Archive for August, 2006

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

This morning, we all got up and drove out to Eden Prairie to see the knitting group I’ve joined for the last couple of weeks. I wasn’t really planning to go because I felt like it wasn’t fair to Julie to make her sit through two coffee shop knitting groups every week, but one of the ladies has the cutest little girl named Katie, and Julie talked about Katie all last week, so last night when it was Katie this and Katie that all up until bedtime, I decided it would be just fine to go on out there and what the heck, we didn’t have anything better to do anyway. I’m so glad we went – those ladies are really fun (hi, ladies!) and Julie had a great time playing with Katie. Here’s a picture of the two of them sharing some snacks. Actually, Katie is shoving snacks into Julie’s mouth, but my little Hoover didn’t seem to mind. It was hilarious.

Next, we headed over to Target, where we picked out some presents for baby Nathan. I bought a few little outfits and quick ran home to wash them so I could give them to their family pre-washed and ready to wear. I mean I know Sarah had a ton of clothes ready for him, but that was when they thought he was a she, and I thought they could use a couple extra baby gowns to throw on him if his diaper leaked or something and that way he wouldn’t have to wear pink. Not that pink on a boy is the end of the world or anything, but it’s my own little hangup kind of like putting Julie in boy’s underwear.

And speaking of underwear, Julie has been doing awesome at this potty training thing. She’s been waking up dry in the mornings, and is lobbying hard for underwear at bedtime. I told her if she stays dry for a week we’ll give it a try. There was only one accident today, but boy it was a doozy! Brace yourselves, and if you don’t want to hear the scatalogical details, why don’t you just scroll on down till you see some more pretty pictures. Ready? Okay, so she didn’t poop at all yesterday, and this morning I kept putting her on the potty and telling her to take her time and try to make a poopie. She tried. I know she did. But it just didn’t happen on the potty. Finally, when we got home from Target, she snuck off to the living room while I was heating up our lunch and did her business like she is used to. I stuck my head around the corner and noticed a giant – blob – in her pants and knew what had happened.

I am a mom who has been changing dirty diapers for almost three years now. Not just changing them, but washing them too because we use cloth. I have no problem with sticking my hand in the toilet and swishing the poo off of a diaper, but something about the mess today just really threw me for a loop. Part of it was that I had to keep a positive game face. I didn’t want to act mad or upset or utterly grossed out, because everything I have read or heard is that the last thing you want is to make it a power struggle, and I’ve heard too many first hand accounts of kids getting constipated during potty training and then it becomes a real nightmare. So I smiled and said no big deal. But the other factor was the “Where the F do I start cleaning this mess up?” problem. I ended up picking her up, carrying her into the bathroom and stripping her down, in the process getting it all over her legs and the rug in there, not to mention the tile floor and the toilet. And I was really trying to keep it from spreading everywhere. It was like a Mr. Hankie scene on South Park. Well, I got that all wiped up, and just stuck her in the tub and hosed her down. Which she hated, but it had to happen. Ten minutes later it was all over, and we sat down to lunch, which I had to force myself to eat because the appetite was gone, but my hands were shaking because my blood sugar had dropped.

Poor Sophie – she sat on the kitchen floor and played with her toys, oblivious to all of this mess as it was going on. I’m sure we have a scene or two like this in her future some day as well. Now on to more cute kid pictures. We got to go meet baby Nathan tonight, and here is a picture of me holding my Sophie and little Nathan. Just six months ago, she was the size that he is now! He is such a teeny feather of a thing, and very sweet. He slept the whole time we were there. By the way, this picture of me? This is what I consider a good picture of me. This is what I look like inside my head. Not that super-fat cow in the weird sunglasses and her hair in a ratty pony tail and wearing a raggy shirt that you saw on the carousel at the county fair a few weeks ago.

Here are Nathan’s big sister Katelyn and Julie sharing a chair. They were fighting over two toy cars that another friend of the family brought with their little boy. Julie is giving me a dirty look because she doesn’t want me to take her picture. It’s starting already.

Oh! News from my friend J! She made it through the biopsy fine, and of course they are all cagey about the results till the lab tests are back, but it sounded like good news. They think it was just a hematoma and not something long-term to worry about. I dropped off a cooler of leftovers on their steps this morning thinking she wouldn’t want to cook dinner tonight, and I spent the whole day wondering what I was thinking, why would she want to eat my stupid left over supper from two nights ago? But when I talked to her tonight, she said they did eat it and that her hubby even liked it – it was a bit spicy, and apparently he approved. Whew!

Tomorrow, we go meet Julie’s pre-school teacher for orientation, and then I am off to the fair to meet some lovely local knitters, oogle over all the Creative Activities once more, and gorge myself on greasy Fair fare. By myself. The Joy! The Glory!

One last thing. Happy Birthday, Joe! We didn’t get to really celebrate because we had to head off to meet little Nathan, but I’m going to make him a special dinner on Friday night.

Blankies, Babies and Dye Jobs Oh My!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

First things first. The blankie says it’s been feeling lonely and wants to be on the blog again. Poor thing has barely gotten to come all the way out of its basket these last few days as I’ve been working on the pants, and I don’t think I’ve photographed it at all since I borrowed the in-laws’ camera. So here it is in all it’s current glory. As always, it’s nice for me to lay it out and photograph it because I can see that there is actual progress being made, albeit plenty slow.

Here is a closeup of the area I was working on tonight. I just finished the big square on the top right. I’m still all in love with this project and would work on it night and day if only the rest of my life fell in line. Sophie was up rather late again this evening.

Speak of the devil, here is my little stinker. She doesn’t like to sit in the high chair for very long at a time, and will only eat a bite or two of the rice cereal before stealing the spoon from me and pounding the tray with it. That’s fine. Somehow she’s managing to develop beautiful little Michelin-man rings and double chins on breastmilk alone, and I have no problem with that at all. Oh, she is such a sweet, squishy little baby I can totally forgive her for waking up and yelling at me every time I try to lay her in her crib.

Jo-Anne asked about the yarn I’m dyeing and whether I would try to remove the dye that’s in the second skein before re-dyeing it. I had no idea that such a thing was even possible! No, that is not the plan. I was just thinking of adding more dye. Basically, maybe dyeing the same chunks again with the same colors and hope for more uniform saturation. The other thought running around in the gerbil wheel of my mind is to maybe dye the white chunks pink. I don’t really want to make another skein exactly like the first one. Where’s the fun in that? Anyway, there are still three totally white skeins of yarn sitting there waiting for attention, but I am not feeling very inspired at the moment in that regard, and there is SO no rush on this project since I have so very many other yards of perfectly lovely sock yarn to knit up. It’s sure fun to talk and think about, though!

I’m trying to think positive thoughts for my friend J, who is having a breast biopsy tomorrow. It’s probably nothing, but they couldn’t tell for sure from a mammogram and ultrasound because she’s nursing, so they’re going to check it out more invasively tomorrow. Please, everyone – send whatever flavor of positive energy or prayer you believe in to J for a moment or two especially tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, Sophie has her 6-month checkup (only a couple of weeks late) and hopefully we will get to go to the hospital in the evening to meet the newest member of our extended family. Joe’s cousin had a baby boy this evening – a total surprise since they were expecting a girl, but we are happy since everyone is healthy. Welcome to the world, little Nathan!

Kitchen Confidential

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Let’s start right off with a picture.

Yes, Carolyn, I am using your beautiful, wonderful, lovely dishcloth. I have to admit that I could not say this truthfully until today. I have to admit that it was so lovely, I had it tucked to the side in my towel drawer in the kitchen and was kind of waiting for something before using it. Today the drawer was empty except for your dishcloth (the clean ones were in the living room waiting to be folded) and so I pulled it out and used it all day long for wiping off sticky faces, wiping down counters, and even the dirty pan in the sink this evening. I drew the line, though, at using it for the nasty bacon-grease pan left after making BLTs for dinner tonight. That got wiped out with an already-stained dishrag from the drawer. I love your dishcloth. Using it was about the most decadent experience one can have while cleaning up a kitchen, and it even inspired me to get out the mop and give the floor a swipe or two. Thanks again. Julie loves her “blue sparkly” socks too, and is still asking to wear them every day.

Speaking of kitchens, I got a comment the other day saying that someone was getting some use out of my food allergy page, and I appreciate that. It’s something I was working on before the whole bury-her-house spectacle started, and I feel like I should be getting back to it. It can be so hard to find good things to eat when you’re allergic to multiple staple foods like Julie is, especially when first diagnosed, and apparently a friend of a reader was eating only salads. Poor thing! Tonight we did indeed have BLT sandwiches – bacon from the farmers that we buy meat direct from, heirloom tomatoes from the co-op trip we made this morning, spinach (which we pretend is lettuce because it has much more nutritional value), and whole-wheat bread for me and Joe, Julie got the kind of bread that is safe for her. We got mayo and she didn’t, I’m afraid. I should have sliced up some avocado for her, but didn’t think of it till just now. I also served locally-grown corn on the cob. Yum!

Okay, I promised an announcement about the sport weight yarn. There are two gallon-sized bags of scraps. This is not enough, even all in one chunk, to make an entire blanket all by itself. It will constitute a good start on a blanket, though. In any case, splitting it up wasn’t an option – it all needs to go to the same home. I got about ten requests for it, and it was hard to pick. I’m going to send it to Tara, who had asked for some leftovers when I first mentioned I was going to be passing on the yarn I couldn’t use in my own blanket. Tara has a little girl who is about the right age to start knitting and she wants to do a blanket together with her daughter. I think that is sweet.

Also, I’m going to be sending a package of some of the other not-blankie-appropriate yarn to Ruth in South Africa, who knits baby clothes and donates them to a local public hospital, which makes sure that each newborn is sent home with warm clothes.

Changing the subject, it turns out that some local knitters may be meeting in the Creative Activities Building on Thursday evening to look around without their families just like I was wishing for last night. Joe says I can have the night off, so I’m planning to go hang out, look around, and eat some more greasy food! Wahoo!

And finally, today was another one-step-forward day in the potty training. Julie had the one good day, then a couple of days where she peed only in her pants. It was kind of disheartening, but I did my best to keep a poker face, we just cleaned up the messes as matter-of-factly as possible (hence the empty towel drawer) and moved on. Then, I managed to get her on the toilet first thing this morning and she actually did some business. We tried again while we were out at the grocery store (after she had a large glass of juice at the coffee shop) and lo and behold, she made her first tinkle in a public restroom! She had a couple other success stories today, and just one failure (involving a #2, so that’s kind of a gimme for now I suppose). Some day she is going to kill me for sharing all this with the Internet, and I’m sure it’s very boring for the rest of the world, maybe even more than you wanted to know…but it is very exciting for me. Not because I was tired of changing diapers – that wasn’t so bad, and it was kind of sweet in a freaky way. I mean, a connection that I took for granted – her depending on me. It’s exciting because it’s such a clear milestone that she is growing up, growing more independent. She is learning something new in a clear-cut way that hasn’t happened since she learned to sit up on her own, learned to crawl and learned to walk. ’nuff said.

Okay, and really finally finally – Ellen in Connecticut – I sent you an e-mail and it bounced. Would you please comment again with your correct e-mail address, or better yet just send me an e-mail at shellyk at shellykang dot com and I can reply to it?

State Fair

Monday, August 28th, 2006

I am so beyond tired, I fell asleep on the couch while nursing Sophie after putting Julie to bed. Yet, here I am ready to tell you all about the wonderful day we had at the State Fair and maybe a few other things as well. We got up and out of the house as quickly as we reasonably could for a Sunday morning, which meant that we left just before 10. Here’s Sophie all bright eyed and bushy- tailed haired ready to go.

Here we are waiting to buy our tickets to get in. I wanted to take a picture of the long line behind us, but I felt a little weird facing a bunch of strangers and taking their pictures. This is a pretty good view of our “State Fair Stroller” – a hand-me-down DuoGlider that someone gave us, which we couldn’t fit Sophie’s car seat into when she was smaller, so we had to buy a new one anyway, but this one was great to take to the Fair because we didn’t have to worry about spilling stuff on it or potentially running it through a pile of horse poo or something. It worked out great.

First stop was the Creative Activities Building. I could have spent hours in there, but unfortunately the rest of my family has limited patience for staring at wooly crafts. A couple of beautiful modular garments caught my eye, so I thought I’d show them to you – these are not mine, just ones that I think are pretty cool. A jacket…

Sorry for the really bad picture, but it’s hard when you’re carrying a baby, shooting through glass, and the subject is half-hidden behind other garments. This is a skirt, made out of hexagonal modules.

Alright, and now for a little bragging. Here is my little baby hat that won the blue ribbon. Again, sorry for the poor photography. The lace blanket in the upper right of the picture is also mine, but it didn’t get a ribbon. I can’t wait to read the comments on that one – that was the piece I thought had the best chance of all of them.

Here is the baby sweater that won a fourth prize – it took a little searching to find it hidden in a corner at the bottom of the display.

I found the “monkey dresses” that my friend had told me about. They are amazing. It’s one of those things that you have to see to believe. This first one is knit, and those little white things under each monkey head are name tags.

This one looks woven, it really made me laugh. It’s an amazing design, just – well – hard for me to wrap my brain around, and very funny.

This collection was also amazing. It’s what looks like an antique miniature doll, and someone crocheted a teeny-tiny wardrobe for her, with all the accessories imaginable and a dollhouse and a snowman to boot! I didn’t see this one till I had already pushed the limit on time allowed in the Creative Activities building by my family, so I didn’t get that good of a look at it, but it was neat. I really wish I could go back to the fair some week day by myself for a couple hours just so I could go hang around the crafts and stare at them all more thoroughly. (And of course I would eat more fair food too.)

Next stop was the new-this-year butterfly house. Joe almost didn’t want us to go in because you had to pay an extra $3 per person, but we all did go in and it was worth it. It’s a big room, full of butterflies of different varieties roosting and fluttering about. They were landing everywhere, including all parts of people. There were little kids walking around with up to ten butterflies all over their bodies. There were the standard monarchs, plus at least four or five other varieties, including some large ones. Julie didn’t want to touch one while we were in there, but she enjoyed looking at the ones on Mommy and Daddy, and talked about them afterwards. It was really neat watching the ones that landed on my hands stick out their long curly tongues and taste to see if I was something to eat or not.

This was also really cool – a wall of hatching Monarchs. You could see some in their cocoons getting ready to hatch, and we stood there and watched one come out of it’s cocoon and start to unfold its wings over the course of about 10 minutes.

After that, we headed to the carousel. The look on Julie’s face as she rode it was priceless. And there was no electrical tape holding things together as far as I could tell.

We found a nice grassy, shady spot on a steep hill behind the roasted corn stand to spread out our blanket and eat a picnic lunch – mostly greasy fair food, plus a few things from home for Julie. I had a corn dog, fried green tomatoes, roasted corn and lemonade. We got french fries and corn for Julie, and I ate some of the fries too. Joe had a Gyro and some cheese curds (which I tasted as well.) I love eating at the fair. It’s not food that you’d want to eat all year round, but I feel like you have to let yourself go a little now and then. I regret a little bit not getting a funnel cake or an elephant ear, and there is a really good brownie stand across from Creative Activities that I would have liked to patronize as well, but my stomach was full, and the family only has so much patience.

After lunch, it was almost time for the parade, so we scoped out a good spot and sat down to watch it. Julie really enjoyed the marching bands, and I enjoyed sitting there with both of my girls on my lap, looking down to see them both smiling at the drums and the uniforms. I wish someone had taken a picture of us at that moment. By that time in the afternoon, it was getting very crowded – here we are headed toward the animal barns – just look at the sea of humanity!

The plan was to walk through the Miracle of Birth building, then go see the other animals. But I was getting too hot and tired, and I could tell that everyone else had had enough too. We made one last stop for snow cones, and headed out to our car. Here’s Julie with a blue tongue, eating the last of hers in the car while we waited to get out of the parking lot.

What a day!

Oh, and I have an update on Julie’s pants. I stayed up way too late last night finishing up the legs so that I could join them together and work on the top part. It feels good to see this project starting to look like what it’s going to be when it’s done. I’d really like to finish these before Julie’s birthday on September 12th so I can wrap them up and give them to her as a gift. That means I’ve put the blanket on the back burner for the moment – a very difficult thing to do, but I’m still going to try for at least one square a day, just not more than that till the pants are done.

Also, here’s a picture of the second skein of yarn I dyed. The more I look at this mess, the less happy I am with it. I was really going for paler versions of the blue and teal, but what I got was just splotchy, uneven mess. I suppose I can go back and overdye it like I did the first, only this time I’ll have to do all three colors, plus the burgundy where the white is now. I admit, I’ve been lazy about doing much research at all on getting the dyes to saturate properly – I’m just mimicking what I’ve seen other people do on their blogs. I did soak the yarn in warm soapy water before dyeing it, and I did let it sit for plenty long in the dye bath. The yarn wasn’t twisted or otherwise tightly constrained as far as I could control, either. I may have to reconsider using the Ball jars and maybe switch to doing one color at a time in a flatter pan. This makes me unhappy, though, since even though I’m using food-grade dyes I don’t like the idea of using my food-grade pans to cook them in. I’m going to table this project for the moment and come back to it once I’ve forgiven the current skein of yarn enough to try to fix it. Thanks a bunch for all your kind comments about the first skein!

Tomorrow, an announcement on the sport weight yarn. I’ve made up my mind about it, but this post is too long already, and I figure I’ve lost most of you to boredom by the end of this post anyway.

Yarn Yarn Yarn Yarn

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Today has been another hard day on the kids front. Sophie just isn’t sleeping the way a 6-month-old baby is supposed to sleep. She woke up at 6:30 this morning, napped for a total of maybe 1.5 hours during the day, and is still freakin’ up right now after 11:30. Joe’s up there trying to soothe her. This has been going on for weeks now. That amount of sleep adds up to only 8 or 9 hours a day, and it’s not enough for a 6-month-old. Hell, it’s not enough for the whole family. I’m getting no time to myself, and I’m getting very little time with Julie alone and we’re all getting a little frazzled. Maybe a lot frazzled.

One of the things that is keeping me glued together (aside from the many bright points in having two beautiful kids, and there are plenty) is the yarn. So let’s talk about the yarn for a few minutes before I go flop down in bed for the night.

This pile of yarn is sport weight sock yarn that is looking for a good home. I could hold on to it and would probably eventually use it to knit something modular or otherwise creative and patchwork, but I’m really hoping that there is someone lurking out there who really wants to knit a blankie, or maybe would do something creative with it for charity or for themselves or something. I don’t care how you plan to use it – or rather, I would love to hear how you plan to use it, but I won’t judge you on it – but if this yarn is calling to you, speak up in the comments or throw me an e-mail (shellyk at shellykang dot com) and it could be yours!

This pile of yarn came in the mail today from Katherine. Katherine has already sent me a couple of very generous packages, including that giant pile of Mountain Colors weavers wool that I just shipped back out to Melanie. She sent a bunch more nice stuff in this package, as she is cleaning out her basement and found some more goodies.

There was only one little problem. As I was fondling this new batch, I noticed a little something on the one dark skein at the lower right. Let’s take a look…

Not a very good picture, but that’s a bug of some sort. I don’t think it’s a moth. I think it’s just a bug that got waylaid and passed away in proximity of the yarn. It could happen to anybody – you wouldn’t believe how many critters I’ve found in and around my house – or maybe you would after that spider picture the other day. Anyway, Katherine’s yarn went straight into the freezer, and I will think about how I can safely bring it out. It may involve a black trash bag in the back window of my car on the next hot sunny day we get. I just want to make sure that if it is some kind of wool-eating critter, it didn’t have any friends hitching along in the yarn.

I also got this package in the mail today, only slightly wore for the wear after dealing with the local mail sorting facility. They were nice enough to bag it up and apologize for any inconvenience, and the yarn all seems just fine. Karen in South Haven, MN sent a nice little goodie bag. Thanks Karen and Katherine, you’ve brought the total up to 97 packages!

Finally, let’s revisit my little dyeing experiment. Here’s what that first skein looks like now that it’s dried and rewound into a normal-sized skein. I have to say, I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. It is not at all what I was thinking when I started it, but it is pretty. I left it in the twist-skein because I am not going to knit with it right away (or any time soon probably) so I figure it’s best to keep it in a nice relaxed state.

I stole some time to dye the second skein this evening while dinner was in the oven and Joe was playing with the girls. It turned out closer to my initial vision, but I was going for a less saturated color for the blues and therefore used much less dye – the colors are still very deep mostly, but now there is more splotchiness where I wish it were solid. At least I managed to keep the white parts white this time, and I think this one will be pretty too. It’s drying in the basement now, and I don’t think I’ll try winding it again while Julie is awake since it’s too stressful for her to watch me do it and not mangle the yarn get involved herself.

Joe’s down now – he got Sophie to sleep. I’m off to bed!

Various and Sundry Things About My Day Vol. 12,227

Friday, August 25th, 2006

In no particular order, the things on my mind this evening are as follows…

Cameras
I managed borrow the old camera from the in-laws for the next week or so, and thankfully that means we have some halfway decent pictures to look at again. It does break up the monotony of my hot air. The in-laws are not very techno-savvy, and they gave us the camera with a full memory card from their somewhat recent trip up to the north shore of Lake Superior. Here’s a lovely view. I got a notice from Canon saying that they’re working on my camera and I should have it back some time next week maybe if I’m lucky. Darn it, I think they are going to fix it instead of sending me a shiny new one. I can live with that, especially since it’s not costing me anything.

State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair started today, and although I didn’t make it over there just yet. Believe me, I thought about it, but it was raining this morning and just not do-able with two tiny children in the rain. Luckily for us in this modern age, even a traditional event like the fair has gone online. I was able to look up the competition results this morning, and I was pleasantly surprised. It seems my little baby hat won a blue ribbon (first place) and Sophie’s little sweater won a fourth place prize. Everything else was snubbed, but that is okay – it means that there was good competition in those categories, so I have lots of beautiful knits to look forward to visiting. Knowing what to expect ahead of time makes it much easier to be a good sport, I think. Somebody mentioned to me a couple of dresses created in a sock-monkey theme that are supposedly amazing, and I can’t wait to get a look at those.

Sophie Barfing

Poor little Sophie was her usual happy self all day today. I even snapped a cute picture of her as she sat in her high chair during dinner. She is playing with her spoon after I fed her a few bites of smashed avocado mixed with rice cereal, which she seemed to enjoy. Unfortunately, she woke up from a little after-dinner nap in a barfing/diarreah sort of mood. The poor kid threw up about 8 times in the course of an hour, then filled her diaper with some fluorescent colors, barfed again, then went back to sleep. I held her tight for about an hour – there is nothing sweeter than holding a sleeping baby, feeling the squishy flesh against your body, watching their little relaxed faces and loving them so much it hurts. The pediatric nurse on call says there is a virus going around and blah blah blah she’ll probably be okay. Exactly what I expected and hoped to hear, but I had to call just to be sure. I just hope Julie and I don’t get it. And Joe, too of course.

Potty Training

Speaking of Julie, we are continuing with the potty training sort of – at least in the sense that she wore panties all day today. Too bad nothing made it into the potty, but we had a couple accidents and breezed right through them. I’m so glad we have a nice washer and drying in our very own basement. I’m also glad the accidents happened on the wood floors and not the carpet upstairs. Here’s the little angel enjoying some one-on-one time during Sophie’s nap. We got out the Playdough and I sat with her and knit on a pantleg while she made a mess.

Oh! About the Bob the Builder underwear. Yes, I am afraid that someone would probably see her in them – she’s not yet three and hasn’t quite learned that pulling up her dress in public is totally inappropriate. She would probably be showing them to anyone and anyone who would look. I just don’t want to have to explain to anyone, but especially people like my MIL, why she is wearing little boy underwear. I also don’t want to have to explain why she can’t continue to wear little boy underwear as she grows older. Mostly because there are no really good reasons other than because the other little girls will laugh at you some day and we can’t have that. Feminist that I like to believe I am, I can’t believe I’m spewing this crap, but there it is. I love the idea of putting a transfer or a patch or something on some plain white girlie underwear, but that would require me to spend my precious free time on putzy stuff that I don’t enjoy for my daughter. Not when I could be writing blog entries, experimenting with dyeing yarn, cuddling with the blankie, or any multitude of other things like folding laundry or writing out birthday party invitations. Lovely idea, though.

Yarn Dyeing

So last night at midnight I decided I should go ahead and get that first skein of yarn in the dye pot since it had been soaking in the sink for a couple of hours. I’m afraid I did a sloppy, half-assed job of it. Everything turned out – well, not at all like I expected, but acceptable at least. I used way more dye than necessary and managed to sploosh a bunch on the portion that was supposed to stay white. I cooked it all for 20 minutes (the yarn and the dye and vinegar-water in individual glass jars inside my canning pot filled with water) then left the whole mess to cool with the lid on overnight. This morning, I came down to find four jars of unexhausted dye and I spent a good portion of my day filling the sink with water so I could soak and resoak the excess dye out of the mess. This is what it looked like after about 10 soakings.

During this whole process, the “white” parts became a dirty brownish-grey color – see?

So I decided to overdye them with some burgundy. In the end I finally got most of the extra dye out, and the pile that’s dyeing in the basement now is probably useable. Julie and I wound another skein this afternoon, and maybe tomorrow I’ll give that one a try.

Package Received

Last but definitely not least, we got a package in the mail today! Joan from Landsdale, PA found some more in her stash for me, and it’s all very nice stuff. Joan, I appreciate your note about your brother-in-law being a UPS driver and their days being tough. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about that story since I wrote it, and it is good to be reminded that a kind word is so much better than a harsh one in almost every situation. Sometimes I need to remember that better even when I’m dealing with my own daughter. Thanks for package number 95!

She Did It!

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I started writing this huge, long, detailed post about the events of today, but then I realized that you all don’t need to know every moment of this evolution in potty training. So I’m going to just tell you that Julie finally made her first pee-pee on the toilet this afternoon and was promptly rewarded with a popsicle and a trip to Target to pick out another new package of panties of her choice. She wanted Bob the Builder, but they only have those in the boys’ version, so she got Hello Kitty instead.

She later managed to pee on the potty a second time, and stayed dry all day. There was no #2 at all today, which is the only worrisome part, but hopefully that will take care of itself in the morning. Oh, the joys of potty learning! It’s funny – I’m surprised at how genuinely happy and excited I feel for her. I’ve been careful not to pressure her on this at all, and *she* is the one who decided to wear the underwear and sit on the potty. I’m just happy that *she* figured it out – I read her all the books and offered lots of encouragement, but it’s totally her achievement. I can’t wait to see all of these little achievements one by one as she grows up.

Letter of the Day

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Today comes to you sponsored by the letter P. It started off innocently enough, with a trip to the Park. We joined our little friends and their mommies at a very nice little park on the hill by the Lake Harriet bandstand and had a fine morning of playing and snacking and chatting, as usual.

After the park, we headed over to the post office and dropped of the packages and parcels I talked about yesterday.

We move on to a call from the Photographer, who called up to make an appointment for us to come Pick out our Pictures – next week. I’m very excited about this.

Once home, Sophie made a giant poop, so giant in fact, that it caused outfit changes for both her and me. I thought up this letter-of-the-day theme while I was wiping her tiny little bum.

Julie decided she wanted to wear underwear again this afternoon, so I let her. I know you can see this one coming. She did pretty well, except she still hasn’t actually peed in the potty – at all – ever – despite many minutes spent sitting on it. She did, however, pee all over the living room floor and Sophie’s play mat. Cleaning that up ate almost all of the 20 minutes that Sophie spent actually sleeping in her crib today.

P is also for pinching and poking. Sophie has made it her goal in life to cover my arms, neck and breasts with tiny little bruises. It used to be just the backs of my arms. When I try to gently dissuade her from this activity, she screams at me as if I am ripping her limb from limb.

P is for pumping, too. As in, trying to stock the freezer with enough milk so I can safely leave the girls behind with Joe and go to Eau Claire to see Stephanie for a day. I make plenty of milk for Sophie – she’s growing like a weed – but pumping can be very frustrating for me. I can sit here for half an hour staring at the cutest baby pictures in the world with the darn thing on the highest setting and still end up with only two ounces. Which is why I am working on my stockpile now. If it takes pumping two ounces every day for a month, by golly that’s what I will do.

Okay, that’s as far as my P theme takes us. Now let’s look at some pictures. Oooh! Another P after all.

I don’t know how this happened. Somehow, I have magically accumulated the supplies necessary to have a go at my own self-striping yarn. I think in a sleep-deprived fugue I somehow thought that buying the supplies for this project would somehow magically buy me the time necessary to *do* the project too. Never mind all that newly-acquired beautiful sock yarn sitting on the bookshelf staring me in the face right now. It’ll all get knit. It’s just a matter of time.

I did get one skein wound into a giant skein of the right proportions for stripes. I cheated a bit, and just took one repeat worth of the sock yarn I’m currently using for Julie’s pants, tied it around a couple of chairs, and measured the spacing using its color changes. I figure it will be close enough. Our living room is barely big enough for this project, and I had to navigate around the many toys scattered across the floor.

Here are Julie and Joe eating pho (hey, another P!) at one of our favorite restaurants. It is a little dive with horrible decor, but the service is great, the prices are dirt cheap, and the food is awesome. This was taken Saturday night, and it’s taken me this long to get around to posting it.

This crazy spider has been hanging out by the side of our house. It’s pretty scary looking, huh? I tried to show it to Julie, but she wasn’t very interested.

I’m off to spend some quality time with the blankie. I’ve been weaving in ends for the last day or so, and I think maybe I can get caught up with them tonight if Sophie decides to keep sleeping long enough.

Potpourri

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

I have never been a big fan of things that smell. Things like air fresheners, or perfumes, or even soaps and detergents with perfumes in them. I blame my father, who once insisted that I not read fashion magazines in his presence because of the perfume samples within. It is amazing, when you’re trying to avoid those kinds of things, how common they are. Remember how popular potpourri was back in the late 80s? The stuff was everywhere. This post isn’t really about that – I just labeled it potpourri because it’s another word for “I’m going to tell you all about the miscellaneous junk floating around in my head and you’re going to love it, dammit.” Sort of the way people back in the 80s loved those bowls full of dried flowers and wood shavings and unidentifiable thingies scented with essential oils.

First and most importantly, sitting on the bed behind me right now as I type are four boxes. Four boxes stuffed mostly to the maximum and taped tightly shut, labeled and ready to go to the post office. I am so happy to see these four boxes all sorted and ready to leave my custody, ready to seek out their new homes where they will make someone else as happy as they made me the day they arrived here.

Melanie had offered to knit up a blankie and somehow give it to charity – maybe by auctioning it on e-bay and donating the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders in honor of Stephanie. I thought that was a wonderful offer, and just for saying so earnestly that she would do such a thing, I decided she deserved the box of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool that I kept opening and staring at and wanting to knit up for something selfish, but realized that it would be years, if ever, before that would happen and it deserves a much better home than I can offer it. I told Melanie that if it works out and she knits the blanket and still wants to auction it off, fine. If she knits the blanket and develops an attachment to it and wants to keep it for herself or someone she loves, that’s fine too in my book.

Carol has been working away at a blankie of her own with her own little stash, and has even been dyeing her own colors when she ran out of variety. She’s getting a box of the same yarns I am using for my blanket. She’s also getting a couple of blobs for her CIC knitting. I mean, I had a package going her way anyhow – it just seemed right.

Cass is working on a blankie, too – although she’s laying out her squares a little differently than mine, it’s still a mitered square sock yarn blankie. She’s named her blankie “Hocks” because her little boy replaces S sounds with H sounds, so it’s how her little boy says socks. I thought that was so cute. Reminds me of when Julie was first starting to talk.

Andrea has also started a blankie, but it sounds like she has had a crazy summer and has been away from it for a few weeks. She assures me that she is still very interested in knitting one up and I believe her.

Deciding who should get these boxes of yarn wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. All of these ladies were very nice in their e-mails, and all of them are blogging the experience, so we all get to watch them and enjoy the process along with them. I’m glad there was enough to go around to them, and if any of you runs short, I will have more left overs from my blankie as I get it closer to done. I still have a giant Rubbermaid container full of just the stuff that can go into this particular blanket, and I’m willing to share. I kept as much as I did because I really want to use at least one square of each yarn, and I got tired of rewinding little balls.

I have identified a few more bits and balls that I want to give away, and I was going to write about them tonight, but it’s getting late and I’m tired and Joe is standing here ready to go to bed, so I think I’m going to follow him. So much for Potpourri after all. You’ll just have to wonder what else I had rattling around in my head this evening and hope I remember the good stuff next time around.

Bears

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

I got an e-mail yesterday from Jo-Anne in Ontario. She received the box of yarn that I forwarded to her last week, and she was thrilled. For those of you who don’t remember, Jo-Anne is the one who knits teddy bears for children in need – she sends them to various local and not-so-local charities. She included a couple of pictures in her e-mail, and here is one of them.

Are they just the cutest little things, or what? Now, teddy bears aren’t going to solve the big problems in any kid’s life, but they sure must add some comfort to a bad situation. Thank you, Jo-Anne for doing this – putting your time and love into knitting this yarn up into something for a child to hang onto when maybe they don’t have much else. And all of you who sent me some yarn that was not-quite right for my blanket or didn’t fit into a group of yarn that would be right for a different blanket, there is a good chance that it went to Jo-Anne. Know that by sharing your unwanted bits, you made her day and that of some unknown child as well as mine. That is the magic of the internet.

Oh, and I’m getting closer to the bottom of some of these piles I’ve been sorting through. I’ve promised packages of yarn just like what I’m using to Cass and Carol, and in the process of getting their yarn ready I’ve sorted out most of what’s left for giving away. I’ll have a post some time in the next week offering it up with specifics (I hope).