Thursday, December 27, 2007

on the 4th day of christmas - we all crashed

gosh.... three days of parties and eating and family and gahhh.... we are finally taking a day to just do nothing. i'm catching up on blogging and photos chris did some work in the basement and took the car to have the allignment fixed (he just left to pick it up). then he's heading out to barne's & noble to do a little shopping with a gift card he just got. i'm planning on heading to the basement to tackle a mountain of laundry soon... but before that i thought i would write about our christmas (ooh and my birthday too) first.

dec. 24th, my 31st birthday. really, i am not very excited about this one. i'm not depressed about it or anything just not overly excited about it. we decided to have my family over for lunch. and we decided that chris would cook us filet. we had watched an alton brown episode a few months ago about purchasing and preparing an entire filet. so on our last trip to costco, we did just that. chris cleaned it and cut a few filets and a few small roasts from the large hunk of meat. he then prepared the filets like this. i made a salad of fresh spring greens, manderine orange slices, dried cranberries, pecans, blue cheese crumbles and a raspberry vinigarette. the salad and the filet were a perfect pairing for lunch. everyone enjoyed it except for max. it was little on the peppery side for him. so we rinsed his meat off in the sink and he ate a few more bites... i think crackers filled him up earlier.... anyways, then we had a yummy raspberry and cranberry "flan" from giant eagle. it was more like a vanilla pudding tort with raspberries and cranberries on top. it was very tasty and not too sweet. i then recieved a few really nice gifts. my parents gave me new stainless steal canisters for the kitchen to replace my yellow ones that needed to be replaced and some cash to get some new things after andrew arrives. jesse and heather gave me a really nice framed photo of max and me from earlier this year. and two ornements for the tree. and chris and max surprised me the most by giving me my very own Flip video camera. chris has one of his own but it's mainly used for work. this one is mine and will stay with me at the house during the day so that i can capture max and soon andrew too while daddy is at work. that was a huge surprise that i really was NOT expecting.

then everyone left. we all took naps and then at 5:30 we packed up max and all his crap and went to see my aunt, uncle and a few cousins for the evening. this was very nice and max started his round of opening gifts. this was the first time that he seemed to sorta "get it" in terms of opening gifts.... sorta.... they got him the fisher price airport, wow have times changed. when my brother and i had this toy over 25 years ago, it was just the tiny little airport gate with a huge oversized airplane. now this thing comes with runway, check-in gates a ramp, a bridge, a little plane, a taxi, and a helocopter and three Little People. max loves it! he's been playing with it since then on almost an hourly basis. around 10pm we had decide that we were sick of chasing max around their home so we packed him up and came home. after we put max to bed, we cleaned up, and purged some of his old toys. some went to the basement for storage and some went into a pile for the st. vincent depaul store. he hasn't even noticed that they are gone :) i also sorted some books out of rotation.

then santa came, we put his easel together and i wrote a little message on it to max from santa. then i sat down and cried. yep, i cried because santa had come. and now i'm getting teary again. it's funny because santa came last year but max was way too little to know so we didn't do anything too special about it. but this year it seemed like it was just so much more real and that it was the start of a really fun adventure for the next few years so i cried. chris laughed.

the next day we got up with max, i video taped him coming in to see what santa had brought. and to open his gifts from us. he was a little overwhelmed and seemed to just want to find that airport from the night before. but we got through it, then we packed him up again, and went to my parents for brunch. my brother and his fiance were there too. it was all very nice. max got a few more gifts, we all got some nice things too, we had some great food, then jesse and heather packed up and left to visit with her family in erie. then we just had a nice time relaxing and hanging out with my parents. it was quiet and peaceful and just the way the holiday should be.

then after max took a nap and before we had dinner, chris, my dad and max took a hike down to the park to play. max had a great time until he fell and got a small boo boo on his mouth. he only cried for a minute though then then all turned around and came back home where we put max down for another nap because he wanted one. and then we all sat down to dinner. it was actually kinda nice that max was napping through dinner. nice little relaxing meal.

i snapped this photo as the guys were headed out for their hike. this is max (duh) and my dad. note the matching hats. i mentioned in a previous post that i had knit a had for my dad for christmas but it turned out to be too small. so i made a few adaptations and the 2nd one turned out perfect. he loves it! it fits him well too! i also gave him a bottle of homemade lemoncello and he loved that too. we had some after dinner (i only had a little bit) and he really enjoyed it :)

oh photo:

jeez, this is going to turn out like one of annie's marathon blog posts.... it's soooo long so far and i'm not even through yesterday.... *wink*

then yesterday, dec 26th, we headed to visit with chris's family. there were 13 people there. some of them i had never met... dinner was very yummy. there were lots of germs to be contracted, and we all received some very nice gifts as well. we pulled names in his family too. this year my sil pulled my name and she got me a gift card to my LYS and two new knitting books. The Knitters Bible and Style Your Own Kids' Knits. both are great resources and i can't want to jump into a new project. i currently have NOTHING on my needles. and i think i trip to the yarn shop is in order asap. then since my birthday was the 24th my mil got me an oval casserole with a lid just like i asked for and two gift cards to joann's yay!

max got 13 new books overall so my sanity has been saved :) he loves them all. and so far doesn't miss the ones that we took out of rotation.

i'm glad that our holiday tour is over. our next social commitment isn't until new years day. and that makes me happy. although chris said to me that he's not sure if he can keep this relaxing thing up for 14 more days until he goes back to work.... i told him that he has earned it and he needs to enjoy it because that's why he works his tail off during the semester. this is really the first year that he's not had a ton of other work to do while he was on break from point park. so getting used to it is a challenge. i on the other hand love the free time and the naps :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

new bed

well, i apparently have the most adaptable child on the face of the planet.

we have set up max's new bedroom, chris painted on thursday, we hung photos and blinds and put the bed together as well. yesterday we decided to start transitioning max's naps to being in his new big boy bed. he was a little nervous at first. he cried when i left the room and shut the door. so i went back in, comforted him and put him back down. he again cried when i left the room. i let him go for about two minutes and then he was down. didn't wake up until we woke him for dinner. it went so well that we decided to try putting him to bed there too. same thing, a little crying when i left the room so i went in and made sure he knew that i was still there. this time i didn't pick him up. he stopped crying and i left the room. again silence until 8 am. when i heard him start to babble and walked in to find him playing with his stuffed animals like normal. again, morning nap, chris put him down, he whimpered a bit, then he was out for a quick nap. i just put him down for a late afternoon nap and he gave me no crying or trouble what-so-ever. it's official, he's now not sleeping in a crib.

for those curious about what sort of bed we're using, as soon as we found out that baby number two was also a boy, we went out and got a bunk bed set. our plan was that max would use the top bunk initially since it has rails. then once andrew was big enough we would transition him into the room as well. we took the bunks apart, and rebuilt the top bunk as a regular twin but with the rails attached. it's low enough to the floor that max can crawl in and apparently out too since he met me at the door this afternoon after his nap. he loves to be in there. every time we go upstairs all he wants to do is crawl into bed and cuddle with his stuffed animals. it's adorable.

our family thinks is hilarious that he transitioned so easily. i agree. i really didn't expect it to go as smoothly as it did. and frankly i hadn't planned on him spending the night in there for at least a few more weeks.... but hey, who said a little cold turkey action wasn't a good idea sometimes :)

the next transition that i need to prepare for is potty training. my mom seems to think that it will be a breeze. we'll see. i'm just torn with when to start. he gives major signs already for when he's pooping. but doesn't really signal much when peeing. plus, with andrew on his way in a month in a half i worry that i would have a hard time keeping consistent with max and his potty needs until after the FOUR of us have somewhat of an established routine. i'll keep everyone posted on that.

photos to follow in a few days. i just need to take a few minutes to take them. but i need to bake cookies and a quick bread still and finish wrapping gifts as well. knitting is complete.

ok from here on out you def. won't hear from me until after christmas. enjoy the season!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

christmas round up

chris and i were just discussing how stress free this break has been for us so far. there has been minimal running around for gifts, no one is making us crazy.... we have some simple projects to do around the house but really, it's all fun stuff (for the most part).

left to do on my list, finish knitting my dad's hat, it's coming along nicely and i've decided to add a few more rows of regular knit to the middle so that it's not toddler sized like my first attempt (see photo below), finish wrapping gifts, put ribbon on all of them, put some more greenery around the house, not sure who for, since no one will be coming here for the holiday but i feel like we need a few more decorations.... and last of all, i need to bake...

yes, i announced earlier in the season that i would not be baking this year but i have since been guilted into doing so. my parents were over the other night and i was mentioning me not baking and apparently this was the first that chris had heard of this horrible decision of mine... and he freaked out and said, "so i don't get any macaroons?!?!" in the most pathetic and whiny voice ever.... i said, "no, sorry honey, no baking means no baking..." he pouted. the next day, my mother calls me after witnessing this the night before and says, "you know if you husband wants you to bake macaroons for him you really should. he deserves it." of course i laughed at her... but then i decided that she's right and he does deserve it. he's been picking up a lot of slack around here lately by cooking like a mad-man.... i seriously can't remember what i cooked last. or when it was.... i know, that's horrible..... so my man will be getting macaroons. i just have to figure out when. i'm thinking it will be tomorrow. in addition to the cookies, i need to also prepare a quick bread for christmas morning at my parents. i think i'll do the same one i did last year, it's an orange and cranberry loaf and was super yummy. i found it on this blog last year, where i find a lot of my baking recipes, she's a wonderful cook/baker foodie and her recipes never fail me.

that in a nutshell is what needs to be done for the holiday. not so bad.

in other news, max is starting to run, sorta, only when he's in large open spaces :) that means our home when the floor is not covered with his toys and my parents store room since it's wide open and offers a wonderful place to run around. i also think he's getting another tooth, he's a drooly mess lately and ate a whole corner off of a board book yesterday... i keep poking around in there but i haven't found anything quite yet...

as for me, well, i'm just done.... put a fork in me... i'm done cooking this little birdie... i feel huge... i don't want to do anything, i don't want to leave the house, i don't want to see anyone, i don't want to cook, i don't want to run the steps, i don't want to carry max around, i don't want to do anything but sleep... sleep and sleep a little more. i've shut down. which is not good since on paper i still have a month and 1/2 left to go until my due date. that's a long time.... *big exhale*

other than feeling huge, i really feel pretty good, it's just the getting in and out of the car and getting max around and such is not fun. in fact i haven't taken him anywhere by myself (except to see my parents) in a few weeks. i've just worked it out so that either he stays home with chris or we all go together so that i don't have to lug him in and out of the car myself.

i am, however super excited about the holiday. we've got max some nice gifts, nothing too extravagant. but some thngs that i'm sure he'll enjoy. plus, chris plans to paint his new room today so that will be a new thing for him too. i think max is starting to realize that there is something going on in terms of the holiday too. he loves the christmas tree and really has been quite gentle with it. we tell him to only look and don't touch and he sorta listens. i think he also says christmas tree. it sounds more like just the syllables di da da. but that's a start right? he also knows what a choo choo train is and best of all is he loves his new knitted hat that mommy made for him, err sorta. it is a pattern for an adult but it's a little on the short side. so i added some i-cord after knitting it and now it's a hat for max. little does papa know that he and max will have matching hats this winter :) papa is going to be so excited :) i'll have to take a photo of them both with their hats on, on christmas day :)

i probably won't be back until after the holiday, so i wish all my readers a merry christmas. stay close to your loved ones and remember the true meaning of the holiday!

Monday, December 10, 2007

knitting gifts given

ok, i can finally blog about some knitting that i was doing for a friend who is due about a week and one half after i am :)

i've known Valerie since sophomore year at slippery rock. her and her roommate, natalie and another friend, carrie, and i quickly became friends and the following year we all decided to move out of the dorms and live in a house together. out of the three of us, i still see Valerie the most. she's a great friend and i really value her friendship. we always seem to pick up right where we left off when we visit :) and that's awesome!

i'm going to retell this story, some of you know it, others don't but this is the story about the day that Val told me that her and Nathan were going to be parents.

chris, max and me had just returned home from the beach and it was a monday. chris was out of the house working on a project and i was home with max. i got an instant message from valerie asking if she could call me. i knew right away why she wanted to talk instead of IM.... so a few minutes later the phone rings, it's val, and my hunches were correct :) she was in fact expecting and due mid febuary according to her calculations. we chit chat, i'm excited as heck for the two of them :) and at that point i knew exactly what i was going to make for her. IN FACT, i really had that planned out for a while prior to her announcement, i was just waiting for the cue, her announcing that she was in fact expecting, to start said project. following our phone conversation her and i exchange some emails, i asked her for guidance in regards to color, she wanted something colorful but not too bright. i had found the perfect color combo and was soon on my way.

however the funny part of the story actually takes place the afternoon of the day she called me. it was lunch time, i was feeding maxwell a jar of baby food peaches and for those of you without jarred baby food experience, peaches are actually quite tasty. so i crack open the jar and the smell just about knocked me over. i KNEW at that moment that something was up... no the jar was not bad, the food was perfectly good.... it was me that had something else going on.... so after lunch, i packed max up and headed to the dollar store for a few pregnancy tests. i got home, peed in a cup and sure enough, a big old positive! OOPS! so chris gets home, i tell him, we're both pretty much in shock, max was only 10 months old at the time and frankly we really weren't ready to start trying just YET..... so that afternoon, i decide to call valerie back. the two of us had a pretty good laugh about it :) and i was super excited to get to be pregnant at the same time as one of my best friends :)

so onto the knitting portion of the post, i knew that valerie and nathan were trying to have a baby so i knew i had to have a project in mind for when i got the call. the project in mind was Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. i just love the basic log cabin technique and really wanted to give this one a shot. it was on the smaller side as far as blankets go so i thought i would whip it up in no time and be done with pleanty of time to spare.... yea right... i picked out my yarn, Line Brand Homespun, a yarn that i don't see me using again anytime soon, it breaks and pulls and bunches while knitting and that's a pain. however the final product is very very soft and thick so i'm happy with the output just not with the enjoyment factor of knitting with it. needless to say, it turned out beautifully and i'm pretty sure that valerie is happy with it too. i'm also pretty certain that i somehow had a moment of clarity while choosing the colors because valerie and nathan went on to find bedding that has the same colors that i used in it. she had no idea what colors i had chosen or what i was even making.

Here's the finished blanket:

i also knit her a set of adorable booties, pattern can be found here at Saartje Knits they too were a big hit. i used the exact yarn that the pattern calls for, what a dream to work with :) and i'm making another pair for another friend who is due in march :)

here's a photo of the booties:

i plan to also make a pair of these for our new little one :) they whip up in a flash and are so adorable :)

for right now, i leave you with this, chris came to the shower and took a photo of the two of us. i'm 31 weeks and valerie is just about 30. it's funny to notice the difference in how you carry with it's your first vs. your 2nd :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

lemoncello follow-up

outcome is great! we filled 6 bottles full and a 7th about 3/4's (this one is ours to keep).

i have some photos to share of the process. chris did most of the grunt work as i'm just not able to stand for too long at the moment... and especially after 9 pm at night.

the lemon peel and vodka mingled since oct 24th until today, dec 7th in a cool dark place. this evening we made a simple syrup mixture with a 1 to 1 ratio. we did 9 cups of water to 9 cups of sugar, heated it until it was just about to boil. then we let it cool. meanwhile we strained the lemon peel from the vodka, using cheese cloth and a large funnel.

it came out of the mingling jug a beautiful yellow color and it smelled like the cleanest thing on the planet :) lemons make me think of cleaning. they have such a fresh scent. once they were separated from the peel and the simple syrup was cooled, we mixed the two and then started to fill our bottles.

see the color of the filled bottles in the background? that's what they look like in person :) such a beautiful yellow that is just alive looking.

overall, it was pretty darn easy to make. i can't wait to give a few bottles as gifts, i hope they are appreciated :)

after bottling the pretty yellow liquid we did a taste test. it's supposed to be served very very chilled and ours was NOT chilled yet so there was quite a bit of bite in my opinion but i could tell that if it would have been chilled, then consumed, it would have been PERFECTO!

i leave you with this one final photo