Sunday, December 31, 2006

Maybe a little S.E.X. (stash enhancement) will con this baby out....

So we're officially less than a week from the due date, and to our midwife's surprise baby girl has not arrived yet. I've already dilated enough to be considered in early labor, and I've been having contractions on and off, but none of it seems to go anywhere (not that I'm really all that surprised). I was hoping for a December 30 birthday, since it seems to be an auspicious birthday, but that wasn't to be. Despite the fact that I know she'll come when she's ready, I am getting a little anxious to finally meet this little girl.

Sex is supposed to help get labor going, so yesterday, I went down to the local yarn shop and got me some (a Stash Enhancement eXpedition), and I have to say, I left feeling quite satisfied, though not in labor. I went by myself, so I fondled and sniffed the yarn for a good long time (the sales associates were really wondering, I'm sure) before I finally picked a couple of items and checked out. I was given a gift certificate for Christmas from the in-laws (they know the way to this girl's heart), and I had enough receipts saved up for an additional 25% off, so when I saw this kit and snuggled with the knit up sample in the store...had to have...and yes, I've already cast on:

I've wanted some Malabrigo (a sinfully soft kettle dyed 100% merino wool) for a while, ever since first rubbing my first hank over 6 months ago (their colors are so lovely), but the price was a little prohibitive at that time...that and it would be a sad thing for something so yummy to sit in the stash with no project. I joked that baby girl mentioned that she wouldn't come out until her binkie was done. Actually, I thought if I started something for her, it would be the sure way to get her to come out.

My real purpose for going to the LYS was actually to scope out sock yarns. I got hubby a new Shuffle for Christmas to use when he works out. He has searched high and low for a protective cover or case for it to keep sweat out of it (the man sweats more than any human should), as he's afraid the sweat would kill it (and he's probably right). Unfortunately, no one makes an athletic cover for the shuffle (yet, I'm sure). I offered to knit it a wool cosy, since wool will hold up to 30% of it's weight in water before feeling damp. Plus, if the Shuffle got dropped, a wool cover would provide a little bit of shock protection.

I was hoping for some solid near 100% wool sock yarns in solid neutral colors, but was coming up empty handed. I did, however find a hank of Colinette Jitterbug 100% merino superwash yarn in a lovely colorway that wasn't too feminine or gaudy (I can actually hardly wait to make a pair of socks out of it!). I'm thinking that future sock yarn purchases will likely be of the internet variety since the LYS's selection is limited.

So I set to making the cosy. I cast on 12 stitches using a crochet cast on and size 0 needles. I knit a row then purled back across these stitches and then undid my provisional cast on putting those stitches on another needle (which gave 24 stitches knit in the round) then continued to knit in the round until the cosy was as long as the inside top of the backside clip. I left half the stitches on the needles and went back and forth on the other half of the stitches until this side was as long as the shuffle when slightly stretched. Then I turned the stitches so the wrong sides would meet (I wasn't sure how to short row back the other direction without tapering it) and on each end of the row, I picked up a side stitch and did a knit or purl 2 together. I skipped doing a knit 2 together where the microphone jack is to leave a hole to plug those in. Once I was back to where the other live stitches were, I cast off around all of them, making a circular opening. The Shuffle then slides in the opening, and the clip remains out so hubby can still clip the device to his jersey or pants. All the openings for the switches and the wheel are then covered and hopefully protected from sweat.

Click on the images for larger views....

And a view from the top of the world just for fun:

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho, Ho, Holy Cow...where has the time gone????

So here it is, already two days post Christmas, which means the New Year is only a hiccough away! Yikes!

The holiday was merry met by all. We opened gifts here on Christmas morning, and I managed to snap a couple of pictures when my camera felt like cooperating (oh, so want a new one, but can't afford what I want. Boo hoo!). Hubby had made a full spread of waffles, bacon, and scrambledy eggs that we grown-ups enjoyed before the festivities, but the boys couldn't seem to eat more than a few bites with all the excitement of the prospect of opening presents. Dining took place on the hand-crafted quilted placemats gifted to me by my best buddy (Hi Lisa!! They were them!! Might bug you to make me more!)

See this bite, Liam? I'm not really gonna eat it...I'm just gonna look at it a while.

I managed to get one picture of Liam with his marble run before my camera took a dump for a while.

Liam: Oooh...can I play it, can I play it? Jonah: Is it my turn yet?

Neely spent the entire time we opened presents obsessing over the ticking egg timer of Liam's that I confiscated and put up on the bookshelf. When she couldn't figure out how to get it down, she decided to make herself a fixture in the tree. She hadn't messed with the tree since we put it up around Thanksgiving, but for some reason, Christmas morning seemed the perfect time to start climbing it.

The rest of the present opening was pretty uneventful, and the boys both seemed pleased at their haul. Jonah immediately went to work pounding wooden nails into his workbench, and Liam was excited about his Spy Gear.

We then headed up to the in-laws to celebrate the holiday, and a wonderful meal of ham, cheesy potatoes, stuffing (gotta have the stuffin....turkey or not...), baked pineapple, and 24-hour fruit salad. Yum. Present opening commenced promptly after lunch, and the boys helped by playing Santa this year.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their gifts, and the boys made out with loads of new books, Legos, and other goodies. Auntie M. probably had the best enjoyed gift of all....a three-drawered organizing cart loaded up with art and craft goodies (she is the art teacher after all!), which the boys promptly dove into. One of the boys in particular already has quite the artistic flair...

Each stroke demanded a similar working of the was all I could do to keep from falling off my chair, until he performed this little move:

I'm amazed we managed to get him upstairs and into the bath without turning MIL's entire house black, but we did. The water was a murky gray within seconds, considering he probably used half of the tube's worth of paint to cover his arms.

This was probably one of the most enjoyable holidays I've had in a while, and I'm not sure what to attribute it to. Partly the fact that we were done with the shopping, etc., relatively early in the game, but I think a great deal had to do with the enjoyment of seeing it all through the boys' eyes. They really enjoyed themselves, and I think the rest of us really did because of it. Maybe I was also a bit more relaxed this year for some reason, and I didn't obsess about the small stuff (and neither did anyone else, which I think just added to the chill atmosphere).

The only thing that would have made the holiday perfect would have been to also have shared it with my family in the next state over, but until they figure out that teleportation thing, doing both places in one holiday is not going to happen.

So now we move quickly on to the prospect of the new year...and a new member of our family. The tree is down (amazing how much more room there is in the living room without a tree in it!)...but there are still things to do before I feel ready for this little girl to make her appearance, so I'd best be off for some slumber.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

So we got a late start this morning on things that needed to be done today. With the boys out of the house, we got the much needed Christmas wrapping completed. Around 5:3o p.m., with only 30 minutes to W*lmart close (and believe me, they weren't going to let you forget that you only had 30 minutes....they started counting down and announced pretty much every 3 minutes the exact time and how long you had left to shop before they closed. No pressure or anything...not like you didn't know that you'd procrastinated till the last possible moments), we made a stop in for a last minute gift for one of the boys after deciding that the pile looked a little lopsided toward the other. Christmas morning crisis averted.

We went to hubby's parents, dined with the family that was in town, and picked up the boys to bring them home for a party at the neighbors, and so they could be home for Christmas morning. The boys were really ready for bed before we even left from the in-laws, but we managed to get over to the neighbor's house with promises that we wouldn't stay long (we had gifts to exchange and knew that they also had gifts for our two). Liam, who is typically Mr. Social and loves going to the neighbors, suddenly got very reserved when we got next door. I barely had a chance to get my coat off, and he turned to me, clinging to my leg and said with big eyes welling with tears, "I'm nervous....Can we go home?" Now, the house was a bit full with the neighbors' relatives and our neighbors from two doors down, but Liam knows all of them fairly well, since we've partied there before on many occasions. So I ask why the nerves. "Because I don't know these people." Which, of course, he knew every one in the room.

Jonah was already off upstairs playing with L., the neighbors' daughter, and the other kids who were there, so I told Liam he could go home once hubby arrived. This was only supposed to take a few minutes, as he'd gone home to wrap a couple of gifts. So we sat on the couch and waited while Liam buried his head in my hip and whined about how he really wanted to go home. So I told him to go play upstairs with his brother and the other children and as soon as hubby came, which would only be a few minutes, he could go home. I figured the minute he got upstairs, he would get into playing and forget all about whatever this sudden shyness was all about. "But I'm feeling apprehensive," he says. Oh, really? Only my 6-year-old would use that as an excuse for why he doesn't want to go play with the other kids. After another 20 minutes of continuous looping on the "I want to go home" recording, I stood Liam up and pretty much dragged him upstairs to play. Once I got him up there and threw him in the mix, he finally started to settle in. It's amazing what a little fatigue will do to a little guy's brain. Another 10 minutes later he came down and politely asked for a snack and a drink, another sign that all was well.

Not long after, we opened gifts, and as soon as the boys had opened theirs and had a chance to see L. open hers, we got the boys gathered, and hubby took them home to bed. Nary a struggle to be had about going to bed tonight either. Sometimes I wish Santa could come every night, just so it would be this easy....but who the heck can afford that?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Only one more night till Santa comes!

We're all caught up in the hub-bub that is the pre-Christmas rush. Presents to wrap, more baking to be done, lots of visiting with folks who are in town. Not many pictures being taken (fickle camera!), but good times are being had.

The contraction machine has been doing its nightly tune up (having one now, thanks...) in prep for baby girl to make her appearance. She and I have had many one-sided discussions (you know how it is with kids) about how nice it would be for her to wait until after Christmas...and how maybe she could let mommy sleep a little more at night. So far, so good.

And since there is no photographic fun tonight, I leave you with this little gem:

Liam: Ow....Jonah! You have static 'lectricity! You gave me an electric shot!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh, the beautiful innocence of children

Liam seems to be really taking notice lately in how we human beings come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. While Daddy was watching an episode of "Little People, Big World" (which, by the way, we really enjoy...they are so fun-loving and adventurous, and I particularly enjoy watching how the mom on the show handles their four kids and the energetic husband and the farm and teaching...all while having to deal with the challenges of being little) on TLC the other night as they got ready for bed, Liam was curious about what it meant to be a little person. The characters on the show were attending the Little People of America Conference, so in the particular scene, all the people were little, and with it being on TV, there was no real way to tell that they were not of average height. Liam was having some difficulty with this. "What's it mean to be a little person? They look like they are the same height as you and mommy." Oh, the power of TV. Cliff: "No Liam...most of them are about the same height as you, and they'll never get any taller, but they are grown-ups like me and mommy." Liam pondered the concept and then pretty much left it at that.

Last night another revelation...funny how Cliff seems to be fielding these lately...
Liam: "Dad...does playing sports make your skin darker?"
Cliff: *surprised at the question* "No...why?"
Liam: "Because all those football players out there seem to have darker skin. And a lot of the guys who play basketball have darker skin."
Cliff: " are other players out there with lighter skin, too."

What I keep hoping is that he will realize that these are all just different flavors of what we humans happen to be....that we are all just one beautiful family, no matter what we look like on the outside. As a mother, I so want to shield him from untruths that he will hear from others, to keep him from having preconceived notions about any particular trait, but instead to see us all as being the same on the inside, though we might be different on the outside and that diversity is really an advantageous thing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

All sleep, all the time

All things here seem to be revolving around when I'm going to get my next nap (Is it time yet? No? Ptthpppbbbbbbb!). I feel like a bear who's being kept from hibernation. After posting last night, I headed to bed (around midnight my time). Before climbing into bed, I patted a soundly sleeping Liam good night and went to do the same for Jonah. His twin bed is sidecar-ed to our bed since he still likes to climb into our bed for a midnight snuggle, so that should have been an easy proposition. Pat, Jonah. He sometimes will climb up into Liam's bed (Liam has his own loft bed, and all the beds are in the upstairs bedroom to give the boys optimal play space downstairs and keep them close in the night...I loves having my babes near me in the night), so I did a double check there. Again, no Jonah. So I turned on the closet light which gave just enough light to see without blinding everyone. Jonah had scrunched himself up in a fetal position and was sleeping sideways on his pillow, using it as a mini-mattress. Satisfied that I knew where he was and that he wasn't going to tumble anywhere, I covered him up and climbed into my bed.

Some time around ridiculously early this morning (before 5 am), hubby's alarm went off. I, of course, needing to do the middle of the night third trimester bathroom run, scooted off the end of the bed to head downstairs. Hubby starts laughing out loud. "Honey...did you see who's on my side of the bed?" The dog sleeps on the floor between the wall and hubby's side of the bed. So I peeked over to see what funny thing the dog might be doing. The dog was sprawled in his usual manner, lying flat on his side with all four legs straight out. No biggie. Snuggled up next to the dog on the floor, however, was our little man, fast asleep. Apparently, he'd gotten out of his bed which is snugged up to my side of the bed and looped around to Daddy's side for a snuggle, not so rare an occurrence. When sleeping Daddy didn't respond to his requests for a cuddly, he must have gotten tired of waiting and just laid down with the dog. I should have gotten it on camera, but by the time I got back upstairs, hubby had already moved the little guy into our bed. Next time, I swear I'll get it on camera.

A little gem

Liam reading the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies to Cliff: "It says we need 2 sticks insulted (unsalted) butter."

Cliff: "Are you going to insult the butter or shall I?"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things have been a bit foggy here at the bunnie hutch. I came down with a urinary tract infection, and as per usual did not know it until I found myself writhing in bed last weekend with flank pain and feeling rather crummy. The antibiotic that I'm taking, while approved for use during pregnancy, has a warning on the label about causing drowsiness, and though did I read this when I first got the prescription....the reality of it didn't sink in until I was driving home this morning from dropping the big guy off at school and thinking that if I didn't get home quickly and fade into bed that I would surely fall asleep at the wheel. Not good. Naptime commenced by 10 am and lasted until 12:30. Jonah came and snuggled into bed with me and napped right alongside. Pure bliss.

Here I'd been blaming the sleepiness I've been feeling the past few days on the amount of crap I've tried to cram into a short amount of time, all the while doing it carrying around an extra 40+ pounds of weight. Sort of like strapping my 3-year-old to my back and carrying him around 24 hours a day. No wonder I get winded going up a flight of stairs. Only a couple more days to go of the antibiotic, so hopefully I can manage to get through the next couple of days relatively unscathed.

There has also been cleaning and reorganizing (ooh, big surprise...not that I ever seem to make any progress), teaching, a visit by the carpet cleaner, and a visit by our prenatal/birth photographer.

I decided to splurge on having prenatal pictures done this time, since I really couldn't think of what I would do with another plaster belly cast floating around and I actually feel very attractive (in a very round earth mother sort of way) this pregnancy in a way I didn't with the boys. The belly cast I have from being pregnant with Jonah never did get decorated. Really should remedy that some time. I'm thinking that we got some really great shots, and I can hardly wait to see the proofs.

We hit the official 37-week full term mark this weekend, and then we'll start week 38. Each night we've been moving the baby Jesus down the Advent ladder toward his walnut manger, and with our due date being so close to Christmas, it's a lot like counting down to this baby coming (not to mention the fact that she seems to be sitting lower and lower in my pelvis on a daily basis). I'm starting to get a bit nervous with the anticipation of it all...but at the same time anxious to complete this part of the journey and move on to the next.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Snow daze

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, we were supposed to get hit with all kinds of lake effect snow and blustery winds into the 40 mph range. This was mostly significant because we're not really part of the snow belt, but occasionally, we do get hit if the wind comes off the lake just right. The weather folks were all atwitter and really gloom and dooming about how much we could get overnight and through Thursday. Estimates of a foot or more were being thrown around.

So Thursday morning came, and upon looking out the window at the mere dusting we had gotten overnight, the kids were a bit disappointed that there would be no snow day. I think hubby was too. So off to school Liam went and off to work went hubby. The snow did indeed continue to fall all day, and it was really windy, but the rate at which the white stuff was accumulating wasn't so terrifying. Hubby called and said that there were spots where the traffic was pretty bad, and that he might just do a few things at work and come home to avoid the rush hour insanity. By the time he came home in the afternoon, we'd picked up maybe an additional inch of snow. Not bad, really.

Sometime overnight into Friday, the snow machine turned on, and we somehow picked up an additional 4 or so inches. When we woke up yesterday, it was a true winter wonderland with everything covered in a nice blanket of snow. Liam happily went off to play "snowboarder" in the meadow, while the little guy stayed here with me. It wasn't long before he decided that he really wanted to go outside. So I bundled him up, snowpants and all, and he headed out to the front yard. "Can I make faces in the snow?" he asked. I nodded, and he proceeded to flop on the ground and make arm-only snow angels. I managed to snap a couple of pictures of him before he came inside with his poor little face all red and wet from snow.

View of our backyard

Jonah inspects his snow angel

Jonah makes another snow angel

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Well, that didn't take long...

So I finished up NaBloPoMo on Thursday after only missing a couple of days of posting (better than I thought I'd do!), and already, I've missed a couple of days of posting. Really, it wasn't my fault. Friday, we had that front roll through along with winds in the 40 mph range, and sometime during the day, our cable modem decided to take a dump. Because of the weather, we assumed that it was the cable company's problem and that it would be fixed. The weekend rolled through with no return of online service (which meant no posting), and finally yesterday I made the call to the company to see what the problem might be. Turns out our 10-year-old modem had finally given up the ghost.

After exchanging it today, I was certain that we still we be having the same problem, yet as soon as I plugged the new modem in, I was up and running. Hoorah! Whatever did we do before the days of the internet, and in our case, cable modems with continuous internet connection? I was going to do some online Christmas shopping and pay some bills, but I couldn't do that until today, as I didn't have access. Well...I could have paid my bills, but it would have required more effort than it does now. Hi! Me Lazy? Yup.

So this weekend was a pretty laid back kind of weekend with my BIL and SIL in town. There was much food consumed and some Christmas shopping completed. I have one of my two kiddos nearly shopped for, and the other will be an easy hop over to HearthSong for a few things. I have ideas for everyone else on my list, so hopefully I can finish it all up this week. Less stress before the holiday.

Today, the boys and I also did some more holiday crafting. We sorted and started gluing foam snowmen together from a kit, and after the boys went to bed, I finally got around to doing one of my Advent projects that I'd hoped to have finished before this past weekend. Oh well...better late than never.

These are pictures of the completed Advent calendar. I used skinny wooden supports to project the gold cardstock ladder away from the blue cardstock background. I glued the gold rungs to the supports on background and then glued on the gold side rails. Then I fashioned a baby Jesus out of rose-colored beeswax and made his body skinny enough that he can slip between the rungs. There is one rung for each day of Advent (which officially started this past Sunday), and each evening, the baby descends down the ladder one rung. By Christmas Eve, the baby will be on the bottom rung, and on Christmas Day, he moves to the golden walnut manger filled with sheep's wool. Each night, the boys will take turns sticking another star on the blue background, so there will also be a full, starry sky by Christmas.

I'm really in the mood to keep on crafting, but if I don't go to bed some time soon, I'll really be dragging wagon tomorrow. Must. Resist. Urge. And. Put. Glue. Gun. Down. Slowly back away....