Friday, March 27, 2009

33 years ago today...

33 years ago today, my mom was 8 months pregnant with what she was told was another baby boy. She went to the hospital because she thought she was in labor, but was told it was false labor. But then at 1:48PM, I was born--a tiny little girl weighing 3 lbs 14 oz. My mom was shocked I was a girl. "Oh, she's so little," she said. "Oh, there's another one," the doctor said. And two minutes later, my sister was born--all 4 lbs of her. My mom handled the fact that she had twins well. She was just surprised we were girls. When my dad heard the news, he said, "What if they both want to go to Sweet Briar [a local all girls college]?" and passed out. When he recovered, he went and sold his truck and bought a station wagon.

I love that story. And I love having a twin sister. And I love that we were able to spend most of our birthday together today. I am a very blessed person. Happy Birthday, Cat! Can't wait to celebrate some more this weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book List: First Edition

When I'm not Mommying or knitting, I'm often reading. The boys and I head to the library every 2-4 weeks. When we are there, we spend most of our time looking at the children's movies and books. J always has to check out a Clifford book, an Arthur book, a Backyardigans book, and a Sesame Street or Muppet book. He also likes farm animal books and sometimes Dora the Explorer or Bob the Builder. Anyway, we have NEVER made it up to the second floor to the adult fiction section. Luckily for me, our library has a little display shelf of adult fiction near the movies so I just grab four or five of those on my way past. I don't even bother to read the descriptions most days so I end up with an interesting collection of books. Anyway, I thought I'd start sharing the books I read and a brief description/reaction on here. So here's the first edition of my new Book List posts:

Dervishes by Beth Helms: This book had an interesting premise--the wife and daughter of a US diplomat stationed in Turkey in the 1970s. Chapters alternated between the wife telling the story and the daughter telling the story. I like multiple viewpoints, but didn't love this book. Overall, I just found it a little too full of innuendo and intrigue and I finished the book very confused.

Do You Come Here Often? by Alexandra Potter: This is a pretty typical example of chick lit. It's British which used to bother me, but now I've read enough of them that the British lingo no longer bothers me although occasionally they use a term I'm unfamiliar with. I really enjoyed this quick read. It has interesting characters and is well-written. There are a few parts that weren't 100% believable, but I still really enjoyed this one.

Alternatives to Sex by Stephen McCauley: This was an interesting one for me. The main character is a gay male real estate agent. It was a different perspective than I am used to and overall I found the book a bit dark. However, it was well-written and had some good human insight that I found entertaining.

A Secret Word by Jennifer Paddock: This is the story of three girls told from their perspectives. It follows them from teenagers until adulthood. I didn't really enjoy this one. The writing wasn't wonderful and the characters were kind of underdeveloped. Overall, it was kind of a depressing book although there were somewhat happy endings. Maybe a little TOO realistic for my happily-ever-after self.

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet: This book has a strange premise--a girl grows up and meets her imaginary friend from childhood and they fall in love. It's a fun and quick read--although not sure about the whole imaginary friend thing. A much better book by James Patterson is Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas.

Read any great books recently? I'm always up for suggestions.

Tales of a KNITTING mom

Oh yeah, knitting. I've been doing that too...between all the mommying, I have been knitting. Here are a few knitted items to prove it:

Shedir Hat (FREE pattern here. PDF. Scroll down--Shedir is the second pattern.)
Yarn: Rowan Calmer (one skein) (This was the recommended yarn and I'm glad I used it. It's really soft and stretchy which is necessary for this hat to fit properly. Nice to work with.)
Needles: Size 3 (16" circular and doublepoints)
Modifications: None

I made this hat for my cousin Christie because her latest cocktail for chemo has made ALL of her hair fall out. The first cocktail she tried made some of it fall out so she was shaving her head, but this new mix made the rest fall out and she mentioned her head was cold. So I, of course, had to knit her a new hat.

This pattern was mentioned to me a while ago and I've seen tons of them on Ravelry, but I was always a little overwhelmed by it and avoided it because it looked so tedious. 128 stitches on size 3 needles with LOTS of cables and twisted stitches just didn't sound like fun. But I actually really enjoyed knitting this hat. The cables and twisted stitches have a nice symmetry and rhythm to them which make the pattern easy to remember and thus fun to knit. I am happy to report that as far as I know there are no mistakes on this hat--and I only had to rip out and redo part of one row after I apparently hallucinated while reading the pattern and made up my own stitch for one of the chart abbreviations. I guess I was up a little too late that night.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have been keeping Christie in your prayers. She could use a few extra right now as she's having a lot of respiratory issues (related to one of the drugs in her chemo cocktail). Unfortunately, chemo attacks the good stuff as well as the bad in your body. So if you have a little extra prayer time, please send some her way. Thanks!

Pattern: Knitted Stegosaurus by Jacob Haller (FREE pattern here.)
Yarn: Red--Caron Simply Soft (less than one skein), Yellow--Baby Bee Pitter Patter in babygold (a very small amount)
Needles: Size 5 doublepoint
Modifications: I knit this entirely in the round on doublepoints instead of knitting it flat and then seaming. I also picked up stitches and knit the legs directly onto the body. I totally changed the pattern for the legs to accommodate this. I also knit the scales in the round by doing a figure 8 cast on and then knitting both sides at once. Because of this, my scales are in stockinette stitch instead of garter stitch. I only did one row of scales instead of the two in the pattern. I put more details about both of these on Ravelry.

I knit the Ike-a-saurus for baby Ike. I plan on making two more (one for his brother and one for his sister). Baby Ike is doing better these days (he's out of the hospital), but he still has a lot of struggles that he's dealing with including a lot of feeding issues so please keep him and his family in your prayers.

In other knitting (no prayers needed) news, I'm knitting this sweater for my nephew. It's a topdown raglan crewneck cardigan.

I need to get busy or it will be too hot to wear it by the time it is finished. I'm hoping I'm making the sweater large enough that Oscar will be able to wear it next year too.

I also finished another little knit, but I will have to blog about that later as it's a surprise for someone who reads this blog. Hee hee.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Letter to My Littlest Man

Poor N has no baby book. Life was just too hectic during my pregnancy (the 8 1/2 month job search, the endless applications and interviews, the getting the house ready for market because we were moving somewhere--we just didn't know where, the constant fear of losing our health insurance, the keeping up with J in all his two year old glory). Anyway, when N was about 3 months old, I had this great idea that I would make him a baby book complete with little envelopes for each month so I could write letters to him and put them in the envelopes. Shockingly, I wrote two letters in one month and haven't touched it since. Poor N! Anyway, just for fun, I thought I'd write a letter to N as my post today since today is his 10 Month birthday.

Dear N,
Today you turned 10 months old. 10 Months! That's almost a year. Crazy. I've now known you in person longer than I knew you inside me. You're a really fun little person and it's been a great 10 months.

You're still a small little guy (up to the 12%ile for weight a
s of today) and you don't have much hair (although it is finally long enough and thick enough to stick out a little in the back) so to me you look younger than 10 months. Although you do have 8 teeth (with a few more on their way in) so that makes you look older.

Anyway, you are this little bald thing who can already crawl really, REALLY fast (even in the bathtub--you NEVER stop moving). You can pull up on anything and everything, cruise along furniture, and even stand on your own without falling down. Your latest trick is squatting and then slowly rising up to a standing position without holding on to anything. It's a pretty funny sight to see.

You're also very much into waving, clapping (thanks to Mooma) and blowing raspberries. Your Grandma and Grandpa were just here for a week and you LOVED waving at them and blowing raspberries back and forth. You and Grandma would have whole conversations that consisted of nothing but raspberries. You're trying to communicate with all of us right now, but besides "Mama" and "Dada" which you say very often, the rest of your words are hard to decipher.

We are still feeding you some baby food each meal, but you're starting to resist it. You are pretty adventuresome when it comes to finger foods and seem to favor mac n' cheese (maybe you're more like your older brother than we thought), cereal (that sounds like him too), hamburger (maybe not SO much alike) and raisins.

You are a very social little guy and everyone always comments on how happy you are because you smile at everyone. They also comment a lot on your blue eyes.

Your favorite person is probably J. You LOVE to follow him around and play with toys. You also like Pepper and Zoe and their toys. We are lucky that Pepper has such a sweet personality as you are always stealing her toys and using her to pull up on.

Happy 10 Months, N! I hope that you will always stay so sweet and loving. I am enjoying you so much and can't wait to see who you become as you get older. Will you always stay this active? Does this mean you will be into sports? Will you slow down and begin to enjoy books and puzzles as much as your brother? Will you always be so sweet and kind and friendly? I hope so! I know that no matter who you become, you will always be my baby boy, my littlest man, and I love you so very much!

Love, Mom

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Little Man is Three!

J had his third birthday yesterday. My little man is 3 years old! I still can't believe it. He's such a wonderful little guy and I feel so blessed to have him. Sometimes he seems so tiny and little and fragile and I can't believe he's that old. Sometimes he seems so grown up and I can't believe he's only just turning 3.

J is definitely a unique little boy and I love so many things about him.

I love that he is really developing a great imagination and he loves to play pretend. Yesterday he spent at least 30 minutes playing with a new kite in the house pretending that it was either a gate or a blanket to sleep under.

I love that he has a newly developed sense of humor. He loves to be silly and his favorite new joke is insisting something is a different color than it really is. This started when Mooma was here a month ago and shows no sign of abating.

I love that he loves to color and make crafts. J has gotten really good at coloring and painting and actually colors within the lines and paints individual items on a page. We're just starting to get into drawing his own pictures.

I love that J is doing so many big boy things now like riding his tricycle really well, using the mouse to play Sesame Street games on the computer, getting his clothes on and off on his own (although he still has trouble with shirts), and using the potty (and wiping--sorry if that's too much information, but it's really exciting to not have to do that).

I love that he is happy to sit quietly by himself and work his puzzles (24 piece ones are really easy for him now and we do 60 piece ones together) or watch a movie (he still loves Sesame Street, but has also gotten into Backyardigans, Clifford, Curious George, Mickey Mouse, Dora and Diego).

I love that he likes to get wild and run around the house and then quietly sneak up on you.

I love that when he plays hide and seek, he gets so excited that he giggles loudly the whole time and often jumps out of his hiding place before you arrive. I love that he tells you where to hide and then still acts surprised when he finds you there.

I love that J is such a loving child. He loves N with a passion and gets so excited to see him every day. He's also very attached to Zoe and Pepper and loves for Pepper to get in bed with him during his naptime and bedtime stories.

I love that I see so much of B and myself in him every day (although sometimes this scares me just a little).

I love that he hugs me good night every night and tells me that he loves me so much.

Yesterday at the zoo (3 years old)

A year ago in the snow (2 years old)

2 years ago in our house (1 year old)

Almost 3 years ago with B
(This was the oldest picture still on my computer. I think J's about 2 weeks old.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ding Dong, You're ...

This has been a big week of accomplishments in our household. N started standing (without holding on to anything) for up to 10 seconds at a time. He also started waving. J finally learned how to pedal his tricycle and is now cruising pretty well on it. He also successfully played his first computer game. B found a great Sesame Street website. So far this one is J's favorite. It's all very exciting!

J has also been into the Christmas Eve on Sesame Street video he checked out from the library. It's old school Sesame Street (back when Maria was with David, before she married Luis). Anyway, J loves Sesame Street movies that have ALL the characters and this one definitely qualifies. In the movie, Oscar the Grouch is antagonizing Big Bird and says to him, "Ding Dong, You're Wrong!" J thought this was hilarious and kept walking around the house saying,"Ding Dong, You're Wrong." I was concerned that J would say this to one of his friends and hurt someone's feelings so I talked to him about how it was not a nice thing to say. I explained that Oscar was a Grouch and that he didn't always say nice things. J didn't really understand what a grouch was so I told him--"You know how mommy gets grumpy sometimes. Well, a grouch is grumpy all the time." That seemed to make sense to him. Anyway, yesterday J was riding his tricycle and playing with the bell. Each time he rang the bell, he would say, "Ding Dong, You're Right!" It was really adorable.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Donate Life

If you are on Facebook or even if you are not, read this post by Erin and donate life.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March in Texas

The pear trees are blooming. It's supposed to be in the 80s today. I guess it's time to take down the snowman flag.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: Still Zoe Edition

As you know, I've been worrying a lot about Zoe recently. Ever since we received her biopsy results a month ago, I've been waiting for her to get really sick. I knew that we had bought her some bonus time with the surgery, but I also knew that the cancer would return. But after a day of freaking out, I've realized that in most ways she is still very much her old self. So for now, I'm going to try to just enjoy her and this bonus time that we have together. Anyway, here is this week's Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Ways Zoe is Still Being Zoe

10. She still barks like mad whenever anyone comes to the door.

9. She still plays with Pepper, but quickly shows Pepper who's boss if Pepper gets too wild.

8. She still reminds me when it's meal time--and she's VERY punctual.

7. She eats all of her food so there is none left for Pepper when she comes to lick Zoe's bowl.

6. She still comes running whenever I open the pantry door. (We keep treats and bones in there.)

5. She still comes running whenever I pour a bowl of cereal. (I usually give her a piece--it's the only people food I give her.)

4. She still guards N's high chair (and the food he drops from it) like it's the holy grail.

3. She still gets really wiggly and excited when the boys and I get home from being out.

2. She still rests her head on a pillow whenever possible when she lays down.

1.She still gives B and I dirty looks if we get anywhere close to each other in bed.

Note to Self

Note to self: If you are tired from a bad night's sleep because both of your children decided to wake up multiple times during the night for no particular reason, don't stay up late watching HGTV and trying to figure out how to knit a stegosaurus leg in the round with picked up stitches just because you are too lazy to follow the really simple directions in the pattern because they involve seaming.

Note to self: Don't fix yourself a bowl of coffee ice cream complete with chocolate covered coffee beans (included) and dark chocolate M&Ms (added) around 10:15PM. For some reason, this may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Note to self: If you are really tired and stayed up too late and couldn't fall asleep, your children will cry out in the night for no particular reason--and wake you up.

Note to self: If you are lucky, the dogs will miraculously sleep through all of this and not disturb you at all.

Note to self: When your alarm goes off the next morning at a ridiculously early hour because you have to take care of two dogs, two boys, yourself and get the trash out and get one boy off to school on time, make sure you turn it off (and not just hit snooze) when you get out of bed and jump in the shower because that lovely alarm clock that wakes you up so nicely with a flashing light goes absolutely ape shit complete with more flashing lights and loud bells and whistles when you don't turn it off after ten minutes of increasingly bright lights and it might wake up one of your finally sleeping peacefully children.

Note to self: A sentence that goes on for 7 lines of text might be a run on.

Note to self: If you've had the aforementioned night/morning and you get some free time, take a nap--don't waste your time blogging notes to yourself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No More Freaking Out...For Now

Well, I called the vet to talk about Zoe. Basically, he said that we could run some tests to see if the cancer is back, but that there really isn't any medicine or anything we can give her to help her if it is back. So I decided--what's the point? I don't want to put Zoe through extra tests and vet visits if they aren't going to help her feel better or get better. So for now, we are just waiting and watching her to make sure she's not in pain. Zoe seems to be doing okay. She's eating well. She wags her tail and gets excited when she sees us. She's playing with Pepper. So I'm not going to freak out about her new desire to lay around outside. Maybe she just likes the nice winter weather in Texas. Maybe she's trying to avoid the craziness that is our household with two young boys and a puppy. So for now, no more freaking out--just trying to enjoy this "bonus" time with Zoe. Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. They are MUCH appreciated.