Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter today!

We had a great one. Both boys were thrilled with their Easter baskets this morning.

J quickly got to work building a small Lego fire helicopter from his basket.

N was excited about the cat grooming toy he got.

But he was even more excited about the CHOCOLATE! He jumped into eating his candy right away.He has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of his chocolate. On Thursday when I went to preschool for the boys' Easter parties, N came running up to me and told me, "The rabbit is coming and we get CHOCOLATE!" It was pretty adorable.

We did not travel to see family, but got together with our good neighborhood friends instead. We like to think of them as our adopted family. We also invited our new next door neighbors who just moved here from Seattle. We had a wonderful meal and then a really fun Easter egg hunt. All seven children seemed to really enjoy themselves.

B, 3 years old

K, 5 years old

J, K and B

B, N and K

B, 11 years old (the lone older child and wonderfully patient with all the little ones)

Our new neighbors with their almost 4 year old and almost 2 year old

Opening eggs!

And inside some of those eggs were these little cuties.
A free pattern from Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochiland.
I used DK, Sport and Worsted weight yarn and size 2 doublepoints. I made ten between Friday night and Saturday night. I did a few extra rows of i-cord on the ears to make them a bit longer.
On Ravelry, here.

Hope you all had a lovely Easter day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finished: Mars

Just in time for the first day of pool season, I finished my turtleneck sweater which my sister has helped me to name Mars. The lovely rust-colored yarn pooled in areas and it reminds us of the spots on Mars.


Anyway, this sweater took me WAY longer than it should mainly because I just haven't been knitting very much. This is my first pattern from Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits and I can tell you that I love her topdown, seamless approach to sweater knitting. I loved the technique for picking up sleeve stitches and using short rows to create the sleeve cap. It did take me a few tries to get the stitch ratio just right, but I feel like any future projects will be much faster because I have a better understanding of the technique now.

My only other roadblock was the turtleneck itself. First, I was doing knit 3, purl 1 for the ribbing for about an inch and a half before I realized that when I turned the turtleneck down the wrong side of the ribbing would be showing--so then I had to frog the turtleneck and redo it as purl 3, knit 1. Then I rushed to bindoff and just did a typical bindoff which was NOT stretchy and thus the turtleneck did not fit over my head. Finally, I didn't measure correctly and the turtleneck was too short so I had to add another inch before doing the final stretchy bindoff of *P2tog, put stitch back on left needle* and repeat.

I really like the simple shape of this sweater and think I will wear it a lot next winter.

(It's a little windy today. Thought I might just blow away.)

Pattern: Tang by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: 4 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool in Color 26 (100% Wool/ 100gr/ 220m/ 240.59 yd)--I was worried about this yarn being too stiff, but it softened up a lot with a quick Eucalan bath. Thanks, Jill at the Woolie Ewe!
Needles: Size 7 (for everything except second half of turtleneck); Size 8 (for second half of turtleneck)
Size: Smallest
Modifications: I adjusted the waist shaping slightly by doing one extra decrease and one extra increase. I also did both slightly closer together than called for in the pattern.

On Ravelry, here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Royal Wedding Hoopla

I can't say that I care all that much about the upcoming royal wedding, but I do find all the hoopla somewhat entertaining.

Today I saw this story about the royal wedding recreated in Legos. The detail is amazing. Click on the link and check it out. It even includes wedding guests like a very pregnant Victoria Beckham and Elton John with his husband and their new baby.

But my favorite is this book that someone in my local knitting group found and shared. It's called Knit Your Own Royal Wedding. Check out this article about it. It has great pictures of the dolls. I love that it includes extra patterns for you to knit yourself as a wedding guest. The corgis are adorable! LOVE it! Get your copy here.

I just hope that Kate Middleton and Prince William have a sense of humor about it all. And that they snap up some of these hilarious keepsakes to look back on fondly one day and laugh at all the craziness.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Create...An Obstacle Course

This afternoon the boys helped me create an obstacle course in our backyard and we had tons of fun running through it and getting some good old-fashioned exercise/fun.

The first step was the boys' favorite, running through the hose (done boot-camp-tire-run style):

The next step was ten jumping jacks. I don't have any pictures of that because it is impossible to take someone's picture while you are doing a jumping jack.

Next was a run to the fence and back with someone pushing the play lawnmower:
Next, we dribbled a ball soccer-style longways across the yard.

When we got to the other side, we jumped side to side over these pool noodles:
Next, we had to hit a ball off the tee (and run and retrieve it):
In this pic, J also knocked the tee out of the shot :).

Finally, we had to kick/dribble the beach balls longways across the yard to the fence (and back if you were me and getting the course ready for another round).

N only completed the course once before he lost interest and began hitting things with his plastic bat. He did eventually return to do the hose portion a bunch of times.

J stuck with it and completed the course with me multiple times.

It was a lot of fun. We plan to do it again later this week and J promised to help me come up with some more obstacles.

Very fun! Yay! It was a happy mommy moment. Can't wait to repeat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Create...a Healthier Family

As part of my goal for myself to be a healthier person, I've been trying to work out more. In general, I am doing pretty good. I use the treadmill often and have also been enjoying doing Wii Fit activities like boxing and step aerobics and Wii Sport (mainly tennis). Currently, I do most of my working out when the boys are either at preschool or napping/having quiet time.

However, although it is nice to exercise without interruption, I've realized that there are two problems with working out only when the boys are not around. First, the time when the boys are not around is pretty limited and will only get more limited this summer--and I have a lot of other things I need to get done during the short time of N's nap time/J's quiet time. Second, the boys never see me working out and I think it's important that they see this part of my life--you know the whole showing by example thing.

Anyway, I am trying to think of new ways that I can get exercise with my boys. Then we can all be healthy and enjoy each other at the same time.

I know I could just chase them around the yard/park, but that's not all that enjoyable for me so I'm trying to think of other things to try. Here are my current thoughts:
playing soccer (want to get a little goal for our yard)
playing tennis (need to get some rackets and find a place to play)
rollerblading while they bike or ride scooters (need to get roller blades)
hiking (need to find some fun places to explore)
jogging (am considering seeing if J wants to start jogging around the block with me)

Anyway, I've never been a very athletic person but I want to be better. I want to do these things with my boys so we can all be healthier and have fun. Wish someone would teach a class for moms-of-boys like me who need to learn more about sports. Maybe a camp for moms and sons to attend together where we could both learn how to hit a baseball, throw a football, get a basketball in the basket and score a soccer goal. Anyone out there know of anything like that? It would be really beneficial and fun. If you decide to start such a camp, let me know. I'd love to attend!

So there's my rambling thoughts on working out and enjoying my family. I want a healthy happy family. Who doesn't?

Any thoughts or suggestions?


J got invited to go home with a friend after school today, but he decided not to go because I wasn't going. He was afraid to go by himself. That makes me really sad.

J has never liked new situations. He's always been hesitant to go new places on his own. Except for preschool, he's never really gone anywhere without me around.

This has been done in part because of his preferences and in part due to mine. I never liked new situations as a child and so I instinctively avoid them for J because I assume he wouldn't like them. One of my many excuses for not working out is that J wouldn't like being dropped off at a gym daycare. Now that he is 5, there are lots of cool summer camps that J could attend, but I don't sign him up for them because I figure he wouldn't deal well with being dropped off in a new place with a bunch of children he doesn't know.

I'm afraid that I've projected some of my own issues onto J and have made his own inclination toward not wanting to go new places alone worse.

J is actually a very social child. He loves being around other children. He plays quite well with others. It just usually takes more time for him to assimilate to new surroundings and new people.

The play date was delayed until Thursday, but I'm still not sure if J will be willing to go without me. The little girl who invited him over is one that he's known since he was two, but we've never been to her house before.

I hate that J is afraid of the new and unknown. I hate that I've missed out on opportunities in my life due to my own reluctance to try new things and go to places unknown. I don't want my children to miss out.

I want to help us all step outside our comfort zone. I'm just not 100% sure the best way to do this.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Um, yeah

Guess I should have realized that I needed a stretchy bindoff for the turtleneck. Wish I had thought of that before I wove in my end and cut my yarn.

Oh well. It's ALMOST finished.

Can't believe I just posted this oh-so-flattering picture of myself.

Happy laugh-filled Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Amazing Gift from my Amazing Sister

My twin sister recently started knitting and it makes me SO happy. I LOVE talking knitting with her. I LOVE sitting and knitting with her (an extremely rare occurrence, but a wonderful one all the same). I LOVE receiving the beautiful gifts she knits for me.

The latest is this lovely bag that she made me for our birthday.

I am just so impressed. It's the Coney Island Bag by Eunny Jang. It's a free pattern on Knitting Daily.

My sister really hasn't been knitting that long and this bag is perfect! I love the bag pattern and the lovely colors she chose.
Unlike me, my sister is not afraid of sewing. She made a lovely fabric lining complete with pockets in coordinating fabrics.

She even made a lovely fabric covered button.

I LOVE this bag almost as much as I love the amazing person who made it for me.

Love you, Cat! Thanks for being SO good to me!

Family Photos from our Visit

For everyone who knows my family, here are some pics from my trip home:


My brother's oldest, Joe:

My sister's youngest, Lizzie:

J with my sister's oldest, Michael:

One of my brother's triplets, Mary:

My brother's other two triplets, Madeline and Reed (comparing boo boos):

My twin sister Cat and my mom who is handing out chocolate chess pies during our birthday celebration:
Fun in the leaves:

Michael with Rosebud:

Just love spending quality time with my family!

Puppy Love

The boys and I just got back from a trip to Virginia to see my family. My parents just got a puppy two weeks ago. Rosebud, or Rosie, is now 10 weeks old and ADORABLE. She's a Boston Terrier mix from the Lynchburg Humane Society and quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Seriously, have you seen anything cuter?

Didn't get much knitting done during the visit, but did get lots of quality puppy time. It was WONDERFUL!