Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I have been trying to get caught up on organizing the photos from the last few years. I finally completed Ravenna's baby book in November and wanted to tackle the photos from 2008-present as my next project. I got 2009 completed and got a great deal on a photo book from Shutterfly. I have to say that going digital saved me a great deal of time. With 2010, though, I am stuck. I cannot fathom why looking at the pictures from the summer of 2010, the summer I was last pregnant, leaves me with so much pain. I find myself looking at myself in those pictures and wondering "Do I look pregnant? What about me was different?" Then I see how much my daughter has grown since that time and I think "I am wasting her childhood...what am I doing?"

With our foster baby leaving in a few weeks I find myself feeling quite hopeless. We had hoped to adopt him; we hoped that he was the answer. My daughter is going through a developmental rough patch and I am plagued by thoughts of "What if...?" It is hard not to blame myself for our misfortunes regarding our family size. I often think that it is my fault my daughter is having such a rough time. If only I had been able to give her a sibling sooner, or if we hadn't chosen this very stressful route of foster care in order to grow our family. "What if I had just kept trying to get/stay pregnant?"

I am in desperate need of some peace; the questions are driving me insane.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knitting A Sock

Making the Heel Flap While Knitting in the Sunlight

Three weeks before Christmas the conversation went something like this:
Me: I am going to knit [unspecified person] socks for their birthday.
Father-in-law: Great. Sounds like a great gift.
Me: Would you be interested in some knitted socks, too?
FIL: I don't know. I have never had knitted socks before.
One Week Later:
Me: I finally got my sock yarn and needles in the mail so I am going to start on making the socks for [unspecified person] right away.
FIL: Am I getting socks for Christmas?
Me: Ummmm...I wasn't planning on it.
FIL: But you said you were making me socks for Christmas.
Me: Wait! What?! I was planning on making you socks for your birthday!
FIL: Why would I want wool socks in June
The second conversation occurred five days ago and until yesterday I had been feverishly knitting a men's size large sock in the hopes of completing them in time. I love my father-in-law and he is notoriously hard to gift to so for once he wants something that I can make and I was determined to do it. Now, you must understand that this was my first sock knitting experience with tiny gauge yarn and needles (it is like knitting with toothpicks) and my father-in-law has big feet. I was making great progress until I dropped a stitch right after turning the heel. I tried to correct it but to no avail. The project began to unravel, very literally, right before my eyes and I had to "frog" it i.e. pull out all the knitting that I had spend 10 tedious hours on.

At that moment I had an epiphany: I was close to tears of frustration for all the time I had already spent only having to start all over despite it all. Four days of a semi-neglected home and family all in the name of a knitted sock. Had I not made the mistake I would have been able to complete the pair before Christmas and been able to happily gift them, but it was seriously stressing me out and taking the joy out of the knitting. I love to knit and I love the challenge of a new project but it was like the "sock that stole Christmas" since my presence was missing from my family.

This year I have had such a strong desire to simplify. Perhaps it is having a foster child and the busyness that brings, or maybe it is a consequence of reading Simplicity Parenting, but I did nearly all my Christmas shopping in November, said "No" to party invitations, and did the very minimum of holiday decorating choosing instead to try to concentrate on spending time with my family. The sock project kind of killed the simplicity bubble.

Right now Ravenna is singing a song that she created whose lyrics primarily consist of "Can I watch the little Merlaid?" She certainly is creative in her requests but I am going to have to say "no", not just because she has watched "The Little Mermaid" a least a dozen times since she got it but because it is time that I got off the computer and spent some time with her. That is what family is all about, right?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

If You REALLY Loved Me...

Look At This! It is gorgeous!

You would buy me some of this tea! I recently discovered Teavana, A Heaven of Tea at our local mall and boy am I in trouble! This tea is so delicious but pricey. Andrew and I like drinking either herbal tisanes or Rooibos daily during the winter so unfortunately we can't afford to drink Teavana teas all that much. But, oh, seriously...nothing compares to a freshly brewed cup of fresh loose leaf tea. There is seriously no comparison to the tea bags you buy in the store. Right now I am in love with the dessert teas like the Cocoa Praline Tart you see above but I am also enjoying the herbal Citrus Lavender Sage.
I use the IKEA RIKLIG teapot to brew my teas. I have found that in order to get it to brew correctly you need to have at least 24 oz. or 3 cups of water in there. According to Teavana, a 2 oz. bag of tea is between 20-30 tsp. Each serving of tea for the Cocoa Praline Tart is 1 1/2 tsp so you would get between 13-20 servings of tea in each 2 oz. bag.  It truly is delicious, though, and totally worth the premium price. So, who loves me?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Things To Do Before I am 30

This is how I look to a 3-year old.
My senior year of high school I took a class entitled "Agriculture Business." At the time I wanted to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and get a Agribusiness Degree and go work for some big time monster Ag corporation like Monsanto, gags. In any case the class covered my Economics graduation requirement. I can't remember most of my assignments there except for a competition I went to (and WON!) about agricultural cooperatives but one silly assignment stuck in my brain: we were required to make a poster illustrating what we wanted to accomplish by the time we were 30. I wish I had kept that but alas, I am not a pack-rat. I can remember most of what was on it, though, and with the big 3-0 only year-and-a-half away lets review:
  • Graduate High School, check
  • Graduate College with a Bachelors Degree, check
  • Get a high paying power job
  • Find a Hottie and get him to marry me, double check!
  • Own my own home, yup
  • Travel to Foreign lands
  • Speak a Foreign language
I can't remember having anything on there about having kids but I was pretty sure that I never wanted to have them when I was 17 and the second eldest of 5 children. So looking at that list one might say that it is pretty shallow. Yup. Many of the things also didn't hold up to reality: I only held one job out of college and it was neither high paying or powerful (I will forever call it my "soul sucking" job), I haven't traveled and I stopped learning French after 4 years because I married a German speaker. But hey, I still have a year and a half so let's see what I can accomplish!

In June Andrew and I will be chaperoning a bunch of teenage German language students to, you guessed it, Germany. Aha! Travel!!! Ding ding ding! But I also need to speak German in order to go on the trip. I have around 7 months to get to about a German 3 level. I started learning at the end of October and finished German 1 with a 94% on my final the third week of November. I sped through that puppy but it was exhausting and now I am struggling with serious Deutsch burnout. I am allowing myself two months, until the end of January, to do German 2 and the deadline for German 3 is June 1. If I can get that all done I will have completed nearly all of my shallow high school goals! Woot!

It got me wondering though, how many of us remember what our dreams were when we were 17? I find mine pretty practical considering my age but also most definitely influenced by the TV shows and movies of my teen years. The things that I listed showed what my 17-year old self  believed the pathway to success to be: Education-->Awesome Job --> Money --> Travel, House, and a man to love me. While education is still important to me, having a high paying power job certainly is not. With time and experience I certainly still value certain things on that list but for different reasons. Like traveling for its own sake, rather than to say that I had traveled; Speaking a foreign language to broaden my horizons and work my brain rather than just to put it on a resume. And how about having kids? Being a good wife and mother have taken top priority on my life's list of "To Do's." I think my 17 year-old self would have scoffed at the notion of domestic happiness being my chief desire, and yet, ten years later, it is.

Life is wonderful. Life is harder than I ever thought it would be. Life is better than I ever imagined.