constellation project

I finished my constellation project and, thanks to my amateur photography skills (and "basic edit" on picmonkey), you can see! 

As I mentioned before, I was partial to the constellations that were framed in the embroidery frame. I used these as my inspiration.

These are for the nursery. And when I say nursery, I mean wall, and the wall is white. So the white frames weren't my favorite. When I finished the embroidery, Dave stained the hoops a few shades darker and I love how they turned out. 

It was really fun to explore the different constellations and learn their names. There are, obviously, a lot to choose from. I ended up choosing ones that are all in the same area (North American sky) because I figured it would be more fun to learn constellations that I (and baby someday) could actually see in the sky. Maybe I'll add more to the collection someday.

Another thing I learned is that since the constellation illustrations are interpretive, there are often more than one illustration per constellation. This made it even harder to choose an orientation, but it was fun to see the different pictures. The main example was the constellation Hercules. They have an illustration from at least four different perspectives! I ended up using an iPhone app to find the orientation that matched my perspective (ok, I'm weird).


Ursa major, Hercules, Draco/Ursa minor, Pegasus and Orion. 

weirdly related: favorite show + dream hair cut.

After finding myself with a sort-of terrible hair cut, I keep thinking of what I will have done to fix it in November when we fly to Utah. I love having short hair, but sometimes miss long hair. I hate the part where you're growing it out, especially since it takes me 3 years and you get that awkward-ish middle part. 

BUT. Rashida Jones. I absolutely love this shoulder-length hair style. Of course, her flawless hair has absolutely nothing to do with mine, but I can dream. I'm wondering if my hair will grow enough to do something like this. 

And who doesn't love Rashida? I didn't like her character on the office (well, duh) but I LOVE her on parks and recreation. I just love that show, period. I think it's my very favorite. (or tied with the office--but I think lately we like parks and rec a teeny bit more)

Ok, end commercial. But if you want to watch the best episode, you want to watch "the fight". 

yarn and other things.

As you could probably predict, a lot of my postings in the next few months will be limited to the exciting life on the bed/couch. In the two weeks I've been on bed rest, though, I have to say that I haven't yet been super bored. I've resigned myself to my fate (for lack of a more positive phrase) and I think that motivates me to continually be finding things to do. 

Indeed, a few days ago I lamented at the end of the day that I hadn't gotten to do everything I had wanted. Then I realized that four months is a long time and I'm sure there will plenty of time for everything. Ha! 

The other day Dave and I spent a combined 6-7 hours trying to untangle the middle section (the guts, if you will) of a skein of yarn. Uh, yeah. RIDICULOUS. I am pretty sure it came that way, but I'm sure I also had something to do with it (or so Dave asserts). Dave has much more patience for that than I do, and he kindly worked on it when he got home and we watched a movie. We still ended up cutting a small chunk off, but seriously. I would have been really annoyed that I spend an entire afternoon on it, but hey, I'm not going anywhere. I untangled while listening to John Lithgow's book, Drama, which I am really, really enjoying. He does the reading, which add so much to it. It's interesting and subtly hilarious. 

I completed a few little projects with a list of plenty more. I'm trying to use up all the yarn I have (though I still had Dave get me three new skeins) before doing some bigger things (not that I will be doing anything super big). I finished the embroidery for my constellation project, and I'm now waiting for Dave to stain the embroidery hoops. (The picture above isn't a finished project). 

I also made a few hats. I made the monster one for Calvin, finishing just in time to send it along with my in-laws when they went to visit. I found some patterns and stitches that I've never used and tried this lacy one and puffy one (using chunky yarn/bigger hook to make it bigger than preemie size). I really like them. I also learned the star stitch and then made up a little headband from it because I love the stitch. 

Dave's sister and three of my really good friends are all expecting a baby in the month after our baby is due. (yay!) So basically, I'm planning on making a bunch of baby things and then dividing them up? Whether they want it or not, haha. And I will probably be a bit sad to part with the girl things, but I can always make more in the future :) 

Unrelated, but still awesome: we bought a new couch! Not because of the bed rest thing, but great timing, yes?  We've been saving for months and dreaming for years of this. We won't get it for a few weeks, but it gives us something to look forward to, at least. 

Other things I'm looking forward to include getting all the things I've ordered online, like this box of gorgeous thread. Not sure when I'll be using it, but...something to look forward to. 

all the posts I didn't write since may.

I didn't blog too much this summer. I wasn't doing much (as further explained in this post) and most of the thoughts in my head were the thoughts that follow. I didn't write too much anywhere else so I've just had these thoughts floating around for the last few months. I hope you don't mind me sharing these (and if you do, don't read it, I guess).

So as we expected and as anyone may expect, the first few months of this pregnancy has been very different from the last time. Last time, I took a test the minute I was late. This time, I waited a week before mentioning anything because I didn't want us to have to open up all the things that would come with a positive test. I mean, it was exciting, of course. I don't mean to make it sound like we weren't excited at all, but we were also so nervous. Nervous and apprehensive. We didn't want to think too far into the future and we said things like "if" and "maybe".

May and June were mostly really boring. Thankfully I don't remember much of it...but that's probably because I didn't do that much! I read some books, watched t.v., did some cooking and made sure I exercised everyday. I also slept in super late so that by the time I exercised and got ready, I only had four/five hours until Dave came home. I wasn't depressed (and I know how serious that can be) but I was definitely getting there. Thankfully, early summer didn't last forever. It just felt like limbo. Yes, I was pregnant, but we were still so unsure about everything that it didn't seem to count.

At my 12 week appointment, we met my doctor, who is really nice. After discussing our history, I was put on "rest". Not bed rest, but I was advised to not work, volunteer or be on my feet for hours at a time. This was slightly unexpected, but I suppose it wasn't really. This was frustrating, as I had a volunteer orientation that same day. But I canceled that and canceled looking for work (which had been really slow anyway, ha).

I felt once again how my life was just stuck. I couldn't do what I really wanted to do (oh wait, I didn't even know what that was) and was lacking any motivation to do anything (though even if I'd wanted to now, I couldn't). I didn't want to do any baby projects or anything, because I was unsure of the future. It is really lame that when I had time to do a lot of things (besides working and such), I didn't want to do any of them.

I had ultrasounds and appointments every two weeks or so and while the mere sight of the doctor's office building now puts us into nervous moods, they all went well. It's been an interesting 4.5 months. A lot of different emotions for both of us. Sometimes we felt completely overwhelmed, really scared, really excited, sad about the past, anxious about future weeks, etc. We are grateful for all of our family and friends who have prayed for us (even without knowing).

It was a small victory for us when I set my personal pregnancy record. I made it past 5:45 at 19 weeks and 5 days. Wahoo! Of course, the next day was when I was put on bed rest as we discovered my potential for preterm labor seems to be more than random. So, kind of anti-climatic, but STILL. We made it to the point we were so scared of. We had felt, in the weeks before, it was like this impending day hanging over our heads. There was nothing we could do, really, to stop anything from happening and we just had to keep going close to the day. It was overwhelming.

And now, I'm on bed rest. I am super grateful that it's not total bed rest, but it's an adjustment. I thought I felt useless before, but at least I did my part of cleaning, cooking, preparing, etc. It's really hard to just sit there while everyone else completes normal, not-very-taxing tasks. Dave gets worried if I unload the dishwasher! It's also an adjustment because while Dave is super willing to do everything I would ask him to, I can still get carried away, even on the couch. I have to adjust my to-do list, since it becomes Dave's to-do list too.

I feel like my life was already on rest before, and now it's even worse. However, I will say that there is a slight difference as I know it's medically necessary. I try really hard not to let myself feel super bad about my life being on hold/stuck because it's not something I chose. At least, for the next four months. I don't love that my life now looks almost like my life the last four months but...there are some slight differences. I had to drop the classes I was going to start next week and that was really sad. I looked forward to those since July and felt like I was finally doing something! (My doctor said in July that after 22.5 weeks, he'd be fine with me doing more. That was before recent discoveries.)

I think knowing that I will be on bed rest for four months gave me the motivation that I lacked earlier this summer. I, of course, regret all the times I didn't do any of the things I thought about in the last few months because now I can't really do them. But I've tried to find some projects I can do and have Dave get supplies for me (and he's been so great about that). I renewed my interest in the library and have a long list of holds. And of course netflix and the internet are also great at passing time. Stay tuned for all the things I'll be cranking out, just me and my crochet hook.

So yes, I am sad that I am kind of stuck in place (almost literally. sad.). But I am glad that it's a least with a purpose? Dropping everything I was doing (or planned to do) isn't ideal, but of course it's worth it. There are plenty of years ahead for all the things I want to do.

Please don't get the impression that we don't think it's worth it or are being complain-y about it. My point in posting is to be honest and to explain, not to complain. Yes, it's not ideal. But we are hopeful and happy and excited, even with all the worry. We are so grateful for every day that has ended with me still being pregnant. And whatever it takes, even if it's full-on bed rest or anything else they'd advise, we would do it. We know that so many struggle for babies, and while our struggle is different than most, we are still so grateful for the chance to have another baby.

we don't take anything for granted. not one single day. even all the extra appointments and ultrasounds. seeing our baby in his favorite place (upside down in a summersault) every few weeks (lately every week) isn't the worst way to spend your pregnancy.

My dear friend emily sent me a package with some of her baby's baby clothes (what? he is old enough to have "baby" clothes??) for us to use. I am dying. LOOK AT THOSE SHOES. It's not all worry over here, folks. We have plenty of fun planning and baby clothes loving to do.

ALSO. Our baby will have more stripes than me. Seriously, I think he's up to nine striped outfits, off the top of my head.

anyway, thanks for reading. thanks for your sweet comments, prayers and well-wishes. we love you! 

you better believe it.

and we're so excited!

Being far away from almost everyone we know, it's been easy to keep it to ourselves for a while! Due to our previous history, I have had a lot of ultrasounds and appointments. After we told our immediate family and then eventually extended family and a few others, it was still pretty easy to keep it to that. I was always like, "oh let's wait until our ultrasound next week or our next appointment." And then there was another ultrasound soon so....I was just lazy about it and kept waiting!

Last week at my 20 week appointment, they discovered a few things that indicated we could have some more issues with preterm labor, etc. They started me on some medication and put me on a moderate (as far as Dave is concerned, strict) bed rest. I had an appointment today so I decided that after that, I should stop putting it off! And today's appointment was good news of improvement and that what we're doing is working. And we hope it stays that way!

Of course we hope that this won't be followed up with anything but great news (knock on wood) (and that was a part of the delay to tell people, but really it was that I didn't feel a big rush), but we are fully expecting to meet this little baby in January! While we have learned that you can't always count on plans, we still want to celebrate this baby like anyone would when they are expecting a baby. And that includes sharing our news.

There is plenty more to write about, but for now, all you need to know is that if in the next few months you get a present from us, you should just know it will either be crocheted or cross stitched, since bed rest offers limited activity choice when combined with skill sets. :)

things for a tuesday.

I spent some time today on making (I use that term loosely) some new elements for my blog. What do you think? I wanted things to match more? And I like to change things up every once in a while. I'm not the first to use the rectangle buttons but I think they are clean and matchy. I'm trying to decide if having both pages and buttons make sense? Buttons, pages or leave as is? If anyone has any form of opinion, I'd love to hear!

Also, I appreciated your feedback on the constellation designs. I was surprised so many liked the first option over the other two. I like it, but it was my least favorite of the three. (not that it's a bad thing, I was just left questioning my taste?)  I just thought the embroidery hoops were a cool artistic choice. But I don't know what I am talking about, really.

But supplies have been purchased and as soon as I watch some YouTube clips on embroidery (it can't be thaaaat hard, right?), I will reveal which style I chose. Very dramatically, since you are sure to be wondering what I will do...

Though if your super good at inferring, you could probably give it a good guess.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about my new and hopefully improved layout.

constellation inspiration

I'm wanting to make a new something for a wall somewhere in our house and I'm loving the idea of doing something with cross stitching and constellations. I think they are fascinating and I think I made a new year's resolution to learn three constellations and find them in the sky. I think it came from around last Thanksgiving when I finally saw the entire Orion constellation in the way it's illustrated (if that makes sense). I then pointed it out to Dave every time I saw it for months (much to his delight, I'm sure). Draco was another one, but I never finished that goal. And...I haven't seen the night sky all that often in Portland so...perfect solution! Hang them on our walls!

I'm loving these three styles:

photo and project from here

photo and product from here

photo and product from here

So I am thinking of trying one of these styles and see if I can produce something that is remotely similar and worth looking at. Which style do you like best? 

Labor Day

For Labor Day we went on a ward bike ride and then had a picnic at a park near the river. It was a gorgeous day and it was fun to ride our bikes on the boardwalk, which we haven't done for a while. I love the view from the Willamette river, as I've mentioned before. We rode most the ride by ourselves as we got lost/separated from the group, but once we found the part of the boardwalk we usually go to, we found our way and caught up. It was a fun way to explore a little more of the riverfront.

I also made it to the park all by myself WITHOUT even going across a bridge on accident or getting on the freeway. Between our apartment and the park is the section of downtown that I have yet to truly conquer by myself. It's full of freeway onramps, bridges, busy roads and other crazy things. You gotta make your lane changes on time or you're off in another direction really fast. I was quite proud of myself.

The picnic was pretty good and then we enjoyed another delicious meal at Dave's parents, watched Sherlock Holmes 2 and ate a toooon of caramel popcorn. you know, the usual.

caramel popcorn

My friend Kristen shared this recipe with me last week and it was so good I thought I'd share. Hopefully this will save you some tears with your popcorn endeavors--it was easy! The original recipe included instructions for a crunchier popcorn. Dave and I prefer a softer popcorn, so the second time I made it I omitted some steps. I'll share both.

caramel popcorn

5 qts popped corn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels. I used a bit more the second time so we'd have more to eat)

1 cup butter
2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt

Melt together over medium heat in large pan (it boils high in the pan). Bring to a boil. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp baking soda (it will bubble up). Pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.

note: The second time I made it I boiled it over a lower heat for a minute less to guarantee a softer caramel/popcorn. 

for crunchier popcorn: 

Put popped corn in 250 degree oven while you make caramel. (in a roasting pan or something. I used a pyrex bowl). Return popcorn to oven for 15 minutes then stir. Repeat 2 more times for a total oven time of 45 minutes. I just did this for 15 minutes and called it good. It was delicious. 

However, we found the softer batch to be so perfect that we (including dave's parents/brother) ate so much of it. namely, all of it. 

thanks kristen! we're really loving this recipe.