Thursday, January 31, 2008

pupper of the week

I am still very much under the weather. I stayed home from work yesterday, and will be staying home for most of this morning. Work cannot be ignored though, and I know I can't stay home tomorrow. I always have the best intentions, telling myself that I'll work from home and I won't miss anything. Lies, all lies. When I'm sick, the only thing I want to do is lay on the couch, read, and watch movies. I make up excuses about why I can't get any work done - I don't have the right computer, don't have the right documents with me - the truth is that I don't feel good and I don't want to work. I want to nap and drink lots of orange juice. I get sick so rarely that I feel totally justified in my slackery. Justified until I have to go back to work, that is, and then I feel guilty that other people have been working their butts off and I've been doing nothing but dozing on the couch in my pjs. I can't wait for my maternity leave. 12 whole weeks where there's no guilt for the work I'm not doing. All I have to think about is me, Dave, and the baby. It's going to be sweet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

is it wrong to love my midwife?

It's happened - I'm coming down with a cold. Despite all my best defenses, somehow I managed to get sick. I've been avoiding hand shaking, children, and religiously washing my hands. And yet, here it is, sitting in my chest, making me cough and my throat sore.

I made myself a cup of echinacea tea, and then realized that I should check on its safety before I begin guzzling herbs. I called Clare, our homebirth midwife, and she stopped what she was doing to look it up for me. She reassured me that echinacea is just fine, as well as let me know that I don't feel up to coming down to visit her on Thursday for our regular appointment she wouldn't mind just stopping by to do a blood pressure check and listen to the baby at our house. You can't beat a provider who insists that you stay home if you're not feeling well and offers to come over and check on you. It just makes me feel special.

Monday, January 28, 2008

some finished things

As you may have noticed, I haven't felt much like posting recently. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I don't feel much like writing. Instead, I will present some finished things.

Finished thing 1: Huge Triangle Shawl

These photos aren't the greatest, but you get the idea.
Pattern: Huge Triangle Shawl from Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers (don't have the color band with me)

It was a slow project but I really enjoyed knitting it and I love wearing it. I've been trailing it around the house with me, and I will be sad to see it shipped to Aunt Grace. I know she'll enjoy it though, and I can't wait to make one for myself.

Also finished, baby yoda sweater and little tiny hat.

The sweater is based on this pattern, and was an extraordinarily quick knit.

The yarn is some beautiful variegated stuff I got out of the sale rack at Depth of Field. It's James C. Brett Marble, and it's incredibly soft. I made a few pattern changes while I was knitting, but didn't write them down and couldn't repeat them.

I really like the color and the way the sweater fits together. I realize that it's sort of a boy-ish sweater, but if the little one turns out to be a girl, it'll be just fine with me. I know we're supposed to dress little girls in pink all the time, but grey and brown
suit me just fine, so I think my potential daughter will like them too.

Last, but not least, is a tiny little hat. I didn't follow a pattern for this, just cast on and knit until I was done. I had some trouble with gauge, and first ended up with a hat to fit me, but after some adjustments, I got it right. I was working on size 2 metal needles, and I had an impossible time dropping stitches. Though I've done a number of socks on these needles before, this yarn was particularly soft and slippery, so it was a little more difficult. It turned out great, though, and I hope it fits the baby.

Speaking of baby, he or she is apparently the weight of a pineapple this week. Things are still good, but I'm tired, and getting tired of being tired. Monday mornings are always hard, but today I'm really dragging. Hopefully things will pick up by tomorrow!

Friday, January 25, 2008

pupper of the week: mini pupper

This is Irene the first week we had her. Dave kept this photo in his wallet for years, hence the reason it's all beat up. We have only a few film photos of Irene from her puppy hood days. When she was really little, her ears flopped over and she looked like a piglet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the business

Too bad this is sold out!

The Business of Being Born
The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) of the Twin Cities is pleased to announce a special sneak preview of THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN a documentary film directed by Abby Epstein and Executive Produced by Ricki Lake.

Our homebirth midwives are on the panel presenting at the Oak Street Cinema before the event. If only we'd heard about it sooner, we might have been able to attend. Alas, we'll have to go occupy ourselves by reading some facts at

I'd just like to state for the record that I'm happy that the baby is active, and I'm really happy the baby is head down. But man oh man, I would really like some relief from the rib kicking. My favorite is when I can push down right on the feet and the baby moves them out of the way, then sneaks them back up to my ribs just over to the side a little bit. It must be the most comfy position for the kid, and like me - he/she does not like to be disturbed when comfortable!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

busy busy weekend

I've got a completed shawl, a new baby sweater almost finished and a sewing project I'm particularly proud of. But the photos? They are not at my fingertips. Will post them soon, though.

I'm 32 weeks, and the official countdown to the due date has begun. I know that time will fly by, but for now it continues to feel like it's dragging. did not disappoint this morning, though. The baby weighs as much as a large jicama this week. Now, I happen to be a fan of jicama, but I couldn't consider it one of the most known vegetables. And by that, I mean that I only learned what a jicama was about 3 years ago. And I'm still not completely sure.

Either way, baby is growing and kicking and keeping me awake. My favorite is when I'm feeling particularly lazy and balancing the laptop up on my belly. The baby does not like the laptop. I can't type or browse because the kicking increases and seems to be directed right at the bottom of the computer. Dave thinks it vibrates or hums, and only the baby can hear it. I think it's neat.

Friday, January 18, 2008

loving Minnesota

The foot in the rib cage thing is resolved, for now, but baby is sitting in such a way that I think we're going to have the same problem today. I know it's good that baby is head down with its back along my left side (we all know that's a good place to start labor, right?) but it's rather uncomfortable. When we saw Clare last night for a checkup, she informed me that this time in the pregnancy is when women feel the most full and large with child. Soon the ligaments at the bottom of the uterus will begin to soften and loosen, letting the baby down a little bit. So yes, while it's good that the kid is in a good position, the baby is also jammed up into my diaphragm and I could really do without that. I'll go to yoga this weekend and swim some laps. Hopefully that will help me stretch that space out a little bit. Dave and I are also doing a yoga for labor workshop this weekend, so I'm excited about that.

In other news, it's friggin cold.

Partly Cloudy
1°F Feels Like -18°F

I needed the car every other day this week, so Dave definitely got to drive today. I just wished I hadn't picked the coldest day of the week to be standing waiting for the bus. Since my jacket doesn't close over my belly, I wear layers to make up for it. Then I get really hot under my collar and cold everywhere else. Also, I chose the route that takes me through the University of Minnesota. I normally wouldn't go that way but it was really cold and I missed the bus going the other direction. University students are not the most considerate, and while I didn't honestly expect someone to offer up their seat for me, I was kind of hoping. It didn't happen. Alas, this isn't the worst of it. It's supposed to get up to 5 degrees today, tomorrow the high will be zero. Yay for winter!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

if the baby could hear me now

I would ask him/her to kindly remove his/her foot from the depths of my ribcage. I'd really like to take a deep breath.

pupper of the week

I blocked the shawl last night - I think the name "Huge Triangle Shawl" is apt. It's 88 inches across, 30 inches tall. I'm attaching the fringe today. Finished photos soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

coming out slowly

I pick and choose who I tell about our home birth plan. My step-mother? Yes. My mother, no. My mother-in-law? Hard to decide. Probably, but I might wait until the week before my due date. Friends? Yes, for the most part, but not all. I haven't told many people about this blog, sort of for the same reasons. I'm sure that once the baby comes, this will be a haven for baby photos and not much more, but I like the idea of having the history here, so I can go back and look at how I physically felt at week 31 or week 15, and see how naive and optimistic I was for the future. I've told some of my coworkers, but I actively avoid telling others.

My reasons are varied, but for the most part I don't want to talk about the birth with those who either 1. have not given birth in the last 10 years, or 2. don't know me very well. People tend not to be particularly supportive of the home birth paradigm, and there are a lot of questions that are immediately asked. I don't feel like I have to justify my choice, and I am certainly not a resident genius about home birth. I know what feels right for me, but I don't purport to say that it's the best or the right way. There are tons of resources out there, though, like the Citizens for Midwifery, Childbirth Connection, and DONA. I can't say that I have ever done so much reading on one topic in such a short time - in the past 6 months of pregnancy, I have read so many books, articles and online resources that it honestly amazes me. My number 1 favorite book out there is still Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I could, I would give this book to every woman of childbearing age. I love this book. The end.

Recently, though, Dave and I have switched to baby care books and resources. We've got the Baby Book at home, and have found it useful so far. The library just informed me that the Happiest Baby on the Block has arrived on the holdshelf for me, and while that sounds ridiculous, I'm pretty excited to watch it. Our midwives have also learnt us What Babies Want, which we will hopefully get to this weekend. I feel like I'm full of pregnancy and birth information, and it's been fun to begin switching over to the baby stuff.

finished knitting

The shawl knitting is done, but I didn't have a chance to block it. Pictures soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

triangle shawl

I've been working on the triangle shawl for 2 weeks, and I'm finally nearing the end. I have 390 stitches per row, and it takes me 20 minutes to get across. Hopefully by the end of the day, I will have it bound off and blocked, and tomorrow I can start the fringe. Maybe it'll get in the mail this weekend!

Monday, January 14, 2008

31 weeks

I didn't get anything good from today, I feel like they're slacking a little bit. This week the baby weighs as much as 4 navel oranges, and while I normally find the weekly comparison to food funny this one just seems weird. The baby weighs about 3 pounds now, and is adding weight quickly.

It was a lazy weekend for me, and I'm embarrassed to say that for the first time, I used pregnancy as an excuse not to go out. Friday night Dave and I had plans to see some friends for dinner, and I stayed home in my pjs with my knitting. I couldn't pull myself up out of a sad-funk enough to get going, and I was happy to have the house to myself. I got some serious work done on the triangle shawl, and I went to bed early.

It may only be Monday afternoon, but I feel like I need another weekend. 9 weeks and counting to the due date - I think time has begun to slow down.

Friday, January 11, 2008

coming together

Dave is the greatest guy I know. He put the crib and changing table together! Even though he had a whole other evening planned, when I arrived at home with the furniture he put his stuff aside and followed ridiculous instructions to assemble these for me. I love them both. Yes, it's a little fancy for Dave and Laura, but it's exactly what I wanted. The best part is that it doesn't make the room feel tiny. We picked the stuff out online, and though we had the dimensions you never really know how things are going to fit together until they're actually there. This is the smallest room in our house, but we want it to be the baby's room for a couple of reasons. The first being that it's right next to our room and the second being that we weren't using the room at all. It's convenient to make it into a nursery.

Next I want to ask Dave to build a book shelf for the room, and my ideas are similar to the ones found here and here. Basically something simple that sits against the wall or hooks onto the wall and shows the covers toward the room. We have a library full of books already, but I want a special shelf where some of the more treasured baby books go. I don't think it'll be too complicated to build, plus it won't be hard to find a stain to match the furniture - we could even leave it unfinished. Dave is a master at building shelves of all kinds, someday I should walk around the house and photograph the many shelves that he has put in. Until then, I'm going to go sit in that rocking chair and knit!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

you mean you didn't know?

2 years ago, I found the baby name voyager on the internet. My life has never been the same. Even though Dave and I were not planning a child at the time, I was immediately taken with this tool. I love it. It graphs out the top 1000 names in the United States for the last 120 years. Not only is it pretty and fun to look at, it is extremely entertaining. I have charted out the name of every person I know, and it has come particularly in handy in the last few months as Dave and I talk about names for the kid.

Things I learned from the baby name voyager:
I was named Laura as the name was on the decline. It was number 23 in the 1980s.
The lowest David has ever hit was number 31 in the 1900s. It generally stays in the top 15 names.
Our friend Molly truly found a winner when she named her baby Cassius. That one is not coming back any time soon.
Dorman is actually a name. Not a very popular one, but a name nonetheless.
People name babies after presidents. At first I thought it was a fluke, but look at the dates of presidency, and compare them to names like Grover, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Warren, Harding, Hoover, or Dwight (seriously, who would name their baby Hoover?) The trend stops with Lyndon Johnson and does not resume, though Clinton saw a resurgence in the 90s. Bush never makes it on the charts though, not even for George H.W. It's really too bad. Bush is a great baby name, isn't it?

I love you, baby name voyager. Thank you for entertaining me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

that woman, she is genius

New red hat, finished in under 2 hours*. The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's, and it's called "an unoriginal hat". As she states in the pattern, it's like popcorn, and you can't knit just one. This is the third one I've done, and while I have many other projects in the works, I snuck this one in. Two hat misfortunes have come to Dave and I in the last week. One of our favorites (a variation on this one) went into the washer and dryer and came out baby sized. It felted and shrunk, but we're keeping it around just in case it does fit the baby's head. The other one was an original creation, a long Snoopy style cap, with bold green stripes and big ribbing. I'm terribly sad to say that one is currently missing, but I'm holding out hope that it will turn up. This fall I went on a hat jag, and knit up 6 new hats. We have a basket by the door full of knitted winter wear, so we can choose something new each time we walk out the door. Unfortunately, the first unoriginal hat is a favorite of both Dave and I, and with the other 2 favorites currently out of circulation, I thought it best to whip up another of these so we can both have warm heads. Plus it's red, so Dave'll probably leave this one to me.

*for those interested, the yarn was some thrift store acrylic, unmarked. I used a size 13 needle and held the yarn double. it's soft and warm and I like it, acrylic or not.

Monday, January 7, 2008

30 weeks

This week I'm suddenly feeling impatient. With just under 10 weeks until my due date, I feel like I may be pregnant for the rest of my life. I want to meet the kid, want to start the labor, want to have the time off work, want to see the spring peeking up through the snow. I consider myself a person who loves winter, and this winter has not disappointed me at all weather wise. But Dave started mapping out the garden this weekend and he's already placed his order for seeds with Baker Creek. It feels like spring is just around the corner, and we're barely into January. The garden has become such a central part of our home life that even in the dead of winter we can get excited just talking about all of the things that will be growing. This spring promises to be even more fun than usual, both because of the impending arrival of our baby and because of the garden expansions we made last year.

We now have 8 raised beds devoted entirely to vegetables, as well as a pumpkin patch, a raspberry patch, and a small section for herbs next to our walk. Along with those sites Dave will be incorporating vegetables and herbs into the flower beds this year. We added a second rain garden at the end of last summer, and if it's anything like the first one, flowers and native plants will be spilling out of it by June. We have hopes to improve the front and boulevard flower beds with more flowers, and this may be the year we put in an ornamental cherry tree. Most of the tree tree trimming and felling is complete now, and while I'm sure we'll probably cut down 1 or 2 more this year it seems like that phase is finally coming to an end. These plans are modest compared to our normal "to do" list for the summer gardening season. Since we'll have so many visitors wanting to spend time with us and the baby, they'll have to put in some work when they show up. Baby time is exchanged for shoveling and weeding, right? Dave is the master of this garden, and he did nearly all of the work last year. I was newly pregnant and plagued by exhaustion for the first 2 and a half months, and while I can say that I contributed a little bit, he did the lion's share of the work. I hope to be much more helpful this year, even if that means entertaining the kid and the pets so he can get serious work done.

Friday, January 4, 2008

nearly finished

The hooded baby blanket is nearly complete and I'm really happy with it. The main blanket is done with just a few more rows on the hood until I sew them together. The construction was simple, but the seed stitch took me forever. It always surprises me that seed stitch seems to take so long, but during the middle of this blanket I realized that it's the equivalent of 1x1 ribbing, so I felt a little better about the creeping progress.

I'm happy that I finally chose a baby project - making knitted items for others is great because I usually spend most of that knitting time thinking about the person who will receive it. In this case, it was fun to spend that time totally focused on the baby, and it was especially neat when the baby would kick and spin while I was working on the knitting. It made me feel even more connected to the little one.

In the meantime, though, my project list has grown. Next up is the Huge Triangle Shawl from Greetings From Knit Cafe. I got the book out of the library a few months ago and copied the pattern out. I can't find a photo of it online, so you'll have to wait. Our aunt was recently diagnosed with cancer, and while we haven't heard details or prognosis yet, Dave requested I make something for her. I've never done a shawl before, and I considered doing something lacy and fun. I want to whip this out quickly, though, so the one from GFKC will be perfect. It's entirely stockinette with simple construction, and it's done in a super soft alpaca yarn. It'll be the perfect thing to wrap around her shoulders in the coming months.

I must get those flip top mitts off to our friend before the weather starts to turn warm, and I really need to knit up another quick cabled hat for Dave and I. I did one on Thanksgiving between rolling of dough and pie construction. I think it took me about 3 hours total, and we fight over it each time we go out. I'm going to make the next one in a bright color, so Dave won't be tempted to take it. He prefers muted greys and greens, so I'm thinking a bold red will deter him. I want to do at least 2 stuffed animals for the baby, as well as one for Dave's coworker who is also about to become a father. I'd like to do one more blanket for the baby before the birth, but I'm not sure I've got time. Fortunately, I've been enjoying more and more time on the couch these days, and with the cold weather outside I have no incentive to do anything except hook up a movie, make a cup of tea, and sit down to knit.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

pupper of the week

LinkIrene has begun to go a little grey around the edges. Nothing serious, just her white parts spreading into her black parts a little bit. I like to joke that in two years, the baby will have given her grey eyebrows like this ol' pup. Personally I think that would be adorable.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

a new year

Happy new year! Things are falling into place, baby-wise. Dave and I unpacked the boxes of clothes that have been given to us by friends, we ordered for the furniture, we chose the car seat, and we picked up a stroller at a thrift store last weekend. We organized the closet and are feeling good about how much baby gear we've acquired. I think we've decided to forgo the baby shower, at least the traditional gift-giving type of shower. We may still have a big party in early February, just to celebrate the impending arrival. Thanks to our generous friends, we've got clothes, diapers and covers, a swing, a Baby Bjorn, and a boppy pillow. What else could we possibly need? The only thing left on my list is a sling, and I've got one picked out from Peapods. I've just got to make some time to go over there and pick it up.

It felt good to get organized and have the baby's room a little closer to completion. Once we get the furniture (hopefully this week) we'll see how much room is left for things like chairs and tables and lamps. We have a rocking chair and I'm hoping for an end table and lamp, and maybe a bookshelf. We chose the smallest room in the house for the nursery, both because we weren't really using the room and because it's the closest to our bedroom. Hopefully we can get everything in it without feeling squeezed.

My project list has grown, and while I'm still working on the Debbie Bliss hooded blanket, I've taken some time off to do other projects in between. I've finished some flip top mittens for myself, and have begun work on my first quilt. My mother in law kindly gave me some festive Christmas fabric, and I've got the quilt top all complete and began the quilting yesterday. I hope to finish it up this week and put the binding on by Friday. I can't wait to show this one off. While it is certainly not perfect, it is by far the best sewing project I've ever done. I've got a lob cabin pattern waiting in my head, and when I finish this one up, I'm hitting the fabric store. I'm thinking I'd like to do something in baby blue and brown for our bed, but I'm having trouble with the math - figuring out how much fabric I'll need. Maybe I can find a quilt pattern calculator somewhere online.

I like the idea of a lob cabin quilt because the piecing is easy and you essentially only have to do one block over and over. Once you're finished the blocks, though, you've got tons of options on putting them together. The work is simple but it looks fancy when it's complete. I'm excited to get started on it.

I've got a few more things planned for my knitting as well. There are two sweaters sitting in my basket which just need to be sewn up, and I'd like to do another quick blanket for the baby before it's born. I should also get to work on a stuffed animal, I like making bears and elephants and they go pretty quickly. There's such a variety of stuffed toy patterns available that I could do a whole family of them.

With just under 11 weeks left of this pregnancy I feel like time is flying by. So far the third trimester has been going well. I'm certainly feeling more tired than I was just a few weeks ago, but I'm also feeling the baby move all the time, so it's nice to take that time to lay down and feel the kicking and punching. According to, it is now 2 and a half pounds, or the weight of a butternut squash. We'll start seeing our midwives more often than our friends in the coming weeks, and I think between our homebirth and clinic midwives, we will have a visit every other week. The clinic visits are short, with a blood pressure and weight check, and a short chat with the CNM. We hear the baby's heartbeat, she measures the height of my uterus, and go on our merry way. The homebirth visits are way more fun. They do the blood pressure and weight check as well as checking for protein in my pee. Then we sit and chat about feelings and all that ooey-gooey stuff. They do a belly massage, helping to relax the involuntary muscles and ligaments around my uterus, and then the rebozo technique that I've talked about before. They listen to the baby's heartbeat, and check the height of my uterus. We talk about the birth and other things that are on our mind. The visits usually last about an hour and a half, sometimes longer if we have more to talk about. They're totally directed by Dave and I, and we've never felt rushed or hurried. It's been so fun to get to know these two ladies, and I'm excited to see them more often over the next few months. I feel like I'm getting really comfortable with them, which to me is an extremely important part of the birth. The more comfortable I am with them, the easier the birth will be, and I'm looking forward to starting the preparations for that as well.

I'm still doing yoga and attending class every week. I only got to the gym once last week to swim laps, but I'm hoping this week I'll go at least twice. Time is slipping past, but we're keeping our days and nights full and having fun too. I know I've been fortuante to have had such an easy pregnancy so far - I hope things continue to be this much fun!