Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: Year in Review

I haven't posted much recently but I always enjoy doing this one.  

2016: A Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Well....I turned 40!  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I'm not typically a "New Year's Resolutions" kind of girl.  I'm more of a "Make some plans and goals" kind of girl.  For example, last year I wanted to purge some stuff.  I kept a list in a notebook every time we gave something to charity, or sold something, or whatever.  We also rented a Bagster and filled it up.  There are currently two bags of trash and another bin of items to donate waiting for me in the garage.  So when stuff starts to pile up, it's time to get rid of some of it.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  No one this year.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Not this year.  



5. What countries/places did you visit?
We went back to Williamsburg, Virginia for vacation this year.  Had a great time, visiting Busch Gardens, Water Country and of course, Colonial Williamsburg.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Patience.  I think that I wish for that every year.  


7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 


November 8th.  Whether you voted Trump, Clinton, third party or not at all, I doubt you'll ever forget this year's election.    


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't really know.  

9. What was your biggest failure?


No BIG failures, but certainly little ones.  That's ok, Failure is part of the process.  It's inevitable.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  Another year, another kidney stone.  Hopefully I've put all of that behind me!  



11. What was the best thing you bought?

A new refrigerator.  It was a proactive thing too, to replace it before it went.  

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anyone who does good deeds for their fellow humans.  Those are the people that news stories should be written about.  


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Donald Trump, and many of his supporters.  Actually, the supporters were more appalling.  


14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills.  karate for the family.  yarn.  Probably not all in that order.  

15.  What did you really get excited about?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them coming out in theaters at last!  And it certainly did not disappoint!

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

a) happier or sadder? Probably the same.   


b) thinner or fatter? Right about the same.  I'm excellent at weight maintenance.  I need to be more excellent at losing it.

c) richer or poorer? Both, rich in some ways and poor in others.  It all offsets in the end.


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


Not tried to be everything to everyone, and taken care of myself more often.  I'm getting better at it, but still have a ways to go.  


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


Worrying about things that one cannot control.  Getting frustrated when trying to view the future in a crystal ball, only to find out that I don't HAVE a crystal ball.  


19. How did you spend Christmas?

We went to my brother's house for a fun, simple Christmas.  It was the first year in a long time that it didn't feel like we overdid it on gifts for everyone, etc.  Truly a lovely holiday.  


20. Did you fall in love in 2016?

No.  But I continued to love.


21. What was your favorite TV program? 

We binge-watched The New Girl this summer, and I loved the heck out of This is Us.  

22. What was the best book you read?

I read 44 books, but I wouldn't call any one of them "the best."  Perhaps I'll get wowed by a book in 2017



23. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Brian and I went to see Garth Brooks in February.  It was easily the best concert that I've ever been to.  I now count myself as a Garth Brooks fan.  

24. What was your favorite film of this year? 

Hands down.  Fantastic Beasts.  

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

I took the day off with Brian and it was rather low-key, which I liked.  Birthday pedicure, lunch with my parents, a little shopping and knitting.  Brian made a steak dinner and a flourless chocolate cake, it was a great day.  


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

My year would've been much more satisfying had the mice of the neighborhood not blown up my central air conditioning.  


27. What kept you sane?


Brian, always.  He talks me down when I want to head out swingin.'  Harry Potter books and movies also help, a lot.  And the knitting.  



28. Who did you miss?


My far away friends and family.



29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:


"Surround yourself with people that love you for you, and make you feel good about yourself."  


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

"The best of us can find happiness, in misery."  Fall Out Boy, "I Don't Care."


Friday, December 23, 2016

The 2016 Book Post

It's time for the Book Post of 2016....


I set a goal of 25 books, and read 44.  Sweet!

My favorites:

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."

I'm sure that no one's surprised by this.  It wasn't nearly as great as the other Harry Potter books because A. it wasn't written by J.K. Rowling and B. it's a play.  Seeing a play is going to always be better than reading the play. ( And if I get a chance to get tickets to Cursed Child on Broadway in 2018, I will go excitedly and with extreme pride.  It's a pipe dream, I know)  But still.....more Harry Potter!!

"The Rose Years", Little House companion series.

Before Harry Potter, there was my childhood obsession with Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And that has continued to my adulthood, where I have read anything I could get my hands on.  These books are about Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.   This book series wasn't written by Laura of course, but mostly by Roger Lea MacBride, who knew Rose personally.  They're written in a similar style of the original books.  I thoroughly enjoyed them, but like many others I liked the earlier ones of the series better.  A lot of people wrote reviews that they disliked Rose because she didn't turn out like her obedient mother.  Well, they aren't the same person!  Rose always had a taste for grand adventure, and kudos to her for following her heart.

"The Residence:  Inside the Private World of the White House."

I LOVED reading about the staff, occupants and daily life of the White House.  The pictures were especially stunning.


I also read several knitting books, and some short stories about Hogwarts and backstories of other Harry Potter characters.  And I'm finishing off the year with Lianne Moriarty's "Truly, Madly, Guilty."

I did stick with my goal of not buying books for the most part because of the clutter...mostly all that I read came from the library or I bought them for my tablet.  Five years running!  However, I had a giftcard to Barnes and Noble so part of my birthday was spent picking out books.

On tap for 2017:  "Hungry Heart" by Jennifer Weiner.  Wally Lamb's new book "I'll Take you There."  and "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney are all in the house.  Just have to pick which one.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Fantastic Beasts

Tomorrow.  The next trip to the Wizarding World.  Thank you, J.K. Rowling.  I can't wait!!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Me vs. The Stone, 2.0

Say it with me, ugh.

Over the summer, at a follow-up with my nephrologist (read:  kidney doc)  I mentioned that I had a tiny bit of pain in my back.  I chalked it up to being in the car to and from Philly three weekends in a row.  "Perhaps," said the doctor, "But let's get an ultrasound just to be sure."

First, one ultrasound.  Then another, a week later, to confirm a "hydro" or whatever they said.  Something like a back-up of fluid into my right kidney.  Then, a catscan!  I know this dance....and I suspect it's not going to lead to good things.

I was right.

Catscan confirmed that I had one kidney stone in the tube between the kidney and the bladder on the right side.  It was lodged in there tight and appeared to be one centimeter in size.  Say it with me:  "Holy Crap!!"  It was determined that I would need to repeat the surgery that I had two years ago.  Boooooo.....hissssssss.  Surgery was booked for September, with a follow-up surgery scheduled for October.  Apparently, the surgeon (who is wonderful and I can'y say enough good things about) is very busy taking care of stones in the Central Mass Area.  Surgery got moved around a bit, and finally on October 19th, I went in.

There were two stones.  They got 'em.  No second surgery needed!  Now, I did not take off enough time last time to recover, so I took a week this time.  It ended up not being enough, I came home sick on my second day of work and took another weekend to recover.  Anesthesia is hard, man.  So is having a stent in your kidney that's constantly rubbing and you have to keep it for two weeks.  At my follow-up to have it removed I was just like "Get it out, I don't care how."

So.  Today is the first day that I have any energy.  I've been tired at the end of the day but that's to be expected.  I have to keep reminding myself not to wear myself out, not that that's easy!

People also tell me that I look a lot better than before I went in.  Apparently I was really pale and tired-looking.  I didn't really believe that, till I saw photographic evidence.

 Week before surgery, at Rhinebeck.  (See the shawl?  lol)  

Three days after surgery, at Trunk or Treat.  Not my most flattering pic, with my lovely hair, no makeup and Sean's SWAT helmet that he ditched.  But I see a badass who pulled it together to go out with her family.  And I've already got some color back in my cheeks.  Or perhaps that's the painkillers.  (kidding)

So I have to do some follow-up in six weeks.  Hopefully they'll be able to adjust my RTA (renal-tubular acidosis) medications and we can put this lovely chapter behind me.  



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

The boys went as SWATS this year.  They have learned from their experience as ninjas last year that it's not worth it to carry props.  Will's velcro SWAT vest held all of his tools.  Sean promptly lost most of his, but he was still pretty happy.  This is them before we headed to "Trunk or Treat" at their karate school.



As always, first we have a serious pose.


And then, a silly pose.  You almost want to be arrested by these fellas.


We have an annual tradition to go trick or treating with some friends.  Their neighborhood, unlike ours, gets tons of kids and is a lot of fun.  Sean and his best bud Patrick.  Patrick and his older brother Tom went as the Ghostbusters.  Awesome!



Finally, this crazy kid traded all of his Halloween candy for 2,000 paperclips!!  He said that he wanted to make a long chain out of them.  Naturally, it didn't stick, and he's been eating candy this week like a fiend.  I never expected it to stick.  



 And a little throwback.....these two have always loved dressing up together and are already coming up with ideas for next year.  So far they've done firefighters, ninjas, pirates and now police.  What will they come up with next!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rhinebeck!!

Mom and I made the trek out to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in mid -October.  If you love fiber arts and yarn, it is THE place to be!  Alpacas and sheep, knitting notions, clothing, souvenirs, project bags and YARN!!!  So much to choose from.  And the people watching is pretty incredible too.  Everyone wears Hand-knit so there's a lot of oohing and ahhing, as people add more projects to their Ravelry queues.  Most of the time everyone is friendly and you meet lots of people.  The only dust-up was at the Miss Babs yarn booth.  Frantic, crazy knitters high on yarn fumes!!  I will have to check out Miss Babs online to find out what that was all about. 

And I finished The Joker and the Thief in time to wear it!  This was a beast... it ate yarn like nobody's business.  I ran out of yarn several times, and ended up spending a ridiculous amount of money to finish it.  It's gorgeous though, and I couldn't be happier with it. 



I came home with something that I've wanted for a while....a Harry Potter project bag.  Apparently they're a little difficult to find.  I spotted this and snatched it up quickly, MINE!  :)



The weekend was dual-purposed....to enjoy yarn obviously, but to distract from the upcoming kidney surgery.  Yep.....another boulder stuck between kidney and bladder.  I was shocked and bummed to get the news.  Mom and I had so much fun though, that I forgot several times!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Guessing Game

What is the most destructive animal in New England?  Coyotes?  Bears?  Wild house kitties?

Whatever you've guessed, it's wrong.

It's mice.  In my opinion, anyway.

Last winter when they were looking for someplace to get out of the cold, mice invaded our shed outside.  They destroyed anything paper or cloth-like, made nests in fertilizer, and poohed all over every surface.  It took Hubby the better part of a three-day weekend to clean out the shed, and then later on get a dumpster service to get rid of all the spoils of war.

And now, over the weekend--A family of mice (or one member of the family being a real jerk) has destroyed my central air conditioning.  They snoodled right into the unit outside at the first mention of cooler weather, and not for the first time.  Last time it was just some wires.  This time it's the whole kit and caboodle.  The compressor's toast, and the air handler in the attic too.  Should I feel bad that they perished in the resulting POOF?  No, no I do not.  Does this make me heartless?  I don't think so.

The resulting cost is similar to that of a small car, and our home insurance does not cover acts of "rodent damage."  I could seriously cry.

I know that it's going to be OK.  We have options, and the silver lining is that today is the first day of fall.  Not exactly air-conditioning weather, and this didn't happen in July.  It didn't destroy our heating system as well.  For these reasons alone I'm thankful.

But still.  Mice eating, and then blowing up my air conditioning.  Ugh, it's always something.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Target will Always Welcome You Home

Um.  I'm pretty sure that I live at Target now.

Don't get me wrong, Target is full of cool stuff and makes for a great hideout.  Perfect "Parent vacation" and hey, some of them even have Starbucks now!  I've lost many hours at a time strolling the aisles, debating picture frames vs. artwork, shopping for birthday gifts, choosing bathroom rugs or debating thread counts.  And I'm almost positive that it's usually a guaranteed $50 trip. 

I think I've been there five times in the last two weeks.  And every time I've gone, I've missed one item and had to go again another day.  I think that there should be a rewards program.  If you go ten times in a month, the next trip's free.  Who's with me???  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wand Duels

One of the favorite activities of the boys are "wand duels."  This is where we chase each other around the house, pointing Harry Potter wands (large plastic drinking straws in mine and Sean's case) and yell spells at each other.  It drives my husband crazy, because the boys are pretty loud about it.  He said that he always thought that he had more time before we started talking around him, probably when the boys took Spanish in school.  Instead it's in Latin and in a fandom kind of way.  He's a muggle so.....there's also that.  

Anyway, the boys want to do more spells, and they want "Harry Potter Homework."  So who am I to deny them?   We'll definitely have to upgrade our straws at some point.

I love the fact that the boys are turning into voracious Harry Potter fans, I am so proud.  :)




Friday, September 9, 2016

Childhood Flick Favorites

I've instituted an unofficial Friday Night movie night at the house.  Daddy plays volleyball on Fridays, so it's a good time to snuggle up and watch a flick.  It's not every Friday, sometimes Pokemon wins out, or computer time.  But the last time we did this was a few Fridays ago, and we watched "The Neverending Story."  I had read that it was coming back to theaters for it's 30th anniversary and though I wanted to go, I didn't want to go by myself.  So I set it up to record, and we settled down to watch.

They were really engaged, but had lots of questions.  And I'll tell you, they were a lot less scared than I was back in the day!

Other movies we've watched:

Matilda.  Sean LOVED it and has asked when we can watch it again.

Goonies.  We did this one last year.  Will thought it was great.  I had forgotten about some of the crude humor in the beginning with the statue and Corey Feldman's character, but luckily it whooshed right over their heads.

Princess Bride.  We did this one two years ago and Will just fell in love with it.  I love it too, I always stop to watch when it's on.


I'm waiting til they're a little older for Spaceballs, but that's certainly on the list.  Always looking for ideas.

Suck it up, Cupcake!

Finishing soccer practice with Will and Sean on a Friday night.  (Soccer practice on a Friday night=bad idea. I unplug my brain at 4:30pm on Fridays.   But I digress.)

It was a busy night and we were headed to the Relay for Life to support the karate school.  And Mom had to pee.  There was a porta-potty in the school parking lot.  I gave it a sideways glance and decided I'd rather stop at home.  Even though stopping at home means a possible derailment of said plans.

 Kids are bickering in the car.  (Shocking, I know.)  I announce that we're stopping at home first and naturally, the boys want to know why.  I said "So mom can stop to use the bathroom."  Will points out that there's a porta-potty.  I said yeah, but I'd rather go at home.

Then out of the blue, in a nice deep voice he says "Suck it up, Cupcake!"

I wasn't sure how to react.  So I laughed.  Hysterically.  And sucked it up.  Hey, I'm washable.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

2016 Ravellenic Games!!

Now that Cursed Child has come out and I've read it (I have mixed reviews.....I liked it but I didn't LOVE it) it's time for the next thing:  the 2016 Ravellenic Games!

The Ravellenic Games, formerly known as the Knitting Olympics, is something that Ravelry puts on and takes place during the Olympics.  You challenge yourself to do something yarn-related starting during the Opening Ceremonies and finishing during the Closing Ceremonies.  I've done it twice, getting medals during the 2010 games in Vancouver and the 2012 games in London.  (I don't know what I was doing in 2014 during the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.)  Looking to add 2016 in Rio to my Knitting Glory List.

Usually I cast on something new and challenge myself to finish it.  The first time, I was a green knitter and cast on a simple scarf.  In 2012, we were on vacation and on the road a lot.  So I challenged myself to make as many baby hats for charity as I could in that time period.  This year, casting on something new seemed daunting.  So I am wrestling with WIP's.  (works in progress.)  I chose six things:

My Hufflepuff House Scarf, which just needs ends woven in and fringe.

My Sewanee shawl, which is off on it's stitch count before I can do the lace edging.

Oh my goodness---my spring cardigan.  This thing.....I want to finish but I don't know if I ever will.  I'm going to try!

A newborn hat and sock set--I can remember working on this in 2014 and tossing it aside, since it didn't have an intended recipient.  Hat and one sock are done, and how hard can it be to pull off a second sock?  Pretty hard, I guess.

Sundance lacy hat for charity-a little white lace hat that I started the other night while waiting (fuming) on additional yarn for something else.  (I'm not ready to talk about it.)

And finally, the damned, damned blue vanilla socks.  

Thanks to Brian hooking up a fancy antenna to our TV (no channel 7 on DirecTv because of some crazy dispute) I will be watching the Opening Ceremonies and starting on the WIP pile.  The way I see it, I'm a winner if ANY of these things are completed by the end of the Olympics!!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Wait's Almost Over!!



Two more days until this shows up in my Kindle account.  Two. More. Days.

Two more days til I log off of social media and read my face off, and not log in again til I'm done so i don't see spoilers.  Two days til I put down the knitting and not pick it back up til the book is finished.

Two. More. Days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wearing Many Hats

 

 


 
 

Maker's Faire

My friend Danielle had told me about this thing called a Maker's Faire in Boston a couple of months ago.  Upon finding out that it would have robots, a tiny house, opportunities to build stuff, etc, we decided that the family MUST go.  Tickets were $10.00 apiece and the event was held under several tents in front of the Boston Children's Museum.

First of all, the boys' favorite part was taking the train from Newton to Boston.  Their first train ride was practically met with applause.  :)  And then, the idea that everyone could eat something different for lunch at South Station was also popular.

The fair itself was very hot, but not too terribly crowded.  We met robots from Battlebots, and Will got to experience driving a robot.  (It was kind of like a Roomba)  After watching so many TV shows about tiny house living, we got to tour one.  (It's not for me, for sure.)  We built mazes, and "hacked the dollar store."  There was a Japanese weaver, and I would've like to try it, but there wasn't enough time.  And Sean got to build a decorative doodad, using saws and hammers, etc.  We were all exhausted and ready for ice cream upon getting back to South Station.  The train ride was crowded on the way home, and Sean practically fell asleep in my lap.  All in all, a great summer day.







Well, Hello

Hello from Summer Living, where we're running around living life and not blogging about it!  It's late July already, and we've done so much stuff this summer already.

The boys spent a week with their grandparents in PA, enjoying the things that campground life has to offer.  Stuff like arcade games, swimming pools and riding in the golf cart.  Mom and Dad, having to work back at home for the week, did NOT enjoy going out to eat at non-kid-friendly restaurants, nor getting ice cream almost every night at a different place each time.  No, no they didn't.  :)

Then we took the kids for a week in Williamsburg, VA.  And man, we did it ALL.  If Williamsburg offered it, we took it up.  Busch Gardens (twice), Water Country, Colonial Williamsburg.....and had a lovely time.  It was a heavy-walking vacation, I logged 17,400 steps on my Fitbit one of the days.  We'd been four years ago so we knew the area and Will could relax quickly being somewhere familar.  Sean, our resident daredevil, went on every single wild ride that he was tall enough for, which this year was a lot!

After that, camp started.  And now we're in kind of a groove, routine-wise.  Enjoying the dog days of summer, doing day trips to things like the Maker's Fair in Boston, and heading to Six Flags this weekend.  School will be here again before we know it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer is Here!

Last day of school today.  Bittersweet, as I no longer have a third grader and a kindergartner.  Here they are on their last day:



It's been a really great year for both boys.  Will had a great team helping him be the best that he could be and it looks like fourth grade will continue to be great!  Don't get me wrong, it'll still be hard sometimes.  It just feels so good to be supported.

And kindergarten....man, Sean hit the jackpot.  The teacher sent out an email yesterday to all the parents saying thanks for sharing your great kids with me, that it was a pleasure.  One thing that she mentioned is that this class really accepted each other for who they are, that everyone genuinely liked each other, was one of the most polite and respectful classes, etc.  One kid summed it up:  "There are lots of good friends with good hearts."  It warmed this mom's heart.

On to summer:  tonight is the boys' last karate class for at least two weeks.  Because they are headed to a fun-filled week with Grandmom and Grandpop on Saturday! And after that.....vacation with us!  Summer's full of fun plans--robotics camp, karate camp, trips to Six Flags, etc.  We'll make it a great one.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Legendary Stash"

I've officially crossed into "SABLE" status in terms of my yarn stash.  (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy.)  I can hear my husband's eyes rolling as he's reading this, and probably nodding enthusiastically in agreement.  I finally put away all of my yarn from the Webs Tent Sale earlier in the month and made the mistake of telling him how many yarns I have stashed in Ravelry.  (Answer:  triple digits.)  He did some quick calculations to see how much I spent on all of it and almost fell off the couch.  Dude, don't do the numbers.  We don't wanna know.

This year's Tent Sale was on May 14th and was fantastic as usual!  A gorgeous day, not a whole ton of people the second we got there and a small group to boot.  I had been squirreling cash from yard sale items and things for quite a while and was pretty proud that I covered all but $10.00 of my yarn with it.  We had a fantastic lunch at Northampton Brewery and then Maureen and I headed home to get our knit on.  We've also picked out a new KAL project, "The Joker and the Thief."   (Photo courtesy of Melanie Berg, on Ravelry.)  mine will also have grey as a base color, but then varying shades of turquoise and purple.  Fitting, right?  :)


Anyway, I wish I could say that I'm going to go cold sheep (no yarn purchases until a set amount of time/stash is used) but I know that I don't have the willpower for that.  Especially since I'm making my first trip to the Maine Fiber Frolic with Maureen and Cindy this weekend!  AND Mom and I are trying to make plans to go to Rhinebeck in October.  Yep.  The stash will continue to grow, though no exponentially.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Just a Pretty Face

As I was walking around today with a screwdriver, removing air conditioning covers for the mini-heat wave we're getting, I remembered a little story from a couple of weeks ago that I thought bared repetition.

I went away for the annual work conference that I attend, and our work's Mother's Day celebration was two days upon getting back.  It was a bit hairy, trying to secure chairs/food/raffle prizes but it ended up working out OK.  I was lucky enough to get someone in attendance that had keys to the church next door and we were able to borrow tables and chairs.  Eve and I (Not her real name) were going to carry the chairs and tables ourselves.  Now, Eve is a senior citizen, and should NOT be carrying chairs and tables from the parish hall to our building.  She's pretty scrappy though, and insisted on helping.

As we exited the building, we ran into some plumbers that were doing some work in the parish hall.  They dropped what they were doing and offered to help.  One of them said that he of course would help such a pretty lady.  I thanked him profusely and he said "Well, I'm not just a pretty face.  I can do some heavy lifting!"  I said "OK.  But don't forget your saws-all, you left it in the parking space next to your truck."  He assured me that he wouldn't and then looked a bit bewildered and said "Lady, how do you know what a saws-all is?"  The response was only too easy.  "Well sir, I also am not just a pretty face."  LOL.

I pride myself on having a father who insisted on me having some knowledge about tools.  I also am proud to have a mother who has more than once taken Dad's tools and done the dirty work herself.

Monday, April 11, 2016

End-of-Year Gifties

Believe it or not....it's almost time to think about the end of the year for school.  I'm talking about making plans for summer camp, what the heck we're going to do between school ending and camp starting, etc.  And most of all.....teacher's gifts.

I asked Will recently if he would like me to knit his third grade teacher an end-of-year gift and he said yes.  He wanted a scarf, and it should be colorful because she likes lots of color.  Well good....because I already have a ZickZack scarf knitted up and it is quite colorful!  :)

I asked Sean the same question and he readily agreed.  However, when I asked him what I should make he surprised me.  "How about sweaters for her kids, Mom?  She has a 2 year old and a one-year old."  So sweet.  I pondered on it for a little bit and you know what?  It's a great idea.  Not only is it a kind and generous gesture on Sean's part, it's not a typical "teacher" gift.  In talking to my friend Jen (who's younger son Pat is in Sean's class and happens to be one of his best friends) she loved the idea and offered to make one of them.  Awesome!  So I took the 2-year old (girl) and she took the 1-year old (boy.)

After poking around on Ravelry a bit, I picked the Gidday Sweater.  It comes in a multitude of sizes and is really cute.  I decided to stick with the gray with red stripes, after "agonizing" for a while over colors.  (Navy blue and white?  Purple?  Pink?)  It's a unisex sweater, so her little brother can wear it later.  It'll be adorable with a pair of jeans and a white tee underneath.  


Now I'm just waiting for my yarn to arrive!  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Portland!

I went up to Maine to visit Maureen, Sky and this time Alexi!  It was a fun trip by myself where we went to dinner and a couple of bars in the "Old Port" of Portland, took selfies (because we took selfies before they were cool) and just had fun together.  We had delicious Thai-inspired flatbread and Maine rootbeer, and on Sunday morning, the best donuts in the world.  We observed hipsters in bars (Portland is apparently "Hipster Country, they're up there in droves)  Maureen and I knit like the wind, as she's trying to finish a gift for her aunt in San Diego before her trip, and I had boot cuffs for Lexi.  Neither of us finished our projects.  :(  Mine might be due to having a new project that I'm obsessed with, a Harry Potter cross-stitch sampler.  I can't wait to see it up in my hallway!

  I came home relaxed and to a totally clean house and happy kids. Hubby was happy that I was home too.  Now it's back to the grind for a totally crappy Monday.  But that's what Mondays are for, right?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hey, Big Spender!


Candy Heart Snippets

Both the Valentine's Day celebration and the 100th Day of School (that wasn't an "event" when I was a kid) coincided for our Sean, and he couldn't have been more excited.  When I picked him up this afternoon he happily showed me a big paper bag that he'd decorated that was chock-full of Valentines, candy and the "trail mix" that they made as a class.  So. Much. Candy.

Immediately he brought me a lollipop and asked to open it.  He'd tried to do it, but couldn't get it open.  I gave it a shot and well, the bag won.  So quickly we had a lolly-stick and a heat-shaped lozenge.  Will asked if there was any such thing and I told him that we'd just invented the heart-shaped lozenge.  He said that he doubted that we had done that and I said until I hear differently.  "And if you hear differently?"  Well....we're the SECOND people to invent the heart-shaped lozenge.

Since the lollipop didn't work out, Sean brought over a itty bitty bag of candy conversation hearts.  I started reading them and the three of us started making up our own personal hearts.

Sean:  chicken nugget, chicken nugget.

Me:  I love Yarn.

Will:  Throw me in the nearest trashcan and eat chocolate instead.

Yep.  I don't know where he gets his wry sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A few Somethings for Me

So, with all of the Christmas knitting behind me.  (Hey it's February, let's hope so) I've decided that it's high time to work on a couple things for yours truly.  I still have gifts to work on for other people, things that I've picked out for one reason or another.  But it's my turn.  So with that in mind:

here is the short term Project.  Sewanee, a shawl.  One can never have too many shawls.  This one is a navy blue wool sock yarn, with streaks of purplish-pink and greenish blue.  It's quite pretty, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.  I LOVE that lace at the edge.  Whether or not I'll love knitting it is yet to be determined.  (Pattern and photo credit goes to Beth Bradford, aka Bethasaurus on Ravelry.)



The long-turn project.  It's a sampler blanket.  It's 63 different squares, and supposedly by the time I finish them I will have knit pretty much every stitch pattern out there.  I chose a teal acrylic for this, since let's face it:  I am not rich and pretty much only afford acrylic for such a large project.  (this is a Bucilla pattern, vintage from 1964.)  Photo credit:  jjgordon on Ravelry.

Note:  mine will not include a cat.  However, Joey will probably try to claim it at some point.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Joey!

This sweet boy is fourteen years old today. For his "gift,"  we gave him a snowday with all of his favorite people at home, and a whole cooked chicken breast to himself!  It was going to be his favorite salmon, but apparently I left it at the grocery store.

Happy birthday, my awesome fur-baby, first baby, sweet, funny and snuggly boy!  May your day be full of hugs and kisses, and awesome treats.

 Joey on his actual birthday.  He takes over our bed everyday after we leave the house and this is his favorite blanket.

"Oh, the Superbowl is on?  I like hockey, not football."


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thank-You Hell

Sean's birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and we haven't sent out the thank you cards yet.

I have a love-hate relationship with thank you cards:

 I'm an overly polite person.  I think that taking a couple of minutes to write out a card to say thanks is sweet and respectful.  Wedding thank-yous are a must.  Showers, whether they're wedding or baby, must have thank you cards.

I hate the idea of writing thank you cards to Sean's entire kindergarten class. Finding time between work,  22 Thank you cards, 22 stamps, and what feels like 22 hours of me writing out "thanks for coming to my party, and thanks for the gift" and having (cajoling) Sean to sign them.  The task is daunting.  Plus, I know that the lollipop-shaped cards that Sean picked out at Target may go on someone's fridge for a day or two, and then get thrown away and forgotten about.  But not sending them would be rude.

I'm not a rude person.  So I will sit down and write them out this weekend.  Blerg.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Just Jump

We took the kids to Maine this weekend.  It was to visit my college friends Lexi and Maureen, but ironically, we were going north and avoiding the snow.  That sounds so weird to say!

We had a good time, visiting, going out to eat, shopping, etc.  We went to the LL Bean store in Freeport, ME. I always forget just how big that place is, it's really a complex!

Another thing we did---we took the kids swimming in the hotel pool.  They LOVED it and it wore them out.  One of the things that they really like to do is jump off the side into the shallow end.  they coaxed me to do it from the deep(er) end and I told them that I was trying not to get my hair wet.

As soon as I said it, I paused:  "Did I really just say that?  REALLY?  Do I want to be that Mom?  No.  And so I jumped.

The cheers were worth it.  The awkward SLAP against the water, was not.  Nothing a little trip to the hot tub couldn't fix.

There.  I'm still a cool mom.  Thought we were slipping there a little bit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Rare Sighting

What's that I see coming up ahead?  Oh my goodness, it's a weekend with no plans!! No.....it's a THREE DAY WEEKEND with no plans!! No karate (we compromised to two weeknights instead) no parties, no obligations.  Nothing.  And I'm so grateful for it.  The past few weeks have been insanely busy as we're continuing to "come down" from Christmas.  I predict a lot of pajama-wearing, doing whatever pleases us.  The kids want to spend hours on Club Penguin?  Cool.  Let's snuggle in my bed and read books?  Yes, please.  Knitting and coffee in the afternoons? You betcha.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Comedy of Birthday Errors

Sean's birthday is coming up, and it just hasn't been my week.  Anything concerning his birthday has been nothing short of disastrous.  

First up....for some reason Sean's birthday always sneaks up on me.  It's not that I don't know when his birthday is, I mean I was there when he was born!  It's just that Christmas has just passed, and that whole "I can finally relax" feeling sets in and I underestimate how many days there are between Christmas and Sean's birthday.  Poor kid.

He's going to be six this year (sniff) and we promised him a party outside of the house for his 6th birthday.  He chose a popular playplace nearby that has inflatables to play on.  I booked the party and they sent me the invitations in the mail.  A few days after Christmas, I settled into my comfy recliner with a Harry Potter Movie and the invitations and wrote them all out.  I invited all of the kids in his class, something like 23 of them.  I mailed them out almost two weeks in advance, and used my cellphone for the RSVP so people could call or text.  The first text I get:  "Charlie is very excited for Sean's party!  I'm confused though....you wrote Saturday the 10th and the 10th is a Sunday.  What day is the party?"  UGH, you see where this is going, right?  So far fifteen kids are coming and I've had to clarify fifteen times.  

Then last night, I realized after dinner that we were busy every other night this week so I needed to go birthday shopping.  I chose Walmart because it was something like 10 degrees out and that's not far from home.  I walked around for two hours, trying to settle on birthday presents from us and worrying about party favors.  I hate giving out party favors!!  I'm so not the mom that has it together in this category, and cannot possibly pull off party favors that are Pinterest-worthy.  I don't like giving a bag of junk that's going to end up in the junk drawer or at the bottom of a closet, broken and forgotten, either.  So after much hemming and hawing, each kid is getting a box of crayons and a little tub of play-doh.  (Hey, that's a lot better than some of the favors we've gotten, even) 

   I get through the register and start heading to the car.  As I was wheeling the cart towards the car I hit a bump, sending half of my purchases flying into the air.  I'm frantically scooping up crayons and birthday cards and toys, practically on my hands and knees.  Then a car comes near me and is making motions for me to get out of the way, they want to park there.  I finally scoop up the last box of crayons and wonder (out loud and with much cursing) why this guy can't park in one of the thirty other spots available.  Whatever.  I get to the car, only to find out that I can't get the back door open.  Nope....that door is staying shut come hell or high water.  This is when I melt down into something resembling a toddler throwing a tantrum.  It's freezing, my feet hurt, all of that crap fell out of my cart and what's worse, I've just spent TWO HOURS IN WALMART.  I wanna go home!!!  That's when I started throwing (literally) everything in the back seat and cursing like a sailor.  (Believe me, I know sailors)  I'm glad I didn't see anyone I know, I may have been unrecognizable.

So.....that's all done and I'm putting it behind me.  I'm ready for Sean to have a lovely 6th birthday.  As soon as I order the cake this afternoon, which I hope will go without a hitch.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Future Yarn Plans

Happy New Year!

I've already finished the first project of the year:  boot cuffs for my friend Lauren.  She was over with her son the other day (my oldest and her son are best friends) and I had finished the knitting.  So I seamed them while she was there, and she wore 'em home!  She loves them, almost as much as she loves wearing boots.



Now I am a bit obsessed with boot cuffs, and I've cast on a pair of gray ones for my hairdresser, as a little gift since she won't be back at the salon til June.  (college coursework)  AND THEN I have another pair for a friend, who's insisting on paying me for them.  My first for-profit knitting.  Not something I've ventured into before, and I don't think I want to make a thing out of it.

So many plans with my yarn and needles this year...I'm making hats, blankets and sweaters for babies at the hospital that the boys were born at for Project Nathaniel, and I've signed up to crank out mittens as part of the Secret Santa program that the local police does every year.  But first....time for some things for me!  I always cast on one or two things after the new year, to balance out all of the Christmas knitting.