Friday, 30 December 2011

12 12s in 2012

Because I love Americans and their self imposed rules, here are my New Year's Resolutions, which are mostly to do with knitting and cooking.  Of course.

12 unread books read (easy peasy, I have about 50 on my shelves at the moment)
12 babygros made (sewn) (easy, lucky Amanda)
12 meals from Nigella's Kitchen book  (easy)
12 pounds lost (see above) (hmm)
12 jumpers knitted (baby, adult, child) (hmm)
12 knitted things for Lucy (not the blanket)
12 knitted things for Hattie  (easy)
12 individual socks (possibly pairs) (not a chance)
12 weeks no yarn buying (except to finish projects, otherwise they become WIPs and part of the problem, not the solution) (consecutive?)
12 patterns used (easy)
12 blog posts a month (hmm)
12 other things (tbd, who can say?)

I've set myself another couple of challenges, such as "Make 12 full sized adult jumpers/cardigans in a year" and "Knit something during the massive waste of money, good lord what were we thinking marvellous celebration of sport that is the Olympics" and "Make 26 things from your Ravelry queue, what do you mean you want to make 100 things, are you insane?", as well as, you know, looking after the girls, cooking, working, Rainbows and training to be a Rainbow leader, Junior Church and housework. 

Good thing I thrive on stress really.

Making things for fun and profit

This year has been a bit of a successful one for making and sewing and creating, and most importantly selling.  I've been making baby gros with lovely things on them for friends for ages but not really doing very much else with them.  My friends love them, their babies tolerate them, and I have fun making them.  Then my friend Amanda opened an online shop, and she is selling them for me.  So far, I have sold two, and I feel as proud as anything.  I am still making them for friends, of course, but getting money for doing something fun is the best thing in the world.

I also started a blanket back in 2009 for Lucy, and she rejected it while I was pregnant with Hattie, saying that it was for the baby.  I have finally finished it, and it is on the baby's bed this evening.  It is lined and everything. 

I am rather pimping this photo out, it has been on facebook, twitter, ravelry and all sorts, but it is a lovely one I think.  I am as proud as proud of my work, the knitting, crocheting, sewing and procreating.

Other things I've made this year have been fish mittens that were too small for me, but perfect for Gaby,

a kitten jumper for my friend Kaili's baby daughter, Posy, which was more of a pain in the bum than it looks, thanks to me having decided to ignore the pattern and knit it in the round,

and Simon's wedding anniversary socks with a triforce and three hearts on the forest green background,

We are nerds, and he loves Zelda, so there you go, synergy.  Because he is sad, he wears them while playing the new Zelda game, which I actually really quite enjoy watching, and helping him complete.  Because I am a bit useless, they were started well before our anniversary on the 4th of August, and were finished well after.

I've made lots and lots of things this year, but I think these four are my personal favourites.

Roll on 2012 and a whole new wardrobe.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Unable to be more interesting than this

Well, Christmas went off without any problems.  I'm glad it's all over now, as it was remarkably stressful, emotionally and physically.  We, as in the girls and I, went to see my parents in Cambridge, which is always amusing - highlights include me getting cystitis, having to ask for help with the children while on antibiotics that didn't work, being told that the reason Hattie isn't walking is because I don't pay her enough attention and coming home. 
The best bit of the day itself was going to church and genuinely enjoying the peace and quiet joy of the service, even given the girls climbing all over us and shouting.  Matthew the vicar made the cardinal error of picking Lucy up for a cuddle and realising that she is deceptively heavy - 2 and a half stone at last weigh in.  The day before was the Christingle service with a Nativity, and that was very lovely and mildly stressful.

Simon did all the cooking on Christmas Day, which earned him massive Brownie points with everyone we know - gosh, imagine, a man! Cooking! How unusual!  It also means that I will be doing all the cooking for the first fortnight of the New Year, which is fine, it'll make a change and I enjoy cooking, so long as I have something interesting to listen to on the wireless and someone else does the washing up.

My brother in law was his usual charmless self, but I must try to be positive or at least vaguely polite about him as he has given us the gift of time together for Christmas, which is really what both of us wanted.  His friend works for the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and can get good seats cheaply, so Jamie and Jim are treating us to a meal, a night at the opera or ballet and overnight babysitting.  Fantastic and really surprisingly thoughtful of both of them.

The girls, especially Lucy, were utterly spoilt over Christmas, but the excitement has worn off, and apart from being foul at around 4 pm, they are back in their usual routines.  Hattie is being conned into having two day sleeps, which she is very grumpy about, and we are attempting some quiet time with Lucy.  Admittedly, I think I enjoy sitting and listening to a story more than she does, but I'll keep trying at weekends and during holidays.  Hopefully she will be happy to go up to her room and play with her dolls' house by herself soon.  My dad has renovated my dolls' house and the girls are borrowing it for the next 10 or so years; it was my favourite thing, and I am so pleased that we have a house large enough to keep it - it is enormous.

Hattie is almost walking.  God help us all.

I wanted to write a huge post about the wonderful books I'm reading (Magnificent Obsession - eye opening) (Middlemarch - frustrating) and about the mountains of knitting I've managed to finish (masses - including the FLOWER BLANKET) but I'm just too, too tired.  Next time.

Happy belated Christmas.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Getting it off my chest

This time last year I was in Queen Charlotte's, the maternity hospital next to the White City estate, listening to Persuasion, and cuddled up with my tiny little baby.  Hattie was born on the 3rd by elective c-section, weighing in at 7lb 10, just 1 ounce heavier than her sister, and than me when I was born.  Thanks to my gestational diabetes, she was whipped out two weeks early, so she probably would have been massive if I'd been able to have her naturally, as I'd desperately wanted to.

I've been reading a lot about childbirth and babies recently - maybe my body/someone is trying to tell me something - and a lot of it is making me as mad as a wet hen.  The natural birth lobby are up in arms over c-sections, and there are lots of comments from people who didn't have them about how difficult they are to recover from.  The home birth lobby are all in favour of a return to the days when women and babies died in childbirth at home with just the midwife for company - I am exaggerating but out of two people I've known who had home births, the outcomes were utterly gutwrenchingly awful for everyone concerned. 

I've had two pregnancies and two births via c-section and while I didn't really want to be cut open and have my babies pulled out, my body wasn't having it any other way.  I went into labour naturally with Lucy the first time and then, nothing.  The obstetrician I saw when I was expecting Hattie told me bluntly that it wasn't likely that I'd have a natural birth the second time, and I should really consider my options.  My choices were a c-section on that Friday or the following Friday, and at 37 weeks pregnant, massive, stressed, diabetic and chasing a fast-paced toddler, it wasn't a particularly hard decision.  I wish I could have popped the babies out like peas, one after another, but it wasn't for me.  One hundred years ago and I might not have made it through my first labour.

We have the right to choose where and how we give birth; however, we don't always get our own way, and sometimes our bodies do not work.  We are not ill when we are pregnant, and yes, as a species we have been giving birth in the same way forever and a day, but the baby will only fit through the pelvis in one rotation, and sometimes that rotation doesn't happen naturally.  Sometimes it is actually safer for you and for the baby for your pregnancy and birth to be closely monitored and for medical intervention/interference to take place.  And the NCT telling us that the NHS want us to be well behaved and quiet during childbirth - fucking hell.  Tinfoil hat time, chaps.

People to read for two opposing views: