Sunday, April 30, 2006

More names

I'm boored of waiting, because the baby seems to have no intention of showing up - not what I've sensed anyhow. My only functioning distraction is the second, in short time, Flower Basket Shawl that I started on yesterday. It's also in Garnstudio's alpaca as well as within the lila-plum scale, but this time in the much brigther colour 2920. Today I've come to the middle of the third repeat and it's still slow therapeutic knitting. But, I'm a bit faster than with the first FBS as I don't have to count stitches any longer.

More names to list of names for the baby-to-come: Edward, which means watchman and wealth, or Edwin, which means friend and wealth. These are more my husbands favourites though. I also have favourite names that my husband isn't too fond of such as Georg, which means farmer.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Maybe another Flower basket shawl

Today I went to see my midwife at the Mother Healt Center, at Serafen next to Stadshuset, for the last time. As in my case, in Sweden this midwife is typically not the same midwife that's actually going to assist the mother in giving birth. We did the normal routine examinations and everything looked normal, but she could establish that the baby is much bigger than my daughter was. She believes he's a 4 kg heavy baby. Anthea only weighed 3.1 kg. As I'm seven days overtime she also booked an appointment at Karolinska Hospital in Solna for a "forced delivery" on the 6th of May in case I won't get started naturally.

After a Moussaka lunch at a nearby coffe place we took the city bus to Stickbutiken at S:t Eriksplan and did some serious alpaca yarn purchase as I'll be needing some knitting projects in case the waiting gets too unbearable... I came out from the shop with some balls in colour 6306 (Petroleum Blue) for a baby cardi, possibly this or this, or this baby overall. Also some balls in 2920 ("Cyklamen", don't know it in English) and 0302 (Beige) for possible new shawl projects, maybe another Flower Basket Shawl.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Boob shawl

Voilá, here's the finished and blocked version of my first Flower Basket Shawl. It certainly did grow with the blocking into a size that will be perfect with my new Boob-dress (a special breast feeding adapted dress). I'll have to wait with trying it on till my belly's gone and perhaps I'll post a picture of me wearing it further on.

The sun is shining! But it's still only april, and as we Swedes like to say: "april-weather is never to be trusted". So we're going for a long walk today in order to capture the fantastic spring weather - tomorrow it may be snowing! And best of all, when I strain myself abit the likelyhood that I'll give birth sooner will increase!!! Today - 5 days overtime...

Names names

We've done some further name pondering for the little baby-boy-to-come. As my husbands and daughters names starts with an A we'd like our sons name start with an E, like mine does. Thus we've considered Émile or Emil before and when my husbands father mentioned this name the other night this name was brought to the fore again. The more we consider this name for the baby, the more we like it...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Flower Basket Shawl

I've finally finished knitting my Flower Basket Shawl though it's still un-finished and un-blocked. The FBS project has been perfect in soothing my restless mind when passing from the planned birthdate to overtime. Now I'm 4 days overtime and if the baby doesn't determine to come soon I'll desperately need to throw myself on to a new knitting project meanwhile I'm waiting. I've no clue what to knit though... I need something that I can finish in just a few days.

The shawl turned out to be pretty small despite my two extra repeats and loose knitting style so I'm really curious to see how much it'll grow with the blocking. I'll pin the wet shawl up on our living-room rug tonight when Anthea has gone asleep so that I can leave it there to dry over night.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Janos of Spain

Grandfather of Anthea came this Wednesday from Spain, where he lives a grand life as a pensioner. He's here to support us with Anthea when we've to go to the delivery and the days after. He's really taking an active interest in everything about Anthea as it was a long time since he saw here and Anthea seems to like him a lot, which is great! I apprechiate the extra help now since I'm so heavy, I'm two days overtime already. But I'm so annoyed that the baby won't show up, though not surprised as Anthea also came overtime. Still I've tried to convince the baby that the sun and the spring actually has finally arrived out here but he doesn't listen so I guess he still likes it better in my belly...

Yesterday the whole bunch of us went to a park nearby, Rålambshovsparken, and Anthea had the opportunity to play as much as she wanted in the "parklek" of this park. "Parklek" is a great service from the Swedish government especially to us inner city citizens! Besides a playingground there's normally a building in connection to it where it's possible to change dipers, shop coffe/tea, cakes, ice cream and some even have hotdogs and hamburgers for sale to put on an outdoor grill. We stayed at this "parklek" from late morning to early afternoon and I managed to do some knitting while watching Anthea play.

I'm slowly proceeding with the FBS but decided to go for two extra repeats. I did some googling yesterday on other bloggers who's done the FBS and noticed that many commented on the size - they meant that the shawl's a bit smallish. As I'm knitting with needles size 4 and the patterns suggests 4.5 I thought I really need these extra repeats. This shawl is my little project as I'm w-a-i-t-i-n-g for my life to move forward to the next level and the new role that it involve, being a two-childrens-mother! It's kind of exciting to see if I manage to finish this project before the delivery...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Another name to the list

Husband came up with a new name suggestion to our list with interesting boy names for our son-to-come. It's actually on top of our list currently because we think it'd fit perfectly phonetically with the other names in our family. The name is: Elliot

Elliot has religious origins as it's a English version of the religious name Elias, which means "Jahve is God". We are really the most non-religious people and to name our son with a religious name would feel kind of uncomfortable. But we think Elliot being just a version of Elias has developed into an own name and thus we believe we'd feel okay with using this name. Well, we'll have to see what we think when we meet our little guy!

Small progresses

Here's where I've reached with my Flower Basket Shawl, soon finished with the third repeat (out of seven). It's slow therapeutic knitting!! I'm making sure I follow the pattern correctly through counting stitches every even row. I'm tending to miss YO:s in this pattern but I'm getting better at it! What I've accompolished so far looks beautiful already which makes me inspired to get going every possible minute I get. Though not when Anthea's around as my capacity to do many things simultaneously is limited and this project demands concentration...

Favourite aunt Anna, or "Nanna" as she's called by Anthea, came to see Anthea yesterday and they played together the whole afternoon. Here they are surfing google for various pictures of animals that Anthea loves to see. Here she expresses that she wants to see butterflies. She's so pretty when she scratches her head like this to illustrate butterflies, they haven't got any "name" yet. Other favourite animals are penguins (g g), especielly Pingu, dogs (vo vo), cats (mjau or ka) and birds (pi pi).

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Knitting again

21st of April is approaching rapidly - it's only seven days left to the planned birth date of our son-to-come!!! I'm counting days - no longer weeks or months! Of course it's likely that I'll have to add up to fourteen days to this date, I did so with my first. But as I'm waiting my second and it's close between them (one and a half years) the chances are greater that this baby will come sooner.

I can visualise having our baby at home now! This positivism has spread also to other areas of my life: I've started to knit again!! Even though I shouldn't during this last period of my pregnancy due to the risk of getting "karpaltunnelsyndrom" again. But as it's so little time left I feel the potential problems can't develope into something serious.

So, yesterday I started my first Flower Basket Shawl. The picture to the right does unfortunately not represent the colour I've chosen correctly. It's a Garnstudio's Alpaca yarn in plum colour nr 4400. When starting up this shawl project I had great use of the FBS Cast on Tutorial. Now I've come to the point where I'll be doing my first repeats. I'm knitting while Anthea is asleep or out with her father, but in the evenings I'm too tired to go into advanced counting or pattern reading. However, it's fun knitting again even if a strange feeling of bubbling slowly is creeping up my right hand...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Knitting teacher

I wasn't slow to bite the bait when I was contacted by Folkuniversitetet last week regarding teaching English speaking beginners in knitting this autumn! I'm honestly not a proffessional teacher or knitter, but I truly enjoy supervising besides practicing my English which I had the opportynity to use more frequently when I was doing some IT consulting in UK and France a few years ago. And of course I enjoy knitting a lot. Already in the mid 80s I was hit the first time by knitting euphoria, I was knitting practicly every possible minute of my day including short breaks between school lessons. And ever since I've had more or less intensive periods of knitting and have tried everything from simple sweaters to more advanced lace and cable patterns. So, yesterday I met the people at Folkuniversitetet and we discussed the practicalities and agreed that I'll be holding a course in "How to knit a simple mohair shawl", assuming there will be enough interested participants, once a week over a three week period. The salary isn't high but it really doesn't matter as it's going to be more of a fun thing for me!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Getting ready

Now baby, you're really welcome to our family, any day you like! We've assembled the cradle, washed the baby clothes, bought a new strolley and so on. AND, now I've packed the bag I'll bring with me when it's time to go to the delivery using this Maternity Ward List:

  • Mother healt center journal and a peronal ID card
  • "How I wish to give birth list"; how I want to have alleviation of pain during the delivery,
    special monitoring of the baby during delivery etc.
  • 2-3 sets of baby clothes and possibly a blanket.
    Warm clothes and baby safety arrangements for home transportation
  • Comfortable clothes for me, including breast feeding bra, slippers and possibly a dressing gown
  • Toilet bag
  • Fruit, candy, energy drinks/coca cola, book, magazines.
  • Mobile, camera, movie camera and battery chargers.

Still "the health care chrisis" is out there, somehwere. I know, I know ... I shouldn't worry about the problems with being forwarded to another hospital when it's time. But, it's difficult to avoid the facts! The newspapers constantly writes about the healt care chrisis when it comes to for example the limited amount of maternity ward rooms. Especially spring time according to my midwife... but what does it help me now?

And oh yes, there is really nothing I can do about it through worrying and actually I don't too much. But, I can't help but feeling a bit ironic about my situation when I for example read today, again, in one of our local Kungsholmens news papers about: the hospitals, among which my hospital was mentioned, who's sending out an alarm - they mean that the current situation involve jeaopardizing the mothers and childrens saftey! They say that in May there'll be 140 more mothers who will give birth than planned. Already in March 92 to-become-mothers where turned down (and assumingly forwarded somewhere else) from Karolinska (where I belong). E he he, what can one say? Always look on the bright side of life ... ta, dam, ta, dam, da, dam, da dam... perhaps?!

Eating and breathing

The web magazine Knitty's Spring issue was published today stuffed with free knitting patterns! I liked specially the mens pullover Jamesey and the scarf/necklace Nagano sacura, but I would likely not knit any of these, at least not in the nearest future.

I love all kinds of pirogues and tonight I tried to make Chilean Pirogues, Pitingas Empanadas, for the first time. They where each stuffed with minced lamb mix containing onions, red chili pepper etc, one olive, one wedge of a hard boiled egg and a few raisins, according to a recipe in Kärlek, oliver och timjan (Love, olives and thyme) by Anna Bergenström. I baked and served the ugliest ones tonight and freezed the rest unbaked, also according to the recipe. I've tried them before at different occasions, once at a Chilean familys place, and they turned out to be as good as I remembered them!!

Anna Wilsby writes about her popular propfylaxis method "Anna's prophylaxis" in the book Innan du föder (Before you give birth). Lately my husband has read loud to me from it almost every night. It is really fruitful reading and we feel much more comfortable in front of this delivery to come! It goes through mental goal focusing, relaxation, breathing, how the partner can coach through the delivery etc. I can warmly recommend this book!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Women and men

My finest came home with a bouquet of these and said he had enjoyed his day at town on his own! He visited a few shops at Hötorget and enjoyed a special oriental burger at Hötorgshallen, then took the tube to Södemalm visited some more shops and finally enjoyed a cappuchino at our favourite café ... but he didn't find anything for himself! We men and woman are so different. If I'd have had a day of my own at town (and had the energy for it...) I'd come home with a nice spring blouse, new make up, perhaps a new bag or some other accessories, chocolate, new toys and clothes for Anthea and the baby to come ... and oups forgotten bo buy something for my beloved one. Still he's the most important one to me!

Paternal presence

I truly admire my beloved husbands dedication being a father so wholeheartedly! Also I'm so happy for his sake, he'll be able to enjoy this precious first part of Antheas life being on parental leave with her for over half a year! This period that so many of us born in the 60:s and 70:s missed with our own fathers, as they "had to work so much" and so on and so forth. However, an additional bonus for intelligent fathers who decides to be with the kids from early age was presented on the headlines this week; fathers on parental leave actually live longer !! And, besides this my husband has a happy wife! So, this morning I sent my finest out to town so that he could have some leisure time on his own!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hanne Falkenberg

Check out this posh cardigan by Danish designer Hanne Falkenberg. It's as useful at work as at leisure time!! I think I must knit this sometimes very soon, either in Sand/Blue, Turquoise/Sea Blue, Apple Green/Turquoise or Coral/Tomato. My husband votes for the Sand/Blue since he believes it's really useful together with for example jeans or light coloured summer dresses. Which one is your favourite?

I'm still very hesitant about what colour choice to make. I know that marias garn at Södermalm sells this cardigan knitting kit so I'll most likely go there. If I have the energy to it hopefully already next week so that I can have a closer "in real life" look at the various colour combinations!

Once I get going with this project I might peek at Hanne Falkenberg Knitalong for inspiration and hints!

Drops for babies

Drops Design has finally come out with new baby knitting design patterns after consulting with their readers. As the participation was massive, they decided to go for two catalogues instead of one!! That's great, so all the ones that I voted for are included! The patterns are already available on the web in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish language: Babydrops nr.13 and Babydrops nr.14! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

On valuable friendships

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. As a quite new mum with a one and a half year old daugther and another baby coming in a few weeks time the conditions of my life has changed radically. Despite basic priorities I might have, such as "my husband comes first", "I must never forget my friends since they'll be there for life" etc, it's difficult to aviod the fact that most of my time goes to my little daughter. I don't have time to cuddle with my husband, call/go out with my friends, take care of my other family as much as I'd like to. I sometimes have very little time for taking care of myself even, and things will surely not be less intensive when next kiddo comes!

As a new mum or dad it's of course therapeutic sharing what is mostly on our minds, namely our kids, with others who might be interested. If one is lucky one has a family who takes an active interest in the kids. But, sometimes this is not the case. We get older and older when we start producing our kids nowadays and thus many of our parents might have passed away. Also if living in big cities other family may not be present. I have friends who's parents aren't interested at all as they want to live their own lifes. And, friends with no kids who has an active couples/single life does naturally not have the time nor the interest to spend "bad quality" time with us homies. I find it understandable as it's frustrating trying to keep an conversation already with other parents... So sometimes we must find new people in order to be able to share this new interest of life!

But, how far should we stretch this need of sharing a common interest with equals? My life device is to always try to achieve balance in life - as was written on the ancient Delphi temple: "everything with moderation" - I believe we should try to avoid exaggering things too much. Our new life conditions, as parents and at the same time citizens in a big town with a thin family may call for radical new thinking. How much extra effort are we willing to make in trying to maintain our old friendships? Could we think of making an expensive move to come closer to friends with or without kids in order to facilite relations? Are we willing to put money on a car for the same reason? Can we think of alternative ways of living such as collective living?

There are of course other things to life such as our hobbies, our careers, our childrens futures, and taking care of our families when planning our future. But, I think it is wise to keep on thinking about what is important to us, and for me hanging out with people is high priority. So I will surely keep on having this hot topic in my mind and strive to try to make the best out my situation!

One topic that I don't discuss here but which is really interesting is how we relate to our families, especially those we have difficulties being friends with... perhaps I'll discuss this here some other time.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Baby boom and yummy food

After visiting my Mother Healt Center, husband, Anthea and I did some strolling around in Kungsholmen. In one of the many child friendly cafés, Art of Living, we had our lunch and good old cappuchino afterwards. By the way, I hope this fantastic coffe creation will survive in our Latte (adult gruel?) fanatic country... We probably have unusually many child friendly cafés here and one of my sister once gave me a reasonable explanation to this phenomenon. From her teacher in film science (?!) at the Stockholm University she heard last year that Kungsholmen is one of the places on earth with the highest density of newborn babies per capita. Actually many times nowadays it feels absurd to walk the streets of Kungsholmen as there are so many pregnant women and mothers walking with their baby strollers. WE are baiscally e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!! And this baby boom is kind of recent in time. I know, since I lived here already when single, before I met my husband.

When back home, I made my favourite zucchini-egg "mixture", which my husband loved though not Anthea. My father used to make it to us. He brought this recipe from his childhood Cyprus. It's not an omelett since it shouldn't contain so much egg that it coagulates. My father used to serve it with Coca Cola and toasted bread, and this is how I still enjoy this full of vitamine dish. (Regarding the picture : how can something so enjoyable be so ugly?)

Here's how I made the mix tonight, if you'd like to try it sometimes.: You need 5 zucchinis, 4 eggs, olive oil, salt and white pepper. Divide the zucchinis alongside in two and slice them really really thin. Fry in olive oil for 5-10 minutes until they start to get a little soft and some colour. Now lower the temperature and cook, using a lid, in about 30-45 minutes and stir every 10 mintues. When the zucchinis are really soft, raise the temperature and fry away all water and give the mix some more colour. Put salt and peppar into the mix. Then stir really quickly in the eggs one by one and serve as soon as all are in. You shouldn't fry so that the egg gets hard! Serve with toasted white bread and cold Coca Cola. Yummy!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Baby preparations

Puhh ... home again after some serious baby things shopping at Babyplanet in Kungsholmen. We decided to go for the Baby Planet Easy Drive Duo budget stroller (see post below) in black, it was the only colour in their stock. They hadn't actually ordered any other colours for this drive they told us - they know their Stockholm customers, he, he. We love how the stroller's spinning so easily around its front wheels while holding the handle with only one hand! We felt confident about our choise, not at least because four customers had previously bought the same model this grey Monday and that we got the final copy. Also this is the slimmest duo stroller on the market today, great when travelling a lot by for example bus! We also went for a Baby Björn Carrier Active in black/red. We've had one Baby Björn Carrier Original before but it's not as supportive for the back as this new model, so with this we'll be able to carry our baby for much longer. While we where in a shopping mood we checked out lamps for the kids room at a nearby shop, and put a reservation on a glass lamp, Belid Pikant, in olive colour.

Spring signs

I managed to finish my little political science paper about EU:s external relations on time this Friday even though I didn't feel really well. On Saturday I was fully occupied as we arranged a birthday party at home for my husband. But on Sunday the whole family was in bed. We're all better off today, perhaps it was just some kind of stomache disorder light. This grey Monday it's hard to make oneself go out shopping stuff for our baby to come though we need to, as it's less than three weeks now before he might arrive. We'll make an effort to come out before lunch ... I'll let you know the result of our baby shopping tour when we're back home again, if we manage to get out!

Signs of spring:
This year we're growing tomatoes and violets, lobelia and dorothea flowers for our balcony and these small seeds have all started to sprout! They're streching their small necks towards the light - just like me, they need plenty of light!