Knits With Benefits

Mrs. Beeton with a Modern Twist

Today was an exciting day- it was the first day of baby sign language class! (Is anyone really surprised that my baby’s learning languages already?)

Before I continue, there’s something you should understand about this Panda Bear. Ever since she was about 3 months old, she’s decided she only needs to poop about once or twice a week. This means that those poops are gigantic. Without exaggerating, I can tell you that last week’s poop exploded out of her disposable diaper and all the way up to her armpits. We had to hose her down in the shower after that one.

So, before we left for class this morning, I knew that we were due for a poop and made sure to throw a change of clothes for her in the diaper bag. I’ve gotten out of the habit of bringing a change of clothes because she poops so infrequently. All I can say is thank goodness I remembered.

We got to class, sat down, and the more I was smelling- the more I realized it may be prudent to do a diaper change before sitting with a baby in my lap for an hour. Wise decision mama, wise decision. It was another poopsplosion, that’s for sure. Not quite up to the armpits, but when you’re trying to change the diaper in a public restroom, I think that automatically adds about half the volume of poop just because of the sheer awkwardness factor.

We got everything changed, awkwardly. Baby girl decided she hated this particular changing venue (I can’t say that I blame her), and cried and screamed. I tried putting the new clothes on her, but they’re the snapping kind and I got the snaps all criss-crossed and said to heck with it, I’m not making this baby cry even more over some snaps!

We finally got back to the classroom, sat down, and I spent the next hour finding more and more places where the poop was still lingering. There was a place here on her leg, and there on my sleeve. I found a spot on my hand and her shoulder. And then, of course, once I knew it was still there, I was convinced I could still smell it. So basically, I should win the mother of the year award because my kid and I just sat through an hour long sign language class with poop clothes.
Update: That was Thursday, and on Saturday, while we were sitting in baby music class, I found more poop, on her hat.

2015 was pretty awesome- it’s going to be pretty difficult for 2016 to compete. in 2015 we had a baby, L got a great new job, and we moved back across the country (compliments of said new job).


Let’s be honest: my true goal for 2016 is to keep everyone alive. I’ve done a pretty good job for the last six months and change- I’d like to continue that theme. However, I would like to do a little more than just survive. To that end:


My theme for 2016 will be CHERISH. I want to cherish the time I have with my little one before I have to go back to work, not knowing how long that will be. I want to cherish the new home that we’re creating in this part of the country. I want to cherish the time I have with friends and family, since I missed out on the last 3.5 years living in Pittsburgh. I want to cherish the things I make for my family and myself- be it food, knitting, sewing, or something else. I want to cherish the weather here and the opportunities we will have to be outside. I want to cherish the wonderful neighbors we have in our new neighborhood and not take anything for granted.

Finally, I want to cherish the small moments I have to myself, and use them to recharge my introverted batteries!


In short… Everything. And everything has been good.


UntitledIn the middle of September, L traveled across the country to interview for a new job back in our home state, near our hometowns. A week later he had a job offer and four weeks after that we were on a plane, moving to a new home. We sold our house, moved into a rental in our new town and are trying to adjust to life three time zones away (plus daylight savings time, ugh!), back on the west coast. We’re near my family and some of Luke’s family (the rest of his actually moved away in the time we lived in Pittsburgh), and adjusting to a new daily schedule, new house, new everything.     Untitled

Some of us are adjusting better than others!

In short, it’s wonderful. Challenging? sure. If you’re ever thinking about moving across the country with a four-month-old, my biggest tip would be to not do it unless it’s absolutely necessary. But — we don’t have to spend another winter in Pittsburgh with an infant, and we’ve got help now, if we need it. The plane ride was absolutely horrific (we were the people on the plane with the baby and two cats in the cabin- so sorry to the rest of the plane!), but it was over in a few hours. And now we’re here!


Now that we’re out of the newborn stage, I feel like I can come up for air a little more often. Not too much, mind you, but a little. We’re trying to figure out what our new normal is- something that I think is probably pretty much always changing when a baby is around anyway. I’ve done some knitting, some cooking, and a little bit of introspection about what this new normal looks like. Stay tuned!

{I wrote this about three weeks ago, and then in the interim about 2/3 of the post was eaten by the internet. Here is what remains!}
UntitledThis week, my baby girl turned two months old. Blog radio silence has been for a good reason- I’m completely and utterly in love with this small person and also a touch on the exhausted side. The past two months have been amazing. I’ve loved learning more about our little Panda Bear, and watching her learn more about the world around her.   Untitled
Until she was about 6 weeks old, she was not a happy baby. At our 1-month appointment, the doctor said her symptoms sounded like reflux and we tried a dietary remedy. She got worse and worse until we finally tried reflux meds. While I was reluctant to medicate my tiny baby at first, it has made such a difference!

I’ve been pregnant now for almost 25 weeks, which means I have about 3.5 more months to go (if everything goes as planned).

The first trimester wasn’t that much fun. It was never-ending nausea combined with actual cold illness (nausea & a stuffed nose is a TERRIBLE combination), and serious uncertainty as to the viability of the pregnancy. The animals seemed to know right away, and they’ve all started treating me differently. River treats me much more gently, most of the time, than all the other people that she knows, and Hela-the-aloof spends a lot more time near me than she ever has before. More about Simon-the-snuggle-whore further down.

The second trimester has been much better. While I wouldn’t say I have a TON of energy, I can at least knit again and leave the house periodically on weekends if I’d like. After the anatomy scan (It’s a girl!), things have all seemed a lot more real and I think we’ve both felt more comfortable acknowledging this is really happening, after the extreme doubt and uncertainty of the first trimester.

We’ve started to feel her kick (and poke, and roll around, and who knows what else she’s doing in there)! One of Simon’s favorite games is to knead his little paws like crazy on my stomach. This wakes up baby girl and she starts kicking back- essentially, it feels like they’re playing soccer with my belly button.

I haven’t had too many cravings, which is probably nice. Instead, I find that my taste preferences have changed, in some ways. I used to have this crazy sweet tooth- I’d eat anything sweet, all day long. But now sweet things really don’t do it for me. Ice cream is one exception- it’s the only thing that will reliably settle my stomach these days. Also raspberries. I never used to like raspberries all that much, but I pretty much think they’re the best thing ever right now.


What have I been knitting? Still not as much as I usually would. I think all my extra energy and thought power is going straight into my belly for baby-growing. Still, I have one finished thing:


A Newborn Vertebrae (rav link) for Baby Girl. River loves to help, as you can see. I’m working on a couple of blankets and another sweater for her as well- more to come as they come off the needles.


Baby Preparation: I think I’ve convinced Mr. Dad that cloth diapering is the way to go, after a cloth diapering orientation at a local CD store. In the next few weeks there are several consignment sales for kids things in the area, so we’re going to hit those up to make sure our little one has some clothes to wear. And then, next month means birthing classes, etc.

I wrote this about a month and a half ago- but we’ve been having some computer difficulties, so here it finally is- my 2014 year in review!

It’s been quite a year!

Started out by quitting my job/life’s work and being VERY discouraged at the prospect of finding a new job. When I finally did fine something it was… less than optimal, although River and I did get to go to work together.

Then, I found a new job and things started looking up! I’m working for a large technology company- doing customer support. I was promoted very rapidly, and now am a team lead for the larger CS team and also in charge of all of our Content (and a team of Content Strategists).

This year was largely about this Job (capital J)- it took up so much of my time and energy, I don’t feel like I had much of any time to myself.

We still did some fun things-

My dad came to visit in the spring, and we went to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He loved taking a picture of Duane Allman’s guitar. My Grandma came to visit, and we took her around to some of the local museums- she charmed her way through, as usual. Luke’s parents came for a visit as well- we took them to the local conservatory, which was super fun.

We took a day trip to Lake Erie, and River had the time of her life. Man, that dog LOVES to swim.

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After we lost Webster (which was not a fun thing), we were all so lonely without him that we adopted this little bugger:

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Simon’s a little bit like Webster- enough that he keeps Webster’s memory alive in a wonderful way- but he also very much has his own personality and that’s great too.

I got new glasses and dyed my hair red- it was time for a new look!


I got to travel to the San Francisco Bay area for work in September, which is Luke’s old stomping grounds. Since I was there for 2 weeks, he came out to visit over the weekend I was there. Even though I came down with an awful cold, we were still able to visit some of his friends and he showed me some of the sights.

(Apparently the terrible cold also impacted my ability to take a picture that wasn’t crooked– which could also be attributed to the fact that I did NOT want to get out of the car)

And then, when I got back from CA, this happened, and it’s been pretty much all we’ve been able to think about since:


Baby Girl, estimated date of arrival: June 19, 2015.

It’s been a while because I haven’t wanted to write this post. Here it is.

A couple months ago, we lost Webster to what appeared to be a heart attack. I know this makes me an extremely fortunate person, but it was one of the saddest days of my entire life.

We had known that his heart wasn’t working quite the way it should for a while, and tried to make sure to keep him away from anything that would stress him out too much. The last time we saw the vet they told me his heart could basically give out at any time– and that was two years ago (the vet stressed him out like none other- they told me just to keep him away from them if at all possible).

When it happened, we were all together at home– he wasn’t alone, and it was swift. That’s all we could have asked for, really. I’m glad he didn’t have a long, drawn out illness. I think the suffering was minimal, and I’m just glad Luke and I were here with him.

It’s been a couple months, so we’re getting through it. That first week or so was very rough, and I still have some really bad days where I just miss him a lot- but it’s getting better.

The other day we were talking about him and I think we summed him up perfectly. Luke said, “Webster lived life on his own terms,” to which I responded, “No, Webster made all of us live life on his terms!” Which is true. He did his own thing, but he enriched our lives by being just the way he was. My Grandma called him “a cat of distinction,” and that is exactly what he was.

A few weeks, we got Chinese takeout for dinner. This was my fortune:

It was very appropriate, because that day was the last day of my part-time interim job and the last weekend before starting a new job that is pretty awesome. It’s still not a perfect dream job, but it’s just about right for right now.

Last week I officially moved out of training status and into full-fledged doing my job status and that feels nice.

For this former-grad-student, it’s amazing to actually be working set hours, and to be getting paid for those hours. Having two real paychecks is amazing!

Everyone here is starting to get along better. I think of it as a cat-dog detente.


Webster and River are getting (a little) better at lap-sharing. It mostly involves Webster pretending that River doesn’t exist and River staring longingly at her fluffy play thing. Hela is even getting better with River- and the two girls are even starting to play together! Play consists of Hela teasing River by hiding under a chair or running around in front of the dog and then running away when River comes after her. It’s pretty funny.

I’ve been knitting like crazy- not all of the knitting I can show. I knit a sweater for the Olympics, but I don’t have a picture of that yet. (But here’s River helping me with the knitting!)

And I’ve finished some socks. Here’s one of the pairs I was talking about in my video post:

That Ottoman is River’s spot so it gets dirty- but I promise it’s not that filthy anymore… ewww.

Have a great day, to all you in internet land!