Sunday, November 30, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful Edition (Belated)

It's a bit belated and it's not Tuesday, but I love to think about what I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving so here's a belated Top Ten Tuesday post:

Top Ten Things I am Thankful For

10. Knitting (I find it so rewarding and love that it gives me such peace.)

9. Naptime (When else would I blog?)

8. Our finances (I know that in this crazy economy, we have been relatively unharmed and I am thankful for that.)

7. Our home (I feel so lucky that we are able to live in such an affordable area and that we have a great home to raise our family in.)

6. My job as a stay-at-home mom (I feel so very blessed that I am able to stay home with my children. I know that many moms are not so lucky. Thank you, B!)

5. Our health (Christie's cancer has reminded me how thankful I should be that we are healthy. It is something that I definitely take for granted.)

4. Our great friends (new ones in Texas and old ones in Ohio and elsewhere)

3. Our plentiful and wonderful family (I love that we not only have great parents and siblings, but tons of aunts, uncles and cousins.)

2. Zoe (my baby girl)

1. J, N and B (my boys)

And some pics from our trip to Ohio:

J loved playing with all of B's old toys--especially this Sesame Street Little People set.N had his first taste of ice cream with his grandpa.

Playing Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders (J, B, Uncle M and Grandpa).

Hanging out with our old neighbors.

We also had a great night at my friend Erica's house where I got to see all my "mommy" friends and J got to see all of his buddies. It was so much fun, but I didn't get any good pics. Thanks, Erica, for hosting and organizing a fun night out!

What's Black and Cream and Red All Over?

A dirty skunk with diaper rash? A newspaper printed on recycled paper?

No, my new 1154Lill bag...and I'm in love!

My belated birthday present (bought using birthday money I've been holding on to since March) arrived while we were in Ohio for Thanksgiving. Isn't it adorable?

My Andi bag with Coming Up Daisies, Red Basketweave and Bowtie Weave.

This is the yummy interior: Red Basketweave with Moroccan Tiles inside the pocket!

Thank you, Tara, for introducing me to 1154Lill and for helping me get this wonderful bag!

Christie's Wrap

My cousin Christie had her first round of chemo last Thursday (a week before Thanksgiving). The chemo seemed to go fine, but by Sunday Christie was in a lot of pain. When she went to the doctor on Wednesday with severe stomach and chest pain, the doctor decided to admit her into the hospital. After running a bunch of tests, they found that the chest pain was caused by pneumonia and the stomach pain caused by cancer cells in her lymph nodes that were inflamed in reaction to the chemo. They are treating the pneumonia and plan to change the combination they are using for her chemo. Amazingly, Christie has managed to stay in relatively good spirits despite having to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. She hopes to head home tomorrow. Prayers are still very much needed and appreciated. If she gets the go ahead, Christie will have her second round of chemo this Thursday.

I finished Christie's wrap sometime the week before I left for our trip to Ohio, but since my internet was stolen by AT&T for a week I didn't get to blog about it. Here are a few pics of me modeling the wrap:

And a bonus photo of Zoe trying to get in on the FO photo shoot:

Wrap Details:
Pattern: Stolen Moments Wrap by Amy M. Swenson
Yarn: 5.25 skeins of SIRDAR big softie (Super Chunky)/ 50g/45m/49yds/51% Wool/ 49% Acrylic
Needles: Size 13 (Pattern recommended 11, Yarn recommended 15)
Finished Size: Approximately 14 inches by 60 inches (I chose not to block)

And if you have any interest in writing a few words of encouragement to Christie, here is a link to her CaringBridge journal. If you read it, you'll see what an amazing person she is.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unintentional Blogger Break

Sorry for the long break. It was not planned. Last week we were scheduled to get our television service and internet service updated. I was perfectly happy with my old service, but after AT&T called me 6 times a day for 3 weeks and knocked on my door (during naptime) for 3 days in a row, I gave up and asked what they were trying to sell me. Ends up, I could upgrade both services for a little bit less money--so I said yes. When they came to install the new services, they discovered that due to the placement of the cables outside the house they could not do the install. Unfortunately, they had already disconnected my current internet service. So due to the incredibly sensible stream-lined paperwork of AT&T, I couldn't get it reconnected until a week later (when I was already in Ohio visiting relatives). Oh well. Hopefully, it will be reconnected and working smoothly when we return to Texas tonight. Wish me luck. Just thought I'd blog real quickly before we left Ohio just in case. I have TONS to update on so hopefully you'll be hearing from me lots this week. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Movie Monday: Already? Edition

Today was N's 6 month birthday. I feel bad. It kind of got lost in the shuffle of J's cold which lead into an ear infection which lead to a bad night's sleep for us all, and subsequent trips to the pediatrician, CVS and grouchland.

I can't believe my baby is 6 months old already. I know N will probably be my last baby. (I'd love another, but I think B, my body and fate have decided that two is enough.) So although I want him to grow and learn new things, I'm not ready for N to grow up too fast. So just to spite me, little N is doing everything early--or so it seems. He already has two teeth poking through (bottom ones) and two more just under the surface (top ones). He's already getting up on all fours and trying desperately to crawl.

My happy little peanut!

Can you tell that J had a hand in this ensemble?

Only 6 months old and he's already discovered a love of knitterly things!

And here's N talking to the sofa since it's in his way and he can't roll any further. My favorite part is when he decides to give up and eat his foot instead.

Oh, my N is 6 months old already. Happy Half Birthday, N!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update on Christie, on my parents' visit, on knitting, on the boys...

Wow, life has been so busy in the last week that I feel I have so much to do and so much to update you on. So here goes.

First, thanks for all your prayers, kindness and words of encouragement you've sent in regards to my cousin Christie. She found out her cat scan results on Thursday and her cancer is Stage 3 and in her neck and stomach. We were hoping to hear Stage 1, but Stage 3 is better than 4 and we are still confident that Christie can beat this. She starts chemo (every other week for 6-8 months) on Thursday. Please continue to keep her and her husband and children in your prayers. Thanks!

I am almost done knitting Christie's Stolen Moments Wrap (more details to come when I complete it and photograph it). It has been a quick and enjoyable knit. I think I'll have some yarn left over and may make myself a scarf in it using the same stitch pattern as the wrap.

I also want to make Christie a hat, but haven't found a pattern/yarn combination yet that I love so that one is still on the brain and not yet on the needles.

My parents were here from Tuesday until Saturday. This was my dad's first trip to see our house and my mom hadn't been here since the week we moved in. It was really exciting for me to have them see and stay at my house. I had lots of fun getting the guest room ready for them--even if it is still a very garish bright blue (painting it is on B's to-d0 list...Someday).

The guest room

Little basket of goodies and toiletries for my parents to enjoy while staying at my house.

We didn't do anything major, but had lots of fun hanging out. I LOVE seeing my boys with their Mooma and Papa. It just makes me REALLY happy.
One day at naptime, my dad decided to go upstairs and read his book. J decided he wanted to read his books with Papa and Mooma. Of course, Zoe had to join them too.

At our neighborhood playground.

N, Mooma and Me

J loved playing trains with Papa.

J and I rode the carousel at the mall.

Papa and N (right before N met Santa Claus for the first time).

We did a little Christmas shopping while my parents were here and I am excited to say that come Christmas time I will be looking much nicer in a few new sweaters and a great pair of jeans. I also got to take my mom to the knit shop (The Woolie Ewe) in Plano (20 minutes away, but the closest one to my house). I love the fact that my mom is a knitter. It's so much fun to share patterns and show off our latest knit projects to each other.

I have so many things I want to knit right now. After I finish Christie's wrap, I'm going to finish L's Hello Kitty bag and J's Fuzzy Mitten Farm Animals. Then I'm going to knit J a Christmas vest (I'm going to adapt this free pattern from Lion Brand; on Ravelry here). I also want to knit a few Christmas presents (more details to come after they have been gifted). I also want to knit a hat and cardigan for my nephew O, a hat for Christie, another sweater (maybe a Wallaby) for J, a fun sweater (gray, cabled cardigan?) for myself. Not enough time in the day for it all because I really should clean my house occasionally, cook dinner, take care of my children and, oh yeah, sleep.

Talking of the boys, N turns 6 months tomorrow. 6 Months! I can't believe it! He is growing up SO quickly. He now has two bottom teeth poking through and he's not very happy about it. He plays with them with his tongue and sucks on his lower lip a lot these days. N is also getting up into the crawl position and rocking back and forth. He gets really frustrated because he can't figure out how to go forward yet. J never did this as he chose to commando crawl (and that wasn't until he was 10 or 11 months). I am so not ready for N to be crawling. Oh well. Must figure out a safe place for the Christmas tree.

I couldn't believe it when I saw N up in the crawl position.

Now what do I do?

J is totally bored now that my parents have left. He also has a cold so he's not the happiest of campers. He definitely getting ready for Christmas. When he asks for toys and things these days, I tell him that we'll tell Santa and maybe he'll get them for Christmas. He is getting quite a list for Santa. I hope he's not too disappointed when he doesn't get it all. Hmm... We will see. I still have very few ideas for N since we have so many toys already left over from J. I'm sure we will find something.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well. I don't know how much I will blog this week as I have lots of appointments (N's therapy, N's 6 month doctor's appointment, cable/internet upgrade installation, Thanksgiving Feast at J's school, photo session for the boys at Portrait Innovations) and we'll be getting ready to head to Ohio for Thanksgiving next week. Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A little lovey

This is little Alex with his lovey I made him. His parents were sweet enough to send me a picture of him with his lovey. Isn't he a sweetheart? I just had to share.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Movie Monday: Yes, We Can! Edition (and Boys Update)

Our little future politician?

Big Barack Obama supporter?

No, just a big Bob the Builder Fan.

I didn't realize Barack Obama stole his campaign slogan from Bob the Builder.

J's really gotten into Bob the Builder ever since we got a Halloween movie with Bob the Builder in it. J is so funny. He has grown up so much in the last month. He is turning into such a little man. His new passion is helping B out around the house. He and B had a blast today hanging pictures. B let J help him drill a hole for a wall anchor and J's been wanting to make holes in the wall ever since. He even woke up from his nap calling for his daddy because he wanted to do more work. After naptime, J helped B fix two toilets. He was actually using a screwdriver to put the screws in and did a great job!

J has started singing songs and saying nursery rhymes (and his bedtime prayers). His favorites are Baa Baa Black Sheep and Itsy Bitsy Spider. He's gotten really good at blowing bubbles. J loves to sing and dance and his two latest discoveries are Sam Cooke and Chuck Berry. He is really into making things with paper; he loves to do the gluing and is starting to learn to cut. J has also learned to pull his chair up to things so he can climb up and get to things he's not supposed to get to. Well, I'm not thrilled with that skill, but he's really proud of himself when he does it.

N is also growing up in leaps and bounds. He is sitting up pretty well now. He continues to travel by rolling, scooting backwards, and turning in a circle. N even sometimes gets up on both knees with his hands up like he's going to crawl. He loves his exersaucer and still thinks J is hilarious! N also has the top edge of his first tooth poking through. My baby is almost 6 months old. I can't believe it!

N is doing great with his physical therapy for his Torticollis; in fact, he only has to go every other week now. His head is still somewhat misshapen so we are trying to decide if we need to do the helmet thing or not. I'd rather not, but I want to make sure we make the right decision. There is only a limited window of opportunity to do it. I don't want to not do it and then have N be upset by his head shape when he is older and it too late to do anything about it. Will keep you posted on that one.

That's all for now. My mom and dad arrive tomorrow. Can't wait! Have a happy Monday and a great week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Needles

I am not usually a multiple WIP (Works in Progress) kind of knitter. I usually finish a project before casting on for another. I usually have multiple projects on the brain, but not on the needles. My exception to this is that if I'm doing a large project (blanket or sweater) then I usually also have a smaller project on the needles for when I need a break from the large one. Right now I have ended up with three active projects.

I started Fuzzy Mitten's Fuzzy Farm (pig, chicken, sheep) first. I am making these for one or both of the boys for Christmas. I want to make a felt barn for them to go in. I think developmentally this might be more appropriate for N, but J is such a huge farm animal fan that I know he will love them. We will see. I just have to do the finishing touches (embroidery for faces mainly). These were a quick knit (about 2 nights to knit, sew and stuff per animal) and there are lot of clever things in their construction. I will blog in more detail when I finish them.

Next, I started the Hello Kitty purse for L. It's going to be part of her Christmas present. I'm on my third attempt and it's not perfect, but I think it will turn out. I'm doing intarsia in the round--which basically means that for the intarsia section of the purse, you go back in forth alternating between knit and purl (so not really in the round at all) and then at the round junction you do a "join." See here and here for more instructions. The pink background color is the leftover from the Fuzzy Farm pig. I wish I had picked something a little more vibrant for the purse, but I think my niece will still like it. I'm trying to knit from my stash whenever possible.

When I heard about Christie's cancer, I knew that I had to knit her something right away. I was torn between knitting a hat, a cowl or some sort of wrap/shawl. I searched around, went to my LYS, and yesterday I cast on for the Stolen Moments Wrap. I wanted to make her something that she could use as a comfort item these next 6 months while she goes through chemo. I decided this would be a simple knit that I could make quickly and I'm using it as a prayer shawl. I'm trying to infuse it with as many prayers and as much loves as possible while I knit it. It's a great pattern--I memorized it in about 20 minutes--so I can really focus on the prayers while knitting. It's going pretty quickly so far. I finished one out of 7 skeins last night.

I also have tons of projects on the brain but they are too numerous to get I'll save those for another post.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prayers Needed

I found out yesterday that my cousin Christie has been diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I guess if you're going to have cancer it's a better kind to have. I'd rather she didn't have any kind of cancer. It's still really early on in Christie's diagnosis; she has her cat scan next week to find out what stage her cancer is in. I guess then we'll know what treatment will be. At this point, she's been told that she'll probably need about 6 months of chemotherapy.

The whole family is still in shock. It still feels so unreal. I love all of my family, but Christie has always been one of my favorites. She's truly one of the kindest people I've ever met. She would do absolutely anything for you. Christie can always be counted on to listen when you need someone to talk to or to stay up late partying if you need someone to celebrate with. She's not happy with this turn of events, but she's ready to fight the fight.

Christie is a mom and has two of the most beautiful children. Kelsey is thirteen and definitely takes after her mom when it comes to big hearts. All the little children in the family adore her. Liam is three and a sweetheart too. He has cerebral palsy so he's got his own battles to fight each day. Christie and her husband Kevin just bought their first house. And now this.

It just makes me mad. Why does cancer have to happen to such a wonderful person? I know that cancer happens to wonderful people all the time. That's the way life works. I also know that Christie will do a great job fighting this, but I so wish she didn't have to.

Anyway, I just wanted to ask everyone who reads this to please say some extra prayers for Christie and her family. Please help them all to be strong throughout this fight. Thanks for your help!

Also, my knitterly friends, I want to knit something special for Christie. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My New Best Friend?

Just found this blog, let me explaiKnit. She has a whole post about intarsia in the round. I may be moving to my third attempt soon to try one of her methods. Wish me luck?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Intarsia: You are NOT my friend

My sister recently told me that my niece is into Hello Kitty so I decided I wanted to knit her a little purse with Hello Kitty on it.

I searched around online and saw a few projects, but couldn't find a pattern for what I wanted. So I found this dishcloth pattern that had a Hello Kitty chart and this purse pattern that had some good construction ideas and used the two to make up my own purse pattern.

I decided to knit in the round. Intarsia in the round sounds like a good idea, but it's not. Think LOTS of yarn ends. Think lots of chances for holes. Know--Intarsia is NOT my friend. It's been a while since I've done intarsia. I had forgotten that it was not my friend.

I'm on my second Hello Kitty purse attempt. Hopefully it will go better than the first. I'm not counting on it. Again, Intarsia is NOT my friend.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My little blessing is crying

It's 10:45PM. N has already woken up crying 3 or 4 times and he's been in bed for less than 3 hours. It's going to be a long night. I took him to the doctor this morning, but she said it's just a cold and his ears look great. He's nice and cool so no fever. Not sure what's going on. Hope he feels better soon. Although I hate that he's waking up crying, when I give in and go pick him up I love it. I love holding that sweet little guy and snuggling him in the middle of the night. I love having him all to myself when there is no one else around, when no one else needs me, when there are no other demands on my time or attention (except for that little thing called sleep). Sometimes in the middle of the night I just sit and hold him or stand and rock him and think about all the wonderful things that I love about my little N. What a blessing motherhood is. I have two of the greatest boys ever, my little gifts from God. Thank you!

Movie Monday: Halloween Reading Edition

J and I are still reading Halloween books at bedtime. Today he started "reading" Five Little Pumpkins to me. It was so adorable, I decided to try and film it. Enjoy!

Happy Belated Halloween!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two, Going on Fifteen

The boys and I went to our neighborhood park/playground tonight after dinner. It was really dark because of the time change, but it was a beautiful night (70s with a slight breeze) and J needed to get out of the house... so we went.

There was a group of teenagers hanging out at the playground and J was totally entranced with them. He watched them swing on the swings. He watched them hang out in the tunnel slide. When he heard them say a name, he repeated the name over and over really loudly. He was so proud of himself for hearing one of the cool teenagers' names.

Anyway, as many of you know, J is generally a very timid little guy. He's not quick to try new things or to talk with new people. Sometime before we left Ohio, J had decided that he didn't like slides. Just in the last week or so, we finally convinced J to try the smallest slide at our neighborhood playground and he's gotten really into that slide, but wouldn't try any of the bigger ones--especially not the tunnel slide. Well, tonight after watching the teenagers hang out on the tunnel slide, J decided he was going to do the tunnel slide. He did it and decided it was lots of fun. I had to practically wrestle him off of it when it was time to go home.

Now if only I could get the teenagers to eat vegetables in front of J, then we'd really be set!

Halloween's a Hit!

Halloween night ended up being hectic, but fun. While we were waiting for B to get home, J and I made some paper Jack-o-lanterns for the front door. J did all the placing and gluing of their faces and did a really great job!

When it was time to go trick or treating, J wasn't sure about wearing his Cookie Monster costume, but eventually decided to wear it--without the hood. We were fine with that. N seemed to have no qualms about wearing his cookie costume.

We left the house around 6PM to go trick or treating. We left our treats (DumDums and stickers) in a bowl on the front porch with a note to "Help Yourself to a Treat." We were headed to Erin's Halloween open house, but J decided we had to go to my friend Kim's house first because he wanted to see her three sons. Unfortunately, they weren't home so we wandered our way towards Erin's house. On our way, J got handed treats by several nice people who were handing out candy from their driveways. We even had a few people walk down from their porches to give J candy because he was too shy to go to the door. Everyone was REALLY nice and sweet. N even got handed a little Snickers although he wasn't sure what to do with it. We eventually made it over to say hi to Erin and then wandered back to our house. We never did see Kim and her boys, but did manage to run into two of our other friends.

The whole neighborhood was a strange mix of people who wore costumes to hand out candy and had decorated their houses with all kinds of jack-o-lanterns and spiderwebs and ghosts and people who didn't even have their porch lights on to hand out candy. The neighborhood is such a mass of houses with lots of intersecting streets that it was hard to decide where to go. After we got back, J dumped all his candy on the floor and had a fun time looking through all the goodies. N also wanted in on the action and tried desperately to get to the fun looking candy. I forced myself to resist the urge to eat some of J's yummy chocolate.

We ended up leaving our candy and stickers out on the porch after we got home because it was almost the boys' bedtime and J really didn't like all the scary masks that the older children were wearing. I missed the opportunity to meet more of our neighbors by sitting and handing out candy, but was glad we could give J and N a fun evening.

Unfortunately, on Saturday J woke up with a high fever. We took him to the doctor and his throat and ears looked fine. His only symptoms were a runny nose and a high fever. The doctor said it's a virus and he'll probably run a fever off and on for the next three days or so. Fun, fun! N also has the runny nose, but no fever yet. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Both boys woke up several times during the night last night. Hopefully they'll both feel better soon!