Monday, January 31, 2011

Seriously?? More Snow??

OK, beating the "midwinter blues" as a title for my last blog post may have been a bit preemptive.  The weather report says with the snow coming on Wednesday, we can expect another 20-25 inches in our area.  Alrighty then....five foot snowbanks in front of the house already!   Where to put it, where to put it....  Everyone around us is kvetching....the winter blues around here are getting kind of claustrophobic and contagious.  We're doing our best to avoid it, though.

 I told Will that I wanted to take a picture of him standing next to one and send it to my friend Heather who moved to Florida in June.  (Pretty freakin' smart if you ask me!!)  He said "How about we take a picture of me IN the snowbank, Mommy?"  I'd try it, but I'm afraid he wouldn't be able to get out!  :)

Even Joey is peeved with all this snow....poor pup needs to learn how to use the potty.  Maybe Will can teach him!  (How's that for positive?)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beating the Midwinter Blues

A new scarf to go with my winter coat...I'm sure that this scarf is going to be absolutely stunning once it's finished blocking!  It's made from Knitpicks Chroma, one skein of "Midwinter."  (apropos, no?)  The lace pattern looks more difficult than it actually was, once you get a rhythm going it wasn't so hard.  I'm hoping it's dry and I can wear it to work in the morning!

Another way to beat the Midwinter blues is to get a couple of girlfriends, your mom and your sister-in-law and get out of Dodge!  We spent the day in Northampton, MA, eating fantastic Chinese/Japanese food, walking around downtown, and of course, shopping at Webs!    My mom, SIL and friend Kristina had never been there, and they were FLOORED!  I got several skeins to make handwarmers for Christmas, some yarn to make another Christmas Gift that-I-can't-mention, and a skein to make a pair of socks for Hubby.  That's right....I'm going to branch into socks.  I've picked out an ankle-length set to cut my teeth upon for myself, just to try getting the heel flaps and toes and kitchener stitches right.  All foreign terms to me, but by the end I hope to be an old pro.  Here's to learning new things!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fifty Hats = Fifty Warm Babies

For Will's first birthday, I came up with the idea of giving back for the blessing that we have received.  After some thinking, we decided to sponsor a baby food drive for a local council here in town.   Friends and family donated baby food to our home for hungry babies in Central Massachusetts.  We collected quite a bit and were thrilled with the work with we had done.

After Sean was born, we again wished to give back to the community.  This time, I wanted to utilize some skills and creativity, not to mention my ever-growing yarn stash!   Through a self-disciplined project, I pledged to make fifty baby hats for Stitches from the Heart.  This would allow for me to warm the heads of fifty newborn babies, and to practice some new skills and learn new stitches.  And to commemorate Sean's first birthday (which was on January 10th), the hats are now complete and will be on their way this week!

Why baby hats?  Babies need a little warm hat when they're first born.  As anyone who's ever lived in a cold-weather climate, you lose a lot of heat through an uncovered noggin.  And there are a lot of babies that are born whose parents can barely afford diapers, let alone "extras" like warm lil' baby hats and other things.    Plus, when I came up with the idea, I was a relatively new knitter.  I had done scarves and blankets and other items with straight edges.  I had just made two newborn hats for Sean and I was  tickled that I was able to create something that wasn't a square or a rectangle!  In the beginning, I vowed to use just stash yarn and bits and pieces from leftover projects.  However, I was easily seduced by the baby yarn aisle and bought a few skeins along the way.  Baby yarn is extremely alluring.  And luckily, fairly cheap and satisfying.

The hats are in all different sizes, from preemies to newborns with larger heads.  They are all variations of a basic pattern or two that I have used.  Some have seed stitch borders, some are ribbed, some are just plain stockinette.  Two of the hats are donated by my very cool friends, Kim and Kristina.  In the interest of washability, all of these hats are cotton, acrylic, or a blend of these two. Plus, newborn babies really don't like wool and preemies, who need hats the most, cannot tolerate wool at all.

A selection of preemie hats

I am so proud to have finished this project!  It feels really good to give back for the gift that we have received.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sean's New Ride

Nana surprised the boys with a "recycled" Cozy Coupe!  Will's a little big for it, but it didn't stop him from taking it for a test spin.  Sean loves his new wheels and can't wait to take it out after the snow melts and see what this baby can do!  :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tastebud Turnover

Since 11/12/10:  I am now down a total of twelve pounds.  I can take off some of my pants without unbuttoning them, and a sweater that used to fit is now getting loose at the shoulders.  (And leaving more bare skin than desired, so no more wearing it to work!)  I feel really, really good.  Radiant, almost. 

I'm more than halfway through the exercise module of the program, and I'll admit it, it hasn't been my favorite.  We were introduced to strength training and I enjoyed that, but didn't like the soreness the next day in my neck and left shoulder.  Let's face it though, if you don't exercise and then start one day, the first one or two times might not feel so great in the morning.  I'm finding it difficult to schedule exercise time in an already busy day, but it IS possible. 

The big surprise in all of this lifestyle change, non-diet stuff is my tastebuds.  I find that when I do indulge in the sugary stuff I used to love, I want less of it.  I'm totally fine with not having ice cream every night while watching TV, which I thought I would never be able to get past.  I drink only diet soda for the most part, saving regular for a special occasion.  For example, I was at a get-together on Saturday night with some girlfriends, and I had two cans of Coke.  (After all, I was driving.)  It tasted good, but it certainly didn't make me FEEL GOOD! 

Then there's the simple joys in food that I never found before.  Like, I just had the sweetest Minneola orange.  It was perfect, the ideal balance of sweet and sour citrus.  Now THERE'S something I never thought I'd say, either!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hey Mother Nature....UNCLE!!!!

Oh what a winter.  A facebook friend wrote that she is tired of hearing people say how beautiful the snow is, and how lucky we are to have it.  Beautiful?  I think we passed "beautiful" two storms and a couple of feet ago!!  Our snowblower gave up the ghost in the middle of a storm (naturally) so we purchased another stronger one that is much better at handling what Mother Nature is lobbing at us.  Usually the purchase of such equipment would make it stop snowing for the rest of the season, but she hasn't let up one bit. 

The next thing that has to be addressed quickly is my car.  I really like my Dodge Journey, I do.  But if it can't handle the snow, then the roominess, comfort and awesome turning radius mean squat.  I mean, we live in an area where there is the distinct possibility of snowfall six months out of the year. So hopefully some snow tires will make a big difference, or this Crafty Mama is headed to the car lots.  :(

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holiday Weekend

I stayed home with the boys yesterday, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.  Brian was working, so it was just the three of us.

My creativity was totally sapped, so we mostly played and watched TV.  Neither boy seemed to mind that Mommy didn't come up with something fun to do outside of the house.  (cause Baby, it's cold outside and I didn't want to bundle up two kiddos just to do something lame like wander Walmart)  Will also is very into "" right now and asks for it constantly.  He has a pretty good handle on a mouse, however, he will click when frustrated and open up all sorts of windows, including one that was trying to get us to purchase something called Shockwave.  (???)

We all ate chicken tenders for lunch and I pulled out the stops and let us have dessert on a blanket a la picnic style in the kitchen.  I had a package of butter cookies so the three of us sat on a Toy Story blanket and munched.  Sean is a very cute cookie thief!  He wasn't happy with just his cookie, so after he took a bite out of his he climbed on me and took my cookie!  The old adage is true:  "happiness is a cookie in each hand."

It was a very ordinary weekend day in our house.  I felt kind of bad that we didn't go out or do anything special. But when Brian was putting him to bed, Will told him "I'm gonna sleep real good tonight, Dad.  Mommy really wore me out!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Very Manly Hat

Not even a month since Christmas, and I've finished a hat for Hubby. See, I told you I can't let my nearest and dearest go uncovered in the cold!  (especially this week....sheesh)

This is my very first hat knitted in the round, so there was no seam to sew at the end.  The decreasing didn't go as well as hoped, but overall I think it turned out pretty well.   I actually would have been done much sooner had I decided that it looked good the first time.   It needed to be ripped out and started again, but it only took two days after that point.  The best part is, I didn't go out and buy new yarn for this one, I used some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky that I had in my existing stash.  Kind of like yarn-shopping in the comforts of your own home!

I've ordered some Chroma fingering yarn from, and I'm super-anxious for it to get here!  I have a lace scarf pattern picked out to match my new winter coat, which is going to be the next thing up on the needles. The colorway is called "midwinter" so it is very fitting!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Own Version of CSI

I arrived home the other night, the first one on the scene.  (Usually I'm home second, but whatever)  I knew that something strange was afoot from our driveway, because I could see Joey in the window, and both curtain rods careening at dangerous angles.  Obviously, Joey went completely bonkers and knocked down all of the curtain rods.  But Why??

Could it be because Will had a "birthday party" for Sean and invited all of their toys to watch TV with the two of them?  If I had all of these toys staring at me when I woke up from a nap, I might be apt to get destructive, too.

Later on, the reason was revealed....a housefly!  Poor Joey...he hunts houseflies and will not rest until he has killed and eaten the perpetrator.  He spent the rest of the night cowering under the table or desk.  And he shakes.  I went after the thing myself but the damn thing is just too quick. 

Glad that mystery is solved.  Now onto the next one:  how does one get houseflies in January??  It's not like they're outside, flying around!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Always a Bridesmaid....

I am going to be a bridesmaid again!  I have lost count of how many times I have been a bridesmaid, but I might be able to give Katherine Heigl a run for her money in "27  Dresses."  (she had the uglier dresses though, Ms. Heigl gets the upper hand on that one)  Our friends Tracy and Michael are tying the knot in April.  I am the maid of honor (I refuse the word just sounds matronly?  It conjures frumpy images to me)  and my husband is the best man.  That's it....we are the entire wedding party.

Tracy and I went shopping last weekend for bridesmaid dresses.  It was a total bust.  I tried on four at David's Bridal and welll........we hated all of them.  A family friend is making Tracy's dress, and she graciously offered to make me one as well.  So this, as my swan song as a bridesmaid, will be a totally customized dress and exactly what I want, in a blue-teal hue.

We're thrilled to be sharing Tracy and Michael's wedding day with them.  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sean!

My baby is one year old today.

One. Year. Old.   Seriously, how does that happen??  It feels like he was just born yet here he is, doing all of these "big boy" things.  Things like drinking milk, begging for cheerios, and chasing around his brother on all fours.  He loves to stand, and is a very inquisitive child.  He wants to see the inside of every drawer, the underside of every pillow and exactly where Joey hides his dog food under his dish.  Oh, and he really wants to know if rubber duckies can swim in dogs' water dishes.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby!  You are truly a blessing and we love you sooooooo very much.  These words are just a fraction of how we feel about you and the joy you have brought into our lives.


Mommy, Daddy and Big Brother Will.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby's First Birthday Party

Happy First Birthday, Sean!  These are pictures from his little birthday party today...but the big day is tomorrow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Round and Round

My first in-the-round project is complete!

Handwarmers, suitably named "Toasty."    The yarn is Cascade 220 wool in charcoal.  (Well, the label didn't say "charcoal" but that's what I'd call it!)  I loved this yarn, and would definitely use it again in the future!

I've got to say....once I got the hang of it, the double-pointed needles were a piece o'cake.  I honestly don't know what I got myself worked up about.  Perhaps I'll feel the same way about cables later this year.

Next up:  finishing those baby hats  (five more to go before reaching my goal!!), and starting a scarf to go with my new, sapphire-blue winter coat.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Birthday Royal Spoil :)

After a grueling first day back-to-work-and routine on Monday, I came home to find out that my birthday swap package had arrived!!  Nothing puts you in an instantly better mood than presents in the mail!

Actually, this is the second of two packages, I had been holding the large manila envelope that I had received a couple of weeks ago. I opened this first, and there were several patterns in there. All of them were thoughtfully put in binder jackets, which is cool because that’s how I store all of my patterns.

Next, the box. Upon lifting back the flaps, there were several little wrapped goodies. (Ooh!)

On top was a handmade knitted snowflake ornament.  Will dashed to put it on the Christmas tree, momentarily forgetting that we had taken it down and stowed it in the basement until next year!

Next were some miniature knitted ornaments. So cute!!

Next up: the handmade knitted things. Yes, I said THINGS. All a lovely grape color: a cabled cowl, fingerless mitts and my favorite, pocketbook slippers! I’ve wanted a pair of those since I saw a friend knitting some at a knitting meetup one Wednesday night. :)

Next up was the treats….. A butterscotch candy cane, chocolate covered cranberries, some jordan almonds and some holiday jam from Stonewall Kitchens. Also, two balls of delicious red and orange yarn!

Michele from Maine is indeed the coolest swap partner I've ever had....and when I thanked her and told her that I felt really spoiled she replied "Well, you are a mother to two boys.  You deserve to be spoiled!"  (She is a mom of two boys as well, so that was so sweet)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Clean Slate

Happy New Year!  Wow, 2011....where indeed does the time go?

We spent a quiet, uneventful NYE at home, with hockey on TV and a sushi dinner after the kiddos were in bed. Today was spent de-cluttering and de-Christmasing the house.  I'm always a bit surprised at how much GLITTER comes with the spirit of Christmas....I vacuumed the living room for a good twenty minutes and there still are spots.  Things are slowly coming back together.

I was home for a few days this week with the boys, including one day that brought Sean's front teeth and a rather crazy snowstorm!  Sean had the cutest hockey grin, with the two front teeth missing.  Now he's got four on the top and two on the bottom, and absolutely did NOT enjoy the process.  Poor little buddy.  I simply cannot believe that he is going to be a year old in ten days.  He loves exploring the house (with his favorite things being the dog food and water bowls, and the TV remotes)  and he absolutely loves to eat!  Tonight's dinner was blueberries, green beans, cheerios, corn and butternut squash.  He still cried when that was all the rate he's eating he'll be six feet tall by his birthday!

It's been nice being home, but a little stir-crazy for all of us.  Monday morning brings back our normal routine....which is somewhat of a blessing after a crazy month of Holidays.

Best wishes and Happy New Year...again.  :)