Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy ... but not productive

I have been busy though not productive these last months when it comes to crafting and needlework, which is why this post does not have pictures. I have knitted mostly, spending a lot of time on a sock. You may remember my sock knitting project. Unfortunately it never got finished because a certain two year old got his hands on it and unravelled it. I certainly will try and get back to it at one time or another.
In the mean time I have been knitting on scarves and crocheting on practice swatches. I did finish one pretty ornament in fine crochet which I gave away for a birthday.
I spend a lot of time preparing to make a funeral pall for our church. Unfortunately that project did not go through, which again left me with many things learned, but no project as a result. When traveling to Belgium I picked up a little crochet project, in which I experimented with granny squares. Unfortunately I forgot the book with the pattern on the plane. I downloaded another pattern while in Belgium, I made three, but... forgot to take them back with me. So again... no projects to show off from that effort. Are we starting to see a pattern here????

I managed to finish a prayer shawl for a dear friend who is going through troubled times. This took a lot longer because of the pregnancy. Currently I am also embroidering trefoil celtic knots on some very pretty napkins. While I have been sabotaged by some little inconveniences while traveling for the holidays (like a hoop that malfunctioned etc.) I am close to finishing the third one and getting into a rhythm. I realize now how much I have missed embroidery and am trying to get as much time in before the baby is born, when I will probably return to knitting for a while, since it is easier to pick up and put down.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Waiting for Christmas and changes....

Christmas is a big deal for me. Throughout the years, even in family turmoil, Christmas always felt like such a special and promising feast day. Plus there are all the traditions, and you know by now how much I LOVE traditions.
Of course a lot had to change when I moved to the USA three years ago. The songs I used to hear on the radio I now had to seek out. Some of the things that were very common place in Belgium were hard to find here, or uncommon.
We managed to incorporate Saint Nicholas' feast day (I will post more about this later) from the beginning, even when we did not have children yet. And our church is great about advent celebrations.
But the 'main part' of the christmas celebrations took place 'home' in Belgium, so most of the traditions stayed the same. This year however, being eight months pregnant at the time, I can't travel to Belgium.
In a way it felt like the right time for this change. With one little boy running around and a second one on the way, it was time for our family to create our own traditions and to become the center of celebrations. My mom would be coming over for Christmas as would my in laws, possibly my sister in law.
I was preparing for a small christmas eve dinner amongst the three of us, a simple but festive breakfast, and then in the afternoon the big gathering of all my family around us. We would buy a tree this year, which we neglected to do since we were only home for about two weeks between Thanksgiving (another new tradition) and christmas.
Things changed however. My mother fell prey to the economy and was laid off. Luckily she immediately found a new job. Only the new job is with a church, which means she can't be here until the 27th. My in laws schedule changed only slightly, but the were supposed to arrive on the 25th. Then those plans changed and they would arrrive on the 27th as well. And now life has intervened again, and there is some serious doubt if they can come at all...
I am by now slightly puzzled how to get the true family involvement in the day that I remember from my own childhood. I do not want it to be just about presents. Church and Jesus' birth must be our first priority, the celebration of that as a family second. But... how to do that with your family miles away on the first christmas that Joseph might be aware that something is going on?

I am thinking a birthday cake for baby Jesus is going to be a must. Maybe even a birthday breakfast... And of course the nativity scene is going up, as well as Joseph's smaller play nativity scene. But the day itsself seems hazy in what we shall do about it. It seems... empty with just the three of us, and I feel it is my task to fill it with the christmas meaning, somehow. I don't want the three of us ending with mass in the morning, and then ... hanging around the house watching tv and waiting for Christmas to be over, with maybe a TV turkey dinner. I just don't know how to throw a christmas for two adults and a child only.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wow, three or four entries in one week. You can see I have been on vacation with lots of help with Joseph.

But for now, I wanted to reveal the name of our newest little one. Bill and I have chosen the name Michael Damian Hauk. Damian was the first name we settled on, after Father Damian, the Belgian/ Hawaiian Saint. The first name was harder to determine. I wanted a name that would reflect someone quiet and gentle, in the hope that after my beloved rambunctuous first boy, I would have a little artist/ reader on my hands. (I think Joseph didn't realize that we named him after Joseph husband of Mary and that he goes after his more adventurous namesake Joseph son of Jacob. Although that too seemed more of a dreamer and worker than a big adventurer.)
Anyhow... Lucas and Raphael were the top names of my choice, but somehow they never seemed to stick or fit. One of Bill's top choices was Michael, and somehow it just ... kept hanging in my head. So after LOOOONG deliberation, the name Michael Damian Hauk was chosen. BTW... Damian means 'the tamer' so let's hope that that somehow takes some effect!!

So far, we have not really prepared for Michaels arrival. I mean of course I have taken excellent prenatal care and thought about our little boy a lot. And we did clear out a room of our house to be the nursery. I also went through Joseph's clothes a bit to see which outfits would be suitable for his little brother. It's a bit difficult since they are born in oposite seasons. Joseph was born at the end of summer beginning of autumn, and Michael will be born in winter nearing spring.
The colours I prefer for Michaels clothing and nursery are green (since that is the very nice paint colour in his nursery which I don't see any need to change. It's almost a sage hue.) brown (because that is handsome and manly and still elegant and cute and cream (because it is pretty and looks sweet on all babies). To top things off, we chose a little Beatrix Potter theme (especially Peter Rabit).
I had however not yet SHOPPED for anything for Michael. While a second child will use a lot of things from his older sibling, I also wanted to have some new things for him. His dislike for shopping though is one of those typically boyish traits that Joseph has. So luxurious shopping for a few newborn outfits wasn't in the stars as of yet. And with Saint Nicholas and Christmas around the corner, I wasn't even sure when I WOULD find time, before the last month and everyone knows how happy and energetic you are then.

But this week came around, with Joseph at my wonderful in laws for the first part when I accompagnied my husband to a conference. This meant time to sleep late and relax, to breath in the culture and discover a new part of the country. And after that came the part where we were in Saint Louis with four adults and one young boy. Which meant we could take turns on who was watching him and who was doing other things. Other things like... shopping. After a dissapointing first attempt in which the store I wanted to go to was moved, and I looked like an elephant in every single maternity dress I tried on, I found a Beatrix Potter baby album for Michael at Borders, and some cute sheets with sheep on them at Pottery Barn for kids, discounted more than sixty percent! Yay! Mimi also found a cute little layette for Michael and some puzzles for Joseph.
Today we found a nice dress for me, a cute cream/ natural little swadling blanket and a shirt for Michael.
I keep slightly frustrated at the lack of boys clothes that look more cute and handsome than bratty. Some of us want to raise little gentlemen, and not all of us have the budget or the desire for Ralph Polo all the time....
Still, I feel slightly happier now that we have the necessary sheets, and a few starting outfits that are 'just Michael'. Plus the stores were not overcrowded when or where we went, so we didn't have to deal wtih any of the Black Friday madness.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's a challenge for me to sit down and force myself to write just a short entry instead of my usual longer musings.... But I think that might just be the secret to get some entries in this blog for the time being: just a short note here and there to let everyone know that I am still alive, a quick thought or perhaps a picture.

First of all I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I love this new holiday to celebrate, and I love it even more because I get to share it with my wonderful family in law. (How lucky am I? A great husband AND great in laws.

I wanted to leave all those of you who are busy working up christmas presence with a list of free crochet snowflake patterns I found online. They vary from simple to intricate.

For those with a little bit of time and skill, I would really advise to look into the ice princess necklace. It looks really pretty and would be a great gift.

Aside from that, I want to leave you with some pretty pictures!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So... what has been going on?

It's been a while, isn't it, since last you saw me post here? And I have missed it a lot. Unfortunately I can not promise at the moment to be any more regular about blogging though I will try. You see, I mentioned a few complications with this pregnancy. Some of them are hormonal, one of them is gestational diabetes. Now this was slightly annoying during my first pregnancy, but at that point there was no little rambunctuous two year old so munching on broccoli and sticking to an extremely strict diet was not really a problem and I managed it with relative ease. This time around, I need to find the time for menu planning, sugar level measuring, snacking and eating meals that take longer to fill up on in between taking care of a wonderful bundle of energy.
Aside from that, my beloved husband has a deadline at work that he needs to get ready for and I need to prepare for both the holidays and the baby in short order. Needless to say, time and thought have been absent from my blog for a while.

I do come and read the blogs of my friends though, whenever there is a little hole of time, and I will certainly keep you updated on really important things.

Speaking of really important things.... here is my little big boy on halloween. Isn't he the cutest Elmo you have ever seen? I decided I didn't want to spend 35 dollars on a costume that would never be worn again, so when I found this Elmo balaklava the whole idea came together. All three pieces can be worn in winter and together, they formed an adorable costume. Josephs wonderful dad went as Anakin Skywalker and I as Queen Amidala. (well.. there are just not that many things you can go as being very visibly pregnant, right?)