Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Project

With the gateway weekend to summer here, I have decided on my summer knitting project.  (It's good to have goals.) 

My summer project is the Ditto Sweater.  Something for ME that is going to take some time and care.  The journey begins with taking my measurements (something I hate to do, but why spend time knitting a cardigan that's not going to fit when I'm done??)  and then making a gauge swatch.  I am absolutely resisting just jumping right into this...because my mentality is usually to say "Screw the gauge swatch!" but this is going to be a hefty investment of time, talent and (hopefully few) tears.  

And we're off.....the sweater and I are starting our journey.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Four's a Good Age

I really like age four.  Will has quite an independent streak at this age.  For instance, he can go to the bathroom by himself.  On weekend mornings, he can entertain himself for a bit, turn on the TV and let Mom and Dad sleep in a little bit.  When Joey is ready to come inside sometimes, he can open the door and let him in.  He's creative, talkative, and has quite an imagination.

But the best part of age four?    He can pick out his own clothes and dress himself.  No longer does he have to wait for one of us to say "time to get dressed!" and pick out his clothes for him.  :)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Camera Man

 My Giggle Boy, piling up pillows from the couch and laughing as he dives into them.  His laughter is contagious as he continually rolls off the pillows and gets back up.  He's looking so BIG in this picture that it actually makes my heart ache a little bit.

Uh-Oh!  He's realized that I am taking his picture, and has tired of trying to say "Cheese."  Now he's more interested in the camera and has initiated a game of "Keep-Away."  

"Hey, Mom!  I can do that, lemme take a picture of you!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So We Meet Again, Socks...

.....and I'm ready for you:

I've been working on a baby blanket of my own (very simple) design and I am bored stiff with the forever rows of stockinette stitch.  Tonight I repeated the words of the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee:  "There are no knitting police!"  Nobody's going to come knocking on my door because I've put this charity, stash-busting blanket into hibernation for a little while.  Naturally, I decided to go and peruse new projects in my queue at 10pm.  Because that is how I roll.

I considered jumping into my sweater pattern, but I need to do some measurements first.  Oh, and wind skeins.  Eight of them, to be exact.

For all my fellow yarnies:  It's Cascade 220 in Summer Sky Heather.  And yes, I know I've already flashed this stash, but it's soooooo pretty that I couldn't help myself!

I also considered the Virginia Shawl that I was waxing poetic over last month, but again it's a skein issue.  And the damn ball winder is down in the basement.  Even I'm not enough of a night owl to bust that out and start tonight.  Well, yes I am but I *do* have to work tomorrow.

Then I got to thinking:   one of my goals this year was to make a pair of socks.  And I will make socks, dammit!  I picked the most basic pattern and am going to go into this, refusing to take prisoners.  Kick ass (knitting) and take names.

Here's hoping the second time's a charm.  Swatching starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sean and his Sweater

Today is the first time I've put this sweater on Sean.  It's kind of a sad commentary that it is May 18th and the boy needs a sweater...but it's true.  I love, love, love how this came out!!  It fits him perfectly and I'm glad that this burnt orange jumped out at me at the store, 'cause it is perfect.  Hiya, Handsome!  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's No Prep for a Morning Like This....

I knew that being a working mom of two kids would have it's challenging moments.  But the (crappy) situation that I found myself in this amount of "There's gonna  be days like this" would prepare me for it.  And of course, while it was happening I was thinking "This will be funny later....on my blog!"

Preface:  Sean is a grumpy kid in the morning.  First, he doesn't want to get out of bed.  Then like any part of the day...he does NOT want to have his diaper or clothes changed.  

It is 8AM and I am dressed to work, with makeup applied and hair drying in its usual mess.  (If I ever had time to dry and style my hair in the morning, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.  There was a time in my life where I would have chosen beauty over breakfast, but the Older Crafty Mama knows better.)  I enter the nursery to rouse my favorite cherub, and for a second, he's happy to see me.  His face changes as I am lifting him out of the crib, as he's realized that we are (again) headed to the changing table and he is bawling even before we've begun.  I remove his Cars pajamas and he screams in frustration and is kicking like he's in the World Cup. Open the messy diaper and's really messy.  In frustration, Sean is grabbing at my hands and instead....grabs...well, to put it delicately, the mess.  I'm trying to calm him down and keep him from spreading poop everywhere.  And I'm failing miserably.  I'm frantically going through the baby wipes but it is a lost cause as the poor kid is now not only screaming, he's covered from neck to toes.  I look down at my nice clean navy blue sweater, sign and (possibly) curse out loud.  I have like 20 minutes before I need to be at work, and clearly the only solution is a bath for the boy.  And that is what we do.  I shuck off my (still miraculously clean) shirt and fill the tub.  Sean usually enjoys baths but not this one, since he's hungry.  A very fast bath land fresh clothes later and he is then in the kitchen, having a breakfast of Cheerios and blueberries.  

I head out to the family room to check on the Will while this is going on, and he is playing quietly, which is good.  I then realize to my horror that my neighbor is smoking on his deck, and he can see me.  In my pants and bra.  Oh well, there are worse things than that, right? when I realize that Sean is smashing his blueberries instead of eating them, all over his nice clean shirt.  So that is Shirt #2 for him. and now it is time for the World's Quickest Breakfast for me.  

After breakfast it's toothbrush time, load-the-car time and finally, GO TIME.  After dropping off the boys at their respective Tuesday places, I commute to my job for the day, helping out another property manager with her rent-up.  I pull into the parking lot, let out a huge sigh and say out loud something that I haven't said in a long time:  "Boy, I am so glad to be at work now!"  Because honestly, I don't think that work can sling any crap today that I haven't dealt with already!    :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Post-Webs Lazy Sunday

Here's a rarity if you've ever heard one:  I stayed in my pajamas today until 2:30pm.  After getting out of bed at 9:30am.  Wow!!!!  Annnnddddddd.....I have gotten to knit so much this weekend that my eyes are tired.  Sure, the vacuuming and dishes in between, well, that was necessary.

Yesterday was the FABULOUS Webs trip!!  I love, love, love their annual tent sale.  How good was it?  Well, here is a photo of my newest stash:  (no making fun of the was a long day!)

Another satisfied Webs customer:  my SIL.  And yes, I do believe that she left some of the cotton yarns at the store.  Just sayin'  :)  (All kidding aside, I loved the stuff that she got and my mom and I are going to help her with her first baby sweater this summer.  And there's a tank top to be made in there somewhere too!

  I have all the yarn that I need for Christmas gifts, as well as my sweater yarn.  The winning color is.....summer sky heather.

Purple is indeed my signature color and I adore just about any variation thereof.  But sometimes, as my mom pointed out yesterday, it's nice to branch out to different colors.  I can't wait to start my Ditto sweater!  However, I want to get some other things done first.   And then, there's the things that I have already finished:

Irish Hiking Scarf, knit in Plymouth Galway worsted.  This was a really nice wool to work with, and I would definitely knit with it again.  The cables were fun, I'm really enjoying them!  (now that I know how to make them, I want to put them in everything.)

This here is my new phone cover.  Black Phone in Black Purse Syndrome averted!  I'm not totally thrilled with how this came out, but it is functional.  I may do this again later, using a different yarn.  However, this was a $3.00 fix AND knit up over the course of three episodes of this seasons's CSI.  (which was disappointing at best, but I digress.)

All in all....a wonderful weekend surrounded by friends and family, and of course, fabulous yarn!  Many thanks to Hubby for staying home with the kids while we "got our yarn on."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Shopping List

Saturday is the annual Tent Sale at the most beautiful yarn store on Earth!  A gaggle of us from the knitting group are going to assemble and swoop down....and I'm bringing my Mom, SIL and college girlfriend!

I've already got my list written out and am hoping to score some really good deals for some Christmas knitting.  Yes, I said it.  Christmas Knitting.  My goal is to make every single one of my family members a handmade knitted item for Christmas.  I've even already go ahead and be jealous, ok?  :)   I started early because I know of at least two babies to knit for this upcoming Autumn, so I'm trying to plan ahead.  (see?  I'm not really one of those people that people love to hate for being uber-prepared for the holidays.  Lord knows they drive me a little crazy, too.)

Of course, the shopping trip wouldn't be as fun if I didn't get something for myself, too.  I'm looking to get the yarn for my first sweater, if it's discounted enough.  I have no idea what color sweater I want to make.  I know that I don't want black, I already have a few black sweaters.  Nor do I want white, or ivory, because I know I likely won't want to wear it.  So I'm looking for suggestions, from people that know me.    Purple?  Magenta?    Cyan?  Lilac?  Tell me, people, don't make me pick!  :)

I am also going to knit one silly thing...a phone case for my Droid.  I suffer from a serious case of "black phone in black purse" syndrome.   Some bright yarn ought to nip that in the bud.

So excited for Saturday.....a field trip to my "happy place!"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Random Friday...Ready, Set GO!

Random Friday...Ready, Set GO!

1.  Last night was the first good sleep of the week.  Teething toddler, stubbornly pushing teeth out of order and skipping over the rest of his front teeth and going for a MOLAR.  And that boy...he is a miserable teether.  Once the thing broke through though, he was like a new kid.

2.  Speaking of Sean, one of our favorite games to play is Mommy on her hands and knees chasing him and saying "I'm gonna get you!"  He's learned to roar back at me like he is a dinosaur.  Cutest thing in the world!

3.  Work has been insanely busy the past two days.  I've barely had time to eat my lunch, much less anything else.  I will take that over being bored and doing nothing any time, though.

4.  I picked a new pattern to (shhh!) start a Christmas gift this week.  After no less than twelve (no really, twelve) attempts at casting on, I threw the pattern into the recycling bin.  It wasn't a very well-written pattern.  I know that I can count, and no matter how many times I attempted this, the row numbers were not adding up. I was really bummed too...I liked the picture of the finished object and was looking forward to making it.  So back to the drawing board I go.....I'll pick something new this weekend.

5.  NHL Hockey playoffs this week...Hubby's team is not doing very well.  I got home from Knit Night on Wednesday and the first thing he asked me was, "What are the five stages of grief?  I think I've experienced all of them tonight!"  :P

And finally...

6.  This morning, I walked into the kitchen to find Will re-arranging all of the chairs.  When asked what he was doing, he said that he was building a horse.  He then climbed onto his "Horse" (a kitchen chair) and put on a cowboy hat that he got from Papa.  All around him are shoes....snow boots, my heels, old slippers, anything he could find.  He informed me that these shoes are all wild and him, as Cowboy Will, must reign them all in.  He then grabbed his "lasso" (i.e. an old scarf that I knit that he now has as a plaything) and whipped it around, imitating a cowboy whoop.  It really, really made my morning!  Though I had no idea how many wild outlaw shoes were residing in my home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Out of my Comfort Zone...A Book Series Review

Awhile back, my friend Tracy recommended a book series to me called "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins.  There are three books in the series, "Crank," "Glass" and "Fallout."  All of them are about a young woman and her addiction to meth.  The books are written in poetic prose, which really adds something to the subject matter AND makes for quick reading. 

Wow.  I don't have any personal experience in my life with drug addiction, but I have friends and family who do, whether it is they themselves that have the issue or someone who loves them that is/has dealt with it.  This series, while powerful, was really, really hard to read.  The first book, when it was just the character of Kristina hurting herself with her addiction it wasn't terrible reading.  Later on, when she becomes a teenage mother and her drug addiction affects her kids and the rest of the family, that was really hard to get  through.  There were times that I wanted to put down the second book and run away from it, I was so uncomfortable with the subject matter.  But it's good to get out of your comfort zone sometimes, and it was interesting to say the least the all-encompassing way that Kristina's meth use, or "flirting with the monster" takes her life down the tubes.  What is even more tragic is how quickly everything turns to crap with this kind of abuse and addiction.  My generation is of the Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, and I did "just say no."  I am of the school of "Drugs are bad, m'kay??"  But I've never had to question why.  This book tells you why, exactly.

At first I was shocked (shocked!) that this was in the Young Adult section in the library.  Not that I am into banning books, in fact, I'm quite against it. But then I guess that they would serve as a pretty harsh warning to teenagers thinking of using meth and gives a good case to what will happen if you do.  I think that my perception of when kids can first encounter drug use and/or be offered drugs is a big misconception.  I have a friend from college that I haven't talked to in ages, she works as a substance abuse counselor.  I remember a conversation with her five years ago regarding drug use and kids and she said then that she has regular conversations with her daughter, then seven, about the dangers of drug use.  She said that in her job, she has seen problems arise in kids as young as nine or ten.  NINE or TEN.  I can't say that for my generation, that I saw drugs at that age, or older even.  Perhaps I was oblivious, but I don't really believe that drug use was rampant on the playgrounds I grew up on.  High school, sure I knew kids that did drugs.  Mostly pot, but I didn't know anyone that did harder drugs.  I knew of a little more hard drug use in college, and working as a property manager in the city, I see it every day.  A lot of it in plain sight. 

Another thing that surprised me is that this is a work of fiction.  The situation seems so REAL as you're reading it and you're picturing the family and how they're dealing with it and the repercussions of people's life choices.  But it is not real.  However, the series is based on the author's daughter and her very real battle with drug addiction at a young age, and the author gaining custody of her son because of it. 

All I can say, after reading these books, is that I pray that I will not EVER have to deal with the subject matter in real life.  And that, after reading these books and seeing what I see every day in the neighborhood that I work in, to have honest, open discussions with my children about drug use, abuse and the affects. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Curse you, To-Do!

When you go from having one kid to having two, you tend to let a few things slip by the wayside.

Like neglecting that pile of clothes down in the basement meant for charity until it multiplies to the point of falling over and making a huge mess.  Then you kind of just stuff it in trash bags and say Someday...someday I will take the time to sort these and donate them and get a receipt for my taxes.  I have no idea how long I've been putting this "chore" off but it's getting dangerously looking like a boutique down there.

Or meaning to upload pictures to Kodak Gallery to share with family members who don't have Facebook/like to order color copies for themselves.  I still like to put together albums here at the house too, and I used to be pretty good at keeping up at it. notsomuch.  I've got photos that I've ordered since Sean was born sitting in a big pile on the bookcase, still sitting in their mailers.  Imagine my surprise too that I haven't downloaded anything to Kodak in like six months.  FYI:  You shouldn't try to ring in that albatross all in one night.  Rome wasn't built in a day, man, and neither is almost a year of photographic memories!

Some things are a little more short-term.  Like the "Working Mother" essay that I said I would write by the end of April.  I've sat down and spent some time putting my thoughts into Microsoft Word, but they just need to be organized.

So yeah, I guess I have a lot of nagging catch-up to do.  But how good does it feel to finally cross things off that ol' "To-Do" list?

Hopefully I'll get to remember that feeling soon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Doin' the Twist

I did it!!!!  First project with cables complete.  Again, this project was knit with yarn that was already in my stash.  It turns out.....cables aren't nearly as hard as my head allowed for me to believe.  In fact, I am looking forward to meeting them again!

This hat was originally intended for donation to charity, but now I find that I can't part with it.  There are a couple of mistakes in it, but I think that it makes it even more charming.  So, even though I don't have a winter coat that this will compliment, I'm keeping it.  After all, purple is my favorite color.  :)

The Wedding

Yesterday, Brian and I proudly looked on as our friends Tracy and Michael said their I-do's.  It was a gorgeous day for a wedding and everything went perfectly.  The bride was beautiful, the groom was dashing, nobody was late, the food was delicious, the best man's speech got the laughs it deserved, no embarrassing guests (even with Karaoke!) and all in all was the laid-back affair that the bride and groom had wanted.

No pictures.  Why?  Because this MATRON of honor didn't stop to take pictures.  As a matter of fact, my camera was in the trunk of somebody's car during the festivities.  Whoops on my part.  I've been getting tagged all day on Facebook though.  :)  My dress was the nicest, most comfortable Bridesmaid's dress that I have EVER worn.  And what's better, I'll get to use it again this summer.

Congratulations you the start of a beautiful life together!  :)  We are so very happy for you, and thanks for the honor of standing up for you guys.