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.