Archive for November, 2005

Bavarian Twist

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

I should be sleeping. It’s 1:23 in the morning, and Joe went to bed about an hour and a half ago. Normally, he’s the one to stay up till all hours of the morning engrossed in a video game or something. Tonight, it’s me. I was engrossed in the baby sweater I’m knitting.

I started designing this little sweater a few weeks ago when I finished knitting the blanket. I’m using a pale pink sport weight wool – the old Pomfret yarn from Brunswick that they stopped making 20-some years ago, and which I hoard collect. The stitch pattern is a Bavarian Twist style, or cables to you lay people out there; and I’m doing it in the round, with a planned steek for the cardigan front. It’s coming together nicely enough. Tonight I was working on one of the most interesting parts. I had finished the body and both sleeves up to the underarms, and it was time to attach the arms on and knit all the way around the yoke of the sweater. Some thinking was required at this point, and I had to decide exactly where to place the decreases going up toward the collar while maintaining the existing stitch patterns.

This is the beginning of the really exciting part of working on any sweater for me. As you get closer and closer to the neckline, you have fewer and fewer stitches over which to work, which means that things speed up with every decrease row knit. There is the added fun of figuring out how to fit in the back-of-neck shaping, a challenge I’m still pondering on this sweater – how to get it in without ruining the rhythm of the stitch patterns. In fact, I may just have to wait till Monday and ask the knitting ladies to help solve that little puzzle. On top of that, one can anticipate the final steps of securing the steek, cutting the center front opening and knitting on the button band. Will it be ribbing? Seed Stitch? Garter? Oh my!

The project comes closer and closer to completion and the mind starts wandering on to the next project lurking in the wings. Will it be a matching sweater for Julie? I’m not so sure now – I’m already a little tired of Bavarian Twists, as beautiful as this one is coming out. Could I squeeze in some new glittens or a hat for myself? I should really knit up another little pair of socks for the new baby…or start a simple project or two for knitting around and around once the baby arrives. Never mind all the projects that I *should* do for the important people in my life. Or that there are many non-knitting projects begging for attention in the limited number of free evenings pre-baby, although I really truly do intend to catch Julie’s scrapbook up to date in the next month or so.

With a mind so a’buzz, how can a girl go to sleep? Well, time to go lay in bed, close my eyes and give it a try. Julie will wake us up by 8, leaving me just over six hours to get some rest. The little sweater and all the other projects will wait another day, and provide me with another day’s worth of distraction from the grind.

Urp!

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

I just finished my second piece of leftover pumpkin pie this evening. I made a special pie all for Julie, without all the evil allergen ingredients that are supposed to go into pie – things like butter, eggs, milk, wheat flour – the basics, you know. Surprisingly, it turned out pretty good. Good enough for me to want to go back and eat a second piece of day-old pie, at least. It is priceless to get to watch her enjoy a special treat like pie while everyone else is eating pie too. She talked about it today, so it obviously made an impression on her.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Joe’s cousin Sarah’s house. Julie was so excited to go over there and see her second cousin Katelyn, and the two of them run around together like best buddies. It is amazingly cute!

And the best part of it is that they wear each other out and Julie falls asleep on the way home.

This was Sarah’s first year hosting Thanksgiving at her new house, and she did a great job. Her mother-in-law did the bulk of the cooking, I think, but Sarah did a great job organizing all the contributions, having a beautifully clean house and a nicely set table, and making everyone feel at home. All I had to do was bring a couple of salads and some sweet potatoes – and that pie for Julie. I feel so lucky that Sarah and the whole family have been really helpful with Julie’s food allergies, and they set aside special servings of the vegetables for her before the extra stuff was added. That made my life a lot easier in planning her meal. We all had a very nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. Or at least Joe and I did.

Unfortunately, something Julie ate yesterday did include a sneaky allergen ingredient. At least, we’re pretty sure that’s what kept Julie waking up crying last night, and would account for her super-crabby attitude this morning. We still haven’t figured out what the heck it was. The only thing I can think of is maybe the turkey was pre-basted with some dairy or soy ingredient when they bought it at the store. I know everybody did their very best to keep her away from the bad stuff, and I am just grateful that the lapse meant a night of lost sleep instead of something much worse.

Oh! and I just updated Julie’s picture page. I hadn’t gotten new pictures up since the July ones, and now it should be good through the current pictures. I can’t wait to see how much more I procrastinate after the new baby comes.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Baby Blanket Done!

Friday, November 18th, 2005

I finally have photos to share of the blanket I finished a couple of weeks ago. I blocked it yesterday on the newly-set-up guest bed, and it looks fantastic if I do say so myself. I can’t wait for the baby to come so I can casually throw the blanket over the car seat and show it off when we stroll around the mall or go to the coffee shop or whatever. It’s a little too big and lacy for a swaddling blanket, but it will be perfect for tucking her in on cold car rides in February.

BabyBlanketElfinLace

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And, by the way, I’ve updated the knitting page with more photos of things I’ve done in the last several months. I can’t believe how far behind I let myself get on that, and the sad thing is I know I’ve already forgotten about some of the projects that I knit up in that time. There are at least three pairs of socks missing. Oh well. You’ve seen one sock, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Bed, Bed Bed!

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Julie seems very happy with her new bed. I know I mentioned before that we bought her a bed at Ikea a few weeks ago. We actually bought a set of bunk beds, but have only assembled one for the time being, and it is set up in the alcove at the other end of our bedroom since she is so used to sleeping near us (practically on top of us, really) and since her room is so tiny and pretty full of furniture and toys as it is.

We made a special trip to Target and Julie picked out pink Hello Kitty sheets for it, which she loves. I managed to steer her away from the super cheap-o poly/cotton blend and toward the all-cotton jersey knit ones at least. And I helped her pick out a very cute quilt with butterflies and flowers all over it. I suppose I should take a picture and post it one of these days, not to mention for the photo albums.

Anyway, she took to sleeping in her own bed much better than any of us had hoped. The first week, we did the normal routine involving one of us parental types laying down with her after stories till she fell asleep. And she slept there just fine after her normal 2-3 hour falling-asleep time. That’s right. Our kid has always taken two to three HOURS to fall asleep most nights. So either Joe or I has always had to lay there with her for that long and usually fall asleep with her. It never was our idea of an ideal situation, but we tried all the options we found acceptable, and this was the one that worked best. Neither of us has whatever it takes to try cry-it-out techniques, but believe me when I swear we tried just about everything else at least once. To be honest, once we figured out the allergy thing and she started sleeping through the night without waking to scream for 2 hours at a time, the getting her to sleep part didn’t seem all that bad in comparison.

So, last week, I decided to try another go-round at not laying with her and falling asleep before she did each night. I consulted the real tried-and-true experts – the moms in my ECFE class. I am SO lucky this fall to be in an ECFE class with mostly second- or third-time moms with lots of experience, some of whom have strong Attachment Parenting tendencies. One of them suggested that I try sitting on the end of the bed or next to it, and telling Julie “Mama’s going to sit here tonight. I know you can fall asleep all by yourself. Close your eyes and relax. You can do it.” I really didn’t think it would work. Joe had tried something similar about six months ago. But I really needed to try something, and this seemed like the most gentle idea.

There was some whining, a little half-hearted crying, and within ten minutes she was asleep. I couldn’t believe it. The next night, I had a class to teach, so Joe did the same thing and it worked for him too. And every other night since then, we’ve done the same thing and it’s worked like a charm. Tonight she was asleep within five minutes. It’s a whole new world of evenings free to get stuff done or just relax and vegetate. I’m hoping this lasts and that by the time the new baby arrives, she will be thoroughly grounded in this new routine so that we’ll have a chance of somehow managing getting both kids to bed without all of us going insane.

And speaking of baby stuff, I’ve been knitting up a storm. The blanket is done. Did I mention how I was worried about having enough yarn? I ended up with about three yards of yarn left over from an 800-yard project. It was very tense there at the end, but the blanket is beautiful. I haven’t taken pictures yet because I’m waiting for my office room to be done before I can block it on the guest bed. Now I’m working on a hat and booties set and a cabled sweater.

Last night we visited some friends and their almost-month-old baby for the first time. We took them take-out barbecue, homemade oatmeal cookies, some baby-music CDs and a handknit sweater. Little Maisie is very sweet, and it got me thinking a bit about the actual reality of owning one of these newborn things. Oh, it WILL be an interesting ride. Even if our baby is the easiest of all babies, newborns are not easy. Julie was not at all interested in the baby, but much more interested in the dog. And tonight we overheard the baby across the street crying via our monitor. I think we’ll have to change the channel ours runs on tomorrow to avoid cross-traffic in the future. It was sweet and a little scary listening to his little infant cries. Joe noticed it first, and I think it freaked him out almost as much as it did me.

Now it is way past my bedtime. Off to brush teeth, eat Tums (not necessarily in that order) and drag Joe away from his Playstation or whatever gaming platform he’s hooked on this month.

Steeks, Tums, and Blue Cypress

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

This afternoon I revisited the steek topic with one of the students who had signed up for my class but hadn’t shown up. Turns out, she had shown up at the store on Sunday, not Saturday, with homework finished and in hand and was devastated at missing the class because of a stupid mistake. Lucky for her, that is exactly the kind of mistake I have been known to make and I understood. So I took pity on her and invited her over to the house. I popped in a couple of the crazy korean cartoon DVDs that Joe’s brother Dave gave to Julie for her birthday, which she loves, and we had a couple hours of good steek-talk and ended up chatting about other stuff too. While Julie fell asleep on the living room floor. But I felt good about having shared what I knew and not having made a hugely bad judgement call about inviting a relative stranger into my house. Really, I’m not a neglectful mommy – even though I let the tv babysit my kid for over an hour till she crashed on the hard wood.

On to the Tums…I’ve eaten almost half a dozen of them today. The heartburn is back. I’m feeling lucky that at least for the moment they’re effective. When you’ve got big, nasty heartburn eating up your esophogus, a handfull of minty Tums don’t even taste half as bad as one would imagine.

And finally…Blue Cypress. That’s the name of the color I’ve chosen for my office room. Joe has finally finished painting his office room, and has vowed to get mine painted before he unpacks all his junk in his room. Either this is a huge and beautiful sacrifice on his part, given that he’s been separated from his CD collection since May; or he’s procrastinating on figuring out just how to squeeze his mountains of junk into the tiny room that is his new office. I suppose it could be a mixture of the two motivations, but I’m choosing to believe that it’s purely the former. He’s being generous and helping me get my little life back at the same time he gets his. And so, the deadline is finally here. I had to decide on a paint color. It’s been hard enough picking out paint for every other damned room in the house in a two-month window, not to mention having just picked out paint for the entire old house less than six months ago. But for some reason, this room has been just about the hardest so far.

It feels good to have finally made a decision, for better or for worse. Elizabeth, I promise I won’t drag you over here on a Sunday afternoon to quell my panick attack the way I did a few months ago over the upstairs hallway paint color. After all, that one turned out just fine, and Joe will be here this time doing the actual painting so I won’t have to freak out by myself as the first layer goes on. I can’t wait to be done painting and unpacking in here. And then we will only have two bathrooms, the hallway, and tiny foyer left to go. Wahoo!

A lovely weekend

Monday, November 7th, 2005

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I posted. I think it took me about that long to recover from the shock of the Sharpie marker incident. I am ever so thankful that I can now laugh about it.

I have a lovely weekend to report to the world. Friday night Joe and I stayed up past our bedtimes watching Frontier House on DVD. I’m really loving this Netflix thing. After I finish this entry, I’m going to go watch a disc of Sex and The City – I missed the last half of the last season when it aired on HBO.

Saturday morning I got up and ran over to the Yarnery to teach the first session of my new Beginning Knitting class. Lots of nice people again – I’ve had extraordinary luck this quarter with pleasant students who learn well…or maybe I’ve just been less crabby or something.

I came home and spent the afternoon cooking. I baked special allergen-free chocolate cake with white frosting and a pizza too. We were headed to Julie’s cousin Katelyn’s second birthday party, and I wanted her to have similar food to eat as the rest of the kids at the party. Both turned out well, and I have to say the chocolate cake Julie got to eat was a lot tastier than the store-bought lemon cake served at the party. The pizza on the other hand, while tasty enough and a fine substitue for Julie, didn’t begin to compete with the cheesy goodness of the Davanni’s delivery.

The party was at a toddler gym place called JW Tumbles, and there were about 15 kids running around having a good time. Julie fell asleep in the car and had a little power-nap during the first part, but woke up in time to play and eat and play some more. It was a blast. We forgot to take the camera, but hopefully can score some of the pictures that Katelyn’s parents took. Afterwards, we went over to their house to watch them open the huge haul of gifts, and by the time we got home I was wiped out and I think I fell asleep before Julie did.

Speaking of which…Julie has been sleeping in her new bed the last two nights. She is very excited about her Hello Kitty sheets and seems to really enjoy having her own space. We’re still laying down with her till she falls asleep, and last night I didn’t move to our bed till 4:30 in the morning when Joe finally tore himself from the video games or whatever he was doing and came to bed. Silly boy. Joe is up there now probably doing the same thing I did last night.

Today I got up and made pancakes for breakfast with Julie, then got to work cleaning and cooking for tonight. We had invited my cousin Ron and his wife Molly over for a barbecue rib dinner, and the house was a bit of a wreck. Having people over is always such good motivation to pick up all the toys, do a little vacuume and sweep, clean up the rotting Halloween pumpkin off the front steps…you know how it is. Finally, oh Finally, the guy from Home Depot came and picked up the cabinets that needed to be returned. I’m so glad to have them out of the way! I even gave him a few of my homemade brownies to thank him – he picked them up in his own vehicle and I think on his own time because Home Depot corporate apparently sucks at customer service in a way that most of their employees do not.

Dinner came together well – I finally managed to make sweet potato fries without blackening them, and the ribs came out nice and tender, if a little too salty. I made brownies with walnuts and we had those for dessert with vanilla ice cream…mmmm! Ron and Molly are always fun to catch up with, and although they don’t have kids of their own, they are very good with Julie. She was having all kinds of fun showing Ron her toys. I’m pretty sure he was the first person other than me and Joe to make her laugh.

see?

So anyway, I had more fun this weekend than I’ve had in quite some time, and it was good. Plus I have a clean house and a bunch of leftover ribs and brownies. Now to go top it all off with some quality trashy TV and a little knitting, and life will be complete!