Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where is my Chocolate Caramel Sundae?

One of our kitties has gone MIA. She disappeared a few days ago and hasn't been seen since. She was a stray that found her way into our hearts not long after we moved here 8 long years ago, and with her coloring, hubby christened her Chocolate Caramel Sundae (Just Sundae for short). She had been an inside cat after we took her in, but this summer, she made her mind up that she was ready for some outside exploration. Every chance she'd get, she would hide by the doors, and the minute any of us (particularly the boys) would open the screen door to go outside, she was off like a shot. Usually she hung out right in our neighborhood, and if any of us were outside, she was sure to be wherever we were at. She also had me convinced that she was suffering from delusions that she was a canine. She made friends with every dog that walks this block regularly, greeting them nose to nose and rubbing her body on them as if to mark them as her territory. Most of the dogs didn't know what to think. It's amazing that she didn't disappear sooner as a very furry dog treat.

Her typical lounging spots were under the neighbors' cars or in our driveway or under the butterfly bushes in the neighbor's landscaping. She was always spunky and for someone so light in weight, when she stood on my lap, it felt like she had little peg legs.

I've done the neighborhood drive by and haven't seen any sign of her and checked the local animal shelter with no luck. Our next move is likely an ad in the paper and some LOST posters. My guess to this point is that she followed someone home who was walking the block, and they assumed she had no owner (we had removed her collar earlier in the day to put her flea meds on and didn't get the chance to put it back on before she escaped). She is super duper friendly, and I'm sure she won someone's heart. I just wish she'd left a note.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A womb with a view: bandwidth-sucking photos ahead!

As my profile will tell you, I'm a little bit of a birth nut, and I really enjoy the whole process of being pregnant. Now that I'm halfway there with this baby, I've gone through that little ritual that has become routine (I'll not bore you with how I really feel about routine ultrasound, but I digress) for the happiness of my hubby and to help everyone around feel more comfortable with our choice to have another homebirth.

Hubby loves the ultrasound because he doesn't really get to enjoy all of the daily rollicking, furniture rearranging, and general gymnastics that babies do in-utero. It helps him to get started on that bonding process, and I must say that he is well bonded with our children. In addition, he enjoys finding out what the sex of the baby is, thus to better start prodding me with unusual permutations on bizarre or ethnic names. (Magnus has been his strong male name since we conceived our first. My mantra in reply has been, "we're not naming this kid Magnus, and besides we're not even Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, whatever background the name comes from, nor will our child likely ever be a Strongman." Ultramarathoner perhaps or even Lance Armstrong wannabe, but no Magnus Samuelsson, I'm afraid. Turns out Great Grandma was straight off the boat from Sweden. Good thing this is a girl this time. Yup...a girl!!)

After several failed attempts due to my boneheadedness, tardiness, and the general lack of communication between physician's offices, we finally had our ultrasound last week. I treat you now to a few pictures of our lovely fetus, who has yet to be nicknamed.


Baby gives her best Miss America wave

In addition, here's a picture of me growing nicely. Forgive the smudgy mirror and the disaster that is the kids' playroom.

I've been dubbed Queen of Roundness. Yeah, I got curves.

"Sock"er practice

I finished my second blue stripety sock several days ago, but never got around to posting the finished pics of it. The socks are perhaps a little on the snug side, likely because I could have used a few more rows before beginning my toe shaping. To say I'm impatient would be putting it mildly. I do really like them, but I'm actually thinking I might send these to my sister, whom I miss very much. The socks are no where close to identical, but I think they still look great together.

Socks Off, Socks On...

Details of the pattern: Autumn Leaves from Socks, Socks, Socks reworked with my gauge (8 sts/inch) using Socks 101 from Knitty. I did do the slip stitch heel instead of the one listed in the destructions for Socks 101.
Needles: Susan Bates (or some other Jo-Ann brand) size 1 metal needles, which actually weren't as bad as I thought they'd be to knit with. From size 4 on up, they're too heavy for me to knit with.
Yarn: 100% cotton Crazy Cotton by Schachenmayr in color 87, 2 skeins and a smidge (long bunnie feet, ya know)

After a little S.E.X. at the LYS and the procurement of 5-packs of bamboo needles in sizes 0, 1, and 2, I quickly cast on for a toe-up sock following Indigirl's Universal Toe-Up Sock Worksheet.

The sock's intended recipient was to have been my oldest, but following an oversight in mathmatics (uh, yeah, reasons why I'm not an engineer. Careless with the Math.), the sock better fits my youngest. Here he is modeling the finished product.

How could you not love these wide feet?

He has some room to grow in it (which is good given his recent growth spurt), and because it's 100% cotton (not the best choice for socks, but when I bought the yarn, I did not know that.), it doesn't have a whole lot of give to it, so the extra room is good. I loved knitting this sock. The toe-up short-row design is clever, and I love Amy's worksheet and the possibilities for embellishment. Methinks some newborn socks are also in my future....more on that later.

My trip to the LYS resulted not only in new needles, but also new stash. I picked up 3 skeins of Katia Mississippi 3 print (60% cotton, 40% acrylic, a better choice for socks, I think) in a colorway that reminds me of rainbow sherbet. I may have two socks in the works at once...the second blue stripety for the little guy, and one for myself, as I'm having a hard time resisting the urge to cast on with the new sock yarn. I'm thinking of something with a little bit of lace or picot edging. I'm really coveting some other new sock yarn (Blue Moon colorways, how I love thee...) given how much I've been enjoying knitting socks, and in particular how much I like doing toe-up socks. I've been needing near-instant gratification, and socks seem to fit the bill lately. Gotta get my practice up for Sock Wars, you know. Got new people to meet and assassinate by socks.

Rainbow Sherbet...yum.

First Day of Kindergarten

My favorite holiday has arrived again. Yes, the first day of school. Hip, hip, hooray! This year, Liam is officially kindergarten and no longer preschool. This year is also the first year that he will be attending a few full day classes. He's been asking since the beginning of last year if he could stay full day, but we knew that he wasn't really ready yet. This year, I think the full day will be really good for him, as it will get him a little taste of what to expect in first grade next year.

Hangin' with his best buddy

He woke yesterday morning with great excitement about the day. He washed and dressed in near record time, but when it came time to sit and eat, mass chaos descended. Suddenly the rain boots we'd bought weren't comfortable, and all was wrong with the world. He wasn't hungry and wasn't going to eat breakfast and dissolved into a puddle of wailing and crying and carrying on about the sad state of things. We eventually sent him back up to sit in bed until it was time to go. After some quiet time to think, he decided that his boots were fine after all, and he ate in the car. All was sunshine and roses again. Once we got to school, he immediately latched on to old friends, and it was as if the long summer break never happened. All except that he was now the second tallest of all the children in the meadow followed only behind a good friend from class last year. Over the summer, he must have grown several inches, and he now is taller than the friends that he was as tall as or shorter than at the end of the school year. Amazing how they can shoot up in just a few months. Jonah, for example, grew 2 shoe sizes in 3 months, and now is taller than some of the preschoolers in the 3 and 4 year old class.

The teacher's assistant escorts the children to the train

Jonah was probably the funniest part of Liam's first day of school. He made himself right at home in the meadow, while the other children his age were still clinging to their parent's sides. When the teachers rang the hand bell, and the Pavlovian response brought the children back to the wagons to line up, Jonah got into line with the nursery kindergarten class, ready to go. He was disappointed to learn that he wouldn't be going to school, and asked when we were going to go see his classroom. I informed him that potty training and turning three would be necessary goals to reach first. Needless to say, he didn't agree.

Little man in big bro's jacket

Once the children went in, Jonah decided that he needed Liam's sweatshirt to keep him warm, and the sight of the little guy in big brother's oversized jacket with the floppy rainboots was enough to get me shutter-happy. I let him play on the playground for a little while and then we headed home. It was strange to be back to one-on-one versus on-on-two, but kinda nice. Much easier to cope, and I think the little guy relished the extra attention.

On picking our young man up from school, he decided that full day kindergarten was great, but that naptime was "really long." Not surprising, since he never has been good at napping.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend Update -- Prepare to be annihilated! Sock wars is coming!

Yup...seems I'm only posting on weekends these days. I'm enjoying the last hurrahs of summer. Swimming with the kids, trying to get the spring cleaning done (yeah, I'm a season off on that, but blame school and first trimester yucks), and prepping for the upcoming school year. Only a week and a half the big man goes back to school. Whee!

Needless to say, mentioning that I've been busy would be putting it lightly. I finally managed to add some pics to the last post I made when Blogger was being finicky. I still have more pics to download, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet. Maybe another day this week. Procrastination, thy name is Bunnie.

Progress has been made on the second blue fraternal stripe sock, and I hope to cast off on that bad boy in another day or so. I still need to snap pics of the yarn I picked up for the next pair (reminds me of rainbow sherbet, and I couldn't resist, so I've already swatched!). I've joined Sock Wars, so I will be a deadly assassin (hopefully!) in the next month. I will be sent a target's information (shoe size, etc) and the pattern, and my mission is to knit a pair of socks as quickly (and nicely) as I can to send to the target. Once the target receives my socks, she (he?) will be considered killed and will have to report their demise. They then send me their target's information and their unfinished socks, and I will quickly finish them and send them off in the hopes of killing their target before being killed. If I should receive a pair of socks, then I'm considered killed, and I have to post my death and send my unfinished knitting off to the assassin.

So what do I get out of it? Well, at the minimum a pair of socks. The last one standing gets other fun prizes. Luckily I have large (long) feet (what else would you expect of a bunnie?) so while that won't put me at an advantage in the first round (everyone will be paired with a similarly sized person), maybe it will help me a little in the long (get it? Long? hahahaha...Ok. It's entirely too late to be posting so you get to put up with my silliness and bad humor ;)) I'm also hoping that this will help fine tune my sock knitting skillz. So Merry Christmas everyone in the family. You're all getting socks this year. At least they will be hand knit. Unless the baby knitting bug bites me again soon, which is never out of the realm of possibility.

In other news, I had an interview last week for a job teaching something part-time and completely unrelated to birth (imagine that...there are things outside of birth for me!), and I got the email Friday that I got the job! The hours should be pretty flexible, and the pay should be pretty fair, and it's something that I can do until I decide I'm bored with it. Plus I get to go shopping for new clothes, which every girl who's growing by inches and pounds loves to do. Luckily maternity wear has a lot of lycra. to bed for this tired momma.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We just got back from visiting family in Indiana (ok...maybe not just, but some time this week!), and we've spent the rest of the week recovering and catching up on things around here. We're still no where near caught up (but when am I ever?), but it's been nice having hubby around for the whole week.

Indiana was great. HOT, but great. It was hot everywhere, I think. We went to Lake Michigan on Sunday and it was so hot that we were sweating even in the water. A storm put a halt to our family reunion (as did a major lack of parking), but I did get to spend lots of time with my mom and had enough food left to feed us all for the next week. We still have salami and cheese left.

The trip out to Indiana was fun-filled. The trip normally takes just over 5 hours when we stop for one gas/potty break. Because of my current state, I have to stop every hour or two to get out and move around, which slows progress substatially (like to a screeching halt). We made a detour to Tony Packo's in Toledo for easily the best chili-cheese dogs and chili-cheese fries I've had in a looooong time. This place was sort of made famous by M*A*S*H character Klinger who was a Toledo native. Toledo even has a Jamie Farr Park named after the actor who played him. During a couple of episodes, he mentions the place as having the best Hungarian hot dogs. They have vacuum-sealed hot dog buns signed by the famous folks who have eaten in the restaurant, and they line most of the walls there. Pretty nifty. The hot dogs are definitely worth the detour. Liam liked the place so well, he requested a stop on the way home (which we didn't do after a trip to Schoop's for handmade burgers on the way out of Indiana...thought it might lead to a little indigestion!).
Just after a good meal (J-rock still needs a nap)

The boys with a few of the buns

I even managed over the course of the trip there and back to come through with an FO!! Look!

Sock off the foot

Sock on the foot

Ok. Maybe you can't because Flogger isn't letting me upload pics at the moment. Those will have to be edited in later (pics now added, obviously). At any rate, the second one has already been cast on for and will be a fraternal twin rather than identical since the stripes were too much of a pain in the fanny (and wasted a sick amount of yarn) to line up. Because they're 100% cotton, they don't have a whole lot of give to them, but they actually fit, and I love the blue stripes! The last pair of socks I made from this pattern, I dove in without swatching. I know, I know...bad idea. So not only did the socks not fit me or the hubby (too big!), but then I also had a hard time getting the two socks to be the same length. I chalk it up to inexperience and overexuberance. I really wanted to do these as a toe up, but a certain craft store rhyming with blow-man does not carry bamboo (heck or even metal) double pointed needles in small diameters and lengths in more than a 4 pack (and even the 4-pack was nearly impossible to find and they had NO bamboo or wood needles in the 0-4 range, which I suppose makes sense since they also didn't have squat in sock weight yarn), and I really wasn't crazy about buying to packs of aluminum needles when I really didn't like them to begin with. So I only bought one pack of 4, meaning that I couldn't do a toe-up. I should have enough of this yarn when I'm finished to do a pair of toe ups (which means a trip to the LYS for brittany sock needles--wheee!).

Today we celebrated Liam's 6th birthday. Hard to believe that my little man is getting so big. He's gotten really good at riding a two wheeler, improved his drawing and writing skills, and learned to whistle this year. We celebrated with a late lunch at Hartville Kitchen so Liam could have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes 'n' gravy, and hot buttered rolls. Yum!