Thursday, 30 May 2013

Thank you cards

One of my friends asked on twitter if there's a point at which you get to declare wedding thank you card bankruptcy, after a few years have passed or when you have your first child, which is ridiculous of course as new babies are the ultimate source of unfinished Thank You cards.

A few weeks ago, on our way home from visiting Granddaddy (formerly Aged Parent), we passed our* gardener's house when he happened to be out front with his granddaughter. They called for his wife and other granddaughter to come meet the tiny baby.  He handed his wallet to his wife who took out  £10 and tucked it in Little Djinn's pram. I used the money to buy her a swimsuit.
Fast forward to yesterday and he came to mow the lawn. Perfect! I can give him his thank you card and not have to remember which house is his (hint: the one with his business' van in the driveway). I quickly write out their card but he's talking to our neighbour so I write her card as well and the card for the one other neighbour I'd not yet done and Little Djinn and I headed off to drop them on porches** and through letter boxes. Our gardener was off with his lawn-mower and I didn't want to interrupt (and give him a card he'd then have to carry with him) so I put his under the left windscreen/shield wiper where he'd be sure to see it when he returned to his vehicle. Sure enough, he finishes for the morning, goes out to his car gets in on the right side and drives home for lunch.

Crap. I'd forgotten that the British drive on the wrong--I mean right!--side of the road. Um. Oops. We saw him on his way back when we walked into town for my dentist appointment and it was still there. At least I'd placed it securely. The story does have a happy ending: Chris passed him again on their respective ways home. It had just started to rain and he'd turned on his wipers and finally noticed the card, pulled over, and retrieved it. Seeing Chris he asked, "oh, did my wife give you something then?"

We plan on being that couple in thirty years.

* the home-owner's association's

** over hear a "porch" is what I'd call a storm room, an outside door that opens to a small room and another door so that one can come and go without letting the heat out or bringing the weather in. Needless to say, I read about them in books such as "Little House on the Prairie"; we don't have them in San Francisco. If it's not actively storming, the done thing appears to be leaving the outside door open.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Two updates in one week?

I've installed the blogger app on the iPad and, if this works, I should be able to update more frequently. Maybe.

Yesterday was my birthday: I continue to be thirty-something (which was kinda the point of describing myself as such). With a little help from her daddy and input from the kittens, Little Djinn got me a boot of baby bootie patterns (she doesn't even know about Yarn Harlot!), a pair of socks, and a plush Boofle. She's clearly her father's daughter. I had, on several occasions, expressed a desire to fill the house with rainbows so Chris gave me 77 prisms. No, I don't think the number has any significance. I've made a few strings of five prisms to hang around the house but, while we purchased a box of suction cups with hooks, I can't for the life of me find it. I even pulled the Christmas box down from the attic but they're not in there.

I made a lemon some-kinda-torte for my cake and it turned out really well. I got the recipe from one of Chris' Delicious magazines back when they had the Deliah special (and Paul Hollywood -I want to Bake All the Things!). It was relatively easy, just the extra step of whipping the egg whites like an angel food cake, and at 6 servings it's not too much cake for two people. Did I mention that I made brownies last week? The ones from Nigella's _Kitchen_. I've never been a particular fan of chocolate baked goods but since I had Little Djinn I'm starting to see what all the fuss is about.

My mother, a life-long sewer decided that I should have a sewing machine and ordered a little beginner machine for me. I'm not a beginner sewer (my first project was a Victorian ball gown from the bloomers out) but I'm not particularly adept either (advanced beginner? Low-moderate? I have restaurant sewing?) and my sewing needs will probably be modest. I don't see any Victorian or other balls in my future. She mentioned the brand but not the model so I spent a bit of time googling to try and guess which one she bought until I decided that that way madness lies. After my dentist appointment (boo, hiss) I stopped by the quilting shop in town to pick up some fat quarters* and bias tape so I could test my sewing machine on a simple bunting project, but alas they were closed yesterday and today :o( Other prospective projects (Sew All the Things!) include a little lap quilt to protect Chris from the enthusiasm of Libby's kneading/puddings or little project bags for my knitting projects.

Speaking of knitting, I know I said I wasn't really making any progress and I was resisting the urge to Knit All the Things (is anyone else sensing a pattern?)? Well, I caved and took some yarn from my stash (artyarns super merino) and picked a patten I recognised Thistle Cap by Liz Abinante, the woman who did The Great Cowl Knitalong. The main pattern was free with a small charge for lots of sizes and I probably could have worked it out, but I feel she's earned my $3 (seriously. I'm neither that poor nor that cheap.) My yarn was listed as Aran but knit up more like sportweight so for Little Djinn's 16" head, in the hope that she'll be able to wear it past tomorrow, I wound up knitting the women's medium (and found an error in the pattern, but I reported it and her tech knitter is on it). I can't decide which I love more: the yarn, the pattern, the colour of the yarn, or the way the three came together. Look at how perfect that bluey-purple yarn is for a "thistle" hat! And such buttery yarn, too. I'm super happy to put it next to my baby's skin. Even if she wouldn't sit still and have her picture taken.

And segueing from Little Djinn not being able to sit still, she's super close to crawling. Tonight, before bed, she finally figured out that she needs to get her knees under and her bum up though she can't seem to keep pushed up on her arms at the same time so she was scootching along like a little inchworm: head up, bum up, scootch, head up, bum up, scootch. So close!

 * "fat quarters? Now I have to filter out sewing jargon, too?" sorry, Shaun. They're bundles of samples of coordinating fabric prints.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

16 Weeks

Kristina is 16 weeks now, 17 weeks tomorrow and a week ago today she weighed 11lbs 5oz. I look at her and I see both how big she's gotten and how tiny she still is. She's smal but strong and active and interested in everything.

We went "away" for the weekend the 11th-14th, down to the Crieff Hydro hotel in Perth. Chris was attending the Scottish Ruby Conference (or as the signs around the hotel proclaimed it, Scotland for Ruby) and Little Djinn and I went for a little holiday. She loved it. She liked the train ride, she liked all of the people, she liked going swimming for the first time, she liked everything but not getting to pick her own bedtime. We did leave her with a baby-sitter for the first and second time after discovering the hotel has a baby-sitting staff that we could hire. Paying someone else to watch her sleep (read a book?) was an improvement over the first night when we went to bed at 9 having run out of things to quietly entertain ourselves after she fell asleep. The woman from the second night complained that Little Djinn was such a good sleeper as she'd been hoping for a cuddle. Sorry, our baby goes to sleep and is out for at least 6 hours. Such a good sleeper.

She loves swimming. I bought her a little swimming costume because people were confused by a baby in just a swim nappy. There was the double confusion of "person swimming in just bottoms = male" and "but that's not a swimsuit". I expected that would be how all of the babies were attired, but they mostly seem to come in little wetsuits*. Is this a Scottish vs Californian thing or a non-body conscious one? There's a class at the leisure centre across the river from us for babies as young as 6-months and I have information about when and how to sign her up (June 17th for a class starting Sept. 2nd) and in the meantime we'll go sit in the shallow end and she can kick and splash and rediscover time and again that one can't breathe water.

Little Djinn is sitting up and standing with help. She hates laying down, she wants to be able to see what everyone is doing. She's getting very coordinated with her wiggling on her tummy but still isn't going anywhere and that's very frustrating for her. She's moved to her big-baby cot (and I may have found someone to pass the basket on to**) and while she's a champion sleeper at night, she'll only nap on me after nursing or in her pram or carrier when moving. I see a lot of walks in our future as the weather improves. Our little booboo is getting very coordinated at holding things and can usually manipulate them into her mouth. Her sounds are coming along, there was an amusing weekend when she figured out how to blow raspberries and that's all she did for a couple of days though her latest thing is a high-pitched squealing or shrieking and we can't tell if she's happy or sad without looking at her face. This is a lot less amusing. The changes from month three to four, from new born to infant, have been astonishing. The next big developmental milestones should happen around 6 months: sitting up unsupported, crawling, babbling (as opposed to just vowel sounds), starting on solids...Exciting times.

On the craft front, very little is happening. I got plastic tubs for storing my yarn and now I can see how much I have, a thought I try to keep in the front of my mind when tempted by squishy yarns, and given that I have maybe one hour at night to work on something my three projects (socks for Chris, a sweater for me, and a cross-stitch for Kristina) will probably keep me busy until Christmas. I am making good progress on the cross-stitch but I'm second-guessing my sweater so maybe I'll get to cast something new on sooner rather than later. I got a birthday cheque from my FiL and part of me really really really wants to buy a sewing machine but the rest of me is being quite snarky about where would I put it and when would I use it (not what would I make with it, no, never doubt that there are thousands of things I could want to make with it).

On the media front, I finally caught up with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (there was one novel outstanding and I'd missed a few of the short stories), and I just finished the October Daye books by Seanan McGuire who you may remember is also the woman who wrote the Newsflesh trilogy as Mira Grant. I also read her Sailor Moon inspired fairy tales and I want someone to illustrate and publish them for Little Djinn so she can hold them in her hands. They are exceptionally delightful.

~ * ~

* They're heated indoor pools so that's not the issue.

** We both like the idea of having another child in the abstract*** but if we do decide to have another it won't be for years yet and we don't have room to store every baby thing that has passed into our lives on the off-chance that we'll need it again some years down the line. Most of the baby stuff came into our lives very easily and we're happy to send it back out into the world to be used by other people in the assurance that we can acquire similar things again when and if we need them.

*** I had a bad night when I realized that it was too late to have a second child also born in 2013 which was odd on several levels including that it wasn't something I'd ever considered, it wasn't actually something I would logically want and I've not started menstruating yet so even if it was something I desired it's not something I would have been capable of. Nonetheless there was a night when I was suddenly very depressed**** that it wouldn't happen.

**** While I don't have PPD, I have been very emotional (for me). There are times I get a little choked up, which is my equivalent to bawling one's eyes out, usually when thinking about how much I love Little Djinn and our family. It's been very weird for me.