Friday, August 22, 2008

a haitus, of sorts

It's time for a break, folks.

Regular posting will resume once my beloved first born either
1. learns how to nap
2. remembers how to sleep through the night, or
3. walks, talks, and does or taxes

Kidding, of course. I'm taking a break from posting until I'm better rested and have more time to do things like stare at a computer screen. We will continue to post on GUSMONSTER as frequently as it occurs to us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

pupper of the week - forgotten pupper

I haven't forgotten about the pupper, she's just taken a backseat to all the new things happening. Baby nearly crawling, eating food. Me working a new job. Dave going back to work for another school year. Garden flourishing. Irene is always there, patiently waiting for her time to get some attention from us.

She's had some big changes in her life too. After reading this book, Dave decided to switch her food to Sojos. It's a little more complicated than a scoop of kibble in the morning - now we're mixing food and browning meat for her. So far, she loves it. I'm hoping it will help her be a healthier, happier dog. It's silly, but Dave and I care so much about what we eat (and what little Gus will eat), that we decided we could no longer feed our animals ground up byproducts. In fact all of the ingredients in Sojos are things we would eat ourselves (except the meat, of course). So she's a lucky pupper, who gets fresh cooked ground turkey, beef, and sometimes tuna. I guess she's not forgotten after all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I used to be something of a biker. Back, say oh 6 or 7 years ago... I didn't have a car and didn't care much for the bus, so I biked everywhere. I rode critical mass every month, and never thought twice about a long ride. I didn't have a super bike or anything, but I loved my bike and I rode it through the winter. It was easy since I lived close to work and school, and I really enjoyed riding.

After Dave and I met and got together, we biked a lot. He gave me a bike on our first date, in fact - and it still sits in the shed, ready for a ride. He also gave me the bike that I ride today, a baby blue road bike which I adore. It doesn't have a rack on the back so I've been taking his bike recently, but the baby blue will always be my bike even I don't ride it as much as I used to.

Slowly I fell away from biking. Having a professional job was part of it - I suddenly had to look nice at work and not show up all sweaty. Plus pretty frequently I had to drive to suburbs, which meant that I needed the car. Dave and I have long been a one car family, and for awhile in order to use the car I had to drive him to work since he had to be there at some awful hour - before the buses ran and way too early to bike. Then he switched jobs and was able to bike or bus, and I got to take the car more frequently.

2 years ago we bought a station wagon, and it was the first time a car title was actually in my name. It's a silly thing to be proud of really, but I was a little bit. I have a car! It's mine! It has a CD player! It seats 8! I got pretty comfortable with the driving routine, and getting pregnant last summer really sealed the deal. Pregnancy was like a free pass. Don't bike - drive! Take your time! Put your feet up, you're pregnant! That's not to say that I didn't bike or work out at all during pregnancy - I swam laps twice a week up through my 7th month, and I frequently biked to the gym. The days of biking to work were long gone by last year summer though, even though I only lived 2 miles from my office.

The month before the baby was born, Dave's brother gave us a car. We protested at first - we've always just needed one car! But the luxury of having both of us drive to work was sooo nice. I never had to bus while I was 8 and 9 months pregnant, and Dave got home faster so I could do more of that putting up of my feet that I mentioned. After the baby was born though, we knew that there was no reason for us to have 2 cars. Two weeks ago we bid goodbye to the station wagon and now we are once again a one car family.

That means it's high time for me to dust off the ol' blue bike and get biking again. It's been both easier and harder than I thought. For one, we don't have a trailer and Gus is a little small to be pulled yet anyway, so Dave and I don't ever bike anywhere together. That being said, I've been biking to work. There were some skeptics who maybe didn't think I could or would do it (I was honestly one of them) but so far, so good. It's about a 5 mile ride, much further than it was to my old office.

I do it at least once a week, sometimes twice. I feel so terribly proud of myself when I arrive. It's silly really, since I used to hop on and not think twice about 5 miles. Now it's a struggle, and sometimes I get off and walk up the hill at the end. I'm carrying a ton of stuff - my bag, my lunch, my pump - so I feel weighed down. I also just feel older, though it doesn't seem like 5 or 6 years have passed.

I can't wait until the little guy is biking with us, and we can take family trips again. Dave is really the super biker of the two of us - he will bike to work 2 or 3 times a week, and his commute is 14 miles each way. We've got a schedule set up for the fall that will mean that I only really need the car one day each week, but I know he'll choose to bike just because he loves to do it.

I forgot what it's like to get on and just ride for a long time. It's like knitting a little bit - wait, no, really it is. Bicycling only requires a little portion of your brain if you do it long enough. You don't have to think about balance or turning or traffic. You're just watching the road and your body does the rest. Most of my biking time is spent in some deep meditative thought - which exactly what my knitting time is too. Your reflexes just take over, and you go deep into your head. Yeah, I'm sweaty when I get to work and I'm sore when I get home, and sometimes I think about taking the bus because I would get more time to read or knit. In general - I really love biking. And I missed it. It's like seeing an old friend again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

new favorite thing

Blegh, sorry about all the downer stuff. I'm officially clearing the air.

This is my new favorite thing.

It's the slouchy cardigan from Greetings from Knit Cafe.This was a project I started last summer. I have a distinct memory of bringing it to my first midwife appointment. The nurse asked me if I was knitting something for the baby, and I felt a little bad that I was making something for myself. I think at the time I was around 8 weeks pregnant, so not really something to feel bad about.

It turned out just lovely, and I'm sorry I don't have any idea what sort of yarn I used or the needles. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't do a gauge swatch, and when it was complete, it was way too small. I thought blocking would solve all of my problems - and it did - to some degree.

It's still a little tight, but it looks good. It's way to hot to wear now, being made of alpaca and close fitting. I can't wait for fall to curl up with this one.

I will search for the ball band. I think it might be misti alpaca, but I'm not sure. I had the knitting and most of the seaming done within a month of starting this project - but I became completely stalled when it came to attaching the sleeves and the hood. To this day, I still don't understand how they were supposed to attach. After 10 months on the UFO pile, I finally just dove in. It worked out fine, and I don't remember now what was so confusing. Something about the sleeve caps not fitting into the body at all.

It worked out for the best, and this fall I hope to whip up a quick little hoodie for the baby. With Dave's brown hoodie 95% finished (just waiting for a zipper), I'll have a family of hooded sweaters to show you soon. Yay! Knitting!

just as things settle down

I'm unsure where I am these days. Some days I feel like we have a routine and we're hitting our stride - like things are settling down and we're beginning to see what normal will be like for the next little bit. Then we have days like yesterday and today, where getting Gus to sleep is a fight, where doing nearly everything is a fight, and the exhaustion creeps up and knocks me down when I'm not expecting it. I'm short with Dave, I'm short with the pets, and though I try not to be - I know I'm short with the baby.

We made it through those first few months on less than 2 hours of sleep at a time. We did this while also mourning Paul, while adjusting to new mama- and papa-hood. We also hosted friends and family on a near daily basis. I don't know how we did it. I look back now and those days are blurry, caught in a fog of half sleep. I don't remember being so sad all the time, then. Maybe I was and I just don't remember it. Or maybe the hormones and the bliss of that little babe soaked up some of the grief so it wasn't so powerful. Each time we mark another month for Gus (he'll be 5 months next week) we also mark another month since Paul died. I hope that I won't spend the rest of my life thinking about Paul each time I think about the birth of August, but for now - at least for the first half of this year - it's impossible to escape.

It ebbs and flows, there's high times and low times. I guess this is one of the low times. I know that no one would say this is supposed to be easy. I know that raising a kid is work, and that work is never done. I can't help but feel guilty when in one minute I'm cursing Paul for being gone - thinking of how much easier it would be to deal with Gus if I didn't have the weight of the grief - and in the next minute cursing Gus - thinking of how much easier it would be to grieve if I didn't have to be playful and happy for baby. It's not fair either way, and I feel awful each time one of those thoughts flits through.

I try to remember to take it one day at a time. To not let little things get under my skin. I try to remember that the most important thing is that we have each other, our little family of 3, and that together we can get through some pretty tough shit. It's hard to see clearly, to guess what's next. It's easier to be sullen and quiet, to spend most of my time in my head.

I know that I don't call friends. I've become terrible about returning calls. I suppose I should be better - but the truth is that I don't want to go anywhere or see anyone. I assume they think I'm busy with the baby, busy doing baby-n-me classes or whatever it is that new mommas are supposed to do. It's hard to see people, to go places. It's hard to be happy when you feel like hiding under the covers. It's even worse to go out with friends and realize you're the one talking about death and writing a will, when everyone else just wants to talk about the new Batman movie. It's embarrassing, it makes me self conscious. I don't want to be the morbid one who can't get over it - so I just stay in. Don't answer the phone, don't even listen to the messages. There's fewer and fewer calls anyway, so at least I can feel a little less guilty about that.

The baby continues to be the ray of sunshine, even on hard days. He's so bright eyed and happy most of the time, he's just a delight. He keeps me sane, keeps me moving. It sucks to be away from him, I feel a little bit at sea. More and more I have to let go, though. I'm going to be working more, and I think that's a good thing. I have a hard time letting go, letting Dave take him and have fun with him without me. The more I'm at work, the more they'll have a chance to play together and develop their own schedule and routine. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time, right? I'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I've been spending a ton of time updating my Ravelry page with all the knitted things around the house. Most of them were before the blog or I never got around to blogging about them - I find that Ravelry is everything I ever wanted in a knitting blog - I just have to fill in forms, upload photos - I don't have to be terribly creative and I can look at all of my knitting on one page. I love it, and I still haven't gotten around to doing the stash and the needles section. Hopefully soon.

In the meantime, our little family of three has been busy. I took a second job - meaning I will now work a whopping 20 hours a week. I'm honestly a little nervous about it. Yes, the little guy is nearly 5 months old, but I've spent so much time with him in those 5 months I'm worried about being away from him so much. I know it will be good for each of us and he can spend more time with Dave and get more comfortable doing his bedtime routine and other things with him. I'm excited about the new job, especially because it comes with a great deal on a gym membership. Working out is something I've completely dismissed since Aug was born, and I can't wait to get back into swimming regularly.

Dave has been working like mad in the garden, and I feel terrible I haven't posted photos. He's completed a lot of stuff that was on hold - the front fence, the porch project, the shed addition. He's begun on the fence in the back too, all while keeping up a massive vegetable and flower garden. The daily haul of tomatoes is enough to shock anyone, and he's now pulling in beans, eggplants, and a mess of herbs. Peppers are just around the corner - the jalapenos are already producing faster than we can eat, and the pumpkins are turning orange. I think I'll have my wish that one of Gus's first meals will be butternut squash from our backyard, and in the meantime we've enjoyed the broccoli and the raspberries. It's totally overwhelming how the garden has grown this year, and I know that Dave has done it all. At best, I've sat out in the yard with him. I'm so proud of how much work he has put into making our yard better than it has ever been.

Though Gus is not quite 5 months old, we've started feeding him cereal. He's showed an interest in food for a long time, watching us intently during meals. He is delighted with eating - he chomps down on the spoon and opens his mouth for more. Our only real struggle with the little guy is trying to get him to take a nap longer than 45 minutes (and we're reading "The No Cry Sleep Solution" in attempt to do exactly that). He still loathes the car and most rides are full of fussing or sometimes screaming. There's little we can do about that at this point - pretty frequently we need to put him in the car. We do our best to drive during nap times and to keep him entertained. Hopefully that will improve soon.

The little guy is waking up, so no more time for blogging. I hope to get back to regular posting at some point - maybe when he's 5?

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Four days ago:
Four weeks ago:

Four months ago:

Four years ago:

Happy anniversary, Poppa Bear.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

not much to say

I apologize for the utter lack of posts. I've still been updating my ravelry page (plumsinbloom is my handle) and working and playing outside. No time for blobbing!

I feel like the little guy has turned another corner in babyhood, leaving that quiet, mild mannered newborn behind. Now every time I turn my back, he's got a handful of grass in his mouth or he's fussing because he bonked his head rolling over too fast. He's an active little monkey, and it sure seems like crawling and sitting up are right around the corner. For most of his 3rd and 4th months he drooled like crazy and we were sure he was teething. Now the drooling has let up a little, and no teeth yet. He's still sleeping like an angel, but a little less than before. He goes to bed around 9 these days and has been getting up at 5. I know that still constitutes sleeping through the night, but we don't get as much of a break in the evening as we had grown used to.

We left him alone in the evening for the first time last week and went to dinner and a movie. Kind of a conventional date and not what we might usually do on "date night," but it was fun nonetheless. I don't know when we'll do it again, honestly I missed him a little bit while we were eating dinner. I know he squeals and makes it hard to have a conversation, and he wants to be put down then picked up then put down, but this was really the first time we've been away from him when one of us wasn't at work and it honestly felt a little weird. While he's still this little it's easy to take him with us to restaurants. Our 4th wedding anniversary is this week, and I'm hoping we go over to Gandhi Mahal to celebrate. The food was fantastic the first time we tried it, and we're dying to go back.

I promise to try to be better about posting. But no guarantees.