Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All Time Favorite Gifts

Nora wrote this post about favorite gifts you have given or received. I loved the idea and I have been dredging up the ghosts of Christmas past to come up with my favorites...

1. Last Christmas my mom put a black shawl on her Christmas list. Just one to throw over her shoulders in her cold church on Sunday mornings. She was never so surprised at a gift than when she unwrapped one that I knit for her.



She never expected me to actually knit one. She taught me to knit several years ago and it didn't really "take" until the last couple of years. She cried when she opened it. Always the sign of perfectly received present.

2. My grandmother needlepointed stockings for everyone in the family one year. The amazing thing was the personal attention to details she put in each one. My mom's had a piano, a baton, yarns for needlepointing. The main focale point was two blond children (my brother and I) decorating a christmas tree.

3. The year my father bought me a stack of books and cd's. It was the first and only year he bought my Christmas presents himself. My mother and my stepmother had always done it for him. It was the year after he and my stepmom divorced and the year before he died. The first and last Christmas gift my father ever chose for me himself. And he obviously thought about it and picked things he knew I would like.

4. My mom and I are making dumpling bags for all my neices this year. I don't know yet how they are going to like them, but the experience of knitting them with my mom has been priceless.

5. The first Christmas I spent with my in-laws I was 27 and Paddy-O and I were still only dating, but serious. His parents came to my mom's house for the holiday. I spent a lot of time and effort choosing things that are particularly North Carolinian for his parents. Hand-crafted bees wax candles from Old Salem, a book on golfing in NC, a dried flower garland to hang over a doorway (still in my mil's den), baked moravian cookies. I put so many hopes and dreams into the gifts - that they would find my home-state lovely and welcoming. That they would be glad to visit again. That they would love me and want me to be a part of their family.

How about you? What are your favorite gifts?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Finished Object

This little sweater has been done for awhile, but I finally managed to get Paddy-O to upload the camera so that I could share a photo...




The Wonderful Wallaby knit for the Sproglette from Blue Faced Leicester hand-dyed in the Coastal Sunset colorway by Morwenna at Mosaic Moon. Took me about 3 weeks of bus knitting to knock this little baby out. She had the gall to say to me afterwards that she really would prefer I take the hood off.

She took it back when I told her I would just give it to Widget if she didn't want the hood.

Friday, November 14, 2008

An old love...

I am so bad at this blogging thing. Mostly, I think, because I have had so little to say and yet my life has been so full.

But one thing I wanted to share is that I seem to have found my reading mojo again. It has been gone since Sproglette was born over 4 years ago. Gone in a bad way.

See, I used to read constantly. Ever since I learned to read I have always had a book with me. They were my friends when no one else wanted to be. Yes, I was the little girl with the horrible buck teeth (then braces) and the thick, thick coke-bottle bottomed glasses that were always a big heavy plastic frame to hold the weight of the lenses. So to escape from playground ridicule, I read books. My grandmother was a librarian, and I don't even remember getting my first library card, but I have had one ever since, wherever I have lived.

Up until I had kids, I would go to the library once a week, check out 3-5 books, read them and return them the next week. Rinse repeat. Almost always novels. I love science fiction and fantasy, classics, contemporary stuff, well, really, all of it. I have a BA in English with a minor in Comparative Literature. In college I would sometimes be reading 4-5 novels at once.

After Sproglette was born, I delved into parenting books like it was nobody's business and then I just stopped. I couldn't read the way I liked to read anymore - there were too many other demands on my time. I could no longer stay up until 4 am finishing a book. I couldn't stay awake when I got in the bed to even try a chapter a night. There are so many great books I started and then just couldn't continue with because I couldn't remember what I had read the night or 3 nights before (Hello, Neal Stephenson? I love you, and I own the entirety of The Baroque Cycle, but I just can't do it right now. Maybe when the Widget goes to kindergarten I will be able to give you the attention you deserve).

So I have started reading again finally. And I didn't start with anything too long, or too complicated. And I am not rereading something I have read in the past either. And they are novels and they lovely, and somehow I am managing to read them fast enough to finish them.

So for my own purposes, I am going to keep track of books finished in my sidebar. November is the beginning of Novels again for me.

Hello old friend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Book Review

Have you read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? I always thought, as a child, that it was a lovely lesson in giving and being selfless. We read it to kids at summer camp as councilors to teach about sharing and as a parable of Christ's sacrifice for humanity.

I pulled out my old ratty copy the other night to read to the Sproglette. As I turned the pages I grew more and more horrified. That poor tree. Just kept giving and giving while the boy kept taking and taking. Eventually the tree is only a stump and yet is so proud to be able to give the old man (that stole her apples, her leaves, branches, limbs and trunk for his own selfish gains) a place to sit his tired, selfish ass down.

Funny, now I don't see this as a parable of god's love for his children anymore. It really rings as misogynistic - how a man can take and take from his wife or mother and never have to give anything back. The ideal woman would be happy just to have sacrificed everything for her man/child.

Not this woman. Not this tree. I'm going to teach my kids that we don't use people for our own personal gain. That we take care of ourselves. That the best friendships and relationships are full of giving and taking. That we don't expect something for nothing. That even when we are given gifts we are gracious and say thank you and are appreciative. That we never take the wonderful people we have present in our lives for granted. We say "I love you" to each other everyday, many times a day.

And The Giving Tree? Not so sure what to do with it now. I don't want to give it away in case it might infect someone...

More Politics...

This is hysterical...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

teeny school rant...

OK, what responsible adult thinks that putting a sharp, real, metal paring knife in the hand of my just-turned-four year old is a good idea?

Fortunately, the pediatrician said she didn't need stitches in the flap of skin she cut off while cutting veggies for soup at school today.

That's right. School.

Now I admit to knowing about the knives, but I was assured that the knives were for the "older" children in the class and only with very careful supervision and teaching.

Um, yeah. Somehow, I don't think my child (who is chronologically the youngest kid in her class of 4-6 year olds) was really ready for knife work.

Obviously!

teeny work rant...

So I am in the Intensive Care Unit float pool at work. That means that on a given day I go to whichever ICU or stepdown unit needs me. As of today, I also may be called upon to work in the Emergency Department (ED). As I am getting paid an insane amount of money (in nursing standards) to do this, I am trying to go with the flow.

But as I toured the ED here all I could think was how crowded, disorganized, messy and dirty it seemed. I am going to hate it. Plus I don't take care of children. Just. Don't. Do. It. Makes me cry. AND I don't do acute psych either. And there are lock down rooms there. It is a state university hospital with a psych ward and everything. I understand they had to call 6 security guards in last week to take down a guy in paper jammies who tried to hang himself with a bedsheet in a room with rubber furniture and when the nurse INTERRUPTED HIM, he cold-cocked the nurse in the eye. Yeah. I am excited.

Plus my anal retentive qualities that make me an excellent ICU nurse are probably not going to feel very happy in the "focused assessment" world of the ED.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

It is just 12 hours at a time though, right?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Musings on Mothering part 1

You know those women that seem born to be a mother? My sister in law is one. Four kids. When the twins were born, their older sister was almost 11 months old, and their older brother had just turned three. I know now that I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old that I would not have survived it. Folks, I would have dropped my basket for real. There is no way, no how, that I would have been able to have 4 kids under the age of 4 in my house and made it work without killing myself or my husband. I think I would have probably held it together enough not to kill the kids, but there is a good possibility that I would have hit the road and not looked back.

My sister-in-law was always a baby person. She always was a babysitter. She was the one at weddings or family gatherings that was down on the floor playing with the babies. And I admire her so much for what seems to be second nature to her.

Because it is not natural for me. I have never thought of myself as a "kid person". I mean, I always knew that once they hit the age of reason, or first grade or so, that I would be ok. And I hoped that the fact that children that were my own would be easier than other people's kids. And they are.

But it is a struggle. A daily struggle to be the mother I want to be. To be the mother I want my children to have. And I wonder if the fact that I know it is a struggle makes me work a little harder to say the right thing. To apologize when I know I haven't been the greatest mom. To research the mother shit to death trying to make informed decisions about how to raise my kids to be well adjusted, happy productive members of society that care about their fellow man and aren't a fascist, or a serial killer, or (gulp) a republican.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Fairy Tale They Should Have Told Us

From my friend Gigi...

Once upon a time, in a land far away...

A beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said "Elegant lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper young prince that I am.

And then my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother. Where you can prepare meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so."

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sauteed frog legs seasoned in white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself..."I don't fucking think so."

Politics...

I promise I am not going to do this, well, not often anyway...

But here are just two little nuggets from me on the current political scene...

One is from my friend Jon...




The other is my observation that Sarah Palin is disturbingly reminiscent to Dolores Umbridge.




OK, maybe she doesn't exactly look like her, but she sure is acting like her!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Door Obsession

I found this at work the other day...




You will have to excuse the poor quality picture, I only had my phone to take a picture with. I don't go armed with the big gun camera to take care of sick people. I usually don't have time for lunch, but this door to nowhere really grabbed my psyche and I couldn't stop going to the end of the hall to look at it.

In case you can't tell, it is a door, on the third floor of the building. I am sure that at some point, it had a balcony, or a staircase outside of it. But now, it leads to thin air. I find it comforting, somehow. Like maybe it leads to a place that I can't see yet. And since it is in a hospital, a strange convoluted hospital that has grown in the strange ways that public buildings do (when they get the funding to throw a new building up, it doesn't always mesh with the rest of the architecture), I think it could be the door to the next plane, the afterlife, or heaven, whatever you may believe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Crazy am I?

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||| 30%
Schizoid |||||||||||||||| 62%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||| 54%
Antisocial |||||||||||||| 58%
Borderline |||||||||||| 46%
Histrionic |||||| 30%
Narcissistic |||||||||||| 46%
Avoidant |||||||||| 34%
Dependent |||||| 26%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||| 54%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

A New Beginning


The school year has begun. The Sproglette is going to a local waldorf school five mornings a week and it is bliss. She happily skips off to change from her sparkly pink shoes (so un-waldorf) into the slippers she wears in the classroom. She likes her teacher and is getting into the rhythm of the day.

I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive. She is the youngest child in the class of 4-6 year olds, and while I know she is very verbal and imaginative for her age, she is tiny compared to most of the other kids in her class. I think this will always be the case, though. Sproglette is just a petite thing, I must just be content with that and help her to understand that being fast/smart/agile can be just as good as being BIG, which is what she really wants!

This gives me five mornings a week to spend with just Widget and that is really a beautiful thing. For the most part, he is a cheerful, happy, cuddly go-with-the-flow kind of guy. And while I think it would be easier to clean my house, have coffee with a friend, grocery shop, etc. without his help, I think I will be very sad to see him start preschool next year.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PSA

I thought that we had made it clear to our families, four years ago, that plastic toys - especially talking, beeping, noisy ones - were verboten as gifts to our children.

Well evil found its way into our home tonight, wrapped in "happy birthday" paper. Let me introduce you to the "Diego Talking Rescue Pack" Look at the picture. Look at it hard. Memorize this. Do not, I repeat, do not, allow this into your home if the happiness and sanity of your children is important to you.
This evil disguised as a toy, will bring strife among your children. Obsession, jealousy, ranting, raging, screaming, crying, hitting, pushing, and hatred is sowed with this toy.

Two children ended up in tears, crying over this thing. Widget still whimpering "pack" as he went to sleep. Sproglette begging to just touch it one more time.

Maybe we are wrong. But this thing now resides in the trunk of our car, hidden away until we can figure out how to safely dispose of it. If we weren't in the middle of a deluge and it weren't hard plastic, we would have burned it in the backyard.

Beware. And be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Best and the Worst

Two years ago today, this little sweetheart entered the world. Not without putting mama through the wringer first though... I think he has made up for it by begin the sweetest, cuddliest, most even-tempered baby/child since.

With the Sproglette, I had a pretty zen labor - as zen as you can get after 66 hours. Booker's labor felt wrong. I just knew something was not right in there. I spent 7 hours in transition had a bumpy hellish emergency ambulance ride from my lovely birthing center to the hospital, cussed out a couple of nurses (for which I apologized profusely later) Being a nurse you would have thought I would have had at least the tiniest bit of self control - that is how far gone I was, how far removed I was from my inner core. I was lost in the pain but not a normal, this is getting you a baby pain. This was frantic inner scream that something was wrong, and the helplessness to move out of the way of the speeding train.

After my uterus shoved him out of me in a gush - so slippery and fast that my midwife flipped him up onto my belly in order not to drop him on the floor - I felt the most overwhelming feeling of relief that I would never have to do this again. As they whisked him to the baby docs to suction the meconium, I was just so relieved he was alive and out of me.

This is the labor that said to my partner and I , no more. We have replicated ourselves, three would be tempting the fates, three would be selfish, three would be too much.

I am so glad he is here, and he is worth it all. I did have to go through the worst of myself to get him, but he is the best of rewards.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Perfect Babysitter...

... does not exist. In fact, I am beginning to think that mostly imperfect is few and far between as well. Lots of interest in just afternoons, or once in awhile. I need a sitter 1-2 days a week, in my home, for the entire day. Heck, you would only have to take care of the little one in the morning - the big one goes to preschool until 12:30.

So the great search continues. I guess we have been lucky up until this point. Now we are struggling to find someone young, energetic and fun and most importantly, can work when we need them.

Really. Who wouldn't want to babysit for these angels? In fact, why aren't people paying us to let them have the honor?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31, 2004 at 12:32

Then...

Now...


The Sproglette was born after 66 hours of grueling back labor. But she still managed to come out the vajajay, not by surgeon's incision. I try to avoid the scalpel at all costs. You can see I was exhausted, but happy...

This sweet child made me a mother, four years ago. She has changed my life profoundly and I love her to pieces. I just can't imagine life without her in it. I just hope I mother her half as well as she deserves.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where have I been?

I know - it has been almost two weeks since I last posted. But life has happened with a vengeance and I think I have been too sad and too stressed out to write anything down. I would rather escape into YOUR blogs and get out of my own mind.

So here are a few things that have peaked my interest lately...

Brooklyn Tweed's free "Turn a Square" hat pattern. I love this man. If I was still in the game, I would totally stalk him. He has impeccable knitting style. A great eye for color. And if he will knit it and wear it, I can knit it for Paddy-O. Jared inspires me.

After spending time knitting in hospital waiting rooms with my sister in law, I recruised Knit and Tonic's patterns. Since my BIL, his wife and kids live in Southern California, I have a hard time coming up with knits for them. Not a hat, mitten or scarf kind of place. As Wendy Bernard knits and writes from SoCal, I am getting some ideas for future gifts for them. They loved watching me knit. Maybe a cute little shrug for my cute little neice...

The fact that these two mama's do all they do with four children a piece just floors me. Usually they inspire me to do great things with my kids not make me feel like a failure because I don't do more...

VeganF has lots of nutritious yet cute vegan food going on. Makes me want to be vegan all of a sudden - well maybe vegetarian. I don't think I could do without milk. Or butter. Or cheese. Or yogurt.

And Misty manages a household of six, and writes almost as many blogs. On a daily basis. Sometimes I comfort myself by thinking that she is faking us all out...

And Delilah and the Metromama are always entertaining.

One nice thing about all the car travel we have had to do lately is that I am making real progress on my summer knitting goals. The socks are done. The Confection Cowl is done. The Clap is over halfway through (sounds like I need a better dose of antibiotics to call it that).

Oh and check out Split Yarn. She is making the most awesome camera straps. As soon as I have some extra cash, I am going to have one. Preferably this one.

A real post tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Trying to Vacation

My dh frustrates the living SHIT out of me!

Let me preface this by saying that I am an insufferable lunatic before leaving on vacation. It is because I actually want to leave the house and GET to my vacation. I pack the night before, I have suitcases by the door, I would load the car, but dh would unload it and repack it to his mysterious anal retentive specifications so I don't bother with that anymore. Why do more work, right? He also won't trust that I have checked and locked all windows - he has to look behind me.

So when dh is still sleeping when I want to leave, I get nutty. I get cranky. I get mean. All pent up anger and frustration and any grudges I may be harboring, those emotions are going to explode out on my Paddy-O on the day we are leaving on vacation.

I recognize this. I have been trying to grow as a person. I have been scheduling departure times for later in the day to give him space to wake up and help. I have been saying little mantras to myself to try and stay centered and focused on the fun we are going to have not the absolute hell that is leaving.

So we are supposed to be going to the mountains today. I set a departure time for 10. In my mind that is 11, just to make him move along, and me not crazy when we aren't out of the house by 10. Widget woke up looking for his paci at 3:20. DH was right there trying to get him back in bed. It didn't work. I took over. At 4, dh is still not in bed. I go downstairs to see what the problem is. It seems that the cd-rom on his computer is malfunctioning and he has to fix it. So he can burn new cd's. For our trip.

I go back to bed. I stew until 4:30. Then I go downstairs and explode a little. Because I am not going to be able to drive 4.5 hours on 5 hours of sleep. And he can't do it on the 3 hours he is going to get if I get him out of bed at 8. And that is if he is asleep by 5 am. I wonder why the music we have is not sufficient for our trip. I say that it is a nice idea to have new mixed cd's for traveling but is it truly worth an all-nighter before we leave on vacation? Is it truly worth freaking your wife out to the point that she is about to have a massive stroke and either die or spend the rest of her life in a nursing home where you will bring the children you are raising by yourself to see her drooling, slack, bedsore ridden body? Is it? Are a few new mixed CD's really worth all that?

Because I am brow-bulging irate at this point, sleeping is pretty much out of the question. I think I fell back to sleep about 15 minutes before my cherubic children woke up at 6:15.

"Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way!"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Steamy Saturday

I don't think I have ever seen Sproglet's hair this curly before. It is so humid, you could cut the air with a knife. I have lived in the south all my life and I have never been so damp without actual precipitation.

I made her take her little pink phillies ball cap off to snap the pic - the reason why the top of her hair is so flat! BTW, she put this ensemble together this morning all by herself. Grandmom and Pop Pop would be so proud!

In knitting news, I have dropped my first row of stitches on Syd's Clapotis (rav link) and so far I am pretty pleased with how it is turning out. This is the first one I have knit (notice I said first) since I have some pretty amazing silk/merino yarn that Joyce from Elliebelly dyed for me in the blues I love...

So I am cruising right along with my summer knitting goals. Socks done. Cowl started, Clapotis on a roll. Booker's shorts, well, they are in time out. I have done the body, and split for the legs and one leg is partially done. But I am starting to run out of the main body color and they are probably going to be really short shorts!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My First Sock


Here it is. My first sock. Done one size 2.25 double pointed needles with a 3X1 ribbing at the cuff. Loosely followed The Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe.

Sorry - no clue what the yarn was. I lost the ball band. The magenta tended to pool a little, but not too badly. One that one spot on the top of the foot makes me sweat a little. Not enough to rip it out.

I must admit the second one is done too and it is officially a pair. All done as bus knitting. Considering that my total bus time is about 15 minutes 1-2 times a week, I think the fact that it took me 3 months to knit these is pretty good. I also had to frog the first sock, like, 5 times. Fortunately the second sock cast on and went quickly - I think because I refused to stop when I grafted the toe of the first. That will definitely be my technique for avoiding second sock/mitten/glove/sleeve syndrome from now on.

So one of my knitting goals is done! YAY!

Now back to this...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Little Chefs

The kids and I made cupcakes for Paddy-O's birthday. Cooking with kids. Unless you are anal about cleanliness, a great deal of fun. I am, obviously, not anal about cleanliness as I am still finding sprinkles around my kitchen.

So freaking cute. Widget was intent on getting as many sprinkles as possible on each cupcake so that no icing was visible. I had to shake them off before putting them on the cake plate. Sproglet made sure she had an even coating on each one before pronouncing each one "finished".

Here is the finished product. They were pretty yummy, and the kids had a blast.

I have many plans for more cooking projects including the two of them. We already do homemade pizza pretty regularly as they love rolling out the dough and topping them. I don't mind the mess so much, since we are almost guaranteed they will eat what they make.


Do you have favorite kid friendly kitchen recipes?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I am so lame

So I realized that I have had little to say over the last week or so and feel really lame about it. I read so many interesting blogs that have interesting things to say on a daily basis and really want to say to myself "Buck up! Do something interesting today just so you can tell the blog".

But really. Then I hear myself and realize how completely inane that sounds. How about if I just tell you that life has been SOOOO interesting over the last week I just can't even describe it to you?

One very lovely thing is THIS! Sharon at Three Irish Girls had a contest and I managed to win! I never win anything! So I have some very yummy new superwash merino coming my way. Which I have been wanting to try. As you know, with the two small children - wash and wear is very important. I handwash a lot of woolies and I would like the option of throwing it in the washer - even on delicate. Especially when dirt has been ground in by those kids that come in from playing looking like street urchins.

I am thinking mittens and hat for Widget. What do you think? Any better ideas?

As for the rest - I am off to lead my VERY interesting life that I am just too busy to blog about.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Halfway through

So Paddy-O's birthday was yesterday and he is currently sleeping in for his father's day present. We have some cards etc and plans to grill out with another family late afternoon.

The kids were so cute. We made chocolate cupcakes (because that is what the Sproglet says everyone should have for their birthdays). They sprinkled them up and sang when PO got home from his business trip. The Sproglet put 3 and 7 candles on the cupcakes and we gave him his present (tickets to see Wilco in August with babysitter already lined up) and homemade cards.

Then after the kids were in bed a couple of friends came over and watched a movie while the kids slept and we went to dinner at Elaine's on Franklin where a good friend waited on us and made the event extra special. They printed out special menus just for Paddy-O with Happy Birthday printed on them. We had the fois gras which I know is totally socially UN-conscious of me, but I can't help it - once a year or so I have to have some because it is so freaking wonderful. PO had bunny, I had tuna tartare that was divine. I can't really comment on the bunny because, while I can manage to eat the goose that has been force fed (they ARE annoying animals) I can't eat the sweet little bunnies. Even though I know they are plentiful, reproduce, well, like rabbits, and come from a local farm. PO did say it was quite yummy. I had the perfect dessert - lemon cheesecake with chocolate graham crust and blueberry compote. PO had something with chocolate because that is the way he goes. Damn it was good!

Once I have the camera thing figured out I will have pictures to share on this big event. The problem with having a technologically savvy partner is that he does strange things that are too complicated for me to figure out. Like I can download the pictures to my computer but they are in raw format and I can't figure out how to make them into JPeg to upload them to the web. If anyone has any idea how to do this in iPhoto, please chime in!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer Knitting Goals

I am going to try to set some knitting goals with a bunch of other knitters and see if they can help to keep me on track just a little. Maybe at the same time I can start to wear away at my unfinished objects so that I don't feel so guilty every time I start to dream of something new. All of these projects are knit from stash so no new money outlays either...

1. Sydney's graduation Clapotis made from Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Single Sink in the colorway Rook-y.

2. A new pair of picky shorts for Booker with handpainted yarn from Selah in the Dirty Knees colorway with khaki trim.

3. Finish my first pair of socks. I can't remember the yarn as I lost the ball band. Basic socks loosely based on the Yarn Harlot's recipe. I have one sock done and I have turned the heel on the second one, so this one (hopefully) will be knocked out quickly.

4. The Confection Cowl in the Plucky Knitter's Merino/Cashmere Sport in the colorway Captain Wentworth.

5. The new Knitty has me wanting to do Spring Forward in Dream In Color Smooshy - either in Spring Tickle or Some Summer Sky. I have both in stash and I think this might make a nice second sock project.

I am not the fastest knitter, and I have 2 children under 4 that both have birthdays to plan this summer. I think this is (hopefully) a realistic yet still optimistic goal for the next few months. Actually, if truth be told, if I get 1-3 done, it will be a job well done for me and I will be pleased!

Time to stop posting and get knitting!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lots of Birthday Issues

Is 4 and 2 already too old to have a combination birthday party? Widget doesn't actually have any friends his age so the same family and friends with families would be invited to both parties. And they are less than a month apart as well. The cost would be less to do both at once. What do you think?

And Paddy-O turns 37 on Saturday. How much does it suck to have his birthday be the day before Father's day? A lot. I am having trouble coming up with a sitter to do anything adult like that night. I guess I could put the kids to bed, pop open a bottle of bubbly and jump his bones. That might be exciting enough for him. Sad, isn't it?

Any ideas on what to do with all these freaking summer birthdays are welcome...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hot as Stink

It has been too hot to move for the last few days here. Like over 100 and humid hot. Like Code Orange Ozone alert hot. Like can't take a deep breath outside.

And we are stir fucking crazy in the house. Nothing is worse than it being unbearably hot and having a toddler and a preschooler climbing the walls.

So this morning we attempted the park at 9. We were home by 10:30. Meltdowns all around - even trying to stay in the shade.

Yesterday I actually wasted water and sat in a chair fanning myself while spraying them with a hose as they rode their tricycles back and forth in front of me.

It is not supposed to be this hot this early. I am actually considering trying to convince Paddy-O to move us all north of here. I think I might could tolerate a snowy winter just thinking about this nasty bit of summer weather. Please remind me of this when I am complaining because it is less than 40 degrees in January.

Here it is - your moment of zen...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Looking for a new Hooch


Two months ago, we had to put our beloved boxer, Hooch, to sleep. He had cancer and an infection and he was quite old for a boxer at 11. Our decision was made simple by his suffering. Boxers, as a breed, love to please their people. So he was quite stoic until the end. When he stopped sleeping, we knew it was time. The Mr and I were able to be with him as our very compassionate vet put him to sleep.

A friend told me to wait a year before getting another dog and I have been trying to keep her advice in mind. I just don't think I can do it, though. This home needs a dog. There is a big hole in our lives without him.

I am not going to try to find a dog like Hooch - that way leads to heartache. I can hope for another dog with a playful, hopeful spirit like his. But I am really hoping the dog that finds us is maybe a little calmer. Hooch never really got used to having his number one position usurped by 2 babies and tolerated the children only. It would be nice to have a dog that enjoys the children and that is a playmate for them.

We are looking at a couple of different rescues local to us. This one and this one. Hopefully by fall we will have a new rescued boxer to love!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crazy Adventure

I am back from the trip that has had my "in-real-life" friends nodding while hiding a smirk and then talking about me behind my back.

Yes, I spent a long weekend with 5 other women that I only know from an internet message board. The main thing we have in common is that we were all pregnant and due with babies in August of 2006. But for some reason, as much as it may seem that I dropped my basket somewhere back there, it was one of the best times of my life.

We laughed, we cried, we drank lots of alcohol. I thought before hand that the worst that could happen is that there would be large periods of awkward silence that would make it possible for me to catch up on my sleep. The opposite happened - we talked and talked and I got less sleep than usual because I didn't want to miss a moment. It was truly magical.

I feel like I am completely rejuvenated. I am a much more patient mom today. I have so many new ideas about what I want to do with my kids (and my husband) because of the new perspective these 5 very different women from all over the country have given to my life.

So if you have been thinking that you need a weekend away to get a new outlook on your life - take it with your girlfriends. And consider doing it with the ones you have met on a message board, or blogging, or what ever your internet addiction is. I can't believe I had the courage and guts to just GO, but I am so incredibly thankful that I did.

Thanks KC moms! Lets start planning next year!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

3 year old humor

The Sproglette has started telling jokes. Mostly they make no sense at all, like this classic.

S: Knock, knock.
Me: Who's there?
S: Door knob.
Me: Door knob who?
S: Door knob on the door is broken!

Then she laughs hysterically for 5 minutes at her great with and she then starts a new one.

This morning, she took off on the chicken butt joke.

S: Mommy, guess what?
Me: What?
S: Chicken butt!
(I have a completely surprise non-fake laugh at this one - I didn't know she had heard the chicken butt joke)
S: Guess what?
Me: What?
S: Kangaroo butt! Guess what?
Me: What?
S: Baboon butt! Did you know they turn red, Mommy?
Me: Yes, they do, don't they?
S: Yeah - but only when it's "making" season.
Me: Making season?
S: Yeah - YOU know - when they want to make baby baboons! Silly Mommy! Guess what?
Me: What?
S: Elephant butt!
Me: Wow - you know a lot of these jokes, don't you!
S: Mommy, I got a million of 'em!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An Inappropriate Obsession

I have 2 children under the age of four. That means I would be a stark raving fool to start knitting lace. With beads no less.

But I keep putting this pattern, with beads and yarn into my shopping cart and almost buying it. Thanks to the Harlot herself. She has the SUPER power of suggestion. I don't know what it is. I almost bought a kit to knit socks with tiny leaves all over them because of hers. I am hoping this feeling is going to die down soon. Because I don't really need to commit suicide or filicide because one of cherubic children has fucked up the lace that I have no business knitting!

There! Now, if you see that I have started knitting lace before, say, August of 2011 when I gauge that the Widget will start kindergarten, then send help.

On another topic my mama weekend away - see my friend the MetroMama's post for today. She has put it so much better than I could. I will let you know how the weekend goes. Or let MM tell you and just link it!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Girl's Vacay

So I am going away next weekend for the first time since becoming a mama. For 3 whole nights. I am just so excited and nervous all at the same time. I know the Sproglette will be just fine - she rolls with the punches. Widget has never had anyone put him to bed at night but me. It is him that makes me nervous.


I just keep telling myself he will be surrounded by people that love him - the mister's parents are coming while I am gone - BONUS!!!! He will be fine.


Meanwhile, I am having a nervous breakdown deciding what to pack.


Not the clothing, mind you, but the knitting!


Obviously my goddaughter's Clapotis will be going. The second sock from my first pair socks will be great for the airplane trip. But what else? Another skein of sock yarn? I could start hats for the children for fall and knock that out.


Anybody got a stunner of an idea for me? I am taking suggestions!


Oh, and the mister is downloading a bunch of This American Life broadcasts to his ipod for me to take for the plane. (My ipod is on permanent disability, I do believe).
There is something incredibly sexy about Ira Glass. Kind of in the same way I think Kevin Spacey is geeky-hot. Let's face it, I am a geek, therefore I like other geeks. I think it goes back to just knowing that cutest boys in junior high were talking about my braces/glasses behind my back as they copied off my biology tests... Strong men are a dime a dozen. Give me a man with a brain and now we are cooking with gas!




Sunday, May 25, 2008

Iron Man

Yes, I saw a movie. In a theater. With popcorn and a big diet coke and Mr Cranky Mama. Pick your jaw up off the floor.

Mr. Cranky Mama was a comic book nerd as a child. He seems to be not too, too affected by this. It doesn't consume large blocks of time like, say, football, basketball, baseball and hockey season do. He doesn't have comics stashed away somewhere that he peruses at leisure whether on, or off the john. We just have to see all the comic based movies. That I can deal with.

Especially when they are starring Robert Downey Jr. I have always had the biggest crush on him. I can't help it. I am drawn to self destructive people like they are drawn to alcohol and drugs. I don't want to fix them. I don't want to heal them. Maybe I want to live vicariously through them because they do things I never would do.

My secret obsession with RDJ started with Less Than Zero, even though the movie was such a pale creature in comparison to the book. There really are very few books that I love just as much as movies...

Then there was Chances Are. Here is a link to the trailer
There just isn't much online about this movie. Probably because it was so terrible! Sybil Shepherd, Mary Stewart Masterson, and Bob. Sigh. I tried to explain the premise to my hubby and he got all skeeved out. I loved it even though it was so cheesy it was nachos.

Anyway, back to Iron Man. I enjoyed it. Very entertaining. And Gwyneth was good too. And Jeff Bridges (who is seared in my mind with roles like "the Dude" in The Big Lebowski, and the crazy broken radio host in The Fisher King) is a great villian. Did this movie change my life? Absolutely not. Did I fall asleep while watching? Nope - didn't even nod.

Nice date with the hubby movie. Glad we got away. Even if I am so tired this morning I am the extra super cranky mama.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Come on, dude... Don't mess with Lennon!

Small confession. I am a confirmed American Idol addict. It is embarrassing and I won't admit it to your face so don't even try.

But I am really fucking pissed off that wee David Archeleta, the prince of smarm, blasphemed John Lennon last night (and earlier in the season too). If you don't agree with the lyrics to probably one of the best songs ever written, it is simple don't sing it!

The little hand-wringing "Oh Gosh" LDS kid from Utah couldn't possibly sing "Imagine there's no heaven". Goodness no! Even though it's a song about no war and almost every major war in this world is based on someone's idea of god being wrong.

I draw the line at actually voting for AI, but you couldn't have paid me to vote for that particular crap. I got no problem with christians and their sects but find a song you can believe in, don't screw with Lennon. For god's sake!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Winning the Mother of the Year Over Here


Do you have those days when you feel you just aren't saying the right things? You aren't being an effective mother? You are pretty much fucking your child up for life? When they are 20, on drugs, a high school drop out sitting on the therapist's couch it all leads back to this day and the things you just didn't say right.

Except it isn't just one day. It is many days. I think I have more bad days than good. I am on a ship and at the capricious whim of an almost 4 year old captain. Then the almost 2 year old crazy ass first mate has you by the throat with his insane requests.

Today it was wanting to nurse at the park. I am down with the nursing in public, but at this stage, the child wants only to be able to enjoy my breasts in all their glory. So it is a struggle to try and maintain the teeny tiniest bit of modesty. Widget is pushing my shirt up to my chin so he can pat and hold my entire boob in between his hands as he nurses. We had a tussle over my cell phone, then he plucked one of the double pointed needles from the sock in progress that is in my purse. HE is why the knitting posts are few and far between. Widget is a professional saboteur in training.

The sproglet was all discombobulated when her friend, H, started playing with another child - an older girl. She must have been 8 or 9 and on the brink of puberty in her low-rise jeans with lace up legs and teeny breast buds. She pulled her shirt up to show us a scratch she had received and I really expected to see a naval ring there, or at least a tattoo.

Sproglet didn't want H to play with anyone but her. She was completely heartbroken, sobbing her heart out and whining that H wouldn't play with her because he only wanted to play with HER. H of course tells his mom, my friend R, that he does want to play with Sproglet, but he also wants to play with this other girl, whose name he had failed to obtained. Just like a 5 year old! What am I talking about - just like a MAN!

I said some very ineffective words about how you should be willing to make a new friend and you can't make H play only with you. Much sobbing and whining ensued. R and I looked at each other, because she is trying to get H to be nice to the Sproglet. I was like what the FUCK am I supposed to do in this instance? R and I shared a moment of complete bewilderment together which made me feel a little less like a clueless parent.

Pack it all up and go home. Turn on kiddie tv and wish I had some valium.

When it comes right down to it, days like this make me think I wasn't meant to be a mother. At least not a mother of toddlers/preschoolers. I do much better when they only nurse and sleep and coo. Or when they can make their own breakfast and let me have a little sleep in. But this age is just doing me in. I feel like a failure and a fraud. I really hate this and want to put them on ebay. For cheap.

Then they go to sleep and things are better. Until tomorrow.

I have a mantra: My life is great. I have two beautiful, healthy children and a husband that loves me, even though I am crazy and yell a lot. Let's work on not yelling today. Or at least only yelling if life or limb is in jeopardy. Or at least no yelling before lunch. Maybe I will make it til breakfast. Let bedtime come soon. Let them sleep longer. Let Sproglet not hit/pinch/bite/yank toys away from Widget today. Let me be the mama I want to be. The kind of mama that my kids deserve. Please.








Thursday, May 15, 2008

A little knitting

I don't expect to have a lot of knitting to showcase since I am pretty slow. But I will put it out here for you when I get it done!

This is my first sweater ever. Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater on Two Needles from the awesome book The Knitter's Almanac. I got the buttons from a local store and weren't exactly what I was looking for but they work. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

The nice thing about Elizabeth Zimmerman is that she really encourages you to do what makes sense to you in your knitting. Her pattern is more of a guide, not stitch by stitch directions. I knit this without any seams. I cast on the extra stitches for the arms with a provisional cast on and then went back and knit the arms in the round.


This was also my first foray into lace. And all in all I am pleased with how it turned out. I know there are a couple of imperfections that because of the time crunch, I did not rip back to fix. I think they mostly worked out in the blocking and are probably only noticeable to me.

I may have a sock for you soon! I am currently doing the toe on my first sock, so wish me luck with the kitchener stitch!

Changing the world one library card at a time.

I am a card-carrying believer in the power of the public library. I got my first library card at 5 - the earliest age allowed at the Lee County Library. I checked out the 5 allowed books at least once a week, read them, took them back and got more. My grandmother was one of the librarians there. She had a masters degree (obtained in 1957) from the first and best library science programs in the county. The rules of how to treat a book were ingrained in me from a very early age.

And the beautiful thing about the library is that is was all FREE! All those wonderful books on any topic you could imagine. The public library is freedom. Anyone can use it. It opens its doors to you no matter who you are. And most librarians I know are very helpful, intelligent people - not the stereotypical "shusher". You can get books, music and movies at the library. It breaks down all socioeconomic barriers.

Then there is my current public library. I should have known 7 years ago when I tried to get a library card when I lived in the next county over. They wanted me to pay them an annual fee of $60 to use the services of the library because I lived over this arbitrary line. It didn't matter that this was the closest library to me.

Very disturbing. So I continued to use the library in the town I used to live in. They didn't care that I lived 45 minutes away and in another county. I reserved books, picked them up and returned them when I was done and it wasn't too inconvenient, but it really chapped my hide to have to do it. But I wasn't going to pay for the library! That is what my taxes are for and my overdue fees (yes, I do forget from time to time to get my books back on time).

Now I live in the county and have a card. The last few years, most of it's activity has been for children's books, cookbooks and knitting books. I have been amazed that the selection is not better for what is supposed to be a very educated populace with a high percentage of phD's. Books on tape and CD's. I have just browsed the shelves and checked out what looked interesting.

Until now. I went online to reserve 2 books to read for a book club I am in. One dollar. They want a one dollar fee to reserve a book. For each book.

I was livid. A free library is requiring a dollar to reserve a book. I used to reserve 10-20 books at a time in my single, childless days, I never would have been able to afford to use this library like that.

So I haven't reserved the books yet. Yes, I can afford the one dollar, but it is the principle of the thing. I don't mind paying my overdue fees. My bad. Because I am an idiot that can't seem to renew with the easy online service, or get all the children's books that have been scattered to all 4 corners of the house, I gladly fork over the exorbitant overdue fees they charge because I might be holding someone else up and I am a bit scatterbrained.

But a reserve fee is just money grubbing. I am happy for my taxes to go to the library - I will gladly earmark extra for them (and take it from the mayor's salary). But you don't charge a fee for a standard library service. Next thing you know the librarian will have a tip jar out because she told you where the child psychology section was located.

So I wrote a little letter to the library trustees and this is the result...

http://www.chapelhillnews.com/news/story/14468.html

YAY!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Myth: Breastfeeding makes your boobs sag

I know - I am one to talk. Having been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for over 4 years, I obviously have breasts that are more, shall we say, south of where they used to be. But logically I know that it is the increase in weight and milk then the rapid decrease that makes for stretched out skin. Just being pregnant and growing older makes everything move toward the floor.

Just think of all those makeover shows that I am slightly addicted to. The person that has gastric bypass surgery will have a belly similar to my breasts. Extra skin dragging you down!

That being said, what is up with "miracle bras" and "wonder bras"? The molded padding may create a miracle bustline for someone who is a little less endowed than I, but I don't need all that padding. I don't need extra stuff up there! It seems that if you have a large bosom (I just love that word - makes me think of my grandmother!) you are relegated to the ugly 50's bras. No pretty lace ones that will lift and separate the saggy boobs. Just the 18 hour Playtex variety.


And if Victoria's Secret is going to make nursing bras now, do you think they might make the model look more like a woman that actually breastfeeds? And in ginormous sizes too? I'm just saying... I love that they are pretty because, goddess knows I would love to have a pretty nursing bra. But is that really going to be comfortable and hold up to the daily rigors of up and down flaps and babies pulling on the straps?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Marginally better than TV...


This is one of those Christmas gifts we received that parents hate (plays insanely annoying music loudly and is bright shiny plastic!) and kids LOVE. It shoots little plastic balls out of the top. Widget giggles madly, Sproglet goes nuts hoarding the balls from the Widge until he cries and Mama intervenes. Usually by yelling.

Widget has been carting it around the house by the big orange funnel. It is almost as big as him so he has a bit of trouble so there is a fair bit of whining that goes on as he moves it from room to room. Sounds like "Whine! Bang! Whine! Bang" then he will settle down and plastic balls start firing out and he laughs some more.

Hours of mindless entertainment.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Of course, I am at work. Taking care of two young men who are scaring their mother's senseless by because they are reckless fools that have no concept of their own mortality. Hopefully, for their mother's sakes, they will survive the motorcycle accidents, the falls, the drunk driving and hitting trees. Hopefully this will be a wake up call and they will be a little smarter in the future. If not, maybe they will weed their genetic predisposition towards rank stupidity out of the collective gene pool and we will all be better off.

My dh says to me yesterday "You aren't working on MOTHER'S DAY are you???" Like how horrible, how cruel that any mother should have to go to work on THEIR DAY! Since his memory is so short, I had to remind him that the only Mother's Day I had not worked in the last 7-8 years was the one in which his mother was here for his graduation. Sigh.

Here is my mom, holding my Widget. This was taken last summer when my mother got her wish to have all of her family - her children and grandchildren plus her three brothers and their families - at the beach for a week.

And here are the two that make me a mom. Bless them, they are little angels but they are taking me straight to crazy house.

Here is the Widget - 20 months old and sweet and funny and cuddly. But not talking in words understandable as English. Trying not to stress about it...

And here is the Sproglet. My first born. She will be 4 in July and is precious and precocious and wide open.


Happy Mother's day to all the mom's out there. Hug those babies hard today!















Friday, May 9, 2008

A Fresh Start

I know, I know, I am like, 4 years behind the curve. But it has been a busy 4 years of carrying, bearing and nurturing the wee ones, working to get Paddy O through school, and the ensuing sleep deprivation that comes with it.

I don't know if anyone is reading - in fact I haven't wrapped my brain around the idea that you might be eavesdropping on my thoughts. But I heard somewhere (don't ask me where - see the aforementioned sleep deprivation) that people who blog are more mentally healthy that the ones that don't. Since I need all the help I can get, HERE I AM WORLD WIDE WEB! AND I AIN'T EVER LEAVIN'!