We have chickens!

Like the title says, our little mini farm now has chickens! I’ve wanted chickens forever, so I am beyond excited about this development. (Dill a is a little less excited. In his defense, he had chickens as a kid and didn’t enjoy the experience.)

We got them on accident. I had a poor reaction to stress and sadness, and ended up buying chickens. Long, long story but I had a falling out with some friends over masking during covid times, resulting in us losing some friendships, I felt guilty about it there were baby chickens, Evelyn said they were cute and then…

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster. We lost the first two, so then we got 5 more. Then one of those died, then we got 2 more! I felt like a chicken killer, but was assured by people who know way more than myself that sometimes the little ones just don’t thrive. Made friends with a neighbor who has multiple dozens of chickens, she gave me the aforementioned 2 more and with her guidance they have all been thriving. Fingers crossed none of them turn out to be roosters!

Being an animal lover I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I love them, but I do love them! They’re cute and currently my little buddies in my office. I’m over here typing, knitting and on the phone with planning, zoning, board of health, payroll, etc, while they chirp away in the background!

I’m so excited by this new development!

What’s old is now new.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know that we recently moved from our teeny tiny ranch house in the middle of suburbia to a pre-civil war era house out in the (sort of) country. We’ve got a few acres, and a house that is more than double our old home. (not very hard to do honestly).

It’s been… challenging. Getting a bigger house in our price range meant that we were taking on a bit of a fixer upper. But of course, as these things go we didn’t realize how much fixxering uppering we would be doing. When we got possession I almost cried. The place was so, so dirty. The previous owners literally left trash and broken furniture in the yard, cat poop all over the laundry room (it looked like they picked up the cat box, dumped it out the litter and took the box with them) and overall we were instantly overwhelmed. It was such a difference from our previous home buying experience, where we were gifted wine, a box full of all the manuals for everything in the home as well as notes about everything they had done over the years. The only wine left for us on this move in was the remains of a bottle that had been spilled in the fridge!

Nevertheless, we got to work trying to make it a home.

It took us forever to actually move in. There were mice, and termites, and all sorts of leaks and drafts and things that come with neglecting an old house. But it’s coming along and we overall are enjoying this new life. It’s a beautiful place, and at the risk of sounding woo woo you can feel the soul of the house welcoming you when you walk in.

Up next is lots more knitting as Kyle and I discuss our next project. And I have a couple of side quest projects thrown in the mix as well!


Post covid…

We’re officially post covid in this house! I definitely attribute the “easy” time I had to being vaccinated. Evelyn I’ll just attribute to her youth and luck. She had a sniffly nose and was very cranky. The only other way you could tell she was sick was simply that she was sleeping until almost 7am every day. Dill never caught it, despite both of us sneezing and coughing in his face.

It’s very odd what one short week of covid did to my body. I had just posted about being in the best shape of my life, and Monday I tried to do my first full Peloton stack and oooofffff. It was as if I was starting all over. Afterwards I spent about an hour coughing. The fatigue is also pretty wild. But I’m going to keep pushing through, mainly because I have to.

Timing wise it’s been the absolute worst. Between quarantines and covid, Evelyn spent a total of 5 days in school last month. And it’s just impossible to work when she’s home. She’s a wonderful, easy kid. But I can’t say “okay honey, go play! Mama needs 4 hours to work on this pattern completely uninterrupted!” Hell, I can’t even get 30 minutes! And the past few months have been extremely, extremely buy. One of the Strange Brew lawyers needed some paperwork from 2004 and 2005. Not something I just had sitting around in my desk filing cabinet. We’re also looking for a second property for the business, and a new house. Considering the market right now, it’s more stress than fun! (also, if you have a realtor that takes the FIRST OFFER instead of stating “we’re accepting all offers no later than X” you don’t have the best realtor. A house selling in 24 hours isn’t necessarily something to celebrate)

Side note, yesterday we looked at a house owned by taxidermy company. The slanted floor in the outbuilding, the random meat cleaver we found in the woods… I may have nightmares for years!

Anyway, all this rambling in the ether just to say I’m stressed, I hope things get better soon, and try to avoid getting covid. Even a mild case of covid really sucks.

“What’s my job?”

I ask as she climbs the high ladder and doesn’t want to use both hands.

“to keep me safe!” She quips back as she begins to do a safer version of her game. It’s been our call and response since she could talk. What’s been my job for the past 2 years of pandemic life? Keep her safe. Feeling like a giant ass failure today.

Luckily it’s so far just the sniffles, but damn do I feel guilty. I know logically there was no way I could keep her completely isolated for 2 years, but I’m just so so angry. Angry that selfish people have kept this going for so long, angry that I sent her to school, and angry that there’s no vaccine for her age group.

Fingers crossed it stays mild. Fingers crossed I do a better job keeping her safe.

New Pattern, same imposter syndrome

woman in orange yoked sweater
Photo by David Van Deman

I have a pattern in Knitty! KNITTY! You know, the online magazine/blog that was THE resource in the early days of the knitting revival? My toes are curling just thinking about it.

To recap, for those of you that are new here. I’ve done some pretty cool things, knitting wise. Several books , a few other books as a contributor, patterns online, patterns in print, a few appearances on the long gone DIY network… it’s been a fun time! I’m not KNOWN per se, but I’m not UNKNOWN either.

Still, imposter syndrome is a thing, and let me tell you, it’s a BIG thing when this pattern was selected for Knitty. It doesn’t help of course that my brain is going BLERGHALFLARP (side note, I retyped this a few times to get exactly what I wanted phonetically) lately. I’m in the midst of UK edits for the Iceland books, working on something super huge big with Strange Brew, as well as all the mundane stuff with Strange Brew. Keeping a 4 year old alive, entertained and thriving during a mothereffing pandemic, as well as working on a few outlines for new projects. Hence, BLERGHALFLARP.

But, I’m very proud of this design. The yarn is an absolute dream, and I feel like there’s a lot of versatility with the pattern. I won’t lie, the colorwork gets a bit shirty sometimes. However if you want to make it easier, you can always remove the blue from the bee’s wings and the flowers! I’ve made this sweater twice now, and I’m getting ready to make another, though this time I’m going with a heavier weight yarn, just because I need to bust it out of my stash!

I really hope you enjoy this pattern, and it feels so good to finally be getting back to doing what I love!

Woman in orange yoked sweater
Please excuse the super messy office. I mentioned edits right?

One year of Peloton

TW: Miscarriage and weight loss talk ahead.

This is me. This is me after losing the last pregnancy I could ever possibly have. Pushing 190lbs, and sad as fuck.

Now, let me stress: If you look like this that is OKAY. There is nothing wrong with being one weight or another. I was close to this weight and pretty happy! I had my baby, I had lots of fun, I felt great. Then, I got pregnant and immediately gained weight. Then I lost the baby and gained more weight. I had 20lbs that to me, represented one of the worst things that had ever happened to me. I sat on the couch and FELT IT. That extra bit of tummy was a reminder that my body had been prepping for a baby, and sad about losing a baby. I couldn’t stand it.

I felt like I was spiraling. I had no one to talk to. No one who understood what I was going through. I went into our last IVF pretty nonchalant. If it worked, it worked and if it didn’t, who cares! I was not prepared for the emotional havoc of a miscarriage. I honestly thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But oh, it was. It still is. There are no words for the grief sometimes.

So, I knew I had to do something. I was not being the best Mom that I could be to Evelyn. I was constantly stressed and sad. I decided that I needed to get back to myself. I decided to turn to my Peloton. We had gotten the bike a while back, and I really loved riding it! I enjoyed the hi-fives, and the different rides and instructors. I thought, “what if I use this bike every single day? Just take a minimum of 10 minutes that is just for me, no matter what?” (I usually did a Hannah Frankson ride, as her classes just made me happy! I always felt good about myself afterwards.)

It seemed pretty reasonable honestly. So every day, I got on the bike for at least 10 minutes. And every day it felt really, really good. Then one day during a ride, Cody said, “If you’re not doing the strength classes you’re only getting half the story”. I had never tried the strength classes before but I started adding in one or two, here and there.

Soon I discovered the Hardcore on the Floor group on Facebook. Every month there is a calendar for strength. It seemed overwhelming at first, so I just promised to do one of the 10 minute classes each day. (The calendar is usually broken into 10/10/20 minute classes)

Every day it seemed like I would add a little more, until after a few months, I was usually doing the entire stack every day.

It didn’t take long for the 20 “sad pounds” as I called them, to go away. I felt a thousand times lighter. So I just kept going.

Now I feel so happy. My body can DO THINGS again. I’m strong, I can pick Evelyn up and swing her around. I can help my husband lift a heavy Ikea storage unit into our mud room.

woman and man flexing

I’m still stressed because, hello pandemic! But I feel more in control of myself, and lighter, metaphorically. And of course, physically. I’ve lost about 60lbs and gained a ridiculous amount of muscle.

woman flexing

Technically I lost 65lbs, but to maintain that I had to eat super duper clean. And frankly I enjoy making (and eating) cookies. And the occasional cake pop at 430am with my morning coffee. If I can look the way I look while still getting to eat whatever I want (within reason) then that is a perfect balance for me. I do my workout stack every day, ride the bike and feel so, so good.

woman flexing

I’m so grateful that I invested in this bike, and decided I was worth the monthly cost. It’s cheaper and easier than a gym, and something that works for me! (And now Dill, as he’s started riding the bike almost every day as well)

Again, I’m going to stress that this wasn’t really about weight loss. This was about being happy with myself, and making sure I took a minimum of 10 minutes a day to devote to ME and nobody else. I hope if you’re struggling, you can find that for yourself as well!

Doing that thing we do…

I hate that I don’t get to play as much as I want to. I went to a friends house a few weeks ago, picked up a guitar and my brain went BLARGHHHH. Which is about the sound the guitar made as well. (Though to be fair to myself, I was very, very drunk)

When Dills former drummer reached out and asked us to play a cover of “That Thing You Do” with him, we agreed. I hadn’t really paid attention to the bass line before but OH. MY. GOSH. It was pretty humbling to learn that song, especially after not playing bass for so long. But it was tons of fun, and it made me miss playing even more.

Now that Evelyn is getting older, I can sneak in a little more time. I can at least play some Taylor Swift songs on the guitar and she will sing along, though dragging out my bass isn’t as entertaining for her!

Anyway, please enjoy our little video. It was incredibly fun to do! (Get it, to do? That thing? Haha, oh I owe a dollar to the Dad Joke jar!)

And stay for the post credits. Totally worth it.

Is this okay?

It’s what I ask myself every single day. Taking Evelyn with me into a store, masked of course, but most people aren’t. Is this okay? Is this the moment we get sick?

Taking her to school is of COURSE full anxiety. Very little masking, and even if everyone was, they take them off to eat and to nap. Is this okay? Is she going to get sick?

A meetup with friends. Outdoors. Mask free. People who follow similar guidelines to us. Is this okay? Are we going to get sick? Are we going to get THEM sick? I don’t know if I could stand the guilt of giving someone’s kid covid.

Almost 2 years of this stress and it’s just wearing me down. We did so much of it isolated as well. Since we own a public facing business, there are risks our friends were comfortable taking that we just couldn’t. A covid case among the staff in the early days would have meant a 2 week shutdown. 2 weeks were we couldn’t pay our employees, our landlord, or ourselves.

Then slowly, the world started to open up, but not really for us. We still had to practice a lot of caution, since we have an unvaccinated kid. Most of our friends weren’t as worried, since their kids had been in school the whole time. But we had kept Evelyn home, so we weren’t yet numb to that stress and anxiety. I think knowing people who had kids with covid that weren’t okay afterwards, and are still dealing with some of the side effects from “mild” cases made it even worse.

We lost friendships. Well, I should say that I lost friendships. I was the one asking “is this gathering safe? Is everyone vaccinated? Should we all wear masks even though we’re outdoors?” Those are the questions that can piss people off, and my friends let me know that no, asking that isn’t okay. That was hard. Still not okay from that.

Taking Evelyn to activities. Swim class isn’t as distanced as I’d like. But the pool is well ventilated. She wears a mask until she’s in the water. Is this okay?

Gymnastics. She wears a mask. The instructor wears a mask. The other kids don’t. Is this okay? The other kids her age are so much farther ahead then her. They’ve been going to class almost uninterrupted during the pandemic. We kept her home to keep her safe, but now she’s so far behind. Is she okay? Did we do the right thing?

I’ve spent 2 years on the verge of tears on a daily basis. I don’t feel okay. But is she okay? Will she be okay? If I focus on that goal I can get through this. Keep her okay.