Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Year in Review



1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I guess I was pretty boring this year....because I can't think of anything at this moment! 



2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions.  I used to make them but they're short-lived.  I improve on things where I can, and let the rest lie.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I did!  Our boy Sean was born in January.  I can't believe it's been almost a year already....  Also, there were three babies born on Brian's side of the family this year.  Lots of new kids to play with in years to come.  :) 


4. Did anyone close to you die?

Brian's grandmother passed away in June.  We really, really missed her at Thanksgiving this year, and every day.


5. What countries/places did you visit?

We drove out to Wisconsin to visit friends this past summer.  And I had my first trip to New York City!    



6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

I can't think of anything, 'cause I've gotten everything I've ever wanted.  Wait....I want to start my new job.


7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 10, 2010....the day my youngest son was born!  That being said, there are no other dates etched upon my brain....'cause my brain's been compromised and I'm lucky I know who I am half the time.  :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Adjusting and being flexible.  Also, starting a weight loss program a week after Thanksgiving!!



9. What was your biggest failure?

Not being patient enough, especially with myself. 


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It's been a good year.  (knocking on wood right now!)  No trips to the hospital, nothing crazy to get the doctor's opinion on!


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Brian and I bought a cruise for ourselves next summer!  Five days, four nights, just us.  :)



12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Pass.  I can't think of anyone. 



 13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I hate these kinds of questions.  I don't know, nothing really surprises me anymore.



14. Where did most of your money go?

Down the toilet.  Just kidding.  Mostly towards bills and necessities.  Not a lot of wiggle room for "extras" this year, but it was a good year.





15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Sean's birth, duh......  :)  Also, our trip to Wisconsin!  It was SO GREAT to be on vacation with the Ratties, checking out a different part of the country.  Ahhhh.


16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Sadly, nothing comes to mind.


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I've been some of both this year.  Some times have been harder than others.  But I've always been a "glass half-full" kind of girl and I've got lots of blessings to count.
b) thinner or fatter?   thinner.  Though 2010 got me on the right track to getting healthier, and 2011 will be even better.
c) richer or poorer? Richer in some ways....poorer in others.  I'm rich where it matters...in love and family.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Living in the moment.  Relishing life's simple pleasures.


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Multi-tasking.


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Happily celebrating with the boys and my whole family.  Goodness, I love a full house!!


21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fall in love a little bit more each and every day.


22. What was your favorite TV program?

I'm really enjoying How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock.  The writing for those shows....genius. 


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I make it a point not to hate anyone.  There's people that annoy me or I dislike, but hate's a pretty strong word.  (yes it's last year's answer, but it still applies!)



24. What was the best book you read?

I didn't read as much this year....once I got knitting I kind of forgot about reading. I did read some, though.  According to Goodreads, I read sixty-five books.  To be fair, these include books I read to the kids.  Most of what I read are cookbooks and knitting stuff.  if I had to pick a favorite for 2010,  I'd have to say The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I'd also have to say that I really am looking forward to when the movie comes out!  (I don't say that very often about a book.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't discover anything musically this year really.


26. What did you want and get?

All my needs met, and some of my wants too.


27. What did you want and not get?

The uncanny ability to always be able to tell the difference between needs and wants!!  :)  I'm also disappointed that I haven't yet been able to grow a third arm or the fact that the government doesn't provide you with a personal assistant/maid/chef when you bring home a new baby.  (LOL!)


28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I can't think of a single movie that I was wowed....but I really can't say I saw too many that weren't animated.  I just saw Toy Story 3 and I'll admit it, it made me teary.


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I had a fantastic birthday weekend.  Hubby let me sleep in, I got a manicure and pedicure, we went out on a Date Night the night before, and I had a fabulous dinner with my family at Longhorn Steakhouse.  Lots of simple pleasures, it was great!


30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A new job.  Talk to me in the Spring.  

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Thrown together and harried.  I am trying to make changes to that, though.  


32. What kept you sane?

Knitting.  Lots and lots of knitting.  My fiber addiction keeps me calm, that's for sure.    Also, learning to count to ten.



33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None of 'em.....so over it.




34. What political issue stirred you the most?
the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It's about time!!!


35. Who did you miss?

Lots of people.  All I can say is that I'm still very pleased with the invention of Facebook.   


36. Who was the best new person you met?

I've made some new friends in my knitting group, and gotten to know others better.



37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

If at the end of the day the kids are reasonably cared for, you have clean clothes and dishes, everyone's been fed and watered, it's been a good day!  The rest of it can fall by the wayside.



38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Aint no rest for the wicked, money doesn't grow on trees.  I got bills to pay, mouths to feed, aint nothing in this world for free.  I can't hold back, I can't slow down, you know I wish I could...but there aint no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good."  (Cage the Elephant, "No Rest for the Wicked.")

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mad Skills...

It's been nice knitting the few days, knowing that there's no hard and fast deadline for whatever it is that I am working on.

Two things that, when I started knitting a little over two years ago, that I never thought I would be able to do:


1.  Knit on double-point needles.  (dpn's)  I got two sets of square dpn's from my SIL for Christmas and after some fiddling and a fair amount of cursing, check it out!


Perhaps things like socks are now in my realm of possibility  :)  This is a pattern for a set of very simple arm warmers called "Toasty."  Basically it is just a tube, nothing fancy.  The yarn is Lion Brand Wool in cocoa.


2.  Garments!  Here is the sweater that I am working on for Will.  Well, the finished back of the sweater, anyway.


I've only been working on this since last week and it's really coming together nicely.  I picked Lion Brand Wool-Ease because A. the pattern suggested it and B.  if it's a sweater for a four-year-old boy, it damn well better be machine washable!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Knitting

OK!  Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, I can talk about the fabulous knitting I did for my family this year!  I no longer have to stuff it in a bag when someone comes around the corner, or slip up and say the word "shawl" in mixed company.  Some secrets have been tough to keep in the past few months.

First, how about the hats for my Dad and my brother!



I bought this orange Berroco Alpaca back in February.  February, people!  I had a false start on a ribbed watch hat, circa 1945.  I discovered that I didn't like ribbing a whole hat, it's quite tedious.  The gray stripes were a mid-thought. 




Ahhhh....Dad's hat.  I knitted this twice.  The first time, I mis-read the sizing and when it was done, it fit Will.  Instead of my Dad.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!   This is from Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a colorway called Wheat.  Also bought in February.  (Procrastination, Huzzah!)



Will asked for some mittens and a hat, and he picked this yarn out himself when we were Christmas shopping together last month.  It's Paton's Classic Wool in a colorway called Palais.  I like it because he has two winter jackets, one is blue and gray and the other is red and black.  The yarn coordinates with both.  I do intend on making some i-cord so he can run the mittens down his jacket sleeves and they won't get lost.  The mitten pattern was pretty easy.  Though I do have big plans to finally learn how to knit in the round in 2011.  No more seaming!  (I hope, I hope)




I also knitted Sean a hat from some yarn I bought at Web's at the end of November.  However, I put it on his wee head right away because baby, it was cold outside!  It's really cute, made with Berkshire Bulky in "burgundy" with a stripe in "oatmeal."    I do wish I had made one with a chin strap, because he loves to take it off and throw it in the car.  I suppose it's not too late to pick up some stitches on either side and put one, though!



I made this scarf for my Mom back while I was on maternity leave.  (Turns out you *can* knit on very little sleep, as long as it's not too difficult of a pattern)  It's called a sampler scarf because it's broken up into different blocks and different stitch patterns.  I really enjoyed making it.  (the yarn is Lion Brand as well, in Jiffy.  Colorway:  fisherman)




And the piece de resistance??  A shawl for Kim, my sister-in-law.  It's called a Point-Edge Wrap, and the yarn that the pattern suggested, although very nice, was discontinued.  How dare they!   So I substituted Lion Brand Baby Alpaca.  It's from their swanky collection that's not available in stores, only online or at their flagship store in New York City.  (Which I went to in October!  It was quite a treat.)  I started this thing mid-September and I was fretfully weaving in the ends and glancing at the clock, wondering if it was going to make it under the tree!!  The pattern wasn't difficult, just tedious.  The end result was totally worth it, though.




The only gift that didn't make it for Christmas was a hat for my dear Hubby.  However, as soon as I finish my baby hats for Sean's Birthday, I will make him one.  No way is his head going to go hatless.  I don't care if "the cobbler's kids go without shoes," this knitter's family will be well-covered!

Happy Christmas, and Happy Knitting!  I've already got ideas floating around my head for next year...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Who needs presents when no one is guarding the remote controls from my Death Grip??


"Somebody's" pajamas kept popping open....guess a certain baby is almost ready for size 12 month clothes!


It's...Baby in a Box!


A Very Happy Christmas

Our Christmas, in photos...

 Watching the cookies bake with Daddy

 A teething Sean waiting for a Christmas Eve treat

 Mommy!  Santa came!!!

 Sean was a little confused at first but he loves tissue paper and boxes

 Ooh!  I like Santa!

 Decorating Sugar cookies

 Nana is enjoying decorating the sugar cookies, too  :)

 Mama making a cheese tray before dinner.

 The finished cookies.  Mmmm!

 A running joke....my brother's nickname at his old job is "Waldo."  as in "Where's Waldo."  We all had a good laugh at the t-shirt my mom found for him!

 Seanie and Daddy posing for a pic

 Will, Auntie Kim, my cousin Matt and my brother Brian

Aunt Nancy holding a sleepy Sean

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  To all our friends and family that are spending Christmas alone because they can't make it home, you're in our hearts and thoughts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Traditions

When I think of Christmas Eve in my formative years, I remember two things:  after church we would have a spaghetti supper, and my brother and I would play cards until it was time to go to bed.  I miss spaghetti, and playing Albanian or Spit.  (I have no idea if "Albanian" is the actual name of the card game, but that's what my family has always called it.)  Then I would wake up at like 1AM and do my "big sister duty," climb the stairs and rouse my brother awake so we could go downstairs and look at the tree and see what Santa left!  I'm the oldest and yet I was always the one so excited to go and see the tree and goodies!  As the years went by there was still spaghetti and Albanian, but as teenagers we would have to be roused out of our beds.  The wonderment was gone.  Sure, there were still lots of happy surprises and beautiful Christmases.   But there's a reason why people say "Christmas is for and about the children."

Luckily, you don't realize that you get to experience that through your own children.  It's this wonderful surprise, looking at Christmas through their eyes.  Telling them stories about Santa Claus, and making believers out of them.  I like to think that it's wonderful for the grandparents as well, to have someone in the family that is in awe of the holidays again.  I know it won't last forever, it never does.  But for me, even though the holidays can be stressful and crazy, it's about family.  It's the Christmas Dinner that we all sit down for.  And especially, it's to see the surprise and happiness in those two little boys.

In our house, I'm going back to the tradition of the spaghetti supper on Christmas Eve.  I used to get fancier but I've discovered something that my mother has probably always known:  not only does everyone like spaghetti, it cooks in a flash and doesn't create a lot of dishes on Christmas Eve!  The boys are too young for cards but I hope to teach them when they are older.  Brian and I have always had a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve.  And every single year, Brian reads "The Night Before Christmas" and we leave cookies and milk for Santa and popcorn for his reindeer. 

What are some of the traditions that you honor with your family?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Story of the Pre-Lit Christmas Tree

Growing up, we almost always had a fake tree.  Then my parent's tree, at twenty or so years old, fell apart.  The next year we had a real tree and it was MAGICAL!!  However, it was a lot of work and a new artificial tree was procured at the after-Christmas sales.  I always thought that I would be the kind of person who would insist on a real tree in my own home.

Well, that is just not so.  For the first few years we lived in our home (and I can't believe it's going to be NINE years this May, BTW) we had a real tree.  And we discovered just how much work a real tree is.  First, you have to buy it every year, and get it home.  Then it would sit outside until we were ready to bring it in.  Then you had to put it in a special tree stand and let it "rest" and settle it's branches.  You have to be especially careful to water it regularly and add that stuff to the water.  And make sure to keep your dog from drinking the water or they'll get really sick.  Or Horrors!  A dog will visit your home and think it's really cool that you installed an indoor doggie bathroom and take a whiz on your presents under the tree!  (We forgive you Benny, we know you'd never seen a live tree in someone's home!)  Not to mention the vacuuming, and how your vacuum starts to choke on the pine needles.  And don't even get me started on those huge bags that are supposed to make disposal easy!  What a joke!

So when my parents got a "pre-lit" Christmas tree, I thought it was a pretty good idea.  Brian was on a business trip in Texas when I found one that I liked in BJ's Wholesale.  HUGE trees come in a HUGE box, and I was alone on this shopping excursion.   Somehow I wrangled the box onto a cart, paid for it and got it outside to load into my Ford Escape.  And I wrestled that sucker into the back of the Escape, huffing and puffing the whole way and with people staring.  I was NOT going home without it!  However, when I got home, I realized that there was no way in hell that I was going to get the box up the porch stairs and into the house on my own.  Thanks to a pleading phonecall to my Dad, it was taken care of.

Then, something peculiar happened.  My parent's tree lost all its power, after one or two seasons.  Brian did his best to repair it but it was declared a lost cause.  And now, after it's fourth Christmas in our home, our tree appears to be doing the same thing.  Every day I notice that "my fabulous Christmas tree deal" is getting darker, and I'm so irritated about it I wanted to throw it out onto the front lawn and stomp on it!  (no kidding....I know someone that did that once!)  Unfortunately, I think it's destined for the trash after the season is over.  So who knows what next year will bring....a new tree?  Or will we go back to real trees?  Decisions, Decisions......

Just...Two...More...Days....I can make it!

Just two more days of working (and one of those days is today!) and I will be on Christmas vacation for a week.  And next week, I work ONE day and get a long weekend.  I think I can, I think I can.....

I started wrapping gifts the other night, I really hate wrapping everything all at once.  I have spent more than one Christmas Eve wrapping presents and cursing.  A little every night and it'll allllllll get done.  After about an hour my back starts to ache and I stop, not wanting to make it worse.  Then it's my comfy chair in the living room and whatever project I am working on, plus TV Time with Hubby.  More often than not, he's folding laundry while watching the Flyers. 

 All of the Christmas knitting is DONE!!!!  I weaved in the ends of my last project last night.  Y'know, like most knitters, I lovelovelove to knit, and HATEHATEHATE finishing work.  Like seams.  Or those damn ends.  That's what usually brings out the cursing like a sailor in me. 

All of the Christmas cards are out!  I put the last three in the mailbox this morning, along with a gift for Brian's parents.  We have big plans to Skype on Christmas morning and have the boys open their presents then. 

Friday will be a day of hustle and bustle, but thank goodness not in stores.  Well, maybe a little time in the grocery store, since no matter how well we plan there's always something that we need for Christmas dinner. 

So, two days, today and tomorrow.  That's what stands between me and Christmas Break.  For three days next week I'll get to be a stay-at-home mom with my kiddos and it's going to be great.  (Power of positive thinking!!!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Slip n Slide

On this lovely Winter Solstice, Mother Nature gave us a gift....snow!!!

Not too much snow, mind you.  But enough to be slippery and a crappy drive.  I had two place to drop kids off this morning, and on the way I made the executive decision that the Big One was not going to school today.  There were road closures and accidents, and the two-mile drive to the daycare was a trepid snails' pace.  So a quick phonecall and Will was ecstatic that he was going to "Auntie's" with his brother!  Especially when he found out that there would be Christmas movies.  He promised me he'd be on his absolute best behavior today.

The drive from there....took half an hour to go about five miles.  But I'm here and in one piece!  And not leaving until it's time to go home.  Those errands outside of the building can surely wait.  Welcome to a New England winter!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fabulous Birthday Weekend!

It was my birthday this weekend and guess what?  It didn't snow, and nobody was sick!  It was a fantastic weekend, with lots of cheer and lots of plans.  On Saturday night, Nana came over to watch the boys while Brian and I went on a date night.  We had dinner at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the city and then caught a movie.  (Love and Other Drugs....eh.  We did see previews of Natalie Portman's "Black Swan" and it looks creepy and intriguing....adding to my list)

Yesterday morning brought a fabulous bagel and cream cheese, then playing with the boys, opening presents and furiously working on my last knitted Christmas gift.  Then I took myself out and treated myself to a pedicure, manicure and blowout.  The weekend was capped off with dinner with my parents, brother and sis-in-law and hubby and kids at Longhorn Steakhouse.  I wasn't exactly good with the caloric intake, but isn't that what birthdays are for?

In short, it was a simple, happy birthday and lots of small things made me very happy.  Happy Birthday to me  :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Confusion

Will is very big into Santa this year, but he has some conflicting ideas.  They're really cute though.

I was wrapping gifts for Daddy and Will was very excited about it.  He said "Let's make sure to give those to Santa so he can deliver them to Daddy!!"  Do you hear that, Santa?  We're adding to your to-do list.  Not only are you going to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls, you are now going to be UPS.  :)

He also insists that he must wear a Santa hat to bed every night, in order for Santa to come.   That's right, Santa is sending down his elves to make sure that Will has the proper headgear while at rest. I'm not sure how this figures into the equation, but if it makes him happy, then I'm happy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sending out Birthday Surprises

I signed up at the beginning of the year on Ravelry for a Birthday Swap. The concept behind the swap is that everyone loves surprises for their birthday!  Seriously, there's nothing like coming home and finding a package full of goodies like yarn and handmade items.   Since my birthday is in December, I had a looong time to wait for my turn!  In October I was assigned a partner who also is a December baby and we are supposed to swap birthday packages.  The requirements included that we had to send one food treat, at least one skein of yarn and one handmade item.  The rest of the package was up to us, after some "stalking" to find out your partner's likes, dislikes, favorite things, etc.

My package was sent to the Northern Maine Coast this week.  Here is what my lovely Birthday Partner will be receiving:



-Tazo Chai Tea
-Hershey's Chocolate Covered Pretzels
-sm container Jelly Belly/Coldstone Jelly Beans
-one skein Stroll laceweight yarn in Ultramarine
-Yankee Candle ramekins
-Froggy stitch markers and row counter from Etsy
-two skeins of Specialty Alpaca sockweight yarn from the New England Fiber Festival (I'd call the color Peacock green)  I have no idea which booth I bought this, but it was a farm in upstate NY that dyed and spun it)
-two scented pencils made from recycled newspapers
-"initial" stationery



And my favorite thing in the whole package....




Old Shale Lace Scarf (made by me!) in blue Jojoland Melody fingering yarn.  This is the same yarn and pattern that Baby mangled on our way home from PA.  LOVE IT!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hold On to That Feeling

This morning, was a miracle.  We all got up, and did exactly what we were supposed to do.  I didn't have to yell because of potty training, dawdling breakfasts or teeth-brushing.  Makeup and hair were done in a timely fashion.   The baby, who cried and wanted to be held all weekend because he's pushing THREE TEETH woke up in good spirits and did not begrudge Mama for putting him in the exersaucer to watch Playhouse Disney and eat cheerios with his big brother.  I got to have a veggie omelette and a strawberry smoothie for breakfast.  No lunchboxes were forgotten, and the diaper bag had plenty of clothes as back-up for the day's activities.  And the best part of all....Brown Doggie, who's been missing for a few weeks, turned up in my raincoat pocket!  Will was so happy, he sat and hugged his best pal for a good five minutes. 

After so many mornings of the complete opposite of all of these things happening all at once, causing a downward spiral and me arriving to work half an hour late, frazzled and forgetful, I deserved this!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Baby Burrito...

...Or, my Hooded Baby Blanket is finished!

This is a gift for my friend Danielle, who is expecting her first child in January.  She is having a boy, and I liked this colorway of Nature's Choice Organic Cotton from Lionbrand.   This pattern is meant for a small baby, so Danielle will be able to wrap the baby for the first two months or so in this cuddly blanket.  It came out really cute!

To turn a baby into a burrito, follow these three  simple steps:




1.  Lay hooded baby blanket out flat.


2.  Put baby in middle of blanket, and fold sides in over baby.  Place hood over baby's crown.


3.  Tuck bottom of blanket over baby.  And try not to melt from the cuteness!



Teddy bear used for emphasis; your "baby"  may vary.  :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Memories: The Neighbor's Tree

I was talking to my mom last night, making arrangements for her to watch the boys while Brian and I go out to celebrate my birthday next weekend.  She says to me, "Oh, by the way, just want to let you know that the Monsey Family's tree in their front yard is lit."  To which I replied, "Ok, I'll be right over to take care of that!"

The year is 1989....and I am thirteen years old.  Every night after dinner, my ten-year-brother and I are assigned the chore of taking our dog Ralph for a walk.  Neither one of us is really crazy about this chore because Ralphie can take forever to do his business and Dad insists that he needs to go out for at least a twenty-minute walk.  (Nope, we were not the kind of family that just let the dog out into the yard.  Yes, we are NOW the kind of family who lets the dog out in the yard!!)  Thirteen and ten are a funny age....you tend not to get along.  But we had the common ground of both believing that yes, it's freakin' cold outside and this is sooooooooooooo boring. We'd begrudgingly do one lap up the side street by our house and one lap back, so we could move on to more interesting teenage things.  (i.e. yakking on the phone or pissing each other off)

As we were walking down the side street, we noticed that the Monseys had lit their huge pine tree in their front yard.  We stopped to admire, and then one of us "decided" that it would be great fun to pull one of the lights out of the socket.  These were the days in which one light went out, the whole string went out.  It became a nightly tradition, one of us would think it was great fun to pull a bulb and put it in their pocket, shorting out a whole string on the tree.  And for twenty minutes in the day, we'd have some fun together.

Well, Mrs. Monsey didn't think it was all that funny.  As a matter of fact, she had noticed that a string would go out on the tree around the same night every night and she was mighty tired of putting a replacement bulb into a strand of lights every day.  So she decided one night to sit in her car and wait for whoever was ruining her decorations.  Sure enough, Brother and I come up the street with Ralph and we pull out a bulb.  She guns her engine and we take off!!!  However, we didn't get far because we all know that cars are faster than even the most-determined-to-escape kids.  She cornered us down the street in front of another house, and gave us a tongue lashing.  All I could do was stammer...."uuhhmmmm.....do you want your lights back?"  I had a handful of them in my coat pocket!!   She took them back and said that she would be sure to call our parents to tell them what we had done.

My brother and I knew that we were done for.  We balefully walked back to the house, and when we entered  my mother said "Well, is there anything that you want to tell me??"  We took a chance and lied:  "No?"  and it worked!  For years, my mother never knew what we had done, it was our secret.

A few years later, my mother mentioned that Mrs. Monsey wasn't acting very friendly and she wondered why.  And I threw us under the bus:  "Maybe it's because Brian and I stole lights off her Christmas tree a few years ago."  WHAT?????  Mom called Mrs. Monsey to apologize and Mrs. Monsey laughed, they both had a good chuckle over it.

Every year, when I see that tree up, I *still* want to pull a light off of it.  And I think I could make a getaway now.  :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

There's A Naughty List?????



Had I not already ordered a photo for a Christmas card, this would be it!  :)


Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopping with Dad

Christmas shopping with my Dad has been an annual tradition since I was.....twelve?  I think I've only missed it once, last year when I was so pregnant I could barely get out of my own way, much less waddle around a crowded mall.  :)  But yes, every year, usually the first weekend of December, I go out with my Dad and we shop for my mom.  With a list.  Yes, a list that my Mom has made.  :)  At this point Dad probably could get the things on the list on his own, but I think that he looks forward to the one-on-one time and I know that I do, too.  Plus, in this crazy, hectic life of mine, it's one day that I get to spend child-free and shopping. 

I went to their house to get him, which also happens to be the house I grew up in.  We usually get some lunch someplace, and then we conquer The List.  This year's list was very easy and, as in recent years, included things that could be ordered online.  That is usually accomplished by Dad handing me his credit card because, according to him, "I'm good with the computer."  The shopping that we actually had to go to a store for was close by and we finished in good time. 

When we got back to the house, he was delighted to see that my brother was there, returning Dad's truck that he had borrowed that morning to pick up some furniture for their new house.  For a brief few minutes, it was just the four of us:  Mom, Dad and their two grown kids, chatting in the kitchen.  I've got to tell you, it is a warm feeling, the original inhabitants of said childhood home, together again.  No spouses, no children.  Just the four of us, like it was for so many years.  Nostalgic.  :)  Mom went downstairs to fold some laundry and the three of us, laughing the whole time, spirited through the house, hiding gifts to be later wrapped by Dad while Mom is at work.  Dad even helpfully suggested that he wrap the gifts that I had gotten for some of the kids in the family at the annual Holiday get-together with my Dad's side of the family the day after Christmas.  Awesome, now I don't have to spend days explaining several times "No, boys.  Those gifts are for your cousins, not you!"

Another awesome time, and another thing to check of the old "To-Do" list. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Math Anxiety

One morning last week, I was knitting and drinking a cup of coffee before work, and watching "The Wonder Years."  I start many mornings like this, 20 minutes of an old TV show, a few rows knitted and a cup o' joe do wonders for my day.  Most mornings I'm alone in doing so, but this particular morning, Will popped out of bed early on his own and joined me.  Surprisingly, he did not come barrelling into the living room as he usually likes to and attempt a coup to watch a kids show.  Instead, he snuggled up on the couch and started watching with me.

The episode featured Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage) and his first day of eighth grade.  He thought it was going to be a great year; everything was going his way, his classes were looking easy, he has his best friend and his best girl and life looks good.  But then it happens:  he walks into.......algebra class.  The teacher is a tough one, and the subject is really hard for Kevin, who is used to pulling good grades with considerable ease.  Kevin contemplates cheating on a test in order to bring up his grade, and the stress is palatable to all involved.  The episode ends with Kevin getting the help he needs and everything is hunky-dory again.

I watched this episode with trepidation, remembering exactly how I felt in the same situation:  helpless.  As the equations were written on the blackboard, I felt mini heart palpitations.  It is nice that the world of television could give little Kevin Arnold a happy ending, though it doesn't always work that way in real life.  I said aloud, "When it comes to all that crazy stuff and the boys need help with their algebra homework, Hubby is going to need to do it."  Will said "What homework?  What are you talking about, Mommy?"

Here's the thing:  I am thirty-three years old.  I am a competent adult functioning in the world.  I can figure out the square footage of a room, calculate the tip at the end of a restaurant meal and compute how big of a roast beef I need to buy to feed my family and guests at Christmas.  (The answer is half a pound per person, so if you're expecting ten people, you should get at least five pounds.  Unless you want leftovers, too.)  I can puzzle out how much yarn I need for a project, and I can figure out at the grocery store if something "on sale" really is a good bargain.   AND as a Property Manager for assisted housing, I'm required to calculate an annual recertification for all forty-six of my tenants regarding their income and assets.  I am absolutely unstoppable with an adding machine!  I had to get certified to do this kind of work, and I passed the test on my first shot.  So why, upon watching this episode, am I feeling anxious about something that I experienced in practically another lifetime! 

And then it hit me.  I'm not so much anxious about the math anxiety that I had back then, I'm dreading the idea of passing it on to my kids.  But how do I avoid passing on my fear of high school math?  They shouldn't carry the thoughts of "I can't do this, this is so difficult!" because their Mom felt that way.   (and apparently still does)  I want them to be clean slates, with no formulated opinion about difficulty level of one subject matter over another.  Wanting this is one thing, making it happen is certainly another. 

As for "Math-Challenged Mama" over here:  that was twenty years ago, and I am no longer that person.  It's time to let it go.  :)

Score!!!

The weight center appointment wasn't nearly as intimidating as I would have thought.  And it turns out that I knew someone in the group, making Hubby's "Geez, you know someone EVERYWHERE you go!" truer all the time.  (It was a mom from my playgroup, we have sons the same age)

Anyway, I was the first person there, I had gotten there a little early and I had brought some knitting to keep me busy.  (Christmas knitting...it goes with me everywhere with the hopes that it'll get done in time!)    The leader of the group gave me some paperwork, including a printout of what I weighed at intake and what my goal weight was for the fifteen weeks.  Then she said "Whenever you're ready, I'll weigh you."  I chuckled a little joke, "Ohhhhh, I'll never be "ready."  But I'll do it anyway!"

 I stepped on the scale and shielded my eyes, thinking I'd be horrified by the number that popped up, recounting two Thanksgiving dinners and all the crap we ate in Philly this past weekend."  Boy, was I pleasantly surprised, I've lost three pounds since the beginning of November!  And that is despite the two Thanksgivings!  (I didn't go hog-wild at either one, I ate what I wanted and nothing more.)  Guess those three weeks of eating healthfully and being mindful of portion sizes/junk food pre-Thanksgiving paid off.  :)  I could not be happier with my first week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Weight Center Appointment

My first weight center appointment is tonight.  It's been so long since I signed up for this, and I haven't been nervous.

Until now.

Here's a photo to act as a baseline.  I'm not crazy about it, I really don't like to have my picture taken in the past couple of years.  But it's a good way to see how far I've come.  And to show later on, that Mom really did go on all those vacations, etc.  :)    So here it is:  the beginning.


taken 11/23/10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Snowman Band Rides Again

It's that time....when the decorations come out, so do the members of Will's "Snowman Band."  I like to take photos of Will with them just to show how much he's grown/changed in the past year.

Last year, age three


This year:




And of course, Snowman Band, The Next Generation:




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Violated

We've given an informal nickname to the Little One...."The Destroyer."  He is our curious wild child, the one that wants to know what is in EVERY drawer, under everything, how the dishwasher works and is constantly set out to prove that no matter how much, we cannot vacuum enough.  Childproofing was invented because of him and nothing is safe, sacred or left untouched.  We of course, took great care in childproofing our home for both children, but the Big One didn't challenge it quite as much.  So with The Destroyer, you must always have a watchful eye. 

On our way home from PA yesterday, Sean informed us consistently that he is not a fan of long drives.  Mostly by screeching his displeasure, he screamed between naps.  Every time he fell asleep was a welcome reprieve.   Not surprisingly, he disliked the drive home more than the drive there.  Poor buddy, I don't like driving home either.  Somewhere between the MA and CT borders, I handed him my scarf to play with, which usually brings a smile.  And it did not disappoint, our Little One was quiet and played with my scarf for a bit, bringing some peace to our vehicle. 

Unfortunately, when I got the scarf back, it was my turn to shed some tears.  For the beautiful lace that I had created, from yarn purchased while on vacation in Wisconsin, has been disfigured.  Huge strings of yarn have been yanked, by a curious baby who liked the texture of my work.  Although I was sad, I wasn't angry because I have no one to blame but myself for giving it to him.  The scarf is still wearable, as the cool calculation of The Destroyer caused him to pull from the exact center of the scarf.  If I angle properly, the pulls are hidden by my hair and no one can see it.  But *I* know it's there....

Luckily, this violation was discovered in the parking lot of my absolute favorite yarn store.  A nice big skein of Araucania wool/silk blend purchased in a magenta/purple colorway, I vow to rebuild.  :)

Time for Tea

We're back from a great looong weekend in Philly.  The boys loved seeing their Grandmom and Grandpop, and meeting lots of people at Thanksgiving on Saturday.  (note:  Hubby's family has always celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday....it's something that his grandmother started many years ago so you didn't have to choose who you'd spend Thursday with.  Now we'll continue it to honor her memory.   It's a very large family, with 53 people at dinner this year!  Since that's more people than anyone's house can hold, we rent a church hall and everything's paper and plastic, 'cause nobody wants to do THOSE holiday dishes!)  Will enjoyed playing with cousins and Sean loved that he could crawl in wide open spaces.

 On Sunday, we drove to Lansdowne (about thirty minutes away) to visit with some old friends, Scott and Jen.  (Oh my, another Scott and Jen!)  This time it's Scott that's Brian's friend from HS and his wife Jen, and they have two girls, M and K.  (not their real names, obviously.  But what a timesaver...)    We had a lovely lunch on Sunday with grilled bacon, cheese and veggie sandwiches and squash and apple soup.  (I asked for the soup recipe, it is definitely Blue Plate material!)  After lunch we went into their "adult" living room to talk some more.  Adult, as in, there are no toys, no television with Dora the Explorer blaring, just furniture, books and a fireplace. Wow!  I didn't know you could do that!  :)  After some more catching up, Jen asked if we would like some pumpkin cake and tea.  Mmmm....pumpkin cake.

I had mentioned earlier in the conversation about Brian and I trying out tea at night, so at least there's something after dinner instead of ice cream.  Tea is a funny thing for me, I usually only like it when I'm sick.  After all, nothing feels better like tea and honey when you have a sore throat.  But I've been trying out different kinds and looking for something that I really like.  Then Jen said something interesting, "what I really like is the ritual of tea."  And right there in their living room, I finally got it.  Sitting in my chair, at a table with friends, children playing happily in the other "kid" living room, drinking Chai tea, inhaling the spices, I started to relax.  My shoulders dropped from around my ears and loosened up.  I finally understand, tea drinkers!  Yes, some of you drink it as your morning beverage, but I understand it as a ritual.  It's very calming.  One of my favorite blogs, The Yarn Harlot, wrote this post  about her tea drinking and what it does for her sanity.

So today, around 3pm, I'm going to briefly ignore the fact that I have financial reports to tend to, waiting list letters to mail and recertification packets to put together.  I'm going to put off the complaining tenants bickering about each other making noise.  I'm going to sidestep the conversation with the woman who thinks it's OK to caulk her windows shut.  (don't ask!)  I'm going to go into the kitchen, make a cup of tea and sit at my desk for even two minutes and enjoy my tea.  And I hope I'll feel like a better person for it.  I know that's a lot to expect from a cup of tea, but if done regularly I think it's up to the challenge.

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Earlier and Earlier Start

I can remember when Christmas wasn't really mentioned until the week of Thanksgiving, the holiday sales started with Black Friday and continued.  People didn't decorate until at least the day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Music was nil until then as well.  But every year, it gets here faster.  It's already been here for awhile, I can think back to shopping for costumes last month and thinking "Let's get through Halloween first!"  But lo and behold, it's catalog city in the mail every day, and the shopping bustle has begun.  My own Christmas cards came in the mail the other day, ready to be slipped into envelopes, addressed and sent to our nearest and dearest all over the country next week.  (And it's a great picture, if I do say so myself!!) 

No Black Friday shopping in our house.  If you've ever worked retail in your life, ever, even if it was ten years ago, you will most likely never want to shop on Black Friday ever again.  I still remember my time at the mall, working at the customer service desk that year and wishing I could crawl under a rock.

So my message to everyone out there in the throes this weekend....be kind to each other, and to yourself. Smile to your fellow shoppers.   Be nice(r) to the people who work in the stores.  Be generous to your family as you're begging the kids to sit still during the damned holiday photo. There is no such thing as a "perfect" holiday, and the memories you're making are much more important than the gifts. I know I risk sounding preachy, but so be it.


 I find myself saying the same thing I do at the beginning of every holiday season:  this year is going to be less stressful involving the holidays.  Less Stress!  I am not going to put pressure on myself.  And, as said every year.....THIS YEAR I MEAN IT.  :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Day of Thanks

With Thanksgiving here, it's time to count your blessings.

To my husband, I'm blessed to have a partner who is loving and supportive.  I'm thankful that we have a rule that only one of us is allowed to freak out at a time, and that we can laugh over most anything.  I'm thankful for your flexibility and willingness to help.  And your sense of humor and handsomeness aren't bad either.  :)

To my oldest:  I'm thankful for your wit and humor, and your tiny grip on this thing called sarcasm.  I love that you can make me laugh by repeating me (Chicken at Red Robin??Are you nuts??") and with your thousand-and-one knock-knock jokes.  I'm thankful for your independence and free spirit, though I don't always show it.  You've been an awesome big brother in your rookie year, and I look forward to the two of you growing up together.

To my youngest:  I am grateful for your giggles when we tickle you, and that you love to giggle!  Because I think I love to make you giggle the most.  We love you so much and, this being your first Thanksgiving celebration, are so happy you're here.  I'm very thankful that you're a good sleeper, and that you love to play and coo. 

I'm especially thankful that I am healthy and that I have a healthy family as well.  I'm thankful for having a job, and a home.  There are so many people out there today that have neither, so I am blessed to have both.  I'm thankful that I have somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, and family to spend it with.  I'm thankful to have "extra" funds that allow me to have hobbies such as books and knitting, instead of all of our income going towards necessities.   And I'm thankful for every day, and to be able to share with all of you the things that I am grateful for in my life.  

Happy Thanskgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter Sanity Swap

Recently I had signed up for a Winter Sanity Swap through Ravelry.  Just a little holiday fun.   The purpose of a Winter Sanity Swap is to give your partner a little piece of Winter Sanity.  It's a knit/crochet kit that's designed for you to take it out when things start to get crazy and go awry and you soothe yourself back to some semblance of relaxed.  (Or at least less frazzled)  People were supposed to post answers to questions about patterns likes and dislikes, details about your holiday celebrations, and then you go and "stalk" your partner by reading their answers.

The Swap is now winding down and I've really enjoyed shopping for my partner.  I'm now finished and ready to box it all up and ship to Arizona.  Based on my "stalking" her posts, here's what I'm sending her:



--Three skeins of Jojoland Tonic yarn in what I would describe the color as Sonic Blue.  (the same color as my last car, and I loved it!)
--A pack of three Boye aluminum crochet hooks
--a pack of tapestry needles
--a shawl pattern called "Walden."  Despite it being Arizona, I've been there in December and i know it gets cold at night!  I kept the yarn fiber light though, it's an acrylic/wool blend.
--Two snowflake ornaments, one blue and one silver.
--a package of Goldfish, themed "Twelve Days of Christmas.  (Target find today!  Might make a good stocking stuffer for a certain four-year old, and it's pretty cute)
--Lindt dark chocolate truffles
--Chai Tea
--Unicorn stitch markers
--and lastly, a fabric drawstring bag to store the project while she's working on it.  It's a black background with lots of multicolored snowflakes.  I can't take credit for it, it's another fabulous Etsy find.


Then, one night last week I came home to a box from Missouri sitting on my coffee table.  It was MY winter sanity swap package!  I was one of the first ones in the group to receive a package.....and what a nice one it is!








--Handmade crocheted project bag
--Handmade crocheted wrist warmers in the same variegated yarn
--Lindor White Chocolate Truffles
--Scented Pumpkin Candle
--Felted Christmas pin
--Handmade green and silver beaded stitch markers from Etsy.  (Seriously, who doesn't love Etsy??)
--Christmas drink coasters
--Tapestry needle for darning those pesky ends in your project
--two sets of aluminum circular needles, size 7
--a pattern for the Laodice shawl, one that I have been coveting in my Ravelry queue to make for myself
--three skeins of Imagination hand-painted sock yarn in a colorway called "Evil Stepmother."  SO soft and pretty!

To my swapper----thank you, thank you!  To my swapee...Enjoy!  (though I hope that you are not reading this)

Next up is the Birthday Swap!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Moment of Happiness

Every morning, Will asks me if he can go into Sean's room and make him laugh.  This is his favorite thing to do in the mornings, to entertain his little brother.  After I change and dress Sean, I bring him into the kitchen for a snack of Cheerios while I wolf down a bowl of cereal myself.  This morning, Will broke away from watching Nick Jr. to coo at Sean and feed him Cheerios.  Sean was delighted that his big brother was there to play with him, and responded with what I can only call a "joyful noise."  "Aaaaaah!  Eeeeeee!"  Now picture that high-pitched and loud.  And frequent.  With every noise he swings his arms out to Will, begging for more.  It warms my heart.  It also gives me a minute of "peace time" to eat my bowl of kashi and banana a little slower. 

Watching the two of them interact happily, that really makes my day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Fine Mess

I've mentioned before that I belong to a knitting group that meets up locally on Wednesday nights.  Wednesday is MY night; since it's close to work I leave at 5pm and head straight for the coffee shop.  It doesn't start until 6, but people start trickling in beforehand.  We're a diverse group of women, the regulars include me (a property manager) a pediatrician, a teacher, a store manager and a stay-at-home-mom.  Many areas of expertise represented right there.  And really, there's no-holds-barred on topics of conversation.  We all offer our input on a variety of topics:  childbirth, potty-training, bad landlords, etc etc etc.

This week, the pediatrician raised a good one:  how the heck do people manage to keep their houses cleaned up??  Especially people whose families where both parents work full-time and they have babies.  We all offered insight, such as a chore list on the fridge, utilizing a web service like Fly Lady, etc.   One woman said that they have a rule in their house that toys stay upstairs and if they come down, they go back up at the end of the day. 

It was only this lovely Saturday morning that I looked around my house and thought "How could you give ANYBODY advice on keeping a house orderly??  Look at this hurricane-ravaged place!"  We're the family that has the chore list on the refrigerator.  It lists the things that we "aspire" to do, by day-of-the-week.  For example, everyone in the house gets fresh sheets and towels on Monday nights.  Menu-writing is Friday, groceries on Saturday.  The big kitchen-cleanup is supposed to happen on Saturday morning.  Does it?  Not always.  It's nice  in theory, but we more use the schedule as a way of seeing what we have to do and then ignoring it until it becomes a red-alert item. 

And the clutter, OH the CLUTTER!   With two kids comes a lot of clutter.  I could spend the day picking up, and I swear two children and a dog are behind me, throwing stuff on the floor as I go by.  You start to get resentful, like "why freakin' bother."  So I will only declutter once a day, picking up five things at one time and putting them in their designated places, and then grabbing five more.  

  What also comes with two kids is a drastic decrease in your standards of what will "do" in terms of cleanliness and order.  Most days, if the kids are reasonably wiped clean before bed and we've run the dishwasher at least once, I'm good!  Things like vacuuming become an as-needed chore, like when paint particles came flying out of Will's school bag last week.  Now that Sean's super-mobile, we vacuum more often.    I've learned to live with a lot and am adapting to a new mantra, "Embrace the Chaos!"   I know that things won't always be this way.  As the late, great Erma Bombeck once said, one day you will yell at your child, "I cleaned this up and I want it to stay that way!"  And it will, because childhood will be over.  And you will miss these days.  So with my sanity still intact, I am embracing the chaos.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Miles? Really???

Know how people say "every little bit adds up?"  I updated the KnitMeter on my blog with my latest project last night and I'm shocked to see that it is at 4.89 miles!  If you take all of the yarn that I've used for my projects thus far this year alone, the yarn would stretch almost five miles.  That's almost my entire commute from my house to my job!  Most of the projects are little ones, like the baby hats I'm doing for charity or some scarves.  I do have two big projects in there, though.  And I'm thinking of queueing a pattern for a new blanket for my couch next year, to snuggle under and watch TV.  I still have my celestial blanket from my college days, but it's certainly seen it's share of turmoil. 

Wow.  I'm still shocked.  FIVE MILES!

An Occasional Lesson




Meet my latest project:  I don't believe the recipient reads my blog so I can show it off.  This is a hooded baby blanket for a baby shower that I'm going to in December.  The yarn is Lionbrand's Nature's Choice Organic Cotton, in a colorway called Curaco.  I bought it in New York at the actual Lionbrand store, where it cost $5/skein.  The pattern called for three skeins so that is what I bought.

Knitting sometimes has a lesson for me.  Unfortunately, I tend to not listen sometimes until it repeats itself.  So....I can hear the laughter of the Knitting Gods as I run out of yarn at the 80% completion mark.  Well, we're that far into the project, there's no shelving it and picking something else, no time.  The big-box crafts stores (like Michael's) carry this particular yarn, but not in Curaco.  Actually, that's what drew me to this yarn, I'd never seen it in anything other than solid colors in stores.  So it's off to their website I go.

Gahhhhh!  Now the yarn is $8/skein, and the kicker is, it's an additional $4.10 to have it shipped.   One skein of yarn is going to set me back another $12.  But what can I do?  I'm over a barrel and need the yarn to finish the blanket.

Today's repeat lesson:  If the pattern calls for three skeins, BUY FOUR.    (hanging head in shame.)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank a Veteran

Today, on Veteran's Day, thank a Veteran for their service!



Thank you to my favorite Veteran.  :)  I went looking for a more polished picture, but they're buried in my basement.  Here's my Hubby in his dress whites at a wedding.



A special thanks to all Veterans out there today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Week of Healthy Living

No, I'm not going to do a play-by-play of diet crap every week.  But I thought the first week was worth noting. 

I had my appointment with the nutritionist, as stated before, and she told me to eat normally for a few days and then look to make changes.  Well, I've found two major areas to work on, and here they are:  I have a serious sweet tooth.  Left to my own devices with things like leftover Halloween candy (still in the house!!) I will eat it, piece by piece until it is alllllll gone.  If I'm stressed out the sugar is the first thing I go after.  Brian and I have a nightly ice cream habit to break.  Which is the HARDEST thing!  After a full day of being Mom and Manager, I feel justified in having a bowl of ice cream.  He feels the same justification.  The second thing:  I am guilty of the Time Crunch Munch. You know what I'm talking about....not taking the time to eat properly because of a busy schedule.  Your Thursday Afternoon should not be sponsored by half a hot dog and two bites of food-program coleslaw.  That kind of lunch doesn't make for a productive afternoon.  So I need to stop expecting it to!

As much as I hate this statement from my Weight Watcher Days, it really rings true:  "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail."   (I hate admitting anyone is right and I'm wrong.)   So after my last day of eating whatever the hell I wanted, I spent some time planning.  I steamed spinach to go with eggs and toast for breakfast.  We're transitioning Sean to table foods, so I made enough butternut squash (my favorite) for ALL of us.   I came up with ideas to get more protein. I set my phone alarm to remind me to eat snacks during the day so I don't attack the junk cabinet at home upon pulling in the driveway.  And so far, so good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New England Fiber Festival!

I went with a group of knitty friends (and my mom and SIL, who are also knitters) to the Fiber Festival out at the Big E Complex in W. Springfield, MA yesterday.  All I can say is Yarn, Yarn, YARN!!!!  Rows and rows of yarn purveyors, stitch marker sellers, pattern people, and anything else you can think of.  Such a happy place.  Knitters and crocheters are at their happiest either looking at new yarn or perusing new projects, or finishing up something and binding off.  Lots of happiness around yesterday, with people commenting about what knitted items others were wearing ("Omigosh!  So pretty!  Where can I find the pattern?  What did you use for yarn?  Such gorgeous color!  It's our own version of the red carpet, minus Joan Rivers)

Besides the obvious (yarn!  yarn accessories!) we got to see a collie herd up some ducks, a sheep shearing demonstration and got to pet some alpacas.  Alpacas are the softest animals ever.  And if I'd had a spare $1250 lying around and room in my car (ha ha) I could have brought a pair of them home.    The dog and duck demonstration was hilarious.  The ducks kept dividing into two groups and while the dog was going after one group, the others would run in the other direction and "laugh!" 

All in all, an awesome day, with a fun bunch that "gets it."  They understand the joy of looking at and touching yarn, even if it is too damn expensive to come home with me.   I came home with a big bag of yarn for myself and my swap partners, some goodies and some new buttons.  Oh, and a million more ideas of things I'd like to make for gifts and for myself.  My head is spinning!!

(I have great photos to add, but they'll come later.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hot Soup on a Cold Day

It's another one of those cooooolllld days, where it's raining and dark when it's time to get up.  (If I think it's bad now, wait til Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend!)  I have a crappy cold but even that can't stop my appointment with housing court today.  So it's off to get myself and two children ready to greet the day. 

Before I tell the story, let me give some background.  My job is a bit of a unique situation right now, with four days per week worked in a family housing development and one day a week at an elderly housing development in the city.  Today is Thursday, so I'm off to the elderly housing complex after a rousing day of housing court.

Housing court doesn't go as hoped and seems to take forever.  By the time I leave, the rain is falling and it's gotten colder, requiring me to pull out the gloves that I'm lucky I remembered on my way out the door.  I arrive at work, and it's bustling with activity.  After a very fast lunch of half a hot dog and two bites of coleslaw it's time to get some work done. 

After a lunch like that, of course you're starving.  That's when the Soup Angel comes....one of the residents brings me a hot bowl of homemade chicken soup.  I accept heartily, having had his homemade soup before.  And it is delicious--with Spanish-style onions, pasta, chunks of garlic, chicken thighs and red peppers.  The perfect thing for this cold, because of course I forgot the rest of the cold medicine at home and it's been hours since I've appreciated its effects. 

So today, I'm thankful for something simple like a bowl of soup.  It was the perfect thing of my afternoon. I'm feeling MUCH better! It really is the little things that make you happy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Just a Couple of Favorites

I stumbled across these and just wanted to share a few favorites from Will's babyhood....enjoy!

 Ready to watch some Nick Jr!

Making his best "Goalie Face"

Jack Frost Nipping at Our Noses

I was totally unprepared for today's frost.  The winter coats have been broken out for the boys, and I've picked out yarn to make a hat for Sean.  His coat is adorable, it's tan and white with red accents and Winnie the Pooh patches.  ($4.00 at Savers!  How can you go wrong??  Yeah, it's used.  So what!)  Now I just have to pick out a pattern to make him, which I'm having a tough time choosing.  Brian said to go simple just to get a hat on the poor kid's head, but he's wearing a  hand-me-down right now so it's not an imminent emergency.  I just want something different and a little more challenging.

In other news....Fiber Festival this weekend!  No, it's not a party dedicated to eating oatmeal and bran.  I'm talkin' YARN!!!!  I know, I've made an excellent case for never needing any more yarn after "flashing my stash" a few posts back.  However, I have some specific shopping to do, and I've signed up for two swaps on Ravelry.  The first is a "Winter Sanity Swap" where you send a bag, yarn, pattern, treat and holiday ornament to your parter.  The second is a Birthday Swap, where you make your partner something, and send it with some yarn and birthday goodies.  I'm pretty excited about both of these events and have already started putting together my packages.  My Winter Sanity partner lives in Arizona, and I've always wondered what people in AZ knit/crochet!  My Birthday Swap partner hails from Maine, not too far from the Canadian border.  So there's plenty of things for her to make that are useful to her family.  :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dreaded Appointment

I was up bright and early this morning to get out the door on time....I had an appointment at the Weight Center with their nutritionist.

I've been dreading this.  I've been to a nutritionist before, when I had gestational diabetes, so I knew what this was going to be all about.   I was afraid that I'd be leaving with a "diet sheet" of things I can and can't have.   It was surprisingly not unpleasant, and I was hopeful when I left, feeling that I indeed can do this.  We spent an hour talking about my lifestyle, my eating patterns and habits and how to focus all of that around losing weight.  It turns out, I am excellent at maintaining my weight, and I'm like most people with some flaws but nothing truly terrible that cannot be fixed.    I left with a food journal and a calorie book.  I'm supposed to eat normally over the next two or three days but write it all down, and then look for places to change.  A couple of first goals:  curbing my sweet tooth a little and work on getting some protein at every meal. 

A month from today I start working with my group of peers in this weight loss center.  I'm getting a bit of a head start because I was supposed to start this in September and got wait-listed.  I am ready for this challenge!  Some people may think that I'm crazy for starting this right before the holiday season, but I really think it will be helpful in letting me indulge some but not go hog-wild!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Halloween!

 Daddy and Mr. Bumblebee

Will as Woody, posing with Nana

Another Halloween come and gone!  We really enjoyed it, Nana and Papa came for a visit and we had a nice dinner, and then my dad offered to hand out candy while we took out our little Woody and his brother the Bumblebee.  Will made out like a bandit, and would have happily kept going, but Sean was getting a bit sleepy/cranky and it was SO COLD out last night!  We really missed the balmy sixty-degree weather from last year.    At one point, Will tripped going down someone's driveway and fell, scraping his knee.  "OWWWW!!"  was followed with "I'm Okay!!  Did any candy fall out of my pumpkin?   Did Daddy get it?"  A kid has his priorities on Halloween, right?
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