Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

This appears to be the time of year everyone posts what they're thankful for and while I think one should take time on a daily basis to reflect on this, I couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon after such a crazy few months.
We took a pretty big leap when we packed up and left DC in August. We both had great jobs that were stable and a fantastic support network. This holiday, I'm not only thankful that everything seems to be working out (as I wrap week 3 at my new job), but also feeling pretty lucky to have the people we do in our lives. Friends in Colorado that I had never met (being Aaron's friends from college) have welcomed us with open arms. We've had more Thanksgiving invites then we know what to do with and Aaron's sister and her husband hardly wasted any time booking flights that have them arriving this evening. My parents arrive the week after next and our calendar is quickly filling with people coming to visit. FaceTime and Skype are making the distance feel not quite so far and daily texts from all over the country are making me feel a bit less lonely. I've left friends before and my bestie and I haven't lived in the same timezone in years and years, so I know we can do this, but I just want to take a second to say Thank You. If you're reading this, then you are a part of our tribe and have been a part of our cheer leading squad as we drove cross country into a bit of the unknown.

I'll leave you a picture of the person everyone really wants to see when they set up a Skype-date with us... He's all ready for tomorrow!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On breastfeeding

Unless you live totally under a rock (or don't check Facebook), you're likely aware of the social media frenzy happening right now concerning women posting photos of themselves nursing their little ones and while there seems to be an article weekly somewhere about breastfeeding in public, this one left me thinking a bit longer. Perhaps it's because I'm just starting to come out of the weeds of having a little one and I can finally start processing and thinking about what Si and I have been through the last eight months.

Chances are, unless you're a fellow new mom, a veteran mom, or someone I'm close to who was at our house in those early days back in March, I've never talked about breast feeding with you.  There's a good chance you probably haven't seen me nurse Silas, even though I've nursed in public from New Hampshire to Colorado, in bars, restaurants, malls and everywhere in between. I think there may be one photo somewhere of Si nursing and it's only because he was so teeny that Aaron and I thought it was hilarious. This isn't because I'm ashamed of it or feel it's something that should be hidden away, it's just not something I've ever felt the personal need to talk openly about or display.

Nursing was not something that was easy for Si and I and from what I understand, my Mom had a lot of the same issues. Those first few weeks were incredibly difficult for all of us. Silas wasn't quite sure what to do when first born and so we needed a lot of help. If it wasn't for Aaron, his Mom, my Aunt Deb, our ability to pay for a lactation consultant, amazingly supportive friends (both in person and via email) and my own shear stubbornness, I'm not sure we would have made it work. I still think the Guinness Jamie and I shared on St. Patrick's Day was really what got things going for me! Now, when we pause whatever we're doing for a quick nurse and I don't even think about it, trying to remember those early days that were so frustrating feels like a foggy, distant lifetime ago.

I wouldn't trade my quiet moments with Silas and the bond we have for the world and I can't believe just how judgmental Americans choose to be when it comes to things like this. People seriously take the time to complain about a woman nursing in public? And think it's inappropriate? Every week there's an article somewhere about a woman being publicly humiliated because she's chosen to feed her infant in a public place. Based on all I've read, I've been pretty lucky to have people do quite the opposite and have the most unlikely people say "Good oh ya, Mama!" when I've nursed Si in a restaurant. Do people not have anything better to do with their time than chastise a woman for doing something completely natural? I can only imagine how that must feel to a person who may be struggling with nursing as it is, is quite likely very sleep deprived and holy cow, may be feeling like she doesn't know what the hell she is doing with this small little creature at all! Shame on those who judge.

I should also note that I am well aware that women are not able to or choose not to breast feed. Many of my close mama friends have struggled and not had the same success Silas and I did, and it wasn't for lack of a LOT of trying.  I think they need to be supported and cheered on just as much as women who are able to exclusively breast feed. Being a mom is hard work no matter what route you choose and taking sides on this issue only further divides us when we really need to be all in it together.

And on that, I will hop back off of my soapbox.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Most people that know me are aware that I lost my Mom over 16 years ago to breast cancer. I was a few weeks shy of 17 and as an only child, I think it's safe to say we were pretty close. I realized, however that while losing her is such a part of who I am, most of the people in my everyday life didn't actually know my Mom and it's often so hard for me to explain who I am without having known her.

My Mom wasn't the warm and cuddly bake cookies type and was far from perfect, but she was mine. The few times I remember her actually baking cookies, I'm 99% sure she burned them. She did can some tasty jams and I regret not paying more attention to the process now that I want to learn to can myself! Born and raised in Cambridge (don't say Boston, you WOULD be corrected), it was best to close your eyes when she drove and her sharp, sarcastic tongue with a dose of salty language kept you on your toes. I'm pretty sure she made most of my friends nervous as she was not one to suffer fools and had no problem saying so. Her and my dad had me reading at an early age and I have great memories of regular trips to Cambridge and Boston not only to see my grandparents, but to go shopping in the city and explore museums, whether it was the Harvard glass flower exhibits or the grounds of the Isabella Stewart Gardner. 

When asked by some friends who have suffered some pretty horrific losses recently about how I coped and if it gets easier, I only can say that the pain never goes away, you just get used to living with it.  In the years since losing Mom, I have had an amazing support network of friends and family.  I have an awesome Dad that took me prom dress shopping (Betsey Johnson in Boston, naturally), an incredibly accepting and kind Step-Mom,  Aunts and a Mother-In-Law that have all stepped in when I've truly needed a mom's perspective and friends, good lord I have amazing friends. All that still doesn't stop the unexpected tears when a Grateful Dead song comes up on my playlist and to this day, a passing waft of Chanel 5 can stop me in my tracks.  With Silas, there are so many questions and stories I would love to hear that there was no way my 16 year old brain would have known to ask and that sucks more than you can imagine. 

As we move into our new house and start our life here in Colorado,  I wouldn't trade the life I have with a great Tall Guy and a perfect son for anything and I can only hope my Mom would be proud of the decisions I've made that has brought me here. 

All that said, on what would be her 63rd birthday, I just want you to know how much I miss you,  Mom. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yarn exploring

In a few moments between house nonsense, Silas and I have gone off in search of my new Local Yarn Stores.
When we were here in June, we checked out a few in Denver proper (here and here) and one in Boulder, but now that we're settling in, I'm exploring a bit more.  As luck and awesome friends would have it, a going away gift from "Compound" neighbors Emily and Michael was a gift card to the Recycled Lamb! 
It's a great shop that will only be a few minutes from our house and while this may not make sense to the average person I think it's a good thing that they don't stock Madelinetosh or my wallet would be a lot lighter! 
 Today we wandered further afield and checked out the Loopy Ewe's brick and mortar store in Fort Collins. I have no idea why I didn't take any pictures, but I can say the store was quite impressive. It was nothing super fancy and a ton of well thought out stock.  There was more Madtosh than I've ever seen in a store as well as  tons of Lorna's Laces, Swan's Island and Malabrigo to name a few. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has shopped on their website, but to see it all in the store was overwhelming. While there, Sheri wandered by and we ended up talking for a few minutes. As the Loopy Ewe was one of the first online yarn shops I found 'back in the day", to some extent it felt like meeting a celebrity talking to Sheri. Too funny! I managed to leave with only one skein of yarn in hand, knowing I'll be reunited with my stash that's in storage soon enough.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Fall has arrived and our cool weather gear is mostly in storage. Over the course of a few days (a baby causes knitting to happen at a much slower pace!) I churned out a new hat for Aaron. I managed to snap this shot before it went straight on his head and haven't had a moment to get an "action shot" since!
yarn- Shelter in sap. About 90% of a skein
needle- size six (first time using my signature needles...whoa!) 
Easy, straightforward, no complaints! case you haven't seen it on Twitter or Facebook, we are official Colorado residents!

We closed on the house yesterday. The Tall Guy has been there pretty much every moment he's not at work since we got the keys ripping out carpet and getting the upstairs ready for hardwod floors to be installed tomorrow. We are still finalizing what we'll do with the bathrooms and hope to have the moving company drop our stuff off sometime next week. In the meantime, we're bouncing between the apartment and house. For the first time ever I'll have more than one bathroom, a garage and a kitchen I can actually move around in. There is a lot I'll miss about city living, but I'm pretty sure a garage and big kitchen more than make up for my former city-living ways. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Things I have learned in Colorado Part II

We're continuing to learn new things daily. This weeks highlights:

Every morning you can see hot air balloons in the air looking toward Boulder. I never thought about hot air balloons as being a normal thing to see. The two specks in the photo below are from earlier this week.  

There are neat-o neon signs, classic cars and sweet art deco type architecture in the most unexpected places. It stands to reason that the dry air which makes me itchy and constantly thirsty is also helpful in things not rusting out! 

After a bit of research, we found that Colorado does have apple orchards. Not quite up to Franklin Cider Mill in Michigan, but we were able to score some cider, doughnuts, pat a few horses (or shrink in fear like I do) and, can you beat the view? I think not. 

Everyone "in the know" warned us that while the climate is amazing here, Mother Nature is a fickle lady. The weather seems to have turned pretty quickly the last few days and Winter IS Coming! There was a dusting of snow on the roof this morning! Wouldn't you know, 99% of our cold weather gear is in storage, so I'm knitting hats up for all of us. Silas got the first one and doesn't seem too impressed about this. 

And... an update on wildlife:  In addition to the previously mentioned prairie dogs, we've also seen a few coyotes and I almost ran over a rather large tortoise crossing the street the other day. After a few trips into the mountains, I have yet to see any elk or bighorn sheep. In the meantime, I'm investigating all the other types of creatures we may see here

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Story of a Shawl

As a Knitter, there are 2 types of projects I work on, as do most Knitters with a capital K. There are the quick and dirty projects, like a hat, or mittens, or even a sweater you may knit because, well you want to be warm. This is thought of as the "product" knit. Then, there are the projects you embark on because of the experience, or enjoyment, knowledge building exercise or zen-like feeling you may get from just knitting. There is also more often than not, the combination of these two. The story of this shawl is  the biggest process knit I've completed, so I'll share the whole story with you which may be a little long winded, but, this piece has it has a lot more meaning in the stitches to me than most of my handknits. 

 I should probably start with the yarn itself. Last November, the Tall Guy took a trip to Denver to see friends. He went hiking, checked out local breweries and did other such things while I, at pregnant enough-to-not-feel-up-for-a-trip-to-Denver stayed home and relaxed. In addition to these activities, he took time to stop at a few yarn stores and brought me home a few skeins (yes, he's mine and I'm keeping him!) as a consolation gift. Neither of us truly had any inkling that less than a year later, these yarn shops he wandered into would now be my local yarn shops. The burnt orange yarn in this shawl came from Fancy Tiger here in Denver. (Madtosh sock, saffron). The brown is the same colorway on a different base I used for knitting my Best Friend's wedding shawl (rav. link) last year 
(Madtosh sock, twig). 
The yarn sat in my stash while I waited for just-the-right-pattern to come along.  About midway through my pregnancy, the entire knitting community was talking about the Stripe Study Pattern. Knowing, as any slightly crazy pregnant knitter does one must have a project when heading into labor and this is what I settled on and it came with us to the hospital.  When the time came, however Silas had other plans and there was no time for knitting.  

The day we came home from the hospital, I cast on and as we struggled to figure out the basics of being a family, the rows of garter stitch were soothing to my somewhat addled new-mom brain,  most often at 3am. 

 Little by little, I added to the shawl. Our parents came to visit, my best friend was in town, my step sister came and countless friends brought food, gifts and love.

Quickly my days were filled up with Silas and I was knitting a lot less.

In June, a trip to New Hampshire, with plenty of family wanting to hold a wee one allowed me to add a few inches.  This same week, my Tall Guy got a call and we were suddenly starting to think about a possible move.

A few weeks later, the  shawl stayed in my carry on bag the entire time we were in Denver, scoping out our potential new state.

As I returned to work in July, I rode the Metro once again and added a few more inches during what was a short six weeks back at work until I resigned and we loaded up and headed west.

I was packed tightly into the backseat of the Jeep with Silas (it's a long story) and I trudged through the border with it's incredibly long rows as rolled across the country.

Finally, we made it to Colorado and a day or so later I finished the shawl.

It was only about a week and a half later that we were boarding a plane for New Hampshire for our close friends, Rob and Meghan's wedding.  My goal, which in March seemed like a hilariously easy deadline was completed with just ten days to spare. I had a full size shawl for our friends wedding and damn, New England didn't let me down I needed that shawl!

(photo cred- Nick Polt) 

 Those ignorant to the world of handknits say time and again "Why do you do that?" or "Why waste your time when you can just buy such things in a store?" and this shawl is my answer. It is so much more than the wool on my shoulders. It will always take me straight back to the early days of Silas, our move across country and one hell of a dance-party wedding on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Planes, trains and home inspections

Since we last spoke, the Tall Guy, Silas and I walked into about 35 properties for sale, the Tall Guy went to Florida for work for a few days, we found and put an offer in on a house, flew to New Hampshire for an awesome wedding and family/friend visit and had the house inspection on the above mentioned house.
It looks like we'll be settling in Lakewood, in the Green Mountain neighborhood for those that know the area. Basically, 20 minutes west of Denver proper, less than 10 minutes to Golden and for those interested in how far we are to skiing- an hour and a half to Breckenridge, an hour and 45 to Vail.

It is fair to say that we are tired. Also? I have no plans to travel for awhile now and I'm okay with that.

Silas agrees with me on that one.
As all homeowners know, it's never a done deal until the keys are in your hand, so send us good home-buying thoughts!!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Things I Have Learned

In the short time we've been here, we have learned some interesting, weird and useful things. I'll share a few random insights here and potentially in the future expand other things I've learned into longer posts if I see fit.

  • Altitude issues are a real thing. I had been here twice before moving here. Both times, I had a mild headache, but nothing major. This time, both Aaron and I had a several hour bout (at different times) with what felt like the flu. It was not fun and as quickly as it hit, it left. We are drinking tons of water, but still, adjustment is hard and locals weren't kidding when the best way to describe the feeling is like having a nasty hangover. 
  • People really are friendlier here. Small talk seems to be a given instead of a rarity and I'm finding myself starting to tell perfect strangers all about how I just moved here and have them be genuinely excited to talk. Some cynics have tried to tell me it's a "fake nice", but frankly, I think I'm okay with that. 

(one of our neighbors a few blocks from our current house)
  • We seem to have replaced City Rats with Prairie Dogs. It didn't occur to me  that "rodent life" would be different until I actually saw the little guys when we were out looking at houses on our first day here. They are all over! I pretty much had a giggling fit when I had to brake for one of these little guys who was not only in the middle of  the road, but was up on his hind legs staring at the car. If you get close enough to their colonies (burrows? dens?) you can hear them chirping. For some reason, I find them much more charming than squirrels, chipmunks or ground hogs. I also learned today that they have fleas and carry the bubonic plague. Bleck! 
  • Beer is a funny thing in these parts. If you buy it a a normal grocery store, it will only be a maximum of 3.2% alcohol. (Which for non-beer drinkers means this is NOT strong beer). If you go to a liquor store, it will be the "normal" ranges. Apparently this has to do with some old blue laws, which I hadn't dealt with since leaving Boston! We only found this all out when we brought beer to a friends house for dinner and I mentioned having purchased it at Safeway. After a good laugh, The Tall Guy and I also concluded we figured something was up when we didn't see many micro-brews at the store in a state known for their small breweries! Such breweries will often not make special batches for the grocery stores. 
I'm sure I'll come up with more as we go, I suspect that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Is this a knitting blog?

I suppose it used to be. I am indeed knitting, though not to the extent that I used to!
During our long cross country drive, I did manage to finish knitting a sweater for our new nephew

This is the Sunny Side Cardigan which I knit using Claudia's Handpainted in Celadon Dream. I ended up making it short sleeved because this newest addition to the family lives in North Carolina and it would be a good layering piece for the Fall. This was completed while we were in Michigan so, I've been most recently slogging (yes, I say slogging) away on Stripe Study. This is a great knit, seriously, but I cast it on the week Silas was born in March and have been working on it in fits and starts. As a result, I feel like I've been knitting on it for an eternity. I expect to bind off in the next day or so!
It still feels a little strange bringing this blog back from the dead, but it's nice to see others are doing the same. What are you working on? 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Settling in

Since we last spoke, we drove from Michigan to Chicago where we had a great family visit with the Tall Guy's aunts, uncles and cousins (and all the photos are on his phone!). From there, we made it to Omaha for the night and then made the sprint to Denver in time for dinner last Monday night.
In the last week, we have looked at A LOT of houses. Figuring out where you want to live when you're new to the area is always a challenge and we're slowly finding our way around and narrowing our search scope.
Lest you think we aren't having any fun, we have made the time to go on a family hike and today Silas had his first swim. He thought he was pretty hot stuff in his loaner swim trunks (Thanks Ava Bean!) and T shirt from Auntie Amy!

 We've only been here a week but, I think we've come to the conclusion that while we miss our friends in D.C. dearly, we are quickly falling in love with Colorado.

Please send good house-hunting ju-ju!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Midwest Reststop

I'm so happy The Tall Guy and I planned a week stop over at his parents house in the Detroit suburbs before continuing West. We've been adventuring around and visiting lots of people while we've been here. It has been so nice to take a breath in the midst of all of the chaos of the last few months!
A few pictures!
Lunch with Grandma, Aaron eating a Jersey Giant sub, Silas meeting Aaron's long-time friend James.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fond farewell

Today we left our little rowhouse on Draper Lane to start our new adventure.
Our "compound crew" was there to help get us on our way, assist as we had to switch gears on the fly and bid us adieu as we headed out and it once again reminded me of what a different world we live in at this point in our lives compared to our parents. We know we'll stay in touch with these people. They'll read this post, we'll look at each others pictures on Facebook and end up in each others cities for work conferences and vacations. FaceTime and Skype are tools used all over now (I had a Skype interview the other day!) and the world is a much smaller place these days when you can write a blog post from the backseat of a car in Ohio (ahem).
Anyway, this is all to say that this blog will likely be making a resurrection as we travel cross country and I feel the need to document in a way that Facebook and Twitter don't really allow.
I'll leave you with two photos from the day. Both make me sad, but it's gonna be okay. I've left dear friends before and know they're all there, even when spread all over.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dear DC, We're Over.

It's me, not you. Really, I swear. After ten (almost to the day) years together I'm finally biting the bullet and leaving you.
It's been a roller coaster these 10 years and I've always loved to hate you. The fast paced life, the insane career drive you foster, the terrible drivers,  people asking if I'm worried about a terrorist attack and, of course annoying tourists on the Metro. I've loved to complain and lasting ten years is really somewhat of a badge of honor.
Along with the negatives, you've also been pretty awesome. My career has flourished. I've made life-long friends. I  met and married my Tall Guy. We  picked up Annie along the way and of course had our amazing and perfect son.
As we pack our bags for Colorado, I hope you know that I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for you, dear city and will always defend the same things I complained about when I hear others speaking badly about you. I'll miss seeing random "talking heads" picking up take out at our favorite spot in Takoma Park. I'll miss using the Capital, Lincoln Memorial or other famous landmark as a point of reference in giving directions. I'll miss being an hour flight from our families. I'll miss the neighborhood we've lived in for the last 4+ years and having neighbors that you could borrow a cup of sugar or a pencil from and know that they would happily let out your dog when you were stuck late at work. I'll miss my knitting friends, who it took me years to find. I'll miss adventures to Annapolis and last minute trips to Baltimore. I'll miss it all.
This may be the hardest break-up I've had to do, Washington. When all is said and done however, we had to make a decision that feels right for our family.
DC, I'm going to the Denver area unemployed. Something I've never done in my life. For the interim, I'll be a mom and get us settled and will be looking for a job in the Denver/Golden area. I can't imagine what it will be like not working in the Nation's capital, but I'm sure I'll be fine.

The picture I'm leaving you with is of the Tall Guy's new office ( the building in the bottom corner). Can you really compete with that?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Striking a balance (where I overuse the word time)

I've been thinking a lot about balance lately. Work, baby, "me time", friend time, time with my Tall Guy, making sure said Tall Guy gets "his time" now that he's home with Silas for the summer, time to possibly exercise, being an active team member in keeping the house going... The list goes on!The one thing I think is clear is there just isn't enough time! My question is- how do you make it all work?
I'd like to get back to some exercise but, I'm having a hard time fitting it in. I'm at work full time now, which ends up being close to 10 hours away from home a day. This makes it really hard for me to justify taking a yoga class after work or spending that much more time away from my family in one day. Do I get up early? Forgo exercise for awhile? I'd love to know how other people and moms make it work once there are a lot more competing priorities in your life. I suspect the answer may be "sleep less", but it would be nice to know I'm not alone in trying to do it all!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Silas is growing before my eyes. I can't believe how fast he has gone from a floppy little newborn to a wee boy. Pretty sure I'm going to blink and he'll be in high school!

I return to the office this week with a heavy heart, knowing I was lucky to be off 4 months. It's still going to be
hard leaving this schmoo!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Let's be honest...

Is there anything more cute than a baby in handknits?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The quilt that Twitter built

About  5 years ago, I started this blog as a way to keep my family abreast of my adventures and to track my new-found knitting projects. As time went on, I made a few "friends"- people who found the blog and we'd comment back and forth etc. Jessie and I bravely had a blind-date and I had a new knitter friend!  Then, there was Ravelry. And then, Twitter. I always sort of joke that I "Tweet for Joe". Joe is my brother-in-law and has worked with/for Twitter for a few years now and when I started exploring it, I thought it was neat, but didn't quite "get it". And then, one day a few months later, I realized I was bringing up conversations I had with people on Twitter to the Tall Guy, thinking about what I would tell my friends on there and slowly, but surely started actually meeting some of these people in person. It's sort of amazing how much the knitting/craft community embraced Twitter and I wonder if it's because our hobbies are sort of solitary unless we seek other people out, either via Knit nights or the internet. Anyway...
A lot of my family/friends like to make fun of me for my tweeting and online activities. My Tall Guy refers to me as the Queen of Social Media (which, I'm sorry, but at least 85% of you reading this beat me hands down) and I know it seems like these connections are just people that live inside my computer/iPad/Phone...but. (I'm getting to a point here), it's so much more than that and this photo explains a lot, if not all of it (as well as the other awesome gifts that follow!)
This amazing, gorgeous quilt is the "Quilt that Twitter" built for Silas. (More on him in a moment) I have never met in person 6 of the 12 women that had a hand in creating this quilt for Silas. The ones I know and have met in person? I only met because of the internet. And they are all awesomely talented, supportive and amazing women who while often only living inside my iPad have been such a source of inspiration, support and humor as I went through pregnancy and these early days of having a baby that I'm starting to think that all new moms should be handed an iPad upon discharge from the hospital. As for the creators, in no particular order, thank you to Jessie (Jessspress), Ann (AnnMT), Rachel (Rachellake), Chawne (cauchy09), Elspeth (AgentElspeth), Sarah (onestitchshort), Paula (woolarina), Cathy (Runnergirl713), Carrie (carrieoke), Carolyn (Duff), Autumn (AutumninDC) and Amanda (theotheramanda). I only have so much brain power at the moment, so here's a link to Jessie's flickr photo with each square credited.
In addition to the quilt, other goodies came in the package.  An Aviatrix hat and little bag (which matches the quilt Jessie had made me earlier this year for Silas!) came from RachelLake, this amazing cabel-y sweater is from Monica (mnappe) 
This tag blankie is from Danielle (aswiminknits) and  from Blair (trimblair) an offset wraplan!
And, for my own Finished Object.. (hehe), Silas Arthur.. joined us March 14th at 7pm. So far, we're just trying to keep our head above water. Thank you all for the handmade love, well wishes and baby smooshes. We are so lucky to have you all in our life, whether you're right down the street or across the country. Now, off to change a diaper.