Thursday, December 16, 2010

In search of a nickname:

So, Monkeymoo and The Budge earned their titles fairly quickly - and easily - but Ms. Elsa has simply earned the nicknames "Ellie" or "Baby Elsa", neither of which really FIT with Monkeymoo and The Budge.

I suggested "Squeaks" but it doesn't seem to be sticking. Right now the appropriate nickname might be "Pukes". I'd go for "Eats, Pukes, and Screams" but it might be a bit too nerdy.

So I'm at a loss. This girl's about 20 days old- shouldn't she have a nickname by now?

A note on timing:

Ms. Elsa was born on the Saturday before the First Sunday in Advent. Before sunset on the last day of the church year, our much anticipated baby girl came to meet us and the very next morning we embarked on the Advent journey - one of waiting, anticipation, and patience.

If I were Lisa Simpson, I'd say it's "Aaaaaaaaaapt."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And now a word from my son:

"When I grow up I'm going to make a movie. It will be called Boss, Please Believe in Me."

He went on to tell me it will be very violent. I'm not sure whether to be proud of his aspirations . . . or a little scared.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Grand Entrance of Ms. Elsa Clare

Dear Blog-readers, family, and friends: I'm going to talk about Elsa's birth. I've been trying to figure out a way to do that without injecting details about my physical self that I'd rather keep to myself and, in a lovely turn of events, Ms. Elsa was born on a big football weekend. Forgive the extended sports metaphors here. Football lovers, please enjoy. Others, please do your best to keep up.

On November 17th, I went to my routine OB appointment. After discussing my size, history, and physical condition with my OB, we scheduled an induction for the Friday after Thanksgiving (also known as CU vs. NE day, hence the extended football discussion). I would check in at 7 pm for an induction. On Friday night we would use cervical ripening drugs - followed on Saturday morning by pitocin. This was quite similar to the strategy we used in Carter's induction. This photograph is one of my last belly pictures - taken the afternoon of 11/26. Please note the overall largesse of the belly. Because this was the evening of the Old Littleton tree lighting ceremony, I sent my family downtown to watch it while I spent a last few quiet moments at home. I checked in to the hospital at 7 pm and by 8:30 the family was ready to come and say hello and I was just getting my first dose of medication: 50mcg of oral cytotec. Standard protocal would be to administer 3 doses of the medication throughout the night. My nurse checked me and let me know that I was still backed into my opponent's red zone and facing a very strong defensive line. And sadly for us, we also had the refs from the A&M game at play, so my midnight and 4 a.m. medication doses were met with flags. 15 yard penalty. No more meds. I threw my headset and received a personal foul.

Despite a lack of further medication, I contracted regularly - and strongly - throughout the evening. Unfortunately for me, the strong defensive line held - and my further checks at midnight and 4 a.m. revealed absolutely no running OR passing yards on the field. We were absolutely stuck. By 7 a.m. we had a small glimmer of hope -- the fluids I'd been getting were calming my body enough that I could receive pitocin to help augment labor. The other good news? Some small amount of movement on the field. Still, I felt like slinking into the locker rooms and giving everyone a good Pelini-style screamfest, erm, I mean "pep talk".

At 9 a.m. my doctor visited to check me - and broke my water. He let me know we were at about the 35 yard line and the defensive line was weakening a bit, but was still quite daunting.

By 11, I was exhausted. I ordered the epidural - and because I was a third-time mom, I got to cut in line and get it as soon as possible. By about 12:30 I was resting and comfortably numb from the waist down. The nurse came in again to check me about an hour later and let me know we were at the 40 yard line and the opposing team had suffered injuries requiring the 2nd string replacements for Defensive End and Cornerback. Finally! We were getting somewhere!

And then! THEN! Finally a good run for us - 2:15 rolled around and the defensive line was feeling significant pressure. We were at the 50 and we weren't stopping. By 3 we were at the 70 - and by 3:15 we were staring down one or two plays to the end zone. By 3:17 we were watching that sweet final pass sail into the end zone.

And then? This:
Although, to be fair, she was much messier and way more disgusting than she is in this photograph. Sweet little Elsa Clare was born at 3:25 after 18 hours of labor (also known as the longest single football play in sweet blogger metaphor history) and 5 minutes of pushing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. . .

I was going to start a post about the things I'm thankful for - it's been my habit for many years now to spend my journal entry on Turkey Day listing off everything for which I have serious gratitude until my pen or my stamina runs dry.

But today, there is so much, I can't even begin to put it down. Today I am grateful that my heart is full - to bursting - with the amazing gifts in my life, from the children who snuggled with me this morning (for the 30 seconds I could get them to sit still) to the stranger who took the time to say "Hello" to me. From my internet community to family to church home, there are so many of you who bring so much to my life. Thank you for that.

And thank God for pie. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you all - love, hugs, and pie to everyone who brings small and large miracles into my life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My son made the sermon!

Growing up, Erika, Kirsti, and I would groan weekly when Sunday morning rolled around and we just knew that some personal story was going to make it into the weekend's sermon. We loved it when David would talk of a movie review or something equally mundane - and leave us girls out of it. Yet I have to say, the sermons I remember the most - the ones etched into my mind - these are the ones that we girls were in.

The last sermon I watched David preach that was about us girls wasn't about us at all - it was about our boys. My stepdad preached it on July 2nd, 2006 - the day of Carter's baptism. The general tenor and theme was tough - he'd just been diagnosed with a more rare, more aggressive form of liver cancer. We faced a difficult journey - and yet the diagnosis confirmation came between the baptisms of two of his grandchildren within a week of each other and his sermon, while tough and realistic, was imbued with a faith and hope that we all needed to hear.

And now Carter's found himself woven into another, happier sermon. This time, upon describing the faith of the preschool kids at Holy Trinity, pastor Dave had to share Carter's "Why do you people keep telling me this!" answer to "Do you know God loves you very much?". The snickers through the congregation tell me that this story might possibly be fairly well-known already.

That kid.

You should know, though, he got Pastor D back during the children's message when he asked Pastor "Why are you such a silly man?"

Oy. Seriously, every time that boy opens his mouth in church, I'm left with the competing feelings of awe - at the depths of his innocent and abiding faith - and great, great fear for what might come out of that little mouth of his!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Well. . . one week from now. . .

I'll be checking in for an induction, unless Baby Elsa decides to come before then. I seriously doubt it.

However, she's out of room. She's currently squished up tight in my belly wondering why it's so dark, why she's upside down, and why she consistently hears strangers saying "WOW! I mean, just WOW!"

I'm sporting the kind of torpedo belly that makes strangers think "Oh, you poor thing."

But it's OK. Nobody need pity me. I love this belly - its hugeness, its gravity-defying torpedo nature, and its symbolic state as the end result of two years of long, dark roads. I am so very blessed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The nasty, nasty truth:

Carter (poking at his pumpkin pancakes): Mom. MOM! MOM!! This looks like squash a little.

Moi: Oh. Well, here's a newsflash: Pumpkin is squash.
Carter (pushing plate away): I'm done. I don't want any more of this. I don't like squash.

Moi: I'll remember that when you want some pumpkin pie. I'll call it squash pie from now on.

Carter: Mom ruined pumpkin pie.

And now, the lovely, lovely truth: 11 days to Pumpkin pie day!! Bring on Thanksgiving, the family has something truly awesome to celebrate this year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HONK HONK: An open letter to the neighbors

No, not you, neighbor. I'm not talking about you, across the street, with a 3-year-old and a minivan he likes to break into. It's not your car horn that bothers me, because it's both rare and understandable. To a 3-year-old-boy, the front seat is akin to nirvana and the car horn is a rare and unusual beast that beckons everybody. What astounding power! That, I get.

And I'll be honest. When it happens, I grin a little and say "Oh, AJ" and move on.

So please don't think that this letter is for you.

Nor is this for our neighbors to the north who busily and sometimes not-so-quietly leave the house in early morning. Your noise is both purposeful and incidental. And rarely involves a car horn.

No, friends. I suspect you share my cantankerous attitude for the neighbors to whom this letter is aimed.

Now. You. The people who need to read this letter. I want to tell you that I've tried for months now to understand your peculiar habit. I've discussed it at length with friends. I've tried to explain to myself and others why every day, every time, upon entering your driveway, you honk - twice. HONK HONK. Some friends offered up the idea that perhaps the driver lacks keys to the home. I told myself that after an unfortunate incident walking in on an embarrassed teenage son's onanism, you opted to announce your arrival or that, perhaps, your 1980s Honda had some short in it that made the car honk twice every time it was placed into "Park." HONK. HONK.

I do not think this is the case. I have a deep suspicion that this is simply your way of saying "Honey, I'm home!" and that you have little clear understanding of the idea that your neighbors - ALL OF US - can hear your honking as well. HONK. HONK.

Let me tell you something, sweethearts: We can. We hear your double honk at 3 p.m., 10 a.m., and it rings particularly well throughout the neighborhood when you pull up at 11:30 p.m.. HONK. HONK.

We live near a lake that is inhabited practically year-round by geese. Trust me when I say this: their honking is enough. Yours is over the top and I've grown weary of it. HONK. HONK.

I've tried to imagine practically any scenario that would allow me, as a good citizen of a neighborhood, to make a nightly noise after 9 p.m. that rivals your double - or sometimes triple honk. Each time, the explanation includes serious illness, emergency, or perhaps fire. Rarely, in my mind, is it a nightly habit practiced after your average neighborhood citizen has gone to bed. HONK. HONK. HONK.

Every day. Every night. HONK. HONK.

I've thought of thousands of ways to respond. Few of them include civil conversation, partially because I'm in my 67th week of pregnancy over the course of the last 104 weeks, but also because I cannot imagine a scenario wherein honking one's horn in one's own driveway several times a day for no discernible reason is civil or worthy of civil response.

My only thought now is to grab the car alarm Emergency button and try to beat you to the punch. Or announce my leaving on mornings when I teach, with my own HONK HONK at 6 a.m.. Or perhaps waddle over some night with a dozen eggs and give them a toss at the offending vehicle. Or waddle over and ask "What kind of short does your electrical system have that the car HONKS every time you put it in park?"

Unfortunately for me, I'm a bit too civil. This is my only weapon. HONK. HONK.

And I haven't even BEGUN to discuss your epic battle on the front lawn of last Friday. That was both civil AND classy. Thanks for delivering to us a sweet soap opera. HONK. HONK.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Okay, okay, okay, it's probably time for another post

but let me be clear: I don't have anything to say.

Or, rather, I probably don't have anything to say that you want to read.

This is the end, folks - the last 19 or so days of pregnancy and most likely my *last* pregnancy. Since this pregnancy is coming on the tail-end of the great Crapdom of 2009, I'm going to say this about these last 19 or so days of pregnancy: I'm plagued with the routine ills of third trimester and I'm extra bitchy about it, but I realize what a blessing it is. I really do.

I realize it so much that I'm not going to talk to you about the "routine ills of third trimester."

I am, however, going to tell you that this kid is about to burst out of my belly Alien-style so she needs to consider maybe possibly listening to gravity and just doing it the easy way.

But back to why I haven't been posting. I'm going to let you in on a little secret here. Or maybe it's a big secret. Or maybe, if you're someone who's been around someone who's pregnant, it's really no secret at all.

I promised not to talk about the routine ills of 3rd tri, but I will mention this one: often the woman engaged in the routine ills of third trimester can occasionally become a raging, hormonal, evil, terrible, horrible bitch.

There, I said it. Pregnant friends, I'm sorry. Maybe you're better people than me. But I'm not better than me, I just am me. . . and me is a horrible person right now who thinks terrible things, says terrible things, and considers throwing erasers at students or walking outside screaming "IF YOU HONK YOUR HORN AGAIN AT 11PM STUPID NEIGHBORS I WILL COME BARF ON YOUR FRIGGIN' DOORSTEP". Look, it can't be helped and I guess knowing is half the battle, maybe?

So for those of you I love - and for those of you who read this blog - please understand, my silence isn't personal. I'm not avoiding the phone or Facebook or Blogger because I've forgotten you or no longer care. On the contrary, it's because I *do* love you. I love you way too much to subject you to. . .


And since hormones are such awesome fluctuating things, I'm sure I'll be sunshine and puppies in a few days and I'll come back for a longer, sweeter post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

33 days. . . or less. . . left

And now comes the hard part -- the last weeks are tough for any pregnant woman, and I've seen several of my compatriots fall to the "term starts at 37 weeks" fallacy that leads them to believe that their discomfort and contractions will lead to a baby 3 weeks before their due date.

To be clear: for some, it will. For many, though, it'll simply lead to the idea that every moment they endure still pregnant past 37 weeks is agonizing. I know, I've been there. But it's the wrong mindset to be in, it really is. We are blessed to be here - ask any mother of a NICU baby, any mother of a child lost, any woman unable to have a child. We are blessed to be in those long, miserable last few weeks of pregnancy.

It's hard to remember, I know. I give myself a short pep talk and lecture each morning, because here's where I am today: I am in the last 5 weeks of what will most likely be my last pregnancy. This is likely the last time it'll be socially acceptable for me to walk around with a gigantically bulging belly peaking out from underneath my t-shirts. It's likely the last month I'll have to feel the bumpity bump of a baby on the inside. The last time to enjoy moments with my family of four before we become a family of five.

I cannot imagine wishing away these times - despite the sleeplessness, despite the physical difficulties, the breathlessness, the lumbering and clambering, despite it all, I cannot in any way, shape, or form wish this time away.

There is but one thing I could do without over these next 5 weeks: the crushing anxiety of pregnancy after loss. That is all. In the meantime, bring on the prodromal labor, the waddling, the reflux and heartburn and every agony of late pregnancy. I am lucky to be here and I refuse to allow myself to wish it away.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aaaand now: What I've cast on

I can't tell you what I'm finished with because I suspect this is a long-term project. Please, oh please, don't let me lose interest!

Ater watching me knit for baby Elsa for the past :cough: 5 months, both kids have requested something of their own. I committed to making the Moderne Log Cabin blanket for Carter in Autumn Red, black, and gray Caron Simply Soft. Lilly requested that Star Blanket I made for Nana, Grandma A, and baby Elsa -- I'll make it a little bigger for Lilly so it has some staying power - and likely knit it in a Caron Simply Soft as well. It's a workhorse yarn but it lasts - and knits up smooshy if you can get over the fact that it's acrylic. And well, to be honest, if I'm going through the work to knit up blankets for my kids, they'd better be acrylic. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'll start by saying this: I'm no artist

But I was hopeful that I could pull off just the teeniest art project for Ms. Elsa's room - some letters and a facsimile of this card:
And I like to think that I did OK. We'll see, I may go back in and add more flowers but I don't know. Because I used a lighter pink, the white dots for the chain link fence don't really show up as well and I'm not sure what to do about that, but it's decent. The plan now is not to frame them, but to paint the edges in the bright turquoise of the owl, cover the staples with a ribbon (and some hot glue), and be done.

We'll see. I'd like to simply get it up on the wall and move on to the curtains - because she *NEEDS* curtains, right?
Here are the letters I did for another wall:
I'll be purchasing a couple of smaller canvases and having the kiddos each do a painting too. The whole room will be a family affair. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I am the Face of 646.3, "Habitual Aborter"

A year ago on this night, I ground my teeth so hard I cracked a back molar in anticipation of my impending due date and the bittersweet birth of my sister's twins. They were born the next morning while I was in the dentist's chair learning that to crack a molar in that way required greater than 200 pounds per square inch of pressure. I wasn't feeling pressure - or even stress really. I was blessed to have a sister who handled me with a grace and empathy I only now understand. It was simply that looming date - October 19th - that was weighing on my heart and mind in ways I really couldn't fully understand or anticipate. 10/19/09 was the date we were to anticipate welcoming our third child into the world.

October 19th is the anniversary of Tim and I coming back into each other's lives, so it seemed an auspicious due date when I calculated it after staring at the shocking result of a "PREGNANT" blinking back at me on February 12th, 2009. We were not quite in the business of seeking another child yet, and *poof* one was on its way. After a few days to adjust, we were excited - delighted even. Our other surprise child, the first, had been nothing but a blessing unfolding herself in front of us for the previous 6 1/2 years, so why not anticipate a new journey of joy.

As many people are unfortunate enough to know, though, pregnancy doesn't always bloom in that way. Sometimes it unfolds into a terrifying series of moments and terms - the spotting, the dark blotch on the ultrasound screen where a flicker should be, the doctors and nurses unable to meet your eyes when they tell you "there's still a chance", the words "threatened abortion". I remember walking into our room at the ER and flashing back to the sights and sounds and smells of my stepfather's last days - whether we knew logically or not, I knew in my heart this baby would not be. Just as quickly as a third child appeared in our lives, it was erased. *poof*

We went on, over the course of the next 11 months, to lose a staggering three more pregnancies at different stages and for, presumably, different reasons. At one point, while watching the nurse take fourteen vials of blood to try to discover what was wrong with me, I remember feeling as though this was it - we were done, we had two uneventful pregnancies and births, we'd played out our luck, and we were quite blessed. My understanding of pregnancy and birth had gone from something that happened quite easily to the deep feeling that my children were lightning strikes - miracles of chance illuminating my life that might never be repeated.

Before we started this journey, I had a textbook understanding of pregnancy and infant loss - I have friends who have gone through losses - multiple, single, first, second, third trimester loss - even post-birth. I understood in my head what I could only glimpse from my heart. Even now, I feel quite certain that I have not suffered these losses as others among me have - coming home from the emergency room to two concerned children, to their hugs and their hearts thumping deep in their chests - it was a blessing.

Now, though, I have a deep understanding of my losses, of the subsequent journey of hope, desperation, reflection, and spiritual struggle of these past twenty months. I also sit here and feel the quiet thump of my daughter, now at 33 1/2 weeks gestation and I know that my love for her - and my other two children - has fundamentally changed in ways I could never anticipate. It is, in many ways deeper, stronger, perhaps even a bit more patient.

Tonight, to honor October 15th as Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day, I will light four candles - one for each of our potentials (to borrow a phrase from Joss Whedon, because I still personally struggle with the idea of angels) and I will hold in my heart all mothers - whether they went on to bear living children or not, whether their journey turned to one of live birth, adoption or a life without children- those mothers for whom "How many children do you have" is rocky and dangerous emotional territory. I am thinking of you - and grateful to have had your hands, your faith, and your hearts along this journey.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming Home Outfit

And another thing I haven't yet blogged -- baby girl's coming home outfit. Admittedly, it's much less rustic and far more beautiful than the red baby sweater (looking at a pic, it seems a hot mess. Hopefully a wash or two will make it. . . less of a hot mess?).
But back to this outfit - I made the Sweet Baby Cap, Yoda Sweater, and some mitts and boots - all with free patterns from Ravelry to go with Elsa's sweet embroidered Gap dress.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ensuring an unseasonably warm winter,

I've knit another baby sweater. I'm so so on the results for this one. Some stitches are too loose, there are several things I wish I'd done differently, but overall, it's a fair representation of the Dincadoo Baby Sweater. I wanted Sock Monkey buttons for it, but those are hard to come by.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And one more post about the kids. . .

Regarding the gestating one: 4-7 weeks left. Wow.

And the Budge: You know you're raising a nerd when the boy says to you, while watching football, "Which is the side that we're on, the ones that look like Dr. Horrible in the beginning (in white) or the ones that look like Dr. Horrible in the end (in crimson)?" And you know you're a nerd when that brings to your heart a deep warmth.

The Budge's new joke, the day after the NU/KState game: Knock knock, who's there, SUCK IT FANCY WILDCATS!!!! Clearly the boy sneaks out to the living room under the cover of darkness to read Rants from Mommyland. Kate and Lydia should be proud.

And Monkeymoo: I had an excellent modern feminist raising an awesome girl moment this weekend. After spending the late morning and early afternoon running around a dusty farm eating gritty pumpkin pie and finding our pumpkins, my girl had a playdate with her BFF. They snuck downstairs, got into the costumes, and prepared for a "Crazy Fight". I couldn't actually ascertain the rules of said fight, other than something along the lines of "Become a superhero of your own making in princess dresses and soccer cleats with a handbag or a tin-can-drum as your only weapon." Then the girls went outside, dug up worms, and (much to my chagrin at cleanup time), set up a secret fortress of wormdom in the Fisher Price Bat Cave.

But the most awesome part about that is that Monkeymoo & her BFF were both making AND breaking modern gender roles, which is, after all, what we modern feminists should strive for, right?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The latest knit? Another pair of tights/pants

I couldn't help myself - these are scraps from the coming home outfit I made as well as from mom's scarf that got eaten by dogs.

They turned out pretty cute, I must say. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

But wait, there's more. . .

Mom: Please be sure you get your water bottles closed. When you don't, they leak all over your papers.
Lilly: (mumbles) Oh. Yes. I see. I see right here in my damp sweater.
Lilly: My sweater which is partially wet but not soaked making it D-A-M-P. Did you think I said something else?


And then this one: Carter and I went to Home Depot to get a new deadbolt for our iron screen door. We purchased the deadbolt, after looking over 101 different knobs and locks. On the way out to the car, I was explaining that he could help me fix it so he could learn to fix it himself.
Mom: Because someday, you'll have a house, right? And then someday maybe your lock will break and then what will you do?
Carter: I'll have a wife who can fix it!!
(Man nearby loading wood chuckles)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Some days, it's terrifying,

that brief moment before my children open their mouths (if, that is, they've been temporarily closed after vuvuzela-ing) to answer another person's question. See, I have a friend who likes to remind me that apples don't make pears and why in the world would two sarcastic, witty, smartasses ever make children who were compliant and sweet? And she's right. More interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that I often reflect to imagine a world with sweet, compliant little children, dressed neatly with combed down hair and, like Cordie after her ascension to the heavens, I want to exclaim I'm so. . . bored. Not that kids like that aren't great - they serve the fantastic function of being walking mannequins for their parents and fulfilling their own parents' needs to have children just like them. They often grow up to be highly beautiful and successful and rarely attend a party with a Chiquita banana sticker stuck to their buttocks. They also write Thank You Notes often and on time. Like I said, they're important. They're even cool in that retro-chic kind of way. But they're not my kids.

My kids? My kids are the ones with the sticking-up hair dressed like eighties tv star Blossom in clothing inappropriate for the weather and, recently, with temporary tattoos on their necks. My son's teacher recently exclaimed With the Budge, everything's a full-body experience. And she's not wrong. My kids are also the ones, when asked a question, suddenly pique the interest of all around. My kids have that whole post-modern-meta-George-Michael-Bluth thing down pat.

For example, The Budge goes to a preschool that is connected with our church. Recently, during one of their first Thursday morning chapel sessions, Pastor Julie asked the group of preschoolers the following question: Did you know that God loves you very, very much?

Without missing a beat, my son answered, throwing his hands in the air: Yes. YES! YES! Why do you people keep telling me this! I know this! When are you going to stop?

I'm delighted that my son's got that whole faith thing down enough to understand the deep and abiding love of Christ. I think that's awesome. Equally awesome is the depth of his understanding being deep enough that to say it out loud seems as meaningless as to say Did you know the sun will rise tomorrow? Perhaps even more awesome, of course, is that the ensuing hijinks in his expression have earned him a spot in the hearts of many and the consistent greeting from family and friends: Hey Carter. Did you know God loves you very, very much?

Church, actually, is the place we, his parents, live in fear. Every time he clambers (and he really does clamber, for the record) up for the Children's sermon, we begin our silent prayer: Don'taskquestionsdon'taskquestionspleasegoddon'tletpastoraskanyquestions. But God's too busy loading up the perfect scenario for Carter's answer to hear our prayers, I think.

On another Thursday morning chapel, Carter decided to share his excitement regarding the impending birth of baby Elsa. My mom's going to have a baby soon. And we're going to have it hypnomatized here. We're all set. I've put in my personal request that the hypnomatized baby be told to sleep well, be a good eater, and be very well behaved, but I'm going to guess, judging from the two we've got, that it's not very likely.

And I shouldn't solely focus on The Budge. After all, his sister, she's a handful in and of herself, though as I tell my students, one can rarely convey proper tone in text and these days, that girl is all about tone. It's not so much what she says - it's how she says it. From the physical ticks to the eye rolls and intonation, I can tell you this: She's growing into a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bear Lamp Refurb: Kinda OK!

Okay, so here's the deal. I had this cute teddy bear lamp that my grandma and grandpa gave us when Carter was born - but it no longer matched his room and it wouldn't match Elsa's room, so it was in the give away pile until one of the children saw it and pitched an unholy fit (because we simply cannot abide things disappearing from our home).

So I agreed to use the lamp in Elsa's room -- but the colors didn't match the bubble-gum pink scheme we have on the walls, so something had to give. I figured I'd just refurbish it - so I removed the outer part of the shade (it had a teddy bear print on it) and decided to dust and hand-paint the rest of the lamp in colors that matched the eventually-to-be color scheme for the room (if I *EVER* manage to do the artwork). So here, my friends, is the finished product. I'm not terribly happy with the lamp shade. I might just go to Big Lots and grab a new, plain white one, but this'll do for now. Chances are good Elsa will forgive me for some messy recovering, right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today's Craft: Husker themed newborn gown!

What do you do when your husband is drowning in Nebraska Cornhusker t-shirts and yet you have nothing for your wee daughter-to-be to wear on Nebraska/CU game day? (Please be here by then, Ms. Elsa. Please. I beg of you. Please!)

Why, you make a gown! You start with a t-shirt. . .
Cut it into pieces:
And sew it back together!!
Next up? LAMP overhaul, Window treatments, and the coming home outfit!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh, what wonderful things. . .

In a world without internet, fashionable friends, and crafty neighbors, my children would have lovely, plain nurseries with pre-purchased decorations.

I'd go to Target and point-and-click myself into a nursery. While I was there, I'd probably buy a coming home outfit. Everyone would be happy.

But no. No. Not me. Me, the woman with 2 children, 1 frog, 1 froglet, and a yowling senile cat, the woman who works 30 hours a week with only 16 hours a week of childcare, all while gestating. . . I've decided to get crafty.

Add to the craftiness a deep and loud self-criticism AND being a perfectionist and you've got: WHACKADOODLE PREGNANT LADY!!!

So what's on the agenda?
* Making a new crib skirt. Perhaps breatheable bumpers. Maybe. We'll see. Maybe not.
* Finding a cheap canvas (hellloooooooooo Goodwill & Savers!) to paint over and make a painting for the nursery
* Painting letters for the room (50% complete)
* Refurbishing an old lamp from Carter's room to be appropriate for Elsa's room - it's got a little teddy bear scene on the lamp base -- I need to recover the shade and repaint the lamp base. I just started this today, so I'm about 20% done.
* Coming Home Outfit (dress is purchased, hat and mitts are complete, sweater is 30% complete, and socks/booties still need to be done)

Then it's on to wall art. Perhaps a blanket/quilt? Cute owl-shaped pillows? Who knows.

What I'd really like, more than anything, is to be a weeeeeeeee bit less crafty. ;)

Edited to add: Listen up crafty friends: I say this with love. Despite my feeling overwhelmed by the need for homemade things, I am utterly grateful to have those around me who've helped me get over my "I can't!" and into "Holy crap, I just pulled up half the carpet in the house." I am often in awe of the things you create - and the things you inspire *me* to create.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This morning I showered with Batman

and Padme Amadala. And the letters A, C, and Z. And Polly Pocket.

As I sudsed my hair, I reflected upon my preconceived notion, prior to having children, that somehow parenthood endowed a person with a certain amount of laziness. Look, after all, at any mother's minivan on any given day of the week - how many stories have we heard about finding that single stinky sippy cup full of 3 month old milk under the seat? How many loaves of bread or buckets of nuggets could we compile if we took a parking lot's worth of minivans and vacuumed them out? I assumed (we all know how that works out) that it was sheer laziness that led a parent to live that sort of. . . dingy. . . lifestyle.

And good parents too. Plenty of AWESOME moms and dads have succumbed to the child-related mess, from pacifiers in purses to toys in the shower. But why?

Now that I've been a parent for 8 years, I think I know. If Prometheus could have made his liver stop growing back. . . if Sisyphus could have let the rock roll and wipe his brow -- they would, yes? To be clear, I do not believe that being a parent is torture - but I do believe that this aspect of parenting is torture: the sheer weight of duties done daily to absolutely no effect.

Recall, if you will, the Simpsons episode when Marge spends the day cleaning the kitchen. Her family barges in and the doors swing open to a sparkling haven. The doors swing back and it's covered in filth. This is, in a nutshell, part of the chaos of parenting.

And yet, recall the same cartoon when Marge gets the extra fancy house that cleans itself. She's left bored in the kitchen drinking wine at 10 a.m..

Sometimes the chaos is the best part.

But sometimes, just sometimes, you give up. Give in. Shower with Batman and crew.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My baby will have the warmest. . . .

I do so love to knit baby things. I feel as though I've been unleashed. Finally.
What have I been up to? Here we go:

We'll start with the bonnets and mitts. You'll note the colorful bonnet has a matching pair of knit tights to go with it. Poor, poor Elsa won't be easily missed on "Don't lose the baby" pattern day. The purple set is made with Malbrigo sock yarn and it is so very soft. I'll be making socks to go with it, whenever I get back to them. :) Both patterns came from Ravelry - the Top Down Anime Bonnet and a mitts pattern which I can't manage to find at the moment. I'm hoping little Elsa won't oppose these mitts - so we can use them instead of the weirdly sized (always too short and waaaaay too wide) Gerber scratch-gloves.

The next big project was the star blanket. This is car seat-sized, so not all that big. It's a pattern I got off of Ravelry called the Radiating Star Blanket - with a few changes. I added about 5 rows of garter stitch before the border and then about 4 rows afterward, just to ensure that it wouldn't roll.

Finally, I wanted to share two others. This hat actually came back to me from a friend - I made it for her daughter when she was born. I'm looking forward to using it and have some of that variegated purple in my scrap pile (the pink too!) that I might use to make a matching set of mitts, because what's a hat without mitts?
And this is my last project. The body of the wool longies is made from random wool I found in the stash - it's hard to see the true color in this photo but it's a really beautiful green. The curly cuff is from a recycled sari silk yarn that I've had in my stash for - quite honestly - as long as I've been a knitter. I didn't know what to do with it but was running low on the green for the body, so I figured why not add a little pizazz to Elsa's wardrobe. It's bright and shiny and a little obnoxious, I'll openly admit. Once I'm done, I'll make a drawstring, tie, or some sort of pattern with the silk for higher up on the soaker, just to bring things together.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Doo do BORK BORK BORK, a.k.a. Meet the Human Vuvuzelas

When America fell into World Cup Football (cough: soccer) fever a few months back, my husband and I tried to watch. Of course there was the issue of knowing nothing about soccer, but Americans, above all else, are sports people - surely we could watch and enjoy. Approximately 2.7 seconds into the first game, though, I asked my husband to turn down the volume, as I couldn't figure out what that irritating buzzing was.

Turns out, it's a wee little horn called the vuvuzela. Unfamiliar with the sound of the vuvuzela? Check out this little piece of footage. It sounded like an issue with the recording equipment. Or a swarm of Africanized honeybees.

Turns out, it's just a little piece of plastic, and while we call my son the Human Vuvuzela, that little piece of plastic doesn't hold a candle to him.

Before I became a parent, I anticipated all sorts of parenthood-y issues (as much as anyone can anticipate chronic sleeplessness or afterpains or nursing, that is). I did NOT, however, anticipate the significant increase in the level of noise in my life.

Children are the vuvuzela of this household. A low, dull hum that screws up anyone's ability to think clear, coherent thoughts. It is, I've decided, their greatest power. When a group of zebras is attacked by a predator, they move together and their stripes distract the attacker. When a group of children gets together, they make noise and completely annihilate any coherent thoughts their parents might have.

And my son is the best at this. He makes noise all the time. Even in his sleep. Still, God help you when he's awake. Then the buzz begins.

Of course, the buzz is occasionally interrupted by Swedish-Chef like insanity. Generally he saves this for the dinner table. Everybody's relaxed, focusing on their food and trying to have nice conversations that start with "How was your day, dear?" and then, in bursts the Swedish Chef.

Yet, I must say, when my family was out of town about three weeks ago (for five GLORIOUS days), I had the tv or the stereo on for most of the time. The house just didn't feel the same without my vuvuzelas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's been too long, I know.

But I *am* knitting.

I'm making baby girl Elsa one of those big round star blankets like I knit up for Nana Elsa last Christmas. Additionally, I've got the yarn ready for a few diaper covers or sets of longies, and some beautiful red cotton for a yoda sweater, I'm thinking.

Now it's about finding the time to get everything done at once! Wish me luck. 13 and a half weeks left to knit before baby girl is here!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Double. Digits.

99 days till our baby is here. . . . 99 days left to nest. . .

I *might* be a little excited. It *might* feel like this pregnancy will have been 2 years long. Well, not quite two years, but since our first positive home pregnancy test was February 12th, 2009 and our delivery date will be somewhere around November 28th, 2010, we're talking 21 solid months between "OMG! We're going to have a baby!" and a baby.

To be clear, I'm well aware that there are many, many, MANY people for whom this quest is much much longer - and I am consistently humbled by their commitment, faith, and deep deep strength.

I, however, am a petulant and impatient child.

And it's looking more and more like that might actually happen. What a Thanksgiving this will be!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"You asked me once, what was in Room 101.

I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."

Room 101 is perhaps the most strikingly fearful scene in Orwell's 1984.
Today marks 101 days until our due date.

And I'm going to allow today to be my day of fear. Tomorrow, I will open the door to 100 and after that to 99 and we can begin our delightful countdown to baby.

And fear, dear fear, I'm leaving you here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My husband calls me NEST-OR

As if cleaning every medicine cabinet in the house somehow qualifies one for a Japanese black and white monster movie title. That's right, kids, it's Nestor Versus Godzilla.

(If, by Godzilla, you mean "The entire 1,000 sq feet of the upstairs of my home + the entire 1,000 sq feet of the unfinished basement of my home + my entire catalog of poetry + that book I started to write but never finished + all of that baby stuff that probably should be done + a new Composition-themed blog to entertain my students and if, by Nestor, you mean yours-truly-minus-sleep).

Actually, on paper, it DOES look like Nestor Versus Godzilla: My spare list-making spiral notebook is taking on monster-sized lists (courtesy, of course, of the Sharpies and ONE entry happens to be "Drive to Office Depot. Buy $1 Silver Sharpie"). But that's on paper.

In truth, I came home from conquering my classes today to spend the rest of the day sitting in my rocking-chair-butt-groove wondering why in the world I signed up to teach three classes while I was engaged in the consuming task of making another person.

I mean yeah, she'll be a tiny person (better be a bit tinier than her older brother, that's for darned sure, because at 9lb 13oz, 14 3/4 head, and 21" long, he was like a three-month-old person the day he was born), but a person nonetheless. Making people is, apparently, exhausting work, especially while engaged in the task of chasing other people that you made while saying screaming things like "DO NOT STICK THE HOSE IN THE CHARCOAL BAG AND THEN STICK BOTH INTO THE WINDOW WELL AND THEN TURN THE HOSE ON" or "Please stop licking things in public".

But, but, where was I again? Oh, back to my point, or, I guess, what I thought might be my point - or what I wished was my point. THIS WEEK, this week will be different. This week Godzilla won't be writing the list, THIS WEEK, it'll be tackling the list!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A thing of beauty. . .

I'm watching my daughter sit on the living room floor and go through her school supplies for the second time since their purchase yesterday.

It's a thing of beauty. :) She's also humming "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" while she's doing it. It really, really, really reminds you of my Sharpie posting, doesn't it?

(I'll update with photos later, I promise).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gimme some wine

I've lost my mind.

No, really, for really REAL I've lost my mind. Sometimes, when I'm having less than stellar days, Tim threatens to dig through my boxes of memorabilia downstairs to find my "alleged" Master's degree, as there really is very little chance a woman as flighty as I could have earned one. Let me assure you, it is in a box in the basement, though if I had to find the box, well, I think you might guess what would happen. I'd triumphantly pop open a box to find newspaper clippings from the 1998 Husker season, most likely.

Okay, but now, back to three reasons to laugh at me. Are you ready?

The other day I was drooling over these Pottery Barn Valances (I've since decided they were lame because they aren't wide enough for my windows and clearly, if they weren't designed with me in mind, they MUST suck). So I was on the phone with a friend at the time and I told her I'd send her the link (so that, of course, as women must do, we could drool together, then pick it apart and decide against the purchase of said valances). I pulled up my e-mail, cut and pasted the link, and sent it off. She replied quickly with a very short response, so, as we were still on the phone, I launched into "Aren't those great?" She, of course, had no idea what I was talking about. And my friend of the same name who'd received a random e-mail titled "these" with a link inside ALSO didn't know what I was talking about. Meanwhile, I couldn't understand why, after looking, and responding, my phone-friend was perplexed.

And look, folks, it took like 30-60 seconds for me to fully process this. Then it took 24 hours to get over my embarrassment as this is not the first time it's happened to me. Let's just say if I could Hot Tub Time Machine myself into the 70s, I'd tell mothers of Amys and Kristins to reconsider their decisions, for, of course, one day the flighty friends of multiple Amys and Kristins will screw up.

That's funny. I know. But you want one better? Further proof that this baby is eating my brain?

Yesterday morning, I told my sister to call me. Then I didn't understand why she didn't call. Then I couldn't understand why I couldn't find my cell phone. Then I called my cell phone and couldn't find it.

Then I made the bed. You'll never guess what I found. . . that's right, my cell phone. Inside my pillow case. Please don't ask why. I'm not sure I have a good answer other than "It's a perfect night light and I don't keep a clock by the bed." And that's lame.

But even MORE lame? Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I began looking for my cell phone, because, of COURSE, I needed it (see night light/clock excuse). I scoured the house. Every room. Finally, I resorted to calling it. And I heard it. And it was loud.

It was right behind me. So I turned around and couldn't find it. But it was right behind me. So I turned around again and couldn't find it. I heard that dang cell phone in every room I entered as I looked for it. And, of course, since it goes to voicemail after 4 rings, I had to call it.

Four times.

Before I realized it was in my back pocket.

Folks, I have no earthly idea how I'm going to stand in front of a classroom in two weeks with ANY sort of feeling of authority. I MIGHT have to go all Empowered Education/Paulo Freire inspired and tell my students to stand on their desks, because they are in charge of their own education, simply as a cover for the fact that my brain no longer processes much more than sleep. eat. keep children from sticking forks in electrical outlets. eat again.

I TOLD my students last spring that babies eat your brain. I had no idea how right I was.

Friday, July 30, 2010

An essential truth of motherhood, as explained by my Gemini:

So I've been a parent now for 8 years. This is long enough to know that I don't know it all, but I know quite a bit, because really, when it comes down to it, there's very little to know about motherhood other than: 1) whatever it is, you won't find it in a book, 2) your friends know it and have been telling you about it for years but you weren't listening, and 3) as my MIL likes to say, "Everyone gets to do it their own way." Which is true, although that's sometimes when CPS comes in handy. Anyhow, back to what I know.

What I know is this. My children come in three versions. I'll use photos to explain.

Version 1 is the deliriously happy child. Typically, this is the child you meet when there's something they want from you. This child should generally be regarded with doubt and the occasional side-eye. This child *sometimes* occurs naturally - typically speaking these natural occurrences fall when 1) they wake you up early in the morning to snuggle just because they love you and 2) late at night when you've allowed them dessert and to stay up past their bedtime.

Here's child version 1:

And listen to me: When version 1 is around and his or her eyes are open, you'll think to yourself "Gosh, what a sweetheart, I'm so glad I had him/her." Or, sometimes you'll think "OMG, I cannot believe I just lost my schmidt with the kid and threatened to send him to the Haitian orphanage we saw on TV." Version #1 can also be found at any point in which the child is sleeping. The smile's not the same, but version #1 while sleeping ALWAYS elicits the "I cannot believe God blessed me with such an amazing and awesome creature when I'm so totally undeserving." while taking a large gulp of beer or tapping a T-box.

But remember, mommies (or soon to be mommies - or wanting to be mommies), every child embodies, like Janus, that second face. That version #2. Version #2 should be handled with aplomb, friends. Version #2 should be met with a raised eyebrow and a "You know, you're only embarrassing yourself." Whatever you do, do not fall into the sad-sack-guile that is Version #2.

What's Version #2? Version #2 is the child that makes old ladies weep for the cruelty you've bestowed upon a stranger to them. Version #2 is the look that makes you think perhaps you should give in just to get him or her to stop looking so pathetic. Trust me, only laughter is the appropriate response to this. Or, perhaps shooting a picture to share with all, and I do mean all, of your friends.

And version #3? Well look, I'd try to explain but nothing, and I do mean nothing, NOTHING can explain version #3 unless or until you've experienced it. It's the shrieking, and I'm not willing to share it, that makes all of the people around you say either 1) "Why can't she control that child" or 2) "A mom so bad as to have children like that shouldn't be a mom." And for those who say that, well let me just say, I cannot wait until you meet your own version #3. It'll be a glorious day - as all the mothers in the world take a deep breath and say "Something has changed in the force."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Aaaaand another pair of tiny knit pants/tights:

Finished the second set of leggings. I think I'm done with this pattern for a little while, to be honest. It's slow going. Still, I really enjoy the outcome.

Not quite myself today. . .

I must miss my old glasses.

Or not!

My eyebuy package came this morning, prompting me to run around screaming "My new glasses are here! My new glasses are here!" to nary a sly comment regarding The Jerk OR The Simpsons. I'm disappointed in my family.

What's that you say? These photographs are indistinct and blurry? Suck it, okay. It took me five tries to ensure that I didn't look like Drew Carey from one of the Ace Ventura movies, so this is what you get. Me. No makeup. Wet hair. New glasses. Yippeeeeee!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Okay, strangers, here's the deal:

I am due in November. Thanksgiving to be precise-ish (actually several days after, but let's not split hairs here).

And here's what I know:

  • I know I'm big. But thanks. I know Thanksgiving's awhile from now. In fact, it's just about 4 months from now. I know you're not sure where I'm going to put all that baby. I know you don't know how I do it. I know you think I'm going to fall over! I also know you think you're funny.

And I know you know someone whose sister's brother's BFF had unexpected surprise twins! I know when you/yourwife/yourBFF was pg with twins she was just sooooooooooooo tiny. That's awesome. I know you were tiny when you were pg. That's awesome too.

I also know that when a woman becomes pregnant, suddenly her body is involved in the process of expanding humankind and THUS you might feel that it's your property upon which to comment freely.

Here's what you don't know: I have two children. This is my 7th pregnancy. This belly is a badge that I wear daily that says "We did this. WE did this." It is a marker of everything we have gone through since March of 2009. I wear it with pride.

I will be huge. I will be gigantic. I will waddle (hell, I waddle now). I will probably tip. And I will love EVERY.SINGLE.MINUTE of it.

Excepting, of course, when you, dear stranger, feel the need to comment on my size.

Dearest daughter, I love you

and I'd like to get to the bottom of why it takes you approximately 27 minutes to get out of a parked car.

The thing is, I'm worried. Is your sacrum messed up like mine? Have you suffered premature aging? Could something possibly be wrong with you?

It must be. It has to be.

Case in point: if I accidentally knock into the Lucky Charms box in the cupboard, you materialize at my feet. Your talent and willingness to run swiftly through the house and yard (often with a soundtrack, but I digress) is well known among members of this household.

So why, my dear, WHY is it a 27 minute exercise to get you to remove seatbelt and climb out of the car?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Texting. . . Tweeting. . . (or "How I learned to stop living and love the Web")

does anyone MySpace anymore? No?

Look, I think Twitter's kind of double rainbow these days, especially since I've expanded my massive Nathan Fillion crush to include a crush on Nathan Fillion's tweets (he loves geeks. I am a geek. Therefore, utilizing old school logic, Nathan Fillion loves me and come on, let's admit it, that's all I've ever wanted since he uttered the line "The use of a s-what?").

But who has the time, really, between repeated viewings of Hot Tub Time Machine, gestating, keeping a half-eye on the 2 already-gestated-and-born children and their massive pool-fort-invention outside, teaching Composition online, and editing this massive document full of really big words.

Still, I keep going to the Twitter homepage and staring at "Create an account." But doesn't it seem a little self-important to think that people will care about my tweets? Of course, I've labored under the idea that this little blogosphere is practically private and yet I seem to get visits from all sorts of places. Hrrrm. We'll see.

In other news, the children have now come inside for 4 plastic bags. To play with in the pool. Methinks more than a half-eye is necessary when these things are in play. . .

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An open letter to Corda at Children's Place in Aspen Grove, Littleton, CO

You suck.

Now look, I had a lovely time in your store on Tuesday when I purchased a few things off of the Monster Sale rack. You were sweet and very talkative and that's why my son, who loves sweet and talkative people, kind of took to you. And you were so sweet when he asked about where the suits were and said he meant wedding suits not swimming suits. You told us about your son's tux he wore years back, when he was the Budge's age, which you were getting ready to give to goodwill, and how cute your son looked in it. I thought you were very charming.

And then you made a fatal mistake: you told my son you would pack up that tux and bring it for him instead of sending it to Goodwill. You told him you would be back on Saturday. You smiled. You promised. You showed him the rack where it would be hanging in case you got off work before we managed to get there. And I memorized your name, because I was afraid something like this would happen.

On Wednesday he woke up and asked me if it was Saturday.
On Thursday he woke up and asked me if it was Saturday.
On Friday he woke up and asked me if it was Saturday.
This morning he didn't even ask. I could see on his face that he knew: It was Saturday. The boy looked like he was about to have puppies he was so happy.

So this afternoon, at 4 pm, we packed up and came to your shop to collect the tuxedo you volunteered, promised, and offered. I spent the day with a feeling of dread, to be honest. What if you didn't come through? After all, you are a stranger - and I'm the mother who would have to console him when five days' worth of anticipation crashed down upon him.

And it did. Crash, that is. When we walked in, he didn't see you, and his lit up face snuffed out. When I explained to the other cashiers that you were supposed to leave something for us and he ran to the rack you showed him and there was nothing? He whimpered a little.

When the cashiers called in back to see if the suit was there and it wasn't, he screamed.

And he kept screaming. He screamed and cried on the way out of the store. And on the sidewalk out front. And in Build-A-Bear where he and his sister intended to spend their cash from Grandma and Grandpa.

NOBODY in this world gets to disappoint my son like that but me, Corda. NOBODY. Do you understand me?

I have a lot of names I could call you, but I won't. You're a stranger. For all I know Children's Place's hiring practices are whack and you are a nutjob. And I doubt you'll ever read this. Regardless, you should know this: should I ever come to Children's Place again, and if you're there, I won't buy anything. I'll move stuff from rack to rack and I might even leave a scat-filled diaper in the dressing room, but I will not purchase a single thing from you. Those small efforts and blogging about you are my only recourse.

And here's a hint: Next time, don't make promises to a 4 year old. At least not mine. Your four year old might've been too stupid or frail to remember the promises of a stranger, but mine is not.

Baby Warm Leggings: DONE!

And a few modifications to go with the pattern in future uses -- first, I'd like to put a triangle patch in the crotch rather than sew it up straight, secondly, I'd like to cast off with an extra stretchy cast off (these are rather constricted, IMO). Finally, I'm keeping the modifications to the added stitches in the leg rows (rather than every other row toward the top, spread out over those 16 rows of straight knit).

Overall, a good first effort. I fell in love with this yarn, too. I got more. I think next time I'll work to match up the legs, though. I like the idea of a matching pattern as well.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bad news, friends:

I had to pull that one leg out and start over. It was too long and I realized my gauge was WAY TOO LOOSE. So I started over last night and this will give me a chance to fix the increase-row issue at the upper half of the legging pattern. Hopefully it will also give me a newborn or at least 0-3 sized leg.

Already I can tell it will be significantly shorter than the one I pulled out. So that's great.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First major baby knit. . .

and my first experience with sock-like knitting.

I'm making the Keeping Baby Warm leggings from this blog. I'm using Knitting Fever Indulgence, a discontinued yarn. It's creating some of the most interesting patterns. I look forward to finishing it.

Having read a few hints on the comments section at Ravelry, I've decided to mod the pattern a bit - and to knit on size 3s (I had them available) instead of the 2s the pattern calls for. I'm excited to finish these - and see the final product - so that I can, perhaps, consider making them with the beautiful Malabrigo sock yarn that Jill sent me OH SO LONG AGO!!! :)

(Of course, this means I have to have a girl, as that Mal sock yarn is AMAZING and purple.)

Update: I knit several inches last night and I'm in love. VERY much in love. With the yarn and its strange coloring and striping, with the tiny leg that is forming before my eyes. . . and with the baby legs that will eventually be inside them. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Fellow Citizens of Littleton,

It is 9 am on the 5th of July, so I thought I'd take a moment to write you a note of thanks.

Thank you, friends, for your concientious objection to shackling local legislation regarding the usage of blasting fireworks. I appreciate that you've made your point - from about 9 pm to about 1 am last night, to support and celebrate America's freedoms by breaking the law. When an unjust law stands, only the unjust abide it, or something, and I know that's what was going through your grain-alcohol addled brain at 12:57 a.m. when you let off your last firework. As it screamed its way into the sky (or my tree), I just know you said to yourself "God Bless America".

I especially like how *I*, the law-abiding neighbor who does NOT use fireworks that leave the ground on the 4th of July because they are illegal, has to stay up until the wee hours of the morn based on the noise and the potential for property damage. I think that's particularly neighborly of you, extending my enjoyment of the holiday and all.

I hope, this morning, at 9:15 am when I send my children outside to run in circles and scream at the top of their lungs because I've filled them with retribution-focused early-morning sugar, you recognize that they, too, are protecting their freedom to be an asshole.

God Bless America, neighbors. And God bless your hangover when I unleash my children upon it.

P.S. Anything I find in my yard from your jerkish displays will be returned over the fence. Kthanksbye.

Edited to add an update: It's 9:35 am and my daughter is currently losing her schmidt on the back porch. She's shrieking "LET ME COME INSIDE" at the top of her lungs. This is GLORIOUS. One couldn't ask for a better morning.
What have I been working on? I know it's been awhile and inquiring minds want to know.

First off, I organized the Relay for Life Lids for Life knitting and crocheting- wherein we received well over 100 hats for sale and donation to Methodist Cancer Center in Omaha, NE. That should probably be its own post - it was just an awesome experience and I have some VERY talented friends and family.

But now I've been knitting for myself, sort of. Well, actually for baby. My first baby knit was this umbilical cord hat - but the gauge was all wrong and it looks to be about the right size for a 1 year old. The cotton is SUPER soft and while it's hard to tell from the picture, there are two colors of yarn - an orange and a deeper red. I really, really like this cotton. I wish I knew whose it was - it was leftover from earlier knits when I didn't really pay attention to these kinds of things. That's unfortunate, I know.

I moved on to this:
This one is a top-down bonnet (from Ravelry it's the Top-Down Anime bonnet). I made it in newborn size out of the softest most beautiful wool I had in my stash - it's di.Ve Attumno in Desert Shadow. I wanted to make matching mittens, but I didn't have enough left (I had one skein of this burning a hole in my needles - but there's really not much there at all!! After the cuffs on these mittens I had only a tiny ball left. The top part of the mittens was made with a much less soft wool, but it was readily available in the stash. Of course these tiny mittens will swallow any newborn - my guess is they'll go up to the elbow or so, but what the heck. Why not?
Finally, I'm working on a project for one of Tim's coworkers. This is that same top-down bonnet (now that I've gotten over the figure 8 cast-on, I really love this one). I made this out of a Dark Horse yarn - it's super soft AND a leftover from another project as well. Mittens are on the way for this one - I'll do the simple 6 month old mittens (this bonnet is in an infant size rather than newborn) but I'm going to add some garter stitch to them in order to help them match the bonnet. I just haven't figured out what or where yet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, well. . . my floor obsession

has been fulfilled.
We now have hardwoods throughout the house. After approximately 12 hours (between 2 rooms and 1 hallway) and for the low price of $25, the house now has hardwoods throughout. The latest room?

I am delighted. Next up? Painting the bathroom and the closets, but that might require a new post. . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zombie Dreams

So I woke up at 4:45 a.m. with a start. I'd had a horrible nightmare. Scene: Dad's house, but it was a giant mansion in Montana (Sorry Dad, in my dream world, you'd gone long down the NRA path to stockpiling, but in dream world that was a good idea seeing as zombies were taking over). The windows are screened over with titanium screening (yeah, Dad's awesome. He's got everything) and the house is triple reinforced with 2 porches built around the perimeter.

The family is having a comfy breakfast of. . . canned beans. Then Lilly decides to take Dad's two dogs out to porch #2 for a walk. Of course, Tim goes with her. There's a break in the screen - and one dog jumps through - the other right after it. They greet another dog on the ground, then jump back in - but they've CAUGHT THE ZOMBIE so we violently kick the dogs out, all the while wondering WTF perimeter 2 had a breach built into the system. Dumb dumb dumb. Then I turn and Lilly's got a bloody nose - she caught the zombie too. Then I run inside but Tim's there on the porch holding our little girl. I get inside, lock the doors, then catch some sort of OCD and wash my hands. . . in our drinking water. And end scene.

So let me tell you what's cool about this dream:
  • Dad had titanium fencing. Rockin.
  • His house? Awesome
  • My husband = good father. Way better than me, right? Because I ran. . . and he stayed and doled out the lovin' and caught the zombie.

Now let me tell you what's totally wrong about this dream:

  • My Dad, given the opportunity to install titanium fencing, would NEVER leave an 18" by 18" gap. EVER. Even if he ran out of fencing, something else would be there. Steel. Old batteries duct taped together. Something. Dad might build some funny rigs, but they're always solid.
  • Dogs? No way dude. Everybody who's seen a zombie movie knows that dogs are only a good idea if they can't catch the zombie. If they can't, they make great companions. But if they catch the zombie, they just give you one more reason not to sleep.
  • I like Zombieland. I like my zombie movies FUN and DELIGHTFUL. I don't dig on a zombie movie that's all moral-conundrum and hellish dilemmas. No way dude. I want Cheers's Woody bashing in zombie heads with a guitar. Hell yeah.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bad Homeowner, postscript:

Well, maybe I'm OK.
Let's look:

Before: Note dust-colored carpet. Please also note this duct-tape-lover's method of rolling said carpet to put in the garbage. It's so neat and tidy, isn't it?

Now here we are with uncovered floors. Rough, but we got rid of 30 years of dust, so that's worth something, right? After a few suggestions from the internet and friends online, I opted to treat the dark stains with OxyClean Pet Stain Enzyme Remover (the cheaper of the available enzyme cleaners: $5 on sale at PetSmart). I applied the remover, generously soaking the area, then covered with saran wrap (as directed by one of billions of internet tutorials I found). I then re-attacked the area with the remover and discovered something was turning white. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I grabbed a putty knife and scraped the nastiness off of the floor. I don't think it was wax: I'm fairly certain it was some sort of adhesive. Whatever it was, it's gone now. There were still slight stains after I went through the enzyme treatment, so I treated with hydrogen peroxide ($1) and left it to sit for about an hour before reapplying the peroxide. I allowed everything to dry for about 4 hours, then I covered it with a coat of Orange Glo Floor Refinisher ($15). This is a thin, self-levelling polyurethane product that, I'll be honest, is miraculous. It's infomercial awesome.


(If you turn this photo 90 degrees, you'll be looking at the same areas you see in the photo above it - what appears in the upper left of the 2nd photo is the upper right of this photo. What used to be a dark black stain now appears to be. . . somewhat disclored wood floor.)

I keep talking to Tim about it, not because I'm proud of myself, but because I'm just so amazed. Stunned, even.

Thank you friends for the recommendation. And thank you Floor Dr. Google, for coming through.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Diary of a Bad Homeowner, Part II:

I forgot to mention another project I've been working on!
The house-flippers who did strange renovations (and chose strange paint colors) installed beautiful tiled floors in the bathroom, kitchen, and entryway.
Then they failed to seal the grout between the tiles.
Being a had homeowner, I had no idea that grout required anything but the occasional scrub. Over the ensuing years, then, our grout went from a beautiful off-white to. . .
This. It's horrible, I know. I'll have you know that this is after some good old fashioned elbow-greased hand-scrubbing. Sadly, that dirt has permanently fused with the grout. The only way to remove it is to remove the grout. But you can. . . cover it. I found a product at my local Home Depot (after perusing for hours because I'm a girl and I feel weird asking for help there which is dumb because every time I DO ask for help they make me feel awesome and empowered but hey that's my hangup to get over, huh, and besides 2 hours in Home Depot sans children on a Saturday is 2 hours of wandering bliss, right?) that was a latex paint AND sealant for grout. Easy peasy, right? Just grab a paint brush, paint the grout, and meticulously clean the sealant from any tile with which it comes into contact.

Voila. Look at the upper part of that picture -- see those beautiful grout-lines? Amazing.

Okay look, I'll be honest. I started this project in March of '09. Maybe even February. I did the kitchen and it was beautiful. Then I put everything away and vowed to do the rest later. It occurs to me now, though, that I have about 6 months to do these sorts of projects before I run out of spare hands to do these sorts of projects, so I finished the rest of the tile in the house.

I feel pretty awesome.

Diary of a Bad Homeowner, Part I:

So we bought our house 5 years ago and got the keys about 5 days before we moved in. I had such plans - PAINT the thing on the inside, top to bottom (to rid ourselves of the flat pea green paint the seller had "custom made" for the house), rip up the carpets, consider reconditioning the floors, and turn the patio door around so it was no longer backwards.
Instantly, those plans melted into some painting here and there, ripping up the carpet in our Master bedroom, cursing those little tack strips and vowing that if the carpet ever got ripped up it would be by my dollar and someone else's hand. Then we fell into the chaos of home ownership: a few new appliances, a backed up sewer, a sprinkler system that froze on the first of May, you know, things like that.
And since then, I have hated our carpets. Look, it's not bad carpet - it's Berber that's held up strangely well, covering up the fact that it was once white but is now entirely gray and is probably 20 years old. I knew we had hardwoods under the carpet - throughout the house - but what I didn't know was the condition of the hardwoods.
And here's where I should tell you something about myself: Typically speaking, if I cannot finish it in a day, I don't start it. I grade all of my students' essays in a day, upload an entire unit in a day, try to complete each and every home project I take on in. . . you guessed it. . . a day. This, as you all know (and I do too) is absolutely unreasonable when it comes to larger projects like, say, pulling up carpet and reconditioning hardwoods. Hardwood floors take time. They take effort. But here's what's lovely: They don't spark 3 hour long allergy attacks in my husband.
So while we were out of town, I decided I was going to pull up the remaining carpets in our house. I would take my time, yes. There's the pulling up carpet, hacking it to bits to put in the trash, using needle-nose pliers to pull the staples, crow-barring the tack strips, then the dust, dust, and more dust, and the cleanup. Oy. So I would do it. . . and being pregnant, I would do it slowly.
And then came last night.
At about midnight, I decided to go back and pull up a corner. Just to see what was underneath. Unfortunately, I picked the most damaged and horrid corner of the room. . . but within 2 minutes of showing Tim, he began to have a terrible allergy attack. I KNEW I couldn't abide keeping these carpets - we're ALL keeled over with allergies right now and I'm telling you, it's the carpet.
So today, it began.

This is the room at nearly the beginning of the project. It's hard, really, to get a good idea of what the carpets look like up close. Suffice to say, their original coloring should match the wall on the inside of the closet. It doesn't.

This is what I like to call the "bad" corner. There's some major wear and tear as well as animal-related (I can only assume, because I choose to assume a dog left that mess and not another urinating animal) staining. From what I understand, short of sanding and refinishing, we might be able to ligten but we'll never remove the stains. I think I'm OK with that, so long as we have no more carpet and can, you know, breathe. There's always throw rugs, right?

So here's the finished project - in this photo is the area with the greatest wear and tear. The other side of the room was most likely covered with a rug or a bed.
And here's the beautiful side. Oh, look at those sweet shiny floors. Forget raindrops on roses, hardwoods are one of my favorite things. And this is just day one - I've pulled everything up and hand-washed (with vinegar and water) the floor, but I haven't used any finishing treatments or stain removers on it yet. Those pictures will likely follow. . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Okay, for real, an update.

What I've been working on is this: Hats for a sale at Relay for Life that we called "Lids for Life." Hours upon hours of knitting . . . and a most unfortunate thing happened to us.

Precious few sold. As a fundraiser, I'd be quick to note that we made nearly $150 on the sale of hats, so it wasn't a failure BUT we had so many leftovers, it's a shame. The leftover hats are destined to make their way to the Methodist Estabrook cancer center in Omaha, NE, where my stepfather did his cancer treatments. I hope they bring warmth and joy to the patients there.

I have pictures. Unfortunately, I'm still on the road - I'll revisit in a few days with photographs of everyone's lovely work. And it was LOVELY. I cannot begin to share the kind of talent that exists among my friends and family.

And now, in other news, since I'm 16 weeks pregnant and felt my first big from-the-outside belly kick yesterday?

We're moving on to some baby knitting. Yessireee, it might just be time to knit some BABY stuff. :)
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