Friday, November 20, 2009

You Might Want to Skip to the Last Paragraph

As I've mentioned before this blog has become a bit like therapy for me. Like Gidgit and Doogie Howser, I feel better when I put it into words. Thus...

Wednesday was a really bad day. It started bad, perked up a bit in the middle, and ending in an astonishingly awful way. But it proved it's point: even at her worst, Bear has an amazingly big heart and I love her.

Andrew's Aunt Linda was given bad news in August. Suspicious spots on her liver, possibly a new cancer, possibly a metastasis from her breast cancer years ago. We'd have to wait for the biopsy. Two weeks later the bad news got worse. The spots on her liver were indeed metastasis, but not from her history of breast cancer. She was diagnosed with primary pancreatic cancer that had already spread to her liver and possibly her bones. With chemo she had a few months. Then came the strokes that left her unable to eat or speak but awake and alert enough to be afraid. She lost her battle Wednesday morning.

Linda and her husband Denny were amongst the first of Andrew's relatives that I met and easily two of my favorites. They were warm and inviting from the very beginning - letting us stay with them every time we made the trek to the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. The first time we spent the weekend Andrew looked at me and said, "Can't you just see this family room full of our kids on Christmas morning?" I could. Their front porch was the perfect size for the padded wicker furniture it held. Even in winter the porch called out to you first thing in the morning, "Come, sit and sip hot chocolate." Staying with Denny and Linda wasn't just a convenience, it was part of the vacation. I will miss her more than I can possibly express.

Bear noticed my tears and asked if I missed Daddy, who happened to be on a business trip in Albany when his mom called with the bad news. Not waiting for my answer, she wrapped her little arms around my legs and squeezed, telling me that it was OK, Daddy would be home soon.

I pulled myself together and packed our bag for the day. A fully stocked diaper bag for Tadpole, lunch for Bear and I, Bear's appointment "ticket" for the dentist, and her swim bag. After another amazing trip to the dentist (awarded with a Hello Kitty skirt and top this time) and a very productive swim class we were back at home.

Tadpole was running low on Orajel and Bear was running high on energy so I suggested we take a walk to the convenience store down the road. I put Tadpole in the Baby Bjorn and a leash on Samantha, Bear put her teddy bear in her pink Build-A-Bear Baby Bjorn and we were all on our way. We were almost there when I heard a high pitched bark. Without any warning at all, a little Boston Terrier darted across the street yapping at Samantha. The next few seconds passed in freeze frame slow motion. A blue green car, a yelp, the spinning of tires, a loud crunch and the little doggy lying in a heap, practically at our feet. It was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen and if I live to be 100 I will never forget it. Bear, barely four years old, witnessed the whole thing.

She was sobbing as we tried to find the dogs owner. A 12-year old boy with a leash in his hands appeared from behind the house. He crossed the street and scooped up the dog. Then he brought him to his front step and dropped him. It was gut wrenching. I don't know if he dropped him in anger, or disgust, or if he thought he might land on his feet and run inside but I get a pit in my stomach thinking about it. I decided to get the Orajel later and took Bear to sit on a friends porch. I knew she was still at work but we needed a second and she lived nearby. Bear asked a million questions I wish I had answers to... Why? Why did that doggie run into the road? Why didn't that car stop? Why is that boy sad? Are they going to take him to the animal hospital and fix him? Did the doggie die?

I decided to be honest with her. The doggie ran into the street because he was excited and he forgot to look both ways and wait for his owner. The car just couldn't stop fast enough. And the boy is sad because his doggie died. I told her that they couldn't take him to the animal hospital. That even the hospital can't fix it when someone gets squished by a car. She cried off and on the entire way home, telling me that she was very upset and sad.

When we got home, she immediately got out her art supplies and asked for a piece of plain white paper. Then she asked me how to spell sorry. She made that little boy a card. Drew him pictures to make him feel better. Then she spelled her name and the two other words she knows - mom and dad. She told me she wanted to bring the card to the little boy to make him smile but first she wanted to go to the store and get him some flowers. Today after work, that is exactly what we did. She picked a small violet plant and had the sales lady wrap light and dark pink ribbon around the pot. Then she helped me deliver it. She may be four and stubborn and overwhelming at times, but my daughter has a heart bigger than Texas and I love her.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Better than Prozac

Today has been a challenging day here in the Condon household. Andrew left Monday afternoon on a business trip - we're going to meet him in New Hampshire Friday night... if we all live that long.

I once read somewhere that the toddler/preschool years are referred to as the first "adolescence", well let me tell you something, Bear may not see the second. We had four major blow-outs today. And when I say major, I mean that I am surprised the neighbors don't call the police. Bear is all girl when it comes to her emotions. Hormonal, hysterical, screaming, crying, kicking, throwing, slamming fits are commonplace. Three of today's revolved around me requesting that she wear something other than silky pajama bottom shorts and an undershirt outdoors (for the record it was about 60 degrees and WINDY today). One of the times I asked her to get dressed it was because I wanted to take her to a new park/zoo that we haven't visited yet but one of my bff's raves about. Seriously? Show me one other kid who throws a fit because someone wants to take them to the zoo. The last melt down was over bedtime which finally ended when I called Andrew and had him chat and "snuggle" with her over the phone until she fell asleep.

I am exhausted by all of this. I am also desperately saddened by the screaming and yelling I end up doing. I am adamantly opposed to spanking - no matter the situation - there is a history of physical abuse in my past and I will absolutely not allow that in my home. Tonight, Andrew told me that I verbally hit Bear when I scream at her. I collapsed into sobs. I love my daughter, more than I could possibly ever express in words. But there comes a point when I have been yelled at, and hit, and bombarded with all sorts of flying toys that I forget to be the parent and instead resort to playing the role of sparring partner.

I worry about Bear. I don't know if Bear is a normal preschooler or if she has somehow inherited the dark cloud of depression that used to hover above me. It's no secret that Zoloft is my ticket to participating in life but the thought of medicating a three year old.. Andrew is going to call the pediatrician tomorrow to set up an appointment with the child psychologist, we'll start there.

You're wondering where the "better" part of the title comes in? No it's not in that last paragraph. As I sat on the couch tonight, my eyes raw from crying, my phoned dinged to tell me I had a new email message. Someone had just left a comment on my 100 things post. I didn't know what they were referring to, so I went back and read the post. Then I read all the comments. And laughed. Then I started linking to other peoples blogs. And reading. And the anger and stress of the day started to drip down towards my toes to be deposited on the carpet instead of in my heart.

Thank you.

P.S. Yes I do still actually knit. That will be, gasp, tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Neglectful

That is what I have been. Between two kids, two dogs, one husband, one step-daughter, work, breastfeeding, one knitting blog, one knitting swap, knitting itself and various other hobbies something had to give. This month it was the knitting blog. Maybe next month it will be the kids. :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho

I went back to work this week. Part time. LOVE IT! I'm sure I will love it a bit less when I get that first decreased paycheck but I really like the easier pace of working 24-hours a week instead of 40. I get to "sleep in" a few days a week and enjoy Bear and Tadpole while they are still little but I also get adult interaction and mental stimulation (beyond reviewing my shapes and colors). I am one happy and content clam.

I didn't meet my goal of finishing all WIP's over the summer but hey, they're my WIP's, I'll finish them when I am good and ready. For now I am happy to start a few more projects. I've started a simple baby pullover for Tadpole but he is growing like a weed (14.5# at 13 weeks!) so I'm not sure if it's even going to fit. I also started a red cabled sweater for Tadpole for Christmas pictures but I'm thinking it is more intricate and time-consuming than a baby sweater should be. I have also begun building an Etsy shop for myself. I have four custom orders right now and hope to post a few ready-to-sell sweaters within the next couple of weeks.

Fall is here in New England. The nights and early mornings are cool. I am sad to see the summer go but also happy that it's no longer a zillion degrees out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Brush with a Legend

In the eleventh grade I was fortunate enough to participate in Project Close-Up in Washington, D.C. It was my first time on an airplane (which I might have been more excited about than the actual trip itself).

On Capitol Hill day we had a scavenger hunt type list of things to find (a copy of a bill, etc.) and were to meet in our congressman's office at some certain time. While my friend Tim and I were walking down the street we saw our congressman, Patrick Kennedy. And like the two starstruck teenagers we were, we pointed and gaped and made a complete spectacle of ourselves to the point that Patrick Kennedy crossed the street and introduced himself (probably to minimize the scene we were causing). When he found out that we were from Rhode Island and actually scheduled to meet him later that day he took us with him to see a vote. And while Patrick Kennedy was voting, his father, Ted Kennedy appeared. Patrick spoke a few words, pointed up to the balcony, and then Ted Kennedy waved to us. To me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Little Girl Is Getting So Big

Last week, Andrew took Bear, K (my step-daughter), and his mom to the far reaches of Pennsylvania for the third bi-annual family reunion. Tadpole and I stayed home since no one wanted to be in a car for twelve hours with a baby that hates his car seat. While they were gone I spent five days clearing out clutter and rearranging furniture, turning K's weekend bedroom into Tadpole's nursery and turning Bear's nursery into her new "big girl room". When all was said and done, I cried. She's getting big so quickly. Here are some pictures of her new room.




Monday, August 10, 2009

A Lesson Learned

After a recent rash of flying toys, Andrew and I instituted a new rule: If Bear throws something it goes in the garbage. After losing a pair of flip flops and a baby bottle the air traffic around the house greatly diminished. Last week she chucked "Binky Bear" at Andrew. He took it away and told her it was going in the trash can (major temper tantrum ensued). Since we wouldn't actually throw away Binky Bear, Andrew just hid it. A couple of days later he gave it back on account of good behavior. That's when Bear and I had this conversation...

Bear: The recycle man didn't take Binky Bear away?

Me: No, he was going to but Daddy knows how much you love Binky Bear so he asked the recycle man to leave Binky Bear here.

Bear: Not like my flip flops?

Me: Right. Your flip flops are all gone because you threw them at Mommy.

Bear: So I can throw things at Daddy but not at you?

Me: No Bear, we don't throw things at anybody.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Owl Hat


Pattern: Who by Sara Amoroso
Yarn: Rowan Pure Life Organic Cotton
Begun: 6/29/2009
Finished: 8/5/2009
Notes: Super cute pattern and very easy - it knit up in just a couple of hours. It took forever to finish because I lost it after I took it to the store to pick out matching buttons. It's still a bit big for Tadpole, but I think he likes it. :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Riverstone


Pattern: Riverstone by Justine Turner
Yarn: Comfort by Berroco
Begun: 3/1/2009
Finished: 8/5/2009
Notes: This is not a difficult pattern by any stretch, but it requires some pretty detailed row counting. I relied on my row counter which Bear kept playing with to see how many "points" I had. I put it aside for about two months because I couldn't stand to rip back rows again. It's a cute sweater now that it's done. Good thing I made it in size 12 months - at least baby Ruby hasn't outgrown it already.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SP14 - Package One!

My first SP14 package arrived this past weekend. My pal is from Finland and made me a forest themed package. I love it!!! First a pic of the goodies:


Here is everything before I dug in. First, a wool mitten kit with a forest theme from a Finnish designer made with Finnish wool, Finnish and Swedish chocolates - you need snacks when hiking, napkins with moose on them, and a vacation guide book to my pal's hometown - won't she be surprised when I show up on her doorstep :-). In the wrapped packages there is a tiny wooden moose that sits on a pot and keeps the lid slightly elevated to let out steam (haven't seen that since Bear asked to "look" at it), a juniper butter knife, a washcloth for Tadpole, and a Swedish puzzle for Bear. She LOVES puzzles and this one is the perfect hard-enough-to-require-thought-but-not-so-hard- that-mom-has-to-do-it combination.

Another part of my package that I love, and that my pal had no way of knowing, is that my husband's family is Swedish so she not only gave me knitting gifts, she gave me a piece of family.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

February Baby Sweater

Long winded explanation: I finally figured out how to use Facebook. Turns out it's not that hard to do when you have five baby screaming minutes free. I love it, but what strikes me the most is how I have daily conversations with people I knew (of) in high school and barely spoke to. One actual friend from high school, Amanda, and I have been co-workers for quite some time but now that we both have become moms we seem to have so much more in common than when she was on the volley ball team and I played tennis. (How petty we were.) Anyway... she is becoming god-mother to her niece this weekend and asked me if I could knit a non-cookie cutter gift for said niece. Thus, the February Baby Sweater.


Baby Tadpole modeling - don't tell daddy!


Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Begun: 7/23/2009
Finished: 8/1/2009
Notes: My first FO with a lace pattern. I now understand what everyone means when they say that lace is intuitive. You know what stitch comes next after the first couple of rows. I've never actually gotten past the first couple of rows before. :-)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Really?

Knitting Needles Poke Security the Wrong Way
By GRANT STINCHFIELD

A North Texas woman is asked to leave a Balch Springs Social Security office after a guard accused her of carrying dangerous weapons: her knitting needles.

“The armed guard came up to me and said I have to take that outside,” said Rachel Vines.

Vines said the only thing she was trying to kill inside the waiting room was time.

“I wasn't shoving them in people's faces going, 'look I have sharp pointy things,'" she said. "I was sitting there minding my own business trying to knit a sock.”

Apparently the Officer determined the five-inch knitting needles were a threat to the safety and security of those inside the building. The Federal Protective Service oversees security inside the building and would not answer questions about the incident, but it did email NBCDFW this statement:

“The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is responsible for keeping federal properties safe and secure for both employees and visitors. If an FPS guard determines that an object carried by a visitor could present a safety risk or be used by another person as a weapon, they may be asked to remove it from the building.”

People in the waiting room used words like “ridiculous” and “outrageous” when referring to the guards move to make Vines remove the needles.

Vines did put her yarn and knitting tools in the car but said she’s still flabbergasted by the whole ordeal.

“I cant even fathom what he was thinking," she said. "That I was going to harm someone by knitting? I just don’t get it."

Sorry Lisa, but this is just one more reason I will NEVER live in Texas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Love

Thank you all for your encouragement and support this week. Clearly I needed it.

Tonight, Bear gave me one of those makes-it-all-worth-it moments that reminded me just how much I love this crazy thing called motherhood.

We were at Gymboree and as we were checking out Bear asked if she could get a necklace. She handed me two necklaces and asked if I could untangle them because they were stuck. I explained to her that they weren't stuck, that it was a pair of necklaces - two halves of heart, one says "Best" the other says "Friends". I told her she could wear one and give the other one to her best friend to wear. She looked at me and said, "Mommy you're my best friend." My eyes filled with tears. (The sales girl was looking a little misty too and offered to cut off the tags so we could put them on right away.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Motherhood is NOT for Sissies

I don't think I ever truly understood that phrase until today.

I feel like every little "thing" that happens is like someone throwing a ping pong ball at me. Harmless really, mildly annoying. But when there are 45 ping pong balls coming at you from just as many directions, constantly, it is becomes frustrating. And when it continues for hours upon hours upon days upon days it can be soul crushing.

I remember holding Bear as an infant, dreaming of the days when we would play Candy Land together. When she would talk and we would read stories and cook together. Now I have nightmares about Candy Land and wish, that for just one day, she would talk for maybe 12 continuous hours a day instead of her current 16. I look at Tadpole and I can't even think that far ahead. All I can think is WHEN is he going to stop his incessant screaming. WHY won't he stop? WHY can't I make him feel better? WHEN will I be able to put him down so that I can have 15 minutes to myself? There are people out there desperate to have children and right now, the best part of my day is when my husband takes them all to the grocery store and leaves me alone at home. If I could get the dogs to stop barking and following me around licking my bare calves I'd be in heaven.

I love my children, I really really do. But right now I feel like a failure of a mother to them. I don't know how to soothe my infant son or how to talk to my preschooler so that she will listen and understand and behave. I feel like her inability to play nicely and share her toys is a direct reflection on my pitiful parenting skills. I feel like I yell too often and laugh too little. I feel like every other mother has the dishes and the laundry under control. That no one else has to stop and try to remember the last time the 3 year old took a bath. A good mother would say, instantly, last night of course and she'll have another tonight. A good mother would have the energy and patience to play yet another game of checkers with someone who doesn't understand the rules and invariably will decide to make up her own half way through and then YELL that I'm doing it wrong. No, wait, a good mother wouldn't be getting yelled at by her children.

I feel like the POSTER CHILD for bad moms everywhere and the guilt of failing my children is breaking me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And Now It's an Heirloom

This was the very first thing I made for Bear when I first found out I was pregnant. I picked a neutral pattern and color because I didn't know if I was having a boy or girl when I started. And now her baby brother is wearing the sweater. In July. Whatever is he going to wear in December? A suit made of fire?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Progress (of sorts)

It is far too hot to lug around the Pinwheel Sweater so I have returned to Tadpole's blanket. I think this square is done, though it may need more circles. (Any opinions?)


Then on to the circles on the blue square until my Knit Picks order arrives. I ordered 9 hanks of Simply Cotton Organic sport weight in Marshmallow to make this (the cropped version) to go with an Express dress that I picked up for $10 at Savers for Tadpole's Baptism. I cannot wait to see them together - I think that sweater was designed with my dress in mind.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

When I was pregnant with Tadpole I told Andrew I had just two requests - that this one like me and that he not get car sick on the way to to grocery store. Check and check. But on that first point, perhaps I should have been more specific because my spiteful wish-granting genie fashioned me a child who wants to be held constantly. By me. Just me. Which is severly cutting into my knitting time and eating time, and showering time and...

Anyone know how to knit with one hand?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SP14 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I have a love affair with Rowan Linen Drape but I have recently discovered bamboo blends.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A pink cardboard wine bottle gift cylinder thing holds my straight needles and a small basket holds the circular and double pointed needles.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting since elementary school, my mom taught me. I can knit almost anything though there are things that I am too afraid to try (steeks, for example) so perhaps an advanced intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
yes

5. What's your favorite scent?
fresh cut grass, rain, the ocean

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Of course! Sour patch kids, red Swedish fish, and those crunchy on the outside chewy on the inside raspberry things. Oh, and banana laffy taffy.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I started a scrapbook for my daughter this summer but with a three year old and a newborn knitting seems like enough right now. I have not tried spinning yet.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Jimmy Buffet, Jill Sobule, classical, Aerosmith, country... I'm really not into top 40 pop, rap, or hip hop.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like nature colors and I guess you can say all colors can be found in nature somewhere. I like fall and the ocean and the forest.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
One husband, a three year old girl, a newborn son, two dogs, a thirteen year old step daughter and a partridge in a pear tree.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hat, mittens yes. I love the look of ponchos but I've never been able to pull them off.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Whatever looks pretty in the book.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Current WIP's are the pinwheel sweater for me, a baby blanket, a baby sweater, two tank tops, a vest, two purses, and a couple gifts I can't mention. (How embarrassing... I should really try and finish something once in a while.)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, as long as it is something I will use. I would hate to have someone put a ton of time and effort into a tug boat cozy just to have it sit in my closet seeing as how I don't have a tug boat and all.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo straights and addi circulars. I would rather swallow double pointed needles then knit with them. I use two circulars instead.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Winder yes. On the right day I might trade the three year old for a swift.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Sadly, about three years.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?
Christmas, the 4th of July, and Flag Day. Christmas was always a huge family holiday when I was a kid - all the aunts and uncles and cousins at my grandparents house. The Fourth of July was an equally big holiday with the other side of our family. Flag Day was my late grandmother's birthday - we were very close and I was hoping that Tadpole would be born on the 14th but he made his appearance six days earlier.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn. Other than that I am not a knick-knack kind of person. I detest clutter (not that you can tell by the appearance of my house right now!!).

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Dying? Probably not. Knit So Fine has been on my wish list for a while. I subscribe to Interweave Knits.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Magic Loop.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
US Size 8. 9.5 inches (24cm) long, 3.5 inches (9cm) wide.

23. When is your birthday?
March 16

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Meganlynn

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tadpole's First Bottle

A momentous occasion for any baby no doubt. A more bittersweet occasion for mom.

With Bear, I gave her one bottle at about the same time - she took it without problem so I breathed a sigh of relief and avoided the whole subject of bottles and pumping until I had to go back to work. Of course, by then she had only had one bottle in three months and adamantly refused to accept a bottle for three heart wrenching, ear splitting days.

This time around we've decided to give Tadpole one bottle a day. You know, since it's so unlikely that I'll actually win the lottery by the end of August and I will have to go back to work. It's not that I think I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom - I think I'd lose my mind the first week. There's just something so horrible about leaving a three month old infant with strangers. And by the way, I LOVE our day care - they are fantastic people, very caring and compassionate. But they're not his mom, and he's so new, and little, and... sob.

This is about the time in my maternity leave with Bear that I started cursing the former president. Mister "Family Values" - we are the ONLY industrialized country without paid maternity leave. And even though it is unpaid, we have the SHORTEST amount of time that our employers are required to hold our job. Twelve weeks is just not enough time. The baby is so little and so helpless. And every pediatrician in the world will tell you that the best thing for a baby is to be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. How on earth is anyone supposed to do that?

OK. Sorry about the disjointed angry rant. Here are some cute pictures to make you forget my above spewing.

Ah, to add to my fabulous attitude the camera has eaten half of my Tadpole pictures. See you all another day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

Mmmm. I think I'll leave most of this subject be except to say that my first ever very own cassette tape was Thriller. I don't remember the occasion, but I know I received it as a gift from my Grammy and Grampy along with a Strawberry Shortcake cassette tape holder.

What an odd combination.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pinwheel Sweater

So I've finally finalized my color palette for the pinwheel sweater, which turned out t0 be harder than I thought it would be. The Cascade Ginger and Knit Picks Maple Syrup are virtually identical in color so I've been torn between keeping or ditching the Knit Picks. I took the whole thing to my LYS this afternoon and spent about half an hour lining up different shades of brown next to my sweater. In the end I decided to keep the Knit Picks (for lack of a better option really) and use Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Potting Soil Mix for the last ring of my pinwheel.


You may be wondering where I'm getting all this knitting time with a newborn to take care of... well, Tadpole nurses endlessly. Between the Boppy pillow and my, um, generous endowment my hands are pretty much free for hours each day (and night). I've been knitting in circles and melting my mind with Tivo'd episodes of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The First of Many

Every year when my friend Jill makes her annual pilgrimage home from Ohio she, Jeanine, and I take our kids to have their pictures taken together. The three of us were inseparable in high school. I love seeing our kids play together. It's amazing how different the photo sessions have been - from the first one when the girls were just babies and Jill's son, barely a year older, smacked each of them in turn to this year where the three of them, now preschoolers, were hamming it up for the camera. This was Tadpole's first professional photo shoot and he wasn't particularly cooperative but I've already made the next appointment for his one month pictures.






Monday, June 15, 2009

The Birthday Story - Part 2

Once the triage nurses were finally able to get my IV going, they transferred me to my actual labor and delivery room. The nurses were going on and on about what a great room number 28 was - how it is newly renovated and big, and blah, blah, blah. Really, the last thing I cared about at that moment was the decor of the delivery room. I'm sure if the interior designer was asked to do her work during childbirth the room wouldn't look nearly as nice. Because it really doesn't matter!

My labor nurse, Kelly, was awesome. The anaesthesiology team was in the room prepping me as the last drops of the IV were dribbling in. Now, with Bear, I don't even remember the epidural being placed. I had either been in labor so long (14 hours at that point) that I didn't notice or it was so painful that I instantly blocked it out. Either way, that HURT! But then it was all good. :-)

Once I could relax, I started giving Andrew the to-do list. This week has been cold and rainy so we needed to pick out a different coming-home outfit for Tadpole. He was texting my friends and updating his Facebook status throughout the morning, so I was giving him the names of people he needed to actually call (my grandmother for instance). When I got to the part about making cupcakes with blue frosting for Bear to bring to pre-school he couldn't keep it in anymore - with a mixture of laughter and irritation he bellowed "Focus on the task at hand!" Kelly chimed in with, "You have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Rest." So I rested.

A bit later, I asked Kelly if the catheter was still in because it was really uncomfortable. She was like, "Um, no." So my doctor came in, took one look, and yelled for a baby nurse as she was gowning up. Apparently, the "catheter" was the baby. I had been telling everyone (the labor nurse, the doctor, the medical student) that I had pushed for almost four hours with Bear. Kelly kept saying, "Yeah, we're not doing that today." I kind of took it as her being positive and keeping me going. Well three contractions and eight pushes later, Tadpole arrived.

Andrew and I kept looking at each other saying, "Can you believe this?" It was incredible. We went from not even knowing if I was really in labor to holding our newborn son. What an amazing day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Birthday Story - Part 1

Monday morning I woke up around 2:30 with some cramps and mild contractions. I didn't really think much of it, since I still had two weeks to go. I kept having contractions so I started "tracking" them. The previous Friday, my obstetrician had told me to that when the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and lasting at least one minute each to go to the hospital. My contractions were all over the place. So much so that I wasn't even sure that I was having contractions. I'd have one that would last 30 seconds, four minutes later I'd have one that lasted 45 seconds, then 40 seconds later I'd have another one that lasted 45 seconds.

At 5:30 I woke Andrew up and asked if he felt like having a baby that day. He kind of grunted something about not being funny so early in the morning and went back to sleep. THEN when I told him I wasn't kidding he said "Are you sure it's not just Braxton-Hicks? Why don't you just go to work and see what happens?" I told him I wasn't going to work, that I thought he should bring Bear and K to school (we had my step-daughter this weekend) and then come back home and get me. About ten minutes later I was like, OK, plan B - call my mom, have her come over and take the girls to school because we're going to the hospital.

While we waited for my mom to get to the house, we finished packing the hospital bag... I had started packing it SUNDAY and there were still several things that were not yet packed. Like the baby book. And the camera. So we tossed a bunch of stuff in there hoping we weren't forgetting anything essential and headed out. Andrew is joking with me the whole way there - like I was really in the mood for jokes. How this was his morning to sleep in, stop yelling at the guy in the high speed lane doing 50 it's not like I'm having a baby or anything - ha, ha, ha. At one point I told him not to mess with me because I had been up all night and there wasn't even any Diet Pepsi in the house. So he offers to stop and get me one on the way.

When we hit the exit for the hospital we got in the left hand lane to go to the Wendy's (they serve breakfast, how weird is that?) to get a Diet Pepsi. All of a sudden this monster contraction hit and Andrew took the next right and says, "Aannddd we're going to the hospital." When we got there the nurse took my vital signs while Andrew took care of the paperwork. Then she looks at us and says, "OK so you're going to head upstairs to labor room 3." Andrew went white and asked if I was really already that far along. The nurse says, no, a water pipe burst in the triage area so they were using the first couple of labor rooms for triage. (Perhaps she should have started with that.)

We get upstairs, the doctor comes in and says "OK, you're four centimeters so we're going to get you admitted." Andrew looks at me and says, "I didn't bring the bag in." Really? So now he has to head through the labyrinth of halls back to the parking lot and be buzzed through about 3 separate security doors to get back to the delivery room. While he's gone the nurse tries to start my IV so I can get the pre-requisite liter of fluids before they can start the epidural. Three really painful tries later it's still not in. My contractions are now about a minute and a half apart and intense. I told her I REALLY didn't want to miss that window of opportunity for the epidural and I would drink the liter of fluids if necessary. She laughed as though I were joking.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ADD

I have knitting ADD. I cannot focus on the SIX projects I have waiting to be finished. Instead, I decided to start the pinwheel sweater using a bunch of worsted weight stash that I have lying around. In fairness to myself I have made some minimal progress on the embroidered circles on baby Tadpole's blanket, but that's really been it.

I decided to do fall shades of orange and brown since I have a couple of hanks leftover from my Two-Toned Shrug (one leftover that I used, and one leftover that I bought and decided didn't really match the shrug) and almost four hanks of superwash ivory that I used some as is and dyed (my first dyeing project!!) in small batches to use. So far I L-O-V-E the color palette... the Cascade 220 Superwash in ivory, a mustardy yellow (superwash dyed), a butternut squash color (superwash dyed), Louet Riverstone in citrus, Cascade 220 in ginger, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Maple Syrup, and then I plan on overdying my Cascade 220 Tangerine Heather to a dark brown (it's just too bright to incorporate as is) for the last color circle. I know, a picture is worth a thousand words but I'm at work right now - perhaps I have ADD in general, since despite having a chart open in front of me I am blogging on and on about knitting and watching ER on the TV of the patient's room in front of me. Anyway, a picture will have to wait.

So far I have two color rounds completed (ivory and yellow) and will start the butternut round as soon as they yarn dries. Loving this project.

The color scheme thus far (can't take a picture without Bear in it!).

16 days and counting.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beautiful People

Me: Bear, can Daddy go to Dean's birthday party with you?

Bear: No! He doesn't have anything beautiful to wear!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vermont

Bear and I joined Andrew on an overnight work trip to Vermont. We drove up last night and home tonight. (Note to self: If I am ever 37 weeks pregnant again DO NOT plan a four hour car trip two days in a row.)

Bear was most impressed with the hotel. She walked into the bathroom and giggled hysterically upon seeing the bathtub. She thought it was great that there were two beds AND a couch all in the same room. And there was a little refrigerator just for her. It also helped that one of the hotel personnel gave her a package of Oreo's at breakfast.

While Andrew worked, Bear and I toured the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. We got there shortly after they opened for the day, so there were a total of four people on our tour - meaning Bear got to press all the buttons and play with all the samples. And she got a lot of her requisite one on one attention from our fantastic tour guide (thanks Gina!).


Her favorite part was the teddy bear hospital. Especially the example of what happens when you leave your Bear outside and Daddy runs over it with the lawn mower.


After the teddy bear tour it was pouring out so we scrapped our plans (outdoor gardens)and visited a toy store, book store, and a LYS. Bear got sparkly gold dress up shoes and I got some Rowan Organic Cotton. Then we went to get Daddy at work and Bear got to "help".




On the way home we stopped at an amazing restaurant in Manchester, NH. (I am the queen of picking out good places to eat based solely on the list generated by the GPS.)

During the drive (when I wasn't squirming to find a comfortable position) I managed to make another cabled baby bib for yet another colleague of Andrew's and to make some progress on Tadpole's blanket.

22 days and counting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bridal Shower

Bear came with me yesterday morning to pick out a bridal shower gift for a co-worker of mine. I chose two beautiful crystal water goblets off her registry. Bear was not impressed with the registry. Nor was she impressed with the other practical gifts I tried to point her towards. (Boring! I wish I could capture in print the attitude and disgust in her voice.) I managed to talk her out of the microwave and the hot pink fly swatter but I lost the war.

In front of all her aunts, cousins, friends, and bridesmaids "Miss Jen" opened a box of 100-calorie pack Sour Patch Kids and a matching box of 100-calorie pack Swedish Fish.

At least it wasn't wrapped in Hannah Montana paper.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shocked and Awed

Bear had her first visit to the dentist today. You may remember this trip to the pediatrician. With that in mind I had steeled myself for a complete horror show. Spitting, biting, restraints, I was ready.

But she was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

First off, I have to say that the hygienist, Trish, was great. I guess being a pediatric dentist practice and all they would know just how to handle kids but she was great with Bear. First she showed her to her special princess lounge chair. Then Trish let her see and touch each of the tools she would be using. She sprayed Bear's hair with air. Then shot water out the window, then at Mommy, and finally in Bear's mouth. Then "Mr. Thirsty" sucked a pool of water out of Bear's hand. Then her mouth. When Trish put the head of the chair back there was a mirror positioned directly above so Bear could see what was going on. When she had to turn on the overhead light, Trish gave her sunglasses to wear. She let Bear pick what color tooth brush (pink), what flavor tooth paste (bubble gum), and what flavor fluoride (cherry) to use. She was able to keep Bear involved and therefore relaxed.

For all my fears, she was amazing. She didn't flinch or even complain. Not even when they flossed her teeth. The hygienist told me that they have older kids who don't do that well. I was stunned.

Then came the prizes. A pink plastic car (that lost its wheels 10 seconds into the car ride home), a hippopotamus sticker, and a pink balloon longer than Bear. (Pictures tomorrow, once the princess wakes from her beauty sleep!)

We called Grandma the second we got in the car to tell her how wonderful Bear had been. Grandma had played dentist all day Tuesday with her, which I think played a big part in how receptive Bear had been to this new experience. Grandma confirmed my thoughts that such an amazing display deserved a trip to the toy store. (Not something I would usually condone, but a three year old, being a perfect angel at the dentist, consider it a grateful sacrifice to the gods.) After looking over the dolls, and jump ropes, and various musical instruments at Target she chose... a Dora scooter. More sacrifice than I had planned on, but when you say "any toy you want" I guess you had better be prepared to suffer the consequences.

We came home, Mommy muddled her way through the Diego directions that came with the scooter (clearly I chose the repackaged one) and we went for a scooter ride to the park. I am just so darn proud of my little girl today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

46 Days 6 WIP's

Can it happen?

I doubt it. Considering I wanted to post this last Saturday with WIP pictures but just haven't gotten around to taking the pictures yet (because I haven't gotten around to charging the camera battery yet).

Ah, but I dare to dream of finishing all my WIP's before baby Tadpole makes his appearance.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two FO's

Cotton Stretch Infant Hat



Pattern: Cotton Stretch Infant Hat
Yarn: Cascade Fixation Blueberry
Begun: 4/23/2009
Finished: 4/24/2009

Notes: Super quick super easy baby hat. Tadpole will wear this in the hospital after he is born. (Modeled by Bear and her doll Lucy.)


Amanda's Squatty Sidekick


Pattern: Amanda's Squatty Sidekick
Yarn: Briggs & Little Atlantic #75 Mulberry
Begun: 3/18/2009
Finished: 4/22/09

Notes: Made this for the Felted Purse Exchange on Ravelry. The purse ended up a lot bigger than I expected, though it's still cute. My one issue with this pattern... for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to pick up the stitches around the bottom and then keep knitting so I ended up picking up the stitches and turning my work around to continue knit stitch. The first time I did this I ended up making the increases for the sides about two inches off so I had to rip apart the entire thing and start over. The second time around I realized my mistake and adjusted the pattern for my knitting it "backwards".

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Eggs

This past Friday Bear and I went to my aunt's house to color Easter eggs with two of my cousins. My aunt had the usual colored plastic bowls that you fill with water and vinegar. She also bought a kit that had gel paint and small sponges. (The kit did include tweezers to hold the sponges but really, I can't get her to use a fork most days, never mind tweezers.)

Bear had a blast. The eggs are still in a basket in our family room. I'm going to have to sneak them out to the trash soon, before my whole house smells like spoiled eggs.



Hands, after the third round of soap and water.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

I bought this book at the airport last year during my business trip to Washington, D.C. and I've been reading it on and off for the past year. Not because I couldn't get into it, but because I only read it when I had a big chunk of uninterrupted time alone. Those rare occasions when I escape early in the morning for breakfast alone at the diner down the street or afternoons when Bear actually naps and I can curl up with a big steaming cup of tea.

The book is divided into three sections, as the title suggests. After a horribly messy divorce, Elizabeth Gilbert leaves the United States on a yearlong quest to find herself and lose her guilt over leaving her husband and disrupting their "Leave It to Beaver" life. She eats her way through Italy, prays for four months in India, and falls in love in Indonesia. The book was an easy, almost comforting read. Gilbert writes straight from her innermost thoughts and it's easy to feel as though you are sitting with a close friend. She's able to do a lot of soul searching without being whiny. And even though she's praying in India for four months, the book is not preachy.

This is a book I would recommend and one I will most likely read again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nutrition Fuels Fitness 5K

This past weekend was the Rhode Island Dietetics Association's annual Nutrition Fuels Fitness 5K. I volunteered at the raffle table with another dietitian from my hospital while Andrew took Bear to the kids fun run and then the obstacle course.

I got to watch her run the fun run. Definitely my child. She came in dead last in her heat, by about 10 yards (it was a 50 yard run). Well, not dead last. She did manage to beat the 18-month old who couldn't quite walk on her own and had two adults holding her hands as she chased after the rest of the kids.

This is from the obstacle course (can you tell Daddy was in charge of hair and wardrobe Saturday?)


On the knitting front, I actually am knitting. I've just been working on a felted purse for a swap so I can't really show pictures or whine about the pattern and my utter stupidity at reading said pattern as I forced myself to completely knit this one purse twice.

I also have some great Easter egg dying pictures to share as soon as I get electronic copies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Book Review: Lethal Shadow

I love true crime. I love The First 48, Forensic Files, The Real NCIS, etc. etc. One night I was watching Investigation Discovery (I think) and saw a story on Mike DeBardeleben. I had never heard of this guy before so I was psyched to see something new. This guy was on par with the best known criminals out there - Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Green River Killer, but unlike those well-known criminals, he has never confessed to any of his horrible crimes (except counterfeiting). I googled him, found this book, and ordered it right away.

Disturbed. That is the only way to describe this book.

Mike DeBardeleben was probably the most prolific counterfeiter in the history of the United States. He eluded the Secret Service for years. When he was finally caught the Secret Service uncovered evidence of just about every felony known to mankind - murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, bank scams, the list goes on and on. He was even linked to the murder of a real estate agent here in Rhode Island. Usually I can brush this stuff off but this guys story is haunting.

So all in all, as an example of the genre, an excellent true crime book. I wouldn't recommend it though.

Slowing Down

I write this lying on my side, with two pillows between my knees, another pillow wedged under my belly, and three more below my head. My back is tightly wound around an invisible coil. I have reached this point in pregnancy - again.

With Bear, this point came much quicker. I was barely in my fifth month when my right leg stopped working. I dragged myself around like a modern day Quasimodo. Up until yesterday, whenever anyone asked me how I felt I always answered "fantastic" or "great" or "wonderful" or "so much better than last time". Apparently the spirits had been goaded enough.

So now I am reduced to the essentials. Making sure we each have enough clean clothes for at least tomorrow. Making sure Bear has something substantial for dinner. Making her breakfast and lunch for pre-school, making sure she takes a bath. Feeding the dogs. And then I crash. I lie down with my pillows and my books and I resign from the real world until morning.

My husband is left with the lions share of the work. And when added to his crazy work schedule - our house looks, well, lets just say I hope we're not inspected for anything anytime soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In the land of lame excuses

lies this one.

I have not been to the gym in over a week because I cannot find the belt clip to my fancy pedometer and my exercise pants don't have pockets. I feel it's not worth going to the gym if I can't count the steps towards my 10,000/day goal.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Plagued

Apparently, Andrew and I have offended whatever spirit lives in our house...

Bear started with *high fevers followed by nothing for 24 hours* (repeat starred section) Saturday night. Tuesday she stopped turning her head and would instead turn her entire body if she needed to look at something. We spent Tuesday night on the phone with the pediatrician and checking on her hourly to make sure she wasn't developing meningitis. She was fine Wednesday and then started with the stiff neck thing again Wednesday night (another sleepless night of checking on Bear hourly). Thursday we finally took her to the pediatrician and found out she has strep throat - her swollen glands are probably causing her neck pain.

In the meantime, Andrew goes to the doctor to have his sore knee looked at and finds out that he has a partially torn ligament in his knee. Samantha and Alice went to the vet Wednesday for their yearly check up and shots BUT it seems Alice has an ulcer on her eye and an elevated white blood cell count so she can't get her shots. And Samantha has a double ear infection. So three prescriptions, a pending referral to a doggy ophthalmologist, and $350 later the dogs are on their way to well being.

But wait, in the middle of the night last night, Samantha fell off the bed. (Our bed is about 3 1/2 feet high.) No big deal, it happens sometimes. But last night, in flailing her paws about to stay on the bed she managed to snap off one of her nails. We woke up this morning to pools of blood all over the carpet.

If anything else goes wrong by the end of the week I am moving out until the church declares this place habitable again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Posy Slip

I love Interweave Knits as much as the next girl, however, I think someone has lost their mind with this one. The Posy Slip is cute - though I definitely wouldn't make it in purple and I'm not such a big fan of the striping effect of the yarn. But the biggest draw back? The part of this dress that would land me in divorce court? This dress calls for Artyarns Silk Pearl. Eleven to fourteen hanks of Silk Pearl. In case you're not understanding my outrage, that would cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $440 - $560 not including shipping. There are wedding dresses that cost less.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me Sweater Controversy

I love this radio show, but this might be the funniest thing I ever heard...

First, an offhand comment by Mo Rocca (3:30-4:00 if you don't want to listen to the whole thing).

And now his apology.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Appreciated

Bear: So I'm going to be a big sister and a little sister?

Me: Yup.

Bear. Thanks mom, I couldn't have done it without you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dear Baby Tadpole,

  1. My lungs are not footrests.
  2. My bladder is not a trampoline.
  3. It is very hard to sleep at night when your insides are doing the Jitterbug.
  4. "Above average" is not something you have to achieve at birth.
  5. Enough with the Cadbury Eggs and the apples with peanut butter already.
  6. I love you.
love,
mama

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pay-It-Forward Pillow


Yarn: Patons Classic Wool
Begun: 7/30/08
Finished: 3/8/09
Notes: Only seven months late... I like the finished product. The close-up picture shows a lot of white peeking through the stitches but in reality you can't even tell that the pillow stuffing the knitted cover is white. I really like the buttons, too. They match perfectly. I started the pillow doing chocolate brown and very dark brown stripes but I hated how it looked so I ripped it back and did the entire pillow in chocolate brown. I'm much happier with that choice. I hope she likes it.