Monday, September 30, 2013

Catching Up

There is so much still left to do. Yesterday we cleaned the rest of our things out of the apartment, did some cleaning, and handed in our keys. Today I am doing laundry and trying to catch up on some correspondence--mostly of the internet variety, but also a few quick notes to cousins.

I am hoping and praying that these babies stay inside for another 5-6 weeks because I don't see how everything will get done otherwise! In the end, whatever's finished by the time they get here is finished, and whatever isn't ... will get finished eventually.

I will be going shopping after Michael wakes up from his nap. One of the biggest adjustments for me is not having a grocery store right around the corner! We drive through a nature preserve to get there now, and it's very beautiful. The trees are starting to change colors. (Just in time for my birthday, right? ;) ) I'm glad to live where there are trees again.

I really hoped to celebrate Michaelmas yesterday ... but sadly, our own Michael had a meltdown after Mass, which meant going home instead of straight to the apartment; which meant Keith going out on his own while Michael napped to pack things up and start cleaning; which meant instead of roasting a chicken and baking with blackberries I picked up Five Guys for dinner and we ate on the floor of our empty apartment before I cleaned the fridge and Keith loaded the cars. Then we said goodbye to our first home.

So, no Michaelmas for us, which made me sad. But it was still an important evening for our family.

But there are some other really great posts others wrote about Michaelmas, and you should read them. Especially if you've never heard of it before. :) St. Michael is such a powerful patron for the Church. I remember being pregnant (before I knew Michael was a boy) and hearing a crowd of people say the St. Michael prayer and feeling a chill run down my back as I realized just how powerful a weapon it was against evil. There were a lot of factors that came together in our decision to choose the name ... but that was the first moment I thought, if I have a son, I want to name him Michael.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Empty Shelves


Sorry for the crappy picture. It's night time but I couldn't not participate in the yarn along! Today my mom came down and helped me unpack and organize things and was a HUGE help, and now we have a little knitting/reading corner in the living room, which is where I'm sitting as I type this. It is a lovely little corner beneath a huge window that looks out onto the deck. I love it. Once things are a bit more settled (and sometime during the day!) I will take pictures and post them. 

The hatbox is stuffed with hexipuffs.
As you can see, the bookshelf in the background is decidedly empty.  All of our books are still packed away, and my Kindle is practically dead. (Keith just found the power cable, so, yay!) Not much reading for me.

I did, however, manage to dig up my yarn swift, and when we moved I made sure my stash was readily accessible, so I wound up the third and last skein of yarn for Hamako and joined it the other day. That's all the knitting I've done this week. Hopefully by the next yarn along I will have a finished baby blanket to show you! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We are here.

Our furniture is here. (Most of) our stuff is here. The internet is here. Our new washing machine is here (but no drier).

I wouldn't say the moving process is entirely over, but this is where we are.

Michael knows his way around, is now proficient at climbing steps (and getting better at coming down them), and usually loves his new room, though not napping in it. The kitchen is almost entirely unpacked, as are our bedrooms. The living room and dining room are still in pretty severe disarray.

Yesterday Michael kicked/threw a soccer ball around the driveway, and we discovered a gravestone in the back yard. (I guess the previous owner didn't know about it??)

Our first real dinner, cooked by me last night, was salad and pumpkin mac-n-cheese. The perfect meal for early autumn!

Aaaaand I think Michael is now throwing his snack on the floor in the next room, if his repeated exclamations of "throw!" mean anything, so I will finish typing and leave you with a few pictures.

Helping Papa put together the bed.

Matthias the Squirrel

Housewarming gift from a friend

Friday, September 20, 2013

Seven Quick Takes (13)

1. I should be packing right now. Or at least taking a shower. But instead I am typing my (probably) last blog post ever from this apartment. We are so happy to be moving to our new home tomorrow, but just typing that out makes me feel a little emotional. (Hey, cut the pregnant lady a break. She's allowed to get teary-eyed.) This place has been good to us.

2. One of the best parts about living here has been our landlords. Last year they moved in downstairs, which could be potentially awkward, right? But it's been great. They're just good people. For example, my landlady the other day invited Michael downstairs to come see the kitty, which made him SO HAPPY. (Although now whenever he sees her, he starts crying to see the cat.) She's helped me carry groceries into the house more than once since I've gotten pregnant, offered to buy things for us from the farmer's market, and to top it all off last week she and her husband gave us a gift card to Babies'r'Us for the twins. How sweet is that?

3. I suspect Michael might have an ear infection, so I've been trying to call the doctor's office to make him an appointment. It took three tries. Try #1: I get to option 1 on the menu (making an appointment is option 3), when Michael starts crying. I turn around to see he has bitten a piece of plastic off the medal on a broken plastic rosary. (He is past that stage of putting things in his mouth, so I'm not sure exactly what he was thinking.) I hang up the phone and get the piece out of his mouth and decide that when he starts eating random crap it's time for a nap. (And I'm sorry, I really hope that rosary wasn't blessed because it's in the trash right now.)

4. Try #2: I wait a bit for Michael's nap to "take." When he settles and seems to be asleep, I call the doctor's office again. This time I get to option 2 on the menu before there's a knock on the door. I'm still in my pajamas. I hang up, get dressed quickly, and answer the door. It's my landlady, apologetically letting me know that some Italian guy is coming by to look at the house in the late afternoon. (Our landlords are selling this place.) We chat for a bit, and then ... Michael starts crying.

5. Fastforward to try #3: I finally get through the menu ... and have to leave a message. So, hopefully we will get him in for an appointment sometime this afternoon.

6. I have to say that this pregnancy has been kind of difficult. As a family we have dealt with a lot of stuff in the past few months that would have been challenging WITHOUT pregnancy hormones thrown in ... know what I mean? Between dealing with various crises, extended family drama, Keith working in overdrive to finish his degree a few months ago, house-hunting and moving, etc ... I feel like I've been in "survival mode" off and on for the past several months. As my due date gets closer, this has become harder for me to deal with, and it's taking its toll on me emotionally. I feel like any day the twins are just going to "show up" and I won't be prepared, at all. But I am trying to let go of things I can't control (including things that have happened in the past few months) and just live in the present and know that I am where God wills me to be at this moment.

7. Did you know that September 22nd is not only the first day of autumn ... but also Hobbit Day? Happy happy happiness!! It's also, sadly, the day after we move, so I'm afraid a day of feasting with friends hobbit-style is out of the question ... but I want us to celebrate it somehow! I'll think of something. :) Also, Michaelmas is a week from Sunday! So we will have to do something special then too.

Linking up with Jen for her Seven Quick Takes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I only missed a week, but it feels so good to be linking up with the yarn-along again! Things have been crazy around here, but I've been knitting. In fact, the very first thing I did after finding out two weeks ago that we might not be able to get our new house was cast on a second baby blanket. It gave me something to do with my hands, and a way to prepare for these babes even as we were unsure of where we'd be bringing them home to.

Knitting has slowed down a bit since we realized we could get the house after all, but I've been plugging away, row by row. 

The pattern is Hamako, which wasn't on my shortlist for the last blanket, but I was so intrigued by the texture that I had to cast on. I am using Malabrigo Rios in Cumparista, which is a very rich, deep red. (In some lights it does take on a purplish tinge, which Keith isn't too happy about; he doesn't think it's very manly. ;) )

Reading has slowed down as well. I am still working my way through older issues of Dappled Things; I'm hoping to finish them in time to pack them up for the move.

Linking up with Ginny.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

House and Home

Today, we bought a house.

The past week or so has been a little rough around here. There was a kink in the mortgage process and things were a little uncertain for four or five days. Which was really, really hard. I had started packing and then stopped because I just couldn't. I couldn't pack away the home we had when the home we hoped for might not happen. I've written about disappointment in house-hunting before, but when you are literally a week away from closing and something comes up? Ugh. I shed some tears.

But we got through it, and today's the day we signed the final papers. Now our bookshelves are slowly emptying (so many books!), I am gathering more boxes, and we may move as soon as this weekend.

(This is also why it's been a bit silent around here. First I was discouraged, then I was busy.)

We're gonna need a lot more boxes for all those books!
We had our walk-through for the new house yesterday. I hadn't been in it for more than a month. It's a little weird, the way "home" is building up around this place and yet ... "home" is still this apartment. Keith and I have lived here since getting married; Michael's been here his whole life. It will be weird to see our furniture in another place, along with all our other things, because they feel like they belong here.

I wanted to take pictures of all the rooms before packing, but instead found myself capturing corners, little places and gatherings of the things that hold meaning for our family. The owl cookie jar, a gift Keith gave me last birthday, sitting next to the plants on the kitchen counter; the kitchen Madonna standing amidst the teacups on the shelf above the sink; a sunny corner of our back porch where the rosemary plant sits by the fire escape.

I feel that being a homemaker can be such a challenge. We are called to keep our eyes on the next life, and yet as homemakers--wives and mothers--we are called to make that vision present in this life for our families, and we do that using tangible things. A home is so much more than the material, but the material matters. Material things communicate and make possible the rhythm of our life.

I know how we live here. I don't know what that looks like for our new home yet. So while I can picture cooking in the kitchen or the boys playing in the backyard, I still have trouble picturing the material aspects of "home" in the new house--our couches, my teacup collection, the kitchen Madonna near the sink. But I know that when we move and the Madonna is in her place, and owl cookie jar somewhere on the counter, they will soon feel like they belong there; that "home" will continue to spread over this house as it has already begun, and then slowly grow into it, sinking down roots, accumulating meaning and stories and love.

Soon Michael will wake up and we'll head over to the new place to do some cleaning, so maybe I will have pictures for you soon. :) In the meantime, have a Michael:

Friday, September 13, 2013

29 Week Update

This entire pregnancy, I've been annoyed at The Bump and Facebook for not acknowledging my newest week of pregnancy every Thursday. Because my due date is Thursday, November 29th, dang it.

Except I just realized something. To help people remember my due date I always tell them that it's the day after Thanksgiving. And what day is Thanksgiving? Every single year?

So, I apologize to The Bump and Facebook. You were right all along.

I have four post drafts in my blogging folder so know I have been thinking about you, even though it's been a week since I posted. A long, exhausting week, physically and mentally. But today I feel good, so! Here is a bump selfie for your amusement. Because this was the best of the bunch I took, and you are free to laugh at my facial expression, because I am laughing as I upload it.

Just act natural.
I am going to need to buy a few new shirts soon. Someone told me back in July that I was huge. Um, no. In July I just looked pregnant, thank you very much. (I look awful in all the pics from that time or I'd share.) Now I look ... due. :) People I don't know have started asking me when I'm due in that tone of voice that implies "Will you be popping out that kid this week or next week?" I assure them I feel as pregnant as I look! Within the last week or two I've been told a few times that I've "popped," which is funny because I've already popped at least twice this pregnancy--so hopefully it's the last time. ;)

I got to see the boys on Monday. Yay! I had to get my ultrasound lying on my side because the babes were putting too much pressure on my vena cava and I felt like I was going to pass out; not something you should try to tough out, by the way. Both the guys are doing well; Baby B, who has always been a bit smaller, has finally caught up to his brother. And they have both flipped. At my 20 week ultrasound Baby B was breech and Baby A head down--the way we want him. But when I went in to L&D a few weeks ago, Baby A was breech and Baby B head down. I wasn't too happy but figured they still had time and would be flipping all over the place for a bit longer.

Well, we are running out of room for flipping, and Baby A is still butt down.

The OB called the day after my appointment to tell me that Baby B (head down) is closer to the cervix, tucked under his brother's bottom, so that is good; but, A's sac is somehow still under B's head, so ... I'm not really sure what all of that means in terms of trying for a vaginal delivery.

It's not that I can't make peace with the idea of having a c-section. With Michael's birth, I ended up needing Pitocin because my water had broken and I wasn't progressing; the evil drug that does such horrible things to you and your baby and STAY AWAY from it at all costs!! But it was Pitocin that allowed me to deliver Michael vaginally. I was at peace with it because it was the right thing to do. I think if it becomes clear that a c-section is necessary with these babes, I will be okay with that and be able to accept it peacefully.

But ... I want to be able to try, you know?

Anyway. My energy levels have been incredibly low, but the last two days have been great. Honestly I think the weather has a lot to do with it. It feels like fall again! I haven't complained too much this pregnancy, I think; I'm starting to complain now. I am tired, incredibly uncomfortable, and the hip pain has started. And I totally thought I had a mild case of PUPPPS, until I realized I was getting bitten by fleas from the squirrels that hang out behind our house. (I know. Gross. No more hanging out on the back porch. Except I just stood out there to take pictures.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Science! Culture! Facebook! (Seven Quick Takes (12))

I told my husband several hours ago that I was going to bed early. So I don't really know why I'm sitting here typing after 11pm, thinking "Hey, it's still Friday! I can do seven quick takes!" I didn't sleep well last night and am feeling a bit delirious and probably shouldn't be blogging at all, so please forgive (or forget) any weirdness.

1. There have been a few evenings in the past month where I suddenly looked up from my computer screen and told Keith that Facebook was turning me into a stalker. One of those instances: I saw a friend tagged in a picture and thought, hold on, is he getting chubby, or is it just the angle of the photo? And I spent a good five or ten minutes scrolling through old pictures to see if he had gained weight. I know I have problem, I just really, really hope I'm not the only one.

2. I also maaaay have looked up the "real" Facebook profile of a popular Catholic blogger (as oppose to the blog's Facebook page) and then said to Keith, "Hey look! [Popular Catholic blogger] commented on [other popular Catholic blogger]'s post!" And then I realized I was acting like a stalker again.

3. Does it make it more or less creepy that I'm confessing these things on my blog? I don't know. I like to talk about the weird things Facebook does to people now and then.

4. Tonight we argued about whether science and culture had anything to do with each other. Mostly it went along the lines of me saying, "Wait, that is NOT what culture means," and him saying, "Hold on, that is NOT what I mean by science." The first definition of culture that Google brings up is "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively." I like that definition, although if spent more time thinking about it I might find it incomplete. Hard to say at 11pm. Anyway, I think that definition provides plenty of fuel for my argument that science certainly IS a part of culture.

5. We were arguing because of this event, which I wish I had known about a little sooner. I'm hoping to go to the poetry reading tomorrow night, mostly because I would like to meet David Craig. I've interacted with him via email (not that I expect him to remember me!), and he teaches poetry at Steubenville.

6. Anyway, my friend Stephanie brought this event to my attention. Her brother is a priest who played a large role in organizing it. (He's also the godfather of my godson, which makes him my ... I don't know. Anyway, he also concelebrated our wedding Mass.) Stephanie is expecting her third baby and due THIS SUNDAY so when she called at 9pm I was certain she was in labor. Nope! Spare a prayer for her if you will; the waiting is always so hard!

7. I have a sinus infection and it is way past my bedtime. Goodnight. :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Finished x 2!

I am pleased to say that both cardigans are now finished! Sleeves, buttons, woven ends and all. I may block them, but I may not. We'll see. Today is a wee bit overcast so I went outside to chase the sunlight for photos. 

You'll notice I am not showing you the left sleeve on Hatchling. I never did get around to redoing it, and it shows. The bottom seam is very visible from the front. Sigh. I learned my lesson with Bairn and was verrry careful to make sure it was centered, but even taking the same caution with Hatchling's second sleeve produced less-than-perfect (although not horrible) results.

Right now I am catching up on a pile of partially read issues of Dappled Things. I've been meaning to do this for a while and now seemed like a good time. :) Last night Keith and I read together in bed until far too late an hour. Him because he was reading a creepy book* and had a hard time putting it down, me because I was reading an interview with Brian Jobe that was interesting and exciting and had me highlighting and making notes in the margins, which is something I seldom do. (I'd never heard of Brian Jobe, but his novel is now on my to-read list!)

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along.

*He is reading I Am Legend. You know, the book the movie with Will Smith was based on. I have seen the movie, Keith has not. Apparently in the book everyone in the world has turned into vampires. This is NOT what happened in the movie; it was much more zombie-ish, I thought, but it's been a while since I've seen it so I could be wrong.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Making Way

I am blogging from a new (to me; definitely not new-new) laptop because mine decided not to recognize its power cable anymore. The one I'm using now is my husband's old computer (and it has its own issues ...), which means it's Linux, which means I only got to use my shiny new Windows Live Writer once. Sigh. I have had so much trouble with the pictures in this post, so if any of the formatting is weird, I apologize.

If all goes well (say a prayer for us that it does!), we are closing on our new house two weeks from tomorrow. Have I started packing? No. But. I have started sorting through things in an attempt to prune and organize them, a sort of making way for packing. Lately I've tackled my crafting supplies.

This is the kind of thing it's kind of difficult to do when Michael's awake, but we manage. Until he gets mad because I won't let him dump all the buttons out of my new button box.

Or mad because I put the lid back on this lovely little sewing tin I got for a dollar at an estate sale, contents included.

(Button box on the left)

I love how this is full of little bits and bobs of the previous owner's work, including that crocheted lace. Unfortunately everything has a musty smell to it; does anyone know how to get that out?

I've also been going through my Grandmom's crewel and embroidery kits, I still need to go through some fabric I have tucked away (not much), and then, there's the yarn. Oh yes, the yarn. Would you like to see it?

Here is my yarn shelf:

But it is kind of deceptive. Only the prettiest yarns get to live on the shelf (and yes, there is a lot of Tosh there). There are various cardboard boxes and a canvas grocery bag that hold the rest (along with various WIPs). So here it all is spread out on the bed.

Toddler included for size comparison. ;) 

Colors make me happy :)

]Actually, it's not as "bad" as I thought it would be, if by "bad" you (who I presume would be a non-knitter) mean "having too much yarn." Especially considering that half of that yarn is from Knit Picks. Much of the nice yarn is destined for specific projects; much of the less-nice yarn is either left over from something or else was bought before I really knew what I was doing in terms of stash enhancement. ;) 

The top half is arranged according to weight, from worsted through lace, except the top right corner which has crochet thread. Then the middle is all Knit Picks yarn. And yes, most of it is varying shades of teal, because I bought it to knit flowers for our wedding. At the bottom, from left to right, are a few skeins of crappy acrylic (and no, it is not a coincidence that that's the corner where Michael is sitting), balls of leftovers, some miniskeins destined for hexipuffs, and balls of handspun from my mom. 

Michael was pretty happy the whole time. Mama was a little stressed, since just beyond the Knit Picks yarn was the Very Nice yarn that Michael was not allowed to touch and yet found very attractive. Then it was time to put the yarn away, and he was none too pleased. It ended with him angry-crying outside the bedroom door, which I closed until I could find a better time to put things away when he wasn't looking. Not even my offer to play trains with him made up for it. 

But now, at least, things are a little more organized. Next up: Keith's art supplies ... maybe. It's pretty scary in that corner.