Monthly Archives: March 2015

my munchkins

Having managed to avoid J’s stomach virus, I came down with some kind of relatively mild flu-style virus.  I had some wicked fever and chills last night, but I’m feeling much better today, other than a painful sore throat.  My only regret is that I think I’m going to have to pass on my planned 5K tomorrow.  I’d even prepaid for it!  My sister-in-law ran a fabulous 10K this weekend, and I’m inspired to go out and run, but at this point, it is just not going to happen.  Fortunately, I do think the illness was mild enough that I’m not too worried about B getting it.

I’ve been knitting diligently (until the last couple days), and I’m on track to finish B’s baptism robe.  I have to attend a class Tuesday evening.  Hopefully she will not be sick at that point.  Even minor outings are a logistical challenge when you’re EBFing.  However, she’s now on solids twice a day, so that is helpful at least.  It is amazing how B has taken to food.  L was much more reluctant.  I have given B oatmeal, sweet potatoes, peas, and pears, and she gobbled all of them down with enthusiasm.  I’ve been introducing food slowly in part because of laziness and in part because she has some eczema, which is often associated with food allergies, so I am inclined to be a bit more cautious.  Our bargain Ikea high chair turned out to be not so much of a bargain when it started rubbing paint off on everything, and we replaced it with the Keekaroo.  So far, I love.  Photos of B’s high chair cuteness will be coming shortly.

Ah, my two munchkins.  They are just so lovable.



I’m having a mini-anxiety attack at the moment.  Once a year, J’s friends come to Seattle during March madness.  They drink a lot and watch a lot of basketball and generally pretend they’re young again.  They stay at his friend’s apartment.  Well, he went over to their place on Thursday and found one of his friends puking is guts out and his unbelievably bad shape.  He came straight home, not wanting to catch it and infect us.  Well, the next day, his friend was better, so they decided he had food poisoning. B went back, and they hung out and did their thing.  He came and spent a few hours with us both Friday and Saturday.

Well, turns out it wasn’t food poisoning.  J is sick right now.  He is not a complainer by any means, and according to him, he feels terrible and “this is not a minor illness.”  I’m totally panicking at the thought of little B and L catching it, especially B.  I can’t help but think of trips to urgent care, the ER, or worse.  I am also not enthused about catching it myself.

To make matters worse, because J has been out of the house the last few days, I am ridiculously sleep-deprived.  Last night I thought J was coming home to help and give me a break this morning, I stayed up til 11.  B woke up at 11:30, and I didn’t end up getting to bed until after 12.  L woke up an hour or two later.  Then B woke up at 3:30 or so.  Then, l woke up for the day at 6 am.   This is on top of maybe 5 hours of sleep the night before.

I always get a little anxious when I’m sleep-deprived with the kids.  I just start feeling like I can’t handle it.  Because I’m breastfeeding and not pumping, I never get a real extended break or a full night’s sleep, and when I’m exhausted I just begin to feel completely overwhelmed.   J is staying at his friend’s in hope we haven’t actually caught what he has, though that seems unlikely given all of his friends have it so it’s obviously highly contagious.  Nevertheless, that leaves me on my own in the absolute best case for 24 hours more.  The worst case would be we all get sick and he comes home to help.

I just feel totally and completely alone and like there’s no one I can call for help.  I feel like I can’t really call anyone because if we’re sick, then they’d get sick, too.  It’s not even 9 am and this day already seem completely never-ending.  The minutes are crawling by.

At times like this, I’m not sure I’m cut out for motherhood.

Update: We’re pretty sure J has Norovirus.  Neither L, B, nor I is sick so far . Let’s hope it stays that way.  I felt much better after getting us all out of the house this morning, but I’m still very nervous about L getting sick.


dress shopping

I shop a lot online.  In fact, I buy most of my clothes online.  As such, it’s important to me to understand how a garment will look on me before I buy it.  Obviously, it’s impossible to know exactly how it will look, but the more information the better.  Generally speaking, I find customer reviews more helpful than anything else.  Thank goodness for the people who write in and describe their figure (ie curvy, lean, whatever) and say how it fits.  I just wish that shops would show more normal-sized women modeling their clothing.  For example, I’m in the middle of arranging for B to be baptized, and I thought I would splurge on a new dress for myself.  Well, I’m 5’6″, one inch taller than the “average” American woman.  Many shops have started sharing information about the height and size of their models.  All the models are 5’10”!  How am I supposed to know how a dress is going to look on me when all I have to go on is a woman who is no less than four inches taller?  To add insult to injury, our friendly 5’10” model is a size 2.  Here’s a case in point from Zappos:

(Don’t worry, I’m not actually considering the dress with the butterfly cutouts.)  Now, normally I don’t really care so much about height, but for a dress it’s very important.  I need to know how it’s going to fall with respect to my knees.  For a church event, it’s a little more challenging than usual, because you want to go a little longer, but not too long.

Not only is the model above 5’10” and a size 2, she also has a 25 inch waist.  The dress looks great on her, but it’s really hard to know whether it would be figure-flattering for me.  I like seeing beautiful models showing clothing, but for online shopping, it would be immensely helpful if stores would have models in a few different shapes and sizes.

One thing I really like, though, is that some stores allow reviewers to upload pictures of themselves, which many helpfully do, and you can actually see a normal-sized woman in the clothes.

For the record, the dress I do like is this one:

Pleated Plaid Dress -

The model is 5’10”, and I can’t decide whether it would be too long on me.  It comes in petite, so I could try ordering a petite, but maybe it would look just fine.  I suppose I could always go into a brick and mortar store and try some things on.  *sigh*  That would have the fringe benefit of no shipping costs.

I also like this one, but I think it might be too much.  Also, it doesn’t come in petite, and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be flattering on someone of my height.

Tiered Aster Midi Dress -

There’s always basic black:

Verda Maxi Dress -

Riviera Dress -

I like the last black one above, but some of the reviews were not so favorable, so it may not be so great in person.

Heart shrug

It looks like I will most likely be having B baptized in Roanoke in May. As such, I want to finish up the baptism gown I originally started for L. This is possible, but by no means easy. Before tackling that project, however, I wanted to close out another open knitting project, a cute little shrug with a heart on the back that I knit for L.

The pattern is in the book Contemporary Irish Knits, which I own.  It has several cute knits for kids I’m excited about doing one of these days, hopefully while I still have kids of my own to knit for.  The shrug went very quickly and was uncomplicated.  I did not even bother to block it, though I suppose it would probably look better if I did.

L was an obliging model, as always.

It’s knit with my favorite yarn,Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Aran, in gold.  I can’t get enough of that stuff.  If I was independently wealthy, I’d buy stock in every color.

The baptism gown is an entirely different beast.  It’s in the style of Shetland lace, knit on tiny needles with cobweb-weight yarn.  I must have made a couple hundred mistakes in it so far, but I have to say I’m a much better lace knitter than when I started.  Right now, though, it doesn’t look like much.  Lace, however, must be blocked, so I’m hopeful it’ll look much better when it’s done.  If, of course, I ever finish it.



grandparents visit

Grandma and Grandpa (as in, my parents) left yesterday after a two week visit, and it’s back to reality.  First of all, I love my new house so much, I really cannot overstate it.  Whereas the nonstop visits after L made me want to climb the walls, I really enjoyed two solid weeks of my parents being here.  In our old place, we literally could not open our front door when we had guests staying.  We had to take down my computer, and we were completely in each other’s hair from morning until night.  Now, guests have their own guest bedroom, and I get to keep my office and we just have plenty of space.  It’s great.

Much fun was had by all.  L loves Grandma as much as I loved my Grandma – in other words, a whole lot.  I love seeing how well they got along.  Grandpa also had plenty of bonding time and put in quite a few hours babysitting little B.

My parents don’t seem to have much memory of my own childhood, or at least it has faded in the mists of time, but I guess taking care of kids is like riding a bike.  Despite having three caregivers for two children (with poor old H slaving away making money to support us all), I didn’t get much free time.  These little munchkins are a handful.  Now that the grandparents are gone, they are having to get used to having half my attention again (one half for each), and there was much whining today, particularly on B’s part.

B has been going through some major developmental leaps lately.  In the past three weeks or so, she’s started babbling, started eating solids, and become very mobile.  She can do a very inefficient army crawl to move forward if she’s sufficiently motivated.  I actually think all the attention she got over the last couple of weeks helped her progress.

So far, she has been more receptive to solids than L was.  She has been gobbling down peas, for example.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

We will see the grandparents again soon as we’ve booked a trip to NYC and Roanoke for May.  I am excited to be back in Roanoke as I haven’t been there since 2010, incredibly.  Living there isn’t really on the table at this point due to lack of career opportunities, but I do miss it.  I think I idealize it a bit from a distance.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.  The trip is incredibly expensive.  Buying one way tickets plus two kids = sticker shock.


fields of green quilt – finished!

I finished my fields of green patchwork quilt last night.  This turned out to be a relatively quick and easy project, and I enjoyed it from end to end.  It was not quick in calendar days, as I haven’t had as much time as I would like to devote to it, but in terms of total hours, it was far easier than the Christmas applique quilt, and I am just as happy with the result.

I used the Red Pepper Quilts tutorial to make the patchwork blocks, but the concept and colors are all mine.  It’s not exactly a terribly original or groundbreaking design, but all my other quilts have been very close copies from patterns or quilts spotted on the internets, so this was a minor milestone for me.

I had this photo in mind when I decided to make this quilt.  This is taken from the air approaching Dublin Airport.  I took the photo on our ’06 vacation in Ireland.



Patchwork: Kona Farmer’s Market Fat Quarter Bundle

Backing: Heritage Floral in Green from Tea Garden by Molly Hatch

Binding: Besties Forever from Quilting Treasures  – Green and White Stripe


Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Batting Select Loft

“Select” is the higher loft version of 100% cotton batting that Quilter’s Dream offers. This makes the fourth type of batting I’ve tried from quilter’s dream, and the fifth type in total. I liked it better than the “request” very low loft cotton batting. It had a little more loft and therefore showed off the quilting a bit more. Quilting is a lot of effort, and I like to see the resulting texture. It was still low enough loft that it wasn’t too painful forcing it under my sewing machine’s small throat.  All in all, I liked it, but I’m not sure I liked it better than the similar Orient line from the same company.


Piecing and hand-sewing of binding: Aurifil Mako 50 in white 2024

Quilting, machine-sewing of binding: Aurifil Mako 50 in shining green 5017

I’m going to do some knitting before moving on to my next project.  I’m tempted to do another simple patchwork like this one, but we’ll see.

fields of green quilt progress

My green quilt is proceeding along, slowly but surely.

I quilted midway through each of the squares in both directions.  In the photos, I was halfway through and had done one direction only.

I’ve machine-sewn the binding to the front.  I actually managed to join the ends of the binding in a moderately satisfactory manner, so that was good.  I’m using stripes for the binding:

Besties Forever from Quilting Treasures - Green and White Stripe Coordinate

Every time I quilt a project I wish I had a machine with a bigger throat.  Then I finish, and I’m happy with my sewing machine again until it’s time to quilt the next project.   There aren’t any entry-level machines with a large throat on the market.  The cheapest you’ll find new is $600 to $700.  Surely I’m not the only casual quilter who finds a beginner machine perfectly adequate except for this one feature.