Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name

I just learned that our brand-new baby's name means "poop sprayer" in the Mexican language of Nahuatl (not to be confused with "projectile vomitter," her middle name). Okay, well not really, but I did find out today that if there were such a name in some language of the world, it'd have been a really appropriate one to give her. I mean, sure, she'd be very likely to get laughed off the playground at school, but it would have fit her to a T. How did I learned this? Yeah, I recognize that most of you probably don't want to know, but I'm here to tell you anyway.

See, this afternoon I made the mistake of changing her diaper almost immediately after her nap (note to self: wait several minutes after nap before changing diapers). So, I'm wiping her itty-bitty, dimpled hindside (it really is quite cute when it's not spewing bodily fluids). I've got her leggies in my hands to hold her up a little while I swipe the unspeakables off her unmentionables. That's when she lets it all hang out - spray out, really. And, while I wasn't particularly pleased, I was thoroughly impressed by her "mad skillz". Girlfriend can really get some distance on dat SH*T (I try to keep the language clean on my blog, but I think we can agree the expression is appropriate here). I actually laughed - one of those shocked kinds of laughs. It was just too funny, in a nasty sort of way (luckily, the poo of breastfed infants is pretty "clean," even if it doesn't quite smell like roses).

So, if any of you actually have a stomach strong enough to have dealt with all that, and you're still here, I'll fill you in on some other (less messy) things happening at our place. I actually took a little walk through our much neglected garden this evening, hoping to find some basil for a cream sauce for dinner tonight. To my surprise, the recent change in weather (this is rainy-season around these parts) was good for several plants (mostly green-leafies). The basil was looking fabulous and the mint is practically taking over the garden. Picked a butternut squash, as well. Our winter squash is the one thing I'm happiest with. We've got tons of four different varieties of squash: hubbard, spaghetti, butternut and jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They'll keep us in soups and other yummies this winter, for sure. I made a delicious puree with a small hubbard yesterday. Just baked it in the oven till the rind was soft. Then, I spooned the soft flesh out, added salt, a little water and some cream. Delish.

On the knitting front, I've finished the front side of the little sweater I'm making for Lambchop #3. Now, I only have the arms to finish. That should go pretty quickly, considering how tiny her little armies are (yeah, I do realize everything has suddenly gotten sickeningly cute around here - "armies," "leggies," etc. - get used to it. I can't help myself.). Pictures of all the cuteness (minus the nastiness) will be coming soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Freudian Slip?

Last night just before serving dinner, I turned to my husband and apologetically said, "I think I overporked the cook." How's that for a Freudian Slip? Of course, it was really the pork that was overcooked, but it sure made for a nice excuse to explain the alternative meaning for pork* to my non-native-English-speaking husband. Good conversation starter, don't you think? Maybe I should try something like that at the next party I go to - because surely my American sense of humor doesn't get me enough odd looks here in France as it is.

I think I'll just leave this post short and sweet (a rare find around here). I don't have any pictures to share, anyway, since the camera batteries are dead. I hope to have some nice shots of a sweet baby in her new (as of yet not fully knit) sweater soon, though. I've finished the back and am up to the arm holes on the front. It's a pretty quick knit since it's tiny and in 2X2 ribbing.

*For those of my readers who are not native speakers of English, either, I'll fill you in on the meaning as well... it's a crude-sounding slang word for sex. A good example of the "proper" use of this word can be found in National Lampoon's European Vacation with Chevy Chase. It's part of a restaurant scene (the teenage boy says it). I believe that may have been the first time I ever heard the expression, actually. See how educational films can be?

Uh oh, does this post no longer qualify as "short and sweet," as I originally intended? See, I'm just not capable of that. What can I say, I've got the "gift of gab," right?

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Ever been "driven to distraction," as the saying goes? I'm pretty sure that "distraction" here means "crazy". And, with the three kids in the house, I guess you could have thought that I hadn't posted in so long for the simple reason that I had most likely been carted off in a paddy wagon by hefty men in white coats. Well, I haven't been - yet. I don't have a whole lot of extra time on my hands, though. Things like washing myself and cooking decent meals (and blogging) have sort of gone by the way side. Everything is still going well, though. The baby is amazing. She sleeps really well - well, as long as she's being held, which I don't really mind doing, since I have a baby scarf to strap her to me with. All the holding is good for making a nice, calm baby, too, so again, I don't mind at all. The other positive aspect to holding in a baby scarf a lot is that she hides my post-pregnancy figure for me - like I said, she's a real sweetie.

I've actually had a little knitting time these days. I can knit while holding her or nursing her on the couch, so I've gotten a decent amount done on my newest project. What is this newest project? Well, I noticed that she really needs a second sweater. The cotton baby kimono I made is great and fits her perfectly, but she spits up on it and we're in trouble. So, I pulled out some stash yarn and started up a little sweater for her. I've already finished the back, which is the beauty of baby sweaters. So fast. This one is done in ribbing, too, so it's a lot faster than those garter stitch things that are so popular for babies. Less tedious, too, since I can knit while watching tv a lot easier with ribbing than with garter stitch. I'm hoping to have this sweater finished by the beginning of next week. That'll give her somethign nice and warm to wear when the weather turns colder. I'd love to show to a picture of this little garment, but I sort of forgot to take one before uploading those I've recently taken of the baby.

Speaking of which... I'll share those, of course, you know, to distract you from the fact that there's no knitting to be seen here today. The first picture is what I'd like to call her pensive shot. I'm pretty sure we've created a genious baby (why else would she know better than to keep her mom and dad up all hours of the night?), so she's likely thinking very deep thoughts.

And, this second shot is something that makes me very happy. Lambchop #1 has been a bit jealous, and it's nice to see how she's getting over that little by little. She's become quite a good big sister, and is great at holding and soothing her little sister (which makes her very, very proud).

Well, before I head off for dinner (Southern fried chicken), I should thank you all for the nice comments on my baby announcement post. It's wonderful to see how many people actually care about my family and what goes on in it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's A...

(okay, this time I really mean it) GIRL! I could have sat here and tried to make you guess, based on this picture whether it's a girl or a boy, but that wouldn't have been to great, since she's not wearing anything girly, and I don't want you to tell me, "Oh, it's definitely a boy... I mean, look how masculine..." or something like that. So, I won't hold any surprises here (well, except her real name, which, I'll just say it very pretty - oh, the torture).

So, even though I was having very irregular contractions all day on Labor Day, and the doctors most likely wouldn't have really called that "labor," I'm pretty sure it was the real thing. It just took a while to really get going, and by that night around 9 or 10 pm, I was having them much more regularly. They continued on throughout the night and the next day. It was a long labor but not particularly difficult till the end. I never had contraction any closer than about 5 minutes apart until the last half-hour. And, our newest pride and joy decided to come on out around 2:50 pm on Tuesday.

I have to make this quick, because there are kids to get to bed and a baby to nurse, so here's the skinny on the new little lambchop:

weight: 3.41 kilos (7.52 lbs)
length: 50 cm (19.69 inches)

And, she's calm and sweet (as all my kids have been at birth - lucky me!).

Monday, September 04, 2006

Could It Be?

Is it actually possible that I may have been right that the baby was waiting for Labor Day to go into labor? It's technically Labor Day in the US now, even if the country is enjoying a collective slumber. And, this morning, I awoke extra early to some contractions that differed in intensity from those I have felt thus far. They're not particularly regular at the moment, which is how things started off with Lambchop #2's birth, too. So, I'm thinking today may actually be the day. Don't quote me on that, though, because the baby could just be messing with us again.

Even if it's the mischievous type that would toy with its mommy's emotions even before coming out of the womb, it's at least a considerate younger sibling. I say this because it allowed me to get the kids off to their *contraction* first day of school today. I was really pleased to be able to do that, especially since it's Lambchop #2's first day ever. It's really just preschool, but everyone sends their kids to school at the age of three here, and he actually does seem really excited about it. He's had the privilege of being able to see the place each day when we've taken his sister, and there have been many times when he didn't want to leave. So, today, he's got his chance to stay and see how it all goes. The only worry I have is that he's not fully potty-trained yet. We've tried, but I didn't want to force the issue. Then, when he got sick this summer, it all went down the tubes. This morning, though, he woke up with a fully clean diaper and emptied his bladder on the potty like a big boy. So, there's hope, afterall, and he may just get to stay on in class (they don't take them if they aren't potty-trained). We'll see. It won't kill me if he has to start later, anyway, but since he seems so excited about the idea, I'm betting he'll be potty-trained pretty quickly here. Will that be his gift to Mommy for the birth of the new baby?

Well, I should try to get lunch cooked in advance and maybe throw in a few chores before I'm possibly forced to leave the house for the clinic. I hope everyone has enjoyed their long weekend in the US and continues to enjoy the rest of it. If we're lucky, we can all enjoy the fruits of our labors on this day (especially me!!).

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I know that the baby is comfortably surrounded by warm amniotic fluid, and everything it hears must sound pretty muffled, but I believe there has been a slight misunderstanding. I'm starting to think that a) because I speak English a lot, the baby thinks we must be in the US and b) it has mistaken the meaning of the holiday that falls on Monday. I mean, sure, it can be confusing when a pregnant lady talks about "Labor Day". I can understand that, but it's celebrated in May here in France, so I'm not sure why the baby seems to be (possibly) determined to actually go into labor ON Labor Day.

I'd gladly settle for tonight or tomorrow. Would even prefer it that way, since school starts on Monday, and I'd rather it be Mommy or Daddy that takes the kids there for their first day (even if it's not likely to be me). But, hey, I guess Monday would be better than, say sometime after my parents show up (on the 7th). Of course, maybe the baby can hear better than we think and decided that for Mommy to remain sane, she's going to need her own mommy here to help. Yeah, that could be why it's waiting as long as possible before coming out. Seriously, though, I think I can hack it for a few days. Really.

I'm going to end this at this totally random-seeming spot right here. I can't think of anything else to say. Shows you my state of mind these days. I actually reread yesterday's post a bit and realized my thoughts were all over the place, and it showed. I guess a blog is a good record of a person's current mental state. And, since we all know I'm totally incoherent, I think I'll head off to knit on something uncomplicated.

Friday, September 01, 2006

On the Brink

I'd like to be able to tell you I am currently on the brink of giving birth to a happy, healthy, brand-spankin'-new baby. Or maybe on the brink of some great epiphany. Heck, I'd settle for being on the brink of having the house all clean and organized. Instead, though, all I can say is that what I'm most likely on the brink of is insanity. I've still got six hours till midnight (and would therefore no longer be giving birth on the date predicted by the Silly Sticks - or maybe I should hold off on insulting them till at least 12:01), but I've so far never had a fast labor, and I can't see how that would start now - though, you never know. My problem is that I can't seem to concentrate on any one task. Sure, I've maintained the cleanish state of the kitchen (for the most part) and I have washed and folded a few loads of laundry, but there is so much more I could do with my day but just can't concentrate on. I really should just go sit down and knit, since that would be a good way to occupy myself, but I'm having trouble justifying it, when I still haven't gotten the house as clean as I'd like. Can anyone offer motivation that can out-do the antsiness? I can't seem to find any.

So, instead of doing something productive, I've decided to share the pictures of my newest knitting projects (finished and unfinished), plus a little something extra just for fun. I was considering posting a picture of my house-sized mid-section, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it after seeing the picture. I know that many people may even be starting to wonder if this whole pregnancy thing is just a big hoax designed to lure you back to my blog as often as possible. The picture would have given you proof, but you'll just have to wait for a shot of the newest Lambchop when it decides to grace us with its presence (surely it'll be more photogenic than its mommy at this stage of enormousness pregnancy).

Bootie Call:

Now, without further ado (aka blabbering), I bring you my newest knitted goodies. First up is the finished pair of baby socks. It's the ruffle baby sock from the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits. Not a bad pattern, I think. I didn't modify a darn thing aside from the yarn, which is Knit Picks Essential in Fawn. All in all, I liked the knitting of them, and I like the finished product. I think the cast-off row is particularly interesting (zigzag cast-off to close the toe without sewing). I wasn't sure how I liked the appearance, which is growing on me, but what I really enjoyed was the fact that you don't need to sew anything up to finish the sock. Also, I can easily remember how to do that zigzag cast-off, whereas I always have to look up the grafting kind of approach to closing a toe. I'm all for not having to get out the books, you know?

Next up is the Durrow sweater (you guys have a great memory for the things I'm knitting - or neglecting, as the case may be - see the previous post's comments if you have no clue what I'm talking about.) from Mag Knits. Every time I look at this sweater again, I fall in love with it a little more. Probably what has prompted me to continue making it, despite my doubts about how well it'll be cared for, is the idea of seeing it on my husband. I just think it'll look great on him, but we'll have to see if the vision in my head will match reality at all. And, what's really nice at the moment is that the body is just a bunch of ribbing that is good for my current antsy state of mind.

The last knitting picture of the day is a total surprise - even to me. I got in the mood the other day to do some dyeing and went for it. It took me a very long time to decide to actually dye this yarn. It was such a beautiful color of white, and the fact that it's 100% alpaca gave it a lovely halo. Now that it's dyed, though, I'm very glad I did it, and I love the colors. They are soft and muted for KoolAid, I think, and I had to start knitting something with this yarn immediately. Unfortunately, I only have about 625 yards of it, which appears to be just enough to make a little v-neck sweater vest. I'd much rather have a full, long-sleeved sweater, but I'm not going to complain. Guess I'll just have to find some long-sleeved shirts that might look nice with it, right? An excuse for shopping? Hmmm.

And, now for a little bit of fun. You may remember a while back, I met Street Walker Barbie and her good friend Tattoo Barbie. Because they don't seem to be sold in "a store near you," I said I'd take a picture of the two of them to allow you to see what they look like. Now, they appear to be a little camera shy, because it took quite a while to get them to pose for me. I think it had something to do with the fact that Tattoo Barbie was completely naked (or perhaps Street Walker Barbie was afraid her parents would find out her real job is, indeed, not librarian at a school for the deaf). No doubt Street Walker Barbie would have had few qualms showing up on the net in the buff, but Tattoo Barbie is apparently a bit more modest. So, last night, I threw some clothes on her (sorry I couldn't find the bikini top that matches her shorts, but at least you can still see the tattoos). They did, however, decline any interviews. The only words I could get out of them were the following turn-ons and turn-offs.

Street Walker Barbie:

Turn-ons: Pink hot pants
Turn-offs: What's that?

Tattoo Barbie:

Turn-ons: Body Piercings and Harleys
Turn-offs: Suits and Ties (unless, of course, you discover a tattoo or ten hidden beneath)

A little note about these dolls: I swear I did nothing to alter their appearance (aside from dressing Tattoo Barbie to avoid making this into some kind of twisted porn site). I noticed them while chatting with my brother on the phone on my birthday. He was quite concerned about the fact that Lambchop #2 (my son) was playing with them. I assured him all was quite right with the world, because he instantly began undressing Street Walker Barbie (as she intended). Perhaps I was wrong, though. All is not quite right with the world when manufacturers of doll clothes can't come up with designs a little less hideous than these.

I'll leave you with a little apology: I have no time to reread this post for errors, so please excuse any if you find them.

Hate To Keep You In Suspense

But, there's not much to tell today. I've been asked in the comments if there's a baby in these here parts yet. Unfortunately, the answer is no. I'd love to tell you the suspenseful wait is over, and we've got a girl (or is it a boy?), but I can't. Today is, however, D-Day as far as the witch stick prediction goes (remember my father-in-law with the divining rods? He/the sticks think that the baby should come today). So, we'll at least know if there's anything to that old superstition, right? Of course, as my husband said, he didn't have a million choices of dates when he did it, either. So, it'll be fun to see how his prediction turns out. I did have lots and lots of contractions yesterday, which I was hoping was a sign that I'd get to run off to the clinic in the night, but no such luck. In fact, they pretty much stopped altogether while I slept (or, at least, I didn't feel them, and if you've ever been through labor, you know that's not likely to happen if it's the real thing).

I do have a little bit of knitting to show, though, which will have to wait until I get the camera out for a photo shoot (hopefully later this morning). I finished a little project, which is the nice thing about little projects - they get finished quickly most of the time. I also did some yarn dyeing and started knitting with that yarn right away, since I just couldn't resist. Then, there's the amazing news that I started the body on a sweater for my husband. It's amazing news, because it's the sweater (the name of the pattern currently escapes me, but I'll link to it when I take the picture) I was knitting last winter when my husband misplaced his recently hand-knitted cashmere/wool winter cap only to find that the dog had chewed a huge hole in it. I swore I'd not knit him another thing now that I knew how well he'd take care of stuff. I knew (and most likely blogged about the fact) that I would someday knit for him again. Because, you know, he's so darn cute and irresistible, plus the fact that he's got no decent sweaters anymore. They've all become "work" sweaters, and since his job is a physical one, that's not a good sign. I can't bear to send him to a wine show with a holey sweater to show off to his customers just how artisanally his wine is made (he's really close to nature and all - you know, on great terms with the moths that he feeds daily). Besides, the yarn is pretty large (knit on 5mm/size 8 US) needles, and the body is just ribbing (ha! I typoed "fibbing"), so, it's pretty fast, mindless knitting for me.

So, if we're lucky, you'll see another post later today with pictures of all the fun stuff I've been up to this week. And, if we're REALLY lucky, I'll be at the clinic, and you won't see a single knitting picture today. Only time will tell...