Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby Gifts :: Part One

I finally got to meet Amanda's newest family member, Eleni, earlier this week, which means that I can finally share what I made for her. (Eleni was darling, of course! I can never get over how small newborns are, no matter how often I see them, which is fairly often these days.)

My mom traditionally makes a quilt for all of the new babies in our family and then another family member uses leftover fabric to make what we call a grab ball for the baby. I also have one from my babyhood. As soon as I heard of Amanda making a crib skirt for Eleni's nursery, I had the idea to use those fabrics to make her a ball. Turns out, Cara had similar thoughts and happened to make a baby blanket for Amanda with those same fabrics. (Great minds, I tell ya!). is my contribution to this running theme. I sure hope Amanda is not getting sick of her fabric choices!

I also made this soft block with ribbon tags, since all mothers know how much babies love tags.

As it turns out, a pattern for the ball can be found in Joelle Hoverson's recently published, Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts. She calls it a puzzle ball. It was kind of neat to see that she had this in her book, but I have to admit that I'm also a little bummed that this will likely become a more common item as a result. So much for my unique go to baby gift...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And the award goes to....

Now, I realize there is probably a lot of competition in this category, but I kind of feel like I should get the bad blogger award.
So much to say, so little time...that's my excuse.

Since I haven't taken the time to open up Finn's baby book in a while either, I'm going to note some things here as a record and hopefully others will find some enjoyment in reading about them.

1. He's a walker! He started walking one week after his first birthday and he's getting better and better every day. The first day was so much fun (for me)...every time I'd see him go I just got really excited, because it was happening so fast.

2. He finally has his third tooth, top left (I don't know tooth names). It made it's appearance last Monday, Dec. 10th. And I think that teething period explains some occasional unwelcome chomping he had been doing when nursing. Which brings me to...

3. We've made it to the one year mark and still nursing. I did let him try some cow's milk, and he drank about an ounce, but in place of nursing...he's not interested. I tried that once and he cried his eyes out. I honestly don't know what the weaning approach is going to be, or when it will be. I can certainly think of personal reasons to stop, but as far as his health it's still a good thing so we're gonna keep going for now.

4. Finn recently had his first little accident that led to a cracked lip and tiny bit of blood. Just before bedtime, R set him down on the floor and he sort of threw his head forward to the ground and managed to hit his mouth on the metal railing on the floor for our pocket doors. He cried. He got over it.

5. We've also made it to the one year mark on cloth diapers and homemade food. I have yet to buy a disposable diaper (yay!), although there was a time or two when forgotten laundry almost had me running to the store. And there were times when the thought of just going to buy a jar of baby food came up, but that hasn't happened and now Finn is mostly eating with the big kids (that's R and I). I do buy baby cereal, so don't think I'm a total nutcase.

6. He finally says Mama with some definite meaning to it. It's nice. I'm going to enjoy it now because I'm sure the days of being nagged with it are not far off. Aside from Dada, I don't think he says much else. I think he's trying to say kittykat, but it sounds like di-da which is very much like dada.

Aside from baby, I've had a lot of projects going on and I do hope to share them here soon. That's the idea anyway. My last knitting project was a sweater for Finn that he got for his birthday. He has not been interested at all in posing for a photo in the sweater, so I'll share this one from the party.

Please note the big thumbs up that Finn is giving the sweater. And I do believe he was saying, "Oooooooh!!!!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today my baby turns one. A year ago I had this prescious little bundle...

...and now I have a curious, brown-eyed, trouble-making, armful of cuteness.

We had a birthday party for him over the weekend at my parents' house. It was a bird theme - I made a birdhouse cake and little bird's nest cupcakes.

The cake was...well, troublesome. In hindsight, I should have ditched the cream cheese frosting (it was a carrot cake) for something more solid, and I should have chosen a light color for the birdhouse. It was supposed to be burgundy and after many rounds of adding coloring, I finally gave in to what was a pinkish house because it was taking waaaay too long. (Enter guilt for making my son's first birthday cake pink.) I think the bird's nests, however, were absolutely adorable. The whole thing probably would have been a failure if it weren't for the help of my sister who has been doing her kids' birthday cakes for 13 years now.

Finn absolutely enjoyed his cupcake, including the little nest bits.

He ate every bit that wasn't lost in his highchair.

I also got these warbling bird whistles as favors for the kids at the party. I just loved these when I was little.

And here is the birthday garlard that I made:

A crappy picture...I know. If I get a chance I'll do some more in a follow-up. Anyway, this is something I will use over and over again. I can't take credit for the idea - I saw it here at Mahar Drygoods some time ago and have been planning to make one ever since. I just added the birds to the ends for this year. I think the supplies cost me less than $6, so definitely worth it and fun to make.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My, how time flies...

Since this blog hasn't existed for even a year, there are some big things that were never shared here. Today, I'm going to fill a small void.

This was me last year at this time:

Well...the photo was taken by my wonderful husband on October 29th of '06. But on today's date (November 20th) last year I was 40 weeks pregnant and waiting. Part of me doesn't even remember what it was like being pregnant. If I try to remember, I can recall all the little things, but overall it was pretty much just like being...not pregnant. Now, the being a parent and not being a parent...those are two very different lives, but that's another topic. As it turned out I was to wait another week before I would begin the transition from pregnant to not pregnant and non-parent to parent.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Craft Event Alert

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, check out the 4th Annual Handmade Arcade, taking place at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. The event features the crafty goods of some of our area's most creative minds. If you've never been to the arcade before, it's a fun place to find unique gifts as well as inspiration for your own projects.

ETA: Since many of my readers are knitters, perhaps I should highlight that Stacey from Knit One will be doing a yarn dyeing demo on Saturday at 1:30. Check the site for a full schedule of crafty demos.

Sneak peak...

I thought I'd share this shot from a recent photo session with a beautiful mama-to-be...

Does she have a great figure or what!?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween and all the fun characters and decorations that go along with it (and the candy), but this year I didn't quite manage to get all of the usual pumpkin-y decorating done around the house. I did put up my wonderful Halloween tree and spooky village.

The tree started on our honeymoon when I saw some great ornaments that I had to have. It wasn't until our first anniversary spent in Chicago when I got the tree on which to hang them. Here are some of my favorite ornaments.

On the table beneath the tree is a Halloween tea towel, one of two woven for me by none other than my big sis earlier this year. Aren't they nice?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Porch progress

So, here's where we stand with the porch. All the construction is done. Oh, no it's not...we have to put some trim below the outside edge of the floor and above the top step on both sets of steps. We need to do another coat of paint on the floor and steps and I need to paint some accent color on the railings and the quarter round on the columns. The colors are smoky olive and some kind of deep plum. Lovely battleship gray on the floor, of course.

The top rail was completely constructed by my dad to meet my needs. Finn can just see over the top if he gets up on his tippy toes.

Hello, gorgeous...

Finn was so thrilled with crawling all over the newly painted a whole new room for him to play in.

And, please excuse the photo faux pas in this last shot...I didn't mean to spear my baby in the head with a broom handle!

Another tag...

courtesy of Cara.

Jobs I've Had
1. receptionist/secretary for a hardware/building supply store
2. magazine bindery worker
3. student worker in film school equipment office
4. telemarketer - ha!
5. Security guard - ha ha!
6. Intern at the Pittsburgh Film Office
7. Community Media internship - made movies and ran films in the parks series
8. Executive Assistant
9. System Administrator
10. Now...mama, photographer/business owner, maid

I'll give you one guess as to which one is both the most demanding and the most rewarding.

Places I've Lived
1. Zionsville, PA
2. Pittsburgh, PA - Oakland, Shadyside
3. Dormont, PA
4. Crafton, PA

Foods I Love
1. Ice cream
2. doughnuts
3. chocolate
4. pizza
5. cheese
...I could go on and on. I love food. Maybe I should do foods I hate.

Places I Would Rather Be
1. bed...oh how I love thee
2. outside, enjoying some crisp Fall weather, but it's rainy and I have inside work to do anyway
3. visiting my family

TV Shows I Watch
1. the office
2. Lost
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Heroes...for now
5. Battlestar Gallactica
6. Scrubs
7. Bionic Woman...for now

Books I Love
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Memoirs of a Geisha
3. children's books by Mo Willems

okay, Amy, if you haven't already been tagged, you're it

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Centennial House

No, this is not a post about a PBS historical reality program. This is about my house, Centennial House, built guessed it, 1876. Somewhere along the way it was given the appropriate name. This month (September - took me a while to actually publish this post) marks five years since we moved in. After three years of third floor apartment life I was going insane and needed to be able to walk out my door in bare feet to feel the ground and a little more privacy in order to be my introverted self.

This house is an antique that was not always treated as valuable. In other words, I could afford it and see it's beauty through the rotted wood and layers upon layers of failing paint. R was not as confident about stepping into such an endeavor, but we did it. Inside, the only unpainted woodwork is one stairway and a set of enormous pocket doors. Everything else...everything... was painted white, by some cheap laborer it would seem. We initially had visions of stripping the baseboards and window moldings. Eventually, we decided to pick our battles and that has not been one of them. I remember one of the first things I did uncover was a tiny decorative latch on a pantry door. It started with a little bit of the white paint chipping off and out of the blue, in the middle of an ordinary day I had to reveal it that instant.

My first planned project was stripping our window shutters. There are 26 of them, about half of them louvered. Yeah. After some frustration with chemicals in the back yard, I ended up handing some over to my Dad who took them to be dip-stripped. The guy told him he had to do them multiple times because they were so caked with paint. (As of today, less than half of the shutters have been completed). So, over the last five years we've managed to do stuff here and there. This year, post baby-havin', our task was to fix the failing front porch. My photos from when we moved in are pre-digital days, so I'll have to settle for a more recent one.

There, that should give you an idea of the crappiness.
The railing was rotted at one end. One column was rotted at the bottom. The wood floor had paint chipping off more and more every day and it was beginning to rot in some places. We had planned to tackle this project since before we bought the house, but repairing or replacing a porch column was not a task that I was super confident in tackling myself. Finally, after designing a new railing to match the original on the back porch, and enlisting the help of my experienced father...things are coming together. Hopefully, it will be completely done before the Great Pumpkin arrives.

Here are some pics of things going on...

A new column, railing gone, and a cleaned up floor and columns. You can also see windows that I previously stripped, puttied, and painted.

Me, enjoying priming the floor. It takes a really long time to brush paint a surface this size, but I refuse to use a roller.

This is where we stood at about 10:30pm on the last night of our "vacation" week. This portion of railing ended up coming down and we started over after renting a nailer over the following weekend. Yay!

A week later, while my parents were visiting for my birthday, Rich began to rebuild the steps which we found were really starting to rot.'s looking beautiful and I can't wait until it is done. Heck, it only took me about three weeks to finish and publish this post! It's so darn long, I feel like Annie ; )

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's official...

I'm old. Saturday was the big 30 for me. I can see the gray hairs trying to take over, and I'm not pleased. I really don't obsess about my age, but I didn't realize until Friday that my twenties were coming to an end and I suddenly felt like I should have acknowledged their last days a little bit more. But then, who am I kidding? I spent those last days being who I am. Like my description says... woman, mama, photographer, knitter, collector. Maybe I should change 'knitter' to 'creator' to encompass my other endeavors. I've held a paintbrush a heck of a lot more than knitting needles lately, and on my trip to the lumberyard on Friday, I was identified as a house remodeler. In any case, I guess the age doesn't make much difference in the end.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Call for help...

I know a few couples who are currently awaiting approval of their adoption of babies from Guatemala. Sadly, the Guatemalan president is now planning to put an end to US adoption from Guatemala at the end of this year, including those already in progress. This would be a terrible tragedy for the families involved and for the thousands of babies left without permanant homes. If you could, please take a moment and sign this petition to help my friends complete their families.

Guatemalan Adoptions and DOS Accountability

You can also read more about this issue here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Catch up - Part 2: Nine and a half months

Last wednesday Finn learned how to clap his hands. I would often clap them for him, but then just out of the blue he clapped them together, completely unprovoked. It started out pretty awkward, but he quickly got the hang of it. I think this is the first skill he's learned that he is truly aware of and it makes him so happy. He'll just do it every now and then and get this great big smile on his face. Awesome.

Last Thursday began R's week off from work. We didn't have a major vacation planned, but wanted to have time to both work on our major house project (more on that later) and to do some fun little outings as a family. On Sunday, we went to the Midwife Center family picnic and talked to one of the midwives who has an 8 1/2 month old about our babies' lack of teeth. Well, it was later that day that I discovered something sharp poking up through Finn's lower gums. The only real sign that I saw was a runny nose, but that also coincided with the sudden fall weather and my reluctance to turn the heat on in September. His naps, however, have been pretty short, which makes getting things (major house project) done during a nap very difficult and frustrating. I am grateful that he hasn't been too crabby otherwise.

Along with the sprouting tooth, he's started sticking out his tongue. In a couple years I may not be a fan of this behavior, but right now it's cute.

His other new activity is what I will call "The Marcus", named after Annie's son who has an amazing talent for launching himself into the air from a sitting position. Finn has started to do this, only he get's so out of control that he usually ends up falling backward or on his face. And he's never gone completely airborne, so maybe Marcus should give him some pointers.

No time for a photo...maybe next time, along with more on the so-called vacation week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catch up - Part 1

I know I've been MIA for a while, so I thought I'd try to get in a little catch up post if Finn will allow it. I've been busy working and playing and working. Two weekends ago we spent some time in Morgantown visiting some friends and their son, Eli. We weren't able to make it to Eli's first birthday party the week before, so it was nice to see how he's grown and see him and Finn interact. Finn got to know their two large dogs, Sasha and Buckley. It's been a little while since he's been around a dog, so it was like a new thing to him again. He was frightened when we first arrived as they were very excited to check him out, but soon the tables were turned and Finn wanted to check them out. While we were there I was lucky enough to take Eli's 1 year photos. Here he is, with one of his favorite items...

Now it is back to work...stay tuned for part deux.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Baby update

Finn turned 9 months last week. He is almost 20 pounds and is 29 inches long. We visited family over Labor Day and he has officially outgrown his 13.5 month old cousin, Annie. His hair is also growing. Here's a recent picture of him upon waking from a nap with an exceptionally cool hairstyle, no product needed.

Cute, huh?

His new favorite thing to do is crawl up the stairs. He tries to do it when I'm not looking and then as I approach, he tries to go faster to get away.

Still no teeth. I think they start to come through and then those little chompers recede back into his gums. Is that possible? Probably not.

I'm finding it hard to believe that his first summer is coming to an end. We've been so busy, yet it seems that there are lots of things that we didn't get to do. Luckily we'll have many more summers to come.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Turn - show and tell

Amanda, of AJKnitting fame, had to show off her fancy, new sewing machine here, so those of us with...hmmm...well-loved machines are sharing as well. So here mine is:

It's served me well and I don't have any major problems with it, so I doubt I'll be getting a new one anytime soon. I'll just dream about serging and automatic button holes for now. Although there was just a coupon for a brother machine at Costco - I think it expires today actually. That's okay.

Oh, Annie, I would love to see your machine! I don't know why Cara neglected to make such a request.

Friday, August 10, 2007


That is the number of seconds that Finn can stand on his hands. Impressive, I think. He just wants to stand and climb everything, even when he's nursing. Picture this...his mouth latched at the appropriate place (you don't really have to picture that, not in detail anyway), his feet on my lap and his butt way up in the air. That describes our last feeding session with him trying to climb up me while still eating. He's a maniac.

3 is also the number of naps that Finn continues to take. I tried at about 7 months to get him into the 2-3-4 schedule, but he was always cranky after 2 hours awake, so we stuck with what was more like 2-2-2-4. Now, he's dealing well with being up 3 hours after the morning nap, but his naps are ending up being so short that he needs a third one. One hour naps, so the schedule is now more like 2-3-2-4. Ughhh. How is this supposed to work? I think I was better off before. Now his feeding schedule is getting thrown off as well. What to do? Is there something I don't know?

Friday, July 20, 2007

my lover, Sean

This is going to be pretty photo-intensive...just 'cause.
Here is the giant sock, all knitted up:

I was trying to get a shot of the babe with the stocking as a size comparison. This was last week, pre-crawling, but he kept getting away from me, even when I stuck him inside it.

Is that baby bottom in handknit not the cutest thing? I really should have him in wool soakers all the time.

Now for the detail. The loop that I added:

The heal:

The toe:

And the end result after felting:

Most importantly, it's big enough to hold all the loot I expect Santa to drag down the chimney. Happy, happy!

We've got mobility!

I've been so busy chasing baby that I feel like I am way overdue in posting about this momentous occasion! Last weekend, Finn started crawling...and at the same time...pulling up to stand wherever he can. Here he is trying to get his new stocking!

The babe's already got a fondness for the handknits! And I must say that I am very happy for BabyLegs - his poor little legs get all red without them.

So, we're pretty unprepared for this mobile creature. There really should be some kind of warning. It didn't take too long before I decided to put up a baby gate, which we just happened to have gotten on Saturday morning, pre-mobility. Maybe that's a gate and the kid starts to move. In any case, he loves being a caged animal:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still kicking...

Yeah...I know. I've been slacking on the blogging. Just been too busy otherwise to publish a proper post. So... here's a quick rundown of recent developments.

Fourth of July was fairly uneventful...stayed home and watched fireworks through the front window from the couch. Finn slept through the big display, but was a little bothered by the neighbor kids and their shenanigans.

The Sean stocking is a hanging loop away from being completed and I will be sharing it soon.

Finn's new talent is clicking his tongue, which I find to be so, so adorable.

No crawling...he just rolls all the way across the room. Then he gets peeved when he reaches a wall or closed door and can't go any further.

7.5 months and no teeth.

In the kitchen...last week was birthday cake for R, but since then the kitchen has entered a state of redo. It is finally getting some updates in the hopes that it will become much more user friendly. This makes me infinitely happy and a tiny bit sad that it wasn't done earlier.

I don't have any relevant photos prepared, so I just picked one of the babe to share here.

This is Finn reaching out to say, "Don't leave, loyal readers! Mama promises to keep posting."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways...

I love your delicious green colors...

I love your fuzzy, soft alpaca yarn...

I love you because you're for my baby...

I love that you are big enough to encompass my baby...

I love that you are going to be worthy of hanging from my 19th century mantle...

I love that you are giving me confidence to take on larger projects like I've never knitted before...

I love that I can work on you while baby is attempting to make mischief of one kind and another...

I love that you are really just a gigantic sock and probably the only size sock I will ever be found knitting.

This is how I love my current knitting project...the hopefully soon to be completed and felted Sean stocking.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fresh Donuts

Whenever we head in and out of town via the West End, we see this house-turned-doughnut shop. It looks like a business that functioned years ago and has sat untouched. It looks like a dump. Except that this place is still going and receives plenty of rush hour business as people head to town for work. What attracts me (actual doughnuts aside) is the crappy cool homemade sign on the pink sided exterior.

The paint is cracked and peeling, the building is dirty, yet there is something about the lingering vibrance of this sign's design, simple as it may be. It called to me. One weekend morning we decided to finally check this place out. Behind the failing paint, dirt, and rust, we found a thriving family business with friendly service and a variety of fresh donuts. Hooray for homemade.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

updates, updates...

...because I know you've been wondering. There are a few past blog items on which I wanted to provide some updates, in no particular order.

- I discovered that the giraffes at the Pittsburgh zoo died, I believe earlier this year, from old age. Very sad, but they lived long lives. Two yearlings will be joining the zoo this summer. Wondering what happens to zoo animals when they die? I was. After picturing a giraffe-sized grave being dug into the ground in Highland Park, I googled and found that the animals are most commonly cremated, sometimes after tissue and/or blood samples have been taken. Guess that makes more sense, huh?

- I shared a photo a while back showing storm drain markings popping up around my neighborhood. I've since learned that they are the Eagle Scout project for a local teen. I think his name is Josh and he'll be stenciling all of our drains. Way to go, Josh...I dig the fish.

- I also had a little vent relating to finding non-super low-rise jeans. I'm happy to report that I was able to end my search at Eddie Bauer where I found well-fitting jeans at a reasonable price and...the best ever handicapped/stroller accessible fitting room. Finn does not like to hang out in little rooms while I play dress-up, but he does like to look into mirrors with me. This fitting room was huge and had a full wall mirror, so I could park the stroller next to me facing the mirror and had plenty of room to move around. Perfect. I don't frequent the mall, but this is a huge plus if ever I have to goes clothes shopping with the tot in tow.

And...I must now edit this to add that I just ate the lone berry. Mmmm.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dad's Day at the zoo

We went to the zoo yesterday for R's first Father's Day. Finn and I had gone earlier in the year, but this was the first time for the whole family. It was hot, but not too hot, and crowded, but bearable. What I was not happy about was the lack of giraffes. The giraffe is my favorite animal and we didn't see them on either visit this year. This really bummed me out. Actually, it made me a little mad, to tell you the truth. But then I thought that maybe the giraffes are just tired of being on display and decided to roam out of sight. If that's the case...good for them. Gorillas were present, but definitely avoiding the gawking humans - they're too smart for my viewing pleasure. Also, not a single orangutan. It was an exhausting day, not seeing animals.

If only we all could have taken a nap in the stroller.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lone Berry

Hard to believe it is Friday already. Finn and I are planning to head down to the arts festival this afternoon - I almost missed it because these past two weeks have been somewhat busy. I didn't realize until this week that a relative of mine has a booth at the artists' market this year, so we'll have to stop by to say hello. I haven't seen this relative in a number of years, despite the fact that he's the only relative of mine that actually lives in the area. In any case, it will be nice to see him and see how his family is doing.

We did slow down this morning to take a stroll outside. This is one of the things we spotted:

This image makes me both happy and sad. Happy because I have a bright red berry on my raspberry bush and sad because there is only one. My hopes for a large harvest are...non-existent. I don't think I have enough sunlight for them to really do well, but I really love black raspberries and have many fond childhood memories involving them, so I had to at least try to grow them. I think this is year three. Last year I had only a small handful of ripe berries. That means no new pie or jelly memories will be grown at my house, but at least I get some "eating fresh from the berry bush" memories. Finn is too young to eat berries this summer, but maybe by next year there will be enough for me to share... maybe.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

over the lips, past the gums, look out stomach...

Finn has been eating purees for about two and a half weeks now. He's usually pretty eager to eat.

So far, I've made all of the food. We've done carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and butternut squash. All cooked and pureed and then frozen in ice cube trays for easy use. Finn tolerates carrots, loves sweet potatoes, gags and pukes on peas and enjoys squash. Last night I mixed some peas in with his sweet potatoes and he gobbled it down, so it's nice to know that I have a way to get him to eat the less appetizing veggies. R also gave him some mashed banana the other day and said he really liked it. In a day or two I'll start giving him more fruits - his reward for eating all his veggies. I have a decent freezer stash of food that didn't take much work, so I don't think the homemade thing is too difficult at this point. My strategy has been to pick a veggie to make every few days and that provides enough to last quite a while. I used and The Baby Bistro Cookbook as guidance for what to give him when and how to prepare it. I think I'll actually have more trouble when it's time for table foods since Finn probably eats better than R and I do at this point. I'm not so good about making sure our meals are well rounded.

Things I've learned: I had trouble with organic carrots from Costco - they were super hard, even after cooking for... a looong time and I ended up having to throw them out because I couldn't get them to puree in my blender. Use decent ice cube trays. Initially I used a set that was cheaper and the cubes were round (so, not exactly cubes). It was more difficult to get the not-cubes out of the tray and I don't think the thinner plastic would have lasted very long.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Random Post of Firsts

First baby injury involving blood.

Now before you get all concerned for little Finn, he was the cause and not the victim here. We were just hanging out on the bed and he was grabbing at my face, the way he loves to do. Well, he grabbed at my nose with one finger inside and squeezed as hard as he could. It really hurt, so after pulling his hand away I put my hand up to my nose and held back some cuss words. When I took my hand away a few seconds later, there were several drops of blood. I narrowly escaped getting blood on my new bedding. (And I had assumed I only had to fear getting baby puke on it.) Which brings me to my next first.

First photo showing the inside of my home.

You haven't seen inside my home thus far because, quite frankly, it's messy. And who wants to see that? I don't even know that you want to see this but, too bad. This new bedding just arrived yesterday and I was pleased to find that the color perfectly matches the linen curtains in our bedroom. I ordered this online and it was a major closeout in a King size coverlet and shams for about 30 bucks. It's reversible, too, so I could switch it up a bit if I get bored. If this were a proper post, I'd have some detail photos of more of the decor in the room, but it's not. For example, I could show you the bedside lamp and shade, an IKEA find that I totally stole from Amy. But I think the lamp complements the bed and now the shade goes quite nicely with the bedding. So, sorry for biting your style, but I had to. I'm sure you understand.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I've been tagged...

So here it is.

7 oh-so-interesting things about yours truly.

1. I know plenty of people think they're cute, but I think squirrels are creepy. They are rodents after all. The only thing that I can think of that I might actually say I'm afraid of is rats and squirrels are pretty similar. With those long nailed feet and beady eyes. We've had them become really interested in trying to get into the house by climbing onto window sills and scraping at the windows and jumping against the siding. Repeatedly. That's creepy. I think part of what makes them creepy to me is that they don't really seem to be afraid of me - if I try to scare them off of the porch, they just look at me. I wonder if anyone has ever made a documentary called "When Squirrels Attack" ? I will make an exception for cartoon squirrels which I wouldn't necessarily call cute, but I wouldn't say they're creepy either.

2. I have a degree in Film Studies and Philosophy. I never once took a single computer course, but after college I worked for 6 years in IT as a Systems Administrator. Although my degree had nothing to do with the job I held, I know I never would have been given the position (which was initially executive assistant with a quick promotion) without the degree because most people still see it as a sign of capability. I wouldn't trade my college experience, as I know it helped me grow in various ways and has made me who I am today, but I do wish I had been encouraged (or outgoing enough) to consider other paths after high school.

3. I was too shy as a kid to ask for things that I wanted. From cool clothes to lessons to permission to join in activities or sports. Just a sampling of things that I wanted to do at some point, but didn't bother to ask my parents about: music lessons (saxophone would've been my choice, although I tried to teach myself piano and guitar because I had access to those instruments), joining the school's champion field hockey team, taking tap lessons (inspired by an episode of The Cosby Show - I still love the Cos). I did, however, have no hesitation in deciding to go to college over 300 miles from home to study philosophy in the interest of proceeding on to law school and one day becoming a judge. I kept the philosophy portion, but when I got a job at Pittsburgh Filmmakers freshman year, I decided I wanted to be happy more than I wanted to be wealthy and the road to a career in justice was too long to take when I couldn't be sure I would even like it.

4. I love to bake. Oh wait, you knew that. Here's why. Not just 'cause home baked goods are delicious... I think it's also a cultural thing, Pennsylvania Dutch. I'm from a family that makes funnel cakes for breakfast, has ice cream and homemade waffles for lunch, and strawberry shortcake for dinner (real shortcake, not that spongey crap you get at the grocery store). And I don't feel a need to justify any of those meal choices. We also make doughnuts every Fastnacht Day (Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, call it what you will), eating the product all day long, and have multiple homemade ice cream parties throughout the year. As they say in PA Dutch country, "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much." (Although, I can't personally use the word "ain't" in actual speech.) I really am lucky that I don't weigh over 200 pounds since I also don't really exercise.

5. One summer in college, I worked as a security guard. I went wherever they needed me, all over town. My locations included the Catholic Diocese, a PNC loan center, Montefiore, a couple office buildings, and the parking garage of West Penn hospital directing traffic. While it was interesting to be in on the security of various places, I hated it because it was most often what I call a sitting duck job. I sat in one place and every kook and creep could come up to and talk to me about whatever and I had no way of getting rid of them. This included older men asking me out, which I found more ridiculous than usual because I had to wear an awful uniform involving polyester pants and jacket and I didn't exactly try to look pretty for this job.

6. I have brown eyes while neither of my parents does. I'm no biologist, but from what I learned in junior high bio, that's not supposed to be genetically possibly. At least out of my parents 8 kids, I'm not the only brown-eyed one. My mom assures me we were neither adopted nor extra-maritally conceived. I believe her.

7. Despite my Film degree and corresponding interest in film and television, I haven't had cable or satellite TV in almost two years. Only recently have we been receiving over the air HDTV signal which allows us to watch a few channels. I had gotten to a point where I started to hate what the TV was doing to my household and felt stupid paying for that disservice; the fact that it was on when nobody was even watching it and the tendency to waste time watching stupid shows unintentionally was bringing me down. I'm happy to say, that hatred has been abated and I don't feel a huge void in my life without live television as I do still watch previously recorded shows or DVDs - on my own terms.

I hope those tidbits aren't lame. I've nobody to tag since Amy went and tagged just about everyone. Well, unless Eli Gregory would like to share interesting tidbits about his illustrious 9 months in this world?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

zesty cake

In the kitchen this week, I baked up an Orange Zest Cake, as recently blogged about by the angry chicken. (Sad, but I'm not positive I know how to make a nice link and am too lazy to mess around with it right now so you'll have to go look for her May birthday post if you want the recipe.)

I made it with red raspberry jam in the center rather than lemon curd. Tasty but a bit on the sweet side. If you're not so into the sweet, it would be tasty with no filling at all. I may have to mess around with other fillings in the future - it sure was simple to make.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Jenny: designer, baker, third-grader

Okay, so I totally flaked on a Foto last Friday. What was I doing? I was putting in some time cleaning out our office. Well, it's supposed to be an office, but it's mostly full of boxes of junk. And once those boxes of junk are gone, or at least decreased in number, the room will also be my sewing/craft room, since a little baby took over my previous sewing area. Anyway, I came across my school memories book from my elementary days and had to look through it. Remember a while back I posted about wanting to make a quilt? How could I forget that not only have I made a quilt, but I had also entered it in the local fair and won third prize.

It was a quilt and matching pillow, in pink and blue, as I recall. It must be somewhere at my parents' house. Little 8 year old me, who, according to the book, was 131 centimeters tall (is that really how third graders are measured?) and wanted to be a designer, as in fashion designer. I also won first prize in baking both that year and the previous year for golden nut tassies - my mom's tried and true recipe, but I assure you I did all the work and the prize was no doubt owed to the love and care I put into my baking. No wonder I love to bake - real cash prizes for baking at 7 and 8 years old! I did go on to design some fashions for my own wardrobe over the years, but alas, the quilt-making has yet to be revisited. For now.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Finished Object these weren't finished when I wanted them to be, but that's okay. They got to the intended recipient soon enough. The pattern was as simple as suggested, so I'm sure I'll do more at some point. I do like the idea of ballband bibs, so maybe I'll try that. I ended up just using size 8 needles because it turns out I don't have sevens. The second one came out tighter than the first, I think because I was consciously keeping it tight. Not bad, but I do think the sevens would have led to a neater looking finished product.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back from the Valley

We spent the holiday weekend visiting my family and have returned with a six month old. Finn's latest stats, as of yesterday, are 16 pounds 12 ounces and 27 inches. That's average weight and just greater than average height for a boy his age. I'm just hoping he doesn't outgrow his infant carseat too soon. It looks like Finn is about the same size as his 10 1/2 month old cousin Annie, although she has one more leg roll than he has.

We spent most of Finn's half birthday in the car, but we did get back in time to do some hanging out at home.

What you see in the background of that photo is this:

...some oversized debris in the back yard that was there to welcome us home. It's actually larger than the photo makes it seem, taking up almost the whole yard. Now we're just wondering how long before the next limb falls from that tree. The one that is likely to actually hit the house before it hits the ground. Guess it's time to call in some professionals.