Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Case You're Wondering....

I didn't win the lottery.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Lucky Day!

Yesterday was my lucky day! (Actually, Saturday was my lucky day. I meant to take pictures and post this Sunday night, and it didn't happen. I'm just going to post it now, sans pictures.)

Some yarn shops in the area were hosting a yarn crawl, and while I'm still trying to knit from the stash, Minds Eye Yarns in Cambridge was offering free drop spindle lessons in the morning. This is the same shop where I took my drop spindle lesson in February. Since I've been having trouble joining new fiber, I went on over and took advantage of the free lessons. Lucy really is a fabulous teacher and showed me a great way to make sure my fiber was joined in. I also learned to pay attention to the staple length of the fiber as related to how far I pull the fiber out (does that make sense?)

Anyway, because I'm not a regular customer at the store, I made sure to purchase a little something (one skein of JoJoland Harmony in beautiful greens and grays. It reminds me of the ocean on a stormy day). With my purchase I received a small bag of the store's hand-dyed samples and some coupons, including one for a free 30-minute massage! (I gave that one to my husband. He doesn't get to relax very often.) I was also entered into their hourly door prize drawings. I was just about 5 minutes away from the shop when my husband called. The yarn shop had called my home, and I had won a door prize! I turned around and went back to the shop - my door prize was 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport and a mitten pattern.

So, for $9, I got a drop spindle lesson, 3 skeins of yarn, 4 or 5 mini skeins, and a free massage. Not bad.

My day only got better.

I headed to Kohl's to exchange a bathing suit for Little Girl, and while I was in line the man in front of me was purchasing two Nerf Dart Tag sets (slightly different from the link, but you get the idea). The sets normally sell for $70. But, they were on clearance and there was an extra 20%, so they rang up for $7!! We totally play Nerf Darts as a family (so much fun, and I highly recommend it!), so I bought 2 sets.

I also hit a great deal at the sporting goods store. The baseball glove I picked out for little boy rang up for $20 more than the ticket price. Apparently, that was last year's price, and I happened to pick up a glove that the store neglected to change the tag. Yea for me!

So, to review: I spent $48 dollars yesterday, and came home with a drop spindle lesson, 3 skeins of yarn, 4 or 5 mini skeins, a free 30-minute massage, 2 Dart Tag sets, and a baseball glove.

Actually, I spent $49. I was feeling so lucky, I bought a lottery ticket!!! :)

Happy knitting!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Sock!

(Ends not woven in. Perspective kind of off)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plain Socks

On Thursday morning, I found myself without a traveling project. I've been working on a baby sweater, but it's at a fiddly part and requires constant measuring. Not good standing around after school knitting. I didn't have time to print out a pattern, so I really needed some simple. I quickly located a skein of sock yarn and my size 2 tiny circular, and cast on for the ribbing of the socks. I figured I could knit the ribbing and then pick a pattern out later.

I won this particular skein of sock yarn from Irisheyes Kathy during the summer. I have looked at various sock patterns that work well with self-striping yarn, but I hadn't found "the one" yet. And then, I looked at the picture on the yarn band, and realized that I really like striped socks. I decided to forgo all patterning, and just knit a plain sock.

I LOVE IT! I haven't knit a plain sock in years. The last time I stuck with stripes, I knit the whole thing in 2x2 rib. Plain socks go SO QUICKLY! I've only worked on it while out and about, and I'm already knitting the foot.

No time for pictures right now, but in a couple of days, I might have a completely finished sock!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Little Girl Turns 7!

This morning, at 8:18 a.m., my little girl turned 7 years old.

Every year, I tell her the story of the day she was born - of the snowstorm the night before that ended before we left for the hospital, of the mercifully empty roads and the cautious doctors who had me come in earlier than they might have for a first time mom. Of how anxious she was to enter the world that she took practically no time at all. Her favorite part of the story is how she made her appearance crying, and while crying she looked around, found her Daddy, stopped crying, and stuck her tongue out at him!

Little Girl is pretty smart. Thankfully, she is also very social, so she's never bored at school. She has some artistic talent, and loves to do arts & crafts. She has attempted knitting, but finds it too be too difficult right now. She prefers her knitting spool, and she really prefers her paints and canvases. She can put together an outfit with accessories like no other 7 year old I've met. We won't be surprised if she has a career in fashion someday.

She's an excellent big sister to Baby Girl, and she's not too shabby to her brothers either. She asks a lot of questions about social situations - about how to keep everyone happy while still being true to herself. Like her brothers, she plays hockey. And she's really good.

She's not a perfect child (despite what people outside my house might think). She's a bit of a tattle-tale, and she can be downright snotty. But overall, she's a great kid.

Her birthday is more than just a birthday for me, because it marks when I first truly became a mother. I didn't enjoy being pregnant (WAY too much puking), but I loved labor and delivery. I didn't immediately feel "bonded" with the little creature I held in my arms, but I did feel protective. I remember getting angry at the very idea that anybody would be mean to her on the school playground. Thankfully, bonding didn't take too much time, and structuring my life around my baby came pretty naturally to me. I LOVE being a mother, and I am so thankful that I've been able to stay home with my children.

I am especially thankful for Little Girl. Her naturally independent spirit has been a great example to the younger kids (her first phrase was "No, Mommy. By myself."), and she has proved resilient to all my parenting mistakes. She's still a cuddle-bug, and still loves to spend time with me. I hope that lasts for a long time.

Happy Birthday, Little Girl!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A little Spinning, A little Knitting, A little TV

During school vacation, I visited Mind's Eye Yarns to take a drop spindling lesson. I don't know if it's the second lesson (the first one was well over a year ago), or the Ashford Drop Spindle (from Irisheyes Kathy's Take and Replace Swap), but I think I've finally "gotten" it!
I should have put a penny underneath, so you could see the yarn!!! It's not great, and it's certainly not even, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. I had a credit from Amazon, so I finally ordered Abby Franquemont's book "Respect the Spindle". I'm hoping to get good enough to spin a consistent yarn that's usable. The fiber, by the way, is 100% merino from Mind's Eye.

I've also been working on my Viking Hoodie. Here's an awful shot of the sleeve:

I've been doing all of that while watching TV with the kids. We've realized that we can influence the kids a lot by letting them watch shows that we like. So, we borrowed "Full House", "The Andy Griffith Show", and "Happy Days". It turns out that "Happy Days" has a whole lot of kissing in it, so we've stopped watching that one, but we love that they're so excited to see the other two, especially "The Andy Griffith Show". DH and I love to watch it too!

Happy Knitting!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baby Girl is 3!

This morning, at 12:08 a.m., my Baby Girl turned 3 years old. I'm not quite sure how that happened.

It makes me feel really old.

Let me tell you about my little one.

She is a joy! I mean, we could have named her "Joy" and it would totally be fitting. She smiles and laughs and hugs and kisses all the time. (Well, most of the time. She has a pretty emphatic "NO!" going on too.) She is beautiful, with blond, curly hair and blue eyes. To look at her, you totally see the Norwegian (my) side of the family. But when she talks, she totally channels her Italian (DH) roots! Her hands are always going while she talks, and despite her pretty significant speech delays, she's pretty good at saying Italian words like "peppyomi" (pepperoni) and "cacciatore". In fact, for dinner tonight she told me she wanted gnocchi after I mentioned it the other day. I haven't made gnocchi in over a year, so I don't think she knew what it is. But it sounded Italian, so it must be good (it was).

Baby Girl loves her baby dolls, especially "Baby Emma", her Bitty Baby. She walks her, and hugs her, and sings to her, and whispers sweet things to her. She's sweet to her siblings to - she's the first to offer up hugs and kisses if someone is hurt, and she won't let them walk into the school building until she's hugged and kissed them goodbye.

When she was an infant, Baby Girl was completely attached to me, and wanted nothing to do with my husband. That has changed! (Thank goodness!) Baby Girl loves her Daddy! She wakes him up with hugs and kisses, and then brings him his slippers so they can have breakfast together. When she does something that we've been working on, she always tells me that "Daddy be proud of me!" and smiles. I get my share of hugs and kisses too, but I love watching their special little bond.

I am so incredibly blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. I love doing little things with Baby Girl throughout the week. Like, taking her to Dunkin' Donuts for a treat and listening to her tell me her stories as she eats a doughnut. Or taking her to the grocery store (her favorite errand!). She always reminds me if we need more juice, and she loves to be asked to find an item, and then pointing it out to me when we're in the right aisle. I think we have just the right balance between "us" time and "on our own time".

Since she is our last, I always get a little more sad when she ages. I don't really have a toddler anymore, I have a preschooler. And while I'm glad to be moving toward stages where it's easier to just go and do things, I always miss those early stages, especially since I don't think we'll be doing them ever again. Baby Girl is really NOT a baby anymore - she's potty trained, she's halfway to making her own peanut butter sandwich, and she's quite capable of scheduling her own day, with own agenda to be filled. (Knitting is on her agenda, by the way. She likes to take my knitting, put the needles through the fabric, and tell everyone she's knitting).

I know these thoughts are kind of random - I'm way too tired to put a well-written piece together, which is too bad, because she deserves one. Let me just close by saying that Baby Girl truly does make me laugh every day, and seeing her enjoy herself as she grows and learns is something I will treasure for always.

We are blessed to have such a happy daughter, and I pray that the joy she has now stays with her forever.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

Today, Big Boy turns 12. I have known him since just before he turned 4, so for 2/3 of his life!

Being a full-time mom to a child with another mother is not easy. In fact, it's really stinkin' difficult. But this year, I think we've turned a corner. Things seem better, calmer, and more.....normal. Like the stuff that we're dealing with is just normal, every day parenting stuff that anyone with a tween-age kid would have to face.

Big Boy is having a STELLAR year. He's gotten awesome grades both quarters at school, making the honor roll both times. He was even named student of the month in November! As proud as we are of his grades, we're even more proud of the responsibility he takes for his homework. I never have to nag him to do it, and he even has approached long-term projects in an organized way. It wasn't too long ago that we had to keep explaining to Big Boy that his projects were not "our" projects. It's nice to see this growth, and gives us hope in other areas of his life, that he will mature and be okay.

Big Boy plays hockey, and he's having a great season! He's finally figured out how to use his size and be aggressive, and he's become a real asset to the team. Tryouts for next year a in a few weeks, and we expect that he's going to be pleasantly surprised with his scores this year. It's great to see him excelling, especially since hockey is his favorite activity. The lucky boy is even going to the Boston Bruins game tonight!

One of the great things about Big Boy is that outside of the house, he is always polite and well-behaved. I never have to worry about sending him over to anyone's house, or worry that he'll get in trouble at school. Although the same can't be said at home, we have moved into more age-appropriate misbehaviors. There's a real blessing in this, that I don't think I can really put into words. I worry a lot about Big Boy's future. I worry that all the stuff that has happened with his mom, and all the craziness will have a huge impact on his ability to form relationships with others later in life. I worry about his sense of entitlement (which is not his fault. When enough people tell you and act as though you're the only person on the planet that matters, you wind up feeling entitled). I worry about his need for constant attention. I worry about his ability to express his feelings appropriately.

But you know what? All of those things have gotten better over time. It's like Big Boy is more comfortable with himself, and that makes it easier for him to interact with others in positive ways. He's developed his own personal style (and I'm so thankful that it's collared shirts. He likes too look neat!), and it's so cute to watch him put gel in his hair so it looks just so. He's learned to stay out of his friends' dramas, and he's pretty clear about what he likes to do and doesn't like to do.

In short, I think he's pretty much turning into the best a parent can hope for at 12. (Although, I wouldn't mind if he practiced his violin without reminders.) I love being able to tell him, on a regular basis, how proud I am of him. Our relationship is never going to be the same as my relationship with my biological kids, but he is very much my kid, and I love him with everything I have in me.

Happy Birthday Big Boy! May this coming year be as great as the one past!