A Star is Born

I started having contractions at 2:00pm on Tuesday. 
At work.
They didn't hurt.
Not even a little.
At 4:30 I left work and called the hospital.
They said to stay home and relax. If the contractions got worse, I could come in.
I woke up at 3:30 to a contraction that H.U.R.T.
Then my water broke.
And off to the hospital we went.

Stella Noel Pelton was born at 10:55 am on Wednesday, December 23rd.  Also known as Festivus.

She weighed in at a whopping 5lbs 3oz and stretched to 19 whole inches.  Her head was barely over 10cm.  This, dear friends, was the greatest attribute.

Until I looked at her.  

And saw her sweet, sweet face.

Big sister gave Stella her first bath. 
(and attempted to take her umbilical cord off.  She said it looked hurt-y).

Her feet are big for her small size.  I thought this needed to be photographically documented.
Sweet flowers from three sweet girls.  
She sleeps!  
In two hour increments...
but still...
she sleeps!

And Elena loves her.

Until she realizes that she's here to stay.
Then I am guessing her reaction will look a little more like this:
Happy Birthday, Stella.
Happy Big-Sisterhood, Elena.
Joyous Festivus Everyone,


Festivus Part Two: Feats of Strength

The second part of the annual Festivus tradition involves performing Feats of Strength.

I fully intend for my body and uterus to perform its own feat of strength in the not-t0-distant future (please, oh please Santa?), but here are DRL and Elena's attempts:

Tell me this is not a feat:
It was merely an attempt.

This was the real feat:

You lookin' at me?

And DRL's feat of strength cannot be captured on film as it involves tolerating a very pregnant, very hormonal me, so I chose to include the photo of his awesomeness.

He can ollie like a madman.

And I've been told he's got the best 360 flip this side of the Mississippi.

Joyous Festivus,


Festivus Part One: Airing of the Grievances

Here, in no particular order, are my list of grievances of the past year.

I am officially calling out of those who have disappointed me in 2009.

*The driver who cannot, will not use their turn signal. You know who you are, and are far too numerous to call out by name. I don't have to yield to your manuevers if I do not know what they are. You do not have the right of way just because you are turning...if you do not indicate that you are turning! I do not have to let you merge in front of me just because you "feel like it." I don't need much. Just an orange colored indicator of your next move. Something to let me know what you're thinking. A little gift of courtesy. A trifle, really. A token. Besides: if you don't use your blinker fluid on a regular basis, it goes bad, and then requires changing. This is a very expensive procedure. Just ask the gents over at Pep Boys.

*Misusers of Their/They're/There, We're/Were, Your/You're, Its/It's, and other similar confusions. Really people? Really? My facebook newsfeed is made up of people who are all over the age of 18 and have graduated high school. Thus taking a course in grammar, and being required to pen numerous papers in which the correct usage of such words would be required in order to earn a passing grade (at least I would hope.) So, I ask, what's the problem here? Do we need daily quizzes to keep you up on your skillz? An iPhone app that will help you pick the right word? A DSi "Brain Age" game that includes these common grammatical errors? Or would not being a stupid idiot be the best option? I'm open to suggestions...

*Solicitors. I do not want to join your Mafia. Or buy an animal for your Farm. Or sell make-up or erotica or jewelry or tupperware. I just want to check Spacebook and see what folks are up to. If you aree spending your time farming, playing bejeweled, killin' peeps in a war, or making an aquarium that's great. I'm happy you have something to do at 4 am. It's nice that you're sending your friends happy hearts and drinks of the season and other miscellany, but go ahead and cross my name off your list. And if you won't, I'll just hide you from my news feed.

*The "LOL"er. LOL translates into "laugh out loud." As in - I just chuckled. Vocally. Audibly. Someone may have even heard it. It has now become a typed version of the facebook "like" button. It is what people write when they can't think of anything funny, interesting, or important to say, but they want to make their presence known and they can't type "Nodding my head in agreement." Every time I read "LOL" I cringe. My disappointment in mankind increases. And I am further reminded that the next time I read something funny, something that actually makes me laugh, I have to say, "that made me laugh." Thank you LOL-ers for making me type 15 extra characters and ruining abbreviations for the rest of us. Don't even get me started on OMG and ROFL. I want video proof that somewhere, sometime, a person read something so funny that they fell out of their chair and began Rolling On the Floor Laughing. It never happened. And it is most certainly NOT an appropriate response to anything. Moving on..

*People who feel the need to make completely obtuse comments about my pregnancy. The "Wow, you're finally showing"-ers, and the "How's the baby coming"-ers, and my personal favorite, "Wow you're not very huge at all!"-ers. How's the baby coming? Do you think I have an ultrasound machine in my living room that I strap myself up to every night so that I can check in on my fetus? Make sure all is well? See what organ is developing today? Well, let me put the question to rest once and for all: I don't know how the baby is coming. If you want to talk about my cankles, hemorrhoids, or stretch marks I could go on for days. As to the current condition of the contents of my womb, however, your guess is as good as mine. My response to those who feel it necessary to comment on my size: I wasn't very huge to begin with and everything in life is relative. Second: I was ginormous when I was pregnant with Elena. Too bad you don't have a good enough memory to recall the size of my fundus then. Likely I would have lived up to your expectations.

*The Finger Moistener. Look, I don't care if you poop in the work restroom. Pooping is a natural occurence. I don't even care if it smells to high heaven. We've all been there. So long as you flush when you're done, your poop is your business. But turning on the water and running two fingers under the stream and then wiping your hands on 3.4 feet of paper towel does not make your hands clean. Whether you just pooped your heart out or simply ran into the stall to check and see if Aunt Flo was paying you a visit. You need hot water, soap, a hearty lather, and about a solid minute of washing before you are germ free and fit to participate in the Holiday Pot Luck. Try singing the Birthday Song in your head as you scrub. Song's over=hands are clean. Done and done. Now pass me the cookie tray...

*The woman who walks her dogs to my yard every morning and has them relieve themselves on my tree. My yard is not a dog park. My grass is just as precious to me as your grass is to you. I don't care if this is your "routine" and you'll have to up your pooch's dosage of Prozac if you don't adhere to it. You are rude. And your dogs are ugly. There will be a note on my tree next spring.

*Lady Gaga. Need I say more?

*Sarah Palin. Without getting all political on you, allow me to just say that I am gravely disappointed in her politics, her accent, and her attempt at "going rogue." I do, however, really enjoy doing Tina Fey style impersonations of her. Making this addition to this list kind of a wash.

Honorable Mentions:

*Brett Favre "fans."

*My Utuerus (on this list only if I fail to deliver its contents prior to December 31st at midnight).

*The facebook "like" button

Merry Festivus, everyone!



Thursday Photography

I took this photo over the summer.
(I apologize but the shot details are in my mac...at home.
So all I can tell you is that it's SOOC and was shot on my D60).
I saw this tree and it reminded me of Christmas.
So I took the photo.
I have it set as the background on my phone.
And it just...fits.
Makes me feel merry.
Merry Christmahanukwanzikah to all,
(And a Joyous Festivus, too)



Yesterday would have been my grandmother Helen's 86th birthday.
She left us nearly 10 years ago.
Nine Christmases.

Christmas was her favorite.

So were grandkids.

She never got to know any great-grandchildren, though she has two named in her honor.

Here is what, after ten years, I still remember so very vividly about her.

*She gave the world's greatest back tickles. The kind that would put you to sleep in an instant and solve even the world's toughest problem and burdensome stresses.
*She smelled like Avon.
*She had a gold acorn necklace that she wore often.
*She loved cardinals. She had a white sweater with cardinals appliqued on it that was sooooo ugly. I never saw it as a fashion faux-pas. It was gramma's bird shirt. And she loved it.
*She had a great lap. Perfect for sitting. Rocking. Cuddling.
*She kept candy bars in the fruit drawer of the fridge and a pack of trident gum in the cupboard near the chips.
*She always had the good (read: full of sugar) cereal, and her cookie jar always had cookies in it.
*We had ice cream with tiny marshmallows and chocolate syrup before bed every night.
*We ate sandwhiches with big slices of tomato, cottage cheese, and a pickle every day for lunch while she watched her "stories."
*When she would get mad she'd yell out every single grandkids name and sometimes even the cat's name before she'd get to yours. By that time we'd all be laughing, and then she would laugh, too.
*She listened to the Twins on the radio.
*She gave each grandkid a gift bag with some stocking stuffers, a toothbrush, and an orange for Christmas. Every year. Without fail. No matter what.
*She loved wholly. And it was encompassing. Warm. Remarkable. Just like her.

And most of all: After ten years I still miss her like crazy...really, really often.
I smile frequently because of her.
Especially when Elena looks at her picture and tells me that it's "Gramma Helen." Even before I had told her who Gramma Helen was.

I cried when she saw a Cardinal and said "Hi Gramma."

I hope this baby girl comes in December so I have a reason to wear her Blue Topaz more often.

I hope she welcomes DRL's Grandma Pelton into heaven alongside her. And makes her comfortable there. Shows her the ropes.

And I hope she continues to visit my little girl(s).
I pray that she keeps watch over them.
As only she can.

I love you Gramma.


Mobile Uploads

Because it's Friday.

Because I have a cold.

Because I'm horrible at using my good camera to take photos of my finished hats.

Thanks to facebook and my iPhone I can upload photos of my hats directly to my facebook page--showing them off instantly upon completion.

Sadly, this means they rarely get posted on the blog for your viewing pleasure. So: shoddy quality and all, here are some of my latest creations:

A Raspberry Beret:

One for me: Organic Cotton
One for Elena: Supersoft Acrylic blend

One for a co-worker: Malabrigo

Birthday gift for a friend: Malabrigo

One for a baby girl: Cotton

One for a paying customer: Superwash Wool

Another customer (child's size): Acrylic Tweed

Now you know why I have carpal tunnel syndrome and am severely lacking sleep.

Want one?

Wishing You Warm Heads,


Family Portraits: Walstead Style

This is Missa J.

She is 6 months old.

And completely, hopelessly, unabashedly adorable.
This is the Walstead family.

I went to high school with Becky.  
I went to middle school with Becky. 
 I went to Elementary school with Becky.
She allowed me the privilege of chasing her family around for 30 minutes in a brisk wind.

This is just a sneak peek of what I captured that day.

I can't wait to share the rest with you.



Grammar (C) Park

Because it's Friday.
Because I haven't had enough coffee yet.
Because a surprising number of folks need it...

Here is a quick little grammar lesson.

Your: Posessive pronoun. Of or belonging to you.
You're: Contraction. You+Are.

There: Adverb. A place.
Their: Adjective. Belonging to, done by, or made by "them." Possessive form of "they."
They're: Contractive. They+Are.

Its: Posessive prounoun. Replaces His/hers/theirs, etc.
It's: It+Is.

*Helpful hint with contractions: SAY IT OUT! If it doesn't sound right to say "you are" or "they are" or "it is" then you don't (do not) want to use a contraction. You'll (you will) want to use another word.
Like Their.
Or Your.
Or its.




Coming To A Mailbox Near You:

If you want in, make sure I have your address!

Happy Holidays,


Dear Elena,

In a few short weeks your little sister will arrive and things will be very different in our house. You will no longer have all of Mom and Dad's attention - though you will still hold our hearts. As you have done since the moment you were born.

You will be forced to learn how to really share. Your room. Your blankets. Zoe. Belle. The backseat of the car. Mama and Daddy, especially.

You will learn what it means to be a big sister. Love. Patience. Kisses and cuddles. Dirty diapers and spit up. Crying. Sleeping. Laughing. You will sing your sister the dolphin song, and you can teach her the words to "Mommy Loves Me" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

You can show her how to Jumpy jump jump jump with Yo Gabba Gabba and that it really IS fun to put on your pajamas.

There are soooo many wonderful things coming your way, little one.

I will treasure the last two years that your father and I have spent with you as our only daughter.

The last few weeks.

I will drink in every last detail of who you are at this exact moment.
.........and again.

I am excited to watch you and your sister grow up. From little girls...to (gasp!) teenagers...to women...and into wives and mothers.

I hope that you are as excited to meet your sister as your Daddy and I are.

Don't worry, Inchworm. I know it's going to be new and scary and different. But you have to remember that sometimes different is good. The caterpiller cannot become a beautiful butterfly without change. It will be tough sometimes, but the metamorphosis is worth it.

I promise.

You just have to be patient.

I love you,


Giving Thanks

I realize that Thanksgiving has already come and gone.  But I wanted to take the time to put down in words how thankful I am for all the wonderful blessings in my life.  

In no particular order.

I am thankful to have an amazing husband. A friend. A partner.  Some strength when I need it most.  A man who makes me happy to be alive.  I am blessed to walk through this world with him.  I and I don't tell him that nearly enough.

I am thankful for my amazing daughter.  Elena is quietly confident and smarter than hell.  She amazes me in little ways every single day. From singing Beatles songs, to telling me about metamorphosis, to stopping mid play to crawl into my lap and cuddle.  I love being near her.  I love watching her become her own person.  I cannot wait to see what kind of sister she will be.

I am thankful to have a healthy and easy pregnancy.  Although I am the biggest whiner most of you know and I feel like I swallowed a basketball, I truly am blessed by how simple this whole gestation thing has been.  (Now, I just have to get through labor and delivery!)

I am thankful for my Nikon D60 and the lessons I have learned with it over the last year.  The photos I've been able to capture. Of my friends. My family. My child.  

I am thankful for every single one of my friends and family.  You all bring such vibrant color to my life in so many different ways.  I could not would not be the person that I am without each and every one of you.   

I am thankful for the women I have met through the blogosphere over the last year. I have learned so much from your stories, from your lives.  I am a better woman because of you.  A better mother.  A better photographer.  A better friend. 

I am thankful for my iPhone.  Because it's fun.

I am thankful for people who use their blinkers, and for those who merge properly and courteously.  

I am thankful to live in a country where we aren't afraid of Change, yet are still rich in our traditions. 

I am thankful for my knitting needles. For Malabrigo. And for Organic Blue Sky Cotton (thanks, Luc.)

I am thankful for inside voices.  And I hope that Elena will learn what that means.

I am thankful for the special way a 2 year old cuddles.  And gives kisses.  And burrows her head into my shoulder.

I am thankful for the word "Mama."

And last but not least, I am thankful for blogger.  Without which my self-deprecating diatribes would be entirely impossible.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Black Friday

Black Friday has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  

Except that it's black friday today. 

A small part of me wants to go shopping. 
(The impatient, insane, glutton-for-punishment side of me.)

I decided to do this instead:  

Here is a hat for my friend Nadia for her birthday. I tried a new pattern that I found on Ravelry.  It's slouchy. It's pretty. It's made out of Malabrigo.

I should probably also mention that my Aunt Kristy gave me this mannequin head to display my hats on.  

Thank you thank you thank you Auntie K!  This is SOOO much better than a pickle jar.  

Here are a couple photos of the quilt I'm currently working on for Elena.  I don't have a walking foot so I can't free motion quilt.  

Because I'm cheap and didn't feel like buying one, I had to devise a different way to quilt this.  After careful consideration, and helpful input from DRL, I decided to quilt the squares using...well...squares.  

I really like how it's turning out.  Even though it means I'm likely going to have to redecorate the nursery to match the quilts.

It's a small price to pay, really.

Did I mention that the birth of my second daughter is about 6 weeks away?

Talk about CRAZY!

In Disbelief,


A New Project

I have finally selected fabric for the crib and toddler bed quilts for the girls' room. It was a very long and arduous process, and I could not have done it without the help of my friend Rebecca. It doesn't match the bedding that I purchased at Target.

And I'm okay with that.

It matches the colors of the nursery. It's a little polka-dot esque (I did choose polka dot flannel by Amy Butler for the backing), and it's girlie.

I bought a bundle of 18 fat quarters and am using 9 in each quilt top to make sure that each of my girls has a blanket that is as unique as they are.

While still sharing a common thread..

Here's what I picked:

I still have to choose fabric for the binding. I'm thinking of finding something in yellow (the walls in the nursery are painted a creamy, buttery, "post-it note" yellow, and I'd love to somehow tie that in.)

You'll have to wait for photos to see the pattern I've chosen, but I am almost done with the first quilt top already! I'm very excited.
Elena is, too!



This is Elena's version of walking Belle.

She likes to hold onto the leash and walk around the yard with her.

Belle isn't too bothered by it, and Elena gets a kick out of it.

"Mama! I'm walking Belle!" She'll say.

And I nod, and smile, and play along.

"Yes you are! Good job!" I'll say.

And she'll smile.

Then she'll notice a puddle in the driveway...

"Put your puddle boot on and go jump!"

Jumpy jump jump jump jump.
Jumpy jump jump jump!
*courtesy of Yo! Gabba Gabba!*

Santa's getting her a new pair of puddle boots for next spring when she outgrows these leopard ones.

Afterall...there will be plenty more puddles in the spring.

They will NEED to be jumped in.
And the dog will need to be walked.



This is what I've been doing at night.

And in the morning.

And on my lunch break.

And while sleeping...

I've been making hats.

Brown hats:

Blue hats:
Fuzzy Maroon hats:
Green Stripey hats:
Earflap Ski hats:
Soft, Teal Malabrigo Hats:
Creamy Organic Cotton and Superwash Wool hats:
Little Boy Earflap hats:
Oh, and a cabled scarf.


Sneak Peek

I told you I've been busy....



Bullet Points

Here's what happened this week...in rapid fire format:

*By Tuesday evening I had already logged 22 hours at work. Things are crazy at the EMPIre.

*I finished my cabled scarf. Now I need to block it. Any advice on how to do this?

*Reviewed Open Enrollment information for my benefits plan at work. Premiums are up again this year, and coverage is down. I'm glad we're a healthy family, though I really wish Empi would offer a HSA option. The Pelton Family would really benefit from that setup.

*I finished two more hats...for no one in particular. Though, I made one out of Teal Malabrigo that I think I have to keep. I love that yarn more 'n my luggage (as P-Dub would say).

*Elena had her first ever fever on Thursday...complete with a blazing hot forehead and chilly body. Doctor said all is well and the fever responded to Motrin, so we kept close watch on her through yesterday and she's back to her cheery, healthy self today. Seeing a toddler turn purple with the chills will give you quite a fright though. I'm happy she's feeling better now!

*Nearly 32 weeks gestation and wondering how I'm going to get through the next two months. I'm SOOOO full feeling already. And this baby moves nonstop! I can't wait to meet her.

*I can't wait to name her, either.

*And take her picture. Something like this (*Editor's Note: GROSS! If you're not accustomed to the whole "birth" thing. And I don't know how I'd get these photos seeing as how I'm going to be busy ejecting the kid. I think they're wonderful, though.)

*I'm ready for snow. White, flaky, downy, fluffy snow. Coating everything. Making it look like Christmas. I love this time of year. It's unseasonably warm, though, so I might have to wait a little while for a blanket of the white stuff.

*I recieved Elena's two year photos from White House Custom Color and I could not be happier. I love press printing. I love WHCC. I can't wait to "need" more photos so I can place another order.

*DRL has Bronchitis which is keeping him from working tonight. I'm sad that he's not going to be making money...but that is grossly overshadowed by my glee at getting to spend another Saturday evening with him. We don't get near enough time together, the two of us, and I still get butterflies at the thought of some quiet time together. I guess that's a good thing!

That's the news for now, friends. I'm hoping to get some good photos of my hat creations this weekend and then get them uploaded for all to see.

'til then,


Tina and Brian: The Details

This is my girlfriend Tina. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding 5.5 years ago.
She was this stunning then, too.
She got married on Saturday to her best friend.
A man that makes her smile like this.
All day long.
Her dress was magnificent.

Lace up back.
Crystal details.

Yards and yards of creamy satin.

Her flowers:

I love the Rosary tied to the boquet stem.
A tiny detail.
Transforming a standard Nosegay boquet into something more.

There was a gorgeous sunlight patio just outside one of the rooms of the church.
I'm so happy to have spotted it
(and extremely bummed the PAID photographer didn't find it!)
This shot would not have worked without the sunlight.
But in this light it's...

More gown detailing:

And who could forget the bling?

White satin.
Fall colors.
A splendid combination.

My girl. Amazing. Flawless.
Beauty: Defined.
A vision in white.

The Groomsmen:

The Bridesmaids:

Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Janeshek for allowing me to capture a few elements of your day. Enjoy your forever. Work at it. Laugh in it. Revel in your love for one another. And remember this kiss. The moment when all you have ever dreamed forever would be...Began.
I think Ben Harper said it best:
I'm not talking 'bout a year
No not three or four
I don't want that kind of forever in my life anymore..

...so give me your forever
please your forever
not a day less will do
from you.

Many Blessings,