Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I just spent two lovely, decadent, relaxing, all-about-me hours sitting on my bed enjoying the lovely sunshine while knitting and reading a novel (yes at the same time). It was even more wonderful and much needed after four stuck-at-home days with two sick, non-napping boys. Ahhh...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oink oink

Took the boys to the pediatrician this morning. It's been confirmed. Both boys tested positive for Type A Flu (and since H1N1/swine flu is the only Type A active right now...my boys have swine flu). Fortunately, they seem to be feeling better today. In fact, J feels so much better, he's upstairs NOT napping right now. Oh well. Off to clean some more before my parents arrive on Wednesday.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Control Freak's Worst Nightmare

So as many of you know and others probably suspect, I am a control freak. I HATE not being in control. I don't like the unexpected and I don't like change. Considering all this... motherhood is right difficult for me sometimes. There are lots of things about children that you can't control and I hate that.

But my worst nightmare...when my children get sick. I HATE it when my children get sick and I can't magically make them feel better. When the illness takes over, I am no longer in control. I can't fix it and I hate it.

Right now both boys are sick. They are running high fevers (102 for N and 103 for J). N is very congested, but seems to feel okay. He's still running around and getting in trouble although he cries a lot more easily when you tell him no--which is how I know he doesn't feel well. J is lethargic. He's barely eating. I have to force him to drink juice. He just wants me to be with him all the time. He feels awful and there is nothing I can do to stop it. This control freak is freaking out because my boys feel like crap and I can't make it any better. I hate it!

Okay, enough complaining. Off to clean my house while the boys are napping because my parents are coming in 3 days! I just hope the boys are better in time to enjoy their Mooma and Papa.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Definitely Dangerous

So I'm sorry for never letting you know which Danger Crafts patterns I decided to buy. It was a hard decision, but I finally narrowed it down to my top six. Yes, six. In the end, five was not enough. I've already started on my first one:

That little bit of stripey goodness is going to be Daphne of Daphne and Delilah (I love the pocket!):
I also bought patterns for Penelope the Empathetic Monster (I just want to hug her):
Frances the Charismatic Monster
(I love his long legs and arms):

Robbie the Radiant Robot (who can resist a robot?):
Tofu the Gentle Dachshund (This one really grew on me the more I looked at him):

Greta the Captivating Cat (she's just too sweet to resist):
I have A LOT of knitting to do. In addition to all these cuties, I really want to knit this and this. So much to knit, so little time to do it. [SIGH]

A Sneak Peek at a Surprise Knit

I finished my secret surprise knit project and I'm pretty happy with it. It's a Christmas gift so I can't go into full details yet...but here are a few sneak peeks:

For this project I used a yarn I have seen used by a lot by other knit bloggers (including Jared Flood): Noro Silk Garden. This is by far the most expensive yarn I have ever bought, but it was PERFECT for the project I wanted to knit and so I bought it. Although I love the way this project turned out, I'm a bit disappointed in the yarn. The colors are lovely and you can see they transition quite nicely from one to the next...except for when there is a random break in the yarn and a whole section is MISSING. This happened at least once in each of the four skeins I had. That was disappointing and a pain in the butt as I had to then try to piece the yarn back together in a way that kept the colors looking okay in the pattern. I felt this made me waste some of this lovely yarn and it made for lots more ends to weave in when I was done. This yarn is a silk/kidmohair/lamb's wool mix. I would like to soften this up just a bit--do any of my knitterly friends have any suggestions for that? But anyway, this project is done and I can't wait to give it to its intended recipient at Christmas. This was my first time doing entrelac (that fun little diamond pattern) and I really enjoyed it. Will probably do it again sometime in the future.

And yes, I am in shock that I finished a Christmas knit in September. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The many words of N

Right around N's first birthday, I freaked out that he wasn't talking enough and was feeling guilty that because he was such an easy baby I neglected him and stunted his language development. I know...I'm a freak.

Anyway, he's 16 months now and is talking quite a bit. In fact, I sat down and started writing down all of his "words" and he is up to twenty plus words. Of course, I use the word "words" loosely. If he uses the same combination of sounds consistently to express the same thought and I can figure out what that thought is...then it counts as his word.

One of his latest words:


Monday, September 21, 2009

Finished! Part Maid Marian and Part Xena

I finished my Slanting Gretel Tee over a week ago, but am finally getting around to blogging about it. Part of the delay was my inability to get a good modeled picture. It was so rainy and dreary here last week (It was very atypical Texas weather; I felt like I was back in Ohio.) that I couldn't get a decent picture.

Anyway, this was actually a pretty quick knit despite the cables and seed stitch that make it look more difficult than it is. The project also moved along more quickly because I am totally OBSESSED with knitting right now. It's all I want to do. My house is a pigsty. I got my first Wii injury...because I was trying to knit while doing Wii Fit. Stupid, I know. I thought I could handle running in place and knitting. Not so much. Oh well.

I enjoyed knitting this top because I love knitting in the round. The cables and seed stitch made it interesting while the stockinette stitch gave me some quick mindless knitting as well. I loved that when you finish knitting, the only finishing work is binding off the sleeve stitches and weaving in a few ends. The only thing I didn't love is the way my M1s look next to the cables on either side of the seed stitch section. I kept getting holes (mostly with my M1Ls). Since I used a cotton, there is no halo to hide these. Oh well. I've already worn the top once and liked it. It's a fun little top. Makes me feel part Maid Marian and part Xena.

Pattern: Slanting Gretel Tee by Petra Manis (in Interweave Knits Fall 2009)
Size: Smallest (30 1/4" bust circumference)
Yarn: ella rae Baby Cotton (50g/100m/88% Cotton-12% Nylon/Color 07 Dusk) 5 skeins
Needles: Size 5 (24" and 16" circular)
Modifications: I added about an extra inch of length before starting the raglan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jared Flood and Cookie A. are Coming to Texas....And I'm Going to be in Oregon

I just got my monthly e-newsletter from my local yarn shop, The Woolie Ewe. It is an amazing store in Plano, TX with the most amazing selection of yarn and some really nice employees. One of my favorite things about them is that they have lots of color choices for each yarn and they usually have 10 or more skeins of each color. LOVE IT!

Anyway, I got my monthly newsletter and Jared Flood and Cookie A. are coming to The Woolie Ewe to teach classes in October! I have never been so excited in my life. I've read Jared's blog, Brooklyn Tweed, off and on for a while and his designs and projects are AMAZING! I don't yet knit socks, but all the ones that tempt me are Cookie A. designs.

The class topics look great--especially Jared's (again since I'm not a sock knitter). I was trying to decide between his four classes:
"Knitting From the Top Down"--highlights for me: the circular cast-on and working set in sleeves from the top down
"Intro to Shetland Colorwork" --highlights for me: colorwork technique and theory and steeking
"Seamless Sweater Workshop"--hightlights for me: SEAMLESS! also all the Elizabeth Zimmermann percentages and what not
"Girasole: A Crash Course"--highlights for me: I have no need for a circular shawl or afghan, but this pattern is BEAUTIFUL

Anyway, I was sitting here mulling over my choices trying to decide which class to sign up for, trying to decide if I could possibly afford to do more than one, about to call The Woolie Ewe before the classes filled up...when I realized I won't be in Texas that weekend. I will be in Oregon meeting my niece Isla for the first time. I will be off enjoying the wonderful company of my sister-in-law and her husband and their two precious children. I will be having an incredible time...but a small part of me will be very sad that I am missing a chance to be taught by Jared Flood. JARED FLOOD!

Is it too much to hope that he'll come back next year?

Book List: Deja Vu Edition

The two books I just finished reading shared a common "formula" that I enjoy quite a bit: Average girl suffers an injustice and then moves away and makes a fabulous new life for herself. While making this fabulous life, average girl (who happens to suffer from self-esteem issues) meets "unattainable" man of her dreams. Average girl gets lots of crazy advice from friends about how to have a happy love life and snag the guy of her dreams. Then she makes a major mistake and may or may not lose him forever. Do they live happily ever after? You'll have to read the novels to find out. Of course, if you know me at all and you know I like these books, then you can probably guess the answer to that question.

The Art of French Kissing by Kristin Harmel: Emma gets dumped by her fiance and then gets fired the next day. While wallowing in self-pity, Emma gets a call from an old friend who invites her to Paris and even offers her a job as a publicist for a crazy, but very sexy French rock star. The novel tells all about Emma and her lovely life in the even lovelier city of Paris. This author is definitely in love with Paris. One fun part of this novel for me is how the author sets up multiple options for Emma's love interest (the sexy rock star, an annoying but good-looking reporter, her ex-fiance and various others) and I spent part of the novel trying to decide who I wanted her to get together with. Anyway, there are some fun plot twists, crazy antics and plenty of feminine angst. I found it to be very entertaining.

Dog Handling by Clare Naylor: In this novel, Liz gets dumped by her fiance (sound familiar?) and is bored by her job as an accountant so she decides to get away from it all by leaving the country (sound familiar?) to stay with a good friend (sound familiar?). Liz, however does not go to Paris, but instead heads to the beaches of Australia where she meets a whole cast of interesting characters including two drag queen business men, a bevy of rich socialites, and a crazed heart-broken lesbian, oh yeah, and the hot guy she had a summer fling with at the age of 18. Again, lots of antics and plot twists and feminine angst. Another fun read.

Another similarity: Sometimes Predictable, BUT Things are NOT always as they seem. Hmm...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book List: Three that I Couldn't Put Down and One that I Almost Didn't Finish

The Good:
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff: This was a very interesting read. It intermingled two stories: the story of Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young's wives who tried to end polygamy back in the 1800s, and the story of a young man who grew up in a modern polygamous sect. Reading about polygamy is kind of like watching an accident or an episode of Jerry Springer--you want to look away, you can't believe these are real people who do and think this, but you just can't resist learning more. However, even more than the subject, the amount of detail and the varied viewpoints really make this book very interesting. I love the juxtaposition between the Mormons in the 1800s and the modern cult. To me this book made me think a lot about religion in general and the differences between religion and faith. All in all, a good read.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker: This novel tells the story of Truly. Truly is born weighing over 29 pounds with a medical condition that causes her to grow at a faster than average rate and she lives her life as a "giant" who is much bigger and heavier than everyone she knows. Truly's story is an interesting one and is told beautifully in a way that makes you feel her pain, but not pity her for her battles with the world and all of its beautiful "normal" people. Baker is good at giving you just enough information about what's going to happen to make you want to keep reading until you know all the hows and whys to go with the whats. A lovely story and enjoyable to read.

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos: This book centers on two main characters: Cornelia, a thirty-ish single woman who loves old movies and dreams of being swept away by love, and Clare, an eleven year-old girl who's dealing with a mother with mental issues. I LOVED the way this book is written. It is narrated alternately by Cornelia and Clare and I especially loved the voice of Cornelia. She was so real and so interesting and I just loved hearing her inside my head. The plot of this book is interesting and both predictable and unexpected at times. I enjoyed the plot, but my favorite part was just the voices of these two females and the likability of their characters.

The Bad:
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Sarah Rainone: Let me just preface this by saying, I don't think I have ever stopped reading a book once I started it. I always finish the book even if I don't like it. On that note, I really almost stopped reading this book about half way through. I just did not enjoy it. In this novel, Dan and Lea are getting married. Their four friends from grade school are in the wedding. The story is told by these four friends who although they all bonded in a grade school gifted program are now royally screwed up adults. All I could think while reading this was "What a bunch of losers." I know that is really mean and awful, but that is what I kept thinking. In the end, the book got a little better as the author moved away from overuse of stream of consciousness and into more storytelling and as the characters stopped obsessing over how they felt inadequate because going to a gifted program made them social outcasts. I did not go to a gifted pullout program in grade school, but I have lots of friends who did. I know they did not turn out to be drugged out losers, but did they feel this bad about themselves in grade school? I don't think so, but I could be wrong. Read this one at your own risk.

Spotlight on J...

At school today, J's teacher did a project called "Spotlight on" where she interviewed each student. Here are her questions and J's answers:

What is your favorite color? All of them.
What is your favorite food? Dinosaur chicken.
What is your favorite toy at school? The dollhouse.
What is your favorite toy at home? My bike.
What is your favorite TV show or movie? Curious George.

Now we know. Of course, J refused to talk to his teacher all day until I arrived. Then he answered all her questions. He promised me that he would talk to her more next week. The first thing he said when we left school was "I had fun with my friends at school today." I'm so glad!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My progress on my Slanting Gretel Tee is actually coming along quite well--despite the fact we got a Wii this weekend (thanks to B's Marriott points) and I've been doing Wii Fit for 30+ minutes a day and it's kicking my out-of-shape butt. Anyway, last night I got all the way to the bottom of the sleeves and am about to start the raglan.

Here's a picture of the bottom edge of a sleeve.

It's a strange construction. I'm used to top down instead of bottom up. For this sweater, you make a crochet chain and then pick up the stitches on it to create the sleeve. Interesting...

So far I'm happy with the sweater. I don't love how my increases (M1R and M1L) look on either side of the cables, but otherwise it looks good. The only problem with using a cotton is that it has no halo to hide any imperfections. Oh well.

In other knitting news, my secret project has been delayed. I realized that there is no way I'd get it done in time for a birthday present so it's been moved to a Christmas present. Although I have tons of things I want to knit next, I am going to take a break from me-knitting and knit a helmet liner for some local troops headed to Afghanistan this fall.

That's all for now. J had his first day back at pre-school today and seems to have had a good one. Apparently, he didn't talk to his teacher at all today, but had tons to say to me on the way home so I think all will work out in the end. I really like his new teacher and I think it will be a good year for J.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Three Loves of My Life

What did you expect? Chocolate, books and knitting?

I am truly blessed to have such lovely men in my life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The gifts of motherhood

It's the little things that my children do that bring joy to my life. Here are two of the "gifts of motherhood" I received today.

From J: "Woo"s sung in his sweet three year-old voice as we listened to "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in the car.

From N: A piece of dried dog poop brought to me as a present while hanging out in the backyard.

Thanks, J and N, for making me smile today.