Friday, February 26, 2010



Cue up the National Anthem....I've finished my Knitting Olympics item!  The Meandering Rib Scarf is now complete.  :)

Since both Brian and I want to wear this, I made it a little shorter than the called-for 65 inches.  After all, I am only 61 inches tall, so it would be ridiculously huge on me had I followed the length exactly.  And even better...I finished with two days to spare!  Despite frogging it twice in the beginning (a "false start" like in Speed Skating)  and the fact that this pattern absolutely mystified me last year, I did it!  And I did it with having a baby and a toddler in the house.  That's the really impressive part.  I don't think my housework suffered any more or any less....the house is trashed most days anyway with Will "The Destroyer" playing with toys in the house and the baby stuff everywhere.  If you can't keep it clean, you might as well knit, it's a lot more relaxing than constantly picking up the toys over and over and cursing it.  Annnnnddddd....I did this and followed the rules, my interactions with loved ones didn't suffer.  At least, I don't think they did, you'd have to ask them.  :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Days Like These

I've got a headache that's about a week old..  Sean's decided that sleeping in three hour clips instead of four-hour ones is the way to go, and it takes me a while to fall asleep because I anticipate him crying ten minutes or so after we lay him down, even if it's not my turn to go to him.  Brian and I both hear "phantom cries" at night too, when we think he's crying and go in there and he's peacefully snoozing.  Sleep deprivation does strange things to one's mind! 

But life goes on, despite being tired.  Right now I'm working on invitations for Sean's christening in April.  I'm kicking myself a bit, for not getting the ones that you print on your computer.  But these pale yellow ones were really cute, and they have little charms at the top.  Well, the charms seemed cute, until I opened up the package to discover that the first one is a model and you have to assemble the rest!  I should have guessed.

Knitting Olympics deadline is the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics this Sunday.  I think I'm going to make it!  I had a massive setback last week when someone showed me at knitting that when my sister-in-law taught me how to purl, she showed me it backwards.  No wonder why my stitches look twisted.  I have two projects on needles right now and I'm far enough into both that frogging is just NOT an option.  One is the Olympic Scarf and the other is a project bag for a group swap in April.  The bag is the only one really affected, and it just looks "artsy" with the twisted stitches.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself to make myself feel better.  :)  After these two projects are done, I'm hauling out my copy of Stitch n Bitch for some learning sessions. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

School Bells are Gonna Ring...

I decided that while I'm on maternity leave, I should do as much research as possible for pre-school for Will come September.  First, let me just scream "Preschool?????  Wasn't he just turning one like, yesterday????"  Uh-huh.  Our Big Kid is really a big kid!  He's smart as a whip and I know he's just going to love school! 

Anyway, I figured, since I'm home and I really just can't seem to sleep during the day (damn telemarketers and neighbors who bang their trash cans and argue in the driveway!) I should get some productive stuff done.  And this way I won't have to miss work later on to tour preschools and fill out applications and go through "the application process."

Yes, the application process.  I'm starting to wonder, am I applying for preschool or college?  I haven't seen any essay requests or SAT score inquiries, but it kind of feels like that.  And the cost!  Again....preschool or college?  I am waiting to hear if we were accepted into the town's preschool program via lottery.   Sean and I are touring one of the local private schools next week.  And one school won't return calls or inquiries, which is driving me crazy!  I feel like I'm waiting by the mailbox my senior year all over again, anxious to know if my recommendations were good or if the essay portion wowed 'em! be continued.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be My Valentine

 Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines aren't really a big deal in our house. A few cards, but no lavish gifts, flashy proclamations of love, etc.  Really, I've never been a big fan of the holiday.  You should tell people you love them every day of the year! 

Still, I like to do we do a little gift for the Big Kid, and this year we decided to bake something together.  So I picked out a Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake out of the new Cake Doctor cookbook that I had gotten for Christmas.  Now it's torture, waiting for it too cool just enough to be warm instead of molten!

Will and I had a lot of fun making Valentines for friends and family.



Sean, however, slept through the festivities.

In other news...knitting Olympics progress!  I started this scarf on Friday night during the opening ceremonies.  Here's the first 9 1/2 inches....only about 50 more to go!  Going for the gold!  :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Day in the Life...

In the past month, life has changed soooo much in this house.  Here's a glimpse of what the day has become like.

5:00am--wake up to a hungry baby.  Feed him while sleepily watching a rerun of "That Seventies Show" and wonder what Eric and Donna and the gang would be up to like thirty years later?  Get Sean back down after a burp and climb back into bed. 

6:45am--Will comes flying into the bedroom and yells "Hi Mommy!  It's morning time!"  Hops into the bed with me.  Usually he demands to have the TV turned on but today he lies down and wants to snuggle.  I've missed this; the last two mornings I've had to wake him up instead!  Zzzz......

7:45am--wake up, glance at clock and Gah!  Must get up right away.  Sean has a dr. appt in two hours.  Feedings, changes, the usual battle over brushing teeth....dropping Will off first....we'll be lucky if we make it!

Flurry of activity, all of us getting dressed or changed, trying to figure out what will be a quickie breakfast for me that can be eaten from one hand.  Checking of the diaper bags to make sure I've thought of everything.  ('cause you know I haven't.)  Ready to go, just need to stuff phone and wallet into Sean's diaper bag. 

9:15am--cell phone is dead.  Where's phone charger?  Seriously, where is it??  Run frantically around house, trying to locate charger.  Uh-oh, house is a mess and things are difficult to locate, in a word.  Frantically dial husband.  Dammit!  voicemail.  Search some more, toss stuff around, curse under breath, despite toddler's supersonic hearing.  Husband calls back, and charger is triumphantly located.  Yeah.  Some thirty miles away from where I'm sitting...hubby has it in his work bag.  Ugh! 

Swallow half-eaten bagel and cold coffee.  Come to the sinking realization that I don't have time to drop Will off first, and he must come to the doctor with us.  This already doesn't seem like a great idea, but have no choice.  However he was very good today so I feel lucky.  :)

Get to the doctor at 10AM, where the receptionist informs me of their "Fifteen Minute Rule" and that the doctor may not see us because we're exactly fifteen minutes late.  Fortunately, that's not the case and we get called in ten minutes later.  Sean's perfectly healthy (YES!) and has gained another pound and four ounces in two week's time.  Grow baby, grow!  Drop Will off, and then meet co-workers for lunch with the baby in tow.  Sean sleeps beautifully through lunch.  Has a bottle back at the office, and falls asleep again.  In fact, he's still sleeping, since we got home at 2:30pm.  Growth 'em!  Of course, this may mean he's going to be bright-eyed all night.  But it's given me time to clean up the house and catch up on Grey's Anatomy.

A day in the life of us.  Not a typical day, but nothing's typical anymore.  It's crazy, it's frustrating, it's fantastic! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010 Knitting Olympics!

Knitting Olymics???  What on earth is that??

I'd first read about a Knitting Olympics of sorts on Ravelry.  (They call it the Ravelympics, cute!)  This is a challenge for knitters during the Winter Olympics.  The general principle is that you cast on a knitting project that is challenging to you during the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics.  (which is tomorrow night)  You then must have the project finished by the time the torch goes out, seventeen days later.  Intrigued, I read more and was dismayed to find out that Ravelry has teams and signups are closed.  :(  Too bad, it sounded interesting.  I mean, if I was crazy.  Right??

Then I stumbled across a blog put out by none other than The Yarn Harlot  I had gotten one of her books from the library and enjoyed it so much that I ordered a copy on Amazon.  Guess what?  She's sponsoring her own Knitting Olympics!  No teams needed, it's just a challenge to yourself.   I thought about it overnight, and you know what?  I guess I need further proof that I'm crazy, 'cause I signed up!

Here are the rules, as quoted from her blog:

The 2010 Knitting Olympics

Eligibility: Any knitter who, embracing the "Citius, Alitius Fortius" ideal, would like to challenge themselves while embracing the Olympic spirit, and is just whacked enough to play along with me.

Concept: You must cast on a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, Friday, February 12, 2010 and finish before the Olympic flame goes out Sunday, February 28. That's 17 days.

1. The project must be a challenge for you to complete in 17 days.
2. There are no rules about what a challenge would be. Like the real Olympics, there are many areas to compete in. If you are a new knitter, then a garter stitch baby sweater might do...If you are experienced, use your own conscience.
3. While this is intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin your life. Don't set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with pointed sticks because they haven't slept in five days. ) This is intended to (like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it should be possible to attain.
4. No casting on before the flame is lit. (The opening ceremonies run from 6-8 pst. If you can't watch, then I'd pick a time in there.)
5. Finish before the flame goes out.
6. You may swatch before the games. (I consider this "training.")

The Knitting Olympics has only a gold medal. (There is only do- or do not.) Finishers get a gold medal button for their blog, their name entered into a draw for a chance at a prize from me, and the joy of knowing that they are an Olympic level knitter, no matter how experienced they are. You are only competing against yourself. (Well. And the Olympic schedule.)

Here's my Olympic Project:  Ta Daaaa!  The Meandering Rib Scarf.


Why is this a challenge for me?  I just learned how to do other stitching besides garter and stockinette.  I attempted to do this pattern about a year ago and it totally whipped my butt and stole my lunch money.  Now I'm back and more confident in my knitting abilities and I want to set out to prove it!
Wish me luck.....:)  Guess I'd better start my "training" and swatch tonight.  Oh, and it might not hurt to pick some yarn out of my stash and make sure I have the right needles!

Snow Days

Well, most of Massachusetts called a snow day yesterday, and it turned out to be for naught.  I think we have like two inches out there.  Not like family and friends in Philly and Jersey!  My in-laws got 28 inches of snow last Saturday, and another 24 yesterday!  Snow like that....being stuck inside for that many days....with a toddler.....and a baby.....I'd lose my mind!!  There's not enough knitting or kiddo TV in the world that would keep us from going stir-crazy.

The thing is, it's usually us that gets that kind of snow.  When we first moved here, the first year someone in the neighborhood suggested that we buy a snowblower.  So young and naive....we said "nah....our driveway isn't too bad to shovel."  Ha ha ha hahahahahahaha!  Hysterical.  The first year we had so much snow it was ridiculous.  One particular storm dropped 2 1/2 feet in our area.  Good times, good times, getting all that snow cleared.  We certainly listened the next year and never looked back.

We haven't played in the snow at all yet this year.  That probably has to do with first being pregnant, and then having Baby Sean in the house!  Can't wait until Sean is old enough so we can take him outside to play, too!

Will's first time playing in the snow, 2008.  He loved it!

  Also 2008....he couldn't get enough of playing in the backyard. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Banned Books List

I've finally managed to finish "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.  It's tough to finish a book when the most time you dedicate to it is standing by the crib, soothing a sleepy but stubborn baby!

This book was a real eye-opener.  I had never read anything by Maya Angelou before, and her biography of her childhood is shocking at times, including details of when she was raped by her mother's boyfriend at the age of eight and growing up in post-slavery racism in the American South during the 1930's/1940's.   Her writing is honest, beautiful and raw and I really enjoyed the book.  I looked at Goodreads reviews after I was finished and the average rating appears to be five stars.   Some people call it raw and empowering, others find it disturbing.  One reviewer even called it disgusting, adding that the details of the book made them sick to their stomach.  I wasn't surprised at all that this classic is often challenged and is on the original "Banned Books List."  Yes, I understand that people have a right to their opinion.  But I didn't find the book disgusting.  This is the story of Ms. Angelou's life, and the rape, though the details are just a small part of the book, really played a part of who she became and how it affected her life.  Without the details, she wouldn't have been able to illustrate to the reader what part it played in her later years.

After reading the book, it got me thinking about banned books.  I started a new shelf on my Goodreads account, "Banned Books."  Then, with a little help from the internet, I started sorting books into that category.  Out of the 500+ books I have listed (WOW!) I've so far found 11 that have been on a "Banned Book List" at one time or another.  I haven't spent much time on it, so I am guessing that there are more. 

I feel fortunate to have grown up in a household where my parents didn't censor what I was allowed to read.  My parents didn't freak out that I was reading "Are You There God?  It's Me Margaret" by Judy Blume.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that my mom picked that one up at a yard sale!  Nor did they storm the high school when my junior class was reading "The Catcher in the Rye" or protest when I listed my favorite author in the yearbook as V.C. Andrews.  I don't believe in censoring what kids should be allowed to read because of uncomfortable topics (Are You There God: religion, adolescence.  V.C. Andrews:  incest.)  Why should a group of people be able to sit down and make a list of books that nobody else is allowed to read??  I'm willing to bet that at the time these books were banned, the people doing the banning probably hadn't even read them!  

Since the original banning of these books (1970's/80's??) a lot of them have been allowed in schools.  But there still are groups out there that express their outrage by insisting that not only their kid not be allowed to read a book, that nobody's kid should be able to read it.  All I can say is that I will never be that type of parent that goes along with the crowd and reigns down on a school or library insisting that certain books are not to be read because of sensitive topics.  Without sensitive topics in books, how do kids learn about them?  (Judy Blume  has a really good take on censorship, and, having spent a long time on the Banned Books List, I believe she knows what she's talking about.)  The bottom line is, I don't believe that I have the right to limit what kids read.  I want my boys to grow up the same way I did, with the freedom to pursue whatever books they choose.

Wordless Wednesday: Toys

Monday, February 8, 2010

Birthdays and Valentines

Today is a special birthday....Joey is 8 years old today!   That is just so hard to believe.  He's still got the playfulness of a puppy, with how he can run around, and jump the chain-link fence in my parents yard!  Happy Birthday to the greatest dog ever!  Will wants to celebrate his birthday with cake, singing and a birthday present.  Maybe there's a can of tuna in Joey's future (his favorite) and MAYBE I'll get some cupcakes for us while at the grocery store this morning.

I also got supplies to make valentines with Will this year.  I think we'll put those together tomorrow night.  Looking forward to making them!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fun with Friends

Will and I set out yesterday for some "Mommy and Will Time."  I had signed us up for a playdate at the Build-A-Bear about 25 miles from here.  It ended up being just me and my friend Nicole and her daughter Sydney, but really, it was fun and less stressful than running around with a big group of kids there.   Sydney was very excited to see Will and they spent most of the day giggling, chasing each other and just being kids.  They really had a lot of fun together!

Will holding hands with his friend Sydney

Giving their bears a bath

Meet Fireman Sam!

Will had never been to Build-A-Bear, and thought it was AWESOME!  (Really--what kid doesn't??)  He surprised me by picking out a teddy bear instead of a dog, and really, really wanted to dress him up in a mermaid costume complete with a red wig a la Ariel (Little Mermaid.)  He settled on a fireman costume and promptly named him Fireman Sam.  Which is good, because he typically names all of his stuffed animals either Biscuit or Martha.  (from Martha Speaks on PBS, I have no idea where "Biscuit" comes from.)  Then we had a grilled cheese lunch at Friendly's and did some window shopping.    On the way out, he ran up to a guy playing with his little boy and introduced himself.  After chatting with "Ryan and Colin's Dad" he took off again and started up a conversation with two young ladies on the next bench, excitedly telling them that "he watches the Disney channel!"  Really, there isn't a shy bone in this kid's body!

Later on our friends Joyelle and Keith came over to meet Sean.  They brought their daughter Ella, and they enjoyed snuggling Sean and giving him a bottle.  After they left Will just kept saying over and over, "Ella and Sydney....Ella and Sydney."  Silly.

Joyelle, Keith and Ella giving Sean a cuddle

Today I'm meeting up with my Mom and sister-in-law for some yarn shopping.  I know, I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head, but we're checking out a little yarn shop that I've never been to before, plus a Joann Fabrics Superstore!  It's not about "need" here, it's about obsession!  Will is going to stay home for some Daddy time, and Sean's coming with me.   And tonight.....Sean's first bath! 

Sean dozing in Daddy's lap after a bottle.

That's a lot to squeeze into a weekend.   They really never seem long enough, do they?

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Latest Obsession May Be My Undoing...

TEAM UMIZOOMI!!!  I didn't mind when he went gaga over Disney"s Cars."  And this show on Nickelodeon isn't horrible.  Will just wants to watch it again and again aaaaannnndddd AGAIN!  It's stuck in my head all day long.  There's no desire to watch anything else, ever.  Let's stage an intervention, shall we?  We could even pitch it a reality show, getting hooked toddlers off shows like The Wiggles and Barney.  Hell, I'd tune in!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Missing Loveys

My thoughtful husband sent me the following article about children and their missing loveys.  What's a lovey?  You know, an object that your child has attached themselves to.  Typically, it's a blankie or a stuffed animal, but I've heard of plastic dolls, books, even a measuring cup.   I totally related to this article, but I don't think I'd go to the extremes that these parents did.  I've blogged about Will's Brown Doggie before, and some of the close calls we've come to losing him somewhere, driving back to somewhere Will has left him, even calling the daycare after hours to see if they have it.  I'll even cop to purchasing a "second" Brown Doggie on Ebay who turned out to look nothing like him.  (He gets attached to every little stuffed dog we've brought home, and totes "Brown Doggie and His Friends" around the house.  Like an entourage!)  But  shelling out hundreds of dollars as a reward for his safe return?  Searching for an animal that you lost in the early nineties and your child is grown?  If your child hasn't moved on by the time he's a teenager, then you have a more serious problem.  And you?  Should move on too! 

Brown Doggie has been getting more on my nerves lately.  That's probably because I've spent a lot of time looking for him.  Will has a tendency to lose him somewhere in the house almost nightly, which starts a search that could last hours.  He always turns up, usually in an obscure place like the dogfood bin.  (Which I suppose makes more sense than I thought!)    Just recently we've told him that he needs to be responsible for knowing where Brown Doggie is, and if he isn't found by bedtime then he goes to bed without him.  Surprisingly, he has agreed to go to bed without him and didn't wail all night like expected. I'm usually pretty irritated in looking for him, especially if the process takes more than ten minutes.  But I always experience that wave of relief his safe return brings.

I am hoping, however, that Sean doesn't attach to a lovey.  Hunting for TWO loveys every night might put me in the nuthouse!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lifting Fog

Wow!  Is this what it's like on the other side?

I woke up this morning to a surprise:  the first morning since Sean's been born that I didn't have a sleep-deprivation headache!  You know, the kind that is a constant dull ache right above your eyes that occasionally sharpens like someone poking you with a pencil? Caffeine eases it a little, but the only thing that makes it go away is some sort of continuous sleep.  Either that or you get used to it.  Sean is three weeks old and his sleeping pattern is starting to become somewhat of a pattern instead of spotty "I'll sleep when I feel like it."  Though he does have an uncanny knack for waking up crying just as dinner is going on the table.  The adage is true, Moms never get a hot meal!  (Thank goodness for microwaves!)  Seriously, I just feel GOOD today!  :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chilly Monday

Why is it that even though I am on maternity leave, I dislike Mondays just about as much as when I had been working??   I love the weekends, when Brian and I are both home with the boys and sometimes we even get stuff done around the house.

Chilly out there today.  Actually, it was chilly all weekend!  I ventured out with Will to Walmart on Saturday, and pretty much the rest of the weekend we stayed inside.  My parents came over yesterday for a little while.  They recently put their house on the market and there was an Open House, so they had to escape with their two dogs for a couple of hours.  (Someday we want to sell this house and move to a bigger one, and very idea of of having to keep the house show-worthy with two kids AND having to pack them and the dog up for showings is intimidating at the least!!)

Oh, and I got some knitting in. I have a few project going on, because I like to have different things to work on at the same time.   Here is what I am currently working on:

This is going to be a baby blanket for an old work friend of Brian's and his wife, who is due in February with a little girl.  The squares have been knitted for a while, I just need to take the time to sit down and sew them together.

Another baby blanket.  2010 is a very big year for having new babies to knit for!  This is going to be another one of those "carseat" baby blankies, the one with a hole in the middle for a seatbelt buckle.  I originally bought this yarn for a shawl, but didn't like how it was turning out.  So I've re-purposed it for a baby blanket.  Grape-colored yarn for a little girl, I figure she's already going to get a lot of pink!

This is a keyhole scarf, made from Noro Kureyon yarn that I got at Web's in October.  I hadn't planned on working on this ribbed scarf yet, but while Mom was here yesterday she showed me how to do a 2x2 rib.  I've been having a hard time with this on my own.  Once she showed me what I was doing wrong, I was unstoppable.   Another inch of knitting and I'll be ready to make the keyhole.
And of course, I still have charity knitting.  I always have a hat in progress on another set of needles.   So far, in between projects, I have made seven hats!  And all of them are from yarn that I already had kicking around in my stash.
I am having so much fun, and I'm becoming knitting-obsessed.  People often wonder how one finds the time to knit.  Well, first of all, you make time!  But one of the things I love about knitting is that it's portable and doesn't require a lot of set-up.  Throw your project in a bag, and do a couple of rows at a time.  Two rows at the doctor's office.  Several more at the hairdresser's.  One or two in between baby changings and feedings.  I seriously think a couple of rows at a time is what keeps me sane. And all those rows add up and I'll have created something beautiful in the little bits of time that have been given to me.