Friday, August 31, 2012

An Anne update, and looking forward to a long weekend

What was going on in my house at 3 am this morning?

I have absolutely no idea, because I WAS SLEEPING.

Oh, sweet, sweet bliss. Anne slept last night, and for that, I am so grateful. Unfortunately, this means that we'll be sticking with the one nap thing at least for the short term to see if it continues working, and well... You can't get a lot done around the house with an awake 15 month old running around. Especially one who knows how to scale furniture as efficiently as Anne does. But we had a good night, and I'm glad for that.

Let's see, what else... my allergies are in full force, sigh. They'll get better in September, but I'm a very stuffy camper for the time being.

And speaking of September, tomorrow is September 1st, and thus begins my absolute favorite 4 months of the whole year. It's a humbling thing the older one gets to realize just how quickly a single year passes. When I was a kid, a year seemed like an eternity. Those days are over, my friends. So many things seem "just like yesterday!" and let me tell you, when you realize that aforementioned event was actually 10-15 years ago, holy smokes do I feel old!

BUT, I'm not old, and my life is certainly much more enjoyable than it was 20 years ago. My glass is always half full, you see. And so, the bottom line is that I want to cherish each day of each fall for the rest of my life. I hope to have many years left on this earth, but one never knows when your time is up. I want to appreciate each fall and holiday season to its fullest. And tomorrow is the big opening day of my fall 2012. Excited.

On another note, I have dance tonight, and naturally, I'm still obsessing over which costume to get. Why take a day to decide when I can take 2 weeks?! I had it narrowed down to a handful of bra and skirt sets when I was hit by inspiration for a bra and belt set. With a belt, you can switch out your skirt and and make the costume look completely different. It's certainly more economical than a bra and skirt set (though I love those) and plus I already have 2 bra and skirt sets. You can get a couple trumpet skirts like these and enhance your costume wardrobe for a lot less money. I'm kind of excited. This would be something much different than what I already have. I'm still officially in decision-mode, but I do think I have a winner. I'll marinate on it for another week or so until we place the order. Glad I'll be seeing those ladies tonight, we always have a lot of fun on Friday nights.

I'll be back on Tuesday; happy Labor Day everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Operation Anne: One Nap is currently underway...

We've had more bad nights with Anne, so we're resorting to experimenting with the sacred: her nap schedule.

Anne has retained 2 naps much, MUCH longer than Henry did. Of late, it's more like 1.5 naps, because one nap will be a lot shorter than the other, but still. She was clearly tired and would go to sleep 2 separate times between morning wake up and bedtime.

Frankly, she's *still* appearing tired and ready for multiple naps, especially because she's not sleeping well at night and thus tired and cranky in the mornings. But the nights have been so appalling that we're desperate.  She often appears wide awake in the middle of the night. Could she be getting too much daytime sleep?

I have no idea, but I'll let you know tomorrow. It's all trial and error over here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm already started my Christmas shopping. No, I don't think I'm overdoing it...

This year, I've been in the holiday spirit for quite some time. Hopefully, this will carry through all the way to the actual holiday, but I'm optimistic.

Toward that end, like I mentioned before, I have already started Christmas (as well as pre-Christmas general winter gifts) knitting, and my list is trimmed down considerably from last year, guaranteeing (or at least I hope so) that I won't be a miserable, cranky knitter come Christmas day, stitching resentment into all of my handcrafted gifts. As well, I plotted some stocking stuffers for my kids, and I wanted to feature some of them today.

I'm all excited about these saint peg dolls that I bought from my friend Cam's etsy store, Sadie's Saints. (Photos below are from Cam's store; go check out her dolls!)

These are small wooden pegs that Cam has painted as different saints. If your child has a book of saints (in which the saints definitely sound pretty daring and swashbuckling) they can act out scenes with them, and place them on a shelf to admire when they're not in action. The details on these are amazing, they're just beautiful. I even bought one for myself!

For Anne, I got (the obvious) St. Anne:

And St. Therese:

For Henry, I chose St. Michael the Archangel (his wings are amazing in the back!):

And St. Maximillan Kolbe, his favorite saint:

This was a custom doll that Cam made because I asked her to! She hadn't pre-designed it.

For myself, I got Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha:

She's currently resting comfortably on my desk. :)

I just love these dolls, they're beautiful. Hank loves little figurines, so  I know he'll enjoy putting them on his bedside table. I don't want Anne to destroy hers, so I'll keep them on her shelf for a bit until she's older. But I plan to put them in their Christmas stockings, and I can't wait until they see them!

You can ask Cam to custom make you any saint that she doesn't have listed in her store, and she has packages wherein you can get a discount for ordering multiple dolls. Definitely check out her shop!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bunheads and overeager undergraduates...

Last night, Mike had some friends over to watch old installments of Mystery Science Theater. These are his colleagues at one of the Catholic colleges that he adjuncts at, so I had a living room full of philosophers. And I hope this doesn't sound sexist, but let me tell you: Men are LOUD. :) In a group, they talk loud, they laugh loud. It's like they're all suddenly hard of hearing. It was all I could do not to interrupt the proceedings to let them know that anybody who woke the baby up was responsible for rocking her back to sleep. Happily, she slept through everything and the men had a great time.

I, on the other hand, retired to our bedroom to knit and watch Bunheads (ABC Family) on demand. Does anybody else watch this show? It's my new on demand obsession. It's by the creator of Gilmore Girls, which was a favorite of both me and Mike. And the characters are dancers, so voila! Instant Tiffany attraction. We've watched 3 episodes so far, and I really like it. Another episode is in the works for tonight. When I first heard the title, I thought the person telling me about it was joking, but no, it's a real show. :) In the absence of Sister Wives, I have to take what I can get.

Anyway, the semester has started here, and the campus is bustling. I always like working on the reference desk at this time of the fall because lots of people need my help and they're always very grateful when I help them kindly. I feel very needed.

*puts on Super Librarian cape*

Although, I helped a male undergraduate earlier that I caught trying to look down my blouse when I leaned over the keyboard. Should I be flattered that he still cared to look? Does he think that I'm even within a 10 year age radius of him? *feels cuter and younger-looking by the moment* Eh, I doubt it. I think it's just an instinct, lol.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Year of Faith Approacheth

Yesterday at Mass, I was contemplating the upcoming fall liturgical season, complete with the Year of Faith set to begin in October. By October, I'm always thinking about Advent (oh, and my Advent candles shipped out though the nativity wreath is still back ordered. *narrows eyes suspiciously* It's *supposed* to be available to ship on Wednesday, we'll see) And I almost always get a special Advent devotional. But this Year of Faith business has gotten me to thinking that I could come up with a spiritual plan for the entire year.

I notice that Magnificat is putting out a Year of Faith companion that I'm interested in. Doesn't that look precious? I do love those little devotionals. Sometimes I find that I don't use them as much as I should, and other times I use them every single day. Hard to say why. Lately, I've been using my Living Faith (on my Kindle) daily so I thought I might order one of the Year of Faith companions, we'll see.

Does anybody else have special plans for the Year of Faith?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fresh semester, fresh duct tape

I can see that they're making efforts to freshen up the campus for the start of classes Monday, and that includes the libraries. I noticed that on my floor the old brown duct tape covering gaps in the carpet has been replaced with brand new silver duct tape. It matches better and everything. How forward thinking of them.

I have dance tonight, and we're talking about getting new group costumes. Everybody can pick whatever style she wants, but all will be gold with an accent color of your choice. Ooh la la. I've been parsing through belly dance costume pictures all day. My sister and I eliminated a whole slew of them based on:

(1) Ability to discern intended beading design. Is that a firework or a crustacean? Best not to find out.

(2) Cut-outs in inappropriate places. If I have to ask myself whether or not I could wear an undergarment underneath it without it being seen, we're not going there.

(3) Appropriateness for those of us in the population who are, shall we say, small chested. If one was not blessed with large breasts, tops with large spaces between the cups will look... not so good.

There's a certain style I tend to favor (I like ruched hip wraps, side slits that aren't too high, and a drapey thing that hangs in the slit, it looks very pretty) and I have it narrowed down to 3 or 4. I'll agonize over it for another week or two I'm certain.

I hope everybody has a nice weekend. I, on the other hand, have a defensive driving course to attend tomorrow with Mike for like 6 hours or something horrible like that. We want to lower our car insurance, and you can do so by attending this course once every 3 years. It's absolutely painful. Do you think the instructor would be insulted if I brought my knitting? Probably. *glares* At least Mike and I will be able to go out for a nice lunch during the process.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Sorry, what did you say?" *eye twitches*

Last night was what we call in parenting terms A BAD NIGHT. We've been having more of those of late, and combined with my allergies, my right eye is doing this disturbing twitching thing. I'm actually wearing my reading glasses today. When you see me in full librarian mode, with my glasses balanced on my nose, you know that I'm not feeling good and most likely have a headache.

Let's travel back in time together...

9:30 pm - In an exhausted stupor, I finish off my chapter from the latest Harlequin I'm reading and shut off my reading light. I immediately fall asleep.

12:30 am - What was that?! It's Anne, talking to herself. I'm un-alarmed and try to fall back to sleep.

1 am - Mike can't sleep and turns his reading light back on. Anne is still up, but isn't making too much of a fuss. I roll over to my other side.

1:15 am - What is that God-awful pounding noise? Right, it's Anne shaking her crib. Unfortunately, it's time for intervention.

1:16 am - I go in and rock Anne, who appears WIDE AWAKE. Fantastic. The cuddling is sweet, but I'm anxious to get back to bed.

1:30 am - I place Anne back in her crib.

1:31 am - All is quiet, although Mike still can't sleep. I start to doze off.

2 am - Hark. What is THAT?! It's Anne again. And she's pissed.

2:15 am - I'm pacing the nursery, Anne in my arms. When she seems to be getting heavier lids, I place her back in her crib again.

2:16 am - All is quiet, and Mike is trying to fall asleep again. I tiptoe into bed and close my eyes.

2:30 am - I hear pounding again. I get up and peek into the nursery keyhole and see that Anne is hanging out in her crib, limbs dangling through the slats, with a clear lack of intention to go back to sleep. I grab her and her lovey, and head downstairs to the couch with her, where I hope she'll doze off on my chest.

3 am - After epic failure of the couch idea, I bring Anne back upstairs and plunk her back into her crib, praying that she's exhausted enough from all these shenanigans to just fall back to sleep.

3:05 am - All is quiet, but I can't fall asleep.

Sometime around 3:30 am - I fall asleep.

7 am - I hear Henry blowing his nose. *#!$ I'm going to be late for work.

Like I said, it wasn't a good night.

Sigh. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Roller coasters and autumn activities

Another non-blogging day for me yesterday, sorry. :) Mike and I took Henry to a local amusement park, which we had promised to do before school starts in a few weeks. Mike starts teaching again next week, so now was the time. It was great in that the weather was cooler and the park was less crowded. The only bad thing was that August heralds the beginning of my allergy season, and I was MISERABLE yesterday. I must have sneezed at least 100 times, plus my eyes were watery and itchy and I felt stuffy and pathetic. Sounds like I was a lot of fun to be around, huh?

But I fared ok. Truth be told, I don't enjoy amusement park rides the way I used to when I was younger. Has this happened to anybody else? I used to love every and all roller coasters. As an adult, I'm so much more fearful. I think it's because as a child I felt invincible, whereas as an adult I recognize my own mortality much more keenly. My babies need me, and I don't want to leave them. I think this is probably very common, but mine has really translated into a much less enjoyable experience at amusement parks. Sigh.

Anyway, we're planning in earnest for Mike's return to teaching and Henry's return to school. I've also commenced my Christmas knitting list and am ankle deep in fall sock knitting. Shelia asked me in the comments area about the self-patterning yarn that I mentioned ordering last week. Behold, the magnificence that is the ghost yarn:

She asked if you have to knit them a specific way in order for the ghosts to work their magic. And the answer is yes. You need to knit the socks at a specific gauge (x number of stitches per inch) in order for the yarn to align properly. I haven't received my yarn yet (could be awhile since she has a waiting list) but I'm assured that the seller includes instructions on proper gauge for each pattern. If you do not get the appropriate number of stitches per inch with the recommended needle size, you'll need to change sizes until your gauge is right. Otherwise I'd speculate that your ghosts will look disembodied, and that wouldn't be a good look for them. Even if they *are* ghosts.

I'm absolutely dying for my custom listing to materialize, so excited. But it's not like I don't have other yarn and other projects to work on in the mean time.

*unladylike snort*

On a different note, but still related to my excitement for fall, Michelle at Liturgical Time has a wonderful post up about getting your Advent candles ready for the season nice and early. I enjoyed her post very much because Advent candles are also on my mind of late. :) I ordered a new Advent wreath for this year, along with accompanying candles from Christian Book Distributors. I've had a very pretty Advent wreath for a few years that I bought at a local Christian store, but I had a hard time getting the candles to stay in the cups and my attempts to finesse the cup holder thingies resulted in a near puncture wound as well as me breaking the cups. Hence, I knew I needed a new one, and now is the perfect time to look, since there's plenty of time to shop and have the wreath here before Advent. Unfortunately, the wreath that I chose is back ordered, and I'm feeling ridiculously anxious about it. Right now the ship date is next week, but that date has already been pushed back a few times.

Gotta make sure it's here before December, lol. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Busy weekend, and preparing for fall

You know I'm busy if I don't post on a weekday. Friday was like that. Things are definitely gearing up both at work and at home for the start of a new school year.

We were out getting Henry some new school clothes this weekend. Can I just say how much I love Catholic school uniforms? We don't have to intervene in Henry's morning dressing routine at all. He must wear:

Navy blue pants
A belt
Navy socks
Black loafers

He can choose only the following:

Shirt: white or light blue
Long sleeves or short sleeves

Ahhhh, no more morning matching battles. Attempted pairing of bright red Angry Birds tee shirt with camouflage pants, no longer! It's a thing of beauty. When Anne starts there, I can only imagine how adorable she will look in the girls uniform. Although I have to admit, I do worry about... I don't know exactly how to put this. But about men finding the Catholic girls uniform appealing, let's just say. Mike worries as well and says that he blames Britney Spears. Ha!

I also had a hair appointment this weekend, and in the spirit of fall, my hair is now super dark. I mean, my hair is brown. There's only so much you can do with that. And yes, I dye my hair, because I do get some gray. :) Not that I've complained about that before, or anything. I like getting my hair colored, but I don't put too much stock in any one hue. I like to change it up often, to the extent that is possible with dark brown hair. Lately I'd noticed that my hair was looking quite reddish. I don't really know why, aside from the fact that the summer sun could have been a factor. And I only get my hair colored every 3 months, so it's a long time in-between, and thus the sun fading can really make an impact by around month #2. It looked fine, but it wasn't really what I had chosen, plus you can see my roots more when they grow in.

So, this time I asked my wonderful hair stylist to dye my hair darker. She's excited about changes too, and bustled off to mix my dye. I didn't look at any color cards or anything, I just trusted her.

And my trust is well placed, because I love my hair color now. It's a really dark chocolate brown. Much closer to my original color than the last batch. It's so dark Mike was surprised when he first saw me, lol. It does feel more fall/winterish. Love it.

I brought Henry with me (lured by a new Lego sticker book and the promise of a 7 Eleven slurpee if he was good), to give Mike a break, which resulted in questions such as:

"Mommy, see that sign over there? What is wa...waxing?"

Oh sigh.

"Well Honey, it's to remove hair that you don't want."

*scrunched eyebrows*

"Does that hurt?"

Kids just intuitively always know the important questions, do they not?

Another sign of fall's approach is that I'm really noticing that everyone knows most of the new Mass translation changes now. The "And with your spirit" is a slam dunk every time, along with "It is right and just" and "Lord, I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof." The Nicene Creed still requires a missal, but hey, you can't expect miracles, right?

Henry is still doing lots of whining about attending Mass, but the Magnifikid! is a life saver every week. This was very worth the $34.95 subscription price, let me tell you. He works on the activity for a time, but really spends the rest of Mass just following along with the readings and prayers. He's very much like me, always with my nose buried in a missal. He even follows along in the hymnal. It's precious.

My last fall update is about yarn. Because I'm just so excited about it that I'm busting at the seams. I've been finishing up lots of cooler weather projects. New hats for both kids, photos to follow shortly. A scarf for myself. I finally photographed a few sweaters and wraps that I knitted over last winter and early spring that I'll finally be able to break out of the closet.

A snowflake sweater:

I really like that one. It's very warm, knit out of wool.

A cardigan from the well regarded February Lady pattern:

 (please ignore how chunky I look in this picture; My skirt was all bunched up in the waist from my quick changes for knitting photos, and I look downright dumpy. But the sweater looks cute, so I wanted it featured to its utmost potential. :))

And the most infamous of all knitted wrap patterns ever created, the Clapotis:

Very toasty garments, all. And then there's the socks, which I'm the most excited about. I'm currently knitting a pair of falling leaves socks, and I have several self-striping pairs in the wings that I can hardly wait to cast on for. AND, most importantly, after much discreet stalking of my new favorite etsy yarn shop, I am on the waiting list for a skein of self-striping watermelon sock yarn, as well as a self-patterning ghost kit for Halloween. And when the owner mentioned in her message to me that she had just put up more snowman and other Christmas sock kits, I nearly tripped over myself speeding to her site to pre-order one. 

Seriously. In just 2 hours, the Christmas confetti yarn was GONE. Only 2 lonely snowmen kits remained! I scooped one of them up so fast he didn't know what hit him. The kits (which include not just the patterning yarn, but also some coordinating skeins of solid colors for the heels and toes) are, well, a bit more expensive than what I usually pay for sock yarn, lol. However, these are a true work of art and are just beautiful. I think I'm going to knit the snowmen for my mom for Christmas, and with the leftover yarn the shop owner includes a pattern for some ornaments which will make nice gifts.


I can just picture the conversations with Mike this will spawn:

"Have you been buying some gifts Sweetie, I see lots of etsy charges on the bank statement."

"Yes. Um, yarn."

"$50 worth?"


*angelic beam*

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mass with Anne

I was anxious about taking Anne to church with me by myself yesterday evening, but I have to say, it went very, very well.

This parish has a cry room and while still small, is much larger than the cry room at our old parish. And we were the only ones in there. Anne played very happily with the St. Joseph board books I had brought for her (these are wonderful, I got them for Hank and he always loved them too as a toddler) and danced to the hymns with abandon. They weren't exactly rockin' hymns, but no matter. I brought some milk for her and a baggie of Cheerios which I handed out very sparingly. This kept her happy for the duration of Mass.

When we got out, the air was cool and I was relieved to have navigated the experience on my own. One would think I had never done this before, sigh. I did it with Henry every single week since the time he was an infant. I think the issue now is that the thought of taking *both* children with me is very daunting. One on their own is fine, but both just makes me want to gouge my own eyeballs out.

We'll get there. But I should start going to the vigil more so that I can take Anne with us regularly.

I'm scared. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The miracle of self-patterning yarn

Ok. I like yarn, you all know this. And when I first started knitting socks, I was introduced to the miracle of self-striping yarn, like the candy corn yarn that I ordered a few days ago. I mean, did you ever? Yarn that stripes *itself*?! You just buy a skein, knit along, and miraculously stripes appear. Seriously. That's ingenious.

And this hand dyeing process is something I can't even imagine. I've asked about it with regard to any multi-colored yarn, and the answer is something to do with tying sections off that I simply can't understand. It doesn't matter. It's satisfying enough for me to procure the yarn.

And then. AND THEN. My friend Karen points out an etsy seller to me who makes *self-patterning* yarn. Not self-striping. SELF-PATTERNING.

I think I nearly stopped breathing. SHE DYES THE YARN SO THAT IT LOOKS LIKE A REAL WATERMELON SLICE WHEN YOU KNIT IT. Seeds and everything! And she has MORE!!!! Snowmen for Christmas! Ghosts for Halloween! THEY APPEAR ON THE YARN LIKE MAGIC!!!!

Her yarn is so popular that it is all sold out right now. I know this because I am now stalking her shop page on Facebook. And I've already written to her on etsy about reserving some yarn. Go look her up. You can see the ghosts and the other holiday patterns in her sold items. IT'S WORTH IT.

Ok, but how does she do it?! How on earth does she hand dye the yarn to make *ghosts* appear on it? Even thinking about this makes my brain smoke. I've determined the following:

(1) She spins the yarn. I don't know how to do this either, but I can see how it could be done.

(2) She mixes dye. Ditto.

(3) She rings up God. He queues in her request, and when He has time, He points his finger down and poof! The yarn comes out like the above.

There is no other explanation.

Happy feast of the Assumption

Happy feast of the Assumption everybody! I think that this one of of my favorite holy days, not only because it's in honor of Our Lady, but because it falls at a nice time of year. The worst of the summer heat is (usually) behind us, and the fall is approaching.

I'm going to Mass this evening with Anne. This is a rather big event, because I very, very rarely bring Anne to Mass. I feel a bit guilty about this, but she's always napping when I go to Mass Sunday mornings. I could sometimes go to the vigil, but by that time she's usually cranky. I figure that she's at a tough age for Mass attendance anyway, and when she drops her morning nap I'll start bringing her every week.

That's all well and good, but I was excited for the opportunity to bring her with me for a holy day Mass. Henry has a birthday party to attend tonight, and Mike is bringing him. So I'm toting Anne to Mass. My parish only has a 7 pm Mass this evening, so I found another nearby parish with a 5 pm installment. Anne's bedtime is 7 pm, and Mike and Henry won't be home yet at that time.

We'll see how it goes. Hopefully she won't launch any Cheerios at anybody. She's pretty sassy these days, that Anne. This particular parish has a cry room, which has its good points and bad. The good is that one doesn't have to worry about their toddler being totally silent during Mass. The bad is that I always feel so separated from the congregation secluded back in the cry room and I really don't like it. The other bad is that people without young children always sit in the cry room and then I feel self conscious about my aforementioned sassy toddler making noise. I have to ask: why do people do this? What on earth could be gained by sitting in those awful little rooms without the impetus of a small noisy person who will otherwise embarrass you in public? I just don't get it.

Anyway, after we get back, I'll make a nice dinner of whatever the heck I want (usually an omelette; I'm nuts and love breakfast for dinner) and then Anne and I can relax until it's time to put her to bed.

Then I will knit and be merry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weather change is in the air...

I love August; the heat of July is over, and you can actually feel the changes in the air as the temperatures start to get just a hair cooler, especially in the evenings, and the sun starts to set earlier. The anticipation of autumn is palpable.

In keeping with this theme, I moved my wool yarn bin to the top of my stash area, over the cotton bin. I have them both in our guest room closet, so it's tight quarters in there. I can only have 1 in the easy access point, and it's definitely time to break out the wool to begin toasty fall projects.

This got me to thinking about fall holidays/events, which led me to think about Halloween. This led me to think about candy corn, which led me to think about knitting candy corn inspired socks. This may not be the course of a stream of consciousness for a normal person, but it is mine. In searching for the perfect sock yarn to knit candy corn socks, I found this etsy seller who has some Halloween themed yarns that she hand spun and dyed. One of them is a self striping candy corn colorway. Xanadu!

Needless to say, I snapped it up. Candy corn socks! A lifelong dream. I can't wait for the yarn to arrive so I can start knitting them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Actual conversations from my life this weekend...

"Mommy, are there crabs at this beach?"

"No Honey, this is a river, not the ocean. Crabs can't live here."

"Why not?"

"It's just not the right kind of water for them."

"What about shells? I'm going to dig to find some."

"There aren't any shells here either, Sweetheart."

"Yes there are, look! I found one!"

"That's a rock, Honey."



"Hi Sweetie, I'm home!"

"Hi Sweetie, glad you're home. What's...what's that smell?"

This seems to be a common topic in our bedroom.


Mike leans over sleepily to inspect my decorated foot and ankle. I was at a bellydance party. These things happen.

"Oh, it looks nice."

"Yes! I'm going to go dry it a bit with the hair dryer before I come to bed, and then wrap it for the night so it'll get nice and dark."

I'm an overachiever. I can't help it.

"Won't it flake off in the bed overnight?"

"Well. Yes."

I'm sure there are worse things that could get in our covers besides dried henna.


The final post on the Ravellenic Games 2012. :)

*drum roll*

*sigh of relief*

Friday, August 10, 2012

The finish line is in sight!

"Thank God," you're thinking, "now she can finally talk about something else."

I'M ON THE COLOR DECREASE CHART! 5 more rounds and I can bind off. I'm going to make it! I promise to post a cute picture of myself wearing the sweater Monday morning, and then we can all move on with our lives.

Other than that, I'm hoping for a quiet weekend, especially since we were traveling last week. I may take Hank with me on some errands tomorrow. He quite cutely really enjoys going to JoAnn's and Bath & Body Works with me. He likes trinkets and scented bathroom soap. Sunday we have a picnic, and then Mike and Henry are going to a baseball game, so that means that I'll have the house to myself, which is pretty much unheard of. Well, Anne will be asleep upstairs, but if I get the tv to myself, I consider that nirvana.

Until Monday...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is it me, or have I been knitting FAR too much?

I'm starting to feel a bit of pressure about the Ravellenic Games sweater. Last night, in a move of sheer desperation, I brought the sweater with me to dinner with my college girlfriends. This despite having 4 skeins of yarn hanging from the thing which is now fully the size of an adult sweater. I *thought* that I only ever needed to carry 2 colors with on on any given wrong. I mean round! Freudian.

When I started, I was contently sipping my wine while managing 2 discreet balls of yarn on the table. 1.5 glasses of wine later, there was condensation on my pattern and yarn was wrapped around everybody's water glasses. Suddenly, the pattern was asking me to manage *3* colors (while still keeping track of the insidious 4th ball) and the yarn tangling was just unparalleled. Pretty soon the colors were all starting to look the same so I put the sweater away.

This morning, I had to repair a bit of damage ("is it me, or is that blue stitch supposed to be green?!") and all is well again. I'm on round 20 of 25 on the color chart.

*long suffering sigh*

I was going to take a picture of it, but it's so close to being done that I don't want to ruin the surprise now. It certainly ain't gonna be done by tomorrow, so no picture for you til Monday, sorry. But as long as I post to the finish line by 7 pm EST Sunday evening, I'm good. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Are you sick of my obsessive knitting stories? So sorry...

...but they continue, so you'll have to remain in suffering. At least until Sunday.


And was rewarded with my medal:

I'm all super thrilled. This is one Christmas gift down. We won't talk about the rest of the Christmas list, lest I get overwhelmed before it's even September 1st. But these are for my dad, and I'm happy that he'll have them prior to his winter fishing season, which begins in November.

The sweater lives on, so never fear. I'm now on round 16 of the yoke color chart (of 25 total rounds). Then just an 8 round color decrease chart, and voila! Bind off. I'm almost there. Trouble is, knitting with multiple colors (I believe what I'm doing is called Intarsia; there is also Fair Isle knitting, but that's something different, involving so many colors at one time it makes me break out in hives just to think of it) means that I'm working much slower than usual. I have 4 skeins of yarn currently attached to my sweater. To prevent them from all tangling together and/or not ready at my current round for when I need them, I have to "carry" the colors I'm not currently using as I knit. Any one round only uses 2 colors at most, so I'll carry both along as I knit, tucking the unused color behind the other stitches as I go. The colors that I'm not using at all that round I just carry up at the beginning of the round/join. It's all very precarious and nerve wracking for a person naturally afflicted with some level of anxiety. But it's looking quite lovely.

I just hope I finish it on time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back, but feeling frantic

I was returning from our family trip over the weekend to northern Pennsylvania for a baby shower. Let's just say that at one point, when Anne was sobbing in the back from within her car seat, Mike turned to me and said:

"Remember how you wanted to drive 10 hours to Maine in the fall to see your sister? When you think about that again, just remember THIS MOMENT."

By which Mike isn't advocating that I not visit my sister, just that I should fly there on an airplane while he stays behind to care for the children. He thinks Anne just isn't ready for such a long car trip, and before this weekend, I thought he was wrong. I've changed my opinion. Sigh.

Anyway, it was tough to get a lot of knitting in this weekend, but I did do some after the kids went to bed and we were sitting around socializing. Mitten #2 just needs the finger holes (which I have discovered that I loathe knitting, but it's too late to turn back now) and my sweater is:

Almost done!

I'm on the yoke, and am 8 rounds into the colorwork. There are 17 more rounds on the color chart, and then a small color decrease chart. After that chart is done, it's to the bind off! I really hope I get everything done. I'm optimistic, but I'm cutting it a bit close.

I'll report back in tomorrow, and hopefully I'll be close to done on both projects. Lots of knitting to commence this evening.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The week in review...

"Hey Honey! Did you know that that cute young swimmer, Missy Franklin, goes to a Catholic school and is thinking about becoming Catholic? And that there is a Catholic from the U.S. team in the judo competition?"

"How do you always know all these cute Catholic news items and facts?"

"From my Facebook news feed. I subscribe to the Catholic News Service and our diocese. Plus, I'm friends with a couple of priests."  *beams*

"Why am I not surprised?"

So, I've been doing lots of knitting and watching of the Olympics. My sweater is still just a giant seafoam-colored tube, but I'm within a single inch of the armhole shaping. I'm really getting there! In mitten world, mitten #1 is mercifully complete. I'll cast on for #2 today.

In a move that has endeared this yarn shop to my very heart, Jimmy Beans Wool came out with a limited edition Olympics colorway for 3 weights of the Lorna's Laces yarn that they carry: fingering/sock, worsted, and DK. The promotion is called "Medal Madness" and for each medal that Team USA wins, they lower the price of the yarn. Obviously, it won't ship until after the Olympics are complete, but you can pre-order now. I mean, how fun! The yarn is, well, let's just say a *hair* more expensive than what I usually pay for a single skein, but this seemed like an exception. One skein will make a pair of socks, and I figured I could make myself a commemorative pair of socks for my first Ravellenic Games. I excitedly pre-ordered a skein of the sock weight and I can't wait to receive it.

Hence, I am now obsessed with Jimmy Beans. My heart still belongs to Knit Picks, but Jimmy and I have started meeting on the side. I have a feeling that our illicit relationship will reignite on the first of each month when he releases the next new limited edition colorway in the Lorna's Laces yarn. It feels a bit scandalous, but it's just between you and me, ok? I *heart* you, Jimmy.

In news of people who are not feeling so sunny, Anne decidedly woke up on the wrong side of the Pack 'n Play this morning. She whined around the house while we ate breakfast and when I offered to pick her up, she came next to me only to throw herself to the ground and attempt to yank the tablecloth clear off the dining room table. When I held out her bottle to her, which almost always soothes her, she walked from clear across the room to *slap it*. She also roughed up her poor little barking puppy dog when he didn't respond to her demands. I think somebody is getting yet another new tooth. Sigh.

Henry's Fontanini nativity set finally came. If you ever order Fontanini stuff, use the main web site for the company, rather than any other small distributor. The set I ordered for Hank took forever to arrive, and when it did, the company I purchased it from had stuffed the boxes into a shipping box that they barely fit in, so they were damaged. The products are fine, thankfully, but the boxes look like somebody beat them up. And you want the boxes to store the stuff in each year. I was a bit disappointed about that. The main Fontanini store that I linked to is awesome. I helped my mother-in-law order some additional stuff for Henry from them (some shepherds and camels that she wanted to get him) and she received her items within 5 days and in tip top packaging.

At any rate, I did get a good price, and the set is beautiful. I also got him the 3 kings and their "tent." The company gave me a free angel because of the lengthy delay in shipping, which is actually quite nice. So, he's going to have a beautiful set this year. I can't wait to give it to him in November.

I hope that everybody has a great weekend. :) It's August, which I much prefer over July. The anticipation of fall is in the air, no?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anne's world

She's grown a ton, no? She definitely has her own little personality, this one. She's very independent (I predict lots of "I do it MYSELF! exclamations in our future) and sociable, and super happy. Her hair has lightened up quite a bit, but she still has blueish eyes. And she's super petite.

Henry's toddler growth chart measurements:

Height: 100%
Weight: Not even on the chart it's so high
Head circumference: 95%

He was tall, chubby, and had a big head.

Anne's toddler growth chart measurements:

Height: 25%
Weight: 30%
Head circumference: 25%

She's *tiny*. Definitely still chubby though, despite her small measurements. :) She's super adorable, running around in her summer rompers.

Ravellenic Games update: I'd say I'm about 60% done with my sweater. I have about 2.5 inches more to knit before I can separate for the top front and back panels. I'd like to get through that tonight, but I may not quite make it. I should at least get close.

We're heading into week 2, and so far I'm on schedule. But we're going away this weekend to visit family in Pennsylvania and attend a baby shower so we'll see how well I do being away. I hope this doesn't disrupt my pace.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My sweater is...

...about half done. :) I'm on the waist shaping increases, heading rapidly towards the bust and armholes. I'd say I'm about 40-45% done.

My mittens, on the other hand, could use some TLC. They are officially classified as "fingerless," as in they don't have full fingers. But these mittens do have finger "openings" if you will, individual ones for each finger. And knitting each finger is pretty fiddly with my long double pointed needles. We're getting there though. I had to pull back the pinky because I didn't like the way it turned out, and now it looks much better. I also knit the ring finger hole and that one seems fine (using Mike as my model).

Ok, fellow knitters, I need your opinion. I'd like to experiment (after the Olympics :)) with toe up socks knit 2 at a time. Who has done this and do you prefer it over knitting socks from the cuff down one at a time?