Tuesday, February 26, 2013


When I first did my crude calculation for when this little baby would most likely arrive I declared "April!  How perfect!" thenone moment's pause before a silent (oh bummer!).   A bummer because the timing of this little one's arrival meant that we'd have to forgo our March trip to sunny Florida. Whaw, whaw, cue the tiny violins, I know.

I have been completely spoiled by this spring time trip nearly every year since I can remember.  We've been lucky in our adulthood thus far to be able to find cheap flights to our *free tropical destination (*thanks to time sharing uber generous mom and dad and grandparents).  As parents we've been able to keep it possible by combining those cheap tickets with airport taxis and bikes with burleys in lieu of rental cars.  But this year, no matter how we swung it, it just wasn't in the cards.  Apparently eight months pregnant, traveling with two kids and beautiful tropical dehydrating weather do not mix well.

So, as we rapidly approach that beloved spring break time I've found it harder and harder for me to shake off the grumps about missing this trip, then feeling guilty and spoiled for missing it so much.  It's a vicious sad cycle I tell you.

Because of course we'll miss the sun.  We've had an actual decent winter here in Chicago and being outside for more than the 10 minutes it takes to load up and drop off the girls each morning would be nice.  Feeling warmth on our faces, sweating a little, jumping in cool clear water? Eating fried grouper, licking delicious ice cream cones, hammocking, beach running, shell finding.  Oh yeah, that would all be great.

But what I find I'm really missing about our trip, at least right now, are the preparations.  Some of my favorite spring time memories with my girls are of us getting ready for Florida.  Hilarities ensuing while digging out too small swimsuits and sandals and too big sunglasses.  Frantically sewing new spring duds and knitting light sweaters for those "chilly" Florida nights.  As with any big event, the prep is half the fun.

Hmmm.  Big event?  Preparation?  While it may not be a southwest Florida vacation I know deep down that preparing for this new little one is surely more exciting and important than anything else we could be doing right now.

Unpacking tiny baby booties was one of my favorites.  The first time I officially let myself be won over by a bit of superstition about this baby? the moment I uncovered that second blue bootie, that's been missing since Ainsley was about 2 months old.  We'll see!

Ah, and tiny cloth diapers...how I can't wait to wrap that sweet baby bum in one.

Being our third baby, I've been surprised with all that I feel needs to get done! before their arrival.  I am giddy over the cleaned out nursery, so excited for the artwork I've planned with the girls.  I can't wait to wash and fold all of the tiny clothes already waiting in drawers, and put the finishing touches on all those new handmade goodies (did you notice all those ends that need weaving in up there?  oh goodness). Ian gave me an early "non" birthday gift of a new baby knitting book and it's going to take all the willpower I have not to go nuts.  I mean really, how many cardigans and booties does an April baby need? On second thought, don't answer that.

And then there's those two little girls of mine, suddenly smitten with their mama handmades.  Ainsley recently discovered that Louise's beloved nay nays are in fact HER baby blankets that she never took a liking to.  Now she's desperate for her own knit blankie and I've promised that once all the essentials are covered I'm on it.  She also begged me for a new sweater when she discovered her favorite yellow cardigan is too short for her this year.  We ventured to the yarn shop and she picked out the most beautiful purple merino I've ever worked with.  So now of course Louise wants one too.

these posed photos complete with daffodils were all Ainsley, she loves showing off that sweater

I've found knitting in particular to be so essential and therapeutic for this special time.  All these long afternoons indoors, spent watching my girls play dolls, fairies, princesses, trains, doctor, all the while i work away one row at a time.  Sewing had kind of taken over my life this past year.  I'll admit it feels good to have needles constantly in my hands again. (and it's extra nice to have the time and motivation to make myself a few things, Ian too)

thick cotton, simple lace work, fingerless gloves, I don't know how I've survived winters without them

::purple seems to be the theme for this family for spring.  A short sleeved cardigan started for me, a simple vest in the works for my working man::

So this march, instead of buying sunscreen and sandals, packing and preparing for weeks away, we're preparing for a longer hibernation here at home.  These next 6 (or more) weeks are our last as a family of 4.  As wonderful as it would be to have our annual week in the sun, I know we need this time.  Really I'm looking forward to this time.  So much that can be done, very little that NEEDS to get done (except finding that crib bumper, now where did that go?).  Come baby time we'll be as rested as we can be and ready for a beautiful spring.

See you next year Florida!  I can't even imagine how full THAT vacation is going to be :o).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pink and Plump and Perfect

Yesterday I turned 29.  I guess if I stop to think about it, that does make me feel a bit old.  Last night before bed Ian asked me if there's anything I want to accomplish before the big 3-0 next year.  Well, I'll have had 3 kids, so I think I can cross that one off the list.

It's true really.  The 20s have been so change filled and bursting with newness.  I must say, as much as I'm looking forward to this next year, welcoming our new baby soon, a summer filled with cabins and lakes and pools, a fall with two big girls in preschool and a tiny little one all to myself most mornings, I am also really looking forward to my 30s.  Because those years?  Well, I see them as years of relative stability and family rituals, years where we're finally put down permanent roots somewhere, KNOW what those next years bring, not just guess and ponder.  Ah 29, I'm happy to see you, but I don't know that I'll be sad to see you go.

My actual birth day was great.  The one real irony being that I had JUST commited to a few new coffee accessories with leftover Christmas money and the precise day they arrived was the day I had to give up coffee thanks to late pregnancy intolerance.  At least Ian's enjoying and extra good cup of Joe in the morning.  Ainsley tries a sip nearly every time, desperate to like it, HATING it underneath. It's great.

We had a relatively normal morning.  Ian had been sent hoe from work the day before because his cold was so bad and was instructed to come in later the next morning to rest a bit a sleep in.  Well, he woke up feeling much better so we capitalized on a bit of extra family time.  He dropped Ainsely off at school which THRILLED her and then met Louise and I at my favorite breakfast cafe for a mug of tea and delicious breakfast.  I wasn't hungry until I woke up from our glorious birthday nap at 3pm.  Yum!

In between delicious breakfast and glorious birthday nap was a bit of grocery shopping and puzzle doing with Louise.  I took the below photos of my big girl putting together Ainsley's body puzzle all by herself.  They aren't so stellar of me, but I just had to post what with Louise's sweet cheeks and raw runny nose.  Yuk mama!  I do it ALL by myself.  And see?  Here's all the naked pieces, and the boney pieces and the organ pieces. My girls sure do love their anatomy.

After nap came the real fun.  Earlier in the week Ian had hinted that there was a surpirse for my birthday night.  That I need only have the girls ready with a bit of food and he'd take care of the rest.  I pressed a bit further and discovered he'd wanted to leave the girls with Sonya and take me downtown for an extravagant meal.  Ah, I love my boy, but midweek, 7 months pregnant, after we've all had terrible colds, I wasn't feeling the downtown adventure.  So he of course obliged my request for a quiet night at home and he and Ainsley got set to scheming.

LONG story short, their plan was a cake.  Not any cake but Mrs. Peter's Birthday Cake from our all time favorite book The Seven Silly Eaters.  It had been Ainsley's idea.  She'd wanted that pink and plump and perfect cake for her mama for her birthday.  Ian found the recipe (made up by the poet laureate herself!) and starting asking questions.  So, how would one warm milk to precisely 70 degrees?  What's a tube pan?  What does cream, the verb, mean? I smiled at my boy's good intentions, asked him if it'd be easier if I made the cake with the girls.  Of course it would be.  That cake wouldn't have been ready until 10 pm if he'd had to make it after work.  So we spent the afternoon measuring and sifting, mixing and dumping.  Ainsley knows that book so well that she was a bit distressed that the "pink lemonade" in the book was diminished to lemon juice in milk (buttermilk) in the real recipe, and that instead of baking it in a large dutch oven we poured ours in a bundt pan.  But pink and plump and perfect it was, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.  This cake is surely a new favorite.  And it meant so much that my big girl thought of it all by herself.  She was so proud carrying that cake out with Ian.

Ah, sweet birthday memories.

And other precious moments?  Well, the one where the girls EXPLODED with joy when they woke up wanting me to open every single present immediately.  Louise chiming in Mama! You get so many toys!  Don't you want your toys?!?!?!?  And once the present opening wrapped up Ainsley was so desperate for more that she kept wrapping things from around the house to give me.

So as much fun as a night on the town would be, for now a not so quiet night at home with our family is my perfect gift.  I think I heard Happy Birthday Mama!  at least 100 times yesterday, was sung to over and over and given extra special kisses hugs and love snuggles from the ones I cherish most.

Ah so the big 2-9, it was a good one.  Now?  I can't wait for that next birth day coming.  We sure like birthdays around here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

30 weeks

First off, I feel I need to start with a bit of a caveat in regards to my last post.  It's rare that I act on an impulse to write something that I know may come off a bit wrong and on this particular occasion I just felt the need to write it out.  I hope I didn't offend anyone and if I did, well, can I just play the crazy pregnancy card?  Thanks.

Ok, moving on...this is the big one guys.  The big 30 week milestone.

and when I say big, I mean it...

Looking ahead I knew that these next few weeks were going to be a mix, a wealth, a downpour of emotions for me.  Now I'm in the thick of it and  am glad I at least gave myself a tiny heads up.

Because despite getting the green light this go around this is time that things have fallen apart in both of my previous pregnancies.  With Ainsley my 30 week ultrasound found my dang short funnelled cervix and with Louise an off the cuff fetal fibronectin test at 30 weeks found me to be at high risk for a preterm delivery.  So of course this 30 week mark is a bit scary for me.  I pay attention to every normal twinge and pain more than a "normal" pregnant woman would.  I panic every other day and guzzle water and lay down for a half an hour when I'm sure that cleaning frenzy earlier was too much, or carrying Louise up the stairs will of course send my body into labor.  I expected all of this.  This is the normal part for me.  What I didn't expect is how optimistic, calm and hopeful I still remain.

see? this is me, post 30 week checkup, all cool and collected, and very very rotund

I know I know, panic and calm don't really seem to go hand in hand.  But rewind 2.5 years to the 30 week mark and THAT My friends is panic. Not this.

This?  This is knowing my body.  This is trusting my body.  This is feeling so blessed and calm that right now this baby is about 3 pounds, big and strong enough to face together whatever these next few weeks brings.  This is knowing with full certainty that I, as a mother, can handle whatever these next weeks bring.  This is feeling stronger than I ever have, despite having trouble swinging my legs out of bed.  This is the peace of knowing that in about two months, one way or another, our family will be complete.

And along with those brief moments of panic and woe, come just as many bursts of exploding excitement.  How I still have not had one moments' dread about the birth.  I remain so incredibly excited to experience bringing this baby into the world, in our home, with my family by my side.  How I simply cannot wait for that moment when I pull that baby up to my chest, gaze into those tiny smushed up eyes, and meet my new son or daughter for the first time.

My mind has been spinning lately.  So anxious to get to this point, and beyond.  So desperate for "normal" yet thankful for the extraordinary that I believe has allowed me to enjoy this pregnancy all the more.

Of course I won't truly rest easy until 37 weeks, if I'm resting really at all by then, but making it here, in one solid piece, is such an incredible blessing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I Do

I'm up way to early.  Again.  I'd kind of forgotten about this late last stage of pregnancy.  The one where I'm tired and sore nearly all the time but just can't sleep.  Sigh.

But this isn't about that.  No.  This is about me, and what I do.

Back at Christmastime Ian went to a gathering of college friends while I stayed back with the girls.  Later when I asked him how it was, how everyone was, he updated me on friends' jobs and relationship statuses, how fun it was to catch up.  Then?  He told me people asked after me.  How nice.  I thought.  Yeah, they asked about what your plan is.  What you want to do.  Hmmm.

For some reason these innocent inquiries have sent me stewing a bit (yes, I know, since December).  There is of course the obvious.  What do I do?  Really?. Does this imply that I am not DOing enough?  That somehow even in the 21st century staying home to raise your children is not deemed a legitimate career choice?  I'm flabbergasted if that's the case.

This is not to say that I'm mad about these questions.  I get it.  I truly do.  If you are without children, or very career driven, or of a different mindset than me (which is entirely possible, in fact very likely) I understand how odd it may seem that THIS is exactly what I want to be doing.  That it fulfills me more than any other job that I can imagine.  That to me?  Being with my children every waking moment is the most precious gift I can give them right now.  For me?  This is a no brainer.

Because what I do?  Why, I do everything.  Any single thing that you can think of that goes in to the making of a home and a family, I do that.  I do that with two little children (and one swollen belly) in tow.  And when I'm not doing that?  I'm planning for my days.  I spend these early morning hours planning activities, requesting new books to read together, picking up from yesterdays' fun, ALWAYS picking up from yesterday's fun.

Right now, what I do is absolutely all consuming.  It leaves me no time or energy to even consider anything else.  What I do know is that what I am going do do?  Is be a wife and mom for the rest of my life.  That loving and caring for them is my most important job (and let me tell you, that' not as easy as it sounds sometimes).

And as my children grow and don't need me as much every waking moment of every day?  Well, when that day comes, many MANY years from now, I'll crack open a big bottle of red wine, plunk myself down on our big comfy chair, grab my latest knitting, not to work no, just to feel the wool in my hands, and smile.  Then, and only then, will I consider, what now?  Because right NOW I have simply everything.  And that, is precisely what I'm doing.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

THIS Moment (loving edition)

This moment I'm loving on lots in life.

This moment I'm loving...

 ...that my big girl's fever is gone after a mere 12 hours.  So thankful for this mild bug, her strong little body, lots of snuggles and those bright happy brown eyes.

...all the amazing finds from my thrifting this week.  Amazing art supplies, a fully restocked fabric closet, kitchen utensils I've been too cheap to buy at full price.  Magic every time.

See those yellow sunburst vintage sheets?  I bought a full set.  You'll be seeing a whole lot of that this summer on all three (maybe 4?) of us girls.  Enough for all and then some.

The crowning glory surely are these 2 dollar saddle shoes.  
Original vintage stride rites with bottoms so sturdy my girls have mistaken them for tap shoes.  
I'm of course thrilled with this.

 ...Louise's new sense of style.  Wild hair, backwards underpants, two boots, any kind will do.  Then of course we must sweep.  Sweep sweep sweep.  This has happened far more than once.  I think it's her "thing" now, and a hilarious delightful memorable thing it is.

I figure this is my space so a little right cheek sneak is totally allowed.  Really, it's a must to get the full effect.

And speaking of that lovely littlest (for now) lady of mine?  Why I'm loving the amazing conference I had with her teachers on Friday.  I'll admit I was a bit annoyed to have to spend precious nap time out discussing "progress" with two teachers who see my girl 3 hours a week, but after a glowing review and stand out comments like "so bright and able" "confident and self assured  "friendly, sensitive, so very social"  and "what?! she's the youngest in the class?  No WAY!" I was glad I went.  What a gift to see my girl through others eyes.  To hear how well she's doing, how ready she is already for big girl preschool.  What a gal Louise, what a gal you are.

...waking up to this after a delightful nap with Ainsley girl.  I only wish I could have shared afternoon coffee with my boy.  Hopefully running into work on Saturday afternoons won't become his "thing"!

And yes, that's my second attempt at homemade yogurt in the background.  
In typical Becky fashion I read about 10 recipes and how tos, then threw them all out the window and am trying my own combo.  We'll see!

...cooking! This red lentil sweet potato stew (with coconut rice) is definitely a new favorite.  I can't wait for what's up my sleeve for Valentine's day.  Simple, yummy food.  Mmmmm.

...this view while cooking.  Hello feet!

Ok, really this view just about all the time.

...this new book and all the goodies that have come (and will come) from it.  We made some lip balm from it for Christmas gifts and it's my new favorite.  This belly butter (made only with olive and coconut oils, beeswax and lavender oil) is simply amazing.  I'm addicted to homemade bath and body goodies.  Good thing I discovered a local herbal shop with all the accouterments.  I'm hooked.

...tiny newborn sweaters. (This is my first Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket, I truly don't know how I've made it this far without making one...simply miraculous and so so easy).

...tiny newborn sewing.  So nice to fill the gaps between larger projects.  So instant and adorable.  Ah, in love.

...holiday merrymaking.

...this photo.

Ah, my cup of love is spilling simply everywhere. Hope you're all having a great weekend out there.  We sure are!