Wednesday, November 28, 2012

20 weeks: oh, we're halfway there

At 20 weeks pregnant I feel like an old lady. It already feels harder to get in and out of chairs and bed. I woke up this morning with a hip ache and some pretty intense ligament stretching. Yikes! 

At least I finally bought some maternity clothes. I'm much more comfortable in pants and leggings with stretchy belly covers. So comfortable, actually, that I'm not sure I can ever go back to buttons and zippers after this.

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But the most exciting thing that happened this week was our 20-week ultrasound.

We found out a little bit more about the person growing inside me...

It was amazing to see him moving around. He moves much more than I can feel! We got to see his tiny hands moving and his heart beating. Such a sweet sight for a new mama and dad! It definitely made me want to quote Raising Arizona.

* * *

I hope you're having a good week too!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

flower baby hat (and a little crochet pattern)

I promise, there really has been lots of knitting going on around these parts. I've been busy making Christmas gifts, but I can't share the progress here because I don't want to ruin the surprise.

This pink flower hat is a gift for my friend's newborn baby girl. I figured it's OK to show on the blog because it isn't likely that my friend has much time to read blogs these days.

This is my go-to newborn hat pattern. It's simple, quick, and so basic that it lends itself to many variations. Sometimes I make it with a fold-over brim or add embellishments (like this crocheted flower). It would look sweet in stripes, too.

Even though I always make this hat in cotton, it has plenty of stretch. I made one for my cousin's spring baby and he wore it as a newborn and all through the following winter.

Crocheted Five-Petal Flower Embellishment

I improvised the flower but jotted down the pattern in case you're interested in making one yourself. Let me know if anything is unclear or if you have any questions. I haven't written any crochet patterns in a long time, so my skills are a little rusty.

I used DK-weight cotton yarn and a G (4 mm) hook.


Ch: Chain
Sl st: Slip stitch
Dc: American double crochet
Sc: American single crochet

To begin, ch 5. Sl st into first chain to form a circle.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc). 9 dc into ring. Sl st into top of ch 3.

Round 2: Ch 5. *Skip 1 dc and sl st into the next dc. Rep from * 4 times, ending with a sl st in the first dc (you'll sl st into the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 1st dc of the previous round).

Round 3: *Sc 5 into loop made by ch 5. Sl st into same dc you slip stitched into on the previous round. Rep from * 4 times. 

Weave in ends and sew on anything that could use a little spot of cheer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

19 weeks: vessels

At 19 weeks pregnant I can still sit comfortably at a potter's wheel and throw pots. This week in my pottery class I sat down with my balls of clay and centered each one easily. If you've never thrown a pot before, you first place your ball of clay on the wheel, add water, and start it spinning. To bring the clay to the exact center of the wheel, you cup your hands around it and push down and in at the same time. 

This week centering came naturally. I felt so focused on the clay, the feel of my hands squeezing, and my whole body bringing my energy in. After I made my first pot, I began to shape it without much thought. I gave it a round belly, then collared in the neck and brought the lip back out. I made nearly all my pots this week in the same shape. It looked fluid and natural, and my hands seemed to make the shape on their own. I didn't realize until just now, looking at these photos, that my pots mimic the shape of my changing body. It's a strange and wonderful connection. 

* * * 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! I don't know about you, but I'm already thankful for the rest I'll get after all of the holiday hubbub subsides.

I hope all of you get to share this weekend with people you love!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

baking season

There's been a lot of baking around these parts lately. The cold weather just makes me want to hole up in the kitchen for days and try out new recipes. 

I finally found a reliable, easy, all-butter pie crust recipe. It's from The Handmade Pantry and comes together so smoothly because it uses a stand mixer. When I used to mix pie crusts by hand, I always had to add more liquid than recipes called for to get the dough to come together, which made for a sticky mess on my counter and an unreliable end result. The Homemade Pantry crust comes out tender, flaky, and flavorful. Each batch makes two crusts, so I've been freezing the extra to speed up the pie-making process in the future.

Chocolate pecan pie. Just perfect with whipped cream.

I made this one with Wild Turkey bourbon for an extra dose of Thanksgiving.

Pretzel croissant from the farmers' market (not my kitchen, unfortunately). 

This croissant is what motivates me to get up on cold Saturday mornings to shop for kale. 

Sour cream apple pie (before baking). Mmm...streusel topping.

* * *

I hope you are all staying warm and well-fed!

* * *

P.S. Thank you lots for your kind words on my pregnancy. You all are the sweetest, and I've tucked your comments in my memory to savor on days when I'm feeling less than my best. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

18 weeks: the quickening

This week I actually feel like a pregnant lady. For some reason I always say "pregnant lady" instead of "pregnant" and my sister makes fun of me for it. Anyway, last Friday I felt my ligaments stretching to make more room for the baby, and then I woke up on Sunday with a definite baby bump. So yeah, I feel like a pregnant lady now.

On Sunday night, I was lying in bed reading and resting my hand on my stomach. Then I felt a little tap inside my belly! All that ligament stretching must have given the baby enough room to start exploring. Korey was in the other room, so I yelled that I felt the baby move. After he came in, we talked for a few minutes and then I felt another tap. Someone's really in there! I've spent months just hoping everything is going all right, so it's comforting to feel that this baby is growing like it should.

The past few nights I've read a few pages of Evangeline out loud for the baby (and me). It's never too early to start cultivating a love of literature, right? Korey and I both hope this kid will like to read. 

* * * 

This week I'm also gearing up for the start of holiday baking. I'm so excited about it! Tonight I made two pie crusts to freeze; I plan to make a chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving. I also made some gingerbread dough to freeze and bake next week. My grandma and I both really like gingerbread cookies, so I make them every Thanksgiving for her. And soon I'll get to start baking Christmas cookies!

* * *

Do you have any baking plans for the holidays? I'd love to hear about your go-to recipes!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

17 weeks

I was 17 weeks pregnant on Halloween. Seventeen weeks pregnant means only the top button of my coat buttons and I can wear my jeans only with the help of the hairband trick. Most days I look (and feel) just plain fat instead of pregnant, but I've been told that most first-time mothers notice a growth spurt between 20 and 24 weeks.

Right now I'm carrying a baby the size of an apple or a turnip or a tiny pumpkin (take your pick; every website says something different). Every day I hope for the quickening: the time when I first feel the baby move. And still, I'm waiting. I hope it happens sooner, rather than later. I'm ready to interact with this little one!

I'm glad to be firmly in the second trimester. I feel good. Normal, actually. During the first trimester I spent most of my time asleep or sick, so I'm happy to have energy to help make dinner, bake bread, or, you know, reorganize the house. After three months of sluggishness, I used my first burst of energy to rearrange our bedroom. Our upstairs living room soon followed, and I've set my sights on the kitchen cabinets next. I'm afraid the third trimester will zap my energy again, so I'm trying to pack as much into these three months as I can.

* * *

I hope you're all doing well! What's going on in your life this week?



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