Once upon a time I was a blogger…

But then I had a baby and things get really busy when that happens. My down time is now spent on showers, cooking, cleaning, and the occasional sewing project, while me-time strongly resembles a trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market.

Today, however, I decided to take another shot at blogging from my kindle and thanks to predictive text, the fact that I’m writing one-handed isn’t quite the handicap it might otherwise be. I don’t know if this means I’ll be back more, because having a very active 11 month old takes most of my brainpower, but I do miss having a place to share. Sooo keep your ears to the ground and maybe I’ll be back again soon.


Finally Friday

Not that it matters much around here for me since my class is a Thursday through Wednesday class instead of Monday through Sunday, but Jarell being home for the weekend is ALWAYS the best part of the week whether he’s been working here locally like this week, or out of town.

I’ve been a busy bee lately between gardening, baby creating, (and creating for the baby), working on assignments, trying to get some cleaning done (not much, but some…), and running the various errands that go with my life. Monday I hit some thrift stores with J11 to look for some clothes for our annual Sisk Birthday bash that’s coming up. If you’re new around here, you won’t know there are 14 kids in my husband’s family, each name starting with the letter J (hence J11 is the 11th child) and, even with 2 kids who are still strict Jehovah’s witnesses, 1 that lives out of state, 1 we prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, and one we don’t see very often because her life is “complicated”, that’s still 9 birthdays to celebrate every year. A lot of those birthdays happen to fall in April so to make things easier, several years ago we started doing annual birthday parties for the April birthdays. This year, we’re combining everyone’s birthdays into one big event (yours truly included) to make things a little easier on this mama to be. The theme this year cracks me up because it is so appropriate for us. We’re doing a Redneck Bash. So the trip to the store was necessary in order to get Jarell a shirt I could rip the sleeves off for his costume. I myself plan to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ which is just too easy, but should be fun.

While out at the thrift stores I scored some adorable baby clothes for super cheap (think 90 cents a piece!) so that made for a fun day.

Tuesday I overdid it in the garden getting corn, beans, okra, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, and quinoa seeds in the ground. That evening I had to have Jarell just about carry me because with my hip problems + that wonderful hormone, relaxin, I took about 2 steps from the couch and got stuck. The pain was literally too much for me to move. So Wednesday I took a lukewarm bath with epsom salts to loosen things up again and took the day easy by helping my mother in law pick out plants for a flower bed around her house. We got mulch to fill in and spent the last hour tearing out weeds and the super invasive but delicious smelling chocolate mint that had gone haywire there. J12, 13, and 14 helped out to varying degrees- they’re practically grown up and at that age, but still really good kids so they pitched in. I hope to get over there this weekend with Jarell to finish the job.

Yesterday I spent too much time online entering giveaways for diapers and other baby stuff- figured hey why not. When I decided I’d had enough of that, I got to work in the garden again, this time digging a 16 foot long by 8 inch deep by 8-10 inch wide trench for my asparagus crowns. I’m glad to finally have them in the ground because I really want an asparagus bed and I was dreading the work that went with it. I took the tortoise way out and went slow and steady so it wasn’t so bad. I even took a break in the middle to plant zinnias next to my beans since they’re supposed to be a good companion plant.  Last but not least I set up a bed with some yellow straight neck squash inter-planted with nasturtiums for bug control. I’m really getting into companion planting this year because I want my garden to produce as much as possible so I can preserve it and feed us this winter. Its a huge undertaking, but having a baby on the way is a big motivator.

Today I’ll be hitting the library, doing an assignment, and then getting back in the garden to try and finish up with a few more things. This weather has been beautiful, but its crazy. My daffodils, crocuses, tulips and grape hyacinths (muscari) are all blooming at the same time and on Wednesday I saw irises blooming down the road! Fought off the first mosquitoes of the season yesterday and the ticks have been out for several weeks. I’m not complaining tho because getting the garden in now is a blessing since bending over is getting uncomfortable. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures soon to verify all this hard work but for now, Happy Friday!

Oh and a P.S. if you’re on Pinterest, come hang out with me here!

11 Random Things

I was reading The Art of Darkness the other day and she had been tagged in one of those random memes that goes around. She invited whoever wanted to play along and since I had some time on my hands this morning (spent too much time praising the porcelain god and now I just feel like a dish rag that’s been wrung out) so I decided to join in the fun.

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people! (Yeah on this last one I’m cheating too)

So… 11 things

Following Cobweb’s lead, I met my husband when I was engaged to the bass player in his band. My now ex decided he was in love with first my now brother in law and then my husband, but since they didn’t swing that way, he suggested I date Jarell since he had a crush on me. The rest, as they say, is history.

I hate cleaning most rooms of the house, but a messy kitchen is enough to drive me to distraction and although I go to great lengths to avoid cleaning (surprisingly getting pregnant has worked the best) the kitchen is the one room that has to be neat for me to function in it. I haven’t been cooking much lately, so this obsession has fallen off a bit, but I still get in there and do dishes (a chore I hate) when they start to pile up, even though I risk spending more time huddled in a ball trying not to hurl from the smells that are multiplied 10-fold by pregnancy hormones.

I love taking my classes online, but I hate reading the textbook assignments. I can learn so much about the subject I’m studying by just searching reputable sources on the internet, and for some reason I’d rather do that. To date I’ve got a 3.67 GPA having barely cracked a book and I know for a fact that the C I got in Algebra would not have changed one bit if I had read that book.

I spent a lot of time alone as a child because we lived in the country and there weren’t many kids my own age around. Because of this, I learned to read early, and began what has become a lifelong love affair with books. I’ve always been smart, but I choose not to read books that are considered worthwhile. (the classics like Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice) Instead I prefer to read romance novels, sci-fi and fantasy, and favorites from my teenage years. I have read Gone With the Wind several times, but prefer the sequel Scarlett. I also read Peyton Place at the age of 11 which got some raised eyebrows from our local librarian, but also earned me an adult library card so that I didn’t have to keep getting my mother’s permission to check out books from the adult section of the library.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I have not had a pet, and I am thankful for that. Whether the pet was a dog, a cat, a fish, a rat or even my goats, there have always been animals in my life and I believe I am a better person because of it.

If things go as planned, I will get to find out the gender of my baby on the 5th anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful husband and I’m even nerdy enough to be giddy over the fact that it will be a Wednesday- the same day it was when we got married.

Despite being 14 weeks pregnant, I’m at my lowest weight in 4 years (now sitting at 195 as of yesterday’s appointment) and I’m more than a little amused by this fact. I’m not losing a lot of weight, but I’m not gaining yet either and that feels funny to me.

I love music and will listen to it as often as possible, but when I don’t feel well, I inevitably get a song stuck in my head that actually makes the nausea worse than it would be without the song. This morning it was a song by Priscilla Ahn, but if I go look for the title, it will get stuck in my head again so it will have to remain a mystery. Something about not associating with fish for those of you who are actually curious.

I have 5 different tabs for my homepage on my internet- Yahoo, Facebook, Google Reader, my blog, and my school web page. This equally motivating, and a  recipe for sitting for hours catching up on everything I missed overnight when I first start my computer in the morning.

I always wanted to go on American Idol, but despite it being nearby at least 3 times that I’m aware of, I’ve never gotten the courage to try out.

I am deeply in love with the part of the country where I live despite the heat in the summer time. I also love NorCal where I grew up, and my deepest wish is that the two states were next to each other so I didn’t have to choose between the two because Missouri will always win. There is something about this place that holds me captive and I don’t mind one bit.

  1. What is your favorite candy?      I like gummy bears and jelly beans, but candy and I don’t really talk much
  2. What is your least favorite vegetable?  This one is hands down water chestnuts- their texture really bothers me
  3. Do you play a musical instrument?  Several badly- the baritone, a bit of piano, dulcimer, harmonica, and several more. We’re a musical family.
  4. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had? I broke my toe once… knock on wood, I don’t get hurt much
  5. What’s under your bed? A platform or a secret and well hidden entrance to Narnia’s neighboring world, Walmartia- where giant smiley faces knock things down all the time
  6. If you could publish one book, what would it be about? Oh lord- I’d write stories about my cinema quality dreams that actually had a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. I have really good dreams, but I can never get all the details down before I forget.
  7. Do you believe in ghosts? yes
  8. What’s on your mouse pad? No mouse pad
  9. What are you currently reading? What to Expect when You’re Expecting and The Girl of the Limberlost
  10. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? I’d become a famous photographer who didn’t have to search for clients, doing fun themed photo shoots
  11. What’s your all-time favorite TV show? The Gilmore Girls as boring as that may be with the X-Files coming in a close second.

Good Day :)

Had a really nice walk with my dogs in our field today. I haven’t had much energy since the advent of the baby so the mile or so that I rambled around in the field while my babies ran to their hearts’ content was wonderful. I sat on the ground and soaked up the sun and the warm (50 degrees or so) weather while they raced back and forth between me and their adventures.

They’ve grown so big in the past year- they’ll be a year old on Valentine’s day and they have grown to be such beautiful animals. This picture is Chowder (he’s my Chowder-head) and Betsie running to me on one of their rounds

We went down into the woods to get them a drink from the creek that runs through our property. This pool and waterfall (mostly dormant with this dry weather) is my favorite spot on our land, but thanks to poison ivy, its only accessible in the cold months so I always try to get out there several times in the winter and fall.

Turns out the dogs thought it was pretty cool too- they all went for a swim

On my walk back to the house I snapped this shot of one of the mini ponds that has sprung up in the terracing on the fields where the water collects when it rains. I love the way each one makes a beautiful oasis in a field otherwise covered in tall grasses. One such pond even boasts a tiny willow tree that has sprung up in the last couple of years.

I took these pictures with my cell phone because I didn’t take my camera along, but good news! My sweet husband must have found my lens when he was cleaning (doesn’t remember, but I know it wasn’t me) so that’s one less thing on my mind for Monday.

Christmas is coming

I’ve been crafting up a storm getting ready for Christmas, but despite the fact that I’m supposed to be a photographer, you wouldn’t know it because I just haven’t been taking pictures much and the few that I have are taken with my cell which makes for less than quality pics. So because I love you my wonderful (albeit mostly silent *hint hint*) readers, I decided to dig up the camera, find my lenses, and take some pictures. I took pictures of all the hair and jewelry pieces I’ve made and as a bonus, I got shots of our newly remodeled guest room just for giggles. The crafty shots don’t include then knitted items I’ve made, but that’s because the ones that are finished have already been wrapped.

If you’ve seen the show, The Walking Dead, you will appreciate the significance of these ears, but if not, I’ll let you assume that I’m just crazy and decided to make my husband a necklace of ears….

$150 bed from Craigslist equals a beautiful guest room that seems almost too good to be true not to mention nicer than my own bedroom set *sighs*

Pardon the blurry shot- ornaments and paper cut outs hanging in a frame from an old mirror courtesy of my step-mom

Who would want to leave a room with a tv this nice? I need to figure out how to hide the cords, but I love it.

I would so sleep in this room myself if it weren’t for the fact that the paint is still off-gassing and its probably not a good idea given that I’m incubating a tiny being. (I’ve got another ultrasound appointment early tomorrow morning so we’ll be one step closer to discovering if it is a human or alien being)

So the pictures are not even remotely what I’d consider photographer quality, but nevertheless, they are pictures 🙂

Where’d it go?

My energy I mean.  I knew getting pregnant would wear me out, but I always thought it would be at the end when I was lugging around a whole lot of extra weight due to the baby. Strike two for secrets that not pregnant women (or maybe its just me?) don’t learn until they experience these things for themselves. I’m waiting impatiently for the moment when my energy levels and ability eat return to normal. Sleeping all day would totally be an option right now if it weren’t for the fact that I know I need to take my prenatal vitamins and eat something to take care of the baby.

At this point, I’m a bit skeptical about the exact form this infant will take. Looking at the sonogram above, I’d be more willing to bet on alien or tiny black blob, than baby. In case you can’t tell, the little black blob in the middle of all the white is apparently the baby blob. I’ll hopefully have more to show here in another week.

Big News!

Life has caught up with me once again- the last you heard from me I was busy with planning Thanksgiving and getting assignments done for class. The picture above was my art assignment for this week and it has a story behind it. This week we studied Expressionism and although I’ve never been a big fan of Picasso and his contemporaries, there’s something to be said for the amount of emotion their work… well… expressed. An artist I had never heard of, Kathe Kollwitz, really struck a chord with me this week and I chose her work as an inspiration for my own piece. (our assignment every week is to create a piece of art using any medium based on something we’ve studied that week)

The picture above is introspective- looking down on top of the body (a self portrait) one arm outstretched, the other curved protectively around my belly. The reason? I just found out last Monday that I’m pregnant and boy if that doesn’t bring on the heavy introspection, I don’t know what will. There are nerves galore- will everything be okay? Do I really get to keep this baby? These things are on repeat in my mind almost non-stop as background noise, but they are mostly drowned out by happier thoughts- I hope its a girl, but I’d be okay with a boy if my husband would just pick a boy’s name he’s okay with. (he actually wants a girl too- lucky me 🙂 ) I can’t wait to decorate the nursery although packing all my craft stuff up is daunting- I have a whole room full and overflowing with stuff that I absolutely cannot part with so a trip to the store for storage tubs is high on the agenda before I can do much else.

I have plenty of time- I’m not even 6 weeks along if things are as I think they are (although AF last month was weird and late so I suppose I could be closer to almost 1o weeks along instead of almost 6 but I don’t think that’s the case. Either way I’ll find out more when I have my doctor’s appointment next Monday (a whole ‘nother week seems interminably long!)

As busy as I’ve been, I’ve officially gone into overload. I will be cutting out the vow renewal ceremony- I can’t really concentrate on anything other than baby right now and I don’t want to try and fit my 4 or 5 month pregnant self into a wedding dress here in a couple of months- it just doesn’t seem that important any more, but we do still have plans to do that someday. (can’t let that $13oo dress go to waste after all!)

So that’s my news- big news at that 🙂

Whats going on in your worlds?

To Post or Not to Post

I really spend way too much time on the computer so for today, I’m just going to pop in real quick and say “hi” before running off to do some sewing, then maybe some knitting, followed sadly by a bunch of cleaning. My house post-party always looks a bit tornado-esque and the kitchen is in serious need of dish cleansing and spatter removal. The microwave was used by teenagers and has unidentified spots in it as well that make me a bit nervous.

I’m working on floor cushions to  alleviate some of the discomfort brought on by sitting on the floor for our Apples to Apples games around the holidays.

The first one (and please pardon the bad cell pics- too lazy to break out the big beast which I know is unforgivable but there you have it) is finished and I have pieces for 3 more cut out.


It’s huge and used 2 pillow cases plus a whole bag of stuffing, but its surprisingly comfy. The next two will be reversed- the long points in the middle and the short points out to allow for a bigger sitting surface, but I really like the way this one supports your legs.

Knitting projects will be updated here as I have the time. My Survey of Modern and Contemporary Arts class keeps me fairly busy, but writing lengthy papers that say little is an art I’ve perfected as a blogger 😉

What a month!

Well here I am again- just about 3 weeks after the last post and I have a good excuse for once. Got the goats the second weekend of August. One week later, Jarell was hit by a splitting headache after doing… some strenuous stuff…. By splitting I mean my big strong manly man asked me to take him to the ER- he who had to be dragged there when his gall bladder was tearing him apart inside and he was so sick he threw up in the triage nurse’s trash can. So when my tough guy asked me to take him to the hospital and then carefully walked down the stairs to wait for me in the car so I wouldn’t have to carry him if he passed out (he came close a couple of times) I knew something was very wrong and although I’m pretty good at the calm under pressure thing, I was freaking out inside. We got to the hospital and unbeknownst to me the security guards thought he was drunk when he stumbled his way into the ER (I would have kicked their collective sorry asses if I had known this- you should never let a patient know you think they’re a drunk even if that is what you think inside!) When they took his blood pressure it was somewhere in the range of 22o over 110…. Yeah it was THAT bad! Again I didn’t know this til later because it was just the two of us so I dropped him off at the door and then had to go park the car. By the time they took a second reading, it was down to 190 over something- not much better, but you take what you can get. Between the splitting headache, his near inability to open his mouth to talk due to the tightness in his jaw, the tingling in his face and arms, and his high blood pressure, they got him in fast. (despite my first aid training over the years, I had forgotten that these were all signs and symptoms of a stroke which for me was a small blessing because I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together for him if I had remembered)

Fast forward nearly 8 hours and one CAT scan later and they admitted him because they had eliminated the possibility of a stroke, but wanted to make sure there was no bleeding, or meningitis and to do that they had to perform a lumbar puncture the next day. When they got us to a room around 5:30 Saturday morning, I was dead tired, and after he fell asleep, I was out despite the uncomfortable chair futon (in the thankfully private room) and I was dead to the world for about 3 hours before coming suddenly awake to see my in-laws standing next to Jarell’s bed. My mother in law had come to the hospital the night before with my little brother and J12, but I sent them home around 11 because my brother had to work the next morning. Now she and my father in law were standing there and the nurse came in so they were able to ask some questions.

The rest of the morning was a blur-  I was beyond exhausted and my phone battery was nearly dead so all I could do was sit by Jarell and hold his hand when it didn’t hurt too much. Around 10 he had another severe attack and the nurses quiet urgency scared me more than if they had run around shouting orders- the tingling was back, along with the tightness in his jaw, the headache, and the high blood pressure. They were able to get it all to abate back to what Jarell said was a level 7 on a scale of 1-10 which was the best he had managed the whole time we were there, but I was getting more and more concerned. Around noon they took him for another CAT scan and I took the opportunity to make the world’s fastest Wal Mart run so I could get a charger for my phone, a book, and some stuff to knit because I needed to keep my hands and brain busy. I knew I needed something to eat, but the only thing that appealed to me was a box of Mike and Ikes so those went in the basket too.

Back at the hospital I made it back in time for the nurse to just be hooking Jarell back up to the heart monitor in his room. Then we waited another couple of hours for the lumbar puncture and that was the worst part for me- sitting there trying to read and worrying about all the things that might go wrong. He came back a little dopey but otherwise fine and shortly after that his parent’s came back, this time bringing KFC to try and coax him to eat something. He had a couple of Ensure’s and a little bit of macaroni and cheese, but didn’t feel up to the chicken.

Fortunately, my stomach chose that time to remind me that it had been 24 hours since it had anything besides a handful of Mike and Ikes so the chicken didn’t go to waste. That night passed a little less eventfully- I slept like the dead again for 5 hours this time and in the morning Jarell was doing much better. He was anxious and cranky and ready to get out of the hospital. His appetite was back which was the best news so while we waited on the doctor to see if she would send us home, he sent me to Panera Bread to get us some breakfast that was actually appetizing. Of course when I got back the doctor had come and gone and he remembered only the basics (which is pretty common for him on a good day) but the good news was we were going to get to go home.

By 11 we were out of there and by noon we were headed back after he attempted to simulate the cause of the first headache and brought on another one. 6 hours and another CAT scan later and we’re headed home again with an extra prescription that I had to pick up an hour and a half later putting me running on empty mentally driving home at 10 o’clock at night. Monday and Tuesday passed quietly with him trying to recover, and thinking he was going to be back to work quickly. Wednesday we had an appointment with a chiropractor and that was the best thing we could have done. The chiropractor spent a lot of time taking Jarell’s history, thoroughly going over even the most minute details, before doing an adjustment and remarking on how out his back was. He pointed us toward another doctor to see if his suspicions were correct so we had another appointment for the next day with that man. Thursday saw the first doctor’s suspicions confirmed and another appointment with him where he gave Jarell a dietary guideline to start following along with a food journal to fill out. The verdict- extreme hormonal imbalance, glands not functioning right, kidneys offline, parasites, and quite a few food allergies due to a leaky gut. The body was in panic mode and instead of sending out endorphins for pleasure, it was sending out bad stuff and causing pain. The world began to make sense again. Jarell and I made it through the weekend quietly with his pain mostly subsided. We made numerous trips to health food stores in the area and I cleaned all the processed foods out of our pantry. 9 grocery bags full of stuff was donated to a family who needed it and we started over from scratch. All the meals I am preparing now are almost entirely carb free- no sugars other than those found in the fruit we eat, no grains, but lots of eggs, meat, and veggies.

Last Tuesday, Jarell started taking supplements to get his hormones back in balance, and was able to go back to work. His mood has improved a great deal already and the food began making a difference almost immediately. He was soon able to do the things that caused the headache in the first place without any pain and after an acupuncture session, the headache that had lingered for a week and a half was finally gone entirely. Wednesday we go back to the doctor who checked him for the hormonal imbalances to see how the last two weeks have helped and I’ll be getting checked too to see what I need to work on. He’s down 10 pounds and so am I and aside from the feeling that I’m constantly thinking about food (you have to when you’re learning how to plan meals with no quick fixes available) I am loving the new healthy lifestyle we’re living. I’ve always been a lover of veggies and fruits, but Jarell was another story. He used to live on ramen noodles and canned ravioli and given the chance he always would. 2 years ago he ate nothing but ramen or macaroni and cheese every day for lunch because funds were low and those items were a cheap way to feed him and his brothers at work. I could never get him to eat healthy foods because he always picked out the “nasty vegetables” With this history, you can imagine my surprise when I made spaghetti squash with marinara sauce Friday evening, and he not only ate it, but told me it was better than pasta!

All this on top of my college math class has been kicking my butt so that is my long drawn out excuse for why I’ve been gone the last three weeks.

Edit: The hospital doctors were…. less than helpful. They told Jarell he had had a thunderclap headache and that those often caused bleeding but his hadn’t. Cleared for aneurysms, stroke, meningitis, and anything else, but the blood work showed some things were off. Basically the hospital said, “You’re perfectly healthy- go home and take lots of medicine cuz we don’t know how to fix you.” I was pretty appalled by their lack of… interest? If he had one symptom they threw one pill at him and when it caused a side effect they threw another one at him until he was on a ton of meds with no end in sight but plenty of possibility for added complications caused by all the medications.

Still alive

I swear I’m still alive. Its just been a very busy and messy year so far. Its almost April and we haven’t even sent out the yearly invitations to the family reunion! (oops!) My grandfather died in January and while that was sad, I knew he’d lived a long and productive life. I’ve been busy with classes but that’s not much of an excuse. I was sick quite a bit for a while there. I’ve been working on my photography business (yes business! I’ve currently got two paying gigs lined up in the next month!!) And then on Friday, my dog was sick. My 11 month old Bessie who had puppies on Valentines day. (yes she was too young, I wanted to get her spayed, but we were low on funds when it came time to take her to the vet due to my husband’s job not paying him for almost a month and it was too late by the time we had the money) I planned to take her to our vet on Monday because she had thrown up a couple of times and wasn’t eating much. Saturday night we kept her inside so she could get some rest and when I went to check on her Sunday morning, she was dead. I have no idea what made her so sick that she was gone so fast and I can’t help but blame myself because I feel like I should have known if something was that badly wrong with her, but aside from a worried sick feeling in my stomach, I had no idea. I took her to the vet after the puppies were born. He checked her out, sent her home with some antibiotics and she seemed fine. Its still a shock to me and now I have 8 orphaned babies to watch out for. Thankfully I have 2 adult females who tolerate the babies because they still need someone to show them how to be dogs.

For those of you who have dogs who are like your family (or closer for some of you) you understand what a blow this is I’m sure. It has me off-balance but playing with her little ones has been some of the best medicine. They’re precious and irresistible and I will be keeping at least two of them. We will be setting aside a nice chunk of our tax refund to take care of all the vet bills (spaying, shots, etc) so that I don’t have to worry about this happening again.