Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ours

Oh look, I'm posting again! I feel a little bit like a blabber-mouth--ten posts in ten days!!

I was reading Bits & Pieces at Like Mother, Like Daughter and this bit really spoke to me:

We home-makers have to train our eye. Our home needs to be more than decorated. We can't really just aspire to decoration and leave it at that. Even the lowliest abode calls out to be made beautiful according to the tastes of the denizens. (Remember Ma's china shepherdess?) But that's not as easy as it sounds! I've found that I've had to study hard to know what our taste really is, and then work hard to try to make it come true within our means. Often my choices have been off the mark, but mistakes are part of the journey. I just keep reading books, magazines, and sites, trying to look past what is merely fashionable (or marketable) to what truly expresses my desire to bring humble beauty into our lives. 

This week I discovered Spoonflower and have been drooling over fabric for the twins' nursery. Serious nesting mode happening over here. I know myself well enough to know that, between moving and Michael and, well, my habits of procrastination, I will never quite create the picture-perfect nursery in my head.

But in general, what with house-hunting and new babies on the way, I've been thinking a lot lately about feathering my nest and making things pretty. One house in particular that we've looked at keeps popping up in my head, and I find myself redecorating it in my mind. (And believe me, it really needs redecoration!) This morning, while Michael and Keith both napped, I was making my coffee and looking at the plants on my kitchen counter.

I kill plants with good intentions; Keith loves them, and they love him back. But there are only so many windows in this apartment where they can survive and thrive. One of these is in the kitchen. I have made Keith promise that there will be no plants on surfaces for food preparation in our new home. I don't like having to clean up dirt before cooking food.

Anyway, I was looking at those plants and suddenly my whole vision of our (potential) new living room shifted. There would be plants. In every window. I hadn't even thought of it, because left to my own devices, they wouldn't be there. (I had a rose plant in my apartment when I lived on my own; that's it.) Lovely floral curtains, cushions on the couches, an upright piano--yes, these would all be in my home.

But in our home, there are plants. Always. Without them, a place would not be ours, would not be home.

And that thought makes me happy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Seven posts, seven takes, etc ...

1. I think this wraps it up for my 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge. I know I'm "cheating" because I started before everyone else, and because (cough) I missed a day and posted twice the following one. But I think it helped me overcome perfectionism and just post, and prove to myself that I can, in fact, blog regularly if I force myself to. (Even if the blogging happens after 11pm most nights.) Yay. :)

2. Have you watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It's a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the premise being that Elizabeth Bennet keeps a vlog. I had my doubts when I watched the first few episodes, but it's actually really, really good, and I would recommend it to any Austen fans. One of the cool things about it is how it uses social media to create an entire world for the story. So Lydia Bennent and Gigi Darcy both have their own youtube channels (which become vitally important as the story progresses), the characters all have twitter accounts and interact with each other, Jane Bennet has a Pinterest board and Tumblr ... etc. Pemberley, instead of being an estate, is a company, which also has its own website.

Right now the creators are working on another (as yet unrevealed) adaptation, but in the meantime they are wrapping up a mini-series based on Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon. It's not as good as LBD, but I've come to appreciate what they're doing with it, and decided to read the novel so I can understand the adaptation a little better. I also realized they used social media (Twitter, Reddit, etc) much more heavily with this series to further plot and conflict, and I missed out on some of that.

So, watch LBD. But hold off on Sanditon unless LBD is something you really love.


3. Speaking of adaptations, the newest trailer for Catching Fire? AAAAAAAH. I am excited!! It looks really good. I'm debating whether I should reread the books before the movie comes out. The Hunger Games is such an addictive trilogy, and very good dystopia ... but to be honest I was incredibly disappointed in the third book. Katniss's character arc is so disappointing ... it's been a while since I read the books so I won't write about it too much lest I misremember something.

They're also filming The Maze Runner, another YA dystopian novel. Not as excited about this one. It keeps you turning pages and asking questions but it seems to me that that was its main draw. My guess is that the movie will boil down to little more than an action flick.


4. It might be kind of weird that I haven't discovered podcasts before now, but this week I started listening to Craft Lit. I like to put it on when Michael's down for his nap and do a little cleaning or (more often) baby knitting. Right now they're reading Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, which I am enjoying, and I really appreciate Heather's commentary and insight before each chapter. She makes a great English teacher (which is/was her "real life" job, I believe)! :)


5. My knee seems to be doing better. I went out to run some errands today and aside from some mild cramping in that leg (I think because I've been holding my knee funny to avoid jarring it) everything seems to be okay. Thank goodness!


6. One of my errands was to the library. Oh my goodness. Trips to the library are so good for the soul, especially this library, with its beautiful trees and shaded cobblestones. I will miss that place so much when we move out of the city--in fact, I think I will still go there now and then. I don't get there often enough (as attested by my $15+ fine ... just doing my part to keep the library running!), but I'd like to go at least every other week.


7. Another errand was to the dry cleaners to have Keith's suit cleaned and pressed for his PhD defense next Tuesday. Pray for him please!! It is such a huge day for him! Pray for me this coming week too, if you would, for some personal intentions; I am in sore need of peace and strength. In fact, if you would say a quick prayer to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, I think she is the one to handle my situation. :)


Head over to Conversion Diary to see more quick takes!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I love my Kindle.

I mentioned yesterday that I am reading quite a few books on my Kindle. Two of them are library books. I love that our library has a means of checking out e-books. I love getting out and going to the library and coming home with an armful of books; but lately it's been difficult for me to get there, as testified by the fines I currently owe on the VERY overdue books sitting on my end table--and yes, the fact that you can't forget to return an ebook is another perk for this procrastinating patron.

It seems to me that e-readers are things that people either love or hate. I've owned a Kindle off and on for about three years, and my relationship to it has been ... complicated. For one thing, Kindles break a lot more easily than books. Especially if you step on them. This is bad news for me, since I'm pretty klutzy. I broke two of them in less than a year; my current one is still alive after almost a year and a half, so maybe it was just a phase. ;)

But I definitely used to be one of those anti-ereader people. I wrote an essay against e-books in college (before the Kindle existed, I'm pretty sure), and I rolled my eyes at people in grad school who talked about books becoming "obsolete" in the near future. (I still roll my eyes at those people.) Mostly though, I just loved books. The tangible objects with heft and scent and form that you tucked under your arm and took to bed with you. I ranted about the vast inferiority of e-readers and was pretty snobby about the fact that I would never, ever own one. Give me REAL books please.

And then my father-in-law gave me one for Christmas.

As I picked up the package to unwrap it, Keith said something like, "Everyone should watch this; it's going to be interesting." Awkward!

Because it was a gift given with love, I decided to really and truly do my best to appreciate it.

When I broke that first Kindle (see link above), my main feeling was guilt at not being able to take care of such a nice gift for more than a month. Keith helped me replace it at a discount; that Kindle died in my book bag when I sat down on the bus. This time I felt frustration. Partly because--ARGH why do I keep breaking things books NEVER just break like this!!--but also because I had books on there that I had paid for and hadn't read, some of which were only available as e-books, and some of which were more expensive to buy hard copies of.

Three years later, I use the Kindle Touch regularly. I realized that at some point, there was a big shift in how I looked at it: namely, I no longer see it as in competition with real books. I know that people who make a living selling real books in real stores would disagree. But it's usually clear to me right away whether I'm going to read a given book on the Kindle or on paper. I've grown comfortable with it and come to appreciate it for what it is,


1. It really is great for mothers, particularly babies of mothers and young children. I really fell in love with my Kindle after Michael was born. I could read with one hand while nursing or rocking a baby without having to worry about keeping the book open or turning pages. And it's even easier with Kindle Touch, since I can touch almost anywhere on the screen for the next page. Although admittedly, now that Michael's getting older and wants to grab whatever I'm holding, the touch screen can be a problem. But I can turn it off if toddler hands are imminent, and it saves my place, which is another reason I love it. I can stop at any time and walk away without having to worry about remembering where I left off. (If you dog-ear your books or leave them splayed open on flat surfaces for long periods of time, this may not matter much to you. But don't tell me because I'll judge you and feel sorry for your poor books!)


2. I love to fill as much available space with reading as possible, and the Kindle enables me makes that easier. Easier to read while eating (probably a bad habit) and in bed, because you don't have to hold the pages open--maybe this is just me being lazy, but hey. And MUCH easier to knit and read at the same time. (What, you never do that?)


3. My computer savvy husband hooked me up with an easy way to send articles, blog posts, and web pages to read on my Kindle. I don't use this as often as I wish I did. It is so much better on the eyes looking at a Kindle than a backlit computer screen. But perhaps more importantly, it helps me to slow down and actually absorb what I'm reading. For whatever reason, I feel like the internet kills my attention span, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Sending online articles to my Kindle helps me spend less time online--not just the time spent reading that particular article, but also the time I waste clicking links and following wherever curiosity leads from that article.

I used my Kindle like this to read Casti Connubii this Lent with Like Mother Like Daughter, and I will probably use it to read Pope Francis's encyclical, Lumen Fidei. (Brandon Vogt converted the encyclical to different digital formats but had to take them down due to copyright issues, which is really disappointing, because formatting and so on can get messed up when you send things to your Kindle this way; and unfortunately it's not like the Vatican website is all that well designed anyway!)


4. I've also read some out-of-copyright books that are only available/affordable in digital format, such as My Nameday--Come for Dessert. I am going to complain a bit here though, because when I sent this book to my Kindle it basically got rid of ALL formatting, which made the book very tough to read.


5. Another reason I have been especially grateful for it lately? I am reading George RR Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire. Have you seen those books? They are HUGE. I think the Kindle is great for any situation when lugging around a few pounds of book is inconvenient (or painful)--traveling, reading on the bus, etc. But I read the first three books of this series in hard copy, and even though they never left my house reading them was a pain. I read the fourth and now the fifth on my Kindle and it makes my (reading) life so. much. easier.

And because Kindle books now have the same page numbers as the print editions, I can tell you what page I'm on, which was a big complaint I had about my old Kindle. Also, it tells me what percentage of the way through the book I am, how many minutes are left in the chapter based on my reading speed, and how many are left in the entire book. I know this would drive some people crazy, and you can turn it off. But it makes my nerd brain very happy. I am a weird person who thinks in terms of fractions and percentages even when reading books, so it's kind of nice to have that calculating done for me already!


I do notice I seem to go through phases of heavy Kindle use, and then leave it untouched for weeks at a time. Overall, I'd say I read anywhere between 1/4-1/5 of my books on the Kindle. I can't imagine it ever being more than that, and I could certainly live without it. But I would be frustrated, and I would miss it quite a bit.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hatchling


According to Goodreads, I am currently reading 11 books. This isn't entirely accurate as some of those books have been put on hold or are seriously longterm reads--such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or Home Comforts.

More accurately (and actively) I am currently reading 4 or 5 books, and all but one of those is on my Kindle, so it's hard to represent in a photo. Pictured are A Dance with Dragons, which I've only just started but need to get a move on since it's a library book and it's MASSIVE, and A Little Way of Unschooling, which I am borrowing from Christine.

I am not interested in unschooling my children, personally. (ETA: We are definitely going to homeschool, just not unschool. :) ) I guess some would say I am reading this book with a closed mind, but I am interested in reading about where these families come from and what they do. My actual, real-world contact with unschooling has left me unimpressed in the best circumstances and appalled in the worst. When I was growing up (and homeschooled myself), the only unschooled children I knew were illiterate. The 13 year old (my age at the time) didn't care. The 11 year old did care, immensely, as she came to realize what that meant in the real world, and she was desperately trying to educate herself. Can you imagine realizing how important literacy is at age 11 and not being able to read? I know this is not most unschoolers, but it has left a bad taste in my mouth ever since. So I am glad to be reading this book.


Phew. I didn't mean to write about such heavy stuff. I'll probably post about the book once I finish reading it.

I am knitting a Hatchling cardigan for one of the twins. I absolutely love the texture of this design! The yarn is Tosh Sport; I wish you could feel the squishy goodness of it through the screen. I imagine it will be too big for him right after birth, so if I have time I will knit another newborn sized sweater--maybe a Vertebrae or Puerperium. There aren't that many sweater patterns that are really for newborns--at least, not my little newborns. :) I tried searching on Ravelry and when most designers say "newborn" they mean "0-3 months," which typically means a 17-19 inch chest measurement. I love that Kelly Brooker's newborn sizes are designed for a baby that weighs 7-9 pounds.

But! I am not complaining about this little sweater. Long before I found out the twins were boys I knew I'd be using this yarn to knit this sweater if I was having a boy, and here we are having two. So there you go. :)

Linking up with Ginny.

One of those days already

I am eating chocolate at 10:20 am but so far it's already been the kind of day that I don't think any of you lovely people would judge me for it.

Yesterday I walked to a book group half a mile from my house, and halfway there I fell and smashed my knee on the sidewalk. It hurt like heck, but I figured since I was halfway there, by the time Keith got himself and Michael bundled into the car to pick me up I'd already have arrived where I was going ... so I kept walking. I borrowed some peroxide and a band aid because I was bleeding.

By the end of the book group, though, my knee hurt really badly. I couldn't bend it, so going up and down stairs was/is basically out of the question, sitting down and getting up are both a tricky business, and it hurts to the touch. It is swollen (no big surprise there). I'd hoped it might be better this morning but instead it's worse, and to top it all off Michael finds my scab fascinating. He would like nothing better than to "touch" it (aka hit it with the flat of his palm), and he gets pretty mad when I tell him no.

He gets pretty mad about everything this morning. Not sure why he's such a grump, as he slept in an hour later than usual ... right now he's down for a nap. We'll see if this one takes; the last attempt didn't, although spending time with his stuffed animals did seem to tone down the grump a bit. I was literally wiping his tears off my face earlier this morning, so ... yeah.

Of course, bending over is getting to be a nuisance at this point due to the baby belly. I am supposed to squat instead. But that's out of the question with a knee that can't bend.

I am debating going to the doctor. I feel like I would know it if my knee was broken, although I guess it could be a hairline fracture and I'd still be able to put weight on it? Can they even x-ray a pregnant lady's knee?

Can this post count as yesterday's for the 7 posts in 7 days challenge?

Sigh.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Preparation

(It's still before midnight! Phew. I'm participating in Jen's 7 posts in 7 days challenge, only I am considering cheating and starting the count from last Thursday or Friday, because I have been posting every day since then, which is pretty unusual. We'll see!)



Today I drove Michael to Carter's to pick an outfit for each of his little brothers. Right now the plan is that they will come home from the hospital in these outfits (plus a mama-made sweater and blankie), but you never know ... something else might catch my fancy before they're born. :) I also got the matching stuffed animals, because I had coupons and was standing in line for the register for too long. And because I'm a sucker for Carter's. And because it was a turtle and a fox.

At the checkout counter, Carter's has this neat little bead maze for kids to play with while their parents pay. Michael was pretty upset when I pulled him away from it, so to avoid a tantrum I gave him the fox. Then I felt really guilty, because 1) Michael really loved this fox and he wasn't going to be able to keep it, and 2) because he kept hugging it and giving it open-mouthed kisses, it was getting all drooled on before its intended recipient was even born. But I was able to slip it quietly back into the bag when we got home and he hasn't missed it.

I admit I looked a bit wistfully at some of the sweet dresses in the girl section, disappointed that I couldn't buy any because they were so cute. Not disappointed that I am having my boys, though--just to be clear. On the drive over there was a big, light-up billboard welcoming the new little prince, and I teared up a little. Not because I'm a royal groupie, but because it moved me to see that welcome. And because that's what all baby boys are, truly: little princes. They are so amazing. And baby boy clothes are pretty darn cute, too. ;)

As I prepare for these two little lives to enter the outside world, I have also been thinking a lot about death. Recently an acquaintance of mine discovered that their own little boy likely has a genetic disease that will cause them to die by age four. This little guy is the same age as my Michael. It breaks my heart in a way I know it couldn't have before becoming a mother. Please pray for them, and also for Dwija, who lost her baby last week. She was due a week after me; her boy Nicholas was the same age as my own twins.

I am not sure that I have a conclusion to these thoughts, and I don't mean to be morbid. I am not walking around in fear of loss, but rather in humility before things so much bigger than I am. It is easy to forget how big these little lives are, so easy to take them for granted. On a simply practical level, I cannot comprehend that there are two lives inside of me, even when as they grow and I am able to feel them interacting with each other. There is not much I can do to truly prepare for their arrival except live and be humble.


Which isn't to say I don't have a list of things that need to get done before the babies arrive. I know you're dying to see it, so here it is.

-Move. This has a list of to-do's all its own, obviously, not the least of which is "buy a house to move into." But one list at a time.

-Buy: two bouncy seats, newborn diapers, a double stroller plus toddler seat, a twin nursing pillow. (These strike me as the immediate essentials. Am I missing anything? Things like cribs can wait a month or two since they'll be in our room.)

-Wash and lay out infant clothes, and figure out what more is needed since these babies are being born in a different season.

-Measure the back seat of the car(s) and buy new carseat(s) as necessary.

-Register at the hospital and take a tour.

-Make plans for Michael during labor.

-Pack bags for everyone. (I feel like this is far away, but everyone tells me to be prepared way earlier than I think I need to be.)

-Stock up on freezer meals.

-Knit. Blankies, sweaters, hats.


Am I missing anything important?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our Love Story (Part 3--the Finale!)

Part 1 and Part 2. This one is longer than the other two, but I promise a lot of it is pictures. ;)

As I mentioned before, we never had a "determine the relationship" conversation. One reason was that
, a few days after our first date, Keith sent me an email telling me how he felt about me. Whatever doubts I might have still had about his intentions were completely swept away. 

I still had two months before moving to Pittsburgh. But Keith and I talked every day—on the phone, on Gchat, via email. (In fact, I kind of wonder how much work he got done at his computer in those days!) And sometimes he surprised me in other ways. Such as driving 45 minutes to surprise me at my work and give me a book he’d found in our favorite used bookstore. Or the time when, knowing that I had to get up for an early Mass because of my work schedule, he showed up on my front porch at 5am (way before I even woke up, because he didn’t know how early I had to leave) with fresh scones and a thermos of tea for breakfast. And once we went hiking at Todd Sanctuary but it started pouring rain, so we took shelter on the porch of a cabin and waltzed there, just the two of us, in the middle of the woods.

Long story short, this guy swept me off my feet entirely.

Then I moved to the city.

That's when I told him I loved him. (He'd already told me.) And we had lots of adventures together. And Facebook documented them. 

Barn dance, 2009. Same patio as the picture in this post. 
Around Christmas. I always coveted his blue teakettle but never bought one for myself just in case we got married someday. ;)
Visiting California, May 2010
Picnicking with friends. Right before I dumped a glass of red wine all over my vintage dress.
We had a couple of conversations at various times about dating, engagement, and marriage. I made it clear that in my humble opinion, all things being equal (and especially if you were out of college like we were), once you’d been dating someone for two years you should know whether or not you were going to get married. And he agreed. I was pleased about that. 

When Keith and I had been together about a year, my cousin and dear friend Theresa started dating a nice young man, Danny. The four of us got together with our families and everyone got to meet everyone else and it was lots of fun. (Little did we know that they both had rings at that time. It was pretty funny in retrospect.) Then, a month or so later … Danny proposed to Theresa. I was so happy for them, but also …? Really, really jealous! 

Now, there were little things here and there that caught my attention. For example, on one summer date Keith asked me to pay because he’d forgotten his credit card was maxed out. And I wondered, now, what would be so expensive that he would use up all his credit? Hmmmm? Could it possibly be ... a ring??

Because at this point I knew I wanted to marry Keith. Okay, I said to myself, two years. If he hasn’t proposed by our two year anniversary, then I will bring it up myself. But then Theresa got engaged ...So okay, I amended, if he doesn’t propose this year, then I will bring it up in January.

I asked my mom and friend Stephanie to pray to St. Therese for me, and resolved to pray a novena that started on her feast day (October 1st) and ended on my birthday (October 5t). This particular novena was one that asked her to send a rose as a sign your request will be granted.

On the morning of my birthday, Keith showed up bringing me breakfast … and a rose plant.

I am so, so sad because bugs killed this plant a few months ago. 
I hadn’t even completed the prayers for that day yet! But you better believe I did. 

It turns out Keith had met my dad for coffee that very morning and asked his permission to marry me. Later that night he threw me a surprise birthday party in my own apartment (this guy threw me two surprise parties in as many years! He is really good at keeping secrets), and my parents were there. And I have NO IDEA how my mom managed to keep it in. I am seriously impressed. Looking back perhaps I can remember a special glow in her smile, but I really didn’t suspect a thing. 

I never made this my profile picture, but I really should have.
Two days later (Thursday) Keith asked if we could go hiking that weekend. Somewhere out of the city, he said. When he asked, I got this incredibly strong feeling that he was going to propose on that hike. But I immediately scolded myself away from believing it. If I went on this hike expecting a proposal and then it didn’t come, how disappointing would that be? 

We didn’t decide on a time or place that night, and the next night (Friday) we hung out with his friend John. Literally as he was walking out the door at 11pm I asked, Um, hiking? Tomorrow? No? He stopped. “Ohhhhhh, right. Um … let’s just do Todd Sanctuary, okay?” Like it was the only place he could think of off the top of his head. 

See? He had almost forgotten the hike altogether. There couldn't possibly be a proposal in the works. 

Keith was VERY late picking me up the next morning. As in, I knit an entire hat waiting for him. (It was a baby hat. But still.) (Btw, that hat ended up being too small for its intended recipient, and Michael wore it this winter!) 

Finally he arrived, we made the hour-long drive, and we hiked to the cabin where we’d once danced in the rain. This day was dry and sunny; but Keith took my hand, and we began to dance, there in the middle of the woods once more, just the two of us. 

And that is when the music started. 

A waltz playing in the middle of the woods. 

Keith says my face was one of pure panic. Who the HECK is out here with us, playing MUSIC? It took me a second to realize … wait. We are waltzing, and waltz music just started playing, and Keith is just sort of taking it in stride. Is this what I think it is? 

He twirled me to the edge of the porch, where we peered around the corner to see his friend John behind the cabin, manning the speakers and accompanying L’Valse d’Amelie on the glockenspiel. 

After that dance ended, the Blue Danube started. We waltzed to the other end of the porch to be met by a shower of balloons. 

By that point, our dancing had gotten really clumsy. We were both pretty nervous. At some point, Keith stopped, stood and looked at me, and then got on one knee and pulled out the ring and … 

Well, I said yes. :) 

And then we told John he could come out from hiding. 

And then we drove to my parents, who took lots of pictures. 

Not sure how my birthday sombrero ended up in this picture.
Keith designed the ring himself. Sometimes people post pictures of vintage engagement rings on Pinterest, and you know what? Mine is prettier than all of them. We designed our wedding rings to match it. 



(I have to include this picture of us at the Barn Dance in 2010, because we're sitting in the same spot as the picture from my first post long before we even dated. Only a lot closer.)



Nine months later: 



And nine months after that:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Attention, those who sew!

I have a sewing machine ... and I kind of am afraid to use it.

Well, not afraid exactly, but at a loss as to where to begin.

I was looking at baby blanket patterns today on Ravelry (I have my list narrowed down to six seven ... it's kind of nice that I get to choose two patterns ;)), and was thinking about bedrooms in our new (mystery) house, and it has kicked off some serious nesting. I discovered this awesome Etsy shop and she has some beautiful fat quarter collections that are quite suitable for little boys.

But what on earth do I make with them?

This is where you come in. You, and you alone, can save me from dumping hours of my time into Pinterest. What cute things can I make with fabric like this, or this (baby boy argyle, I am dying!), or this? What baby items have you sewn, and where do you find your patterns? I am thinking more along the lines of nursery items than clothing, although maybe cute pajama-like pants are in order. I also really, really love that Shelly over at Wool and Chocolate sewed tops and knit matching shorties.

The truth is that I am sitting here collecting ideas from the internet and it is making me excited and overambitious. So I may not break out the sewing machine at all. But if so it will not be from lack of planning. ;)

Both of these babies are awake and kicking right now, while the oldest baby takes his nap. I'm hoping this isn't the way it will go once they are all on the outside.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Love Story (Part 2)

When last we parted, I was dating the Other Guy. You know, the one who wasn’t Keith. Obviously that relationship didn’t work out. We got along well but it was pretty clear we weren’t going to fall in love with each other, so I broke it off. (Incidentally, the Other Guy is now quite happily married to a friend of mine.)

I remember a day or two later the thought crossed my mind: “Hmmm … now Keith could ask me out.” And then I felt really guilty--that was certainly not the reason I had broken up with the Other Guy. I looked at my picture of the Sacred Heart and said, You know my heart, and You know your plans. I placed that thought in His hands and left it there. 

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t log into Gchat every day in the hopes that Keith’s screenname would show up. At first it didn’t. And then one day, it did. We struck up a renewed online correspondence, and his screenname began to pop up more often again. 

Keith had just moved into an awesome loft apartment with some other guys. Awesome as in they had a tire swing hanging from their ceiling and a garden on the roof. They threw a housewarming party and set up a huge canvas with big buckets of paint and everyone collaborated in making a piece of group artwork. 

There are absolutely no pictures of us together from this time ... but here's a friend working on the awesome painting.
I don’t think I was able to hang out with Keith as much as I wanted at that party because he was busy being a good host. I hadn’t explicitly told him I had broken up with the Other Guy. I mean, we were kind of flirting (at least, we had been pretty chatty online), so I hoped he was getting the picture … and I think I would have found a way to bring it up if we hadn’t been at a huge party surrounded by mutual friends the whole time. But how do you do that kind of thing without seeming … pushy?

A few nights later we were practicing Spanish online together. By which I mean Keith was forcing me to type only en espanol to prove I remembered more than I thought. (He still does this in conversation sometimes, hehe.) At this point we were pretty clearly flirting, and Keith not-so-subtly asked if there was anyone I could practice Spanish with in person—the Other Guy, maybe? (To my knowledge Other Guy has never spoken Spanish.)


Me inside: head exploding, heart pounding, all that jazz!!

Me outside: Oh, you know, I actually hardly ever see or talk to Other Guy. I have this friend from Peru though who I talk to on Facebook in Spanish …. Etc.

Keith: Wait a minute. Are you and the Other Guy not dating? (As if he didn’t already know.)

Me: Nope! (Why did I not just say this in the first place? I guess I was being “smooth”?)


Promising, right? We continued to talk about other things, and then there was a 17 minute pause. (Thank you, Gchat, for keeping such an accurately timed record of our romance!) Then things got a bit confusing. Keith told me he held me in very high regard … and he couldn’t wait to meet the guy I ended up with, because I deserved someone amazing.

Wait ... what?? Was he implying that he wasn't the guy for me? I went from being sure that Keith was expressing an interest in me to … well, a lot of uncertainty. 

Not long afterwards Keith and his roomies hosted a brunch on their awesome rooftop garden. I went with a few friends, but had to leave early to go to work. I had Christine’s popcorn maker in the car, so she had to come down with me to get it. We started down the stairs with our arms full of dirty dishes. 

What happened next couldn’t have been more dramatic if I’d made it up.

I was wearing heels. Not ridiculous heels, mind you. Very sensible ones. But their sensibility did not prevent one of them getting caught on the railing of the sliding glass door. I fell. I cussed. Loudly. I slammed into Christine, and we both tumbled halfway down the stairs together, along with bowls and plates and half-eaten food and all manner of silverware. One of the bowls shattered on the steps and somehow the shrapnel sliced Christine’s leg open. So there we were, sprawled on the steps staring at each other, Christine bleeding profusely. The conversation on the roof above us had gone dead silent. Meanwhile, my shoes were still sitting at the top of the stairs. 

Finally Keith and another guy appeared in the doorway. The other guy saw Christine was bleeding and said—I am not kidding—“It’s okay, I’m a doctor.” As I recall these guys had no disinfectant of any sort in the whole house, so he didn’t really get much opportunity to practice his first aid skillz.

I left that morning a very embarrassed Rosemary.

And yet, even after seeing what an utter klutz I could be, Keith invited me to a short story reading group he and his roomies were hosting. We read Kafka's "The Hunger Artist." Afterwards, he asked if I’d like to go to adoration with him.

YES I would!! Talk about the right moves! ;) 

As we knelt side by side before the monstrance, I told Jesus exactly how I felt. I really, really liked Keith. A lot. I was going to be moving within walking distance of his apartment. And I told Him, I know Keith will make an amazing friend. But I want more.


Several days later, Keith gave me his number again … and this time I also gave him mine. 

When he called, we were on instant messenger together, but my phone was downstairs so I didn’t hear it in time. When I ran downstairs to get it, I came back up and typed, “Did you just call?” He told me not to listen to his message because it was dorky. (Four years later … I still have it saved on my phone. :) ) He called again and asked if I wanted to meet him for dinner someplace. "Not as a date," he said, "or at least, it doesn’t have to be." (Hmmm.) Maybe we could meet halfway somewhere? (I still lived with my parents, a little less than an hour away.)

Meanwhile, my parents were literally yelling up the stairs at me because we were going to see a movie and were running late. So I said a hurried yes, and thus ended our very awkward First Ever Phone Conversation. (However, we had a much less awkward Second Ever Phone Conversation later that night, and it lasted much longer.)

The very next day, Christine (who had picked up that we were interested in each other) sent Keith an instant message saying, “Soooo, when are you going to ask Rosemary out?” It totally shocked him—he thought I must have told her. (I hadn't.) And he let her know that he already had asked me out.

So really, it was pretty clear that this thing was a date from the beginning. But it got clearer. Things changed from meeting halfway to Keith picking me up; he researched and found a restaurant and a bluegrass concert in the area without even having to ask me what was available, which really impressed me. He showed up dressed quite handsomely, and instead of flowers he brought me a bottle of rosewater. :)

The bluegrass concert actually ended up being a bunch of elderly gentlemen playing old-timey songs on banjos. Aside from a few little kids (grandchildren I assume) we were the youngest in the audience. There was a lady a few seats down from us who spent the whole concert knitting. (Of course, that’s the kind of thing I might do myself now. ;) But I wasn’t a knitter yet.) It was a little awkward, but also funny, and we had a great time.

Afterwards we shared cups of tea on my parents’ couch and talked, and when he left he kissed me on the cheek.

We never had a “DTR” conversation. But it was never really necessary. We count that first date as the beginning of our relationship. 

(This post is getting really long … so I think that’s as good a place as any to leave you. :) Next time: our engagement! (And maybe a few things in between?))

Thanks again to Grace, who has provided the impetus for me to type this up, even though it's something I've been wanting to do for a while!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And we are having ...

Today we got to spend some time with our babies via ultrasound.

And for those who have been guessing ... we are having two more boys!

I can only imagine that things are going to get a little louder around here over the next few years. But what an adventure! (Now to pick out names ... I have an abundance of girl names I would love to use, but I find boys much harder!)

Hopefully this means I'll have some baby knitting for the next yarn along. I have a skein of Tosh in grey that I'd decided to use for a sweater if we had a boy, so I can cast on right away.

In the meantime, Keith and I have gotten back to house hunting. It's been on the back burner for a bit while he worked on finishing his thesis. We've looked at three houses recently, and have two more that we're going to schedule soon. None of them are "perfect," but I am hopeful that one of them will become home.

The one that's currently at the top of our list is in some serious need of redecoration. Some poor design choices you can attribute to an era: carpet from the seventies or whatever. But this house? I told Keith I really couldn't imagine when or where buying kitchen tile so hideously pink and yellow was an option! But we both feel drawn to the house itself, and aside from being ugly, the kitchen is actually kind of awesome. (Tons of counter space, cupboard space, and TWO ovens!) I don't think any house quite matches up to the one we first fell in love with, especially since that one had so much room for us to grow ... but I am still eager to find and fall in love with our new home.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Love Story (Part 1)

(I had been planning on posting this for our anniversary next week, but then Grace started a trend. :) ) 

Keith and I met in August of 2008, right after he moved to Pittsburgh, just before his first year of grad school and my senior year of college. A mutual friend through the Pittsburgh Oratory was having a cookout. I remember meeting him very clearly. He doesn't remember meeting me at all. Hmm. In his defense, I had recently decided I was ready to start dating again and was feeling very … available. I was also considering going to grad school in the city next year. So I may or may not have been keeping tabs on how many handsome Catholic grad students were present at the time. Ahem. 


As for our conversation that night, I remember a friend telling some sort of riddle about a duck a bunch of us were standing around in a circle trying to solve it and I got frustrated and walked away, but I’m pretty sure Keith stuck it out to the bitter end. That’s about it.

The second time we met was at a party (once again, a largely Catholic event) in the city. (Keith remembers it.) This was the night it all really started. While other people wandered from room to room and socialized with each other, we stood in the hallway and talked for ages. About house styles and art and living in California vs Pennsylvania and our childhoods and morals and all sorts of things both deep and whimsical. After that long conversation, I drifted around a bit talking to other folks, but I found myself looking for opportunities to slip into whatever circle he was talking in. Smoothly and unobtrusively, of course.


See us standing in the background? 
My school was more than an hour north of the city, but we became Facebook friends and exchanged messages and chatted on Gtalk a lot. This is how we initially got to know each other. I love that I can go back and read those messages. It makes me all nostalgic. :) 

It was pretty clear there was mutual interest … but I was busy, he was busy and stressed out by his first year of grad school, and to top it off I was figuring out whether or not I wanted to be a FOCUS missionary (which entailed a year long dating fast), which put a damper on things.

And yet I occasionally made the drive into Pittsburgh for one event or another, and we'd actually see each other and talk in person. 

At one point I complained on Facebook about wanting to make a recipe that called for rosewater, but not being able to find it anywhere. Keith dropped me a very casual message saying he was pretty sure Whole Foods had it. (The implication was that he had happened to be strolling through the store and glimpsed it on the shelf. The reality was that he became a man on a mission to find a store that carried it.) I lived nowhere near Whole Foods, but at some point I found an opportunity to stop there, and I couldn't see rosewater no matter where I looked. I was too embarrassed to ask so I left empty handed and confessed to Keith I didn't find it.

Not long afterwards, we both attended the Oratory's annual barn dance at the retreat center. (Yes, their retreat center has a barn. It's a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere, PA.) I remember sitting in the second-story chapel that day, feeling sorry for myself over a variety of things. Then through the windows I saw Keith walk to his car, open his trunk, and dig around in his backpack. He had brought me rosewater. 

Before the dancing started. Sitting next to each other but not too close. ;)
I also remember dancing in the barn after darkness had fallen and then stopping for a moment to look outside. He was wandering around a short distance away with his camera,  head up, looking at the stars. Something about that moment made my heart jump. The fact that he had walked away from everyone else for a moment--from all the laughter and noise--simply to drink in the sky. The more I came to know him, the more I realized we were kindred spirits.

But for all that, not much happened.

I DID invite him up to my school to see a Shakespeare play. (I guess I'm just not a modern woman, but you have no idea how forward I felt!) Sadly, the weather was snowy and stormy, so he didn't come.

And he DID give me his phone number. Twice. And I knew he was hoping I'd give him mine in exchange. But at that point I was kind of stubborn and hand't learned that idealism needs to dance with reality, not just stand there stiff and unbending. So I didn't give it to him. If he wants it, I thought, he needs to explicitly ASK. Oh Rosemary. 

In December a bunch of us went to see the light display at Hartwood Acres. (As an aside, I am so, so sad this display doesn't exist anymore.) We sat around a huuuge table at Eat'n'Park, I at one end, Keith at the other ... with a girl. A girl from California, whom he spent a lot of time talking to, whom he clearly shared inside jokes and private knowledge with. A girl he introduced to everyone as Claire. 

We didn't talk that night, partly because there were at least eight people seated between us, and partyl because ... well, you know. To be honest, I don't remember exactly how I felt about it. I know I was disappointed, but these sort of things happen, you know? He had never actually asked me out or anything. And I had a lot of other things going on in my life and was generally happy. So yes, disappointed. But not broken-hearted. 

Then, the very next day, he messaged me on Gchat and asked, “So, did I introduce you to my FRIEND Claire? Who I've known since high school and am not at all romantically interested in?” (Okay, so he didn't type it in caps like that, and I sort of made the second part up. ;) But that was totally the subtext.) And I felt so … relieved. I know that I smiled at the screen. (In fact, Claire was later one of my bridesmaids. On the way home from my bachelorette party we passed that Eat'n'Park and had a good laugh.)

Time kept passing. I got accepted to grad school and not to FOCUS. Keith got rid of Facebook for a while. He did not ask me out. Another guy did. The Other Guy was a nice Catholic young man, and he was pursuing me very insistently, so I said yes.

The Other Guy and I went to our first party as a couple. Keith was there. I didn't mean to, but I must have been watching Keith very closely, because I can clearly remember the look of dismay on his face when the Other Guy put his arm around my waist. 


Cue me complaining to my best friend about how if he had asked, I would have gone out with him instead. His loss, right? Except that I was much more interested in and attracted to Keith than my current boyfriend, and had been for months. So it was my loss too. 

To be continued ... probably. :) 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Stack of Shawls

My husband has been complaining about the titles of the books in George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire. It annoys him that they all follow the same pattern: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, etc. Right now I am reading A Feast for Crows, which is #4. Maybe the titles are getting to me, too; the title of this post sounds very Martinesque. Oh well, I am leaving it. :)



Nothing new on the needles, mostly because I have yarn, and I have patterns I want to knit, but they don't match each other. (You know, those moments when you have 100+ things in your Rav queue and thousands of yards of yarn in your stash and you find yourself complaining you have nothing to knit? I am aware of how ridiculous those moments are. But they still happen.)

So instead I give you my "to be blocked" pile. Top down: Andrea's Shawl (which languished for ages because I ran out of yarn; I got creative and the last two inches of bind-off are in a different color ... let's call it a design element :-P ), Bigger on the Inside, Wendell Holmes (aka the Honeymoon Shawl), and my Rock Island.

Also (re)blocking right now is a friend's shawl that I have been meaning to mail to her for months. I blocked it but then tossed it over a chair somewhere and the edging got all wonky and I procrastinated fixing it forever. (So Nicole, if you are reading this, I promise a shawl is coming your way very, very soon!)

I also have a pile of books. Unfortunately I am having serious camera issues today (one is dead without a charger, the other says the memory card is full even though I just cleared it) so you only get a crappy cell phone pic of those.


Mostly right now I'm reading A Feast for Crows on my Kindle (SO much easier than lugging a 1000 page book around!), though I'm trying to finish the book on natural childbirth by Sunday so I can get it back to a friend. (I have this goal of getting everything that isn't OURS out of the apartment before we start packing; we'll see how that goes!)

Linking up with Ginny.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Seven Quick(ish) Takes

Today's theme: babies. Or perhaps "offspring," since I am coming to realize that Michael isn't much of a baby any more. This makes me sad. But I guess with two more on the way I don't have much to complain about, do I??

1. I realized that when I posted yesterday about being huge I forgot to include a picture of my current bump for comparison. So here I am at about 18 weeks with twins.



2. Speaking of twins. With Michael I remember constantly having to push him back down away from my ribs so I could breathe. I don't remember when this started--maybe the end of the second trimester? I guess I just have a short torso! Anyway, I am sorry to say that these little ones are already trying to climb their way up into my diaphragm/stomach. Or something. Not comfortable.


3. I am a little disappointed because I wasn't able to schedule our ultrasound for next week, since they need to set aside extra time for twins. So we won't be finding out the genders until the week after next. I've been reassured that finding out the sex isn't any more difficult with twins than singletons, but the twins and I have been having some heart-to-heart conversations about cooperation, just in case.


4. I think that Michael has been going through an intellectual growth spurt lately. He is getting pretty good at communicating, and his list of words is growing pretty steadily. Because I am sure you are all dying to know, here is a convenient list of his most common words, complete with translations.

Mama
Papa
Gaga (grandma)
Keek (Keith)
kaka (avocado)
nana (banana)
ba (ball)
ka or kak (car)
kak (clock)
kunk (klunk. As in banging his head against something.)
ig (egg)
eezh (cheese)
eezh (Jesus)
eezh (keys)
bap (beep; also his term for the microwave)
bubbo (bubbles)
na (no)
ee (eye--usually accompanied by a finger poke in mama's eyeball)
hm (home)
meetbo (meatball--he hasn't said this since but I put it on the list because I was pretty impressed.)

Also I think he sometimes says "poopy" when I change his diaper, but I could be imagining things.


5. I just realized that I forgot #5 when I originally posted this. Oops.


6. Because Mama is the boring parent, and because he no longer nurses, we hear "Papa" a lot more around these parts lately. One day he chatting to himself and I asked if he could say "Mama." He looked at me, smiled, and said "Mama papa papa." Back when he used to have trouble saying "Papa," he used to do the same thing only reversed: "papamama." It actually really touched me because I realized how closely we are tied together in his mind. Papa, Mama. Both of them. Separate but united. Of course. That's how it is, how it's supposed to be. That is his reality, his world, and I am so grateful.


7. I think I'm going to have to break down and buy some yarn for the babies. I just can't stand it! Only one nearly-finished shawl stands between me and baby knitting, and gosh darn it I need yarn.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Huge

I know that every woman feels huge by the time she's in her third trimester. And each woman totally deserves to express that feeling.

But. I, at one day shy of 19 weeks, am here to express my feelings about hugeness.

I remember reading someone's blog who was complaining of looking huge at eight months. Like any woman would. But I looked at her bump and I thought, my goodness, I was that big when I still had four months to go. And then ... I kept getting bigger.

My father-in-law was there to yell "surprise" at my baby shower before he, my husband, my dad, and my brother went out for beers or something equally masculine. Afterwards he said, "So, I noticed there was another pregnant woman at your shower. She seemed like she was maybe two months behind you?" I answered, "Actually, she's due two days after me. Unless you meant the other pregnant lady there who is due a month before me."

He didn't really know what to say, poor guy.

Me at my baby shower! 

I would like to point out that I still had two months to go when this picture was taken.

Meanwhile a friend of mine had her bridal shower literally a month before my due date. Someone uploaded the pictures to Facebook almost a year later. I like to think that I have a little more perspective now that the baby is out and over a year old.

But tell me if I'm wrong. Or if I'm right. I think I'm right.

Huge.*

(For comparison the lady on my right was due a month after me.)

Considering that I was outgrowing maternity clothes in these photos ... I'm kind of scared of how big I'll get this time around. :-P


*I kind of hate this photo because it looks like I'm working real hard to feed that belly, haha. But it serves its purpose!