WIPWed #122: Enjoying the Process

After my previous post bemoaning my strained relationship with time, I’m doing my best to enjoy this current time… which is mostly being spent growing a baby. The third trimester has been surprisingly pleasant so far. Other than a bit of insomnia and the aches and pains that go along with an ever-growing belly, I’ve felt pretty high energy and optimistic lately. I think it helps that we’re getting close: less than 8 weeks to go. (LESS THAN 8 WEEKS?!?!?!) It also helps that I have a very active kid. I like feeling his kicks, it’s a reminder that this whole thing is happening for a reason. Sometimes it’s super distracting, especially now that I can watch my belly move from the outside. And it definitely helps that I’ve had two baby showers in the past two weeks – celebrating a thing always makes it more fun, am I right?

Last weekend was the shower thrown by my mother-in-law and her sisters. I really lucked out in the in-law department, they’re such a fun, welcoming, warm group of people, and they’re always laughing. There were silly games, a diaper cake, aloe plants as favors for everyone, lots of gifts, and a string of adorable onesies, some of which had been worn by the Fiasco and all three of his brothers! My MIL is the best at hanging on to things and passing them down, it’s super impressive. I’ve spent much of the week since doing more baby laundry and organizing the nursery. This kid already has all the equipment he’ll need, a toy box full of stuffed animals, and a basket full of books! Spoiled rotten, I tell you.

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Slooooooooooooooow shawl progress.

Since all my other knits need some attention at the moment, the only thing I’ve been working on lately is my Beholden shawl. It’s growing slowly, but I’m savoring the process because the camel/silk yarn I’m using is straight-up delicious. My needles are doing an annoying thing where they partially unscrew every few rows, but other than that I’m loving this knit. I do need to make a decision soon about when to switch to the edging pattern. I’ve modified the pattern to be slightly wider (increasing 2 extra stitches every other WS row) so I’m wandering into unknown territory yardage-wise. It would be a shame to run out of yarn as it’s from the UK and would be difficult to get my hands on more of it.

Spinning has not been happening lately, but I am planning to go to my spinner’s guild meeting this weekend and I’m hoping I can finish the yarn I’ve been working on since f*&%#ing October. We’ll see…

I’m sort of in between books right now but just finished reading Mink River by Brian Doyle and it was both fascinating and fabulous. The style was unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while: stories about multiple main characters pieced out in little vignettes interspersed with sections of sensory-rich prose poetry. It was both fantasy and realistic fiction, and it had some great naturalist touches. In short: I really liked it.

Hope you’re having wonderful weeks! Now that the sun’s been out on the regular I’m hoping I can get a decent FO picture of the shawl I finished WEEKS AGO to show you all soon. Linking up with Yarnalong.

 

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I Miss Time

I do not have nearly enough time, lately. I miss it. Time and I have never had a really great relationship, to be honest. Once in college before a deadline I lamented to my friend “Why does time hate me?!?!” and he very sagely replied, “Time does not hate you, dear, it’s just indifferent to your plight.” That stuck with me. Time and I have been so rocky in the past that I actually tattooed a quote from a poem about time onto my body as a reminder that it is not my enemy, it is a gift, and it connects us all.

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“That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.” – Kahlil Gibran

That said, I could really use a little more time to knit, spin, and relax. Seeing everybody’s pretty bobbins or knitting projects on Instagram and blogs is just making me sad these days because all I can think is WHEN DO THEY FIND THE TIME?! My life has been work, home, dinner, an hour to do things, sleep, then repeat for a while now. I squeeze in a little knitting here and there but if it’s anything that requires thought, the project stalls out waiting for me to have time to pay attention.

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Newborn Vertebrae, click for project page.

Since this tiny baby cardi was all stockinette, I made great progress on it early in the week, finishing the body and the bottom hem. All that remains are the sleeves and picking up stitches for the border. It’s been like that since Tuesday, since both of those actions require a little thought on my part, and I just don’t have the energy for it by the end of the day…

All I’ve managed to do after work this week is wash and fold the gigantic mountain of clothes we received for the Hatchling at our first baby shower last weekend. Both cats showed quite an interest in the proceedings, it’s going to be hilarious to watch their reactions when the kid is actually here. We are having another shower this weekend, and another at the end of May, and while we are extremely lucky to receive so much love and generosity, I’m getting a little worried about where we will possibly store all the baby stuff. IT’S SO MUCH STUFF, GUYS. We should’ve rented a bigger apartment…

So apparently all I want out of life right now is a little more space and time. You know, just the basic cosmic stuff of the universe. Easy peasy. And I’m sure there are experienced parents out there laughing their heads off at my bemoaning a lack of time before the kid is even here. I know, I know, it’s just going to get worse…

Little Peanut

We’ve just returned from being thoroughly showered with love for our pending Hatchling. We are quite lucky in that we are having several showers, this one was thrown by my family on Long Island. It was a busy weekend full of lovely details.

My mom went nuts for the elephant theme, and it was super adorable. I told her there was no theme for the baby’s room or anything, but she saw me buy a cute elephant toy box once… and that was that. 🙂 There were elephant invitations, elephant cake, elephant confetti, centerpieces made of blue elephant pails holding peanuts, elephant toys as gifts, and soaps labeled with little elephants for favors. SO MANY ELEPHANTS.

She also gave us a ‘baby’s first’ onesie for every holiday of Hatchling’s first year! Beginning with the 4th of July, this baby will be appropriately decked-out for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and his first birthday. I thought this was such a sweet idea.

I had a bunch of fun spending some quality time with the nephews I don’t see nearly enough, snuggling with Logan and getting silly with Liam (both also known as Batman, they wore those capes all day).

As soon as we got home we sorted through all the lovely gifts we were given. The Fiasco got right down to it and built the crib and changing table, and now our office/baby room looks MUCH more like an actual nursery. And even though it won’t be used for a couple more months, I couldn’t resist putting together this sweet little sheep-y bounce chair because it’s just about the cutest thing on Earth.

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Black Trillium Fibre Pebble Sock gradient in Pease. Click for project page.

I also couldn’t help myself and started a new project for the trip. I made good progress on a fingering weight Newborn Vertebrae open-front cardi for the Hatchling. I think it’ll be super cute in the gradient and a lightweight way to keep him warm over the summer if/when needed.

And that was my weekend! Hope yours was lovely, too.

WIPWed #121: Slow and Steady

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement regarding pregnancy on my last post. It’s so great to hear others’ thoughts and have some of my own experiences confirmed. While some days are really hard, the whole thing is still inspiring and fascinating. It’s definitely a mixed bag. Today I had an ultrasound so I got a peek at the little dude’s profile and perfectly-formed toes. He’s already in the head-down position so I’m hoping he stays that way for the next 8 weeks!

As for other works-in-progress, the main one I’m currently knitting is my Beholden shawl. I’m still in the plain stockinette phase, but it’s growing, and the yarn is so incredibly luxurious that I don’t mind all the repetitive knits and purls.

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence. Click for project page.

I finished my Rotted Days shawl last week but have yet to take official, modeled ‘FO’ photos. However, you can get a peek of it blocking on my Instagram feed as I’ve posted it for today’s #craftyblisschallenge prompt.

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Louet merino/silk fiber. Click for handspun page.

I had hoped to finish this spin (and another one!) by the end of April, but I am forced to admit that is not going to happen. Somehow, we’re only 3 days away from the end of the month already, and I’m out of town this weekend! I really don’t understand the flow of time anymore. I need to set myself some sort of sit-down-at-the-wheel schedule but I have just not figured out what works best for me. When do you find time to spin? Morning? Evening? All day long? Weekends only?

As for reading, I’m currently working through ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth‘ and it’s a refreshing change from all the doom and gloom and dire consequences in most baby books. Ina May is apparently the mother-of-all-midwives in the U.S. and the book is about her experiences birthing hundreds of babies naturally, without medical intervention, on what essentially sounds like a hippie commune in Tennessee. Because of the 70’s-ness of it all, I wasn’t sure I would get a lot out of the book, but the birth stories are really helpful to read and Ina May’s guidelines are actually backed by science and align well with what I was taught in my Bradley Method birth class. Worth a read, especially if you’re nearing labor and want to get ta sense of what it might be like without pain meds, Pitocin, or surgery.

Linking up with Yarnalong this week!

Five Things Friday

It’s Friday! And I’m celebrating with a list of random things I’d like to blab about.

1- Despite my best efforts at focusing on one WIP, knitting time was minimal this week and my Rotted Days shawl is still not done. However, I am loving the final purple wedge and am still excited to wrap this one up soon.

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So very purple!

2- I’m digging this new cookbook by Andi Mitchell, Eating in the Middle. She wrote an excellent book called It Was Me All Along about her struggles with weight loss and disordered eating that really resonated with me. This cookbook focuses on ‘mostly wholesome’ meals for when you are not actively dieting or indulging, just eating at a healthy maintenance level. The buttermilk dipping sauce and chicken fingers were delicious, as were the morning glory muffins, and the chia seed breakfast pudding I just devoured.  I highly recommend both her books, and her blog if you’re interested in healthful eating or weight loss mindset.

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Om nom nom.

3- I gave myself my 200th lovenox (blood thinner) injection of this pregnancy. Only about 140ish more to go before Hatchling arrives! I will spare you the photos of my black-and-blue belly but some of the bruises are really spectacular, color-wise. Thankfully, they don’t usually hurt, they’re just a bit of a nuisance.

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Emptied box #1!

4- I came across this On the Spice Market shawl using Miss Babs gradient sets and I’m totally in love. I don’t have time for a new shawl right now, and even if I did, so many of Melanie Berg’s shawls have a similar trendy/stripey vibe that I’d have a hard time actually choosing which one to knit, but this one would be near the top of my list, perhaps even in those colors. So pretty!

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg.

5- I’ve updated Sweet Sheep with some out of stock lip balms, including Spearmint and Toasted Coconut. I know Toasted Coconut has been unavailable for a while as I’ve had several requests from customers who are very big fans of it to restock! So it’s there now, just in time to take your lips on a tropical vacation this spring.

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Toasted Coconut lip balm… more om nom nom.

What random things are floating around on your mind this Friday? Have a lovely weekend!

GRYC Good Times

Despite not getting to do much shopping because I was working like a madwoman to make some last-minute lotion bars, the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl was a really good time.

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Sweet Sheep vending at Mount Hope Farm

I really, truly, puffy-heart love the fiber community in and around this little state of ours. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone is so welcoming and friendly and caring, it’s so lovely to see familiar faces at these kinds of events. And people make such beautiful things!

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Ceramic sheep bowl from Rising Sun Earthworks

This adorable sheep bowl will now be part of my show display, I simple couldn’t resist taking her home from Rising Sun Earthworks.

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Hand-embroidered sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI

I also couldn’t resist this sweet little sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI. Apparently, all of my must-haves were sheep-themed, and none of them were yarn. And no, I don’t know how I resisted because there were plenty of pretty skeins there. There were also baby goats.

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Baby goats!

I wish I had captured some better photos, they were the sweetest things. Now didn’t that make Monday just a bit brighter?

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My knitting focus this week

I am going to take a short break from my regular “WIP Wednesday” posts as I’ve felt a bit hemmed-in by them, and have found myself really only posting once a week due to the timing. I think I’d prefer to post once earlier and once later in the week, so the WIPWed post is getting cut for a while. We’ll see how it goes. I do, however, still want to chat about my knitting. This week’s focus is my Rotted Days shawl. I finished the previous wedge with just that tiny ball of my handspun left, so I’m now working the very exciting FINAL WEDGE in solid purple. It’s hard to tell, but I think this shawl will end up a decent size, and I’m glad I didn’t get caught short with my handspun, especially since I was totally winging the yardage. This has been on the needles since last May, but with a little luck and a few cram sessions I think I can finish it this week!

Hope your weekends were full of happiness, sheep-y things, and baby goats (or something else wonderful along those lines).

WIPWed #120: Ode to My Mitts

After six full years of wear, my favorite fingerless mitts are just starting to give up the ghost. These are a modified version of the Mitt Envy pattern (designed by weezalana) knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn (fingering weight, 100% superwash Merino wool).

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Sad, frayed edge.

I noticed the other day that the bind off edge has frayed and released a few loose stitches on both mitts. I’m not quite sure how to fix it, but they don’t really seem to be unraveling too badly at the moment. Since my knitting this week looks exactly the same as last week, I figured I’d gush about how impressed I am by these mitts, instead.

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Freshly made, back in 2010.

These mitts pre-date my blog, I finished them in March 2010. They were the only mitts I owned until I made a different pair a year and a half later, and even after I made the other pair I wore these primarily for ‘rough and tumble’ work–I did not baby these mitts. They were worn pretty much all fall/winter/spring, came horseshoe crab counting with me during grad school, handled tree branches and fish alike during hiking and fieldwork, and even served as full-on handkerchiefs a time or two.

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Besides the edge, they look good as new.

All that is to highlight that I am seriously impressed with how these mitts have held up over the years. Besides the frayed edge, which probably would have held up better if I’d known about stretchy bind-offs at the time that I made them, they look basically as good as new. The fabric has loosened up some over the years, but the stitches are still sharp and the cabling is crisp, with hardly any pilling at all. I’ll be honest, I did not expect the Malabrigo Sock yarn to hold up so well. It’s such a soft, thin yarn, but it is apparently also strong and hard-wearing. I think it would still be a little too thin for my taste in thick socks, but I’d happily use it for anything and everything else.

Has a favorite piece of knitwear every worn out? What did you do about it?

As for books, this week I’m reading Pink Brain, Blue Brain by  Lise Eliot and I’m loving it. It’s written by a neuroscientist who basically dissects all the research related to sex differences in the brain and development of children from the prenatal period onwards, and how relatively small differences grow into the larger perceived gender gaps in adulthood through societal influences. She debunks a lot of the pseudoscience floating around out there and details which differences are established (i.e., real and biologically influenced) and which are due to cultural bias. It’s fascinating stuff, and potentially useful. For instance, boys on average are fussier and harder to soothe as infants than girls, because their neurological systems lag a few weeks behind due to suppression of development in the womb by prenatal testosterone. WHO KNEW?! I didn’t, but I’m glad I do now.

Despite the lack of new knitting this week, I’m linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #119: Beholden

The choosing of One’s Next Knitting Project can be so fraught with difficulty. It’s never quite as straightforward as it seems it should be, and often involves as much intuition and gut feeling as rational decision-making. I do my best to be sensible but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Last week I discussed the three options I was considering for my next ‘luxurious’ cast on. I then narrowed it down to which skein of yarn I wanted to work with the most, but changed my mind about what pattern I wanted to knit. I even put up a poll on Ravelry to help me decide between the new pattern options:

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So many shawls, so little time.

Then I went ahead and ignored the overwhelming vote and cast on whatever the hell I felt like, regardless.

Beholden:

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence, click for project page.

I ended up choosing Holden (designed by Mindy Wilkes) for my Kettle Yarn Co. skein of 50% camel/ 50% silk loveliness. While I do really love the Antarktis shawl, I think it’s perfectly suited for high-contrast variegated yarns, and since I have so many of those in stash, I didn’t want to ‘waste’ this more subtle yarn on a pattern suited for variegation when I could use it in something more nuanced. I’ve admired Holden for a long time, but worried that it would be too small for me in the single skein size (I like my shawls big). So I modified the pattern ever so slightly by adding 2 extra stitches on every other wrong side row. This should change the shape from a typical triangle to a slightly elongated triangle, but not all the way to a crescent-shaped triangle. We’ll have to just see how it goes!

Rotted Days:

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Handspun BFL and a mystery singles yarn, click for project page.

While I was deciding on my shawl conundrum, I decided to pick up one of my *ahem* seven *ahem* shawls already in progress and give it a little love. The garter stitch short rows on my Dotted Rays (designed by Stephen West) shawl are getting ever longer, but I’m nearing the end of my second skein of handspun which means I might be in my final wedge. I’m thinking of adding an extra slice of purple at the end just to tie it all together.

That’s all that’s happened knitting-wise this week, it was quite a busy one. As for reading, I’m just about done with A Prayer for Owen Meany, which means I’ll need to decide on my next book soon. Thank goodness that decision-making process is not usually as intricate as a knitting-related one… Linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #118: Looking Outwards

I’m realizing that the level of energy I have lately for social media-type activities has been much reduced. To get a bit existential about it, I feel a bit like I’m looking inwards while this kid inside me grows. It reminds me of the time leading up to finals week during college, when I’d be living in my own head and mentally preparing myself for Big Things To Come, both simultaneously anxious for the time to get here already and slightly concerned about how it all will go down.

Also, I just nap a lot. My Saturday was basically as follows:

  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat breakfast
  • watch one tv show
  • eat snack
  • cry over how huge I look in all my clothes (it happens)
  • develop heartburn
  • spend 3 hours at spinner’s guild
  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat dinner
  • take a 3 hour nap
  • develop heartburn
  • go to bed

Oh, but it’s such a JOYFUL TIME! *eye roll* I am very much looking forward to the end result, but in the meantime, I’m anxious for it to be over. The only fun part has been feeling the little guy move around, and that’s only when he’s not kicking me directly in the cervix (that’ll get your attention, let me tell you). That said, I am trying to both be patient with myself and my body’s needs, and make a more concerted effort to do the things that bring me joy. Crafting, blogging, etc. bring me joy and I will just need to come up with a better way to time those activities when I’m not so damn tired.

Anyhow, since my last post TWO WEEKS AGO, I finished a few hats, which I will show you this Friday. Therefore, I currently only have two active knitting WIPs to chat about.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

These socks are coming along at a snail’s pace, mostly because I haven’t really been working on them. I do a row here or there when I need some travel knitting but that time was mostly consumed by the hats I finished. Hopefully I’ll make some real progress on these this week.

Sherbet Baby:

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Play At Life Fiber Arts Boundless DK in Pastels, click for project page.

The baby sweater was moving along at a good clip until I hit the border, because I lost part of my yarn swift when I moved in December and was procrastinating winding the next color I needed by hand. I did eventually, and then soon after found the missing part, so yay! However, now I’m procrastinating picking up edge stitches. Finishing techniques are fiddly and not my favorite for easy TV knitting.

Onwards and Outwards:

I’m feeling the urge to cast on something complicated, lightweight, and lacy. I feel like I want to use up some really beautiful yarn, like a yak/silk blend. I think I need a little luxury right now but I’m having a hard time deciding what I want to knit. Here are the three things I am coveting most at the moment:

That purple piece of gorgeousness is the Belmont stole, designed by Tanis Lavallee. I would knit it in 1000 yards of Rewya Fibers Bloom 50% yak / 50% silk yarn that my husband gave me as a gift when we got married. My concern is that it might take me years to actually complete…

This simple little asymmetrical shawlette (Antarktis by Janina Kallio) jumped its way up my queue recently when I was reminded about it by the lovely one that Knitting Sarah is making. That striking skein of Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence was a reward to myself for finishing the journal publication that resulted from my master’s thesis, and it’s been waiting in my stash for THREE YEARS because I haven’t been able to decide on a pattern special enough for it. I’ve considered the Sundance Scarf and the Shallows cowl, but neither felt exactly right. I’m not sure this is the right one, either, but it would likely get a lot of wear and be a decently quick knit.

Finally, I’ve admired this Ginkgo Shawl, designed by yellowcosmo, for some time now. (Come, admire all the ginkgo things!) I have two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks That Rock slated for it, in Single Cell Dating Pool and What’saabi. Every time spring approaches I am reminded that I want to make this shawl, and this year is no different. Maybe I actually will?

Which would you knit? Linking up with Yarnalong. This week I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and boy, that John Irving is still successfully messing with my head. He’s a crazy good story-teller.

WIPWed #117:Back in the Swing

After my lack of crafting motivation recently, I’m finally getting back in the swing of things a bit.

Speckled Sockhead:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight, rare gem colorway. Click for project page.

I decided to end my Sockhead hat a couple of inches early, as it seemed ridiculously long already. I just need to bind off, block, and check the fit, but I’m not willing to call this ‘done’ until I’m sure I won’t want to add more length.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

I finally re-drew the chart and am well on my way on the second sock. These are just a tad bit boring (mostly ribbing) and the colorway no longer feels like the kind I want to be knitting at the moment, but they go quickly when I actually work on them so hopefully I can wrap them up sooner than later.

Sherbet Baby:

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Play At Life Fiber Arts DK in Pastels gradient. Click for project page.

The sweet little rainbow cardi for my Hatchling was zooming along, and then I stalled out when I had to make a decision regarding trim color, because I was waiting to find out the baby’s sex. Well, we found out yesterday:

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!

For some reason, the Fiasco and I had kind of convinced ourselves that we were probably going to have a girl so it’s been a bit of a mental adjustment to imagine myself as a mother to a son! We’re going to have a little dude running around! Ah! So I’ve decided that the trim color on this cardi will be a deep forest green, which I think will go nicely with the turtle-shaped buttons I’ve picked out. Now, to start browsing all the boy-ish knitting patterns on Ravelry and pick out a name… the Fiasco is leaning towards Megatron or Copernicus. 😉

As for reading, I’ve barreled through a few random choices that I had hanging around the house:

I’m now reading Baby 411, which is not super exciting, but probably important, right? Linking up with Yarnalong.