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Barknknit's Blog

This moment - my girlsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


This moment - Silly in motion.Open in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


FO alert: Special K's Christmas StockingOpen in a New Window

Two years ago at Christmas time, I realized that if you looked at my house with our Christmas decorations you wouldn't know that I was a Knitter.  That prompted me to begin my scheming so that one day when the holiday's came around, knitting would literally throw up all over our home!  Each year I plan to knit something new for holiday decorations.  The first step in this plan was to knit stockings.  I was only able to complete the ones for my daughters last year before Christmas came so this year my goal is to have the Dad and Mom ones completed.

Here are the ones I completed for the girls last year.  I used the same pattern and yarn for these as the details below for Special K's but if you want to see the specifics of these you can check out the project pages for Carmen's and Maria's on ravelry.  As you can tell, I opted to stray from the typical green and red Christmas colors.
And here is Special K's stocking all ready for this Christmas!  After my sister gave him the idea, he wanted Michigan colors as he's a big fan! Ignore the wall is not my favorite but we haven't started redoing the living room since we moved in.
Project details
Ravelry Project link
Pattern: A NEW Family Portrait - A Collection of Three Christmas Stockingsby Dorene Delaney Giordano
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220® Sport
Cast on: May 19th, 2014
Finished: July 18, 2014
Notes:  I am so happy with how this came out!  The stocking for Carmen was my first colorwork and I was so nervous.  Color work is actually easier than I had anticipated but it is so potato chipy!  That means that I just can't do one row and want to just knit the next line to see where the pattern goes.  It's so fun to knit and I can't wait to see them all up and making my house festive. 

My only real struggle with these was getting the tension of the floats correct on the sides where the loops of the needles are.  I knit these using the magic loop method.   I think my tension is still a bit tight although Maria's was knit a little looser as I was more comfortable with it then.

I was so excited to have completed his stocking this weekend that I immediately wound yarn and cast mine on Sunday night!  It's not going to count for big points in the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup but I think I'll have to just live with that.  UNLESS I can finish mine in 10 days and then it will be lots of class points.
All in all, I'm so glad I picked this pattern, which is very well written.  She has a ton of other similar patterns to choose from so if you want to have different patterns for all your family you can.   The last step for all of these will be to line them but I'm waiting until they are all complete before I do that.

Happy Knitting!

What holiday decorations have you knit or crocheted for your house?  Are you planning to craft some this year?


This moment - Holding HandsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


FO alert: Brickless for StashOpen in a New Window

St. Petersburg, FL recently got a new yarn shop Stash - A place for Yarn!  It's so very exciting because we haven't had an LYS for a while now.  The closest yarn shops were across bridges or at least a 30-45 min drive.  This new yarn store is only 10-15 mins from both my work and home...can't really beat that! 

Kristin, the shop owner, asked me to knit a sample for the shop as she was preparing to open.  I was more than eager to step up to the challenge.  She handed me this beautiful skein of Malabrigo Sock in the archangel colorway.  I had never used Malabrigo sock but have wanted to for sometime.  Picking the pattern was not hard as I have been wanting to knit a Martina Behm pattern and the sock yarn screamed that it needed to be a Brickless. So here it is all set up in the shop and looking so beautiful! 
Project details
Pattern: Bricklessby Martina Behm
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock colorway Archangel
Cast on: July 1, 2014
Finished: July 14, 2014
Notes: The yarn knit up so nicely and the pattern is so well written.  I had several long drives when we went out of town for a weekend and some low key evening knitting time so this knit up very quickly.  Since it's a shop sample, I don't get to keep it so another one of these will be on my needles soon.

If you find yourself visiting St. Pete, FL anytime soon, check out our new LYS Stash - A place for yarn downtown and check this beauty out for yourself.  Let her know Barknknit sent you!

Happy Knitting!

What are you knitting?  What is your latest finished object?


This moment - randomnessOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo (or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


This moment - Happy 4th of JulyOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo (or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


FO report: Miss Abbey for my girlsOpen in a New Window

Technically this is a throwback Thursday post as well since these projects were finished last year but I never blogged about them.

One of the things that excited me about having another girl was being able to knit them matching things!  Last year, I bought this cotton yarn on extreme sale!  I can't remember how much I paid for it but it was less than $10 for a full bag of it!  I wasn't sure what I was going to knit with it however was excited when I found the perfect pattern.  So here I present to you two Miss Abbey tops for my girls.
Project details
Pattern: Miss Abbeyby Terri Kruse
Yarn: Laines du Nord Papiro
Cast on date for Carmen's: June  9 2013
Finished date for Carmen's: July 14 2013
Cast on date for Maria's: July 16 2013
Finished date for Maria's: September  1 2013
Notes: I love how these came out!  I was worried about how I would like knitting with cotton because usually I'm not a fan.  The way this yarn is constructed made it have a little bit of stretch and that helped with the knitting process.   The pattern is knit from the top down, is easy to follow and a quick knit.  I would definitely recommend the pattern to anyone who wants something simple or is new to knitting garments. I still have some more of it so I hope to make something else as well.

Happy Knitting!


This moment - dimples and holding handsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


Masterpiece: Sockhead had for my dad's 80th!Open in a New Window

Let's catch up with some of my finished objects from this past 6 months...

The first finished object or as we call them in our podcast "Masterpieces" I'd like to share with you is the Sockhead hat. I made this my dad for his 80th birthday, which was on May 32nd, 2014!  He requested a thin hat for nights in Panama when it gets cooler a while back but it took me a bit to find the perfect yarn/pattern/inspiration to get this project started and completed.  I'm so excited how it came out and I love love love this picture of him in it.
I also love these 2 pictures of my first model in it.

Project details
Pattern: Sockhead Hatby Kelly McClure
Yarn: The Unique Sheep Verve in the insecta gradiance colorway
Cast on date: May 16th, 2014
Finished date: May 28th, 2014 Just in time for his birthday!
Notes: This pattern says to knit for a bit longer than I did.  I didn't want it to be slouchy on my father and after I finished it I was worried it wouldn't fit it.  I was so glad when he tried it on and it fit perfectly!  I enjoyed this pattern as it was simple and quicker than I thought.  I love knitting with sock yarn so I may have to make a couple more of these for others in my family.

Happy Knitting!

Have you finished any knitting projects lately?


Garden Love: Flowers, tomatoes, and plants.Open in a New Window

Flowers...colorful...full of!

Cheating with the picture above...this is actually a flower growing in front of my sister Fleas house, who lives across the street. It's just so beautiful I had to share. Now let's begin...

My all time favorite flowers are Gerber Daisies but I'm not brave enough to grow them's coming.  Over the years, I have had potted plants that have survived my care but having moved 10 times in a year between 2004-2005 I stopped dragging them with me.  When we were renting, Special K always persuaded me not to buy plants and flowers because he knew we would just have to move them.  Pretty sure if I had been willing to part with more of my books, he might have not stood his ground on this one.

When we finally closed on our house last year, I wanted to get busy planting new things!  I wrote about my first attempt with 2 of the planters attached to our house in this post.  It's fun to see what we were doing then and to see the little we began with. 

One of the planters did really well through the Florida winter without much care.  The crotons we planted at the end of last year didn't grow much but they weren't dieing.   The surprising thing is plants that we had tried to plant and things I threw into this planter because they were dieing in pots all of a sudden popped out of the ground in late winter!  So below is what it looked like back in early April at the start of Spring. (please ignore the wood covering that window...that was a little accident the doggies did while we were at work.  Neither of them were injured when they broke the window. It has since been replaced with some plexiglass so that they can't do that again. Can't wait until we replace that whole window!)
The picture below is what it looked like last week.  The vinca that is growing out of this planter was never planted there but I love how it looks.  Although out of place, I refuse to move it since it's doing so well.  I may transplant it eventually but for now I am enjoying all the flowers it produces.
Right behind the vinca is one of the pentas that I attempted to plant last year that had completely died but I didn't remove.  After the winter, it just popped right up and is doing great!
Then there is this tomato plant, which I forgot I had dumped there and really held no hope for it growing.  Early this year, I saw it pop up and I asked a couple people what they thought it was and most said it was a weed...until the day I ripped it out of the ground and my husband smelled it and told me it was a tomato plant.  Why I hadn't asked him before, I'm not sure.  Lesson learned.  I kicked myself several times for pulling out that tomato plant and was not expecting a new one to grow but surprisingly enough here I have a new tomato plant!  Special K put a dowel in so that we can have it vine up. It is doing very well with daily watering even with the summer heat in FL.
 So excited to see those little yellow flowers!  YAY!
The other planter never was mulched so by the end of winter it was over-run with weeds, grass and needed lots of care. Wish I had a picture of what it looked like before I did all the work.  There is also a small black snake that is living inside the left part of this planter but I've only seen twice and never with the girls with me. I usually make noise as they get close to give the snake some time to go back into it's hiding place before we get there.  When I was digging right by the opening to his home, I never once saw him.  I did talk to him about not bothering me while I garden in there.
On the Saturday before Father's Day, the girls, Special K, my sister Fleas, and I all ventured to Home Depot where we bought some mulch and plants.  I let Carmen pick some and I wasn't paying too close attention so I came home with 3 crown of thorns...those were dug up the next day and I tested out Home Depots plant return/exchange policy and came back home with some vincas.
Before I planted anything, I inspected what was there and decided I would keep several of the vincas that were doing well.  I then proceeded to rip everything else out and transplanted one of the vincas that seemed to be doing ok but wasn't where I wanted it.  It's fun to have all these fresh flower and too see all the potential beauty they will bring to this area of my home.
It makes me so happy to see colorful flowers begin to grow around our home.  When we moved in, we had lovely trees and green bushes but no color.  I have some fun ideas that I can't wait to make happen...Special K doesn't know about my idea for him to build a window box planter under our long window in the front. I don't think he doesn't read the blog so I'm safe. hehe! In the picture above, it's the far window on the other side of the front steps.  We plan to work on a flower bed between this planter and the front steps eventually.  Special K also would like small palm trees in that flower bed.  So much potential... 

Happy Gardening!

Have you done any gardening this Spring?  What has been your favorite plant to see grow in your garden?  Have you planted any fruit or veggies?


This moment - a couple stepsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


Where to begin...we'll start with 10.Open in a New Window

Where do you being when you have been on a 6 month hiatus from your blog?  How do you get back to posting on your blog when there is just so much to say?  These are the questions that have gone through my mind over and over again the last couple months.  I haven't forgotten this space I've called home for OVER 7 years!  I've often thought about moving on and starting a new blog or finding a new theme or or or...but I keep coming back to I've been blogging here at Barknknit since I started blogging and I just can't let it go yet.

For my first post back since January, I'm going to just recap the past 6 months.  So, here are 10 important things that have happened in the Barknknit family the last 6 months:

1. My girls are both 6 months older and when it comes to little kids that is a LONG time!  Both are now going to the same preschool and are learning new things so quickly.  I feel if you look at them long enough, you can actually see them growing before your very eyes! hehe! JK.

2. Special K and I went on our first weekend away without the kids!...I may actually write an entire post about this one but for now I'll just share that it was so good for everyone.  I'm glad that Special K and I got to spend some quality time being a couple and enjoying what makes us us.  This was also the first vacation in 6 years that did not involve visiting family so there is that...

3.  Maria learned to walk(at 10 months just like her sister)...this changes the game but it's so exciting!  Again...she's just growing up too quickly!

4. My father came to visit from Panama...He spent 3 weeks with my family here and we spent most this time celebrating his 80th birthday!  The girls enjoyed every minute with him here and we miss him so much.  Looking forward to his visit this winter.
5. Carmen had her 2nd ballet recital...this one was tap and while she had a little bit of a meltdown when she saw us watching her, she did great!

6. Maria turned 1!  I can't believe the year went by so fast!  She is such a smart, happy, and loving toddler.  She talks a lot and is always trying to do what her sister is doing.  She's also my climber but I know this and do what I can to prevent major falls.  She is such a blessing.

7. Grandma Shari came to visit...Special K's mom came for a weekend visit and we had so much fun!  The girls enjoyed having her here and we all went to a Rays game...along with so much more!
8. Promotion at work into management...I was promoted earlier this year at work into a  management role.  This has been exciting/stressful and my first time managing a team of at first 20+ but thankfully now my team is 9-10 people.  I've learned so much already and learning more every day!

9. Podcasting again...yes, I've starting podcasting again!  I'm so so excited about this.  My friend Alicia and I started a new podcast Mastering the Knits!  We talk about our journey through the Master Knitter Program, beginning with the Hand Knitting Level 1.  We also talk about our life, crafting, and more.  It's been so fun and we are so happy we've had such great feedback from our listeners!

10. There has been knitting and spinning...oh has there been so much knitting in the last 6 months!  I'll have to dedicate a couple posts to update you all on all that I've finished!  Here is a snapshot of one of my finished objects...a hat for my dad modeled by Carmen.

Hope you enjoyed this list!  I look forward to talking to you all more!

Happy Catching up!

What have you all been up to in the past 6 months?  Please comment and say hello!


This moment - Sisterly loveOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo  – no words(well...a couple at the bottom) – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

Bet you thought I forgot about you...more posts coming.


2014 New year theme/goals!Open in a New Window

It has been far too long since I posted but life has been busy and hasn't allowed me to post.  I won't bore you will too many details but a quick recap...first off I have a 3 year old and 9 month old who take turns not wanting to sleep, which takes over my mommy time at night, second I have a husband and dogs that require attention as well, and then thirdly I got a promotion at work that has kept me super busy!  I am excited about all the things taken over my time but I also had to let some things go to fit it all in. 

With the new year quickly coming, I was thinking about my new year theme ala Jasmin from the knitmore girls and some goals, as I work well with clear goals.  The first thing that came to mind was I wanted to share with you, my neglected blog readers, that I have missed so much!  So here I am...ready to share with you my new year plans and also needing to do some serious catching up with all of you! We'll start with this post and see where it goes from there!  As always, this blog is a work in progress!  Enjoy!

For 2014, my personal theme is going to be Mastering the task at hand.  What this means is that I plan to do my best at whatever I am doing at that time and put my focus there.  To not to stretch myself too thin and spread out my energy but focus it and master/do my best at what I am doing.

With this theme in mind, here are a couple of New Years goals to start with:

1. I recently read this blog post about 3 things he wishes he knew before he got married and the one about going home and loving your wife hit home with me.  Often times we and by this I mean me, tend to focus on what we are getting out of the relationships we have instead of focusing on what we are giving.  When we focus more on what we can give, we get way more positives than when we worry about what we are getting. I plan to focus on loving my husband and to put away my mental tally of I did this and he did that.  To just love him and put him first in my thoughts and in my actions.  

2. With this first one, I also plan to focus on my girls when I am with them.  I have become a little lax with my phone time lately.  I would like to go back to my dad's advice and really focus on quality time instead of worrying about all my selfish needs of me time and just focus on my girls when we are together.  The me time will naturally come but I'd like to make the time with them more quality.

3. With my crafting time, I plan to tackle the Knitter's Guild of America's Master Knitter Program Level 1 with my friend KnottyKnitter17 aka Alicia.  We are hoping to apply for scholarships here soon and either way start the program by March at the latest!  I'd like to take my knitting to the next level this year.

4. As a test for January, I plan to restict my social media time...mainly Facebook. I do not plan to post less pictures as I am not restricting my Instagram time but I plan to restrict my Facebook time to only weekends and once at the end of the day.  I was going to only do weekends but lets not get carried away too fast.

More goals make come up as I adjust my life to fit my 2014 theme but for now I think this is a good start.

Hope you are all doing well an have a fantastic New Year!

Happy New Year!


A Series of Thoughts: Maria's Birth Story Part 3Open in a New Window

We left off here...a while ago. Now let's finish up this birth story. We are going to end with less detail but lots of pictures!

So, there I was waiting for my epidural to come and feeling pretty loopy.  I could still feel the contractions but the edge had been knocked off.  When the anesthesiologist finally came in, I was happy to see him.  My sister and husband had to leave the room while they placed the epidural but my nurse was great company.

After the epidural was in place, I was feeling pretty good.  I was able to rest but I knew this time was going to move faster.  She at this point broke my water and that got the contractions to speed up but at least I didn't feel anymore pain.  We all tried to rest as we waited for the time to come.

That time didn't take long to come and by early morning I was already feeling ready to push.  We called the nurse in because I wanted the doctor to start heading this way...I could feel that need to push coming and I didn't want her to miss it.  The nurse as I said was fantastic and she got me ready to go.  The doctor showed up JUST in time as I had already been feeling the need to push when she waked in and from experience I knew that I am an efficient pusher and that it wouldn't take long.  The nurse kept telling me to try some practice pushes but I told her we should hold off.  Once I finally did, she was shocked how right I was.  The doctor showed up, Special K and Fleasbyte got in their positions to help me and a couple pushes later out came Maria Anne!

She was perfect with all her little toes and fingers and such a beautiful face!  I got to hold her for a while and then she had to get cleaned up.  Even right after she was born, she was a confirmed daddy's she was fussing on the table until daddy put his hand on her and she calmed right down.  LOVE this picture!

I actually remembered this time to get a picture of Dr. T! She deliever both our babies and she is my favorite at the practice. I prayed the whole time I was pregnant with both of my girls that she would be on call when I went into labor! THANKfully it worked!
Our first picture with our babiest!
The best nurse ever!!!  I couldn't have been in better care than this woman!  She was a traveling nurse and not sure where in the world she is now but I'm so glad she was here when I delivered! She was amazing!!
Daddy and his babies girl!  Love them!
And then here are some more pictures from our hospital stay...

Carmen meeting her new sister for the first time.  She was instantly in love! 
Hope you enjoyed my birth story. I know this last one was rushed but life got in my way of blogging and I wanted to get this up before she is a year old!


This Moment - picture dump!Open in a New Window

I have been a terrible blogger the last couple week.  You should see how many posts I have drafted and half completed.  You'll get them soon however life has been busy!  To get us somewhat caught up, I figured I'd start with a picture post!  Hope you enjoy...

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo (or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: If I could have one superpower...Open in a New Window

If I could have one super power it would be the power to heal. It would be amazing to be able to use my hands and words to heal people of their illness but also of their hurts emotionally and not just physically.

Having lost my mother to cancer so young, I often thought about how I wish someone could have touched her and taken away the cancer.  I wish that she would not have had to suffer and go though all that she did.  I know others that have been sick and needed healing and I wish I could have been the one to do it.

So many people walk around with pain that's not physical.  Pain from hurts that they have experienced along their path.  Sometimes it's right on the surface and you can see this pain like its a physical feature. It makes me sad when you see this pain in young kids that shouldn't have to carry it.  I just want to take away all their sadness...not by giving them material things but by being able to heal the pain that they have had to go through.  Tell them they didn't do anything wrong and they didn't deserve it.  I would like to be able to say what they need to hear to let the past go and to heal...and forgive. 

Not sure exactly how my super power would work but I think it would be a miracle to have the power to heal those I love and those that I come across.

What would your superpower be?


52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: If I could be anything in the world...Open in a New Window

This topic was another hard one for me...I think this is a running theme with this linkup.  I like that it's pushing me to think about things.  I struggled with this one because I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it.  This is what came out when I began writing.
When I look inside and ask myself what I would like to be, my first thought is I am already a mom.  I've always wanted to be a mom and I have 2 precious girls, who make me a mommy.  Growing up, I always wanted to be in a mother/daughter relationship.  I would look at my friends and see them with their moms and wanted that relationship.  I knew that while I love my father and we have a good relationship, it's not the same as I would have had with my mom. My mom would have understood a lot of what I was going through and she would have been there for me like no one else could have.  She would have been mother and many people take that relationship for granted.
For those of you who don't know, my mother Carmen Delia Martinez passed away January 7th, 1987 of breast cancer.  I was 6 and a half years old and I miss her everyday!  It's hard to describe growing up without a mom.  I had a step-mom but she had her own kids and it's not the same.  I had older sisters, who have been like mothers to me throughout my life, however, they had their own lives and their own children to mother.  I feel I turned out fine but it wasn't always easy.  I pray often that I will be there for my girls for all those moments that I missed having my mother there for my wedding and the birth of both my girls.  When they do have their babies someday, I plan to take a month plus vacation and spend the time helping them learn to be a mom themselves.  They might be ready for me to head home after that but I plan to be there for them through it and for as long as they will let me. 

I always knew if/when I had a child I'd have a girl...I picked out her name when I was young and was very thankful none of my sister took my girl name.  Naming my first daughter after my mother was the easiest decision I ever made.  It's funny that she looks SO much like my husband's mother yet she is named after my mom.   She has a bit of both her grandmas in her forever!

Back to the topic, if I could be anything in the world...I would be what I am and I would be a mom to my 2 dearest blessings Carmen and Maria.

What would you be?  Is there something you already are that you always wanted to be?


This Moment - Sister Love!Open in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or a few) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: If I were to win the lottery, 5 Things I'd BuyOpen in a New Window

This would require actually playing lottery, which my husband and I don't do but it was fun to discuss this week's topic with him as I made my list.  Some of these were on both our lists and one wasn't.  Here are the first 5 things we would buy...

1. Pay off our house. Enough monthly mortgage!

2. New cars...I really want a minivan!  Yes, call me soccer mom or whatever you'd like but it would be great to have a minivan with all the extras!  There have been countless times that we've borrowed my sister's minivan because neither our cars fit more than just our family.  Special K really wants a new truck and I would love him to get a new one with a bigger back seat! 

3. Renovate our house.  We have a list of things we plan to do within the next couple years but if we had lottery money then we could do them all right now!

4. A vacation cabin in the mountains.  Not sure exactly where this would be but would love a nice cabin to vacation to.

5. Pay off family mortgages or buy them a house.  We would pay off or purchase a home for each of our parents and our siblings.

Kenny added another one that I wish I would have thought of before I made my list but it would definitely be something that would be on the top of our list if we did have this money. His great idea was to set up trust and college funds for the girls!   When I thought of this list, I thought of right now...figured I wanted immediate satisfaction. 

What would the first 5 things you buy be?


A Series of Thoughts: Maria's Birth Story Part 2Open in a New Window

We left off here with me heading to the hospital to hopefully have this baby girl! 

On the way to the hospital my contractions kept coming regularly and with a vengeance. The trip to the hospital thankfully is a quick one but it felt like it took forever. Before I knew it though, we were pulling up and Fleas was letting me out. She had to drive over a bit to get the car valeted because it was pretty late and the Baby Place valet was closed. I went to check in and the security guy offered me a wheelchair several times but I didn't want one...I wanted to keep contracting and sitting was uncomfortable so I just stood there, swayed, and waited for her. As soon as we got up the elevator and onto the Baby Place floor, my sister grabbed the paperwork, which after being there 3 times before during this pregnancy and twice with my first, we were pros at filling out. She had to help me this time because I was having trouble focusing enough to write my information down...another clue that this was probably it!

We got checked in and taken back to triage.  The nurse had me change into the hospital gown, lie down, and get checked.  This part is hands down my least favorite part.  At this point I was 3.5 cms and super soft.  She said they wanted me to stay in bed being monitored for 15 mins, walk for 45, and then she would check me again and at that point call and ask doctor what she would like to do.  I asked who was on call for the practice I go to and when she said Dr. T, I was thrilled!  Not only is she my favorite docor in the practice but also the one who delivered Carmen! I thought the triage nurse's plan sounded fine but told her that after being in pain and contracting for the last 2 weeks, I want an epidural and I wanted as soon as I could get it!!  She got us both some water and off she went.

I stayed in bed on the monitors and continued to labor for15 mins.  I was really having to work through the contractions and was happy when the nurse came back in and told me I could walk around.  I was ready to get things progressing and I told my sister that I can't go home...I was in too much pain!  She agreed and we began to walk the halls.  As we walked, I was struggling more and more with each contraction.  I don't remember this whole area of the hospital last time as I didn't walk around like I did this time.  

We waddled by the nurses station for the labor and delivery rooms and I noticed there was a younger male nurse.  I didn't remember seeing any men on this side 2 years ago.  I even commented to my sister how I didn't recall any male nurses back here.  We continued walking and stopped in the room with drinks for a quick drink.  I knew as soon as I got my IV, they weren't going to let me drink anymore so I wanted to get some liquid in before I had to resort to only ice chips.  At this point, I was really in pain and thought I was ready to waddle back to the triage room.  

We got to the room and still had 10 mins before she was coming to check me.  I tried laboring sitting down and decided that I was NOT going to do that again.  I kept changing standing positions and my sister helped me focus on my breathing and held my hand during each contraction.  Not sure I could have made it through this part without her as she kept me focused.  During both pregnancies, I found when I was going through a tough contraction I had to close my eyes and breath or I would start getting a bit panicky.  It felt like an eternity passed before the nurse finally came in to check me again.  She checked and said that I was progressing but not by much.  She asked if I had a procedure done when I was younger that may have left scar tissue on my cervix and I said yes.  This was the exact thing that prevented progress with Carmen.  She said she could break up the scar tissue now but didn't recommend it because I was already in so much pain she worried that it would progress me too fast.  She said they would wait until after I got my epidural.  I agreed to that!  Before she left the room to talk to the doctor, I told her to please tell Dr. T that I can't go home and that I am asking for pain meds NOW!!  I told the nurse that Dr. T would know I was serious if she shared that with her.  

Before having Carmen, Dr. T and I discussed at length trying for a med free birth and after 14+ hrs of slow progress and lots of pain, I got the epidural and couldn't have been happier.  After that birth and throughout this pregnancy, I had talked about trying to go med free again but after the 2 weeks I had just gone through...I was at the state where I wanted drugs and I wanted them NOW! 

The nurse went off to call the doctor and ask her if I was to be admitted or not.  My sister helped me continue to labor.  Not 5 mins later, the young man I had seen at the nurses station knocks and comes in and through the door I hear the best words come from the triage nurse, "She said to admit you!!"  Relief came over me as I couldn't imagine that I wasn't in labor or that they could possibly send me home!  

The nice young man, who had a southern accent and manners, proceeded to set me up to put in my IV.  He asked if I minded and I said go ahead but please promise me that you'll get it in one try!  2 weeks prior to this, the nurse had blown a vein in my arm so bad that I still had a bruise to show him.  He said he would try his best and I wanted to kiss him when he did it quickly and in one try!  He started my IV and got some of my vitals as we waited for another nurse to come take me to labor and delivery.

When the nurse arrived she asked if I wanted a wheel chair to head to my room or walk. After experiencing what it felt like to contract sitting down I declined and said let's walk. She looked at me in shock and asked again and I said no wheel chair lets go!  As we started a contraction came on and I had to labor through it...the nurses at the station asked the one helping me why I wasn't in a wheel chair and she giggled and told them I said let's do it!  That made me laugh.  We walked/labored as fast as we could over to my l&d room and got me settled in.

My labor and delivery nurse came in and introduced herself.  She was my favorite person all night!  She started asking a bunch of questions and got me into bed and back on the monitors.  One monitor for the contractions and one for the baby's heartbeat.  I tried to answer everything as quickly as possible and was just trying to get her finished and get her to get me meds!  She said she was going to go put in my order for my epidural and I quickly asked "Can I please have something now while we wait for anesthesiologist?"  She said she would check to see what orders the doctor put in and she would be back. 

By this point, my sister had already called Special K and put into motion the plan.  My niece Surfer girl had headed over to our house and my husband was on his way.  I was looking forward to having him with us.  He showed up just in time for the nurse to come in and start me on the meds through my IV. She had warned me it would make me loopy and within mins I felt high but it helped.  Special K took out his phone and recorded me all loopy!  We all were chatting and laughing and excited that baby was coming!!  I was happy to know my epidural was on it's way!  Check out this smile while I was in labor.  Can't remember if this was pre or post epidural but I know there was meds in me. :)

Please come back soon for the final part of this birth story, when Miss Maria finally joins us.


Garden Love: Testing out my green thumb.Open in a New Window

One of the most exciting things about owning a home to me is finally being able to plant flowers and play in dirt!
This weekend my sister Fleas and I decided it was time to work on 2 of the planters attached to our house.  Because we are still on a pretty tight budget since my unpaid maternity leave, we didn't want to spend much.  My sister came up with an idea to use clippings from her flowers and some from our other sister's house.  

So Sunday morning, we took the girls to Home Depot and bought several bags of topsoil and 2 bags of cow manure.  We got home and used some rakes to turn over and aerate the soil in the planter on the side of our house.  When we first looked at this planter, it looked like it was all sand but once we started digging in we found lovely lovely dirt!  We mixed up what was in there and then spread out a layer of cow manure.  After that we topped it off with a layer of the topsoil.  
Once the planter was full of lovely dirt/cow manure, we went over and clipped some of my sister's vinca flowers across the street and planted those with some plant food mixed in.  3 of these were off shoots of her current plants and had lots of roots, these look like they are picking up faster than the ones that had no or little roots.  
This is mainly an experiment to see if this will work, I know that it would work better to root the clippings in a pot first.  If it doesn't work the way we are trying it, we will just try again with new clippings and follow the right way but I hope at least some of these take.
Carmen's Aunt Lecia aka fleas bought Carmen her own flower to plant.  Carmen got to pick one and she picked a pretty yellow marigold.

The last part of our gardening was to take clippings from my sister G's red pentas and planted those in the planter by our front window.  This section had a layer of mulch so we just moved that over, dug holes, filled with new dirt and plant food, and planted the clippings.  
You can also see our papaya tree my friend gave us, which is currently living in a pot until we can decide where it will live.  It's had a ton of new growth and am so excited about it!
It was fun spending the morning in the sun, working with our hands, and getting dirty with my sister and Carmen.  I can't wait to see how these flowers do and plant more flowers, bushes, and trees around our new home!  Might be silly but it makes me so happy to do little things to make our house a home.

Carmen had a great time getting dirty as you can tell by this picture my niece took!  My niece and sister G came over and hung out with Maria and Carmen while we finished up planting.  It was a fulfilling morning!

Happy Gardening!!

What kind of flowers have you been successful with planting?  Do you have any advice for this gardening novice?  Would like to get some indoor plants eventually.  Any suggestions?


52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: My Biggest WeaknessOpen in a New Window

Dessert...dessert is my biggest weakness.  

JUST KIDDING...If I thought last week's topic was hard...picking just one weakness was harder. Again I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with this post. I am flawed as all humans are.  

I wake up each day with a plan for the day. I go to get started and I get distracted...distracted by what I have no clue! 

This often is paired with tunnel vision. I get so focused on what I am doing that I forget about other things.  I am very capable of multitasking, however, things that I deem important are usually where I put my focus.  Those important things get done 110% but the others go by wayside and sometimes get forgotten.

How this effects my daily life is that I tend to forget to do things. It's not that I intentionally try to forget them.  I always have good intentions, however it's my follow through that really bites the big one!  People who know me know I need lots of reminders to do things.  If I don't do something right away...just keep reminding me because I probably forgot or am focusing on something else at that moment.  I know this can be frustrating for many, especially my husband. He doesn't understand how I didn't see something right there!  I just never focused on it.  I don't do it on purpose, it's just the way I have always been.  I know this about myself though and have worked hard to get better at it.

Thankfully, I have never forgotten my children and am always aware of where they are.  They are my I try to always be in tune with's everything else that often times gets set aside.

This weakness is something I am aware of...without it I would be a better mother, wife, friend, and person.  I would probably manage my home better...think how this distractedness effects cleaning when you have a time crunch...

What has helped me are lists...when I don't forget the list or lose it that is.  Lists save me.  I write lists all the time so that I can stay focused and keep on track with things.  I use my reminder feature and calendar alerts on my phone A TON!  I'm often ask Siri to remind me of things because she never forgets!  I just hope I don't miss the reminder popping up.

I also have prayed that I get better with this.  It's something I'm not proud of and something that has hurt people who are dear to me.  I never intended to hurt them but it has and I am very sorry for that.  It's a weakness that I hope some day I can say I don't have but until then...I just have to keep training my focus to get out of the tunnel and look beyond!

On the bright side of this, once I focus on something it gets done!

What is your biggest weakness?


This moment: snuggle puppyOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or a few) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

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