One of my favorite memories from childhood is toting around my favorite blanket. It was white and fluffy and had colored letters printed on it for learning the alphabet. The stuffing was horrendously misshapen. The material was worn thin and soft. It made forts and capes and caves. It was a cloud and a raft and a magic carpet. Throw in some cozy pajamas and a good book and I was a happy little girl. In fact, not much has changed.
Juniper loves to snuggle up with a blanket. She carries them around the house building little nests here and there. She buries her face in the fluffiness. She curls up in the folds. She hides underneath, giggling, squealing, willing us to find her. A few weeks ago, I made this Juni-sized blanket just for her. The design is based on the Easy Lap Quilt from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. And it was, indeed, fairly easy, with long strips of fabric to create the patchwork top and a coordinating pattern for the back. The adorable fabric is from the Folksy Flannels line by Anna Maria Horner and the lining is a soft organic bamboo batting. The whole combination makes for a warm, cozy, girly little blanket for my sweet snuggler.
Of course Juni loves to share, so Sydney gets her fair share of blanket snuggles as well.
Snow has been falling steadily for almost a day now. At times it has been fluffy and soft, swirling around silently for hours. Other times it has been a sharp, tinkly sleet making music on the rooftop. Since we have neither snow shovel nor snow clothes, we have kept inside for the most part, eating doughnuts and watching old movies. After some brief reluctance this morning (she peed on our back deck rather than venture forth into the yard), Sydney has thoroughly enjoying romping around in the snow, diving in and out of snow drifts and splashing in the half frozen stream next to our house. Juniper has also been fascinated with the snow. We bundled her up in her warmest clothes and took her outside to catch some snowflakes. She was completely delighted. Every time I tried to bring her inside, she would cry and scream and squirm and point to the front yard. She has spent much of the afternoon with her nosed pressed against the window, marveling at the falling snow. Neighborhood kids have been sailing by on sleds and making snow angels in their yards. What a rare little treat.
This past year was so chock full of large and new and exciting things here in White Apples Land that 2010 already seems like it should be a year of slowing down and snuggling in, of small, peaceful moments, of growing roots and finding rhythms and enjoying all the little things. In 2009, we watched a tiny little newborn baby tumble headfirst into toddlerhood; we left jobs and moved across the country; we bought our first home and made our first mortgage payment; we adjusted to a whole new and very different city; we said hellos and good-byes.
All things considered, 2009 was the best year yet and I could go on and on about how amazing and precious and surprising and joyful each day truly was but, good grief, I gush enough on this blog as it is. Suffice it say that it was a memorable year. And in case I happen to forget all the awesomeness that was the oh-nine, I have thousands of digital photos backed up in three locations to remind me.
I wanted to dress Juni up as food for Halloween. I am thoroughly amused by the notion of dressing my child in food-themed apparel. And isn't that what kids are for? Amusing us? No? Anyway, Charlie won the Halloween debate and we went with that oh-too-adorable bee costume. Which left only one defenseless member of the family who could be food for my enjoyment. So Sydney was a banana. She loved wearing the banana. And unlike a certain hat-averse bumble bee, had no problem with the banana peels of her costume flapping in her face. She was also, by far, the loudest banana possible, barking hysterically at every child that approached the house.
I guess it was only a matter of time. The kid is mobile. Turn your back for two seconds and you will find her on the other side of room, grabbing at something breakable or drooling on something delicate. Yes, she has mastered the art of rolling across the floor in the blink of an eye, taking out anything in her way - a chubby little steamroller. That is, until she happens to encounter a large roadblock - for instance, in the form of sleeping dog. She tries for minutes to roll up onto poor Sydney, knocking into her over and over again like some defective wind-up toy. Finally, frustrated and exhausted, she gives up and moves onto tugging and squeezing big chunks of puppy fur/fat rolls. Get used to this, Syd. She's here to stay.
This year The Syd was a bumble bee for Halloween. Unfortunately, the largest doggie costume that Target sells is a "Large", which is still a little too snug for stuffing all of Sydney's bulk in there. That's why she looks like she is strapped into a straitjacket.
Here's The Syd, hanging out with the 29-week belly. According to Babycenter, our little bug is about the size of a butternut squash right now. I love butternut squash. In fact, I had plans to make this Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons a few days ago (with leftover gruyere from the pie crust... how thrifty am I?). However, while I may have six pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, eight Scharffen Berger chocolate bars, seven Dagoba chocolate bars, twelve cups of Valrhona cocoa, five pounds of sugar, and a box of exquisite raw chocolate cacao nibs in my pantry right now, I have no chicken broth. So no soup.
Trimesters one and two were pretty easy and uneventful - the occasional teensy bout of nausea, a strange and distressing aversion to pizza, a previously-unheard-of dependence on Tums. Now that I am firmly ensconced in the Third Trimester, various new and sneaky pregnancy ailments are creeping up on me. It seems that a full eight+ hours of endless project meetings and sundry lab experiments/mini-science-disasters leaves me a bit ouchy at the end of the work day - lower back pains, achiness around the hip areas, assorted muscle soreness. Waddling to and from the kitchen for ice cream feels like a marathon endeavor (though worth it... definitely worth it). Oh yes, and the feet swell to (even more) gargantuan proportions. This last development is truly appalling. Truly. But despite creaking around like a large, roly-poly wimp for most of the day, I'm feeling healthy and peaceful and centered and excited to meet our little baby girl in eleven-ish weeks.
Here is Sydney giving belly kisses, completely unaware of how much worrying she will face once the baby arrives... she thinks worrying about us and the kitties is an exhausting job...