I was organizing my craft room the other day when I re-discovered a tote chock full of the pom-pom or bunny tail yarn. It’s basically been calling my name ever since, so I decided to finally put it to use and make another blanket.
Years ago, literally, I found an awesome pattern for making a baby blanket on the diagonal – which looks super cute with the pom poms – but I couldn’t find it anywhere! I thought I had downloaded it to my computer, then realized that was my computer with the exploded battery so it was all but lost on the interwebs. Then I remembered that I linked to it on my blog, so searched for that post and voila’, back in business. Was kind of cool finding my blog on Google search results too. First page, might I add. Probably why that’s one of my most popular blog posts, ever.
I am pretty sure that blanket was my first attempt at knitting anything other than a scarf and I almost quit a dozen times. I clearly remember it taking forever and being very frustrated, the movements and circular needles felt foreign, having learned to crochet first. I actually didn’t pick up knitting needles for another four years after finishing the blanket (and now I love both knitting and crocheting, but that’s a post for another day).
That blanket was my favorite to use for so long! The poms made it super thick and warm, perfect for our Winter spent in Washington. And it made an amazing pack and play “padded sheet” for a while there when he was transitioning to napping on his own – something that didn’t last for long! And best of all, it held up to machine washing and drying, although any I keep for myself in the future will be air dried, for sure.
So here’s what I have so far on the new one. I am one and a half skeins into a six skein blanket, which is more than the pattern calls for, but I wanted a very generous sized blanket. It’s super easy, really. Casting on the first stitch was the most difficult part, and I definitely encourage you to use Youtube to see how others have done it if you don’t have much knitting experience.
Anyway, back to knitting now. This blanket will make it into my Etsy shop in the next couple of days, but for now, the kiddo is feeling unwell with a fever for the second day in a row and this momma’s got a cup of coffee calling her name. Last night’s insomnia-induced 1am bedtime is not treating me very well today. Thank you, hormones and anxiety and life, thank you very much.
[Caution, rambling post ahead dealing with topics such as trying to conceive, baby loss and what not.]
We took a break from trying for a baby this month. Not on purpose; because the husband was across the country for work during the go-zone. It honestly feels like this is the longest two week wait in the history of ever, ever, because there’s literally 0% chance this month. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good knowing but also feels like such a waste of time. Our son is four, just about to be four and a half. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be starting over from scratch when my kid was essentially in Kindergarten. If we ever beat infertility and get to that point, that is.
Also did not dream up the divorce, or the time it took to get remarried or the losses or anything else that happened in between. If I wasn’t so sure about homeschooling the kid, I would probably get him enrolled in public school and pursue a new career. Be a “one and done” family, because after loss it pretty clearly feels like a closed door. Regardless, I would love love to study psychology in more depth than my animal health science degree allowed. But… there’s really no point if I can’t put it to use, is there? How would it look to get a degree now and not be able to use it for a decade, or more or who knows when because life as a whole is excellent at orchestrating plot twists?
Plus there’s the whole really can’t afford it thing. Is financial assistance for second degrees even a thing? Sounds a bit selfish but I would totally be all over that. Too scared to Google it. I suppose I am much more comfortable in the unknown. I do still think it royally unfair that we are supposed to know at eighteen what we want to do with our whole lives. Especially since despite having a passion for veterinary medicine and being very naturally skilled at blood draws, catheters and the like, it doesn’t fit who I am or what I want out of life anymore. I have a bachelors degree and licensure with my state and still cannot afford to put my kid in daycare to work. It’s madness. Props to all the technicians out there working their butts off for beans. It is definitely a calling and I have been called to something else.
So why do I feel so dissatisfied?
There’s certainly a bitterness that comes with pregnancy loss because none of this should even be an issue right now. I should have a five month old baby and be in the trenches of new-again motherhood but that’s not how it worked out for us. And I find myself drumming the keyboard at that thought because it just is. I wouldn’t wish losing a baby on my worst enemy, especially not three and especially not when the culture of our society is such that their lives were barely valid because they were never born. And I don’t know my point in writing this. Sometimes things just need to be written down and I suppose I am back to writing again, if only for now, because I have accumulated too many things to say.
I do know I am not exactly where I want to be in life and it’s hard. Because there’s nothing I can actually do about it. I feel like God has me in a holding pattern and I want to break free but I know that’s not the right answer either so I’m just waiting and waiting and that has never been a strength of mine. I have prayed for direction more times than I can count and last I heard over six months ago now was “REST.”
And I really did the best I could at doing just that.. maybe it wasn’t enough.
I have always had a green thumb. I kept an ivy plant alive for four years while away at college, reminding my mom to water it for me while I was away for extended periods of time. It only died when I moved across the country, leaving it solely in my mom’s hands. No great loss. I had won it at a carnival.
So when the husband decided to start a garden, I was psyched. I’ve grown basil and mint in pots before, but nothing on a larger scale. Please enjoy my wordy and honest memoir of starting our first home garden.
Step one. Putting up the fence. The littlest sister just so happened to be visiting for the weekend and we got to work installing a rickety wood fence, which has since come in handy with keeping the puppy and preschooler out.
Step two. Pulling all the visible weeds; and the ground was essentially a tiny forest of them. Tons and tons of mallow and stinging nettle. Tea anyone? (Here comes mistake number one, are you ready?) So once all the weeds were pulled we had what we assumed was a blank canvas. We were wrong. The weeds we didn’t see much of – nutgrass – took full advantage of being broken up by the tilling and the fact that they are tubers and came back in the hundreds. I could literally go out and pull 100 tiny nutgrass plants, easy. And that doesn’t solve the problem because they leave shoots underground much like bermuda grass. Let my first suggestion be, if you’re totally new, like me, and dedicating a new space to be a garden, let the weeds grow at least one full year and get them identified via an online plant ID group before doing any tilling. So not worth it. Especially since I’m not using any unnatural herbicides/insecticides because that defeats the whole purpose of a home garden.
Step three. Create the rows. The husband swears by this method and since I have zero experience growing plants outside of pots, I let him do whatever he wanted. He briefly mentioned making circle mounds, and I had not idea how this would have worked and I guess he decided against them.
Step four. Start the seeds. I’m just kidding, this should probably be done before you get the space for the garden ready. If you’re using miniature greenhouses like we did to start seeds, you’ll need to get them going about two weeks before you plan to transplant them into the garden, at a minimum. Honestly, I’m not sure when we did this all in relation to getting the garden ready. I think our baby plants were probably older than they needed to be. I also got half of my seeds from the dollar section at Target because I was really only intending to see if I could get things to grow. All of our current tomato plants, most of our cucumbers, and the watermelon plants came from the Target dollar spot. I definitely now recommend buying seeds from the garden center at any major retailer. At least then you know what variety you are working with. My husband is still a bit bothered that I can’t remember for sure if the tomatoes are beefsteaks or not. The package said organic tomatoes! I started them in a windowsill.. I guess that’s mistake number two, technically. Know what you’re planting. Also document in your phone when you start the seeds, so you know when they should be ready for harvesting. If you’re not buying them at Target, the package will tell you how many days away that should be. If you are buying them at Target, good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Step Five. Get ready to transplant and be sure to use markers! I went rogue and planted tomatoes from a cut up cherry tomato because that store-bought package had a really good taste and don’t exactly remember where I put them. Mistake number three.. I mean, I’m pretty sure because I’ve got clusters of little sprouts coming up in four places but theres also a two foot section of row on a different row that I also planted them and there’s nothing there so far. Mystery plants for the win!
Step Six. Buy cages for any vining plants and install them pretty soon after transplanting, if not at the same time. We did not use cages for our cucumbers and now the husband is saying we need to wrangle them into plant bras or else the cucumbers will rot!!! Exclamation point!! So use the cages and avoid mistake number four. We also got the cages that we did use from his mom because I wasn’t keen on spending a dollar more than we needed to. They’re old, and they are completely mismatched and a couple may be too small, but they will work for this year!
Step Seven. Water. You would think this would be obvious but after about two weeks I did forget and the poor plants went about four days without anything to drink. Thankfully still cool enough that nothing died. Keeping count? That’s mistake five and the last one I do believe.
Step Eight. Continue weeding. This never ends apparently. I mean, I knew that but was not prepared to discover a dozen new to me species of invasive weeds, a new one taking over after the last has been pulled every single time. Definitely think about going full nerd and joining that plant ID group on Facebook. They help. We will probably be trying some newspaper to cover the rows and see if that helps.
Step Nine. Prepare to battle pests. We’ve had cutworms kill two cucumbers and three watermelon plants. Just hacked them off at the base of the plant. They also pooped all over the broccoli leaves. Rude. Just rude. There’s insect ID groups on Facebook you can join. They’re pretty great at helping when all your little plants are in jeopardy and every morning you go out to find more basically chopped down. The husband also had me go out and buy thin dowels and bird flash tape to keep birds at bay. They haven’t been a problem so far, but I’m not sure they would have been anyway.
Step Ten. Harvest. This is when writing down dates can be important, but really it’s obvious when a tomato is ready to pick. The only trouble I ran into was the carrots, because those aren’t so obvious. Husband wants to pick them now but they need another two weeks.
So there you have it. Maybe this will help you on your new gardening adventure or maybe you smiled at how many mistakes we made along the way. In any case, it’s really awesome when you need lettuce for a salad or sandwich and you can just walk to the backyard and pick a few leafs off the plant. Still waiting to be able to do that with everything else, but we did get a late start..
I haven’t written in ages, and surprisingly this half-life blog still gets views on a daily basis. How? Who are you?… I suppose if I have to ask, I’ll never know.
Seems I only post to write vague updates and this will be no great exception. I don’t even bother saying I’ll try to write more anymore because it’s just not true.. If you follow me on Instagram @Finity113, or my private trying to conceive account, @ttc.rainbow.roe most of this will be old news, but for those of you who don’t already know me over there, let’s jump right in.
We moved back to our home town. I wasn’t sold on the idea but we had been considering buying a house since this time last year and as soon as we walked in the door here, we knew it was ours. I have five words to accurately sum up my first impression: Craft room. Built in bookshelves. Sold! Plus living in the same town as all of my husband’s family is nice, considering all of mine now live 3 hours or three days plus away by car.
So we bought the house and it’s been about three months and it’s crazy. Double the space of our apartment, complete with a garage, back and front yard.. You know, all the standard things. My dad and uncle both told me that wherever you stand, you’ll see something that either needs repairing, improving or replaced and it is so true.
We planted a garden. It’s been a huge learning experience. Perhaps a 30′ by 20′ garden was unrealistic for our first year here but it’s nice, aside from all the weeds. Someone in my online gardening group told me to expect to spend an hour out there weeding daily. Um.. what?
We got a puppy! She’s a six month old, lab/husky mix and her name is Tippy. If you think that is a stupid name, don’t look at me because I did not pick it out. But I did pick her out at the shelter and aside from treating ringworm for an entire effing month it’s been great. And nobody else in the household caught it from her so that felt a little like winning.
We were diagnosed with secondary infertility. Well… I guess I was. I am all of twenty-eight years old and taking hormone replacement therapy because my “pituitary essentially stopped talking to my ovaries” after our losses last year. My doctor’s words, not mine. Neither of my two fertility doctors has said the term pre-menopausal, but isn’t that exactly what’s going on? No? All I know is that the hormones help with everything from my anxiety to PMS to weight gain..
Also found out the husband and I both have the homozygous C677T MTHFR mutation, which is pretty much the worst of those mutations to have. It almost guarantees any baby we have will be homozygous at well, which puts a fetus at increased risk of death, which is pretty much the cherry on top of a craptastic year as far as pregnancy and loss goes.
Speaking of which, it’s been 333 days since before we experienced the loss of our girl, “Firefly” at 13 weeks. And everything’s changed. So.. coming up on the one year anniversary of her death and I am half waiting for the meltdown and half hoping that I have healed enough that there won’t be one. I am channeling that energy into a local pregnancy loss ministry. I’m actually a board member, fancy that! I’ve been thinking of giving all of our lost babies proper names and will need to sit down with DH and do that, if only just for us and them.
And perhaps the last big update for now, not only am I a stay at home mom again, (which doesn’t sound nearly as cool when your only kid is four..) but will also be homeschooling said kid. *gasp* I know, right?
Soo… Yeah. That’s about everything I’ve got to say right now. Thanks for reading, stranger.
I renewed my blog. Not because I am sure I will write more than I did last year…or write at all to be honest. I have a lot of content here that I’m not ready to lose, backed up or not. And I will always have more to say.
Last year was terrible. My faith in God tested in more ways that I care to recount, but I made it through. Most of us, at the very least, made it through. But now, I don’t know what I want this blog to be.. I leaned heavily on Instagram as my platform of choice to share my year – participating in project 366 – and lost my voice in a way. Photo comments can only say so much, even with a picture being worth 1,000 words. And there is always, always that undertone of playing to a particular audience. Can’t post baby-loss stuff lest my mom think I need to see a shrink (not that there is anything wrong with counseling.) Can’t post my proud mom moments because I might offend my loss mommas who don’t yet have a child in their arms. I posted every day, challenge completed successfully, and I think it was just enough to be a lifeline; just enough to pull myself through the darkness of career upheaval, general life struggles and pregnancy losses.
Anyway, I am a writer by default. Rambling through life to the best of my ability. I’m hopeful this year will contain more joy than the last three combined and considering recent history, I’m really not asking for a whole lot.