Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Cute Things in Life

I make cute things. It is the truth.  Cute things are made by me; it is an undeniable fact.

And when those cute things combine you get this:

And you thought I was lying. Cute kid, cute hat.  It makes life good.

I bought this yarn to make Stormy a hat when I was pregnant.  I am so glad I finally got around to making it.  I used KnitCol yarn and the pattern Basic Baby Hat. I really love a basic beanie and I hope to be able to make the next sizes up for little Stormy as he needs them. 

I have never used self-patterning yarn like this before.  I am not sure why I haven't, but this will certainty not be the last time.  The results make it look like I put in much more effort than I really did. I am all for making things look complicated when they are not.  It makes me look like a better knitter. Beginner knitters, this is my tip for you, let the yarn do the work.  Buy pretty yarn and everything you make will look amazing.  Tip for parents, your kid will look cute in just about anything (Stormy would be cute wearing a sack), but they will look especially cute in things handmade with love. There are a lot of babies being born into my life right now and they should all be expecting cute little hats for Christmas next year.

It is the first day of winter and we have a winter storm advisory in Central Illinois.  We should be getting an ice storm right now, but currently it is just overcast (thankfully!).  Tomorrow we should get snow, and even more snow in Iowa at my parent's house (Yay for sledding!).  On Monday, we will see negative temperatures (Boo for sledding). On days like this and coming this week, it is nice to have a warm, wool hat and now every person in my family has one handmade by me.

How are you braving the winter?

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Do you have Christmas traditions?  Well of course you do, if you celebrate Christmas.  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, there is probably something you do on every Christmas. We all have our little traditions.

One of my family's traditions is to have knitted stockings.  My grandma knit all her grandchildren stockings.  I also have an afghan from her. She was a very crafty lady.  Besides knitting she also painted a vast number of canvases and other objects.  I have two paintings in my house and a clock.

Grandma knit a stocking for my nephew eight years ago, but now in her 80s she no longer knits.

My stocking, made by Grandma, still lives at my mom and dad's house.  Along with the stockings my grandma made for my sister, brother and nephew.  The collection is rounded out with the stockings my mom has crocheted for her children-in-law and grandchildren.

It is quite a collection. Two on the end are for my sister's pets.  I guess they don't get crocheted stockings.

I have been a knitter for about four and a half years.  That means I was not a knitter when D was born, hence she has a store bought stocking. Even though I have been able to make her a stocking for the past four Christmases, I have not.  She already had a stocking and so I never really focused on making her one.  Yet, in the back of my mind I have always thought about making her a stocking.

Last year, my cousin had twins and she called on me to make stockings for them since grandma no longer can.  I accepted the challenge and made the twins stockings, my first ever.  A lady at work heard that I could knit and asked me to make stockings for her nephews and I did.  Yet, I didn't make one for Miss D.

This year we became a family of four and Stormy needed a stocking.  He was born to a knitter and so he gets a knitted stocking right away and this was the prefect offportunity to finally make one for D. She even helped design them.

I am pleased to report that I have stockings knit for both kids.

Please disregard that Stormy is wearing a vampire sleeper.  We enjoy Halloween themed items as long as they fit.  

I have two more stockings to knit so that the whole family can have matching stockings, but that may be a next Christmas goal.  I still have 1.5 blocks to make to finish my block-a-month afghan for 2013.

What holiday traditions are you working on? 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Already?

I did not mean to neglect you blog.  Sometimes life gets in the way of writing about life.  And so it was for the month of November.  What happened last month?  Too much for me to remember but we drove to two out of state weddings.  We all got violently ill. D was first, then my husband, then me and my father-in-law, then my mother-in-law, then the babysitter, then the babysitter's son and finally my mom. All of us were super sick, except little Stormy.  He must have a super immune system.  A tornado hit the town over from us shocking the entire area and leaving many people homeless, including one of my immediate coworkers.  The next week, we had a lovely Thanksgiving and trip to South Dakota.  It was my our first trip to see my extended family in four years.  Luke got to meet his great-grandma. Everything else is a blur.

I knit a bib sometime in there.  I feel I have been neglecting my baby knitting.  I made a lot more bibs for other babies, but not my own.  This is my go to pattern for bib knitting.  It is from Mason Dixon Knitting.  It is simple back and forth knitting, great for watching TV or any other multitasking activity.

Stormy wasn't in the mood to model.

One thing about November is that Stormy is getting so big.  He is 4 months old now and he loves to smile, laugh and play with toys.  He wants to eat big people food too.  He just doesn't want to sleep through the night.

He is very interested in what we big people do.  He basically demands to sit in his high chair while we eat dinner.  We like to have the whole family together and he likes to be the center of attention. D is actually very good with sharing the spotlight.

Now, in the season of Advent, we are anxiously awaiting Christmas and with Christmas comes Christmas knitting and shopping.  I hope I can get it all done.

Did your November fly by too?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Day Sweater: Update 4

Today is the 30th and my 30 Day Sweater should be done, but alas it is not.

I am not ashamed at all.  Look at how much I got done with two kids and a career!  I didn't even try to make time for knitting.  I am so very happy with my progress.  I am almost done with the cables on the body.  I think I just have 2-3 more repeats to go.  Then I have sleeves and a ribbed portion that goes around the neck, sides and bottom. This challenge was the lick I needed to get this beautiful sweater on the needles.

Do you create little challenges for yourself just to get you going?  I am finding this is great motivation in almost every aspect of my life.  But, I am sure this is because of my competitive nature.  I am a little crazy like that.

Friday, October 18, 2013

30 Day Sweater: Update 3

I am well over half way into the challenge, but not half way through the sweater. I am okay with this, I know I will get it done, maybe not in the 30 day window, but this challenge got me to start a project I had been putting off.  I think that is a victory in itself.

I did complete my goal for last week of  finishing the raglan sleeve increases.

October has been a crazier month than predicted.  I am still getting used to have two kids (when will I get the hang of it?). D's swim lessons, though only 30 minutes, seem to take up the entire evening on Tuesday and Thursdays.  Stormy is a very laid-back baby and I am so thankful, but the feeding schedule has me exhausted.  We had a great family day at an orchard and picked out our pumpkins on Monday.  I took  the dogs to the vet (they were less than excited and so was my wallet). I went to the dentist on Wednesday and scheduled my first (and hopefully only) root canal in two weeks. We have 3 month pictures for Stormy tonight. And on and on it goes.

It has been very good that this week has also been a reflective week.  At work, I took the DiSC assessment, again.  This is a behavior* assessment that categorizes people into four categories.  I had to think about what describes me most and least.  Then I learned about my category (which was different from my past results), what makes me tick and how to work with others like and unlike me.  Then at church on Wednesday night, I attended a very reflective mid-week service. I am trying to learn to be more satisfied, even though it is against my very nature.  I like the challenge.  I like pressing onward, but I have to stop and reflect.  I am enough.  I have enough.  So maybe I will just keep the insanity at the current level and not add anything for a while. You, Reader, as my witness, I will not volunteer for anything extra for the rest of the year (we'll see how that goes).  

My sweater is starting to look like a sweater.  I have the 8 row pattern memorized.  I am a master of cabling without a cable needle.  I am satisfied, well, satisfied enough.

*I first spelled this the British/Canadian way.  That BBC watching is certainly rubbing off.  Except watching isn't related to spelling.  I will chalk it up to me feeling more British in general (though I have Scottish and Welsh heritage)

Friday, October 11, 2013

30 Day Sweater: Update 2

October 11 is " I Love Yarn Day" and so, today is one of the best made-up, unnecessary "holidays" ever. Yes, I do love yarn and I am so glad that others do too.  They love yarn so much as to make it a "holiday." I like this kind of folk.

Sadly, this week I have had little time to celebrate yarn.  I haven't knit in days.  Sometimes life just goes a bit crazy and you are just happy everyone makes it to bed at a decent time at night, only to wake up and have another crazy day.

The craziness is my own fault.  I am the one who scheduled D's swim lessons.  I am the one who scheduled the library's first community program.  I am the one who scheduled the tour for the college course I am teaching.  I am the one who signed D up for Daisy Girl Scouts.  I am the one who has volunteered and over-committed myself at work.  All these things are my doing and I am so paying for it, but it is worth every second.

There is nothing quite like watching your child learn something new and finally pick up on a skill after sitting through many sessions of swim lessons wondering if she'll ever get it. (In this photo D is standing on the pool bottom while her other classmates have to stand on boxes.)

There is nothing like planning an event for the library (for over a year with the writing of the grant application) and have it well attended.  It is beyond my dreams.  I really though no one would come.

There is nothing like watching your students learn on a tour.  I love watching their hands take furious notes, not wanting to miss a fact.

There is nothing like watching your daughter do what you did when you were her age, making new friends and learning the Girl Scout way.  

There is nothing like loving your job and the community you get to work with every day.  I know I make a difference every day.

Because I have all these wonderful things happening in my life.  I've had approximately 5 minutes to myself each day after getting home late and then washing bottles, laundry, etc.  So my sweater remains small, but mighty.  I am happy with the project and I am happy with my busy life.  I am happy my husband has been so helpful this week.

My plan is to finish the shoulder/arm increases by the end of the week.  I am pretty close, just a few more pattern repeats.  I probably can get to that point by the end of Saturday.  We are visiting my in-laws and my parents this weekend, so I figure I won't be holding a baby too much.

Who can resist holding this guy?

I sure can't.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

30 Day Sweater: Update 1

Here is my beautiful yarn for my 30 day sweater.

It is Malabrigo Worsted in Jacinto.  It is so incredibly soft.  My friend said it felt like a cashmere blend.

I am so excited to be finally using this yarn.  I bought it this spring when my local yarn store was having a flood sale as the Illinois River threatened their doors.  My basement flooded too. Instead of thinking about the damage, I am focusing on the fact I got 20% of yarn and am thinking happy thoughts.  I am also using my swift (Christmas present 2012) and ball winder for the first time, with some help from D.

Whenever starting a knitting project that should fit, I actually do swatch.  Many knitters skip this step, but I just can't bring myself to skip it.  I spend a lot of money on yarn (yarn is expensive, it makes me wonder how clothes are so cheap in comparison) and a lot of time knitting; I want it to fit and look good.  I diligently knit my little square, then wash and block  it, so I am able to make sure I am getting the correct number of stitches per inch.

Done and done, right? Then, I further read the instructions and realized I made the swatch wrong. (Insert grumbling and cursing.)  Often times a swatch is stockinette stitch, but not this time.  I was supposed to make the swatch in the cable pattern of the sweater. Lesson learned, read all of the instructions before starting.

I am a bit behind, already, but now I am all ready to get started on the actual sweater.

Stormy is learning to read, so that should keep him occupied.

Lots of time for knitting now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

End of September

I said I would finish the blocks to my blanket for August and September and even start October's before the end of September.  So I did just that.

I still have to finish October's while working on my 30 day sweater challenge in the next few weeks. October is going to be a great month.  I have big plans.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 Day Sweater

Oh no...

This is a thing!  I a great, big thing.  They are looking for 5000 knitters to take the challenge here:

Oh crap.  This encompasses my love of a challenge, my need to knit and I just happen to have a sweater's worth of yarn and pattern picked out waiting for something like this.  But this would take all my knitting time and more.  What about all the cute little baby things I have planned?  That beautiful blue yarn I just bought  But the desire to enter a challenge is so great.

Can I do it?  Maybe more importantly, should I do it? Is it strange that my mind just keeps saying "crap," because I know I cannot resist. I'm totally making this:

Friday, September 27, 2013


Last weekend I went to my first yarn tasting.  My parents were visiting and my mom came along.  My dad just wanted to know if the yarn tasted good. Oh, it was.

A yarn tasting is a lot like the cake tasting a bride does to pick out her wedding cake.  A yarn tasting is an event where you can try out different yarns in hopes the you will fall in love and buy some.

Well, I fell in love with this:

This yarn is called Chord and it is by Good For Ewe.  I got to talk with the owner/creator of Good For Ewe too.  It was a great time.

I wasn't planning on falling in love.  You never plan things like that.  Love just happens.  Yarn love happens often, maybe too often.  It is hard to go in a yarn store and not be in at least lust with a yarn or two. Knitters tend to be yarn hoarders. (Don't tell my husband, but he probably knows, it is hard to store it all.)

I only bought two balls, I think that is pretty good. They are very small and I have great plans. It is my first chain-plyed yarn.

I am so excited to get knitting on this, but first the blocks.

What do you fall in love with every time you enter a store?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Snug as a Bug

I know I said I would work on knitting my blocks but...have I ever mentioned, I have a very cute son.  I love making little things for him and he makes for a great model.

I made his this football cocoon.

He is a bit big for it now.  It is meant for a newborn and Stormy was never newborn sized.

But he is just so cute, I'm not sure it really matters how it fits.

This cocoon is super easy to make.  I picked the pattern up for $2 at Ewe-Nique Yarns in Morton, IL.  It is a fast knit because you hold two strands of chunky yarn throughout on size US11 needles. I am so used to holding so thick of yarn that all other yarn feels so small.

Back to knitting blocks.  Then more cute things for baby.

What do you think?  Cutest model ever?

Friday, September 20, 2013


I like challenges.  There is just something deep within me that craves a challenge.  Not a crazy challenge like "I bet you can't eat all these pickles in 1 minute," but a challenge that I some how deem helpful for my life, in promoting its goodness.  Challenge pervades everything I do.  Despite popular belief, being a librarian at a community college is a huge challenge.  Being a mom of two and working full-time with a husband that travels is a challenge. Being a runner is a challenge. I make reading goals to add challenges.  Overall, I like the feeling of accomplishment and accomplishment is all that much sweeter with a harder challenge.

So as I have mentioned before, I like a knitting challenge too.  I love knit-a longs.  Right now, I am working on an all-year knit-a-long.  This knit-a-long is knitting a monthly square to then become a blanket, it is called Building Blocks.  I am so good a knitting squares.  I can knit circles around squares.  If anyone asked me what I am best at in knitting, it is making square things.  This challenge is right up my alley. Each block/square is designed to develop a new knitting skill.  I have to say that the skills are not new for me, but I am using them in new ways and honing my skills (double plus).

Due to my pregnancy hand issue, I was not able to knit for a few months, so I am a bit behind. However, since Stormy was born I have finished three or four blocks bringing my total to 7. I just started block #8 which only puts me only one square/month behind.  I am sure with football season upon us I can get #8 and #9 completed this month maybe even get ahead and start #10.  Just another challenge to make thing more interesting.

What are your feelings on a challenge?

Friday, September 13, 2013


I am finding that being a working mother of two is all about routine.  Every morning we go through the same steps and every evening another set.  Being the giant nerd I am, I have even created a list of everything to to in the morning and at night so I don't forget anything.

The do-to list has included blogging, but I never got around to it.  Loving my children, feeding the family, getting kindergarten homework done, washing diapers and washing bottles are all far more important than blogging.  But now as I am getting used to the new routine and have have made it through my second week of being back to work, I have a bit of time to write.

I have been knitting!  It is pretty glorious.  Let me say it again, I have been knitting. It feels so good.  As you may recall, I had to stop knitting because I lost feeling in my hands due to swelling in pregnancy.  It took several weeks after little/big Stormy was born, but I have feeling in all my fingers!  That is great news for typing, knitting and just about everything really.

In one week I made this little cardigan for Stormy's baptism.

Finding baptism clothes is really hard.  Finding inexpensive baptism clothes even harder.  We saw things for sale between $55-80.  So much cheaper for me to knit a keepsake.

The pattern is Baby Boy 5-Hour Sweater.  I did not time myself knitting this, but I think it took about five hours total, but over the period of a week.  Caring for a baby takes up a lot of time. I used Read Heart Soft yarn.  I usually don't use this yarn, but I needed something durable like this 100% acrylic yarn.  Stormy is a bit of a spitter.  Okay so saying "a bit" is an understatement, the kid spits up constantly.  I needed something I could wash and wouldn't stain so easily.

Here he is on baptism day.

During the baptism he only spit up three times.  Such a good little baby.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Ten is a good number.  I've always liked it.  I wear size ten shoes and size ten clothes (at least I did before my pregnancy).  Ten is good.  Ten is prefect, right.

This is my newest ten.

Born on July 16, he weighed 10 pounds.  Ten is a good number.

On the blog I will just call him by his first initial (it is L), as I do with D.

He is a very laid back baby.  I am so thankful for his personality, it is the perfect balance to his sister.  D is loving being a big sister, by the way.  She likes to call him "my baby boy." 

Now nearly three weeks, later I can barely believe how fast the weeks are going by.  I got a few shots of him in the sweater I knit this spring.

It is the Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker.   I used Kint Pick's Cotlin in Celery.  I bought the yarn before I knew  the sex so I went with a nice neutral green. I really enjoyed knitting this baby sweater and hope to make it again.

He is just so gorgeous, I will have to knit him more things.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Great Disappointment

In the wake of the Second Great Awakening (a protestant revival movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries), William Miller formed a group of followers called Millerites.  Miller, as was common at the time, believed that the second coming of Christ was happening very soon.  After a close reading of the book of Daniel he prophesied that Christ would return on October 22, 1844.  Millerites sold all their possessions and awaited the coming of Christ.  Christ did not come and the event is known as The Great Disappointment. Millerites reformed and some became Adventists, some decided that instead of an earthly event on October 22, a heavenly even occurred, some joined other sects.  They moved on, though greatly disappointed.   This is one of my favorite lessons from Betty DeBerg, one of my religion professors at college.

This week I've had my own great disappointment.  On Monday, at my weekly check-up, my midwife told me she was concerned about my dropping platelet level (it took a pretty big nose dive last week) combined with my other issues.  She ordered a blood draw and said she would like to induce me this week, if my levels continued to drop and the perinatologist said it was okay to induce.  I got very excited- very, very , very excited. And so did my family.

This pregnancy has not been the easiest of roads (but not the hardest either, I know many women who would love to have (or have had) my level of healthy pregnancy) and I am ready to have a baby and not be pregnant anymore.  I want to regain feeling in my hands.  I want to easily see my feet again and wear normal shoes again.  I want to pick up my daughter.  I want to be able to go upstairs without loosing my breath or go grocery shopping without becoming totally exhausted.  I thought this induction was the answer to my wishes and prayers.  I had it all planned out- who would watch D, when my in-laws and parents would come down, and I got everything ready for my leave at work.  Most excitingly, I would get to meet my son.  I am so excited to have this baby (even if he is nearing the 10 pound mark).  I want to hold that baby in my arms and show him to the world saying, "I made this, this is my son, [insert name here]."  Then, my midwife called and told me my platelets only dropped a little bit, not the big drop she was expecting, so no induction this week. Total disappointment, plans out the window.

I am happy that my platelets are not too low, but I am also bummed that I'm not having a baby this week (unless he wants to be born,  c'mon baby!).  But like the Millerites, I will move on.  I will make the best of the situation.  This baby will come in the next few weeks, I just have to be patient (not my strong suit) and wait for the right moment.

Have you had any great disappointments?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Most Magical Day

Today is the day I have been aiming for.  It is July 1st which puts me at 37 weeks pregnant, technically full term and in the same calendar month as my official due date.  My baby could be born any time now without much issue and I am ready.  I am 49" around; that is over 4 feet.  I am not sure anyone should every be that round.  I wasn't sure I'd make it this far along with my huge belly.  I have polyhydramnios which means I have above normal levels of amniotic fluid.  Not super high, but high enough that I have to see a specialist.  I am really good having obscure pregnancy conditions.  With D it was thrombocytopenia, which is low platelets.  My platelets are on the low end this time too, but not in a range that is concerning.  My iron levels however are also low this time and I am taking nasty iron pills.  At least I got him to flip from transverse (sideways) to head down or else I would have had to have a version to try to move him.  Did I mention he is already much larger than D was at birth?

Despite my size (which is causing quite a bit of fatigue), I am getting some things done.

I finished his baby blanket a few weeks ago...

I really love it.  I had a small issue with the center unraveling when I washed it, but I sewed it all back together.  If anyone tries this pattern, I would suggest crocheting the first few rounds.

The pattern is Honeycomb by Nikki Van De Car and I used Knit Picks Comfy Worsted yarn in Creme Brulee. I really like how soft and washable the yarn is.

I am lucky I finished it when I did because the swelling in my hands continues.  I am actually getting used to having semi-numb hands and fingers, but I have no desire to knit or crochet and I have a long list of projects to do.  This is all part of the dull ache of "general pregnancy discomfort" as my midwife calls it.

I do have his room all ready and all his clothes washed.  My hospital bag and his are packed and in the van.  His car seat is installed.  We have officially decided on a name (to be revealed upon his birth). D is taking a big sister class on Sunday. Our cloth diaper rental is ordered. Things seem to be in order (have I ever mentioned I like order, librarian tend to love order).

Now all I need is some nesting to kick in so I can crazy clean this house.  Oh and for labor to start.  I am not looking forward to labor, but I really, really want to not be pregnant any more.

What are you looking forward to?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


D and I are on staycation this week.  I had a week's worth of vacation hours to use up before the end of the fiscal year.  I could really use this week of vacation on maternity leave next month, but next month is also the new fiscal year and new vacation accrual. I have to work with the system or go crazy.  Plus, I really needed a vacation.

I don't remember ever being at home on vacation with D.  Usually we go somewhere (usually the grandparent's).  But this time we are home alone (my husband is still working this week and is home most nights so we are not totally "alone" but it still feels that way) and I am starting to miss work.  Yes, I am one of those "bad" mothers that likes working, that wants someone else to watch her kid so she can work (I have two master's degrees to pay off).  Although while I am at work I often think about being home, so I guess I would think of work at home.  It seems that the grass is always greener on the other side. 

I really am enjoying some of my time at home.  I am getting things ready for the new baby and crossing things off my to-do list.  But I am at my whit's end trying to keep a 5 year old occupied.  Not only that, I have two dogs that are used to being home alone all day and are barking hysterically at every little movement inside or out.  Maybe working in the relatively quite atmosphere of the library has ruined me for noise. D is used to having tons of friends to play with at prek/day care and is going a bit stir crazy herself.  I guess we are all out of sorts this week.

That is what I have to keep reminding myself, I am a good mom, but we are all out of sorts this week.  If being home was our usually routine, we would be awesome at this and I would not be going crazy right now.  We've never had a week like this.  D keeps asking if it is a school day, but on school days she asks to stay home.  I wish for time at home, but at home I just want my normal routine back. 

So kudos to stay-at-home moms and working moms and really all moms.  It is hard work always.

I am just afraid of what will happen on my maternity leave when I have D and a newborn at home for 6 weeks.

Any advice?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Large and Less In Charge

It is June and I am 33 weeks pregnant.

My hands and feet are swollen from edema.  This causes my arms to "fall sleep" and my hand to hurt once they "wake up."  This makes everyday activities such as dressing myself, putting on makeup, working, typing and knitting much more purposeful tasks.  What used to be easy is now difficult and takes concentration.

Also at 33 weeks, I am measuring larger than average according to my midwife.  Apparently this is apparent to everyone.  Last week, I had three people ask me how many days I have left and I told l them 8 weeks.  They were all shocked.  I am huge, I get it.  So to all the people out there, very pregnant people do not always want to talk about how much longer they are pregnant, especially to strangers, and don't assume on size. I feel it is an eternity away.

So while my body gives away, I am still doing pretty good on my knitting deadline for the baby blanket.  I have less than 300 yards to go! Which is well ahead of my original goal.

I am hoping to get this done before too long.

Then I have yarn to make another baby blanket (I may have a problem) and some cloth diaper soakers. I will have to get some bibs and burp cloths made up too. Making baby things is so fun.

What are you working on?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rainy Day Sewing

I finally finished a sewing project.  I bought this fabric at Joann's in January

It is so adorable, right? Owls are so in right now.  Yet, it has sat on the floor of my dining room (with my sewing machine) for months.  Every weekend I would say to myself, This is the weekend I sew that blanket.  it always turned out to be a lie, until this past weekend.  I have been such a procrastinator. This blanket is for a baby boy at church that is now almost 2 months old.  I was planning to make it for the baby shower (which I actually missed).  Getting to the end of this pregnancy (only 8 more weeks) is really making me finish up some projects.

I don't know about the weather were you were for Memorial Day weekend, but at my parent's house in eastern Iowa it was plain yucky.  It was cold and rainy all weekend, which is perfect for sewing, but still gives you that cooped-up feeling.  The weather was finally beginning to behave like May weather and then we get April weather.  All weekend on Facebook I saw friends in Nashville posting outside pictures, many of them involving pools.  I even saw my cousins in South Dakota post pictures of relatively nice weather.  But I was stuck with craptastic weather and a five-year-old desperate to go outside and play.  She watched some old Disney VHS tape at Nana's while Nana and I sewed.

 I sat down with my mom and did some math (crafting always seems to take math, I guess you are going to use this stuff in real life) and a bit later I had this:

If you want to make one it is relatively simple.  I used this tutorial.

I have made this blanket many times over, but it has been about a year since I have sewed.  I have patched things, but not made a project.  I could really tell my sewing skills have deteriorated.  Sewing is not my first craft of choice, but I do like it, so I need to keep at it and hone my skills.  Hopefully I will have a few more projects this year.  Maybe I can make this pattern over and over again for Project Linus.  But then again , I may just be really busy with baby #2.

How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Summer Blanket

Last weekend I had a bit of time to start a new knitting project, a baby blanket for baby #2 due in July.  I am not sure how much use it will get in July, but come the fall and winter I am sure we will use it.

This is my first attempt in knitting a blanket.  I have made many baby blankets, but usually I crochet or sew them (and I still have to sew one for a baby born months ago, maybe this weekend?).  Knitting a baby blanket or any blanket just seems like a lot of time and more ambition than I seem to possess.  But I found this pattern and fell in love and told myself I could do it.

This fun pattern, "Honeycomb," is from the book What to Knit When You're Expecting by Nikki Van De Car.  The pattern is also free on her website. I am looking forward to knitting other items form this book too, I just probably won't get to them while I am expecting.

This blanket started out with casting on just 4 stitches and then increasing a lot to make a square.  I started this blanket many, many times over.  The beginning is very tricky, but once you get through those first few rounds, it gets much better.  It is great TV watching knitting too because the pattern is so easily remembered.  Soon, the blanket will be so big that I will need to add another cable on to my needles, one of the great things I love about interchangeable needle sets.  With my knitting cable connector set, I can make my circular needle as long as I need it to be.  I love circular needles and I love being able to adjust their length!  This is the KnitPick's Harmony Wood Interchangeable Needle Set.  I've had this set for over 18 months and love it. So worth the investment.

But now I am at a stopping point, I have knit as much of this blanket as I can without guidance   The next step in the pattern is a bit confusing (okay, maybe really confusing), so I will need to visit my local yarn store and get some advice.  I love having a friendly yarn store to help me with all my issues. I have 9 skeins of yarn left (with about 100 yards per skein) to knit into this blanket and only 9 more weeks until my due date.  This works out perfectly to be a skein a week, however I would love to get this done before then, so I must visit the yarn store for advice soon (and not buy anything, right?).

On the home front, I think we are coming out of a a crazy spell, until the baby is born anyway. That will be a crazy time for sure.  Until then, we have weeks of summer ahead of us.  The summer class I usually teach has been cancelled due to low enrollment.  While this is a bummer for the cash flow, it it probably a good idea for my sanity.  D is finished with swim lessons until after the baby is born.  My husband's work schedule is a bit less crazy and he has been home quite a few nights recently. (Maybe he can start working on updating the bathroom and fixing the gutters.) I also have a whole week of vacation to use in June before the end of the fiscal year (it is time I cannot use for maternity leave since maternity leave is after the beginning of the new fiscal year).  I've made a list of all the cool things to do around the area all summer. We might do these things or not, I am just trying to take things a bit slower and not "over do it" in my last few weeks of pregnancy.

Oh and I turn 30 this week. Instead of meeting this day with alarm, it is giving me a sense of calm.  I have high hopes for my 30s.  Somehow I feel I will be a wiser, better person, I doubt that this will really happen, but it might.  Like I said, I have high hopes.  It is kind of like a New Year's resolution period. I am entering a new decade and I can make new goals and dreams, however unlikely this all sounds.  I will become organized, raise two children, keep a clean house, cook only with whole foods, be a model employee, continue to be a wonderful wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, and have time for knitting, reading and running, maybe train for a triathlon.  Is all of this possible? No, not really, but it is nice to have hopes and aspirations.  I do have a decade to get it figured out.

Any advice for turning 30?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Life is what happens...

As I referred to in my last post our basement flooded in the Great Peoria Flood of 2013.  I am not sure if anyone is calling this that yet, but I am.  The river is not back in its banks yet so, I guess it is still the Great Peoria Flood of 2013, only at a less intense moment.

Since this great flood there has been a metaphorical flood in my life.

My daughter is now seeing a chiropractor three times a week and seeing two gastroenterologists in hope of clearing up her issues.  She was also hospitalized for the last two days of April.  D is a very healthy girl in general, she just has some bathroom issues.  Issues that no one (besides doctors) wants to hear about or talk about but they rule all parts of her and my day.

D as a normal 5 year old that is taking swim lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays and running in the Illinois Valley Striders kids series on Mondays.  I definitely feel like a mini-van (or sport van) mom.

We went to kindergarten round-up. We had a garage sale. We had a baby shower.  We had three family birthdays. We celebrated Mother's day.

We are flooded with places to be and things to do. Oh and the baby things to do and buy.

But I wouldn't want to change it.  Yes, I wish I had more hours in the day (or one more weekend day), but the hours I have are full and good.   I want D to learn to swim and be active.  I want her to be healthy.  I want her to remember a fun childhood with fun parents.  In the past few weeks, I have realized more than ever before that I am living as a mother.  I am always making my choices to best benefit my daughter.

I probably should have realized this in the past 5 years, but I have tried been independent.  I didn't want people to just see me as a mom, I wanted to keep my identity.  But now, when D is 5, and I am 10 weeks away from giving her a brother, I realize that I cannot be separated from her.  I even enjoy being known as "D's mom".  Every waking moment is dedicated to her (I go to bed almost right after her- I'm a pregnant lady). And I am so aware that things will change this summer.

As I watch D, she is me.  Her mannerisms, her body shape, her temper.  It is all me. (Probably why we don't get along so well.)  She learned to be herself from me.  Oh and a little bit of my husband too.  I didn't show her the Jean Claude Van Damme movie that has her doing karate/kickboxing all over the place.  That's all him.  Oh and she has this mischievousness that she also gets from her father (see kickboxing).

I thought as she got older, she wouldn't need me as much or that it would get easier and that is false.  When she was an infant she just needed me for my milk and love. Now she needs me for learning how to be a person in society, which is much harder than breastfeeding, pumping at work 3-4 times a day for a year and making our own baby food.  She needs me to reassure her that being weird is good, but not too weird.  She needs me to guide her though learning right from wrong, learning our culture with its signs, symbols, and myths.  I have to remind her "Don't forget to be awesome."(Imaginary Awesome Points for naming the author of this quote.) I have to answer a million "why" questions a day and give full scientific answers before she is satisfied (yes, I did explain the whole water cycle to her because she wouldn't take it is raining because there are rain clouds as an answer).  This week she has been asking what is real and has found out that monsters, fairies, and magic are not.  She also learned that Princess Jasmine did not live in the United States and lived a long time ago (we will cover that she is not real another day.) This is all so much harder than feeding and changing diapers, even harder than the 2 am feedings.

So my life is happening and I am going to try not to make other plans, but I do have some things on the needles and a finished project to show off.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Sign of Too Much Knitting

I started two new knitting projects over the weekend.  But it all started with a small mishap.

The tip of my US 5 needles broke in the first few rows of my new knitting item (details forthcoming).  These are a part of my interchangeable Knit Picks Harmony set.  A very inauspicious start to something I was supposed to start a few weeks ago.

It just seems that as soon as I start something, another something goes wrong.  We buy a van and the same week our basement floods. Life just seems to be a roller coaster some times.  When things are looking up there comes a twist.

Ups and downs make life hard, but it also makes life interesting and fun.   You don't know your ups without your downs. 

Knitting has always been, in my opinion and I am sure many other's, a great metaphor for life.  Knitting has ups and downs, challenges and easy spots.  The challenges keep knitting interesting and fun.  Plus you learn so much from the challenging knitting that soon you are ready to take on a bigger challenge and things you found to be hard at one point are a bit easier now.  Then again, every once in awhile you just crave the easy pattern with the mindless knitting. (I am working on one of those projects too.) 

What's nice about knitting is that you get to choose what you knit, with life patterns you don't always get to pick.  Knitting helps me deal with the ups and downs life sometimes chooses for me.  It keeps me sane because I can control my knitting and choose projects based on how the rest of my life is going. (Well for the most part I can control my knitting. Sometimes knitting does not behave, but the majority of the time I can control some aspects of knitting. You knitters understand.)

Luckily with this down, I had another needle set the same size.  I was able to continue on knitting and learn a new skill, intarsia.You just never know what is going to happen, so it helps to be prepared.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

That Kind of Mom

Last week, we bought a "sport van".  Not a mini-van, a sport van according to the title,but who are they kidding?  Now this is not our first van, my husband has been driving a mini van since 2006, but that was his vehicle not mine.  This sport van is for me.

The decision to buy a van was difficult, I'm not even 30 yet (one month from today actually).  Yet, I knew it was the right decision to make with our growing family and our constant trips to visit family.  Plus our old van has been very helpful for hauling everything from Christmas presents to bags of mulch.

So I did my research on and read Consumer Reports and found the van in the Peoria area I wanted and that we could afford.

So we bought this 2011 Kia Sedona.

And guess what.  I love it.  I am a mini van mom.  I never thought I would be a mini van mom, let alone love it.

I am not a bells and whistles girl.  All my previous cars have been manual transmissions.  I have never had power windows or locks. For the past seven years I have been without cruise control.  I would much rather prefer a vehicle with low mileage that is less expensive and will last a long time. 

Our new van doesn't have a lot of extra features, but it does have power locks and windows, plus cruise control.  It has Bluetooth capabilities. It has a V6 engine and I have never driven a vehicle with so much power.  I have to watch the speedometer closely because it is so easy to go fast.  It is great in the rain which has been nice for this very rainy April.  And D really, really loves it.  She has staked out the back seat as her domain.  She gets herself in and buckles-up all by herself.  I really love that. 

I guess I can even surprise myself. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This week

Too much stuff

All alone, poor spinning wheel 

A nearly finished project...

Around a huge mess...

As you can see, everything is a mess this week, but I did finish knitting the little baby sweater.  I just need to add the buttons and block.

How is your week?