Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Xander's Birthday Party

We had a lovely time at Xander's birthday party. We had a really good turn out and the weather was beautiful- albeit a little hot. Xander wanted tractors on his birthday cake so we went with a John Deere theme, which was a lot of fun! It was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be to find tractor decorations. I ended up having to get them online but I did find these wonderful little table tents that had spaces for photos. I dug through boxes of pictures, what a trip down memory lane..., and found a bunch of pictures to use for the tents. I tried to pick a good selection of pictures throughout his life so far and I think they came out really nicely. It will make a nice souvenir for Xander's memory box anyway. We also had a tractor pinata and of course tractors on the cake just per Xander's request! The cake was made by Xander's godmother, aka the queen of cakes! Didn't she do an amazing job. Xander kept trying to play with his cake like it was a toy. He wanted to scoop the dirt and push the tractor through the dirt...Mostly I was able to keep his fingers off until after everyone had their piece! So we had tons of good food, lots of good company, delicious cake, and Xander got lots of fun presents. His favorite presents after te party were a truck that you can take apart and put back together with a toy screwdriver and a wheelie tower from Fisher-Price. What more could a three year old boy want?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Xander is three years old!

Today my baby boy is three years old. He decided to celebrate by waking up at the brink of dawn, getting dressed (all by himself), coming downstairs, putting his boots on, going outside, and waking mommy and daddy up with the honking of car horns! He has figured out how to open car doors and he got into Frank's work car and had the lights and horn going full blast- what a wake up call! Of course then he decided to come inside and make us all pancakes in his kitchen completed decked out in his chef's gear- oh how cute!

I don't know why three seems like a big year to me- I mean they are all important and special in their own way but THREE is coming at me in a big way. I think it is because he will start school in the fall- actually he could start tomorrow but we decided not to start him at the end of the school year so come August he will be in preschool! I know it is only 1/2 days, 4 days a week but that means that I will be at home with just one kids for some of the time and that our days have to revolve around someone else's schedule and for me that seems like it is going to be a big change! I guess I will just focus on making it through the summer for now!

More from his party later....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

1st trip to the drive-in 2011

So in case you didn't know I love the drive-in! Mostly I love movies, even though I don't get a chance to watch them as much as I used to, but I really love the drive-in. There is just something so fun about camping out to watch a movie. I really look forward to the days when the boys are a bit older and a bit more into sitting still so we can truly enjoy the experience. Right now we spend most of the first movie chasing them down and shushing them but at least we get to enjoy the second movie. We have the extreme luck of living only about 15 minutes away from the Northfield Drive In so as long as I am not working we are there. We took our first excursion of 2011 to the drive in last night. We saw Pirates 4 and Thor. Fresh night air (with no biting insects amazingly) and cheesy good summer action flicks = heaven!

After several years of spending almost every weekend at the drive in we have a nice system going. We have the folding chairs and the cooler filled with snacks- although we usually try to buy some food/snacks at the concession because a. they have awesome fries and b. we really want to drive in to stay open and they make most of their money from concessions so.... We have the neat sheets so when it gets dewy we don't have to get wet. The boys have their own little tent to hang out in and Xander even got to use his John Deere sleeping bag for the first time this year. For sound we use the old boom box that I got for Christmas when I was about 12 years old and as long as you put new batteries in it it works great.

You know summer has arrived when the drive in is open!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yarn Along- It's Finished!

So I finally finished Xander's hobby horse. As I expected the details in the finishing took me almost as long as it did to knit the horse's head! I haven't been reading much because I have been trying to finish this up, working on some sewing for a diva swap, sewing up gifts for all the birthdays this month, and cleaning like a mad woman because my house is filthy and it is going to take all week to get it in shape for guests on Monday for Xander's party. Poor Frank thinks I have gone completely insane... Back to the horse- part of the reason it took me so long to finish it was because I sewed the ears on at least 3 times.... they kept flopping over and then they were in the wrong place for the bridle and I just couldn't seem to get them right but I think they are in a good place now and they are mostly sticking up instead of flopping. For awhile I thought I was going to have a hobby donkey instead of a hobby horse! I also wanted to make sure that everything was really sewn on well because I don't want 2 little boys ripping pieces off! I still need to do some work to make sure it stays on the stick (the look on the guy's face at home depo when I told him that I wanted him to cut my broomstick to 3 feet was kinda hilarious!). Right now you can still slide the stick out pretty easy so I have thought about glue/tape but I'm not sure what I am going to do- maybe nothing and see how often it gets pulled off before I worry about it! I also knit a whole other project this week, a small one, but that must remain a secret until after it is gifted for one of this weeks birthdays... I think it came out super pretty though!

For those of you who could care less about my knitting, I promise that I will post about something other than knitting soon! I'm not sure when my family blog turned into a crafting blog so we'll get back to its somewhat original intent here someday. I have some fabulous new pics and tales from the NH sheep and wool fest to write about- now if only I could fine the time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rainbows among us

So we had a busy day- speech therapy followed by mad house cleaning (I was on a tear- just ask Frank), napping, and plenty of playing outside. It was a good day even if the kids did get eaten alive by bugs- I swear those darn black flies are biting even through the bug spray. Poor Xander's head is a mess- especially after we basically dunk him in calamine lotion several times a day! So this evening before bed the kids took a shower- their new favorite thing. They don't want to take baths anymore- only showers. Good thing we have a large, enclosed shower so they can splash around to their heart's content. After their shower tonight we were heading upstairs to bed when this amazing rainbow just stopped us in our tracks at the front door. You could see the whole thing all the way from one end to the other and it was a double. It was just amazing! I can't remember the last time I have seen such a large and impressive rainbow. It's weird- I don't know what it is about rainbow- they are just light reflecting in the sky but they are just the most awe-inspiring thing to me- real true miracles. (don't mind the schoolmarm voice over in the video please...)

Excerpts from Speech Therapy

Here is an excerpt from Xander's speech therapy today- his last one with early intervention! He has officially graduated from the RISE program and into the school system. The plan is for him to continue speech therapy in preschool in the fall. He doesn't qualify for summer school and although he could start preschool next week after his 3rd birthday we decided that would be too disruptive and plan on starting him in the fall with the new school year. Luckily though because James is now receiving speech therapy Xander will get bonus therapy through James! I love his little accent... a weird combo of Frank's southern drawl and the more New England speech we hear around here. He has good word acquisition these days so mainly we continue to work on speech intelligibility. Even I have a hard time understanding his toddler speak sometimes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

1st Trip to the Dentist

Today we had our long awaited first trip to the dentist. We were supposed to go back in March and then the boys were vomiting and then we rescheduled and then we had to reschedule again so we've been waiting for awhile. I decided to take them to a pediatric dentist so it's about a 40 minuted drive there but I think it will be worth it because she is great. We got there on time ( a feat for me these days...) and the boys played with the toys in the waiting room for a few minutes until we were called back. One tiny pet peeve- there are no adult size chairs in the toy area of the waiting room so where exactly are the parents supposed to sit?!?!?!

We headed back to the exam room and discussed their histories. She recommended getting our well water tested for fluoride to make sure that the boys aren't getting too much fluoride so we'll have to see about that. I'm supposed to brush James' teeth after he nurses in the middle of the night...mmm let me think- NO WAY! Luckily he has been sleeping through the night. And we are supposed to brush 2x daily and floss daily. The brushing ok but I really don't know about flossing my toddlers teeth daily- it is really worth the battle? Especially for teeth that are just going to fall out anyway? Between getting dresses and brushing and ear drops at bedtime I don;t know if I can handle adding flossing to the mix too. We'll give it a whirl I guess.

James got examined first and he did awesome. He opened his mouth pretty well and did let her clean his teeth. He wasn't so wild about the flossing but he didn't completely clench his mouth shut like I know he can so I guess we'll call it a success. He was pretty excited about picking out a toy when he was done though- he picked the biggest truck they had in their toy bin! She told us that we should starting saving for orthodontic for James b/c he has a lot of crowding of his teeth. Him and his giant chompers!!! She's not concerned with the fact that he is still missing teeth (none of his canines have come in yet) so we'll just wait for them to come for now.

Xander went next after a short potty break and he did ok although he was much less cooperative. She tried to get him to sit on his own. James sat in my lap and leaned back into hers for a "lap to lap" exam and she was trying to get Xander without me but he wasn't buying it. So then we switched to a lap to lap exam and he wasn't so sure about that either. He did let her clean and floss but she had to work harder for it. He picked the smallest truck he could find out of the toy bin! I think they were most excited by the stickers though- they both wanted them on their shirts before we even left the exam room. All in all it went fairly well and we'll see what happens when we go back in 6 months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarn Along- Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday- it so weird when you older and birthdays become shall we say less important. I love birthdays and I think it is important to have one day out of the year when it is all about me! Especially as a mom we do so much for our kids and families that I like having this one day to myself- even if I have have to share it with my niece. Happy Birthday May- May! So today I do not have to work - a lucky fluke of the schedule that I am taking advantage of- and I did something even more selfish... I sent the kids to daycare just because I wanted to! Both boys slept late this morning- James till 7:15 and Xander till after 8AM (shocking I know but it was like his birthday present to me!) and then instead of the usual hustle and bustle of Wednesday mornings where I take them to gym and swim class I put a coat on over my PJS, ran them down the road to daycare, came home and got back into bed! So I spent the morning in my bed reading trashy novels and napping in my totally silent house- pure decadence I know! The sad part about it is that I feel kinda guilty about shipping them off the daycare and being so selfish but mother's guilt is a whole other topic that I am not going to get into today.

So after my lazy morning my husband called and offered to bring my choice of lunch from town-hurray- and now I am catching up on blogs (if you couldn't tell I haven't been on the computer much these days...) while I wait for him to bring me sushi. My plan for the afternoon is to spend it in my sewing room! As you can see I am almost finished with Xander's hobby horse- just need to finish knitting the i-cord bridle which is supposed to be 3.5 yds- BTW that is a very long i-cord- sew on the buttons for eyes and the D-rings for the bridle and do something about the ears. I sewed them on a little far forward I think, so they are well attached but very floppy- I wondering if I might be able to poke a pipe cleaner through the inside to get them to stand up better. Now that it is all felted I don't want to risk unsewing them and putting them back on in a better spot. This was my first felted project and it came out great! I felt like the yarn was pretty coarse as I was working with it- Cascade 220- but it felted up beautifully and is so soft I just want to keep petting the thing. I may felt the i-cord for the bridle a bit too to make it softer. So I am going to finish up the hobby horse and sew up a few dresses for a diva swap and if I am truly ambitious I might throw together some summer pjs for Xander- something he lacks, but if I can get the hobby horse done I want to work on finishing his waldorf doll that was supposed to be a Christmas present and still hasn't made it from out of the cut out and sewn phase- I just need to stuff it and put it all together- even the cap for the wig is done! I can do it! So more sewing and less knitting to come over the next 2 weeks. Oh yeah and a ton of house cleaning so that my home isn't a shambles for Xander's party!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

James' visit to the ENT

Today I took James to the ENT. It went pretty much as I expected and on June 14th he will be have PE tubes placed and his adenoids removed. The PE tubes were a given, with his hearing loss and flat typanograms. The dr said that his ear drums are actually bowing slightly outwards so who knows how well he is hearing on a day to day basis. I do find that he seems to hear better on some days- it fluctuates for sure. Some day he makes good progress with his speech and others he basically grunts all day. He has finally mastered the sign for "more" and has mama, daddy, and milk down pat. Right now the lymph nodes on the back of his head are so swollen from all the bug bites that they actually look painful although they don't seem to be bothering him all that much. He definitely has some drainage issues around his ears though. Then we discussed his adenoids. Given Xander's history and some of the research that I have been doing I was inclined to just take them out too and the Dr said that with his snoring and the sheer amount of fluid in his ears he would also recommend an adenoidectomy at the same time. I just know that 3 trips to the OR in 9 months is more than enough for me and I don't want to repeat what happened with Xander. So Tubes round 3 and adenoids round 2 here we come- let's hope that is the end of it for now!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NH Sheep and Wool 2011

So today we ventured to Hopkinton MA to the NH Sheep and Wool Growers Association Annual Festival. I love the sheep and wool fest- don't ask me why but I just love it. Something about all that amazing wool and fiber and animals and cool crafty people all in one place.... makes the heart sing! Silly mama that I am I completely forgot the camera in the car so I have exactly ZERO photos of the day but fun was had by all. You can see a couple pics of the kids here. This year we changed things up a bit. Mum and I took a drop spindle class in the morning while Frank corralled the kids (i.e. fed them a bunch of fair food....) and then in the afternoon we traded. I enjoyed the spinning class but I don't see myself using the drop spindle a lot until the boys are a bit older. It is a skill that is going to take a lot of practice and you need a decent area to work in without being distracted or having your space infringed upon- hence I feel that it is probably best to leave it until the boys are older. It was fun to learn the basics though. The class definitely made the morning speed by though- it was noon in a blink! Then Frank deposited the kids with me and went off to listen to some lectures on improving pastures and the digestive system of sheep. We got some more food and perused the booths. One of our favorites- Golding Fiber - was absent this year which was a shame b/c I always look forward to their wares but there was plenty else to see. My mother and I, of course, enjoyed the yarn the most and the boys enjoyed the dogs and sheep! I did manage to refrain myself and I only bought 1 skein of yarn and a niddy noddy.

We ended up staying till the very end and closing the place down! After the festival we headed into Concord for supper- at Uno's. Every once in awhile it's nice to have a good deep dish. And it doesn't hurt that Uno's is right next to the LL Bean outlet. We scored on some bike helmets and I found the rug and a pillow I have been looking for so it was a good trip to LL Bean in all. I want to redecorate our bedroom with one of their themes- so I have been keeping an eye on the outlets for good deals and I definitely found some tonight. After Bean we headed home. It was a very long day but it was worth it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yarn Along

I made really good progress on Xander's Hobby Horse this week. I have to finish the face and nose and then felt it and put it all together. I have a feeling that the putting it all together part is going to take longer than the knitting part! It's been a pretty quick knit so far. I goofed along the join for the heel flap so there are a couple little holes but they will be easily seamed up before I felt it and then you'll never even know! (except that now I've told you all, mmm.....). I need to figure out a better way to do stripes where I carry the yarn- lessons on color work desperately needed here! But since I realize that I will need to make a 2nd one of these for James too (otherwise there will be too much fighting to bear) I'll have a chance to fix all the mistakes that I made this time! I was at Webs last week and they had cascade yarn on sale so I got the yarn to make a horse for James too - plus a bunch of washable stuff to start working on Spud and Chloe at the farm. I believe that knitting the whole book may be in order! Besides I am working on losing weight so I a. want to be a better, faster knitter before I tackle really big projects and b. don't want to make a sweater for myself and then lose a bunch of weight!

Losing weight though has been a challenge for me. Since starting WW a month ago I have only lost 1.8lbs. It's a bit discouraging. I do really well for a few days and then I cave into food cravings and fall back into bad eating habits so it's a constant roller coaster of good and bad days. I'm hoping with the summer coming that we'll be spending lots of time outside enjoying the weather and being in the garden- if only it would stop raining! This Saturday we are going to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. It's one of my favorite springtime activities and it's usually mother's day weekend, which I was working, so I was very glad to find out that it was later this year so that I can go too! We usually do a ton of walking while we are there so I can burn off some calories that way. We'll be taking our fleeces to be sent off for processing too so I guess I had better figure out what we are going to do with them! We plan on having them made into yarn but the question is should we add anything and/or what weight yarn to we want? mmm, decisions, decisions...

I did finish the blue hat to go with Xander's sweater and got some successful modeling pics- a miracle I know! The brim does not roll the way it is supposed to- I think my yarn was too soft for that- you need a stiffer yarn for it to roll really like it is supposed too BUT by not rolling I think it makes it slightly more boyish -especially in combination with the color. So If I can keep it on his head it should work well as a summer sun hat!

Reading-wise studying for the IBCLC continues. I felt pretty jazzed up after the conference I attended last week but I'm continue to have a hard time carving time out to study. Next week I am attending the NH Breastfeeding Task Force meeting and Linda Smith will be there presenting on her book so I want to get some more of that read before then. Mothering your Nursing Toddler is part studying part applicable to my own life. James is still nursing and it is uncharted water for me, him and Frank. James has been having quite a bit of trouble sleeping so I am hoping that maybe this book can help us work out how to keep him nursing but keep us all sleeping better. Too bad they don't have a fathering your nursing toddler b/c I think Frank could use some insights too. Xander weaned himself at 10 months so now we are facing with the dilemmas of do we want to wean, if so why, is he ready, am I ready, is it more harmful or more beneficial fro him to continue nursing, would weaning help with his sleep issues... etc, etc, etc... Basically I am enormously conflicted. I said my goal was to make it a year and now we are at 20 months and he is still going strong and nurses a lot! So should my goal be 2 years or do we impose artificial goals at all or just see where this leads... I don't know that I am up for weaning him. He already sleeps so poorly as it is and to have to deal with more sleepless nights during the weaning process might be more than I can bear right now, especially seeing as I am not sure weaning him will help him actually sleep better as some have suggested. I think we should just get a king size bed so we can all sleep comfortably together and sleeping problems solved! A girl can dream.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This face...

How can you not love this face- even if he is a little mischevous devil child!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yarn Along

I have continued to study for the IBCLC exam- you'll be seeing a lot of lactation reading coming up. Thursday and Friday I am attending the Annual Breastfeeding Conference sponsored by Baystate Health at the Log Cabin in Easthampton, MA. I have attended this conference in the past and have usually found it to be a very education experience. They also usually have a very good selection of lactation texts that you can look through so I plan on giving them a good once over to see if there isn't anything I can't live without. I signed up for an online lactation review course that has practice IBCLC exams and I realize I have A LOT of studying to do. The practical stuff I am pretty ok with but all the questions about hormones and chemical composition of human breast milk I haven't studying in probably 5 years at least so I need some review to say the least. Plus Easthampton isn't too far away from Northhampton- the home of Webs... an excursion may be in order.....

So in addition to the heavy work/study type reading I had to lighten it up a bit with some fluff- hence the Royal Wedding. I think Kate's gown was simply divine! I haven't had a chance to read all about it but I am certainly enjoying the pictures!

As for my knitting I am almost finished with the sun hat to go with Xander's sweater. I kinda don't know why I am bothering b/c I can never seem to keep a hat on his head but it is so cute when they have the matching set so I am going to plow ahead. I really want to be vigilant on keeping a hat on Xander this summer b/c he has such fair skin I worry about him burning and I think a hat will just be better sun protection that trying to keep sun screen on his face. I have several sun hats now so if he has a choice about which one to wear he will keep it on...usually. I may have to add some extra to this hat though- the beanie part is done and I am working on the brim but when I tried the beanie on Xander it doesn't seem quite long enough to me. I'm going to finish the brim and baste in on and take a look at it but it should be easy enough to add some length to the beanie if I decide that it is necessary. My goal is to finish it up while I am at the conference so I can get cracking on Xander's hobby horse which is one of his main birthday presents and seeing as his birthday is this month I need to get it done!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

James' second trip to the ER

So tonight we took the sheep up to a farm to be sheared. All was going well and the sheep were all sheared and had their hooves trimmed when James started screaming like a madman. Somehow despite the fact that all of us adults were like 10 feet away the farmer's dog bit him right on the nose! Luckily it is a pretty superficial bite but James was plenty freaked out. At first I couldn't figure out why he was crying b/c he'd just been standing there next to Xander and the dog, who had been totally fine with the kids up till that point. Poor pup never even growled or barked or anything. I don't know if James tried to hug her or if he and Xander were shuffling around and he bumped into her or if she was trying to herd him like she would some sheep (a known issue with sheep dogs in general...) but he has a nice little nip on his nose. One puncture wound just above the bridge of his nose and one between his nostrils and it's pretty red and swollen. I know he will be fine and it's barely deep enough to worry about scarring but since a dog's mouth isn't the cleanest place in the world we are starting him on antibiotic asap. Of course I hadn't brought my wallet with me- which included the Rx insurance card- so we had to pay full price for the abx- uugh- but I should be able to take the receipt back and have them bill the insurance. One more thing to add to my to do list! I'll post pics soon but James is sleeping down so we're going to let sleeping babies lie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gotta love the view!

This was the view out my front door Sunday morning- so "pastoral" as Frank said.