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Bryndís Ann

þingvellir National Park; 3 1/2 weeks old

In the interest of catching up as much as possible (and I confess, some of these posts are as much for my own personal record keeping as for sharing), I want to properly introduce you to my beautiful daughter.  I have not finished writing up her birth story, but I’ll include Eric’s version of it as a pdf download because it’s hilarious (keep in mind while reading that it’s a copy of the email we sent to family and friends the day of).  In short, she arrived two weeks early, and made her entrance so swiftly that I did not make it to the hospital but rather delivered her, with the help of Eric, our wonderful doula Soffía, and a midwife who arrived just in the nick of time, in our bathtub!  Unbelievably, our sweet Bryndís Ann is already 10 weeks old, so here are just a few portraits of her life thus far.

A few minutes old!

About 1 month

Road Trip! With Grandma and Grandaddy Bryan, 2 months

Cheeky!

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Bryndís

 

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Settling

I took an unintentional 3.5 month hiatus from blogging and quite a bit has changed since I last posted, like, let’s see: our home, the weather, the number of people in our family, the overall shape of my body, amount of sunlight in each day. . . I have lots of thoughts, pictures, news, and on and on to share, but for now, here are some highlights:

April 1-we moved from 107 to 101 Reykjavik, to an awesome flat facing the Tjorn in the center of town.  It was nice being next to Laugardalur park, but I’m much happier downtown where I don’t have to take the bus to get anywhere.

April-May, sometime–it stopped getting dark, at all, ever.

May 7th–Baby girl enters the world!!  I really look forward to sharing her insane birth story and a few precious pictures in an upcoming post:)

May 8-June 2–first our friend Kara visits, then my mom, then my sister!  Several fun day trips with everyone to other fantastically beautiful parts of this country

June–settling into life with two kids, fortunately with the help of some gorgeous weather!  Lots of time spent at the playground, in the kitchen, at playgroups, and the library.

Projects finished since March 13–Everett’s sweater (ALMOST in time for Easter), E’s Easter basket (now toy storage), easter garlands and letters for friends back home, E’s overalls, knit baby blanket, tiny baby sweater and matching hat, tote bag for a friend’s birthday, fathers’ day present.

In other news: a new addiction to Pinterest (something easily explored one-handed and while nursing or bouncing a fussy baby) has led to a growing project list and several yummy kitchen experiments.

Pictures and links to all patterns, tutorials, and recipes forthcoming!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in At Home, My Projects, Travel

 

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Belated 1st Birthday

So I confess, life back in St. Louis hardly seems blog-worthy these days.  Eric teaches two days a week, during which he has our only car, and keeps a pretty rigorous research and writing schedule the other three-to-four days, so mostly I hang out with Everett, try to keep the place liveable amongst a mess of stuff that has been displaced from the lowest shelves, and try to find things to keep both of us occupied, inside or outside the house.  This does not often include world-class museums, monuments, or even shopping that is not necessary for survival.  And it rarely leaves time anymore for creative endeavors.  Eric’s mom was visiting us for awhile back in September, which gave me some extra time, and planning and preparing for Everett’s first birthday party–which we held a week and a half after his actual birthday–has been my main creative outlet recently.  I thought it would be fun to have a travel-themed party, given the fact that Everett spent more of his first year outside of the U.S. than here, so we had some travel themed activities, favors, and food from each country we visited.  Both sets of grandparents were here, as well as my brother, and we had an absolutely perfect day for the outdoor affair.  I think it was a total success!

Little sketchbooks made to look like passports ("PASSPORT" is stamped in gold on them but it was pretty hard to see), along with stickers that looked like passport stamps

Our favor boxes, meant to look kinda like suitcases, with some luggage tags made from leftover oilcloth scraps--tutorial anyone? They were super easy to make! Inside were European candies (from World Market) and space for their activities like. . .

these little wooden airplanes from Oriental Trading Co., easily "painted" with crayola markers!

Some decor--simple flags cut from an old U.S. road atlas and sewn together at the top--also super easy!

The cake--maple walnut with maple cream cheese icing--to represent Canada (along with the moose finger-puppet-turned-cake-topper)

The birthday boy with his first taste of cake

Our earliest guests enjoying themselves--eventually the backyard was full of toddlers and older sibblings and parents and it was fantastic!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the food table, I was too busy trying to get the food finished and out and keeping cool or warm!  But we had dutch pannekoeken (pancakes, a lot like crepes) with nutella and other spreads, scones with jam and cream mini steak and ale pies, chips (fries) with malt vinegar (English style) and mayonaise (Dutch style), salad with our favorite L’Abri recipe dressing, and Icelandic skyr (yogurt) that I managed to find at Whole Foods.

Everett opened presents with just family after everyone else had left, at which point he was totally overwhelmed and a bit glassy-eyed so the pictures are more amusing than adorable, but he got lots of good stuff, and we are grateful for lots of new toys to keep him occupied (we had painfully few after all the traveling!)

I am hoping to participate in a couple of craft shows coming up, and I also want to add a few things to my currently inactive etsy shop, so keep an eye out for a possible giveaway as I attempt to draw more attention to myself:)

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Fun with Everett, My Projects

 

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Recent Adventures in the Teensy Weensy Cafe

In between various visitors and outings (bits about Canterbury coming up soon) I’m still enjoying this tiny little kitchen.  Well, enjoying the kitchen may be a stretch, but in between throwing around all the pots to find one lid that might fit, shuffling appliances to clear some counter space, and forgetting to remove the roasting pans and cookie sheets that are stored in the oven before I preheat it, I’m enjoying cooking and baking.  Here’s a little rundown of some recent menu items (click on any image for a bigger one):

Another batch of lavender sugar cookies from the beginning of March; the mini ones got sent to a friend in the States for her birthday and apparently arrived with little breakage:

Nate’s Cappuccino Chiffon Cake; mentioned in this post, but here are some better pictures.  Made from a recipe over at Smitten Kitchen (I’m really enjoying her cakes!)  I made the Happy Birthday bunting by just writing with a regular old pen on some fabric scraps and threading them onto embroidery thread then using those bamboo kabab skewers as posts.

Wild Boar Tortellini from the Borough Market, mentioned earlier in this post, served simply with fresh grated Parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a salad.  They were huge, and the flavor of the wild boar filling was wonderful–it contained whole rosemary leaves which complemented the meat beautifully.

Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake, from this recipe also on Smitten Kitchen, baked for the occasion of my in-laws making their first ever trans-Atlantic journey, AND that they arrived on British Mothers’ Day.  It required 12 eggs to be separated and whipped (ever wonder what a dozen egg whites beaten to stiff peaks looks like? and yes, that’s a giant salad bowl, not a proper mixing bowl)  Then the yolks, some sugar and chocolate were beat separately and then all got folded together–no flour, butter, or rising agent!  It’s SO YUMMY, melts in your mouth.  The icing is just whipped cream, which I overwhipped (we almost had butter) and then I just shaved some chocolate with a vegetable peeler for the top.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Breadthis recipe from Joy the Baker I made for breakfast just yesterday.  While it was yummy and the peel-apart bit is really fun, the length of time to make it with various rises and baking make it tricky for breakfast–even with mixing it the night before, letting it rise, and getting up at 6am (not specifically for the bread, I should note, an infant still lives here), I still did not have it all ready until 9:30 for breakfast.  Fortunately, the jet-lagged in-laws slept until 10 or so, so it was warm and ready to eat with coffee and some scrambled eggs.  Technically it was my second breakfast since I had a bowl of cereal while it was rising for the second time:)

What’s been happening in your kitchen lately??

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in At Home, Kitchen Experiments

 

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6 Months: Reflections

All smiles!

Today my little guy hit his 6-month-birthday.  Part of me is tempted to think, “where did the time go?” but to be honest, I feel like the last half-year has been a perfect blend of whizzing by and slowly passing, full of adventure, tricky challenges, and perfectly quiet lovely moments.  I broke down a few of my thoughts into three little nuggets to avoid gushing on and on about the whole of my life since September.

Birth
Everyone feels differently about their labor and delivery experience, but if asked, all the advice I have for those anticipating the birth of their first child can be summed up in just a few sentences: Of course it’s wonderful and miraculous and all the rest of it, but I will not lie to you–do not believe anyone who tells you it won’t hurt–they don’t know your body, every labor experience is different, and the truth is that the pain can be shocking in it’s strangeness and its intensity.  BUT, you can do it, and in the words of my amazing doula, “time is just a thing,” and it will pass, and labor will at some point be over, and you will be confronted with the most amazing overwhelming little being when it is.  Secondly, and along the same lines, prepare to be unprepared, no matter how many books you’ve read or how many classes you’ve taken.  The experience is out of this world, and I suspect this applies to labor and delivery as well as the next 18+ years.  (Everett’s full birth story from my perspective available to download here, if you really want all the details.  Warning: it’s kinda long b/c I tried to recall all the details I could)

Brand new baby Everett

Parenthood
The first thought that both Eric and I had when we saw Everett’s funny-shaped little head was, “who ARE you?!”  It hit us in that moment that we did not know him yet; he’s not a mini-Emily or a mini-Eric, he is a whole separate person.  Whoa.  This was not in any way a negative realization.  Rather it filled me with an overwhelming sense of  respect for this tiny being–for his life, for every need that he has, for the person he was at birth and the person he’s going to become under our watch.  Respect was not a sensation I expected to feel for a baby, any baby, and it was a pleasant surprise.  Close on the heels of Respect came a humbling sense of honor that I get to be this little being’s mother, the one who gets to be with him through so much growth and development, experience new life with him, and hopefully help him out a little along the way.  What an amazing privilege, like receiving the most sought-after commission from my high commander. I hope and pray Eric and I can hold onto these sensations into toddler tantrums, childhood sass, teenage attitude, and whatever else might come our way.

Grace
The other night I went into Everett’s room where he was sleeping soundly and felt so special that it was my right and privilege to be able pick him up and hold him and kiss him just because I wanted to, because I love him, because I love the feeling of his warm skin and limp relaxed body when he’sasleep, and because he’s mine.  Then a rush of grief seized me as I suddenly thought of all the mothers around the world who have mourned, and are mourning, their babies lost to

My Sweet Family

earthquakes and tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, and fires; illness, famine, starvation; war, even American missiles, insurgent attacks, suicide bombs, nuclear meltdown; cancer, leukemia, genetic defects, famine; freak accidents, vindictive psychotic ex-husbands, car wrecks.  I held Everett and wept, praying, and praising God that my baby is healthy, safe, and close to me at all times.

Family
I maintain that Eric and I became a family the day we got married, 2 1/2 years before we found out Everett was on his way, but his addition and his steady growth from single cell to 6-month-old has resulted and is beautifully tangled up in steady growth for all three of us together.  His milestones may be more obvious but there can be no doubt that Eric and I have grown as individuals, in our marriage, and of course as parents.  I don’t mean to gush too much, but it really is fun to sit back and reflect on how miraculous this whole family infrastructure truly is.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in At Home, Fun with Everett

 

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Whirlwind of Baldwins

In a pub near Leicester Square

So my family was visiting with us this past week, and after some crazy sightseeing, I have a new appreciation for all of those out there who manage to be so super busy and still post on their blog with lovely pictures and graphics every day.  That is not me.  Anyway, here’s a little rundown of all the things we found to do with my mom, dad, brother and sister:
Saturday: they arrive in the am, we go to Aubain to celebrate Nate’s birthday, followed by this cake (so yummy!) that I made at home.  I think he liked it.
Sunday: leisurely breakfast cooked in The Teensy Weensy Cafe by my mom, then a walk through Hyde Park to the bustling Harrods, then back again.  Nate and Hannah proceeded elsewhere (Westminster area, I think?)

Nate's excited about his birthday cake

Monday: Breakfast at the Muffin Man, then I stayed home with Everett for some down time while mom, dad, Nate and Hannah headed to the Tower of London.  Late in the afternoon we met at Oxford Circus for some shopping.
Tuesday: Bus tour of London–so touristy, but so the best idea ever.  We chased this with lunch at a pub in Leicester Square, then more shopping for some of us.

Uncle Nate and Everett on the river cruise

Wednesday: River cruise (came free with the bust tour), and we decided to board at the farthest point away which was Greenwich Pier.  Foggy day, but still fun.  I left the fam at Westminster Pier to explore Westminster Abbey (which they loved) while I went home with Everett for a couple hours of down time and a bath before we all trekked down to North Dulwich for home cooked curry at the home of a former colleague of my father’s.  So fun but Everett couldn’t get to sleep so the 3 E’s ducked out early.

Nate and Hannah at the Baths

Thursday: Took the train out west to Bath on a perfectly gorgeous day.  Just took our time meandering around the town, went inside the Abbey, and of course, the Roman Baths.  So so cool.  We finished out the day by having tea at the Sally Lunn restaurant, in the oldest house in Bath, and home of the very yummy Sally Lunn Bun.

Friday: I stayed in while the family went to Buckingham Palace just to see it and ran an errand, then we split up: Dad and Nate headed to Borough Market where they ate all sorts of yummy things, while Hannah, Mom and I wandered Kensington High Street and the Portobello Market.
Saturday: Met everyone at the Pret a Manger in the tube station to say good bye to Mom, Dad and Hannah as they head back to the States.  Nate sticks around, and after Everett’s morning nap, we head back to Greenwich and enjoy the market there as well as a gorgeous sunny day!  In the evening, he and Eric head to a pub for a pint (or few) while I put Everett to bed and watch a movie.  Solo.  Love it.

At Sally Lunn in Bath

We had such a great time together, it was a blast to have everyone here and to go do some things I might not have done otherwise.  I was also so glad for Everett to spend time with his family–he seemed to really thrive on all the attention and grew more interactive and talkative with each passing day, and seemed to develop some endurance for long outings!  If you are friends with me or my mom on Facebook, and you’re at all interested, you can seem some more pictures (I’m over my upload limit for Flickr for the month and am too cheap to pay for an upgrade–anyone know a way to reduce the size of a lot of pictures at once?)

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in My Fair City, Travel

 

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