Tag Archives: FirstLady

Spring Stress

I still hate spring.

So, my current way of dealing with stress has been eating tin roof sundaes and doing Pinterest-y crafts.

I made a calendar for the girls since their father was traveling a lot:

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(The planes show the days he goes and comes back and the other picture of him is a day I’m away at a meeting and the girls get to hang out with him all day. The green-backed pictures are their daycare.)

I also am making them little backpacks with appliques and handmade piping. There was also a weather chart, but they fought over the clothespins, so I put it away.

I have gotten some knitting done as well:

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I’m looking forward to when our lives don’t go into complete flux every spring. Then I’ll get more knitting done!

The finest fleece Old Navy can offer…

So, the hope is that First Lady and Matriarch will be able to join the throngs at Rhinebeck. If they do go, they will be fully kitted out in the finest fleece Old Navy can offer (if we can find First Lady’s other mitten). Yes, I know I should knit for them. Until pretty recently, though, we weren’t sure what the weather would be like and they’re on a pretty big growth spurt, it seems.

Twins in fleece

(Matriarch is in pink, and First Lady is in white.)

Also, I’ve made them Halloween costumes and am working on my matching one, sewed covers for their shawls to protect them in the cedar chest, and am working on sewing them advent calendars. And I’ve got reaccreditation at work, am working on a journal article and certifications, am working three days a week, getting ready for four 5K runs by the start of December, and still keeping the house running.

If we are living somewhere that we’d be able to get to Rhinebeck 2016, we’ll see about hats. Or earwarmers, at least. I do feel guilty when their singleton friends with knitting mothers have cute handknits. Of course, when I teach them to knit, our production will really go up!

Finished Kerry Blue


Ravelry Link Kerry Blue

Pattern: Kerry Blue

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare

Needles: Size 3

Amount of yarn used: 108 g

Source of Yarn: Knitpicks

Modifications: I used the Haruni bindoff.


A strong shawl for a strong girl.

Over halfway!

I’m over half done the casting off on First Lady’s shawl.


Edit: This came out much more depressing than it was supposed to! I meant it to be more like things I’ve read recently about how the pregnant body becomes a public space for comment and that it’s strange how people in public interact with me only as the subtitles for the girls and think that I always want to stop and answer all questions, no matter how personal, even as I’m hurrying somewhere or trying to calm a crying baby.

I’m now 50% through Matriarch’s shawl. Both girls keep trying to touch it, since they’re very interested in string and paper.

Matriarch and her shawl

In The Reluctant Father, one of the strands is about how, when his daughter was born, his wife vanished. I can definitely feel that. As I walk the girls around campus, it’s amazing how many students talk about them as if I can’t hear. In the grocery store, it can be hard to get the groceries without people asking about them. If I’m trying to run a fast errand, someone will stop me to argue with me about if they’re identical or sororal. The girls exist, and I’m just there as a caption.

When I go out for a run, it’s amazing. I’m just a normal person with her headphones in.

I also feel sort of vanished in the knitting I’ve been doing. I knit the soakers that they outgrew before I finished them, which were black and white. I’ve been knitting the white christening shawls. I have the mitten from First Lady’s car seat test, but Afghans for Afghans isn’t currently collecting and doesn’t seem to know when it will again.

As usual, my big conference and my husband’s overlapped. Normally this just means both of us are frantically working on our papers/posters/workshops at the same time, but this year had the added complication of the girls. My parents, therefore, came up to wrangle, and the girls went to their first academic conference, which they seemed to enjoy. I’m so lucky to have parents who could and wanted to do that.

My mom and I went to Webs later in the week, bringing the girls. Their baby books now have entries about first LYS trip.

Girls in Webs

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I got myself some sock yarn in bright colors that hopefully will make me, as I’m stopped to be asked about the girls, feel less invisible.

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Christening without shawls

The First Lady and Matriarch were christened, as I’d hoped, in church, together, on one of the ‘days appointed,’ not as an emergency baptism.

Here they are with their godparents, father, and me:

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I made the dresses (Matriarch is in red, looking tired, and First Lady is in blue). The ribbons you can see hanging tied at the front of the sailor collars, but they loved chewing on the bows and untying them.

I’m still working on Matriarch’s shawl. It’s about 36%; I had it on hold to finish the dresses. It’s now a higher priority. I’ve been working on the two shawls for almost eleven months now (I started around the end of the first trimester since I’d been to nervous to start before) and really want to have them both done for the girls’ first birthdays.

(Also, I’d like to knit some things for myself as well.)


Apparently, the first baby strollers were pulled by goats. I need to get one of those; the First Lady and the Matriarch nap in the morning (while I eat breakfast and set up for the day) and then like a moving nap. I can type on my phone one-handed to write in my journal (I prefer paper, but have made the switch for when I can’t use my nice journal), but I can’t knit and push the stroller or drive.

Still, I’ve managed to get some knitting done on the Matriarch’s shawl. I’m going to have to work on it more steadily to have it done for their christening.

Knitting does make me feel more like myself.

Also, does anyone have ideas of things to do with small, young babies? Most of my material is aimed at a more mobile and loquacious age.


Nursing twins does cut into one’s knitting time.

The First Lady and the Matriarch have been home for just over a month now. They’re slowly wrapping up tests, with one big one for the First Lady tomorrow. It takes 90 minutes at least, and I have to be in the room with her, but can’t touch her. I was there for part of the test when she failed it (twice) before coming home, and it’s tough.

So, since my mother suggested that I bring some simple knitting, and the soakers are done (but will probably never be used) and I haven’t knit on my sock since I was in labor, I’ve started a pair of mittens.


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This is the first soaker that I’m working on knitting for the girls. I’m using the Cheeky Soaker pattern and will be trying the Sheepy Soaker for the next one. I’ve also got a project so secret (and so barely started) it doesn’t have a picture.

Normal’s Just A Setting on the Washing Machine

First of all, the girls are doing well. They’re in the “graduate nursery,” not the NICU any more; they’re working on leaning how to eat, regulate their temperature, and being weaned off oxygen. They’re each over four pounds now, so they’re growing like tiny weeds.

In college, there was a song that they had a folksinger perform during orientation with the line of the post title: “Normal’s Just A Setting on the Washing Machine.” It’s strange how normal changes so quickly.

The girls were born very late on 8 July (I’d gone into labor in the very early hours of that day and the bulk of the day was spent trying to stop the labor at least long enough for the girls to have steroids for lung development). I first saw them almost exactly twenty-four hours after labor had started. During the first days while I was in the hospital, they weren’t ready to be touched yet, but then we started to be able to hold them.

Every day now, I go and visit them and do kangaroo care/skin to skin. It’s an actually scientific treatment for them (and for me and for Caleb when he comes); they do better if they’re lying on a familiar chest, hearing a familiar heartbeat and voice, than if they’re in the isolette. I’m also supposed to kiss them as much as possible so that I pick up information about their immune systems and produce the right antibodies in my milk. (Patting and stroking, though, are too much stimulation for them in quantity; I’m supposed to put a hand on their backs instead of stroking them.) The daily visit, the pumping milk every few hours, the calls in to see how they are right after morning shift change and nightly weighing (later on bath days) are all the new normal. And, in a matter of weeks, when they’re home, there will be an entirely new normal that will soon seem as if it’s always been that way.

They got names the day after they were born; we’d been planning to figure that out what ended up being the weekend after they were born. They were around two months early, so we thought there was time. I’m not going to be using their names here for a while at least; partly it’s because all four of us have somewhat distinctive names, but also it’s because I’m trying to figure out what information about them I want on the Internet. Here, they’ll be going by the First Lady (for the older one) and the Matriarch (for the younger one). These are references to holders of their names, but hopefully not Googleable.

I’ve started knitting a diaper soaker; I held it up to the Matriarch and checked that the sizing looked right. Of course, since motherhood hasn’t changed me entirely, I’m making it in referee stripes.