Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: Talking Edition

First, a quick life update:

I donated all four bags of lovely acrylic/nylon yarn to Warm Up America. There should be some lovely machine washable, colorful, fun afghan squares appearing in the near future. I hope they will be enjoyed.

We're still busy painting and organizing and donating and rearranging and packing things in our house in an attempt to get it ready to put on the market--even though we don't yet know when or where we're moving. We're making progress (despite the fact I only work on it during naptime or after John goes to bed--when I'm not napping myself). Meanwhile, the house is even more of a mess than it was before.

We finally moved some furniture into the nursery (formerly our guest room) today. Since this next little guy is due in 4 weeks, I guess it's about time. It's all very exciting.

John continues to be a great source of entertainment. His vocabulary grows daily although his pronunciation is still not quite there-- and thus this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic:

Top Ten Things I Love to Hear My Two Year Old Say

10. Mommy (The good mommy, not the whiny mommy.)

9. Jelly Beans (He just rediscovered his Easter candy.)

8. Wee Winkie, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Noopny (To clarify, the first one is Wee Willie Winkie and the last one is Snoopy.)

7. Amen (We've started saying his prayers at night before bed.)

6. Okey-dokey

5. Please and Thank you (or "pease" and "dank you.")

4. Bless You (There has been a lot of sneezing in our house recently, but now even the dogs get a nice "bless you" from John.)

3. Daddy vacuum (Yes, my son thinks the vacuum is daddy's and I encourage that idea. Yes, my husband does know how to use it and uses it on a regular basis. I am SO lucky!)

2. Stinky pits (Don't ask, but it's really funny.)

1. Love you!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Little Knitting, A Lot of Little Man

Another finished knitting project! and less than a month late for my sister's birthday. Not too bad if I do say so myself. I finished my sister's Rusted Root. Besides some initial gauge issues, the whole project went pretty smoothly. Hopefully, my sister will find that it fits well and she enjoys wearing it. Hopefully!
I used a new yarn for this one: Berroco Comfort (Worsted Weight, 50% Super Fine Nylon/50% Super Fine Acrylic). I picked the yarn because it is machine washable and dryable and my sister is not one to want to deal with hand-washing her clothes. I hope this yarn will make this something that she will wear often without too much fuss when it comes to wash time. The yarn was okay to work with. It is made up of ten or some tiny strands which is a bit annoying. It is very easy to miss one string and then have a loose loop. Occasionally, there were broken strings as well which was annoying as it left a little "snag." I'm not sure if I would use this yarn again.

Project Details:
Pattern: Rusted Root by Zephyr Style
Yarn: Berroco Comfort (3 skeins, with 1/2-1/3 skein leftover)
Needles: Size 7 circular for body, Size 5 circular for ribbing at neck and waist, size 6 doublepoint for ribbing on sleeves
Size: XS
Modifications: I added some extra rounds in the yoke to accommodate my sister's long torso. This affected the sleeve decreases. To keep the sleeve cuffs from being too tight, I only went down one needle size instead of two. I did the shaping a bit differently too. I did some decreases to the waist and then did a few increases to try to make it a fit my sister would enjoy more. Hope it worked!

In non-knitting news, we've been having some lovely weather again so we've been outside as much as possible. Outside, my camera works since the flash isn't required so I have some new pics of John. Here he is with his latest obsession: bubbles! I splurged on some bubbles from Gymboree (we were there for a birthday party) and they are well worth the extra money. He LOVES them!

I also got John a new sunhat from Target. He immediately pulled it over his eyes and started doing the "hat dance." You have to see this one. It's hilarious! Enjoy this little movie of my little man.

Hope you all are doing well. Got to go get work cleaning my house. Hope you've had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: You Know You Want It Edition, AKA Free to a Good Home

Well, there is still no definite location or time line decided yet, but it is definite that we will be moving. In preparation for what ought to be a really "fun" time (selling a house and moving with a 2 year-old, a newborn and two dogs), I am trying to declutter all areas of my house. This includes my stash. For the non-knitters who read this blog, your "stash" is your collection of yarn. The stash is an almost living creature. It starts small, but slowly (or, in some cases, not so slowly) grows until it becomes so big that you have to part with some of it. As stashes go, I think mine is pretty modest. A lot of it is leftover yarn (leftover from a completed project). There are a few impulse buys in there--yarns I thought I would use, but never did. I'm much better now. I find the project first and THEN buy the yarn. And, well, as most of you know, most of my stash is made up of ... acrylic. Yes, I know it is a dirty word in some knitting circles. But it's machine-washable and usually inexpensive and it comes in so many varieties. But enough of my excuses for my stash--as I mentioned I'm decluttering all parts of my life including my stash. I have 4 grocery bags of yarn that I am getting rid of--all yarns that I loved as a newbie knitter, but no longer see myself using anytime in the foreseeable future. I thought about just dumping it all in one of the donation barrels for Warm Up America. I think it's a great thing and I've always meant to knit some squares, but I've never gotten around to it. Anyway, before I go dump my lovely yarns on the unsuspecting charitable knitters of the world, I thought I would showcase it here in case any of my blog friends want to take a walk on the wild side of crazy acrylic (or polyester) yarn. Maybe you know some children who need some yarn to learn to knit with. Maybe you know some little girls who would love some flashy scarfs or hats. Or maybe you're just feeling wild and crazy and want to make a different kind of knit. Anyway, here we go. This week's Top Ten Tuesday:

Top Ten Reasons You Want My Destash (Free to a Good Home)
10. Lion Brand Homespun: "A richly textured yarn designed for afghans, throws and your favorite fashions." 98% Acrylic/2% Polyester. Bulky weight. Machine washable and dryable. A full skein is 185 yards. All but two of these are partials.
9. Bernat Softee Baby "Lemon Sparkle". 90% "Gentle Soft" Acrylic/10% Acetate. Sport/DK weight. Gauge: 22 stitches x 30 rows = 4 inches on Size 6 needles. Machine washable and dryable. 8. Yummy charcoal gray goodness. Bernat Soft Boucle "Grey Shades." 98% Gentle Soft Acrylic/ 2% Polyester. Machine washable and dryable. Gauge: 15 stitches x 22 rows = 4 inches on size 10 needles.
7. Bernat Matrix is a "Light" ladder yarn. 62% Nylon/ 38% Polyester. Machine washable and dryable. 140 yards. Gauge: 24 stitches x 34 rows = 4 inches on size 6 needles.
Lion Moonlight Mohair (partial skein). 35% Mohair/ 30% Acrylic/ 25% Cotton/ 10% Metallic. Gauge: 12 stitches x 18 rows = 4 inches on size 10.5 needles.
6. Patons Divine (approximately 4 skeins in Good Earth [actually a dark brown, not the gray that it appears in this photo], 1 skein Orangina, 1 skein Floral Fantasy). Bulky weight. 79.5% Acrylic/ 18% Mohair/ 2.5% Polyester. Gauge: 12 stitches x 16 rows = 4 inches on size 8 needles. 142 yards.
5. Lots more Patons Divine (partial skeins) as well as some full skeins (1 skein Shrimp, 1 skein Coconut Ice?, 1 skein Folliage) of it's generic twin: Darice Mo' Hair. 130 yards.
4. Yes, that's Lion Fun Fur! (2 skeins Raspberry, 2 skeins Red, 2 skeins Violet, and lots of partials). "An easy-to-use novelty 'eyelash' yarn. Use for entire projects, for trim or combine with other yarns." 100% Polyester. Machine washable and dryable. Gauge: 16 stitches x 20 rows = 4 inches on size 10.5 needles. 64 yards.
3. More "novelty yarn."
Dessert by Darice in "Lime." 100% Polyester. 57 yards. Gauge: 13 stitches x 14 rows = 4 inches on size 7 needles.
Fringy by Darice in "Rainbow Mix." Eyelash. 100% Polyester. 55 yards. Gauge: 16 stitches x 20 rows = 4 inches on size 7 needles.
Flutter by Darice. 100% Polyester. 56 yards. Gauge: 18 stitches x 26 rows = 4 inches on 4mm needles.

2. Look at all that fun novelty yarn. It's every little girl's dream to have tacky hand-knit goodies that only these yarns could produce!

1. It would really humor me to know that someone was using and, hopefully, loving these poor yarns that I am deeming unworthy of moving. Yet, I'm still a little sad to part with them.

Anyway, I hope my destashing has brought a smile to your face. If it has also brought out a yearning for acrylic, polyester or "novelty," then please let me know via the comments or an e-mail (ehstoneATyahooDOTcom). I will contact you to get your mailing address. I will hold on to the yarn for a week or so and then it goes to the unsuspecting folks who are knitting for Warm Up America.

Hope you are all having a terrific Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Details Added

I realized that I had forgotten to include details (yarn, needle size, etc.) for my finished baby sweater in my last post. I just added them in to that post and then added the sweater to Ravelry. Just thought I'd let you know in case you read the post already and are curious about the details.

Also, does anyone else have issues with Blogger leaving out spaces. All my spaces/breaks between paragraphs keep getting deleted when I go to publish my post. Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunshine is my friend

Thanks to everyone for the great response to my 100th post. It was really fun to read everyone's comments. I think more people I know from non-Internet life read this post than any other in my blog history. That's a little scary, but exciting at the same time.
Spring weather has finally come to Northeast Ohio and we are spending a lot of time outdoors--despite the fact that our backyard is a mudpit from all the rain and melted snow. Sunshine is my friend and I feel happier after just a few days of it. We went to the park on Saturday and John has gotten a lot more independent since last fall. He went down some of the big slides without even a pause. Very exciting!
Anyway, John and I are home alone this week while Brian travels to Portland, Oregon to see his sister and Olympia, Washington for a job interview. Brian left Sunday morning and returns Thursday around 8PM. It's the longest he's been out of town since John was born, but so far so good. The hardest part is that John has no concept of days of the week so to tell him that he will see Daddy on Friday does no good. Oh well. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to make myself go to bed early so I'm well rested. With this pregnancy, if I get tired, I start feeling sick--and with Brian gone I do not have the luxury of resting on the sofa in the evening if I'm feeling gross.
Despite my early bedtimes and lack of time to myself during the day, I'm still getting some knitting done. I finished the sweater for my next little guy. It's a one year old size since he's due right when the weather should be getting nice. I figure this way he should be able to wear it next fall, winter and spring.
The pattern was a new one for me, but one I really enjoyed: Kid's Top-down Raglan by Gail Tanquary (published by Ann Norling: Pattern #53). I generally like raglan styles because the sleeves are knit onto the yoke and not added later. I also liked the flexibility of this pattern. It gives the directions for sizes 1-12 in 4 different gauges (3.5, 4.5, 5, 5.5 st/in). It also includes directions for both cardigans and pullovers and for both crewnecks and v-necks. Talk about flexibility! Sleeves can be knit flat or in the round. Anyway, I will definitely do this pattern again. In fact, I already have the yarn to make John a rainbow cardigan using this pattern.
This pattern has you pick up stitches to add the neckband and button band after the rest of the sweater is done. That was a first for me, but I enjoyed it. Picking up the stitches was pretty easy and it was great to not have to worry about button hole placement while knitting the rest of the sweater. It definitely made the rest of the sweater go faster. Plus, I didn't like my first set of buttonholes (I used a YO-k2tog and they were too big), so I very easily undid that part of the buttonband and redid them (using a BO 1 stitch, and then kfb the next row).
My only other commentary on this pattern is that if you are a beginner, you might need a little support. The pattern writer assumes that you have some knitting experience. For example, there are no instructions on what type of increases to use or how to make the buttonholes.
Sweater details (on Ravelry):
Pattern: Kid's Top-down Raglan by Gail Tanquary (Ann Norling #53)
Pattern Style I used: Crewneck Cardigan
Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Little Lehigh Pebbles (45% Cotton/55% Acrylic) (3.5 oz/approx. 250yd)
I used about 1 1/2 skeins.
Gauge (for me): 5 stitches/inch on Size 6 needles
Needles: Size 6 and Size 4 (24" circular)
Buttons: from JoAnn's
I'm also making progress on my sister's Rusted Root. I just hope the shaping turns out to be a good fit. Keep your fingers crossed that I keep the good knitting karma going on this one. I really want it to fit my sister well so she really enjoys it!
In other news, John continues to grow up before my eyes. He's doing great sleeping in his big boy bed although we are not making any progress on potty training. He was asking to pee in the potty once or twice a day, but after our week in Virginia he seemed to loose all interest. As he just turned 2, I'm not concerned. But it would have been nice to get this done before his baby brother arrived. Oh well. Double diaper duty it will be.
John's birthday present from us is a set of 4 simple, 12-piece jigsaw puzzles. He really likes them and can already do all four on his own. A few days ago, he dumped out the box and had all 48 pieces piled together on the floor. I left the room and when I came back, he had one of the puzzles finished. Then I left and came back again and he had another one done. I took this picture:
Eventually he got all 4 puzzles done on his own. My favorite part is that they keep him entertained while I actually get something done. Crazy! Life is good.
Hope you all are doing well. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

100th Post!

I just realized that I had 99 posts and that this one is my 100th. I decided to do a 100 Things About Me post in honor of this milestone. So, in no particular order, 100 Things About Me.

1. I am an identical twin.

2. I am older than my twin sister by 2 minutes.

3. My mom didn't know she was having twins until my sister was born.

4. We were born a month early.

5. I weighed 3 lbs 14 oz.

6. Haley is my middle name, but my parents have always called me Haley.

7. My first name is Elizabeth.

8. My favorite foods include ice cream, chocolate and french fries.

9. Although I love sweets, I rarely think to eat dessert.

10. When I was single, I would sometimes eat ice cream for breakfast.

11. When I was single, I would often fix a tray of Ore Ida french fries for dinner.

12. My favorite ice cream treat is a McDonald's hot fudge sundae.

13. My favorite ice cream treat from childhood is a chocolate scooter crunch.

14. If I REALLY want to treat myself, I will eat ice cream while taking a bubble bath.

15. It's been YEARS since I've done that.

16. I'm an awful housekeeper.

17. I HATE to mop floors.

18. My favorite cleaning task is dusting.

19. I love to sleep.

20. I love to sleep in on weekends if my husband is willing to take care of Little Man for me.

21. I always wanted three children.

22. I always wanted to have twins.

23. I am one of three children.

24. Besides my twin sister, I also have an older brother.

25. I love to read.

26. I get antsy if I don't have a book I'm currently reading.

27. I will reread books if I enjoyed them the first time around.

28. I am often disappointed the second time I read the book because it's not as good as I remembered it to be.

29. I am trying to declutter my house by rereading books and selling the "not-as-good-as-I-remembered-them" ones to Half Price Books.

30. Even if a book is really bad, I will almost always finish it.

31. Almost every book that I have left unfinished has been non-fiction.

32. When I was younger I would read in the car all the time.

33. Once I missed my bus stop because I was reading and didn't notice.

34. I can't read in the car any more because it makes me carsick.

35. When I'm pregnant, I get carsick much more easily.

36. I can usually knit in the car without getting carsick.

37. I'm a self-taught knitter (sort of).

38. I learned to knit by reading an article in Martha Stewart Living.

39. I find knitting to be very relaxing.

40. If I knit while watching TV, I feel less lazy because I'm being "productive."

41. When there's nothing good on TV or I'm too lazy to find something, I just put in an old favorite movie and watch that instead.

42. My favorite movie for background to knitting or crafting is French Kiss.

43. I knit mainly with acrylic yarn--it's affordable and easy to care for.

44. I buy most of my yarn at craft stores.

45. The thought of hand knit socks bothers me a bit because most of them need to be hand washed.

46. I worry that hand washed socks would not get truly clean.

47. I'm really bad at getting stains out of clothes.

48. I currently have a pile of stained baby clothes waiting to be saved. They are probably permanently ruined.

49. I just recently joined Facebook because I was invited to join a group from my high school graduating class.

50. I find the whole thing rather addictive.

51. I got asked to be "friends" with my first boyfriend from 6th grade.

52. That boyfriend asked me out because I said "hi" to him.

53. I then dumped that first boyfriend because once I said I would go out with him he was too shy to talk to me again.

54. I broke up with that first boyfriend to date his best friend.

55. His best friend dumped me because I refused to kiss him.

56. I didn't have my first kiss until 3 years later when I was 15.

57. I didn't have another boyfriend until 7 years later when I was 19.

58. I married that boyfriend after dating him for just shy of 5 years.

59. When we first started dating, I had mono.

60. We didn't kiss for two weeks because I didn't want to give him mono.

61. We've been married for 7 1/2 years.

62. I am still amazed every day that I found such a wonderful man.

63. In college, I was the sweetheart at his fraternity.

64. Before we started dating, I went to a date party at his fraternity and won an erotic banana eating contest. Don't judge me, it was just a banana.

65. When we got married, I was petrified that the erotic banana eating contest story would somehow come up at our rehearsal dinner.

66. Once in college, my husband and I split a bottle of bourbon.

67. I made a complete fool of myself and ended up trying to start a fight with an entire fraternity.

68. If I'm going to drink, my drink of choice is a bourbon and ginger.

69. My parents' were okay with me drinking alcohol at home from the age of 14 or so.

70. This totally freaked me out and I never really drank until the summer after my freshman year of college.

71. When I was in college, I usually chose to hang out with a group of guy friends rather than female friends.

72. I really miss hanging out with guy friends now that I'm out of college.

73. Although I miss my guy friends, I'm really grateful for the close female friends that I have now.

74. Even though I always did well in school, my only true ambition in life was to be a mom.

75. Sometimes I feel that I should be doing more to help make the world a better place.

76. My biggest goal for my son is that he grows up to be a confident, kind and caring person.

77. I taught third grade for one year.

78. Classroom management was NOT my strength.

79. I had a student who told me he wished he had a gun so he could shoot me.

80. I worked as a Director of Education at a Sylvan Learning Center for 5 years.

81. I feel I was really good at that job. I loved it!

82. I feel really grateful that I've been able to be home full-time with my son for the last two years.

83. I might have gone stir crazy being at home if it wasn't for a great group of moms that I met at a breastfeeding support group.

84. Two years later I see at least one of those moms every week.

85. When we move, I really hope that I can find another group of moms to hang out with--for John's sake as much as for mine.

86. I can't believe that I haven't gone back and deleted #64.

87. I can type really well without looking at the keyboard.

88. When I was about 10 years old I thought it was really cool to write this sentence over and over using my mom's typewriter: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

89. I wonder if you think this post is really boring.

90. I know there must be more interesting things to share about myself, but I can't think of a single one of them.

91. I hate to exercise.

92. Luckily, I've always been thin and have good metabolism.

93. When I graduated from high school, I still weighed less than 100 lbs.

94. When I was pregnant with my first son, I put on 39 lbs and felt HUGE.

95. Both of my sons have been very active babies in utero.

96. After John was born, I missed having him moving around inside me.

97. This little guy has been SO active that I think I might be relieved when my belly stops moving all the time.

98. My second son is due to be born in less than 8 weeks.

99. I'm freaking out a bit about having two babies to take care of.

100. I'm so excited to be done with this list!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's Day

I was going to do a Top Ten Tuesday post, but couldn't think of a topic I was in the mood to post about. So...maybe next week. In honor of April Fool's Day, I thought I would share the most outrageous April Fool's Day joke that I remember.

When we were in high school, my friend Susan faked a positive pregnancy test and left it in her bathroom trashcan for her mom to discover. Can you imagine being that mother? I could never come up with such a mean joke. Plus, I was such a nerd/goody-goody that my mother would have never fallen for it. Anyway, that's the most outrageous April Fool's Day joke I've heard of.

Do you have any good ones? I'd love a few laughs so please share.

P.S. Is it April Fool's Day or April Fools' Day?