Spring

Bread birds ~ We used this recipe for the bread

It’s finally starting to feel a bit spring like here.  We’ve had some warm days.  Slowly, slowly, slowly there is a bit of work and a bit of growth happening in the garden.  The weekend before last we planted a couple of trees, including an apricot for Seraphina.  Steve brought home a whole tray of various violets and her brothers and sister planted them all beneath her tree in the warm spring sunshine.  It snowed two days later because that’s the way spring is here…give and take, back and forth, really almost right up until summer when the steady warm weather truly settles in.  The pansies and violas made a cluster of little snow mounds under her tree.  The patch of wild ginger that Galen and Mairi Rose planted didn’t fair well under the snow.

We hung swings in the front yard.  Just four of them for now, dangling from beams of wood, strung from tree to tree.  We did this once before, at our old house, the Easter that Galen was a baby.  Rosebud excitedly told me that all we need is a slide and it will be just like we have our own real playground.

It was all the rage to try to extract the treats from your Easter basket as though you were a horse.  This is perfectly reasonable behavior, yes?

We ended up with some strangely colored eggs this year.  We didn’t have our usual dye stuffs on hand so did some experimenting.  If anyone is looking to make grey eggs, we unwittingly discovered about 4 different options for you.

Baby girl received a new Easter bonnet and such a rosy-posy, kissable little dumpling was she.  She has officially been sick more than half her life at this point.  Just a little cold really.  Unless you happen to be a very tiny person with a very tiny nose, in which case it’s a pretty big and overwhelmingly miserable thing.

Sunday was glorious, with the temperature hovering around 60.  I spent a lot of time trying to convince my children that this does not constitute “swelteringly hot” nor “scorching hot”, neither is it justification for a water fight to keep them from “dying of heat”.  They wholeheartedly disagree.  I’ll happily keep my sweater on, thank you.  After the egg hunt the Papa Bear and boys started up a game of wiffle ball, while Mairi made sand cakes, complete with real birthday candles, on the sidelines.  In between games they pitch to her and let her hit a good many balls before going back to their play.  My sister and I sat field-side; watching, knitting (both of us) and nursing (just me).  Her making an ascot with a pretty leaf pattern at the ends, me going back and forth between a cardigan for me and Elijah’s birthday sweater, depending on how free my hands were at the time.  Wiffle ball morphed into football, with Steve on his knees in the end zone, and teammate Galen jumping joyously into his arms.  After a very long while we decided to go for a walk, just to the edge of the woods, where the water was rushing and falling under and around the path and the kids settled in to game after game of “Pooh Sticks”, before heading home for dinner.

Our neighbor brought us over some beautiful Pysanky.

This blue and orange one was painted specifically with blessings for Seraphina in mind.

Wasn’t that a lovely gift?

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pretty in pink

While we didn’t *know*, know that this little girl was, in fact, a little girl, I was really quite sure that she was and as such I let myself indulge in just one little gender specific knit.  The theory was that if she turned out to be a he, the next person I knew who had a little girl would get a special, hand-knit baby gift, nothing lost.  This is the Lizzy Dress in Knitpicks Palette in ‘Tea Rose’.

Something strange happened with the band of lace on the skirt.  The lower section is entirely wrong.  I had to be off my feet for a couple of days at the end of my pregnancy while something healed.  I was working on this during that time and of course finding a comfortable position, much less a comfortable position to knit in, was nearly impossible.  So I wasn’t exactly stretching out my work and checking it carefully.  The pattern comes with charted and written directions.  The chart appears fine.  I used the written ones.  I came up with the exact number of stitches at the end of every single row, so never had a reason to suspect anything.  It wasn’t until I was blocking it that I noticed everything had gone all wonky.  I still don’t know if it was something I did or an error in the pattern.  But I had a baby shortly after and because of the size, if I want to use it, it’s clearly too late to fix it now!  Since it was regular repeats I think it just looks like a different sort of lace anyway.  Maybe I’ll try making a bigger size and using the chart this time.

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Feeding Our Families- Postpartum Meal Planning Part 2

postpartum vignette: knitting, book, food, baby

Some of the meals I ended up making and freezing:

Shepheard’s Pie

Pork and Apple Bake (2)

Lemon-Olive Chicken with broccoli

Beef Bolognese (5 quarts)

Carrot-Ginger-Coconut Muffins (2 batches)

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (2 batches)

Creamed Spinach (modified with safe for us ingredients)

Honey Sesame Chicken and Broccoli

Chicken Apple Curry* (2)

Peach Chicken*

Apple Pie (2)

I also made a list of the food that we still had available from the harvest this year; apple sauce, jams, chutney, roasted tomatoes and a bag of zucchini muffins that turned up when we rearranged things in the freezer.

I had plans to make more but a couple of friends were talking about maybe dropping off a few freezer meals and I wanted to be sure we still had room for them.  That didn’t actually happen, but two dear friends did drop us off some lovely fresh food, which provided us with salads and soups to pad out our meals.  Also the most wonderful nut and fruit bars that turned out to be the perfect solution for those middle of the night, suddenly ravenous, nursing mama moments.  I really must get the recipe for those!

*I’ll try to post recipes for these at some point.

Expect posts this week by:

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14/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.

We’re still reveling in the newness here.  I think this is really the first time that we have truly honored this transition.  My perspective of family life this week has remained that of host to all of the little people who come to visit us in bed, hanging out for just a couple of minutes or a whole afternoon.

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Esme

I made a wearable muslin of the Esme Top pattern by Sew Liberated.  I used some leftover flannel from the kid’s Christmas pajamas two years ago. I really like the pattern, and the cut of the top in general, but I am having some sizing issues.  Going off the size chart and what I guesstimate my bust measurement will be postpartum, it tells me I should be making a size 16.  This didn’t really sit right with me, since for a loose fitting top like this my gut was to go with a size 6.  Also, I just made a dress by this same designer where a size medium was clearly sufficient.  To be safe I went with an 8.

Why yes, this is the top that’s supposed to be 4 sizes too small for me postpartum over my very full term belly.  Perplexed?  Me too.

I know it’s supposed to by very flow-y-loose-fitting, but I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be so much so as to accommodate 40+ weeks of baby.  I had plans to lengthen the pattern and make a dress out of some really lovely blue linen, but I think I might want to see exactly how this falls on the body I intend it for before committing myself to that.  I will say that this top is really soft and seems quite comfortable and I’m very much looking forward to wearing it after the baby comes.

About the buttons…they are just sewn on the front button band.  I sewed a single snap inside to keep it closed.  Only one because that was what I had.  I convinced myself that this was to make for easier nursing access, but I think it really had a whole lot more to do with the fact that I really, really hate sewing button holes.

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12/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.

Iain and Elijah:  Excerpt from a completely unexpected email from their boss, “I wanted to congratulate you and Steve on your amazing boys – they are a pleasure.  SMART, great work ethic, endlessly cooperative and fun to be around.  Whatever you are doing, carry on, please.

Galen: He was given a gift certificate to our favorite yarn store.  We took a special trip, just the two of us, him wearing the vest he made for himself last year.

Màiri Rose: silly girl

the little one: I meant to get a picture on our due date last week, but somehow that never happened.

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spring green

Our first day of spring.

In March I’m all about the green.  There is no green outside at the moment, with the exception of the evergreens that have steadfastly held on to their hue throughout the winter.  But even they are leaning more towards brown and grey, with their dull and bleak weather worn needles.  But on my needles and at my sewing machine there surely is a lot of green, in many different shades.  It seems to happen this way every year, though I never consciously plan it so.

I started accidentally designing some baby over-alls, which doesn’t sound like something that could happen so easily as to be accidental, but somehow for me it is.  I started off with someone else’s pattern.  From the beginning I planned on changing the yarn weight, needle size, gauge (obviously) and stitch pattern.  I got just a tiny bit into the project, decided I didn’t like the pattern at all, started doing something entirely different and never looked at it again.  Next time, starting from scratch on my own, I’ll do some things differently.  When I look at these I can see exactly where I switched from theirs to mine.

I’ve been questioning my button choice a little, maybe?  I can’t decide.

Fresh yarns…

Clearly I was in a very neutral place the day I ordered these!  Perhaps dreaming of working the earth in my garden?  This was a very important part of my postpartum planning as well.  Yes, ordering yarn.  And no, I’m not being sarcastic.  Included in the above is yarn for Elijah’s birthday sweater.  I still love each and every one of these for the project that they were chosen for, but it’s back to being so grey and dreary again that I’m rather sorry I don’t have something a little more cheerful to look forward to.  I had had my heart set on treating myself to some rainbow yarn, with a sweet baby sweater in mind, but they sold out of that particular colorway before I got around to ordering.  In retrospect I probably should have tried to track it down elsewhere.  Having just ordered a box of yarn, I’d feel too guilty doing so now.

Books!!!  Thank you so much for all of your suggestions!!  I’m making a great big list out of them for future reference.  Immediately after writing that post, before the suggestions began pouring in, I started looking and thinking and ordering a great many books through inter-library loan.  Many, many books.  Books for the kids to read, books for me to read, books for me to read to the kids.  Books for school work (primarily a selection of books on the Tudor Period).  A collection of J. R. R. Tolkien books for Iain.  Yet more Black Stallion books for Elijah.  They switch off with each other after they finish each book.  The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to read aloud.  Because somehow, despite the fact that this one has come highly recommended to me by several sources who’s opinions I hold in great esteem, we still haven’t read this one yet.  I think that maybe it wasn’t available the last time I looked and then I forgot to look again?  Another of the All-of-a-Kind Family books.  My Father’s Dragon as a first chapter book for Galen to read aloud to me. A little Tasha Tudor for Miss Màiri Rose (A Tale for Easter), as well as Poppy’s Babies and Spring Story, both from the Brambly Hedge collection.   A book on large family logistics.  I presume, based on the looks and comments I get when people learn this is our fifth baby, that at this point we qualify.  A Piet Oudolf gardening book.  Three books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. The Yarn Harlot.  I’ve already finished this one.  I very happily still have this one and this one waiting for me.  I decided to get a couple of Chris Bohjalian books, even though they don’t tend to be lighthearted at all.  But I’ve enjoyed reading his books in the past and even met the man once (he made me laugh, in quite a good way) and it’s been a while, so I thought, why not?  I ordered The Sandcastle Girls, which I haven’t looked at yet and The Light in the Ruins, which I picked up for the first time yesterday.  It turns out that I may somehow in reading the on-line descriptions have missed the bit about the serial killer. hmm.  Not exactly what I was looking for just now.

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