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Gorgeous day

After my complaining yesterday, I am amazed that we are sitting here with our windows open, basking in abundant sunshine and temps in the 70's. We have to soak it up fast, because rain and a cold front are headed this way. Despite the pending storms, Addie and I are enjoying the company of my sister and brother-in-law tremendously.

First, we went out to the library for their annual Halloween party. Addie loved being Nemo again, but was a little confused as to why we weren't having story time.





Then it was home for lunch, where Addie ate an apple like a big girl for the very first time. I don't know if she had more fun eating it, or if we had more fun watching her!





After her nap, we will head out to Keeneland to watch the horses race and soak up this beautiful day while we can. Pictures I'm sure will follow.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!!!

What to do

There is a saying about the weather in Kentucky: if you don't like it, just wait five minutes. How true. We have had a mixture of cold and rainy, cloudy and muggy, warm and sunny all week long. Sometimes I love the days when we are forced indoors and time can be spent reading and snuggling, but then there are weeks like this when I am desperate to get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall colors while I can.

The past few days have been a challenge and with no storytime yesterday I thought I was going to burst! We made it through with the best tools available: Addie's crayon box and some plain white paper. What do we do on an inside afternoon? We color of course!!!


For some reason, the last few weeks I had completely forgotten about this little stash of ours and coloring was left out of our schedule. What! How in the world could I cast aside one of our (my) absolute favorite pasttimes? No more, I say!


I drew a pumpkin and Addie spent a good while adding her own artistic touches. We laughed, looked at the pictures I took and had a great time creating together. One of these days I will make a portfolio of all her work so I can flip through it like a coffee table art book. I can't think of anything better to display in our living room.





Anniversary

Three years ago today, I married my love. In the months before we started dating I told my dad I was going to get married. Seeing as I was very single at the time, Dad could have laughed at me, but he didn't. He just asked who I was marrying. I told him I didn't know but to keep September 2006 free on his calendar. He said OK and then told my sisters, "Hey, did you hear Sara is getting married?"

That was in the early months of 2005. In June of that year, Curt and I started dating and as they say, the rest was history. Funny enough, when we were planning our wedding September was on the table, but none of the dates would work for the venues we liked--October it was. I'd say one month off isn't so bad!

I find that story to be really humerous, not because it was an interesting coincidence, but because I truly believe that deep in my heart, somewhere I just knew. I knew that I was ready to meet my soulmate and I knew he was out there, ready to meet me. I love that my dad took me somewhat seriously and didn't brush off my prediction as another bit of Sara silliness. I love that over four years later, Curt and I are here, deep in the midst of a family we created. We are happy.

We are still at the beginning of our journey and I can't wait to see all that lies ahead for us. Today, however, I will rest in the comfort that we have each other and remember and celebrate the three fantastic years we have been blessed to spend together.


Happy Anniversary, Baby!!! Drinks all around!

Careful what you wish for

Almost one year ago, I began this blog out of desperate frustration to get Addie into a good sleeping pattern. I needed a place to vent and release into the universe our troubles in the hopes that we would one day find some peace in a good night's sleep. Eleven months later, we have finally found it.

For the month or so prior to our vacation, we were once again bringing Addie into bed with us nearly every night. She was cutting molars and staying up with her for hours on end was not helping any of us, so we went back to an unhealthy pattern that seemed to work. Curt and I decided that after Disney, we would stop the madness and reclaim our bed for ourselves.

The following week was definitely difficult as many hours were spent listening to Addie cry, going in to check on and soothe her, and clinging to the moniter as we all eventually drifted to sleep. Once that painful hump was over, the strangest thing happened: Addie fell in love with her crib.

Now, my greatest dream has come true. When it's nap time or bed time, we follow her routine and then, just as I begin to rock her, she points to her crib and says, "Night, night." I ask her if she's sure and then she nods her head. I place her in her crib and she rolls over and goes to sleep without a peep. This happens nearly every time.

Due to this new development, I would say at least 90 minutes a day have now been released to me to do with as I please. I tell you, it is fantastic! Except for one very sad thing... Addie doesn't seem to want to be rocked anymore. Really, it's only about 30 seconds into her bedtime music and she's done, ready for independent sleep.

Back when it took about 45 minutes of rocking to get her to sleep and I was dying to join Curt to watch our favorite show, I tried to reframe the situation. I told myself to enjoy that time as much as I could because the day would come when I wouldn't be able to rock her any longer. I suppose I just didn't think it would be this soon.

Isn't that the way of it, though? As soon as I think I'm ready for her to reach the next milestone, she takes a leap and I'm left standing there to watch her soar. It's exhillerating, yet feels achingly empty at the same time. On the other hand...

For a while now, Curt has been giving Addie baths each evening and I'm the one that puts her to bed. Now that bedtime has suddenly turned into the easy job, he is awfully interested in switching with me. Not a chance, babe! I may pout a little after I walk out of her soothing, quiet room, but it's nothing that a nice glass of red wine can't fix. After all, I have worked hard for her nighttime freedom, and for mine--I might as well find a way to enjoy it.

Random musings

Addie finally loves sleeping in her crib by herself and we have been without her in our bed for over three weeks. The downside to this is she no longer enjoys sleeping in her car seat and would rather whine incessantly. Yesterday on our way back from Owensboro, we listened to the song that always keeps her quiet no matter what, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, about 30 times in a row. I don't care how much I love Paul Simon--30 times is A LOT.

All of Addie's clothes from size 9mo - 12mo are piled up on our dining room table waiting to get sorted and stored away. If I don't get my butt in gear, we may never use that table for eating again.

Seeing all of those cute tiny clothes really makes me feel like I might be ready for baby #2. However, remembering the PUPPS rash I had when I was pregnant with Addie and the knowledge that statistically I will probably get it again, scares me enough to wait a bit longer.

I have most of what I need to start my little canning project. The plan is to give it a try this weekend. Lets hope my sister is in a domestic mood and won't mind giving me a hand.

If we don't fix the issues with our internet soon, I may be forced to use Firefox on my husband's profile forever which will surely make me lose my mind.

I can't stop thinking or talking about MIKA's new album. It has been out for over a month and I just got it on Friday. A month behind isn't too bad for a stay-at-home-mom in my book. It is fantastic. If you can listen to it without moving I will give you $100.

I had an allergy attack over the weekend that left me super congested and feeling icky in general. I was worried it was H1N1. Then I took a Benadryl, slept for 3 hours and felt better. Nope, not swine flu. But it scared me enough to convince me that I probably should get vaccinated.

I haven't been running since the 5K I did a few weeks ago. Not good.

After being a mom for almost 19 months, I have finally realized that there is no longer such a thing as having the laundry done. There will always be a load of laundry that needs washing. Always. Strangely, this is very freeing. I will never finish the laundry, so I can now stop trying. Aahhh...

OK I really won't give you $100 for the MIKA dance challenge. I'd like to, but such funds will likely be used to replace our router... again.

Strangely, as Addie's naps have gotten longer, so have my to-do lists. I'd better put a few things off and get in the shower before she wakes up or else I will go through the rest of my day feeling sticky from spilled yogurt and coffee. Priorities, people.

Reframing Halloween

Like most kids do, growing up I always had fun on Halloween. As I grew older and especially by the time I reached college, I developed a true distaste for this "holiday" that eventually grew into detest. I think getting dressed up is ridiculous and just the thought of all that candy makes my stomach hurt. For years I have done my best to disengage from all of the spooky craziness and watch romatic comedies at home by myself. Over time, I progressed to handing out candy to the 10 or so kids that come to our door, but that's about it.

Disclaimer: I have no judgement on people who think Halloween is the best day in the world. That is excellent, just not for me.

All of this has remained well and good, until I had a child. I had forgotten that for kids, Halloween is a really big deal. Last year I didn't get Addie a costume and I felt really bad about it after seeing other kids even smaller than her dressed up like little bugs or pea pods or what have you. I promised myself that next year I would not make the same mistake.

After very little debate, we came to the conclusion that this year for Halloween, Addie would be Nemo. My dad donated to the cause and I bought her what I considered to be an expensive, but really freakin' cute costume. In an effort to get all we can out of this get-up, we went to an event yesterday afternoon at The Disney Store. What transpired was adorable and hilarious.

As we were waddling through the parking lot a car came by blaring really loud music. My little fish, instead of stepping up onto the curb, broke into an impromptu dance right there in the street. Need I remind her of the events that transpired in our car only a few days ago? My goodness.


We were then bombarded by mall employees who gushed over her like crazy. The Disney Store was packed with kids and Addie was a bit bulky in costume, so we stayed by the entrance most of the time. Amidst a sea of princesses and pirates, she really stood out. There was a parade through the center of the mall and other kids' parents stopped to video tape my daughter as we walked by. Two girls who were working at a pretzel kiosk came up with a cinnamon pretzel and asked if they could give it to Nemo because she was the cutest thing they had ever seen. (If I knew we could get free pretzels out of this deal, I would have given in to all of it much sooner!)



Addie was oblivious to most of it and had a good time just pointing to the front of her costume saying, "Memo" over and over. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun and I am actually looking forward to the other events we plan to attend over the next week and a half. That's right, for the time being I am stripped of the title: Scrooge of Halloween and will simply enjoy watching my girl have a blast... While I eat the rest of her pretzel.


Tell me it isn't twue-- Addie is a tween!

I would hazard a guess that anyone who has ever thought about becoming a parent also has ideas about what kind of parent they may be. I would also guess that most people believe they will not be uncool moms or dads. Certainly, that was the case for me. I keep up with the times as far as fashion and music. I check out the latest comedies and dramas on TV and read at least some of the books that "everyone's talking about". I may not subscribe to everything (like plaid tunics with big belts and skinny jeans), but for the most part, I feel like I do OK. I'm not embarassing... right?

Today turned out to be an errand day for me and Addie. We went to story time again this morning and made it through the entire thing without any injuries. Hooray!!! We had lunch with Daddy, then a quick trip to Lowe's and there was an accidental detour into Old Navy. How that last thing happened, I'll never know.

In between one of our destinations, we were at a stop light and Katy Perry came on the radio. Instantly, I broke out into a car dance and about two seconds later, heard my child scream from the back seat. Addie has recently discovered the wonder that is self-assertion and frequently lets me know if she doesn't approve of whatever we are listening to, so I didn't think much of it.

But then I turned around and saw a look I hadn't seen before--a hint of attitude, a furrowed brow, and a slightly open mouth. She was shaking her head at me. I asked her if she liked the song and her expression changed. Eyebrows up, with a slight smile, she nodded her head. OK, I thought, and went back to my moves. Screams again. I turned around once more to see the same dreadful look on her face again. I hesitated, then asked, "Do you not like Mommy's dancing?" She shook her head, "No."

Really? I thought I had at least a few more years before she would find my dancing objectionable. I wasn't even doing anything crazy. Just a little bopping around with a shoulder groove here and there. Were my Lorelai and Rory dreams just crushed before my very eyes by my almost 19-month-old daughter? Sigh. I resigned myself to just singing along softly and kept my moves to a minimum.

Maybe it was just a slight mood swing and I shouldn't take it to heart. But really, who knows how much longer I will be able to get away with these things in Addie's presence? For now I will do my best to shrug it off and treasure all of the little girl moments I can, because they really are going by way to fast. In the meantime, I shall blame my Old Navy interlude on a desperate attempt to revive my hopes of being a cool mom.

You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes... 

Evans Orchard

Yesterday afternoon, after many days of clouds and rain, we were so excited to see the sun and feel its warmth. We could think of nothing better to do than head out to Evans Orchard for an adventure. I can't say enough wonderful things about this place--

We had a blast at the petting zoo and Daddy helped feed a kangaroo.

Addie embraced her photo op and said, "No Mommy, I'm taking your picture!"


We got lost in a sea of orange and picked out our favorites.

We searched high and low for apples in the orchard and found a few to keep.





I now have about 14 lbs. of apples on my counter and big plans for applesauce and apple butter. Another domestic itch I have developed is I would love to figure out how to can. My research has begun and it seems kind of complicated. Lets see how this goes, shall we?

When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone!

Ahh, that is a line from one of my favorite movies ever, Home Alone. I know, it's silly and definitely didn't qualify to win any awards, but it is surprisingly highly quotable and always makes me feel like it's Christmas, no matter when I watch it. Those words were blaring in my mind this morning when I woke up feeling like complete crap and couldn't seem to get a moment to recharge for my day.

I was up with Addie twice last night--her diaper leaked and it took her a little while to fall back asleep in her clean, dry pajamas. But sleep she did. For me, however, it was another story. I woke up about two hours later with a very upset tummy and nothing to do about it. I finally made it back to sleep but when I heard that sweet little voice through the monitor this morning, it only made me squeeze my eyes closed tighter and pray it wasn't really time to get up.

Since I usually put Addie to bed at night, Curt has morning duty and goes in to get her out of her crib, change her diaper and bring her in with us for a cup of milk. Today, I begged him for some more sleep and he said, "Sure, honey." Fantastic! Or so I thought. Daddy's version of keeping Addie occupied so I can catch a few more winks was very different from mine. About fifteen minutes later, I had enough of being crawled all over and hearing, "Addie, leave Mommy alone". I threw the covers back, jumped out of bed and made some nasty comment about never getting any rest. Way to go, Mommy.

Daddy, with his best Simmer down, Dear look, then took Addie in to the kitchen for breakfast and I crawled back into bed for a brief power nap. By the time she was finished I felt a little bit better and came out to take over so Curt could get ready and go to work. As I sipped my coffee and ate my jam-covered english muffin, the day didn't seem so bad anymore. And with Addie stealing bites of my breakfast wearing the new hat I finished for her last night, I decided it would probably be best if I allow her and Daddy to stay.

Public injury #1

Nothing can make me feel like a worse parent than when my child is injured under my watch. Whenever this occurs in public, it only adds the proverbial insult. Today I decided to venture out with Addie to story time at our local library. We arrived early so I could sign up for a library card (being a book store addict, I haven't had one since college) and check the place out.

The reading area was in the back corner and had a few steps down for the kids to sit on. We don't have stairs in our home so whenever Addie gets the chance to go up and down, up and down, she loves it. She was just starting to get the hang of it and let go of my finger when she tripped and fell flat on her face. Screams. I immediately snuggled her in comfort and when she pulled her head away from my shoulder, I saw the tiniest spot of red on my white sweater. Her top lip was swelling up and just underneath it, there was a bit of bleeding. We've had a few bumps and bruises occur out and about, but none of them had ever drawn blood. Awesome. "Hello everyone, thank you for welcoming us to story time. I'm Sara, Addie's mom. Feel free to point and laugh at the worst Mommy ever!"

Thankfully, after a few moments, Addie calmed down and appeared to be fine so we stuck around for the main event. We learned some new songs, played with fun toys and listened to a few stories. Even though my heart sank whenever she turned to me in excitement with her swollen smile, I think we both had a good time. Then of course, we hurried home for a lunch of turkey and frozen Go-GURT. Whoever told me to keep a few of those nasty little things in the freezer-- Thank you!!! That yogurt push up pop was just the ticket and it really helped the swelling go down. Now if I can just find the right thing to help my bruised Mommy ego, we'll all be in good shape.

A bit of knitting

As the weather turns colder and colder, I am drawn in even more to my piles of yarn and stacks of patterns I want to knit. Especially at night, after Addie has gone to bed and while Curt is finishing up some work for the day, I have grown to crave that pocket of time that allows me to feel the yarn in my fingers and just create.

I have been working on Felicity for my sister, Emily for a little while now. I made her some fingerless gloves last winter and she needs a hat to match. Since I am still new to knitting, each item I work on teaches me something new, and this one was no different: from now on, I must always make sure I have enough yarn before I begin a project. I knew it would be close, but just as I got to the decreases, I hit the end of the ball and now this hat is really just a nice tube.

I am using a fantastic hand spun merino wool by Malabrigo Yarn. I love how it feels and how it knits--so very soft and I'm sure it will be warm as well. It is also kettle dyed by hand which means that no skein of yarn will look the same as another. Very cool, but not when you're trying to create a cohesive piece. This would have presented less of a problem if I could have browsed throught the selection in the store myself to ensure I had the correct pigment, but of course, now they are sold out. I am left to the mercy of the interwebs.

The shipment should arrive in the next few days and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will match what I already have. If not... Well, I can't even think about the "if not" right now. I suppose I could refashion it to become a hat for Addie, but we shall see. Here's hoping that my one-of-a-kind hand made yarn is really not so unique after all!

Kissing low carb goodbye

Now that swimsuit season is over and I have unpacked my favorite bulky sweaters, I couldn't care less about those few extra pounds hanging out around my tummy. After all, winter is approaching. It's time to get ready for the cold and build up a bit of insulation. In the spirit of all things comfort, I splurged and bought a french baguette the other day for some sandwiches. I had about a third of it left over yesterday and while I really just wanted to toast it up and slather it with butter, it was calling out to me to create something super yummy.


I decided to make an open-faced chicken sandwich and boy, was it good! I spread each half with basil pesto, added a few roasted red peppers, topped it with pieces of rotisserie chicken and finished it off with some slices of provolone. Then, I broiled it until the cheese was melted and bubbling. This will likely be transformed into a pizza for dinner one night this week as well. Tasty delish!  

Run, Mommy, Run!

Saturday was the big day--my very first 5K run. It was in Midway, KY and the course took us right through that quaint, adorable little town and alongside some beautiful horse farms. I was a bundle of nerves because I hadn't kept up with my training as I had hoped. I was just praying I would finish without getting sick or peeing my pants or falling victim to whatever other disaster I could think of.

My mom was in town just for Friday night and since she was driving right past Midway on her way back to her conference, she dropped me off at 7:30 AM sharp. I felt like a little kid on the first day of school. What in the hell was I thinking? Time for a deep breath and some positive self-talk. I'm an adult. I can do this myself. My wise mother left me with these words of encouragement, "You've given birth, you can do anything." I love her.

I registered and spent the next 50 minutes checking things out and warming up. I peed at 8 so I would be sure to cross that worry off my list. I was in place at 8:25. For some crazy reason, they ended up running 15 minutes late and by 8:45 I had to pee again. Crap! I knew it! Before I had time to figure out what I was going to do, the train whistle sounded and we were off. I was in the very back of the running group with only walkers behind me. After a few minutes I forgot about my need for the bathroom and just focused on making it through the race.

I tried my best not to get discouraged when I saw that runners both twice my age and half my age had reached the turn-around point and were heading back while I was still huffing along the first leg. In order to keep some stamina, my plan was to stick with intervals of running five minutes and walking one. However, after a few of those, I realized that I wasn't really all that tired and decided to abandon my plan and just go for it the rest of the way.

A few moments later, I was right behind a man probably in his late 60's or early 70's who was making his way at a pace just barely slower than mine. When I was next to him I asked how he was doing and he responded, "Great! How are you?" I told him I was doing OK. "Isn't this just beautiful?" He asked me with genuine enthusiasm and a huge smile. I agreed and told him this was my first race. "Oh, good for you!" I thanked him and told him I just hoped I could finish. "Yeah," he said, "Really, that's all you can do. Just try and run the course." I smiled, thanked him again and told him to have a good day as I continued on. Wow. That little conversation made it all worth it.

I finished at exactly 36 minutes, so my average pace was 12 minute miles. Not too good, but not too bad either. I reached my goal to do a 5K and I even made it to the bathroom! Hooray!!! I can't wait to try again and push myself a bit farther. I suppose that is the beauty of running... Really, the only person you're competing against is yourself and sometimes that is the hardest person to beat.

Under construction

Today, instead of working on a new post, I decided to spend some time reconstructing this space. I love the look of what I created on here initially, but for a while now I have felt it was time for a change. There is still some more work to be done, but overall I think I like what I'm seeing. I think.

In the meantime, I would like to put in plug a for my sister, Kate's newest venture: Kate Kaiser Designs! She just opened a new shop on Etsy and I am so proud of her for taking this leap. Congratulations, Kate. I knew you could do it!!!

New Mom Tip #3

Since it seemed that Addie was so in love with the idea of carrying around a purse, I gave her an old one of mine to play with. Along with an old wallet and cell phone, it quickly became a favorite toy. That is, until she discovered far too early in life that purses rarely stay on your shoulder the way you want them to. I tell you, the fits she has thrown over this frustration have been the funniest things I have ever witnessed in my life. I was able to capture a few moments of one of these tantrums... brace yourself.
video
Here it is, New Mom Tip #3: Learn how not to laugh, and fast! That is one of the staples I have heard from so many parents and read in all the books... Don't laugh because it only encourages the behavior you hope to stop. Well this may be easy for some, but I may just be the queen of laughing at inappropriate times. Really, where is my crown? In church, during a serious speech, you name it, I have embarassingly lost control of myself and burst into squeals of laughter. I knew this would be an issue when I had kids and now I'm in trouble. At first, I didn't worry about it, but now she recognizes our reaction and when we laugh, it really does just egg her on. I am trying my best and soon I should master this, but let me tell you it is tough. I mean, did you see that video? Could you keep a straight face? If so, please please tell me how!

Dinner on a budget

One of the greatest challenges we face with me staying home is sticking to a tight budget. At first I thought I would feel a void in my clothes shopping or just random spending. However, the line item that revealed itself to be the toughest to trim down, is food shopping. In case you haven't noticed, we love to eat and we love to eat well. Going out to eat is one of our biggest vices and I have always loved keeping our pantry and fridge stocked to a somewhat swollen state.

For so long, my favorite weekend activity was watching The Food Network, seeing a recipe I had to try, then going out to buy the ingredients no matter what they were. What was that Ina? Saffron threads? No problem. Oh, how those days are gone. I still love to experiment in the kitchen, but now I am enjoying the process of finding ways to make delicious meals with a little more frugality. That also involves bringing what we love to eat out, in.

If you are ever in the Lexington, Louisville, Bloomington or Indianapolis area, I highly recommend that you try Puccini's Smiling Teeth restaurant. They make some of the best pizza I have ever tasted with really different and interesting flavors. In the spirit of trying to save a few dollars, I attempted to recreate one of their recipes at home with pretty favorable results. It worked out to be around half the cost, but I was able to load up more on the toppings. All in all, not bad for a tasty pizza under $10.


One package store bought pizza crust (in the refrigerated section)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
One lb. chorizo sausage
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
3/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
3 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Cook the pizza crust according to package instructions. I like to bake it for about 8 minutes before I put any topings on to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Also, be sure to sprinkle the bottom of your pan with corn meal to absorb any excess moisture and keep the crust from sticking.
In the meantime, brown the sausage in a pan, separating into chunks with the back of your spoon.
On the partially cooked pizza dough, layer the sauce, 3/4 of the cheese, sausage, peppers, then the rest of the cheese.
Sprinkle the top with the fresh cilantro and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Yummmmmmmy.

A love of lavender

For the very first time, I am the proud owner of a lavender plant. Curt bought one for me a few months ago, and I am delighted that it is not only thriving, but gifting me with beautiful flowers this fall. That may seem insignificant, but my love affair with lavender has gone on for quite some time.

When Curt and I were planning our wedding, I wanted our flower to be lavender. We were married in late October--how perfect! I wanted dried lavender to be everywhere... my bouquet, the table centerpieces, the favors... We would be surrounded by that beautiful, calming scent and seeing as it was right in season and relatively inexpensive to begin with, we could have afforded a ton of it. Lavender in abundance. Simple, elegant, lovely.

But, like most of my plans, they rarely work out in real life like they do in my head. When I told Curt about my fabulous idea, he responded with, "I don't want anything dead at our wedding, including flowers." I tried to explain that they weren't dead, they were dried. To him, it didn't matter. He was completely against it. Sigh. Since it was our wedding and I wanted us to plan it together, I had to take his opinion to heart. Sadly, the idea was scrapped and we went with traditional floral arrangements for the bouquets, etc. Still beautiful, but not my first choice.

My sister and mother sprung into action for my bridal shower, however, and decided to make it lavender themed. Emily painted sprigs of lavender on the front of the invitations and my mother placed dried lavender just inside them. Nice, unless you are my best friend opening the invitation while eating a bowl of ice cream. Lavender sprinkles!!! Actually, that sounds kind of good... I got my fix surrounded by women who were important to me, but still fantasized about the idea of lavender everywhere. Maybe even one day I could have rows and rows of it growing in our backyard... Someday.

For now, I just have the one plant, but with time it will spread and I will have to come up with all kinds of fantastic ideas for how to use it. The other day, I cut some blooms and created this bundle to hang and dry. Perhaps it will become my very first Mommy Honesty giveaway. Stay tuned...

Off the needles

I have been wanting to use that phrase for so long and now I can!!! Hooray!!!! I mentioned this project a while back, and am now finally able to share the finished product with you. I intended for it to be a Mother's Day gift for my mom, but alas, it turned out to be more of a Happy Beginning of Fall present. Shouldn't there be such a day, after all? It is the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, a free pattern from cosmicpluto knits!




This was the first time I have ever blocked anything and it turned out just fine, but it didn't stretch out as much as I had hoped. Regardless, my mother wears it well and I love her stylish touch of adding a pin to secure the shawl around her shoulders. Hopefully it will be an added touch of warmth on those cool nights to come. Happy Fall, Mom!

Ladies' Month

Now that I have come to a close on my vacation musings, it seems only fitting that it is smack dab at the beginning of October. This may be my favorite month. I love autumn and all that this season brings... the crunching of fallen leaves beneath my feet, the way I am drawn back into my kitchen to make warm and comforting meals for my family, breaking out the sweaters and pulling blankets out of the chest for evening snuggles, the smells, the beautiful and vibrant colors that are brand new and comforting with familiarity at the same time, Keeneland, anticipation of the holiday season. Really, I love it all.

The other part of October that brews excitement is that for the past seven years, it was the busiest time of the year for me at work. In the wake of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the fact that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month always seems to get a little lost. Both issues are deeply relevant and important for women all over the world, but for some reason this year, it saddens me to hear so much effort being placed on breast cancer, yet so little on DV.

Breast cancer has touched our family deeply. My dad's mother and Curt's mom both lost battles with this devistating illness. We support the cause as much as we can and have all kinds of pink paraphernalia. It is so important and I would never want to minimize that fact. Having said that, don't most people know that breast cancer exists and that it is an issue? Sadly, the same is not true for domestic violence.

Last month, there were two domestic violence-related murders in Lexington. Two women whose lives were lost right in our own backyards and the media response to these cases has been astounding. One because it has seemed to get lost in the shuffle of the latest robbery or weather update, and the other because it has put the spotlight on an accused well known public official in a troublingly sympathetic way. In never ceases to amaze me how uneducated the public is on something that is so prevalent and puts all of us at risk. And it is a risk that can be stopped.

Yesterday, I was looking at Addie and I was overwhelmed with emotion as I realized how innocent she is. When I reach out to tickle her, she does not crouch back in fear of being hit, she giggles in anticpation. When she runs to hide in the guest bedroom, it is not because she is trying to escape violence in our home, it's because she wants me to come and find her. She loves and trusts with complete abandon because she has never had a reason to doubt our intentions of love for her. My heart breaks at the thought of that ever being stolen from her. In all that I know, in all of the work that I've done, I know that really, I can't protect her from that. I wish I could and sometimes I pretend that I can, but I am painfully aware of the sad reality that our girls face in this world.

I am not writing this in an effort to depress the crap out of you, but to only plant a seed. You see, the more we talk about it, the less likely it is that Addie will grow up in a world where the numbers of violence are stacked against her. So this month, when you watch football on TV and see all the pink towels and goalposts, when you hear breast cancer talked about every single morning on The Today Show, absolutely take heart. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. But then, take a moment to remember that one in four women will be a victim of Domestic Violence in her lifetime. One in four. How many women and girls do you know?

Perhaps in an effort to give each issue the proper attention, we should simply declare October to be: Ladies' Month. Run in marathons, donate to research and shelters, attend rallies and vigils, check your boobs, give a friend a hotline number, talk to your girls and your boys... Break out your pink AND your purple.

Oops at the beach

Before I had Addie I was always perplexed when women talked about their boobs falling out of things... Bras, dresses, shirts, what have you, I just couldn't figure it out. How does that happen? I have never been very well endowed in that area, which is fine by me. Especially after experiencing the engorgement of breastfeeding and seeing how the other half lives, I really appreciate that part of my body even more. Of course, having a small chest means that "the girls" have always pretty much stayed where I put them. You guessed it, until now.

After the lovely deflation that occured when I stopped breastfeeding (as I have said about every other part of my body after pregnancy), the size is the same but the shape is very different. I am no longer afforded the luxury of not wearing a bra if I don't feel like it, or wearing a low cut shirt without the fear of things... ahem... shifting. This is especially true when I'm wearing a bathing suit. While things have worked out just fine in a docile swimming pool setting, the somewhat ferocious waves of the Atlantic proved to be quite another story.

A week ago today, we took a day trip to Disney's Vero Beach Resort and it was fabulous. The weather was perfect, the amenities of the resort were fantastic and it was a wonderful day. Having not swam in the ocean for many years, I thought I would take a quick dip. I was swiftly reminded why I love the beach but hate the ocean. Despite my husband's warnings, I went right in up to my waist and took somewhat of a beating. The waves suddenly got higher and I was pulled under, thrown around and tossed out onto the very shelly sand where I hacked to catch my breath... Oh yeah, and my boobs were out. Good Lord, this is a family place!!! Thankfully, while I was busy expunging the salt water from my lungs, Curt's cat-like reflexes kicked into high gear and he scooped those puppies up and put them back in their rightful place before anyone could even see a nipple.

While this event may have provided a small thrill for my dear baby's daddy, I decided that my time as a body surfer was over. For the rest of the day, I kept it rated G and stayed at the pool or on the sand where I belonged and soaked up the sun with my girl while she played with her sea shells. Who needs that rough old ocean anyway?