Wednesday, September 28, 2011

James' Birthday Party

Well these are belated photos from James' birthday but you get the idea! Sunday September 18th James turned 2 years old! I'm still in shock... We had a nice quiet morning that day. Presents in bed with mommy and daddy and then breakfast. The boys went to church while mommy went on a last minutes cleaning rampage! After church they picked up the deli platters and cake from the local store and then came home and chased naughty sheep that had gotten out of their pen and gone to visit the neighbors. We had a terrible time getting them down for naps b/c they were so excited about the party! Xander was beside himself about the cake and the fact that he had gone to go help daddy pick it up. This is the first year that my friend M has been unable to make the cake for one of the boys birthdays so we had to settle for store-bought cake. It came out cute enough but surely not as creative or tasty as M would have come up with but alas work does so often get in the way of these things! I was just thrilled to discover I could order deli platters and the cake from the local store here in Winchester because not having to drive to Keene that morning was a great time-saver! Anyway we finally got them both down for naps but poor Xander ended up sleeping most of the party because he had gone down for his nap so late- he made up for it though!

This year James had a cowboy themed party. I figured I was going to chose his theme while he is too young to have a say. By next year I am sure he will have an opinion- we may be stuck with tractor parties for the foreseeable future! James got lots of wonderful presents but I think that this tractor was probably the favorite (way to go E and co.... can you tell she has 2 boys!), other favorites included a hellophone(James loves listening to me saying "I Love you James" over and over and over again!), the hammer/ball tower- although we have already lost 2 of the balls somewhere in the living room, and last but certainly not least another bouncy cow. Thanks for all the fantastic presents everyone. I can now say with certainty that my children have WAY too many toys!

So along with the cowboy themed party came cowboy hat party favors. My boys have certainly enjoyed playing with them so we call them a hit! The sheriff's badges were more of a bust- too hard to pin on- but the boys have fun with their hats and boots and bandannas tied around their necks. We also had a little craft table in the sun room where the kids could string cowboy themed beads into necklaces, bracelets, hatbands etc. Thank you Riley for all your help with the kids and beads- it could have been a disaster but was fun for most I think.

So in a nutshell there you have it. Food, drink, cake, presents, lots of kiddos running around, crafts, and a beautiful fall day all led to a all around great birthday party for my "baby" boy!

Yarn Along

Here I am yarning along with Ginny again this week. Come and join us and see what people are reading and knitting! I am almost finished with my second Clara Cowl. I bought 2 skeins of the cheaper acrylic thinking that it would be nice for Christmas gifts and I do love this pattern for it's quickness and ease. Plus living here in NH who couldn't use a beautiful neck warmer in winter. Part of what I love about this pattern is that is looks so complicated and intricate but it isn't really all that difficult to knit. A few tricky parts but easily mastered with some practice. I think that the acrylic yarn though is maybe a bit too chunky- it is wonderfully soft and cushy and machine washable however. It will be a good choice for someone who is allergic to wool. I have some alpaca that I bought in March simply because I couldn't resist it's softness so for my next one I am going to use that and see if the alpaca is a little bit thinner and would better frame the face. Then after that I plan on trying some cascade 128 superwash and maybe some malabrigo chunky that I have. Can you detect a stash busting movement in progress????

I finished a second square for the DSD afghan contest using the diagonal block from this pattern. I actually like this block so much I could knit a whole blanket out of it. It has some really good texture to it. I used cascade 128 superwash and that stuff is so soft! So that gives me two squares to mail in and 2 chances at winning the finished afghan. I think I will call it good. They have to be mailed by Monday and I have other knitting projects calling my name.

I continue to work on James' Milo bit by bit. It is my fall back project when I get bored with other things so I haven't gotten very far on it. I like having one project ready to be picked up and brought along wherever I go. Last night we drove down to CT to buy some Southdown Babydoll ram lambs and I, of course, brought my knitting along. I got to the kitchener portion of the clara cowl and decided the road was too bumpy so I moved onto the milo till it got too dark. Can I just say that going from size 13 needles to size 5 is a bit disconcerting. I seriously felt like they were just going to snap in my fingers!

I have been reading through "What your preschooler needs to know" prior to reading it to Xander. It should be age appropriate but you never know these days! I love all the poems and songs- it's like a blast from the past and now I can find the words to all those little songs/chants/poems we used to sing as kids and that I have mostly forgotten. So far I like everything that I have read in it and it has been appropriate. I figured we would use it as a complement to Xander's actual preschool classes.

ps. Project notes can always be found on my raverly projects page here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

James 2 Yr Appointment!

I am still having a hard time believing that my baby is 2 years old! I took him for his 2 year appointment on Monday and he weighed in at a whopping 23.6 lbs! That puts him on the 5th percentile for weight but hey at least he is back on the curve. It has taken him until now to regain his original growth curve since his bouts with the stomach flu in February. Height wise he is growing like a weed; he has grown over 2 inches since May! He was 33.75 inches this week, which bumped him above the 25th percentile for height. Xander might have a run for his money because at this rate James is going to be taller.

Overall he is very healthy. He has continued to have a lot of issues with sleeping- both falling asleep and staying asleep. Falling asleep is always a struggle and staying asleep come and goes in fits and spurts. For whatever reason he seems incapable of falling asleep by himself. He will scream and scream and scream for hours if you let him- until he is hoarse and loses his voice. If you lay down with him he is asleep in minutes most of the time. I think he has gotten so used to the comfort of nursing to sleep that he needs that physical contact to let himself relax enough to drift off. For now we have moved him to crib size mattress on the floor of his room and that seems to be working well b/c you can lay or sit with him and he goes down pretty easily. We may consider purchasing a full size bed for him to sleep in so we can lay down with him more comfortably. His issues with waking up in the middle of the night often seem to be related to his breathing. He usually seems like he is huffing and puffing when he wakes up. It's hard to say though if he is actually wheezing or if he is breathing hard from being upset and crying. He doesn't have any wheezing issues during the day and keeps up with Xander just fine so we're just keeping a watchful eye for now. With him sleeping on the mattress on the floor I was hoping if he woke up he would just come to our room but usually he ends up at the top of the stairs crying... Our bed usually gets pretty full around 3-4am because both Xander and James come and join us. That's why we needed the king size bed right!?!?!?!?

Speech wise he is doing awesome- almost too well in fact! He has learned to say "I want..." extremely well. He is using 4-5 word sentences and is quite understandable most of the time. His favorite works include "gone", "backpack", "I hide" and "mommy." He has his 6 months eval for speech next week and I am guessing that they are going to switch him to every other week. It looks like by the time he turns 3, barring any issues with his ears or his tubes falling out, he may no longer need speech therapy. His last hearing test put him in the normal range and he has a follow-up next month and I expect given his progress that will look normal as well. Here's hoping for a healthy winter with no ear infections!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yarn Along

Here I am yarning along with Ginny again. I promise details from James' birthday soon.

I finished up The Secret Garden last week and moved on to some more fun reading. I was at the bookstore looking for a book for my mom and I saw this new novel by Linda Howard. She is one of my favorite fun authors and since I spent so much time reading heavy stuff earlier this year I feel the need to indulge in some fluff. This was a really quick, fun read. Next up.. What Your Preschooler Needs to Know.

The knitting is a swatch for an Afghan contest I entered. Basically everyone knits or crochets a 10x10 block and for every block that you knit/crochet you get entered for a chance to win the completed afghan. I knit this square as a 3/3 garter stitch rib in Knit Picks Comfy Bulky in Arbor. It is so soft and squishy! I have a bunch left of the skein so now I have to decide if I want to knit some more afghan squares or do something else with it. I'm a little hesitant to knit more afghan squares b/c since everyone is sending in different things it probably isn't the greatest idea to have bunch of squares in the same color. Also the daycare lady at the YMCA where we go was asking for baby doll blankets for the kids to play with so I could use the leftovers for that or for the Knitted Farmyard that someday I will really get cracking on! I am in a limbo of what to cast on next...

And last but certainly not least is the finished hobby horse for James. I did decide against the bridle in the end because of time constraints but also because I found James trying to eat the D-rings off of Xander's horse and after the 18th time disentangling the bridle from the wheels of their ride-on Xander's horse is without bridle as well now! James' response was much more receptive that Xander's (who said "I don't want that!") he jumped on and started riding right away even without the stick. The horse is currently without stick because we need to cut it down to the right size. The ears worked out much better this time- they look more like horsey ears and less like donkey ears so I am really pleased. I felted them first and then sewed them on and because I did the mane a little but fuller I was able to anchor them into the mane a bit. I also felted this one a little harder so it is smaller than Xander's but his is really too big for my little guys. My only dislike is that for whatever reason there is this weird kinda bulge under the neck- with Xander's I thought it was a goof on my part but now I think it is just part of the pattern. It's not a big deal really but I think the neckline could be smoother like a real sock would be. James is thrilled though so that is all that matters!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

James is Two Years Old!!!!!

It seems hard to believe but my baby is two years old today! I finished his hobby horse late last night (with the exception of the stick which was added today since Daddy had to cut it!) so at least the poor kiddo had a present for his birthday. Well I have to go prepare for the cowboy theme festical for later today so pictures later...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yarn Along

Here we are yarning along again with Ginny. I love seeing what everyone else is up to- go and take a peek.
I finished up the body of the Hobby Horse from last week and am just working on the ears now. I told Frank last night that I had halves of 2 ears done and he was like, "doesn't that mean you have one done?!??!" But I have both inner ears done and the outer ears left to do so technically not. They are easy and fairly quick to do it is just a matter of finding the time.

Along with knitting and trying to squeeze in a few moments of reading we are preparing for James' cowboy themed birthday party on Sunday. I can hardly believe my baby is going to be 2! Of course preparing for the party has been hindered by my little mishap in zumba on Monday night. I took a bad step and sprained my ankle pretty badly. The whole side of my foot is black and blue and swollen and it has definitely slowed me down! Monday night I just sat on the couch and cried it hurt so badly. Tuesday it felt a lot better so I was able to drag myself into town and to the Dr's who gave me the air cast which has helped tremendously. After getting the air cast I was able to run some errands but by the time I got home I was so darned tired I got exactly nothing done and went to bed. Today James had speech therapy and I have to work tonight and tomorrow so hopefully Friday and Saturday will be productive; otherwise I am in trouble! I'm hoping to finish the ears on the horse on my lunch breaks at work, then Friday I can felt it. and Sat put it together. I have everything I need to get it together I just need to finish the ears.

Needless to say I haven't had much time to read but I have been working my way through The Secret Garden. I love this book! It is one of my favorites. I also read some more Nora Roberts b/c it is so easy tp just pick up and put down.

I'll leave you with a photo from James' speech therapy this morning. It's nice to know that my kids (even my one year old) love to read as much as I do!

"What Mommy? I'm Reading!!!!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yarn Along with some sewing thrown in....

I am still working on the hobby horse for James' birthday. I hopefully will finish the main body of the horse by tomorrow- just the nose left to go. Then I have to get the ears done so I can felt it. Then comes the putting it together part. I am having a dilemma with James' horse about the bridle. I did put the bridle on Xander's but mostly they just use it to tie each other up and wrap it around the wheels of their ride-ons. So it is very tempting to not knit the 9 yds (yes 9 yds....) of i-cord to make the bridle. I could pretend that I will do it when he is a bit older but let's be honest that would be a lie. If it doesn't go on now it probably never will! So bridle or no bridle.... that is the question of the week?

Reading wise I have been reading pure trash. Every once in a while you just have to do it! I finished up Yarn Harlot: Free Range Knitter and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work but fr now I wanted some more real quick and easy reads. So Diana Palmer and Nora Roberts it was... pure, fluffy romantic quick reads. I am feeling the desire to reread the Secret Garden so that will be next on my list- I just have to rescue my copy from my mom's house. Actually I need to make a book run on my mother's house b/c she has stacks of my kids books that I need to get and bring back to my house. Xander is getting old enough to sit through chapter books so I am looking forward to reading him all the classics and all my childhood favorites. Plus I have a huge collection of ladybird books that I think he will enjoy (assuming mom didn't give them all away....). On Friday I am set to pick up all the books from my Usborne book show so I am really looking forward to sorting though all those. I am going to keep many of them for James' birthday and Christmas but a few I am sure will make it onto the bookshelves before then. Plus I want to preread some of the story collections before reading them to Xander to make sure they aren't too scary- the Grimm fairy tales in particular. So basically I have plans for a lot more reading to come.

I haven't gotten much done knitting really this week because I have been working on the valances and shades for my bedroom. This was my first time making roman shades so it was quite the adventure and challenge. I have one shade and valance completely done and the second one underway. I was thinking about doing a tutorial on how I made my shade and valance but the reality is there are plenty of really great tutorials out there already so nothing that I could improve upon. I used this website: very heavily. She has excellent instructions on making roman shades and plenty of step by step tutorials and photographs for us visual learners. I did make some modifications to her classic roman shade by using battens only on the down folds which worked out ok. If I had to do it again I would go ahead and do the battens on every fold but you can get away with it on only the downfolds if you don't mind doing some straightening every once in awhile. I also didn't like the idea of slitting the hem to insert the weight rod so I stitched in a buttonhole before I did the hem. That way the weight rod slides right into the hem and I don't have to worry about frayed edges- not that you really would since I used a blackout lining but it the perfectionist in me coming out.

Frank doesn't love the fabric on the valance because he thinks it is too fussy but I like it. It has seashells and sea life on it so it brings in that beachy feels and it brings a little more blue into the room. I felt like I was getting too much green going and i needed to bring back that aqua feel. I felt pretty good though when I saw the exact same curtains in country curtains for $10 more per yard than I paid! I definitely saved money by making my own but the shades still ended up being pretty pricey. I used a home decorator fabric because it was the only thing that I found that really suited my color scheme and also because it has the stain and fade resistance built in but that meant the the fabrics ranged in the $15-20 range and for a 60in shade on a directional fabric you need a lot of fabric. It's hard to see in this picture but the shade has a aqua green coral print on it which could really only be cut in one direction. Then I had to buy a whole roll of cord for stringing the shade plus the hardware and the blackout lining (which I got 50% off) but let's just say it wasn't cheap! I could have probably gotten something at wally world for a whole lot less but it wouldn't have matched as well or had that custom look. I also really needed custom fit shades with the blackout lining so that I can sleep during the say when I am working. So we'll call it a compromise. I spent more than I wanted to but I got exactly what I needed (and wanted). Now I just have to finish the second shade by Friday so I can put them to use before work!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Xander's First Day of School!

Today Xander started school! Can you believe my baby is old enough to be in school- even preschool?!?!?!?!?! Technically he would have been eligible to start last May when he turned 3 but we decided it was silly to start him 2 weeks before the end of school so today he went for his first day of preschool. He was mostly excited about riding the bus but mommy was mean and took him to school this morning. James and I dropped him off at his classroom where he had about 1 minute of nervousness when one of the teachers greeted him rather enthusiastically but he quickly overcame. We found his cubby and took off his jacket and hung up his backpack and then headed back into the classroom and he took off to go play with the other kids. I had to call him back to come and give me a kiss and then he was like "see ya, bye". So much for him being shy! Last week we went to preschool testing and then the open house so he had been to the classroom several times and he has met his teacher several times as well so he was familiar with the whole set up which I am sure helped. I know several of the other parents in the class (mostly because I was there when these kiddos were born...) and also through daycare so he knows some of the other kids in the class.

He rode the school bus home which was the highlight of his day, along with playing on the playground. The noontime bus is a little bus so his only complaint was that he wanted to ride the big bus! Mommy isn't quite sure she is ready for the big bus but we are going to give it a go tomorrow morning! I think the bus will pick him up around 8:20 in the morning and he gets home from school about 12:15. His teacher's note from today said he played well with others and joined in in circle time and "didn't seem at all nervous." So all in all his first day seemed to be a great success. We'll see how he feels when he has to go back every day- right now the newness of it all is exciting.

Xander's thoughts about school

This is what Xander had to say over breakfast this morning about his first day of school today.