June 14, 2013


It's a BOY!!!!


Victor John was born on June 13 at 10:45 AM.  He was 8lbs 2 oz and 20 inches long.

IMG_0714 (2) copy

He is named after my grandfather John and Matt's grandfather who's given name was John (he went by Jack).  And he's perfect.

IMG_0711 (2)

Our family is huge now.  We lined up for this picture - taken less than an hour after he was born - and my mom went all wide-eyed and said "WHOAH"

IMG_0623 copy

That about sums it up.  It's alot of people.  It's alot of kids.  I'm both excited and overwhelmed by it all:

IMG_0618 copy
And also very outnumbered.
It's very different this time around.  After labor Matt went with the other two kids to go get lunch - leaving me alone with the baby in the delivery room.  I held my brand newborn, ate lunch, and sent my girlfriends this picture:

IMG_0621 (2)
I captioned it "more details once we make some phoncalls but WE HAVE A BABY!"

That type of multitasking - hell just being alone with the baby immediately at all - would have been overwhelming the first time around.  I feel very... seasoned.  This isn't my first time at the rodeo.  My friends wrote back that the expression on my face was "Well Kid, here we go!" and that's exactly how I'm feeling.  Life is going to be insane for awhile.  Let's do it.

The other kids are taking it well so far.

061313 051

The Girl was a bit disappointed that he's a boy - but I think she'll get over that once she realizes that means she's queen of the castle:

061313 043

The boy was a bit hesitant...


but then adorable as per usual:

061313 054

I'm... ok.  So, so tired.  And I ... really, really really can't wait to go home.  The hospital stay has been terrible.  The Cleveland Clinic and Fairview Hospital have changed some of their policies to supposedly be more breastfeeding friendly.  In reality they are just anti-mom.  I might write an entire ranty post on it because noone (especially someone who has successfully breastfed 2 other children and who the lactation consultant told "you got this" and is therefore totally abiding by their militant "breast is best" philosophy) should be made to feel this way.  I can't even imagine going through this nonsense if I was a first time mom.

061313 041
this might be evidence that i can do this newborn thing even if GASP i want to follow the recommendation of my pediatrician and NOT BE A HUMAN PACIFIER OMFG.
Oh and also!  They were filming Captain America all day right outside our window.  Which was really cool:

Captain America filming outside out hospital room!  #captainamerica
Between that and the big storms (I literally sat outside and breathed through contractions while watching the craziest lightning storm I've ever seen wed night) This kid really knows how to time an entrance.

I love him so, so much.

June 10, 2013


So today is my due date.  Which, whatever.  This kid is never going to come.  I'll be on one of those "Pregnant for 50 years!" freakshow A&E specials someday.  Fine.

But I"m actually kindof happy that this baby didn't come yet.  Because today was something that I really, really, really didn't want to miss.  Today my daughter had her first ever ballet lesson.

First day of Ballet!
She wanted to pose laying on the ground.  I don't even know.
A little backstory.  I was in ballet for many, many years.  I took lessons from the time I was my daughter's age through highschool and even into a few college courses.  I was serious enough to work towards and dance on pointe - something you have to be pretty committed to do.  I knew I'd never be a professional but I loved it all the same...

However!  I don't ever want to force my kids to do something just because it's something I"m interested in.  I don't want to live vicariously through them or push them for my own benefit.  Besides, I don't wear nearly enough makeup to be a stage mom.

Anyways!  This summer we wanted to get our daughter into something physical.  Get her gross motor skills going and all of her summer energy out.  At first we tried to talk her into T-ball.  We took her to a kid's game while visiting friends in cincy.  We talked all about how her friends would be doing it.  We practiced with her brother's T in the yard.  And Matt, bless his heart, even bought her a decent glove.  Her reaction to all of it?

NO.  Not interested.  N. F. W.

And honestly this is a child who runs in a specific way so that her skirt swishes back and forth (she is ALWAYS wearing a skirt).  Who are we kidding with this sportsball thing?  So I offered up ballet as an alternative and she was... hesitant.  But not blatantly opposed.  So I took the leap and signed her up for lessons.  I was a little concerned she'd have issues with the dress code:

I seriously cannot wait to see her in this. Now to convince her it's a good idea to dress like everyone else!  #ballet #andsoitbegins #summer #beckcenter
"Girls wear black, short-sleeved or cap sleeved leotard, ballet pink tights, pink leather ballet slippers, and hair in a bun."
But a shopping trip with grandma, a sparkly hairband, and a lot of propaganda* took care of that issue:

So this is happening today. She's super excited. #ballet #first #proudparent

 And when it was time for her class today I she had no issue dressing the part:

First day of Ballet!
I had to leave her at the door - there's no parents allowed in class because we are a distraction.  And for all her concern beforehand she never looked back:

My heart is bursting. This is so adorable I can't even stand it. #ballet #first
My heart is bursting.

And.... I.... found myself in a waiting room with a bunch of other moms and nothing to do.  I still need to figure out the whole mom side of this situation.  I"m thinking the time has come to keep knitting in the car at all times.

Afterwards she was so, so, SO happy.  Grinning the whole way out.  And on the way home this conversation happened:

"Is Ballet just for summer?"
"Um... no it can be for winter, too if you want."
"Ok."  ....  "Well what about fall?  I want to do ballet in the fall, too."

We stopped in the grocery store for a few things on the way home.  She galloped through the store with pointed feet just like she learned in class. And walking back to the car she said this:

"Noone told me I look like a ballerina.  How come?  I"m wearing my ballet clothes!"

And then this:

"Maybe tomorrow after rest time we could go to ballet again."

I think she likes it.  I couldn't be happier.

*Extra fun bonus:  The propaganda - pictures of me as a ballerina that we dug out to convince her of the black leotard/pink tights situation:

I"m the short one.

June 7, 2013

We've Been Married Awhile Now Chicken.

So our CSA started this week - we did Fresh Fork Market again - and the first big thing we received was a whole, pasture raised chicken:

CSA roast chicken
I knew right away I wanted to roast it.  May as well since we're just sitting here waiting on a baby.  And since we're still waiting I figured I'd share my fav. roast chicken recipe with you guys.  It evolved from this recipe for "Engagement Chicken"  The legend is that if you make it your guy will propose - something that I find kindof hilarious.  And also a bit disturbing.  I mean if you have to make chicken to get him to propose.... but who am I to judge?  I have a husband who will freely admit he married an Italian so he can eat well for the rest of his life so.... yeah.


The recipe is just simple lemon and chicken.  Which, while tasty... well....  We've been married for 8 and a half years now.  We have (almost) 3 kids.  It takes more than a little lemon to impress us anymore.  So I punched up the recipe a bit and this is the result:

We've Been Married Awhile Now Chicken.


CSA roast chicken
Whole Roasting Chicken
Fresh Sage
5 or 6 whole lemons
1 or 2 onions
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
Seasoning for Chicken (I use the Giant Eagle grinder one - delicious!)

CSA roast chicken
1.)  Preheat oven to 325.  Remove giblets from chicken.  Rinse out chicken and then let drain cavity side down for a few minutes while you chop up the rest of the stuff.

2.)  Coarsely chop your sage (I used about a quarter of what's pictured above).  Chop onions into quarters, peel garlic cloves.  Chop lemons into quarters (or not.  more on that in the next step...)

CSA roast chicken
3.)  Stuff chicken cavity with lemons, onion, garlic cloves, and sage.  The original recipe calls for the lemons to be pricked with forks and then stuck in there whole.  I like a much more lemony chicken.  So I put them in there cut into quarters.  It ends up very flavorful this way - YUM. But it's all personal preference. Stuff any places where the skin is coming up with sage and/or garlic.

4.)  Squeeze lemon juice over the entire chicken - top to bottom.  Really douse it.  Then grind spices over every surface you can.

5.)  Place prepared bird in a roasting pan (or a ghetto roasting pan made with a cookie rack and a cookie sheet if you're awesome like me).

CSA roast chicken

6.)  Stuff sage and garlic into any opening or crevice you can - under the wings, behind the legs, etc.

CSA roast chicken

7.)  Roast chicken breast side down for 15 min.  Then flip the bird breast side up and roast for approximately 20 min per pound.  The cooking part always takes longer than I think it will so plan for extra time - 15 min or so.  Roast until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced (or use a meat thermometer to tell you when it's done)

CSA roast chicken
8.)  Let the chicken rest for 10 min or so before carving.  Wait for a proposal.  Or just be happy that you can still impress your significant other with your mad culinary skills well past the honeymoon phase.


I served it with steamed CSA broccoli (simple) and Smashed Potatoes.  Those are potatoes that I quarter, cover in water, and boil until they are easily pierced with a fork.  Then I drain them and smash them up with milk, butter, salt, and fresh herbs.  This time I used chopped sage so they'd match the flavors in the chicken.  DELICIOUS.  They are also good with fresh dill, shredded cheese, whatever you have on hand.

June 5, 2013

Basement Playroom: Before, During, After.

So yup.  Still pregnant. Which at this point doesn't even seem possible.  But I thought while waiting for this baby I'd finally post some Basement renovation pictures.... Also I'm resisting the urge to randomly cast on for a baby sweater in the hopes that if there is knitting the baby will come.... Logic left this place a week ago.  Here we go!

So the first thing we knew we wanted in our Year of Upgrades Basement Renovation was a playroom for the kids.  They may have to share a room (something that I'm not convinced is bad for them in any way) but at least they'd have a space for all of their toys.  And the dream of not having toys and kid nonsense all over our house... GLORIOUS.  How about some before, during, and after pictures?


Basement Before

Originally when we bought the house it was a  pool room with a dart board and beer fridge and a whole guy paradise.  We used it that way until we had kids.  Then it basically became an obsolete dumping grounds for all of our random crap.  We just didn't live that way anymore.

Basement Before
The scary thing is this picture was taken after we had organize things a bit.  Yeah.
Basement Before
So much crap.  although the boxes are all base yarn which has been organized and relocated to my dye studio.  Much more efficient!
The walls were just flimsy partitions - 1.5" thick.  Not real walls.  And the rest of the basement, while probably finished at one time, was in complete disrepair.  Also the way the "bathroom" was set up... well... I"ll get to that in another post.  Bottom line was that any useful renovation was going to require tearing out the existing walls and reconfiguring everything.

Basement Before
All of this is gone now.


Walls gone, new walls being built.  SO MUCH DUST.  Our entire house smelled like a construction site.

Getting closer!  You can see the new opening cut in the wall next to the stairs and the other areas almost framed out.

Basement During
New sills we had fabricated to match the sills upstairs.  Yay consistency!

Basement During
New Playroom primed and ready to paint!!!
Oooooh the painting.  We decided to do that ourselves to save some monies.  Also we are insane people with the paint colors and no painter wants to deal with that nonsense.  After MUCH debate (and possibly a quick rendering.  AHEM) this is the color palette we went with:

Basement During more During pictures

Mainly greys and neutrals.  My thought was that we didn't want to go dark b/c it's a basement.  But we also needed to be real careful with color considering that ALL OF THEIR THINGS are crazy colorful.  So no matter what we did with paint the moment we added in the toys it was going to be a color explosion.  We did end up with a pop of yellow on the ceiling, though.  And also an accent room (more on that later):

Basement During
Painting finished.  Ready for the new carpet and flooring!
Some During Picturesmore During pictures


So!  The finished space ready for furniture!

Some During Pictures
Headed into the playroom.
In these pictures the vinyl flooring still isn't installed in the hallway.... that was all sorts of awful and delayed and...   I wanted to show the space before we put in any furniture and the furniture came before the floor.  ANYWAYS!

Some During Pictures
It's done!!!  The door that the dude is standing in leads to the stairs, the door next to him leads to my dye studio and the unfinished portion of the basement (furnace, laundry, etc).  I put a lock with a key on the dye studio door.  A Playroom with access to chemicals just didn't seem like a stellar plan.
We decided to drywall one of the block walls.  We left two of them exposed block both to save on costs and because we liked the look.  This is a basement after all.  I then took all of the wiring off of the block walls and ran it through the new drywall so that nothing was left exposed.

Some During Pictures
Block wall with no wiring or nonsense on it!  Amazing!  Also check out the new sills... they turned out so spiffy.
We completely redid the lighting.  There were just overhead exposed bulbs in odd places.  We ended up doing recessed lights on the two outside portions of the room with an overhead in the center of the yellow part.  I love the way it came out and as Matt will point out it sets up perfectly for turning this space into a theater room sometime in the very far off future.

Some During Pictures
The super wired wall with internets and cable etc.  It would be perfect for a theater room.  But at this point I refuse to even put in a TV.  This is a play room not a plug the kids in room.  If they want to watch TV they can sit down and watch it in the living room.  I don't want it to just always be on in the background.  So far it hasn't been a problem!
The carpet was specifically picked to be indestructible, speckled so as not to show any dirt/crumbs/kid nonsense, but also soft enough to tumble on:

Some During Pictures Some During Pictures

Even with just the empty space the kids LOVED it. 

And then we added in the coolest toy storage ever (really) but that's another post.  Until then check out the before/after comparison:

Basement Before
Before.  Yuck.
Some During Pictures
Before (although we had already cleared everything out so sortof during?)
Some During Pictures
After:  New wall configuration, new and relocated electrical panel, new sills, carpet, paint, etc. etc.
Yay for a finished basement playroom!  I can't wait to show you guys the rest of the renovation.  This was only about half of the space and isn't the dramatic part.  Wait until you see the before/after of the bathroom!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...