Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm back with the yarn along this week. You can join us here. I've still been doing some knitting and some reading but renovations and that thing called work have really been crimping my style recently! The bedroom is almost complete. All the trim is back up and the major work is done- now it is all those fussy last details that are holding us up. I need to finish (uhem start) the window treatments and Frank is busy putting together the closet organizers that we bought. So I am saving pictures of that until it is completely finished and we can have a real reveal!

Reading-wise I am still working my way through Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee's series Yarn Harlot. I am almost done with Free-Range Knitter and I still think these books are hilarious. Maybe you have to be a knitter to truly appreciate them but I think it would suffice to even know someone who is a knitter so that you could see the humor. Part of the reason I am rolling laughing most of the time is because I see myself in so much of what she writes about. Recently I was reading the section where she talks about not being able to afford good yarn and how most people look at her like she is nuts when she spends $25 on a skein of sock yarn. I can totally appreciate this (well not the sock yarn part so much... that is more my mother's thing) seeing as I fondly refer to myself as a yarn snob. I made a few things with some acrylic red heart and I will never do that again (except...b/c of course there is always and exception... toys.... maybe...but really I'd prefer some superwash). I just love the feel and texture of wool. It is so nice and stretchy- even cotton doesn't give you the same ease. And maybe since I am fairly new to this knitting thing I like it because it is forgiving.

She also talks about people's motivations for knitting and how many women learn to knit when they are pregnant. I'd like to pretend that isn't me and in a way it isn't. My mother tried to teach me to knit for years and as a teenager I think I maybe finished one scarf- I'm not even sure I finished it! But I found my knitting nitch after my first son was born and we used cloth diapers. He was such a super pee-erand I wanted to try wool covers but I just couldn't afford them. I could, however, afford some yarn and figuring that I was a pretty crafty person (I made all his cloth diapers didn't I....) I was going to knit him some soakers. And I did. And a new obsession was born. In part it is because knitted baby things are totally adorable but I also discovered that i could take my knitting with me anywhere- something I couldn't do with my sewing. If we go to the beach or are playing outside or the kids are even just playing in the house I can have my knitting with me wherever we are. The same can't be said of my sewing. And as I get faster with the knitting and projects come off the needles more quickly I find myself getting sucked in even more! I even have more than one project on the needles at a time now- shocking I know but I just can't seem to help myself.

That being said the major project right now is a hobby horse for James. Xander finally decided he liked his and doesn't really want to share it. I knew even when I made the first one I'd be required at some point to make one for James and that time has arrived. I'm using Cascade 220 again for this one because I loved how it felted up. James' horse is going to be orange so there will be no mistaking whose is whose. This one is working up more quickly than the first- the nice thing about repeating a pattern- although I made the same mistake along the neckline with this one as I did on Xander's so at least they will match! I am going to felt the ears separately this time though and sew them on after everything is felted- that way I can make sure the positioning is right and that they don't flop. I may also felt this one a little harder so it is a little smaller. I just don't want to lose all stitch definition. Xander's is a pretty massive horse for such a little guy. More details here. James' birthday is in 3 weeks so I am on a deadline! Can believe my little guy is going to be 2???? How did that happen?

PS- my garden has turned into a jungle of squash. 1500 sq feet of waist high squash plants- even the beans have been overrun so if you need some squash let me know!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just a boring tuesday.

Today I should have stayed home and worked on the window treatments for our room but since Labor Day is coming up and the beach closes after Labor Day I figured we had better make at least one more trip. It was lovely! James has speech therapy in the morning and then we packed up and headed out. I love how he put his hat on- don't you? He's gotten quite the independent streak recently and wants to do everything HIS way. We spent a few hours at the beach, the boys playing in the sand and my lounging in my chair watching them play. I did read a few chapters of my book but with no lifeguard on duty I needed to keep at least one eye on the kiddos. After a couple hours I packed them up again ad we went to meet Frank at Pizza hut for the lunch buffet. $10 for all 4 of us to eat- you can't beat that! And sine it is a buffet there is no waiting which is a must with 2 little guys after a long morning at the beach!

We had a bit of incident coming home involving car keys- the second one this week so you would have thought I'd learn after the first. I picked them up from daycare on Monday and as we were getting into the car Xander somehow managed to lock the doors and then shut his so the car was locked with the keys inside. We had to hang out at daycare until Frank could get home and bring us the spare key. The yesterday after Pizza hut we went to Wal Mart to get milk and James somehow managed to get my keys out of my purse, chew on them for awhile, and then conveniently drop them in a moment when I wasn't looking. So there I am in the Wal Mart parking lot with no keys, 2 gallons of milk and 2 kids totally ready for a nap! Ugh. Despite the extreme lack of help from the Wal Mart staff I did find the keys and we were on our way but there was quite bit of frantic searching followed by the realization that not only did I not have my keys but the spare key was still in the car from the day before. Oh yeah and guess where my cell phone was... in the car. So if I didn't find my keys I was really stuck.

The boys fell asleep on the way home and stayed that way as I put them into their beds thank goodness and then instead of working on window shades I took a nap too! Oh well the shades will wait till this weekend right?

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's been one month

It's been one month since we lost our baby. It's hard for me to believe that it has actually been that long because in some ways the loss still feels so new and yet at the same time like I have been living with it forever. Last week I was cleaning out my closet and I had to move the teddy bear that I bought for the baby. When we were in Burlington I bought each of the kids a teddy, including the one on the way. It has 2 bows around it's neck- one saying It's a Boy and one saying It's a Girl. I thought how fun it would be to take a picture of the baby and the bear with the appropriate bow to announce the baby's gender. Now I am not sure what to do with that bear. I can't get rid of it but keeping it is hard too. It's tucked away in it's box in a closet upstairs and I guess it will stay there for awhile anyway.

I found out in the last 2 weeks that 2 of my close friends are having babies and they are both due around the time Poppy would have been. I'm happy for them but it hurts. I hope that I can look at their babies and not wonder what my baby would have been like.

The part of me that was so angry has mostly eased- now I just feel sad.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Aren't they pretty!

So can I just say that it was completely worth it to hire someone to put the floor in for us! I know it isn't that it is hard but there are certain tools and experience required and it was awesome to be able to go upstairs and take a nap (with ear plugs mind you) and wake up to a new floor! It would have taken us so much longer to get this done. It came out beautifully. I am so pleased. And we had a whole extra box so we got to take that back so my pocketbook is pleased too! They also delivered the mattress and box spring and it was only like an hour after they left that I realized they forgot to leave the bed frame. Of course they don't have one in the store and the next time they can deliver is next Saturday so we have to wait a week for the frame. I'm mostly annoyed at myself because I should have realized it while they were still here! I wish I didn't have to work this weekend so we could work on putting everything back together but duty calls. Frank was going to buy the stuff for closet organizers today and we'll have to get cracking with trim and touch ups- my least favorite part!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here come the floors...

August 18, Day 11: 10 days, 7 cans of paint, 3 cans of spackle, 2 paintbrushes, 3 rollers, 3 foam brushes, 1 can of finish, 1 can of polyurethane, a whole lot of sandpaper, 1 ceiling fan, 3 light switches, 1 phone jack, 6 outlets, and a lot of man...uhem woman power and we are ready for some new floors. Tomorrow should be a big exciting day. The carpenter is coming to lay the floor at 7am and hopefully he will be finished by the time they deliver the mattress sometime between 12-1 (for the first time ever I am hoping that a delivery company will be late....). If they arrive with the mattress before the floor is done it is really not a big deal because we'll just park it in the living room with the rest of our bedroom furniture. But if the floor is finished then they will set it all up for us! Too bad I have to work tomorrow night so I won't get to sleep in my new bed. I am thinking about imposing a ban on sleeping in the bed until Monday when Frank and I can break it in together. Once the floor is in we'll have to put all the trim and baseboards back up- that is going to be all Frank. I tried to put the window trim back up today and it was totally a disaster. Apparently I need to practice my hammer wielding skills. Plus he needs to reshim 2 of the doorways. The reason my closet door wouldn't close anymore was because the door frame was apparently not actually attached to anything on the inside so when I removed the trim the whole door frame fell out of the hole! I am so excited to see the room with the new floor. I'm very hopefully that Frank can make some headway with trim work this weekend so next week I can attempt to make Roman shades- it'll be a new adventure! More pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm still working on Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. It's certianly not for lack of interest- this book is hysterical. I just have been so busy with renovations that all my spare time has been spent knitting and not reading. I read Frank aloud several sections from this book last night in (and yes you listened and laughed appropriately...) and the section on Christmas knitting had me crying I was laughing so hard because I can competely see myself in this section. It reminded me that in order for "IT" to not happen again this year maybe I should start working on Christmas presents now.... or at least James' birthday present since his bday is in a month (can you believe the little booger is going to be 2!). I think I'll probably head back to the cable book to pick out a cable for Xander's sweater that I'd rather be working on though. I have time to finish the hobby horse for James right....

The soaker is something that I wipped up pretty quickly. It's from this pattern. It was a nice pattern to work from and I love that it comes in three differnt yarn weights. I really like the ribbed crotch- it makes it nice and stretchy but also adds some absorbancy. I do think that the sizing is a bit big seeing as I was right on gauge and this small soaker fits James. Now I realize that my kiddos are wee-nuts but that seems a bit extreme even to me. I had this yarn left over from James' errand sweater so it worked up in to the soaker with about 1 yd left to spare! A perfect use of leftovers. So the sizing doesn't matter per se because I wan't making it for anyone in particular but I will never go larger than a medium that's for sure! I'm not sure who this soaker is for but I figure I can gift it seeing as I have several pregnant friends or I can FOM it on DSD or save it for a future baby.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reno progress update

August 15th, Day 8: I'm not sure today can really count as Day 8 seeing as the last 4 days I have been working therefore haven't gotten much done but progress was made today. All of the carpet tack boards are up. Frank closet is officially cleaned out, carpet removed and all trim and floor boards removed. The walls have been vacuumed, washed, spackled and painted..twice! So except for the ceiling which will be done tomorrow when I have better light Frank's closet is done. The ceiling fan is down so I can also finish the touch-ups on the main ceiling tomorrow as well. My closet has been vacuumed, washed, and spackled but the wooden shelves are still partially up so I need to get those down tonight so tomorrow I can do the painting. We don't have a set day yet for the floor installation but I am very hopeful that it will be this week so I am in a hurry to finish the painting. Plan for tomorrow is the finish the ceilings, paint my closet and put the final coat of pain on the walls in the bedroom. I also need to move out all the floorbaords and trim pieces that are sitting in the middle of the floor and bang all the nails out of those. By tomorrow night I want the room completely cleared out and ready in case he can come and install the floor on Wednesday. It's a lot but I think it can be done. I'm feeling somewhat guilty that I have been sending the boys to daycare to get this done but if I had tried to do this with toddlers underfoot I would be stark raving made, they might be locked in their rooms and no one would be happy. So really I am not at all guilty about sending them to daycare- it's more the paying for daycare when I could have them home guilt. I'm guessing the money for daycare is worth my peace of mind and ability to paint in peace! Once the painting is done and the floor is installed comes the herculean task of putting all the trim back up =) I have all new outlets and switches which is easy enough to do... just tedious and then we can start moving furniture back in. Then the fun, decorating part can begin. Oh yeah and shopping for a new KING size bed!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's been two weeks

In all honesty I don’t really know where to begin this post. Everything I start with seems cheesy and stupid or trite and overwrought. It seems a bit excessive to begin by saying that two weeks ago my life changed forever but in a way it did. Two weeks ago I had a miscarriage. Two weeks ago our baby died, left and vacated my body leaving a pit in my stomach that won’t go away. I am sad. I am angry. I am on riding an emotional roller coaster. Life goes on.

This is my first miscarriage. It is not my first experience with loss- even infant loss. I have been through losses before with patients and very close friends. I have grieved with them and thought thank goodness that isn’t me. This time it was me. Some will say that it’s not really a loss or they will have a hard time understanding why I would be so upset since I miscarried fairly early on. They’ll say you weren’t even really pregnant. But I feel this loss. Even though I only knew about this baby for a few short weeks, for a few short weeks I planned and I dreamed and I loved.

I guess I am grieving the could-have-beens and the should-have-beens. I know I have 2 healthy beautiful babies but I should be growing a third baby inside of me right now, not feeling an empty pit. I tell myself that it is for the best. If the child had been healthy and well then it would have survived. That God has a plan for us and our family and this particular child didn’t fit into the plan right now. But mixed in the sadness and resignation that there was nothing I could have done I am really, really angry. I am angry with my body for what feels like it failed me. It also doesn’t help that since the miscarriage my skin has been in full on revolt and I am covered head to toe in hives and eczema- stress much? I am angry with people who say “you’ll have more” or “at least you have 2 healthy children.” I don’t want more. I want this baby to be alive. I am angry that my child didn’t survive. I am angry that people feel like it is less of a loss or that I shouldn’t be upset because I was “barely” pregnant.

So I am taking my anger out on the walls and floor of my bedroom. I am ripping out trim boards and carpet and wielding a crowbar and hammer with restrained abandon. I am exercising my right to some retail therapy and purchasing new hardwood floors and a new bed. I am hoping that in the end I will have a calm oasis where I can retreat and escape my sadness and my anger for awhile.

I’m not a total basket case. However, I am incredibly grateful that I was on vacation during this time. I don’t think I could have managed to deliver other people’s babies while intensely grieving my own. I was really worried about going back to work and not being able to feel that rush of good when you help a new mom bring her baby into the world. But I have gone back to work now and been through two deliveries and I survived. I didn’t feel sad or anger in the presence of those births. I was able, without effort, to celebrate with those mommas and babies. So I feel good about that.

I think that James especially has realized on some level that his momma needs some extra loving these days because he’s been such a love bug recently. I have found joy in his laughter, which is completely infectious. If you can watch his giggles video without cracking a smile you are stronger than me. I have watched that video a lot recently and it still makes me laugh. And Xander gives the best snuggles, especially first thing in the morning. I’m glad I have my boys, all three of them, they give me such strength and love.

In memory of my Poppy, 7/29/2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The reno continues...

August 11th, Day 5: Things are moving along pretty well here. We spent an inordinate amount of time at Home Depot last night deciding on flooring and then actually getting the stuff loaded into the car. It's Home Depot so getting someone to help you is always a challenge- actually there was a really nice guy John in flooring who was extremely helpful but apparently he was the only one working in flooring last night! So we spent a lot of time waiting around for him to be available to get us what we needed. He had to get an extra pallet load. So we (ok I) decided on a natural oak flooring. There were two less expensive options, a darker colored oak and a maple, but seeing as everything that we have already is oak it seemed silly to go with maple but the less expensive oak just wasn't the right color. So I ended up spending a little more than I was hoping but I am very pleased with the flooring that we got. You can see a sneak peak of the wall color and the flooring in this picture.

This morning I have been busy as well. The priming is all done and I have one coat of paint up in the walls. I am loving this paint color- it's such a pretty pale (but not too pale) aqua/teal green/blue color. I found some fabric at NE Fabrics that is going to make some awesome drapes. It's the perfect teal complement color in a coral motif- so perfect color match and perfect theme match. We'll call it my ocean oasis. This morning was spent painting and demoing my closet. I cleaned everything out, took down most of the hardware (there are a couple of screws Frank is going to need to tackle- the former owners really liked to use glue!), pulled out all the trim, and my favorite part ripped out all the nasty green carpet in the bedroom and my closet. Frank needs to clean out his closet so I can rip the carpet out of there too! It was great to rip that up. I pulled the pad too and now I just need to go and pull up all the tack strips around the edge of the room. It makes the room look so much bigger already without that horrible carpet! And I knew the carpet was gross but seeing all the stains on the underside of it and the amount of dirt under it just made me so much more glad it is going away. Gross!

And here is my closet ready to be painted. I think the closets I am just going to do in white but they could use some freshening up as well. I'm still deciding whether or not to do a new organizer in my closet. Frank's I think definitely needs it so he can better utilize his space but mine is ok and we have ideas for other projects down the road that will infringe upon the closet so it seems sill to fix it up now only to pull it out later. Then again my dream plans involve spending a lot of money that we don't have so I might as well make my closet usable for now since it'll be years before we can afford other projects!
Of course I am working the next 4 days so I expect very little will get done in that time. Painting must be complete by next Wednesday though cause I want to get the floors in and the floor guy is available end of next week. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reno continued

August 10th, Day 4: Well it may not look like it yet but I swear that progress has been made- really it has! I got slowed down today when I stepped off the stepladder and tripped spilling a bucket of paint. It wasn't the spill so much that was the problem since I don't care about the carpet; more it was the fact that can landed upright and splashed a fountain of paint all over the closet doors that then had to be scrubbed off. It took forever and I am coated in paint- even my eyebrows! The ceiling is done and 1/2 the room is completely primed and ready for color. The windowsill got another coat of varnish and all the spackle was sanded, washed down and coated with primer. I need to let this coat of primer dry and then 1/2 the room is going to need it's second coat. But I should be ready for color by tonight. In the meantime I need to work on getting the closet cleaned out! But I thought I would wait until the paint next to the closet door wasn't fresh, fresh. The plan is to hit Home Depot again tonight to make a final decision about flooring and get that ready to go as soon as I am done painting.

Yarn Along- aka the brag-a-thon

I guess I'll start with this week's knitting and reading and then get to my brag-a-thon. I finished up Xander's milo last night. It still needs to be blocked but that can wait a while I think. It came out pretty nicely. I used malabrigo rios in solis and the yarn is just gorgeous. I think the variegation almost takes away from the aran braid cable- it doesn't stand out as well as I would have liked but it is still pretty. I think for James' I may do a giant cable to see if that pops a little better. It's either that or the horseshoe cable...decision, decisions.... Of course when I tried to get Xander to try it on this morning he informed me that he didn't like it! Oh well, I like it. I made Xander's in a size 4 and it is big but that was how I wanted it. It should fit him with some growing room this winter and next winter it might still fit snugly if he doesn't get too tall- not that that has been much of a problem yet! I plan to make James' in a size 3 for the same reasons. I'm going to use the same yarn for James' too but with Xander's I tried mixing 2 different dye lots for a color fade that didn't really work out well...I don't think I blended well enough b/c it's more of a distinct line where the color fade begins. Learn something new everyday. I still think it's pretty.

I'm reading Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Ginny was talking about it last week on the yarn along and this weekend we were cruising the shelves of Border's going out of business sale and I saw 2 of her books. Since the price was right I picked them up. Personally I think this book is hilarious! Frank completely doesn't get it- when I try to read sections alous to him he's like uuuhh I don't get the humor but so much of what she is talking about is true in my own life. I do have to say though that I am much more of a product knitter. It drives me crazy to have half finished things. I work so hard on them that I want to get them done so I can enjoy them or give them away. I've also been doing lots of kid things so those are pretty easy to finish in a reasonable amount of time. Plus I don't have tons of needles so sometimes I need to finish one project before starting on the next b/c I need the needle! I have started to take breaks from some projects that I am finding tedious. But I like weaving in ends and even seaming, despite the tediousness, because I really enjoy seeing the final product. I think I will be reading more of the yarn harlot!

And now for my brag-a-thon aka fair recap. For whatever reason this year they decided not to do a sweepstakes in the needle work category which was a huge bummer for me. Someday I will win a first sweepstakes at the Cheshire Fair- it's on my bucket list. I did very well overall this year and earned $39 in prize money so that paid for all of our fair tickets and even all our ice cream! I brought home 4 blues, 3 reds, 1 white, and one little sweater that got no ribbon at all (completely not surprised by this). My other blue ribbons were for Xander's hobby horse and a little dress that I made for a friend's daughter for Christmas- I had to steal it back from her. I am so naughty! All in all we had a fun time at the fair. I think the boys enjoyed their time. Xander will be old enough to show next year in Pee-wee so that should be fun but that means we will have to take animals to the fair so it will be a different experience than just visiting. I'm sad to be going back to work tomorrow- vacation is so fun! But Franklin County Fair is coming up in September so I have to get ready for the homemaker of the year contest- always a fun one! Happy Fair Season.

Edited to add: The Milo pattern can be found here. The hat and booties are here and here. The bloomers are from Carina Spencer's convertible baby bloomers- I still have to make the legwarmers. I used this pattern for the socks and the baby blanket is this pattern. As always you can see all the details of ongoing and finished projects on my Rav page here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The giggles...

It's moments like these when your kids just light up your life!

The Great Bedroom Reno begins...

August 7th, Day 1: I wish I had thought to take more pictures before we moved the furniture out b/c then you could have seen what a junk heap our room truly was! Anyway we, well let's be honest, I have been planning on redoing our bedroom for awhile now- like more than a year... There have been some things going on in our life recently that have been pretty hard for me, things that I am not ready to quite talk about here yet but the story will come out soon enough I am sure. But emotionally I have really been struggling recently so I decided with the last few days of my vacation looming before me that I wanted, no needed, to do something for myself that I have been wanting to do for a long time. So while browbeating Frank into helping me the bedroom reno has begun. We got a late start tonight but we managed to get all the furniture moved out. The bed has been relocated to the guest room where we will sleep until the reno is finsihed and our dressers have been relocated next door to the living room- ah the joys of having all your clothing at the mercy of you toddlers-yikes!

August 8th, Day 2: Today was a pretty good productive day. I got all the trim pieces taken off and all the nails banged out. The chair rail came down and didn't completely destroy the wall so that's a bonus. I got the wallpaper border completely stripped off and all the furniture, pictures,mirrors, lighting etc is off the walls and out of the way. My plan is to hit Home Depot this evening and buy paint and look at flooring.

August 9th, Day 3; Not such a productive day today. I had a meeting in the morning in Keene so I would have gotten off to a late start anyway but then I had some car trouble so I had to drop the car off to be fixed on the way home and then since I was at the dealership I just had to test drive a brand new 2012 GMC Acadia (I'm in love...) ad then wait for Frank to give me a ride home. Yesterday I had forgotten to buy spackle so then I had to run to the hardware store to buy spackle. Needless to say I didn't get that much done. Most everything is spackled and half the room is primed but I can't prime the rest of the room until the spackle dries and I can sand it a bit. I did get one of the windowsills sanded down and refinished though. Frank and I are still debating flooring but I think we have it narrows down now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yarn Along

So since the studying is behind me I have focused on fun reading! I really enjoyed this book The Help. I got it at Borders in Burlington b/c they are going out of business so everything is on sale. Frank and I spent WAY too much money on books but we got some really useful books about farming and knitting and crocheting, plus a few fun books for ourselves and the kids. So I'll have plenty to write about as I read through our new stash. Anyway back to The Help; I enjoyed it very much and it was an interesting change to read about the civil rights movement through the eyes of women and servants. I was truly amazed at how different and complex their relationships were. The whole part about wanting the black servants to have a separate toilet but yet the white ladies were perfectly content to eat the food they cooked and have them watch their children. It's just very interesting.

Heat Wave I read because Castle is one of my favorite tv shows. I think I'll stick with the tv show. The book was fine- a quick easy mystery read but certainly nothing special.

As for my knitting I finished up the first part of a pair of glove/mittens for myself. They are from this pattern. The fingers were way more a pain than I was expecting so my goal had been to have them finished in time for the fair. I didn't get as much knitting done as I had planned so they were not nearly ready in time this year. We're heading to the fair this afternoon so I get to find out how I did. I only entered things into the needlework division this year- I skipped canning and cooking b/c last year was such a disappointment that I didn't feel like it was worth my time. I take real pride and enjoyment in my needlework- both knitting and sewing so I feel confident that I won't be terribly disappointed. Plus by exhibiting in the fair I get to purchase a discounted exhibitor pass. As long as I can make $15 in prize money I recoup all my costs of going to the fair and since the prize money is $5/$3/$2 per category and I entered 9 things I'm hoping I win enough ribbons to recoup my $15! I submitted the quilt below as well: