Years ago when I was the mother of just one boy I met Jess at a local Attachment Parenting playgroup. Jess like many of the other moms knit constantly while their children played. But what I remember about Jess is her knit socks (follow her knitting adventures here). I never considered doing that before but it sounded fun so I bought yarn and knit a pair for myself. Then I lost a sock and nearly cried. Seriously.
Luckily I found it again and once again thought I would like to try knitting socks. Noticing a dearth of quality socks in children’s sizes I decided to use my extra sock yarn and make a pair for Avril. It started with her picking the color. she was so excited.
Then came the knitting.
She kept wanting to try them on. Now one of them is finished
and a good start on the 2nd. Hopefully she won’t loose one. Next on the list of socks is Effie, then Mavis and finally Two, going in order of most need. If I work a little bit consistently every day I can finish a pair in 1-2 weeks. Enthusiasm helps. I got the pattern from Ravelry a free site. The pattern is “basic kids socks.”
While it is an adventure trying to get 4 little children dressed in their best clothes, stand still, look at a camera and smile all at the same time it is a pretty fun adventure. I love pictures especially once they actually get to my wall or in our photo albums. This weekend we went to a new place for our pictures, Portrait Innovations. They were great. You can set an appointment, even on the weekend, the prices were really reasonable and even though I think our children are photogenic that doesn’t always mean they cooperate, but still we got some great pictures. Enjoy.
Now I have all these great pictures for posterity.
Late last night after everyone was in bed Two stayed awake working his very first loose tooth. When he got it stuck in an uncomfortable position he asked for help. Of course his dad was quick to help with a bit of dental floss wrapped around the tooth. I really wish I had gotten up to videotape it. But instead I stayed in bed laughing to myself.
It went something like this with foot stomping, “No I am going to die!”
“You won’t die it will be quick. Let me see.”
Finally after some convincing Two stood bracing for the pull. Proeun said, “I didn’t count because I didn’t want him to know when I was going to do it.” It was very loose because when Proeun pulled it it went flying into the Christmas tree. Then a mad hunt ensued to find it and ensure the Toothfairy really would stop at our house last night. Luckily they found it and she did.
She varied from custom a bit accepting the tooth from a cup by Two’s head and leaving quarters for the Two’s piggy.
Before falling asleep Two was very worried his sister Avril might try to stay up and see the Toothfairy, “please just go to sleep Avril, otherwise she won’t come.” I laughed and told him just to worry about falling asleep himself.
Sleeping wasn’t a problem for Effie.
Soule Mama has once again inspired me. She is one of the few blogs that I check almost daily. I am long on enthusiasm for handcrafts but short on time to develop my own patterns and recipes or even wade through all the myriad of stuff on the internet. That’s where Soule Mama comes in. She gives such great ideas and suggestions for patterns it helps me maximize my time. In fact the sock pattern I am using for Avril came from one of her posts.
This week is all about “elving” according to Ms. Soule. So yesterday being kitchen day in my new family schedule I made bread and Granola (scroll down you’ll find it near the end of the post).
Notice the half eaten jar. It’s good, real good believe me. I’ll have to make another batch tomorrow.
All of a sudden I am in the Christmas mood and I have all these projects I want to make–playsilks, soap, more dolls, knitted hats for all my children, and socks would be great to. But alas if I am going to accomplish all that Christmas will be in March. It hit home yesterday when I ordered some soap making supplies from Brambleberry. I had been planning on it for months but something else always came up that needed our money and time, so now with a deadline like Christmas looming I thought I better get a move on. And I missed the deadline by one day for Christmas delivery. Reality strikes again. So I guess I can relax and plan for next year. In the meantime food makes great gifts too and can be accomplished in a day.
This is what our neighborhood looked like Saturday morning. Yes we were hit by that big snowstorm. Luckily we were all home with no where we absolutely needed to go. Somewhere between the tree and the houses is supposed to be a road. By the time the storm was finished early Sunday morning we had an estimated 16 inches in our neck of the woods. A neighboring town had over 20. This is on top of the 4-6 inches already on the ground and as my mother pointed out winter hasn’t officially started yet!
Luckily we had warning and had put a shovel on the porch. This is also Saturday morning and there is a step down onto the porch. I had already gone out once to feed the chickens (luckily our coop is literally right outside our backdoor, not always good in the summer but a Godsend now) and this is what Proeun had to contend with about 1:00.
It takes a good half hour to get everyone dressed, the car warmed and everyone out the door and safely stowed away these days. Thank goodness for a relaxing weekend snowed in. We watched movies, set up the Christmas tree, read stories and ran around the house. I even got to read some grown up books, do more indepth planning for our homeschool, work on a doll for Effie’s first Christmas gift and start knitting a pair of socks for Avril. She loves knowing that mommy is making something for her. I will update more as the sock project continues.
As any one who spends time with children knows, “kids say the funniest things.” We had a doozy this week. Proeun doesn’t like the children to say, “stupid” as in “that’s stupid,” “you’re stupid,” etc. Two was caught in the act this week. When Proeun reprimanded him he said quick as a wink, “Stupendous was what I was going to say.” How do you argue with that?
One of the ways we have always wanted to prepare our venison is as a sausage. This year Proeun found this great recipe.
Hot Venison Italian Sausage
2 pounds ground Venison
1 pound ground pork (we used all venison)
1/2 cup water
4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP fennel seeds (we used anise)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
We added paprika for color, sugar and Sriracha pepper sauce (Asian staple). We also chopped carrots, onion, bell pepper and cilantro. We made approximately 35 pounds of sausage so I am not sure on the proportions.
We ground up the meat, chopped the veggies and added the seasoning.
Turns out sausage making is a long process, especially when you are using new equipment to get used to. Took us one whole evening to figure out how to use the grinder as a stuffer. We ended up calling customer service the next morning. Then it took us a while to figure out the best stuffing technique with natural casing so as not to burst the casing but get them even and full.
Finally after about 2 hours of experimenting, starting and stopping to deal with children we figured it out. Sunday night we were up until 11:30 stuffing and cleaning up. Another long night.
We had some seasoned meat left over for meatballs and tried them in our weekly spaghetti. They were fabulous! Just drain off any fat before adding the sauce.
We also went over to my parents and they made a wonderful dish of venison tenderloin sliced into medalions and dipped in dijon mustard and ground pecans and walnuts and pan fried–so amazing!. Add crusty bread some rice and pasta and you have a meal fit for a king.
I am not sure exactaly how it happened. Proeun and I didn’t really have a game plan for the role Santa Claus would play in our holiday celebrations then last year Two told us. I remembered that Santa had always left presents for us and we had done the whole cookie thing but Santa wasn’t real to me or my sister.
Proeun grew up poor and honestly there were often no presents at all. He recalls with pain how teachers would always ask what you got for Christmas on the return from break, always in front of the whole class. Proeun loved school just because he knew he would eat at least one full meal a day.
When our children came along we didn’t really think Santa would be real for them either. Last year I didn’t plan ahead, no cookies, but I did have some carob cake I had made so Santa (me) got carob cake and soy milk (dairy alergy in this house). And he left some of the extra gifts.
The next week we were at Sabbath School when Two just bursts out, “Santa is real!” I was dumbstruck honestly.
This year we are trying to be more intentional. Trips to visit Santa, Christmas cookies, concerts maybe even a Christmas Eve Service.
This weekend we visited Santa.
Two was disappointed that we didn’t get to see the reindeer, especially “the red nosed one.” He asked, “But how did Santa get here from the north pole without his reindeer?” I told me the airport.
Mavis wasn ‘t so sure about the big guy. I guess he’ll have to guess what she wants, but candy is a good bet.
There was a guy there helping Santa pack up, (yes we even cut it close visiting Santa). Proeun said he wondered who that guy was. Two said without hesitation, “he was an elf.”
After you have breastfeed 3 babies for the most part successfully it can really throw you for a loop when you have difficulty on your 4th. Actually so much about this pregnancy, labor and early postpartum period has thrown me for a loop but slowly we are figuring things out.
One of the first memories I have of Effie is within 2 minutes after being born I was holding her, completely exhausted and honestly a little shell shocked. I had waited and waited for 42 1/2 weeks for her. Planned a homebirth and thought I knew how things would go. Then I ended up in the hospital not sure at all how things would go down. After they broke my water it was like a whirlwind and all of a sudden she was here and I didn’t know what to do. Except she was crying and looking at me and then I knew what to offer her. The nurses helped me disrobe enough to offer Effie her first meal and she latched on without hesitation. The other children were younger when born and had been much more gentle but Effie latched on with a vengeance.
When I was the mother of just one baby I was talking with another mother and she said her son called babies “nurse sharks.” That was Effie. For nearly 36 hours she ate almost constantly. By 48 hours my milk was in and things changed a bit but by then my nipples were so sore from almost constant nursing. I was getting breaks now but could hardly stand to nurse her due to sore nipples.
That is when i discovered the importance of positioning. So I started my breastfeeding sessions in a chair with a boppy under my arm and a command not to come near mommy while I was nursing the baby. Yes it hurt that bad that I couldn’t risk any distractions for either of us.
Then I started researching. I knew I had to eat and drink liberally. After Two I lost 25 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I felt very weak though everyone said I looked good. I started applying Lansinoh nipple cream after each feeding and taking Fenugreek and a Mother’s Lactation Tonic herbal rememdy. I bought a nipple shield but haven’t had to use it yet.
The turning point finally came Saturday night. We were having another marathon nursing session and I couldn’t do it anymore. Proeun took the baby and some formula samples we had received and gave me a much needed break. I felt awful. Like I was failing my daughter and family but woke-up feeling refreshed and able to think more clearly.
Now we are on the road to recovery. One nipple doesn’t hurt at all and the other one just at latch on. I am reminded that een with the simplest things sometimes we need help and we shouldn’t be afraid to take it. Oh and no matter what our experience we could still stand to learn something.
It has been a long time since we have loaded our four children into our one car to take Proeun to work. Last night I realized that we hadn’t really prepared them for the return of a “normal” schedule so I said simply, “tomorrow Bpa (Cambodian for Daddy) is going back to work.” The older children accepted it just fine in the way us older people realize we often have to resign ourselves to situations we don’t like. But Mavis would have none of it and refused. But it couldn’t be helped.
Actually even though Proeun says he doesn’t feel ready to go back we both think a return to a more normal schedule is just what our family needs. I actually woke up today feeling quite good. I know what is expected of me, and what I need to accomplish before the end of the day, like eat something, and get a nap in. That’s my goal for the day and make a few appointments for later in the week. Oh and blog and wrap up some Hmong Times stories from this weekend, wash the sheets. Normal stuff like that feels so good right now.
I was talking with our midwife yesterday about just how difficult it is to wrap my mind around the fact that Christmas is almost here. I still feel stuck somewhere back in mid-September or early October mentally–when I expected Effie to come. The weather was warm, there were a ton of projects and fun things to do outside and Christmas season seemed so far away. Mentally I am in a time wrap. I need more time process. But I think getting into a normal routine will help immensely. The children want the Christmas tree and Christmas cookies–maybe next weekend.
For the most part my physical recovery is going well in this postpartum period. I am still dragging from the low hemoglobin, but that should get better and finally nursing is going a bit better. I will share the story soon.