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yesterday and today...

yesterday appeared to be as good a day as any to:

1. watch a royal wedding decked out in red, white and blue upon my couch, whilst my becoming a little teary eyed

2. surprise Our #2 with an 18th Birthday Party and watch the moment of surprise, once again a little teary eyed

3. hear from my boys and my man, who are in St Louis competing at the world FIRST robotic champs and once again feel a little emotional long distance down the phone at their achievements

4. rustle up a little homemade rosette for a pedigree forsaken little soul who lost her way but may now feel like that show cat of long ago. her and myself felt a little teary at the recalling of her proud moments

(yes obviously yesterday was a day for teary eyes)

today appears to be as good a day as any to:

1: go out back and hang some lovely 'high hope' flags made by dottie angel's adopted auntie, so they maybe captured in all their lovely retro vintage glory and then placed in my little shop hoping to find other back yards to hang about in this summer

2: to take a sneak peek at the first issue of Mollie Makes, out in the UK on 12th May and Stateside 9th June (in barnes & nobles and joanns). they kindly came to visit for tea and a chat with me in Mossy Shed (albeit virtually) and you will be able to see the results of that and other wonderful crafty souls who are featured within its fine and creative 'living and loving handmade' pages. (my lovely friend Lola has done several star turns for them and will be featured in quite a few issues over the coming months, that alone makes it a mag worth reading for me!)

if you too think today is as good a day as any to take a sneak peek, then click on the line which says 'yes please i want to see molliemakes' and if you are overcome with wishing to get your little mitts on a copy then they do have quite a spiffy offer going on here. 3 issues for a fiver sounds good to me

she is also thinking, it as good a day as any to start moving beds around in preparation for her folks arrival on monday ~ Tif

footynote: and today would be as good a day as any to weep at those blimen' pesky gremlins messing with my head and line spacing

15 weeks old

My little monkeys are 15 weeks old already. The both smile so much and laugh like crazy. I can't figure out what makes them laugh still, so it's a riot when all the sudden they break out in a giggle fit. Of course we spend the next 20 minutes trying to recreate the giggles to no avail.

Both babies have fully discovered their hands. Ryan usually has his in his mouth. There's a lot of gnawing, thumb sucking and fist in mouth action happening there. I'm thinking there is some teething going on behind all that hand munching. Miss Reese likes to clench her little hand in a fist and hold it out in front of her. In addition to discovering how to use her hands, she has also discovered how to shriek LOUDLY. Most days are spent with her fist in the air while she screams at said fist. My favorite is when she does this at 6:30 a.m. Damn near gives me a heart attack.

They look very similar in size, but picking up Reese is like lifting a bag of feathers and picking up Ryan is like picking up a bag of rocks. I'm interested to see their weights at their 4 month well baby.

Fishook! They grab onto each other A TON now and will reach for one another if they are in proximity. It's not unusual to find Ryan sucking on Reese's thumb or vice versa. During tummy time I have to be extra careful because Reese has an affinity for grabbing onto Ryan's ears. It's ridiculously cute, but I'm so nervous she's going to rip his ear right off one day. Holy hell that kid has a grip!

And of course, no photo session is complete without a tandem meltdown at the end. Even when they're melting I think they're ridiculously cute. (Which is a good thing because tandem meltdowns are a daily ritual in our house.)

Diastasis Recti

**If you found my blog while researching diastasis, welcome! I get many of the same questions emailed to me regarding this post, so I thought I'd try to answer them here. I was 4 months postpartum when these pictures were taken. I have done physical therapy, transverse abdominal exercises, worn a splint/abdominal binder and tried the tupler technique. None of this has made a difference. My stomach greatly improved by 9 months postpartum (on its own) and even more so by 12 months postpartum. However my diastasis is unchanged. Once I am done having children I will be getting a tummy tuck to correct my hernias and diastasis and to put my body back together again.**

I start postpartum physical therapy in two weeks to help correct diastasis recti which is leftover from my pregnancy. Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the abdominal muscles that covers the front surface of the belly. A diastasis recti looks like a ridge that stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button. As your muscles relax throughout the day, the ridge gets bigger. Any strain on the muscle causes the size of the ridge to increase as well. To give you a better idea, here's what my stomach looks like.

For several weeks now, I've thought that my stomach wasn't healing quite right. But every time I mentioned it to someone I was told that I "just had twins" or that I was being too hard on myself or (and this is my favorite) I was asked if I had an eating disorder or if I was suffering from postpartum depression.

I finally said to hell with it and scheduled an appointment with my OB. And, as it turns out, I was right. My abs were so stretched from the last trimester of my pregnancy that the muscles are abnormally (i.e. more than 2 1/2 finger widths) separated. Additionally, the right side of my stomach sticks out farther than the left side, which isn't surprising considering that Reese - my right side baby - used to curl up in a ball and scoot her little heiney up under my rib cage at night.

{ what my stomach looks like when the muscle is relaxed }

{ what it looks like when I tighten my core }

Anyway, while my body will continue to heal with time, only specific core work will fix the problem. Thankfully I was able to locate a physical therapist that specializes in postpartum recovery. I'm eager to start PT. I think I could love my postpartum body (battle scars and all) if my stomach healed properly.

So that's that. I'm not entirely crazy (yet). I really hope this does the trick. I've read if core work doesn't realign the muscle that the only other option is surgical correction, which is something I'm not willing to undertake. I hate hiding under big shirts and my back is freaking killing me - something I'm sure isn't helped by scooping up the bambinos a thousand times a day.

signs of spring...

despite signs of spring for the first time this year, i am not willing to discard my thermal under vest just yet and it would appear, little 'loppy eyed' bunny is not willing to discard his woolly ear warmers either

she is delighted to have found the perfect royal tea towel to turn into wall art ~ Tif

The Royal Wedding Prayer

The Royal Wedding.

His Royal Highness
Prince William of Wales, KG FRS
Catherine Middleton.

Prayer for the Royal Wedding.

Heavenly Father,
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you,
our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Coat of Arms of Prince William.

On his 18th birthday,
Prince William was granted the sovereign's coat of arms
with three silver white labels to differentiate
and personalise his arms
from any other royal persons
who may also use it.
The three silver white labels are on the two lions,
the unicorn and across the top of the royal shield.

The central label bears a red scallop shell
which is taken from his mother's family coat of arms
where three silver white scallop shells are included.

dear william and kate...

i am writing to you with an apology. it would appear Our Shed and myself have been completely and utterly pants at getting prepared for your big day on friday. i fear we have let you down with our two year old, covered in green mold, union jack bunting i retrieved two days ago from around the veggie patch. to be fair i did give it a spin in Miss W. Machine but alas my high hopes were dashed when i retrieved a large knotty mess from her inners and still bearing the signs of green in places, from several winters hanging around outside.

after a few moments of 'knotted bunting' rage i admitted defeat and gave the responsibility of unraveling the mess to my man. in a trice he had it all sorted and with the aid of Our #4 i headed out to the front of Our Shed to hang our faded bedraggled bunting along the 'also greeny' white fence, so passersby would know where our loyalties lie. in my defence for only having this little offering to show for friday's big day, i must say 'wedding souvenirs' are in short supply in this neck of the woods and despite thinking it would be marvelous to handcraft a ton of union jack goodness to deck out Our Shed, i have been complete crappity crap in mustering up the energy.

however i have comforted myself with the knowledge Mossy Shed is not 'en route' for the wedding procession and therefore you will not have to see first hand my pants attempt at being patriotic. to make up for our lack of regalia i will be staying up late tonight to watch an hour long 'behind the scenes' special on all your wedding prep. this is a huge sign of my dedication as i know out of the hour, only 28 minutes will actually be about you and your special day, the other 32 minutes being commercials but i am quite sure it will be worth it. talking of commercials i did catch one the other day offering me a replica of your lovely ring, Kate. not having seen your ring in person, i was not sure how accurate it was. however the folks trying to get me to buy one were very excited about it so i can only assume it was spot on. indeed they were so confident i would want to pick up my phone right then and there to own it for only $29, i was told to hurry as stocks were limited and due to popular demand only one ring per household.

and lastly, before i leave you to get on with all those last minute pesky things which need to be done for the show to go on this friday. i have been toying with the idea of setting my alarm for 3am so i may watch your lovely wedding live, but alas the old person in me just cannot do such a thing. therefore i wished you to know, despite my lack of royal 'swags and tails' around Our Shed, and indeed the fact i will be watching you say your vows on a recording several hours after you spoke them, (whilst sitting in pyjamas eating leftover easter eggs) and also not sending for an exact replica of your pretty ring to show my admiration. i am in fact very happy to know you are tying the knot and wish you the happiest of happy lives together.

yours ever so sincerely

Tif Fussell (a Brit living abroad in a Mossy Shed)

Going Dairy Free

After housing a pint of ice cream for dinner last week, I realized very quickly that my daughter has a milk protein allergy. I had thought maybe she was allergic before. But just after her morning, mid-morning and afternoon feed the next day my suspicions were confirmed. The kid turned into Linda Blair.

After 15 weeks of EBF, there was no way that milk was going to derail me. So I've given up dairy. At first I thought this would be really easy. That was, of course, until I opened our refrigerator and saw 20 cups of yogurt, 7 puddings and a dozen assorted cheeses. I guess I didn't realize how much dairy I ate...

I spoke with a few of my mommy friends about giving up dairy and learned about something called "hidden dairy" (here and here). I didn't even know such a thing existed. For three days when I thought I had given up dairy, I apparently had still been eating it (and in relatively large quantities). My sandwich bread had hidden dairy, as did my cold cuts, even freaking PITA CHIPS. I was at the end of my rope. Seriously.

As though life with twins isn't hard enough some days, now I am having to label read like a mad woman. Thankfully, learning a few key dairy words (casein, caseinates) has really helped me find what will and won't work. To circumvent the problem I've decided it would be easier if I cooked the majority of my meals. Then I could control what was going in my food and still ensure I was taking in enough calories to sustain nursing and enough nutrients to sustain myself.

The key with cooking is that the recipes had to be quick - both to shop for and to make. Below is a sample day of food for anyone that is interested. I make my breakfast for the week and my lunch for the week at night while Joe is home, this way he can cover the kids. We switch off who cooks dinner and who is on kid duty. I definitely don't feel like I'm missing out on anything and so far all of the recipes have been great.

Breakfast (before giving up milk, my breakfast was two packets of Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal - has hidden dairy - and a cup of coffee with half and half)

  • Coffee with almond milk and agave syrup.

  • Oatmeal (either steel cut or traditional oats), prepared with water. After it is cooked I portion it out and top each portion with 1/4 cup of almond milk, 1/4 cup of almonds and 1 tablespoon of organic honey. 

Lunch (before giving up milk, my lunch was a Dole salad kit. Most of the dressings and/or ingredients contain dairy)

This took about 15 minutes total - prep time, cooking time and cleaning up. And I ended up with four lunches from one recipe/cooking adventure.

Dinner (before giving up dairy this could have been anything from tuna sandwiches to pizza to roasted salmon with brussel sprouts)

We made this with a side of quinoa cooked in Organic Mushroom Broth. Dinner was on the table in 15 minutes. We had three pots to clean, plus our dinner dishes. So clean up took about ten minutes. I cut the recipe in half to just feed two. But this could have easily been kept for a second night/leftover dinner if the full recipe was made.

Snacks (before giving up dairy were fiber one bars, yogurt, pita chips with hummus, string cheese and crackers...)

  • sliced vegetables (roasted red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, etc.) with hummus

  • fruit (peaches in cling = guilty pleasure, apples, bananas, pears, etc.)

  • nature valley granola bars

If anyone would like more information feel free to email me or leave a comment. I'm happy to help. I'll try to update my spark page with each week's food for anyone going through similar issues. Any not obvious foods (i.e. hummus, red peppers) are recipes that come from Cooking Light and can be found here.

pottling with intent...

Marjan navigated and i drove. our mission? to 'pottle with intent'. do you like that? i do too, 'pottle with intent' sounds like you have something of importance to do. i am thinking i will use this phrase of words more often.

perhaps when out and about, a market researcher may indeed stop me in my tracks and instead of mumbling pathetically some feeble excuse for not wishing to spend 10 minutes filling in a survey, i can instead say with a voice of certainty "oh i am sorry, but i am terribly busy pottling with intent" to which the market researcher will nod a knowing nod, despite not really knowing and leave me to get on with my pottling.

i am also thinking this may come in handy when a clan member keeps rabbiting in my ear and i cannot hear myself think, i will be able to say "can you give me a minute, i am busy pottling with intent" there upon i will walk with purpose around the shed giving the illusion i have something very important to do, hence my manic pottling. oh yes this is a trick worthy of keeping up one's sleeve for many an occasion.

today's pottling with intent, was across the bridge in the big city to a destination called Assemble which is a gallery, studio and shop all in one creative little space. i heard about Assemble from Janine and after doing a little research online, knew it worthy of a pottle.

Andie Wurster the lovely owner was there with her equally lovely little furry friend, Grady. we had a nice chin wag, whilst admiring the lovely paper goods on display and noting the wonderful courses they offer. if you happen to be in the Seattle area and are looking for a lovely location to learn the art of crocheted granny squares then i cannot think of a nicer place to 'pottle with intent' to, so you may twiddle with yarn, hook and some likeminded crafty souls.

it is strangely quiet in the shed with one half of her clan gone for a few days ~ Tif

Surrexit! Alleluia!

Et valde mane...
And very early in the morning,
the first day of the week...
(Mk. 16:2)

Vespere autem sabbati ...
And in the end of the sabbath ...

quae lucescit in primam sabbati ...
when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week
came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary,
to see the sepulchre...
(Mt. 28:1)

Iesum quaeritis Nazarenum crucifixum
You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.
He is risen.
(Mk. 16:6)

The Resurrection banner of the
Agnus Dei,
the Lamb of God
It was blessed after the early morning Mass of Easter.

The altar of the early Easter Morning Mass.

Iesum quaeritis Nazarenum crucifixum
You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.
He is risen.
(Mk. 16:6)

Surrexit !

Vidi aquam...
The Easter morning Mass...
we are blessed with Easter Water...
Our Lord is present amongst us...
ancient chant ...
joyful Alleluias.
Christ is Risen.

Surrexit. Alleluia.

The welcome Easter Egg.

Easter Monday.
A day of recreation.

There is a clear open sky with sunshine,
the footpath is clear of puddles
and a dry doorstep is waiting ...

... during this Octave
the world is being put right again.

feeling crafty...

on friday when out and about doing easter bunny things, i happened to pass by our local thrift store. as i have not been for quite the while, i was overcome with desire to pottle amongst the shelves of despair. i am glad i succumbed to some thrift store pottling, for the little end aisle which does a grand job of holding lots of smallish picture frames came up trumps. i took my triumphant pair of brown frames home and pondered their fate.

after a bit of pondering i decided to go with turquoise, this is partly because my can of turquoise paint seems to be never ending and partly because i thought the colour perfectly fitting for the end result. as my paint dried i rustled around in my granny's dressing table drawer and unearthed two photos of my girls, taken nearly 12 years ago on the morning of my soul sister Debbie's wedding. they were sitting on the bed in their underwear looking lovely to me, watching all the goings on around them, their hair all freshly washed and their bridesmaid dresses waiting

i printed off a background paper from a photo of patched together lace and linens and then stitched my girls photos on, mirroring the stitching on the background paper. after a bit of a struggle with the frame and its backing, due to it being rather old and on its last legs, i had myself two lovely little frames which i promptly popped on the wall in my studio. perfectly suited for my melancholy moments.

i am especially feeling crafty this week, inspired by these two lovely 'how-tos' i came across. first my friend Lola has done wonders with some pretty butterflies and then my friend Jane has made the most brilliant display boxes for the wall. both these 'how-tos' have me wishing to break out my crafting cap and make little vignettes of crafty goodness all around the shed.

she is adding a few wares to her shop window this week whilst doing a sundance ~ Tif

Happy Easter!

{ our first (mall) Easter bunny }

Some shots from before mass. A big thanks to my mom for the bunny ears!

We had a wonderful visit with both sets of grandparents this weekend. Took the kids to mass this morning and they were wonderful. Not a peep out of them, they just looked around and took it all in. Our priest was overjoyed to see them at church and gave them a special blessing during communion. We really belong to a wonderful parish.

After mass we took the family to brunch and then came back to the house for some cuddle time with the kids where I finally got my husband to get behind the camera so that I could have some pictures with the babies. I think these are the first pictures I have with them since their newborn photo shoot.

{ getting harder and harder to hold them at the same time! }

Our house was full of love and laughter. A blessing indeed. I have to include just one more, because it's too cute not to - this kid makes the best faces ever. Happy Easter to you and yours, I hope you had a blessed day!


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