last week. It was sad, even though it was nice to see my family for a few days. It was also an exhausting trip. I've been doing a lot of resting and taking it easy the last few days. After 3 crazy awful busy months of renovations and packing and cleaning, I think I deserve to take the last week of my pregnancy easy.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Pouring on Me in GA

We made it to GA Saturday. Sunday we spent all day trying to get settled in. We got here, and there weren't any pots or dishes or anything in the room, which I had been expecting to be here. J. wouldn't let me get all the things I needed out of the storage unit before he loaded everything else in on it. So now I dont have my baby carriers, my diaper bag, the pack n play. All stuff I really, really felt like we needed to have out for B. when she's born. I've also had to go out and buy some basic kitchen stuff so we can cook here in the room. I had a to do list a mile long for today- Bank cause we're broke and I need to transfer money into our checking account, Grocery Store, Post Office to get a PO Box, take care of my TriCare insurance paperwork so I can get a prenatal appointment scheduled here, laundry, stop by the office here because our toilet seat is broken. This morning I woke up to a call that my grandmother had passed away in TN. I've been running around all day trying to get things done here, so R. and I can leave in the morning. I made it to the bank and had success there. I was harassed by some creepy old man in the Walmart, and it took me forever to find the stuff on my list because I am not used to shopping there. It took me an hour, but I got us a PO Box and got our mail forwarded. The briefing for the insurance paper work is Wednesday, and I'll have to miss it. Everything else has taken so much time today, I didn't get a chance to go in today to see about it. So now I won't get to see a doctor this week since we won't be back until sometime Friday. Then later J. called to say that someone had hit his truck at work. The laundry here is exorbitant, 1.50 to wash and a 1.50 to dry. OMG... when it is going to end?? What else is going to happen today??

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almost Time

My bathroom got finished Wednesday, and the mess is finally gone out of the yard. My house is full of stacks of boxes, ready to load on to the U-Haul tomorrow. I'm really close to being done with packing. I've got to run one more load of dishes then pack them up, and the kitchen will be pretty much empty. I've started packing our clothes into suit cases, trying to keep things for the apartment separate from things going into storage. Poor J. has spent all day running around in the rain trying to find a dump that will take some of the trash the douche bag contractor left for us to deal with. He never was successful. One place was closed, one place wouldn't take it, and by the time he'd done all that, the place that would take it, was closed for the day. He's gone to take his boat to leave with a friend, at rush hour, in the rain. We'll be lucky if he makes it back by bedtime. For me this afternoon has felt like the calm before the storm. I've done about as much as I can today. A lot of what's left has to wait until tomorrow. So I've been trying to rest up a bit. Baby girl is really uncomfortable today. Yesterday was a little better, but today I'm back to aching hips and pelvis.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Corn Chowder

Made something new yesterday that J and I both liked. My version of corn chowder.

Corn Chowder

1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2-3tbs butter
1.5tbs flour
dried onion flakes

saute the carrots and celery and onion in the butter for a few minutes on medium heat, then add the flour, stir constantly for a couple more minutes, then add:

32oz chicken stock
2 cans whole kernel corn-drained
1can cream corn
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1tsp bacon grease for flavor (optional)
small dash dill, red pepper, salt, and garlic

allow to boil until veggies are soft. then add

about 1/4 to 1/3c half and half, or more depending on how creamy you want it
1/2c shredded cheddar cheese
about 6oz precooked bacon bits (or cook your own, maybe 4-5 pieces)

allow to cook for 5-10 more minutes, until cheese is melted

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Down to the Wire

Well, it's Sunday again, and my bathroom is *almost* done. And there is still a huge mess in my back yard. We move in less than a week. Saturday is At this point, I won't get to paint and decorate the new bathroom, we're going to have to leave it primered white. I got 9 doors painted. It's about killed me. And I am about to kill my husband. He insisted on replacing the doors, even though I didn't want to, and it wasn't something we could really afford to do. He got his way in the end, because he always does. So of course, he did absolutely nothing to help with painting them. Didn't lift a damn finger. He's watched me make myself sick trying to get this house ready and get us packed, without the slightest hint of appreciation and more than a little criticism. He expects plenty of praise for everything he does though. grrr. Feeling a little huffy and resentful this morning. It didn't help that he rolled out of bed at 11 and made himself something to eat (didn't offer me any), an hour before lunch time, leaving the mess for me to clean up. His lack of sympathy is really, really irksome.

I did magic erase in R.'s room, and it looks like maybe I wont have to paint in there, which will be awesome. I will still need to paint our bedroom, and I'm not sure yet when or how I will manage that. I think it might have to be done in stages. Like one wall at a time, since we still have a lot of stuff in there that's not packed, and probably won't get packed until actual moving day (like our bed, and a couple other larger pieces of furniture).

Baby B is doing well. We had our 36w visit this past week. We're both healthy. I'm pretty much miserable all the time at this point though. My hips ache, my pelvis aches, the round ligament pain makes it hard to walk. I have these sharp pains sort of in my cervix, and my crotch aches from the pressure of the baby's head. I've been having an increase in nausea due again. It really hard to get comfortable at night. My feet swell most days. Yesterday was the first day I haven't had any significant swelling in several weeks. I drank enough tea to float a battle ship, and had to pee every 30 minutes all day long. But that seemed to do the trick. The contractions have slowed down a little. I was having lots and lots of b/h contractions, with some of the real ones thrown in there for some extra fun.

I haven't talked much about how R. is doing lately. He's in full blown 2.5 year old mode. He's defiant, and throws tantrums, and learns funny new things every day. He's frustrating and wonderful. We're potty trained during the day, with few accidents, but still in diapers at night. He has been staying dry at night about half the time. He was sleeping through the night, in his own bed, for about 3 blissful weeks. But that came to a crashing halt in the last week. Two of the last three nights have been insomnia nights. He- and by association me- was up for about 4 hours last night. Just ya know, to make my life more fun right now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

panic time

Well we finally got back in our house Friday morning, but it's Sunday and the bathroom is still not finished, nor have the doors been hung. Now they are saying they'll be done Monday. Every time they talk about it, it gets pushed back another day. I'm trying so hard not to feel panicky, but it's nearly impossible.

We found a temporary pay by the week efficiency apartment place in WR that we'll probably have to live at for the first few weeks. Of course baby B will likely be coming along very shortly after we move, and that's a large part of all my stress. That and the financial side it. The amount of money we've spent already is a little staggering. Trying to have faith that it will all work out in the end. Somehow. My instinct right now is to bury my head in the sand and wait for it to all disappear. Unfortunately life doesn't work that way. So instead I've ended up being far too grouchy and short tempered with R. and J.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stuck

Still suck in remodeling hell. We've been living out of a hotel for a week and half now while the contractor tries to get our repairs done. We had a good trip to GA last week, we found a house we really love and want to buy. But we came home to lots of delays with out own renovation, and it's gotten dragged out all week due to one thing or another. First the bathroom shower proved to be nearly impossible to rip out, then we needed to replace the flooring, which meant more tile to be chiseled out. Then halfway through the hardwood floor refinishing, he got the stomach flu and there went another day. So now our floor will be done this evening, but not really in time for us to move back in to the house. And the bathroom still isn't finished, and then, finally, there are the doors to hang. We've got two weeks left until we move, and I still have so much painting to do. The bathroom, R's room, our bedroom, then all 9 of the doors :( Plus the rest of our packing *cry* We still need to have the home inspection done too. And they haven't shown the house since it was listed, mostly because it's been full of workmen and tools and mess for the last two weeks.

As far as I can tell Baby B is still doing fine, we haven't had another visit since last month; it's next week. She kicks and wiggles and gets the hiccups. I'm really miserable though. I can hardly walk a lot of the time, I have so much ligament pain in my pelvic area. My feet have been swelling up by mid-afternoon. Anytime I'm up on my feet walking or doing much, I get contractions. I've been getting nauseous again too. And I'm tired most of the time. 5 more weeks until the expected due date.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Marching Forward

Less than a month until we leave Fayetteville, and North Carolina for our new life in Georgia. The projects on the house are coming together. Every day I am closer to seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Today the shower came. Yesterday we purchased new interior doors and shower components. Tomorrow our hens and our doggy are going to live with J's mom while we move (I'll miss them). Monday, we're packing as much as we can fit into a small Uhaul and going to GA for the week to move things into storage and try to find a house. While we're gone, the contractor is going to come in and refinish the floors and remodel the master bathroom. Then when we get back, I'll have another round of painting to do. And the final packing. We got the house officially listed one day this week which was a huge step forward. Hopefully they can start showing it soon.

I should be packing now, but I'm taking a break. I've been sick, and have had a really hard time kicking the infection. Even after a round of antibiotics I'm still coughing up green snot all day. Baby B is making me really uncomfortable pretty much all the time. It seems too early to be having this much pelvic discomfort and pressure. But then she's carried lower the entire pregnancy. My hips ache, I have contractions any time I am up moving around (which makes painting and pack FUN). Some just braxton hicks, some more like early labor contractions. The slow painful cramp that starts low and radiates upwards. Something like a cross between a menstrual cramp and a stomach cramp. Bending over is nearly impossible without feeling like I am going to puke. I have a hard time being comfortable at night. I hope she doesn't decide to come on out early. I need for her to bake in there as long as possible! My big fear is that I'll have her before we're moved into a house, and we'll have to bring her home to a motel room, or a weekly rental sort of place. I'm trying to take things one day at a time and not worry about what lies ahead, but as we get closer and closer to April, it's getting a lot harder.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

recent knitting projects







made two of these mohawks.

Currently I am working on baby B's blanket. There's one other hat that I made myself that I dont have a picture of. I have a hat commission I need to start on that will be identical to the black tam pictured above.

House remodeling is going ok. Got the guest bath done, some of the ceilings painted, cabinets refinished, living room and halls painted. Still waiting on an estimate for our master bath remodel and floor repairs.

I've bogged down this week because I've been sick with some nasty upper respiratory crud. I'm on day two of a Z-pack and still feel like I want to lay down and die. Had an OB app. yesterday and everything is going great with baby B. She's head down, and very, very wiggly. Weight and BP are great. Having lots of b/h contractions, but with all the work and time on my feet, that's not really surprising. I have one more visit scheduled before we move.