Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's the little things

I am home alone with the dogs, who are playing outside in the yard. My husband took our children to his mother's house yesterday and I don't expect them back for for a few hours. I woke up this morning to a quiet home, still neat from when I tidied up yesterday. I put the toys away and no one took them back out from the toy box. There was no arguing about what TV show to watch, no one asking for his 3rd bowl of cereal, no one asking to play with the PSP because her brother was bothering her. My knitting is still on the couch where I left it yesterday and I am not afraid that someone is going to accidentally jump on it and hurt himself (and break my needles in the process). I have a really good chance of folding and putting away the piles of laundry that I did yesterday because I know that there is very little chance that I am going to get interrupted by a someone wailing about a "sword" or Mario Brothers or about life not being fair. The house is quiet, the only sounds coming from my typing fingers and the refrigerator. I am going out today without someone crying to go with me; I may actually peruse through the book aisles and enjoy myself, not feeling guilty because I told someone that "...no, stay with daddy because mommy will be right back" when in actuality, I need a break from the kids and time for myself.

I am not a mother today. I am not a wife today. I am me today.

Now back to cleaning.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Knitting Hour


Finally, after weeks of working on my lace tee, it's done. I guess you can say that when I am deterimined to finish something, I find a way. This time, I resorted to staying up until almost 3:00 this morning to do it.

I made some changes to the pattern as written in the June 2010 Knit 'n Style. The first major change was using a DK weight yarn, Rowan Purelife. I loved the color when I saw it (on sale - woohoo!) last year at my FLYS. I really like the slight color variegations in the yarn. It is also organic cotton - perfect for the summer and knits a lot softer than I expected. As expected, it doesn't hide the imperfections (e.g. the changes in tension when I decreased along the raglan shaping and the fake seam stitches). I think that washing and blocking the garment may help with these issues.

The second change was using the waist shaping from the Cap Sleeve Top in the August 2010 Knit 'n Style issue. Believe me, I need all the shaping that I can get. It makes the garment much more flattering.

A third change I made was crocheting 4 rows of SC and slip stitches, instead of just 2, because the neckline didn't look even to me. Plus, I started finishing the top at the upper corner of the front neckline...and cut the yarn in the same place. Needless to say, it didn't look too pretty, so I crocheted the extra rows to hide my oops. It was really late, what can I say?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

763


So the weirdest thing this month is this number. I participated for the first time in Just Between Friends, a consignment event where I registered to sell my gently used baby/maternity related items. I sold my Breast Pump and maternity clothes, plus a couple of my daughter's jeans (very good condition). I made about $100 for all of the things that I sold. Plus, I was able to purchase some equally gently used clothes for both of my children, including a Float swim suit thing for my son for only $6.50. I spent about $65 for at several pieces of clothing and outfits that would have easily cost me at least a few hundred dollars if I had bought them new. Wooohoo! I intend to participate in this event regularly. My consignor number is 763.

Next, I participated, for the first time, in the Urban Dare Race with my good friend Beverly today. The cost of entrance into the event was about a bit more than I wanted to spend; however, the proceeds are going to benefit the Breast Cancer Society. It is like the Amazing Race but the checkpoints were located in our downtown and the Capitol. We expected to finish in less than 4 hours (and our goal was NOT to finish last - we met this goal - happy day!). It actually took us 3 hours; we probably could have finished in less than that, but we wound up backtracking a couple of times at the end of the race. Next year, we will plan our route better and perhaps place in the top 20. The weather was perfect which was GREAT considering that it was suppposed to rain. The sky was blue and clear, with puffy white clouds, a nice breeze to keep us cool, and the sun kept us just warm enough.

We took all of the necessary pictures and thought that we did all of the dares. However, we misread a clue - oops...something about a spellbound dare. We found the statue that were were supposed to find but we didn't read the clue carefully enough. However, in our defense, we did not see anyone there in a special t-shirt to indicate that we had to do more than take a picture in front of the statue.

There was also a bonus...something about having 4 people pose like they were shooting a bow and arrow. Unfortunately we missed this as well. This is actually a funny story: We asked a group of people who were eating lunch if one of them could do a cartwheel for us (one of the things on our list). They replied no, but I noticed their dog, so we asked them if we could shake their dog's paw (another challenge), to which they replied yes. After a few pleasantries, they asked us if we found some people for some bows and arrows...huh?? We said that we had no idea what they meant by this...haha...and we went on our merry little way. When we got to our final checkpoint, the facilator asked us if we did the bonus...of course not, we had no idea there was one - we were focused on the main challenges. The Bonus Challenge was asking 4 people to pose as if holding bows and arrows - doh!


Jackson (the dog) shaking our hands for a challenge - thank you Jackson! Good dog!


This was really fun and I couldn't have asked for a better partner. We were considering doing it next year with our kids....however, I don't think they are ready yet. We walked more than 5 miles, easily. Also, we lucked out on the weather. We may not be so lucky next year; plus, I am not so sure that our kids would be so keen on not being able to drive anywhere.

My race number: 763. What are the odds?

I have a book called Angel Numbers. I was curious - what could this particular number mean? I had dabbled in numerology a few years ago and definitely think there is something to it. So anyway, I looked up 763 and this is what the book said: The ascended masters applaud the path you've chosen, and they're ensuring that you're well taken care of along the way. Give them your fears, and ask them for help often. Isn't this interesting? At least for now, be it for today, this month, this year, day, I feel good that someone thinks that I am doing some things right.


The restaurant that has the same name as the movie where Kathy Bates was Adam Sandler's mother.


AAAAH finally a place to sit!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Join, being careful not to twist

Do you ever read instructions and come across lines that make you go "Duh, I would NEVER do that...who would be that careless??" And then IT happens. You do that "careless thing" that you thought you would NEVER do. Well, that was me, a few days ago...when I ripped out my Lacey Tee (yet again). Even more embarrassing is the reason that I had to rip out all of the body (I had just attached the sleeves)...I think I already blogged about this. Ugh.

Anyway, I casted on, and I checked that I did not twist the stitches. I laid out my joined row to make sure that they were straight and started to knit the lace portion. In case you are reading this and do not knit, it is natural for the fabric to curl up and twist, if you are knitting in the round...but just a little. In fact, I checked a couple more times in the first few rows "just to check" that the stitches were not twisted...I did, I swear.

Apparently, I was not careful enough and when the 24 rows of the lace pattern were completed, I laid my knitting out again and UGH it was twisted. There I was, happily knitting along, noticing that it was twistier than normal, but hey, that's okay...I can "block it out" - which in knitter's lingo, means, I'll straighten it out later.

What an idiot...

So I frogged my beautiful lace AGAIN. I have to mention here though that the yarn that I am using, Rowan Purelife DK weight cotton yarn can take abuse. Hopefully that means that this darn...err...summer tee shirt will last a long time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sleep Deprivation and Lace Knitting do not mix

I frogged my Lacy Tee...again. This time, I am adding the side seams, as the pattern was written. No...I am not stubborn, I just thought that I didn't want the seams.

Ridiculous, I thought! Ha! I could just knit the repeat portion of the pattern over and over. Simple...right.

Turns out, there was a reason for the side seams. For some reason the lace pattern didn't look right knit continuously in the round and the stitches were off. Nope, blocking would not have helped it...believe me.

Another reason I frogged it is because I forgot to recalculate the stitches for the sleeves. I realized this AFTER I finished both sleeves and had them attached to the body. Tink it...I was tempted for about half a second, then my mind said, "Go to sleep you moron! It's 2 in the morning!" So I put it away, hoping that it looked wrong because I was half asleep.

So I frogged it this morning, and rewound the yarn back into a big pink variegated cake. I casted on again and added 2 extra stitches for the seams. I intend to purl these stitches, so I know where the sides are. I will call them design elements.

Does this mean that I am going to stop reworking the patterns that I want to knit? Probably not. There will always be patterns that are screaming to be knit in the round and some beg to be knit in one piece. However, in some cases, I should definitely consider the designer's reasons for writing their pattern a certain way. After all, if a lace pattern that is supposed to line up, doesn't, then maybe there is a reason for the way the pattern is written.

Also, I am going to stop knitting my lace projects and put them aside for the next day if I notice myself dozing off...but then again, once I notice that, it will probably be too late. Better late than never, I guess.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Diet: Phase 1

My husband has started a new diet and exercise program. I figured it would be great for both of us to do it together, so I offered to help him with the shopping and putting together the menu. I just finished my shopping list and whoa what a list it is! However, since most of it can be bought at the produce area, I am hoping that it won't break the bank. I am actually proud of him. Everything he has to eat is low sodium, fat free. This is a man that loves his junk food, salts most things before it ever reaches his mouth, a verified burger and fries lover, and would only drink creamer that DIDN'T say fat free. Now, he makes his own lunches and dinner, and wakes up way before I do to exercise and measure out his portions for the day. I am hoping that a better eating lifestyle will trickle down to the kids.

I can't say that I will follow his diet to the letter (no fruit??? what the heck?) it will definitely make my attempts at making mealtimes healthier easier. I won't have to remember to buy chips anymore. He will actually eat the fruit bars and granola bars that I buy for the kids, and not comment that fish isn't enough for him. I am already feeling the positive affects of his decision to live healthier. Yay for us!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fog Willow Farm

Today my son and I joined my daughter at the Fog Willow Science Farm. It is a farm, open to school age children and their parents, where children learn science hands-on. There are different activities depending on the age group. The topics they covered with her class today were Sound, Fossils, and Animals. The following is the Sound Demonstration that my daughter participated in today:
video
Next, the children had a chance to be paleontologists. There were 9 big bins filled with dirt and several pieces of bone and clay fossils. I doubted that they were real fossils, however, the bones were definitely real. The demonstrator for this exhibit showed the children an example of a real fossil from the Utah Valley. Because it was a fossil of a sea serpent (an eel?), she said it proved that Utah used to be underwater. The last area of the farm that we visited were the farm animals. We saw a baby goat, a duck, a piglet, a turtle.

My daughter's teacher was challenged to carry the piglet around so that the children could pet it. As you can see from the following video, it didn't enjoy this at all!
video

My son enjoyed wandering around, checking out the goats, bunnies (one of which was just born a few days ago), the sheep, and the other things around the farm. His favorite place there, though was the playground.



I also enjoyed the demonstrations with my children, but my favorite part was spending time with them and seeing my little girl in her own environment with her friends.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Of Sleepovers and Sleep-laughing

My daughter went over to her best friend's house last night for her very first sleepover. I missed her laugh and her voice, humming in her room, sounds that I heard ever night while she waited to fall asleep. I will be calling her friend's house in a few minutes to agree on a time to pick her up. I am sure that she had a great time last night (less sure that she had a decent night's sleep), and positive that she will be asking that we host the next sleepover. She has some girl friends that she plays with every day at school...so it is interesting to me that her first sleep over is with her best friend who is a boy. My mom will most likely think it is improper that she spend the night over a male friend's house...but they are 8 and I don't see the harm.

My son, as usual, came to our bed last night. I must have been totally out because I do not remember bringing him into our bed. This morning I awoke to him next to me and I watched him sleep. He must have been dreaming because he laughed in his sleep. A cute laugh that indicated he was enjoying something funny, perhaps with his sister, or even one of his favorite movies.

Moments like this are some of the things that make me happy to be alive.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Little Girl Climbing High

Today, I took my little girl and my little boy to a nearby Kids/Green Festival with our good friends. We made our way to the Village Park, where the kids' play area was located...kids can only stand looking at arts and crafts booths for a short time, after all. Also, Pippin and Lucy joined us for the day and they kept barking at the chickens wandering around the street. What can I say, I live where a lot of old fashioned values are held, and these values include allowing chickens (and dogs) to run free without fear of being caught, feathered, killed, and eaten.

The play area had at least 4 bounce houses and a climbing wall. Not as much as a carnival, but enough to keep the kids busy for the afternoon. My friend and I bought each of the children a wristband that allowed them unlimited "rides" in the bounce houses and the climbing wall...there may have been more than this, but this is all my kids cared about.

The bounce houses were the first things that the kids wanted to play in. In fact, my little boy (3 years old last month) LOVED one in particular and his wristband paid for itself in 10 minutes. By the way, each of the wristbands cost $10 - GAH! $20 for my two kids seemed like a lot, but I keep reminding myself that going to the outdoor event was free and we didn't splurge and buy food. Plus without the bracelets, it would have been $3 per "ride" and given that my little guy went into the aforementioned bounce house 10 times, $10 for his bracelet was a bargain.

My favorite part of this day was watching my little girl attempt the climbing wall, all by herself. In fact, her friend reported that she was waiting in line for it, but it didn't hit me that she was serious about doing it until I saw her halfway up the wall. I think that the wall must have been 20 feet high. Sitting on a bench behind her little brother's bounce house, I watched her climb carefully up the wall, not caring that other children were climbing faster or that they were climbing only halfway up before they let themselves down. There she was, determined to go as high as she could, looking for foot/handholds to help her reach the top. What made me really proud was that she didn't panic; she didn't yell for help or look around helplessly for someone to rescue her.

When she came down from the wall, she came to me with a big smile on her face. She did it, all by herself. Most importantly, she made a commitment, and fulfilled it, without assistance. My little girl is growing up fast.