Thursday, January 29, 2009

It has been a wild & crazy week! The week started out on a terrible note. On Monday morning, I learned that a coworker, someone I have always been quite fond of, had passed away over the weekend. She had been ill last spring, but I thought she was going to be okay... I guess God had other plans for her. I'm still sad and I will miss her quite a lot, but I'm relieved that she is now free of her illness.

This, thank goodness, was followed by two consecutive snow days. I really needed a couple of days to just chill out and enjoy my children. It's amazing how healing children can be. And the beautiful snow didn't hurt, either. I've got a few photos, but I'll share them later.

I also did something else that I know most of my readers will understand: I spent a good deal of time knitting. It is my therapy, and it helped. I got several additional hexagons finished, and also pulled the stuff needed to make a new hat for Tyson.

It was an interesting food week around here, as well. Tyson learned to eat with chopsticks:
sort of...

...and Riley made a huge leap toward the transition to real people food. I know it looks like he is not enjoying this nectarine, but, I swear, he kept signing "more." He has also experienced the joys of pizza, grilled cheese and chicken nuggets this week!

And, in another huge leap, Riley transitioned out of his baby carrier/car seat, and into a rear-facing big kid car seat. He hates this one a lot less. The baby carrier would have held him for another 3 pounds, but the whole thing with him in it was getting way too heavy for me. I've already had a hernia, thank you very much.

I should mention a HUGE THANK YOU to my husband, who spent a good hour and a half fighting to assemble and install two stubborn car seats in subzero temperatures.

Tyson has been learning to ice skate. He insists that he wear his hockey helmet (he could wear his bike helmet... better visibility) and hockey gloves, even though it is just a skating class and there are no sticks or pucks. He seems to enjoy it.
And I finished what has now become one of my two favorite books. ever. I mean, ever. I highly recommend it, though I won't tell you anything about it because even a small bit of info could give away the whole thing. I don't have more than ten-fifteen minutes to read each day, so it usually takes me several weeks to a month to read an entire book. I read this one in 6 days.
Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ribbit, Ribbit...

This week began with some major frogging. Remember this project?

It now looks like this:
This was a project that I started months ago. I thought it might be a relatively quick knit, but it just seemed to drag on and on and on. I was beginning to believe that little elves were messing with my progress in the middle of the night. I got to the openwork panel, and switched to my CC2 color... knitted half of that and... decided I hated it. I intended to rip that back and use the CC1 instead, but as I was struggling to pick up all those seed stitches & get them back on the needles... I realized that I actually cannot stand this project. So, I ripped it out. It wasn't a total loss. I got a new washcloth out of what was supposed to have been the bottom of the bag!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With that train wreck off the needles, I decided to work on a few smallish projects for now. I have friends who will find out the gender of their baby later this month, and I'll want to start a gift for them. I don't want to get into something too lengthy, so I decided to start a new blanket for Riley. I know, a blanket is not exactly a small project, but I'm making a hexagon blanket, so it's lots of little pieces. Here's my first one (pre-blocking, of course).
It looks like a sand dollar. I'm also going to be working on finishing up a sweater vest that I hope to shrink into by next fall, and making a few more quick washcloths.

I wanted to share a picture of my new knitting bag. It was a Christmas gift from my (new) sister in law. In a ddition to being a knitter, Marci is also a magician with a needle and thread. She made this for me! She makes really good knitting bags. This one has plety of inside pockets for needles and notions, and she made a matching small-project bag It's the perfect size for socks!

The big news in St. Louis this week was the weather. The local meteorologists called it "unseasonably cold." I called it "freakin' cold." We had high temperatures in the single digits, and the wind was a freezing, gusting force that felt like it was trying to cut you into a million pieces. The wind chill didn't get over -1 for two days. Thursday morning we awoke to this:
The whole day was frigid, and made me wish I was not an itinerant therapist going to several different buildings in one day. I rarely wish that I had a job where I could go to one office in the morning and stay there until quitting time, but that's exactly what I was dreaming about on Thursday.
That afternoon after getting Tyson off the bus, we hauled out the hot cocoa maker. It makes the yummiest hot cocoa with this wonderful layer of fluff on top. Mmmmm.
It was even so cold that our local ponds and lakes froze solid. Although we usually have cold winters in St. Louis, we have such variability in the temperatures (and enough warmish days) that the major bodies of water don't often freeze. Ty's picture of the week (in the right gutter) was taken by Matt. Tyson is standing on Walker Lake in Kirkwood. He was impressed by the fact that he was standing on top of the lake, and by the amount of ice floating in the nearby river.

Today has been a lazy day. I had a touch of insomnia last night and ended up cleaning my house until 4am, so I'm pretty tired today. We watched "Kung Fu Panda," and Tyson and I made Patriotic Pretzels!
Although we are a decidedly Conservative family, we will still be discussing, watching and celebrating this week's Presidential Inauguration. It's an important event, and we have already been teaching Tyson about it's significance.
Have a happy week!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Worst Week Ever

Well, it has been a rough week for our family. I should have known it was gonna be a zinger when I looked out our back window on Sunday and saw this:
When I initially looked out, there were at least twice this many birds, but by the time I got the camera & sneaked back up to the window, half of them had flown off. I mean, seriously.. I'm not usually superstitious, but having this Alfred Hitchcock moment had to have been some kind of sign, right?
I managed to snap this photo when the neighbor's dog came running out and scared the whole flock away:
So, why was the week a rough one? Let me just tell you... it seemed to be one thing after another.

Monday: It was Tyson's first day back to school; Matt's first day back to work; and Riley's first day back to day care. We all took a nice, long Christmas vacation together, and the first morning back to real life was insane. The only saving grace to that morning was that my district didn't start back until Tuesday, so I only needed to focus on getting everyone else dressed, fed & out the door.

Also on Monday, Riley gave himself his first shiner. He is now pulling up on furniture, people, walls, etc., and often trying to do so while holding toys in his hands. Well, he attempted to pull up on one of the rocking chairs at day care and slipped, catching the chair with his face.
They said he cried & cried, but ultimately he was okay... except for the very dark bruise on his eyelid and brow bone.

Tuesday: The day was mostly okay, except that our evening shcedule was thrown off a bit because Tyson's piano lesson was cancelled. I changed dinner plans to include macaroni and cheese. I thought that Riley might like some pureed macaroni & cheese. What kid doesn't like macaroni & cheese, right? Well, despite being watered down quite a bit, the texture was a little more substantial than what Riley is used to and he choked on the second bite. Thank goodness I didn't have to intervene. He ended up throwing up & clearing his airway on his own. He then refused to eat any more, which was maybe a good thing, because Wednesday was even worse.

Wednesday: Riley started the morning by spitting up half of his bottle. We thought he'd done this because a little had gone down the wrong way, so we cleaned him up and then gave him the rest of the bottle. He seemed fine, until his day care called me at work to tell me that he had projectile-vomited his lunch and needed to be picked up. When I got there they informed me that they had already sent home three other babies because of stomach issues. Once home, he continued to vomit... and then it started shooting out the other end. Fun.

Thursday: Matt stayed home with Riley while I went to work. I was so tired all day, I couldn't believe it. My tummy started to gurgle right around dinner time, so I skipped dinner altogether. As it turned out, this was an excellent choice on my part, because I spent the entire night in the bathroom. Seriously. I ended up putting a sheet and old pillow on the floor in there; I'm pretty sure I have never been so sick in my life. I may have actually thrown up something I ate in the third grade.

Friday: By Friday morning I was able to go to bed, but still felt awful. Matt again stayed home to take care of Riley (who was stille xperiencing ECS - Exploding Colon Syndrome) and me (I was pretty sure I might actually be dying). Then Tyson's school called. He said he'd thrown up. When Matt got there to pick him up, they determined that he probably had actually not thrown up, but Matt brought him home anyway. Wouldn't you know it, two hours later, Tyson threw up. Friday night Matt's tummy started to gurgle. He spent the better part of last night visiting the bathroom as well. This thing swept through our family like the ocean at high tide. We were powerless to stop it, despite hauling out all the bleach, CLorox wipes and Germ-X we own.

Saturday: So far today we are all doing a little better. I think I had it the absolute worst. I still haven't eaten anything solid, and I'm still wondering if Matt might have beaten me with a stick when I wasn't looking. Riley still has an exploding colon (fun to try to contain in a baby who never sits still. Tyson hasn't had any other symptoms since yesterday. Matt seems to be feeling better so far today. Let's hope this trend continues. I'm planning on eating a little soup and a couple of crackers and then (hopefully) I'll spend the rest of the day disinfecting and sterilizing my home and everything/everyone in it.

.. And praying that next week goes better than this one.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted. I've recently had a revelation. It's not that I haven't wanted to post. It's that I haven't been able to make much time to do things I enjoy. See, having two kids is a lot more challenging than I thought. Don't get me wrong. The boys are a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. I would not trade them for all the chocolate in the world. They keep me busy and I love every minute of it! It's just that I thought having another baby would be like just adding one. It hasn't quite been like that.

For one thing, I now know that people with only one child should not believe that, just because their only child is turning out okay (so far), that they know what they're doing. Matt & I felt that we've been doing a good job so far, and that we've pretty well got this parenting thing figured out.

Um, yeah.

See, the thing about that is this: God has an incredible sense of humor. And He enjoys zinging a few curveballs at us every now & then. So with somethiing like parenting, just when you think you know what you're doing, He is more than happy to send you a big ball of Heavenly Knock-You-On-Your-Ass Equalizer. And He's laughing while you bumble your way through the whole thing. Surprisingly enough, Matt & I are laughing the whole time, too.

Tyson was such a quiet, mild, still baby. He was perfectly happy to go along with pretty much anything, as long as you had a binky in your pocket and his Wooby (or a reasonable facsimile) to cover his eyes should he need a nap. He never crawled. He was just about through his fourteenth month before he walked. I could put him down on the floor and walk away and know with utter certainty that he would still be there, exactly where I left him, when I returned.

Riley is... a daredevil/Houdini/Magellan. He is go-go-go all the time. If he's not sleeping, he's going. Or eating. I'm not kidding. This kid does not slow down. He learned to crawl the week before Thanksgiving. He learned to pull up to standing the week of Thanksgiving. He learned to move the gates that are strategically placed around our house last week. He figured out how to climb the stairs this week. Non-tension gates are being replaced with tension gates; the dogs have been sequestered in the stairwell; everything that could be potentially dangerous (even things that are permanently located outside the "baby-safe-zone") have been moved to waist high... just in case Riley manages to escape.

I'm exhausted.

One of my [too] many New Year's Resolutions is to make more time to do the things that I enjoy. I'm going to spend one hour each day engaged in some activity simply because I enjoy it. It could be a bubble bath, knitting, spinning, watching paint dry... whatever I feel like doing. As long as it's not for someone else, and it's not something I consider to be work. So, will I be blogging every day? Probably not. Will I be blogging every week. I hope so.
Anyway, I do have a little knitting going on.
This is the bag that will never. freaking. end. I thought it would be a relatively quick knit. I was wrong. I'm actually much farther into it than this picture shows. I completed the second contrasting solor stripe, and am almost half way through the openwork panel. Of course, I don't like the colorway I chose for said openwork panel, so I'm frogging it tomorrow.
I did start a quick scarf today. I think I may actually finish it tomorrow. It's a gift for someone. I'll post more on that later.
So, how was your holiday? Our's was fantastic! Matt & I kicked off the season with his brother's annual Ugly Sweater Party. It benefits the Salvation Army's Toys for Tots program.

My sweater weighs approximately 7 pounds from all the beadwork. It is very ugly. You can't actually appreciate it's fabulous ugliness because the person who took this picture apparently cut off the bottom half of it. Matt's was very homey... it needs some extra bling. It's not sparkly at all. I think I'll have to do something about that before next year.
Christmas morning was fun! Riley really got into tearing the paper. Of course, his goal in tearing the paper was less about getting to the gift inside and more about getting a piece of paper he could then put into his mouth, but, hey... it was a start. Tyson really enjoyed openeing his presents from Santa. His favorite: NHL '09 for the X-box. That Santa is one cool dude.

We celebrated with my family at my dad's house on Christmas Eve, and had Matt's family over for Christmas Day. It was a lot of fun. I received some very nice gifts this year. Matt got me a new crock pot & set of pots-n-pans; My Dad gave me an autographed copy of "The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck (my hero); Tyson gave me alovely necklace that he picked out himself; and I received a couple of gift certificates to Knitorious (an awesome LYS).
For New Year's Eve we stayed in. We're pretty boring. Matt's parents came over & we all watched "An American Carol" and then played Rock Band before celebrating at midnight:
This was the first year that Tyson actually stayed up until midnight. To celebrate we all had sparkling berry grapjuice and lit big-ass sparklers.
We've had a lot of stuff going on around here. In addition to his recent explorations around the house, Riley is learning sign language. We are using a combination of traditional operant conditioning and "Baby Sing & Sign" (by Anne Meeker Miller, a music therapist in Kansas City).
This is a picture of Riley asking for "more" mashed bananas. We had been working on "more" for a long time, but he just wasn't getting it. I think he was having a little trouble getting his hands to midline. Then I bought the "Baby Sing & Sign" books and he learned it pretty quickly. He loves the songs we've learned so far! He's aways very proud of himself when he learns a new sign. Yay! He has an expressive vocabulary of 4 words, and a receptive vocabulary of three additional words.
Tyson has been trying his hand at science. Santa brought him his first chemistry set. It's called "Fun, Fizzy, Foamy Science."
He really enjoyed this. It's right up his alley... and his Dad did a very good job of explaining the experiments they did.
Tonight Tyson & I tried making recycled shrinky dinks. I read that you can use #6 plastic, like they use to make take out food containers to make them, so we tried it. Here's what we started with.
Here's what we ended up with.Clearly, not all of the plastic we tried was #6. See, some of it was labelled, but some of it wasn't. I tried to guess based on weight, texture and the sound it made. I missed on a few. The two at the top were ones that I knew were #6, and they turned out great!!! They shrank up perfectly. They got thicker, and stayed clear.
The others just curled up and turned white. Bummer.
Well, that's all I have for now. That's a lot. Thanks to those readers who made it all the way to the end of this marathon post. Check back again soon. This was fun; blogging is definitely going on my "Me Time" list of things to do.