Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nanowrimo Week 4 Recap

Well, I reached 50,000 words this Thursday, and today I have 54,000. I am not done with my story and plan on still writing 2,000 words a day until the end of November with a hope of finishing the arc (and my now goal of 60,000 words). I am really proud of myself for sticking with writing. I even wrote over my vacation, toting along a laptop and waking up an hour before everyone else to get some words out. I even typed a bit on the drive home, and that was after making sure I was three days ahead before our vacation week, just to be safe. I was really afraid I would fall behind and lose my focus and give up.

Even if I know I wrote this book, I have to thank my husband for supporting me. I couldn't have done it unless he had graciously let me use almost all of my evening non-baby time (that we usually spend together) to write. I mean, sometimes I would hit 2,000 words just by writing when Reuben napped and have the evening free for him, but that wasn't every day. I also used almost every nap time this month to write too, clacking away on my computer upstairs while Reuben slept on the couch in the living room for his afternoon nap.

I already have an idea for another story, but I am not starting anything new until this one is finished and edited a few times. I have not reread anything I've written, except I go back one or two paragraphs and "catch up" before starting a writing session. I know this will need extensive editing, and entire parts rewritten, and I don't mind. The hard part is getting it done. I have not tried to edit any of it yet because I don't want to get caught up in my mistakes, I'll do that when it's done! I'm SO EXCITED! I did it. I made it to 50,000 words, no one died, I can do this. I can do this. I did it! My fears feel silly now, and I realize that before I just didn't try hard enough. Writing a book is hard work. You have to persevere, and having an idea of what you want to right is a good idea, too.

And Novemeber isn't even over, so I can keep writing and hopefully finish my first rough draft. YAY! Now, the hard part is worrying about people liking it. I just won't read reviews. And here I am talking about my very rough draft like it's a decided thing, like it's published. It's not. The battle is not over. My dream to be in print is closer--but not done. Maybe in a few months to a year I will be!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The End of Babywearing

I love babywearing. Or I loved it, since I don't (often) babywear anymore! I was wearing daily, it used to be the only way Reuben would nap, and also the only way I could get things done, because he would cry when not attached to me.

I babywore a lot for sanity, because Reuben was very high needs. But I also babywore for fun! I thought you guys might want to see Reuben's babywearing pictures.

I will definitely wear my next baby too--it's wonderful for bonding and I enjoy it. With Reuben being so active now, we don't wear as much. I plan on making some babywearing posts and guides, now that I feel more like a seasoned wearer.

I started out using a moby wrap. This is a stretchy wrap, and you pre-tie it before placing baby in, so you can tie it on you as you go out and not have to mess with it when you get to the store. You can just take baby from car seat and put him on you. I used this until four months.

The next babywearing device I got was a ring sling. We loved this, it's easy and very comfy. I used this until Reuben hit around four months and he was just too heavy--I needed more support after that.

The third babywearing thing I got was a woven wrap. And this is where I found my sweet spot! I love how supportive and comfy woven wraps are, and how you can tie them lots of different ways.

I miss that wrap. I sold it to fund my diso, a rainbow wrap. But I love the rainbow more!

We also own a foxy tula. I love foxes on Rue, he owns a lot of fox print things. This is the most structured carrier I own, and it's great for long walks, and naps. Daddy uses this one on occasion as well.

Looking at these pictures just makes me see how much my Reuben has grown. Babywearing will always bring sweet memories to mind for sure. I miss it sometimes, but he's growing up and doesn't need me like he used to. Instead, he needs me in different ways, and each day with him really is more wonderful then the last. Here is to more snuggles!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Week 61

This week I had a Halloween party! It was all sorts of fun, and I dressed up as Sabrial from the book Garth Nix. Reuben was Bilbo and Brian was the bear from The Hobbit whose name I can't remember. Reuben also did all his cute stuff of course, and he's feeling much better and no longer sick. He knows three new words this week! (Goat, oh no, and read) as well as a few other phrases that I just can't make out yet but seem to mean something. This kid is growing up fast.

See us one year ago here!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Nanowrimo Week 3 Recap

Well, I made it to week three. Right now I have 44,000 words. 44,000! If I continue writing 2,000 words a day I'll have roughly 60,000 when December comes.

My story just reached the major climax point and it's a good pausing place. It feels comfortable. I almost don't want to start on the action because I know it's going to just all want to come out at once. Also--because I don't know what comes AFTER the action.

I've been having a hard time getting through the 2,000 words each day-- multiple "checking" my word count, getting distracted by ice cream and even wishing my baby would wake up because I can't write when he's not sleeping. The things I do to procrastinate. Where is an eye roll emoji when I need one.

Well, I'm proud to say I did write every day, sometimes more than 2,000 words because I am trying to get ahead a bit so I can take a few days off for a vacation that's coming up at the end of November. That may be why I am a bit burnt out, trying to write more. So even if it took me a bit longer to write and I hemmed and hawed about it, I still wrote. I'm proud of that.

I'm finding another difficulty--remembering things I already wrote. Like what day it is in my novel, non main character jobs, what people look like, and other miscellaneous things. I made a short list of names and jobs, but I still have to check almost every time so-and-so runs into other-so-and-so. And I think I may have skipped Tuesday, but I can't remember. I'll have to figure it out when I go back to edit. (And the days do matter, so it would be really obvious if I made this mistake!)

That's been a bit exasperating. There is nothing like getting in a writing groove and having to stop because you can't remember the name of where Nijul works or what deck of the space ship you put his eatery on. Seriously. Happened more than once. How do "real" writers cope?

Anyway, here is to another week! Only one and half weeks left. WILL I MAKE IT?!?!? And now I need to stop writing my update post and get through today's 2,000 words that I, ahem, already added to the total above since I'm pre-writing this Saturday night. I won't tell if you won't.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Paleo Cranberry Lemon Cake

I had some cranberries and a bunch of lemons, and wanted to create a dessert for my small group. I made this one up on my own, too! I am proud that it turned out incredibly scrumptious! This recipe is paleo, dairy, oil, refined sugar and gluten free. Enjoy!

You Will Need:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk (like the kind you would drink, I use so delicious brand)
  • 3 fresh lemons, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated lemon rind)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 tea baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup honey 
Preheat oven to 306 degrees f. Throw the first 9 ingredients into the bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl, throw the cranberries in and wash them, and pulse in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add in the honey to the processor and pulse for 20 seconds, or until combined to your liking. I had to scrape down the sides a few times and break up some clumps.

This cake is made to bake in a bread pan. I coated the pan with coconut oil to help it not stick, but if you want oil free, just line it with parchment paper. Put half the batter in, layer the cranberry-honey mixture next, and place the other half of the batter on top.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes with oven rack in the center. The top should be slightly browned and a fork should come out clean (might have cranberry goo on it, but cake wise clean). Enjoy and share with a friend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Week 60

Reuben was sick for most of this week. We did lots of snuggling and nursing and cuddling--as daddy was also not feeling well, I did a lot of the parenting and all of the chores. It happens. I feel like super mom. God is so good.

I also went shopping at Walmart for the first time in YEARS. Seriously. And it will be years before I go again. Nothing against Walmart--its just not my store.

The sad thing about this week? I unwound half a sweater because it just wasn't working out. Sad times. I hate undoing knitting. Here is to next week and starting a new sweater...

Also, one year ago is here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quick Fancy Gloves

I created this glove pattern from my need for a quick knit. I had some bulky yarn and wanted to make some gloves for friends for Christmas. I wanted them to be fancy--so no boring ribbing--and easy. Thus the quick fancy glove pattern was born!

I made a full video tutorial where every step is shown. It's quite long, so I broke it up in steps. If you don't need to see every step, the pdf pattern with written steps is for you!

Happy glove making! To make these, you will need 100-150 yards of bulky yarn (makes all three sizes, one pair) and 4.5mm double pointed knitting needles (4).

Download the PDF pattern here. The video tutorial is below and can also be seen here.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Nanowrimo Week Two Recap

I wrote every day this week sans one. Right now I have 23,500 words! I am shocked. I'm almost halfway to 50,000, and who knows if my novel will be done when I get there, because a 50,000 word book is the minimum requirement, so I should have more, honestly.

This week I am proud of myself for staying on track. I haven't written today yet, so I will have even more words before Sunday is over, since I usually write in the evening, after Reuben goes to bed. He's been skipping naps lately, so that time hasn't been the most productive.

My book does not have a title. I'll worry about that, and cover art much later. After I edit it. A lot. It will need a lot of editing. But at least it will be DONE. I am so excited--I really hope I finish it. I'm further along than I ever have been, and I have a rough idea of what I want to happen so I don't feel that fuzzy "what the heck should happen next" feeling that I hate and that always makes me quit. I loathe that feeling.

Want to know a little bit about it? The main character's name is Olive, she is thirteen and lives on a space station with her sister Minny and her Mom and Dad. I like Olive, but I like her friend Marcy more. Marcy is more like me.

Yes, I wrote a science fiction young adult book. I promise to have ZERO love triangles. I am so over love triangles. And saving the world. Olive just wants to pass history and get along with her sister, so she really doesn't have a lot of time for world saving. Plus, the Earth already was destroyed's not like she can time travel. No time traveling.

Anyway, that is as much of a sneak peak as I'll give right now. Making a priority to write has been really fun, but I know my other priorities have suffered, like I haven't knit anything and sometimes I don't do the dishes until the next day, but hey--that's okay. I am learning to let this book be my goal for November, and I'll catch up on everything else later.

I could still use some prayers--I am scared I won't finish. You guys don't know how much this means to me. I have always let myself down in the past but I really want to finish something. I know I would never be able to if not for God. I know he gave me this gift. I hope I can honor him with it.

Here is to another week of writing! My goal is still 2,000 words a day. I hit that every day this week but one (I had to go to a party) but that's okay!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Week 59

This week we were sick again! Well, Reuben and daddy were. I miraculously escaped unscathed by illness. Reuben also points and claps now. He's growing up so fast. He still nurses a ton (but has dropped two or three nursing sessions during the day) and he does not sleep through the night. But that's okay, since we bed share I literally roll over and stick a boob in his mouth. Haha. But it's the truth. How was your week? (Also if you watch the video from last year Reuben was sick too!)

You can see one year ago here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Pain Never Leaves

Sometimes it's hard to think about--I'd have 5 children if they'd all made it past the first trimester. I'd have an 8 year old little girl, and three unknown babies--and Reuben. One would be due soon, in February. The last one I lost, who I only knew about for three weeks before he or she passed.

Miscarriage is hard. And it never stops being hard. I remember when I saw my first baby on ultrasound at seven weeks. She was just a dot. Two weeks later she was gone. For nine weeks I thought about how I was going to tell my mother I was pregnant-- (I was not married and it was the summer before my junior year in college). Nine weeks my boyfriend and I struggled over what to do and edged around the topic like uncomfortable, but excited parents. When I lost her I went to the emergency room because I didn't know what was going on only that something was dreadfully wrong. I called my mother and she learned of my pregnancy and miscarriage in the same breath. She came and held my hand through it all and never once did I hear a word of judgement come out of her mouth. I love her to this day for it. Maybe she didn't know what to say. Maybe she knew that all I needed was her presence.

When I got married I was reassured that "miscarriages happen" and "one is normal" by many doctors. But I went on to have two more losses with my husband. Together we cried. I was certain I would be a mother to dead babies only, and never get to experience the joy of live birth or of parenting a toddler.

Reuben was born in 2015. He truly is a rainbow baby.

We lost another baby a few months ago. My next baby, if he or she lives--will also be a rainbow baby.

Over the years I have struggled with feelings of disgust over my body--my body that has failed to give these children life. Sometimes I hate it. I can't even look at my belly, bloated from my last viable pregnancy yet still an alien within my own bounds, a vessel that expelled as well as gave life.

A lot of people don't understand miscarriage and infertility and infant loss and that's okay. You know, they usually have to go through it to understand it, and its something I would never wish on anyone. I have friends who get pregnant easily and often, and sometimes they say insensitive things. But I envy them their privilege, their words that come from such a easy place when the babies they want come without effort or medical procedures. I try not to take it personally. They just don't understand. And I hope they never do.

I often wonder when the pain will leave. When will I not think of my little ones? I think of them often, especially when I look at my son, or my husband, or see pictures of myself in college. I think of the things behind Reuben's smiles and the pictures and see the babies that never were. Briefly they flittered across my life--now gone.

I am okay. I am okay but yet I am not okay. There is a duality to miscarriage that I never knew existed. I function and love and make happy memories with my Reuben and my Brian--I am fully present and aware and my heart it full of joy. But I also miss my babies and think of them often.

I know where I will finally be whole--when I am with all my children in heaven where they can all be in my arms at once. We will be together, and we will worship God.

I wrote this for Rachel.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo Week 1 Recap

If you've read my blog for as long as I've been posting here (anyone?) than you will know I have always wanted to be an author. In fact, I've "published" a few of my short stories and poems on my blog. But. But I've never finished anything. Ever.

So of course now that I have a baby, a vlogging channel, a husband, and several autoimmune diseases, I decided to do NaNoWriMo 2016 when a friend mentioned she was doing it. Because its still the number one desire in my heart, but it feels insurmountable. I couldn't write a book before I had a baby and a husband; so what makes me think I can now?

But it is my dream, guys, to write a book. My LIFELONG dream. And I haven't written a single story since 2014, when the one I was trying to write started to annoy me and I decided it was horrible and The Worst Story ever written and I subsequently gave up.

I just want to finish something.

I've given myself a goal of 2,000 words a day: I only need 1,700(ish) a day to make it to 50,000 by December 1st, but I want to make sure that if I happen to lose a day (because I have a toddler) I don't fall behind.

I was so scared when November 1st rolled in. Would I write anything? What would I write? What if it is horrible? What if NO ONE LIKES IT?

Clearly, I have great motives, guys.

Well, I am proud to say I have written 10,500 words as of today (the total for this week). My story is not perfect and I am sure that come December it will need a LOT of editing. But I am heaven bent on finishing something so that I don't have this "I never finished anything" THING hanging over my head for the rest of my life. So on my death bed when I go to meet Jesus I can die with one less regret.

I'm going to write a book, you guys. This is officially my last ditch effort. Send prayers. And chocolate.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Shallow Mitts

I finished my Shallow Mitts finally! I heavily modified the pattern. I made these in the round and added a thumb gusset and ribbing to the top. I love them and can't wait to gift them to a good friend of mine (who I promised to make gloves for last year...) oh well. Better late than never?

I made these on 2.5mm knitting needles with knit picks fingering 100% wool yarn. They are soft, and cling delightfully you your hand. I love the lace edging!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Week 58

This week ended with a sick baby, so that is really all I can remember about it. Also, my camera died and I didn't film on Friday because I was sure it was broken forever. Only took husband 10 min to fix it. I think I'll keep him!

See one year ago here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Going Paperless

Something I've always wanted is to go as paperless as possible. In the last year I've been making small changes to try and implement this goal. Here is where I've purchased all my paperless products and also some thoughts on this journey.

My desire to go paperless/plastic free grew from my desperate researching when I was battling major health issues. I went to the doctor several times and was told nothing was wrong with me. But I knew something was. It took three years but I am now completely lost down biomedical rabbit hole--and also no longer in chronic pain, so I call it a win/win. One of the things I researched was plastics and paper, and as I was in the process of removing all hydrogenated, refined food from my diet I decided why not remove it from every part of my life as well--at least as much as I could. This was secondary to my goal of feeling better (because when you are in pain all the time your first thought is getting OUT of pain, not tossing your napkins).

So now I'm paleo and have more or less solved my issues biomedically--I want to go paperless.

Here is where I am so far and where I want to be: (none of these are affiliate links)

Unpaper Towels - I bought my unpaper towels (they clip together and hang from a paper towel dispenser) from Generation Me. I just clip them back on the end after I wash them. I've had them almost for two years now, and I love them. We have not bought any paper towels since purchasing (we still have some actually).

Cloth Napkins - I bought a set of blue cloth napkins to use to clean up Reuben's messes and as table napkins from Moo Cow Mama. I love them! I bought them at the same time I purchased the above unpaper towels so almost two years now. They have held up very nicely, and we have not had to buy any napkins since.

Cloth Pads - I went full cloth for my period almost three years ago! I bought my starter set from Pleat, but it looks like she's closed her shop. I love love having a cloth period-- no more itchy chemicals against my skin or plastics. It's been a game changer and it's really not that gross.

Cloth Diapers - My son wears cloth. He wore cloth from 2 months to 6 months, and from 9 months with no end in sight (he is 15m as I write this). We took a break when he started solids because I was overwhelmed with his allergies. I love our cloth diapers now, and plan to use them until we potty train! I bought them from Green Mountain Diapers.

Another thing I did was get rid of all pans that had any sort of teflon coating. We use only stainless steel pans. I also replaced all our cutlery (serving spoons and spatulas) with stainless steel versions. No more plastic! These two things I got at the local Krogers.

In the kitchen area, I replaced plastic sandwich bags with two reusable snack bags. To replace my freezer bags, I bought three silicone food storage bags. I need a few more of those, as we freeze a lot of things. To replace all the plastic leftover containers, I now store leftovers in jars, I bought a set of ball jars with lids from the local Target. Right now we have 12, but I want a second set in a bigger size. To replace plastic wrap, I bought some bees wrap.

For water, I own two glass water bottles. This means we no longer have to buy bottled water, and saves us space and money. I also recently replaced all our worn out and scratched cookie sheets with better browning cookie sheets. I bought two.

We also use reusable bags at the grocery store as well as reusable produce bags.

I am also trying to reduce the amount of plastic I wear by buying only cotton, wool or linen clothing. This is hard. Right now I don't get out to shop much, so I have a stitch fix box--if anyone knows of a ethical clothing subscription box, let me know and I'll drop stitch fix like a hot potato.

So that is where I am on this journey right now. My plan is to be even more paperless by 2018. I want to try a fully paperless kitchen (composting) and also learn to make my own toothpaste. I want to figure out paperless for tissues (like when you blow your nose) and also how to buy without creating so much trash. Right now there is one store where you can go to get dry products like beans and rice in bulk, reducing waste.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions I would love to hear them! What should I try next?