Monday, December 31, 2007

Like I need a hole in the head...

Yeah, that's how much I need another hobby. Seriously. But I got all these gift cards to the craft store for Christmas. So I gave in to the hobby that's been teasing and tempting me for about a year. I started making beaded jewelry. I'm not sure I love it, but it's a fun new thing to do for now. I bought a kit to learn the basics and see if I was even interested in going any further with it. I made the pieces in the kit and now I'm kind of hooked.

I was a little...concerned that DH would freak out at the idea of my taking on yet another hobby, but he was surprisingly supportive (good damned thing, considering how supportive I am of his toy-collection obsession). He likes it when I wear jewelry and I like wearing the things I've made, so we both win.

And can I just take a minute to talk about how much I love that a two-loss team won the National Championship? All you BCS idiots who want to talk about how we don't need a playoff can blow it out your ears. We NEED a playoff. Never has this been more clear. I've finally figured out (and once I did, I'm not sure why it took me so long) why the conferences are fighting it so hard - they stand to lose a lot of money. With the exception of the national championship game, all those top (high-dollar) bowls have conference tie-ins. So my suggestion that the top tier bowls become the semi-finals puts a lot of conferences at risk of losing a lot of money. Somehow, I'm sure it all comes down to money in some variation.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My hope for the writers' strike is...

that the glut of reality television that is headed our way will be the nail in the coffin of such trash. Honestly, I feel like I"m the only person in America who cannot stand the embarassing glimpse into the lives of all these poor people who go on these shows. I confess to watching American Idol and I sort of got caught up in Dancing with the Stars this past season, but things like Big Brother and Survivor in particular skeeve me out. Why, oh why do these people feel compelled to share every intimate detail of their lives with the entire world? I'm way too private a person (seriously. If I shared half the real stuff about me here, I'd be freaked out. It would probably be more interesting, but I always think about how I feel about those people on reality shows and get weirded out by people thinking that about me).

So bring it on, networks. Continue to screw over the talent you employ (and let me assure you that I love a well-written show and appreciate it as such) and overload our screens with reality television. Fill every minute with unscripted junk. And may we never have to watch its like again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ribbons Baby Blanket

Ribbons Baby Blanket
Originally uploaded by christyc730
So it's been a while. I've finally finished the baby blanket I was knitting for my neighbor. It took two days of college football and a visit to the 1980s (aka my in-laws, who have since leaped into the 21st century - they got DSL). But I haven't been knitting or doing much of anything else lately. Why not? Well, I'm pregnant. With a baby who doesn't like me to sit upright, apparently. I'll be twelve weeks on Friday and I'm finally starting to come out of the fog, so hopefully more knitting and more posting now that the second trimester is almost upon me.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My favorite....

I've been feeling guilty lately because I think I have a favorite child. And not in the "each one is my favorite for a different reason" sense, which I also believe. No, I've really felt like one of my children over the other two was my favorite. But this morning I've had an epiphany. It's not that Baby S is my favorite. I mean, she's just so freaking cute and sweet and loving and mischievous that it would be impossible not to love her. But my thinking of her as my favorite is not because of who she is.

It's her age. She's two and a half. My favorite age with each of my children. So I probably don't have a real favorite in the long-term, just a child who happens to be at my favorite age. I feel better. There's just something so incredibly fun and amazing about this age. She talks all the time and you just never know what she's going to do next.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mojo? Where have you gone?

I seem to have misplaced my mojo. Normally fall is the time of year when I furiously get creative projects done. I'm inspired and enthused. I start things and actually finish them. I get all sorts of new ideas and tackle some ideas that were just seeds in the spring. Fall is my time.

And yet...I'm not taking photographs, knitting is slow-going, scrapbooking is non-existent. It might be this crazy weather. One day it's 70 degrees and fall-like, the next I'm debating whether or not to turn the A/C on. It's wreaking havoc on my hunt for my mojo. Not to mention our heat pump seems to object to having the heat on one day and the A/C the next, so it needs to be serviced. Not what I need right now.

I posted a few weeks ago about someone close to me being pregnant. She miscarried. I'm devastated for her and completely at a loss how to help her. There's so much more going on in her life than this that complicates everything beyond reason. I'm afraid to say anything that might upset her so I've ended up saying very little, which I don't want to do either. Mainly I'm just trying to listen to her when she wants to talk. I'm trying to think of something to do for her but I'm completely blank.

Where IS that mojo?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clutter...the bane of my house...

I really try to keep my house clean. And by clean I mean free of dirt. But clutter? Clutter and I just don't know how to get on together. I'm just not very organized to start with. And our house is small with very little storage space. So we have clutter. Tons of it. Sometimes it just doesn't bother me, especially when I'm able to accept the limitations of our house and my young kids and not having a whole lot of extra money. Right now it's bugging the crap out of me. Maybe because I finally got to visit the house of my husband's grandmother who died a year and a half ago. They've been cleaning the house out ever since. You couldn't prove it by what I saw. The place is completely filled with papers, sewing supplies, collectibles (both junk and treasures mixed together so that an expert would have to tell what's what), you name it. Stuffed.

My mother-in-law wishes her mother had spent less of her money on little knick knacks and saved it for her multiple prescriptions. I don't know that saving a dollar a month would really have helped her, but I get the idea. Seeing that house, then my MIL's house (which is much thes same as her mother's) makes me reevaluate myself and what I'm doing. And I'm not happy with myself. I'm looking all around me for things I could be doing better and finding lots of them. Now I just have to figure out how to change and make it last. I've tried all these organization systems. They just don't work for me. I think I just need to remind myself of what I want to be, how I want to live and what I want my kids to see.

Friday, October 12, 2007

As the stomach turns...

Ugh. Evil stomach virus hit our house on Monday. I'm guessing Miss G brought it home from preschool. Then Miss S drank from G's juice cup Tuesday night. She got it Wednesday afternoon. Not surprisingingly, after cleaning up two kids' puke, I got sick Wednesday night. Yesterday I could barely pick my head up off the pillow. So far Tom and Mr. T have been spared (knock on wood). Today, I'm full of energy - well, sort of. I have lots of mental energy and physically enough energy to do what needs to be done, but just folding the laundry made me so tired I had to lie down for a few minutes. Still better than yesterday when just walking to the bathroom was too much effort. I actually went to bed with my teeth unbrushed. Um, ew. I don't do that. Ever. The few other times I've been that tired, I woke up halfway through the night because I needed to brush my teeth.

I was so sick yesterday I couldn't even knit. My head spun every time I picked up the needles. Here I had such project enthusiasm for my baby blanket and couldn't even take advantage of it.

The worst part of being sick? I couldn't drink anything with caffeine in it (the very thought made me sick). I had such a caffeine headache. Actually, I still do. I could probably keep down some Excedrin today.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pondering my artisticness

Is that even a word? See, if I were truly an artist, I wouldn't care. Actually, I don't care, but my inner critic has one loud mouth, so I have to ask, but not change the question. I've been in a bit of a creative funk lately. Nothing is stirring my passion like it usually does. Partly, I blame this wacky weather. It's October. And 90 degress out. My autumnal creative spurt is clearly confused. Instead of getting all artsy and crafty, I'm self-doubting. Never good. I haven't sewn anything in weeks because it just doesn't seem good enough. I haven't photographed anything other than my cousin's newborn and my knitting in months. The newborn would only be a newborn for a few weeks, so that was necessity (and I still feel like I wasn't at my best for the shoot, although most non-photographers probably can't tell). Knitting is one of the few areas in which I continue to create. I'm using it to explore my need for wild, crazy colors (which are only wild and crazy in my head. In reality, they're quite tame, but I feel funky so it counts).

Last night we went to see my cousin's band play at this arts center. Dh and I, by virtue of his music major and my graphic design/creative writing major, were part of that crowd back when we first got married. He still loves that scene. And I do too, in theory. In reality, however, it seems to just remind me that I'm not that creative. I like to make artsy things with my hands and I recognize art and beauty and all that, but I just don't seem to have same perspective as the true artists who I admire so much. I'm working on being okay with that and at the same time challenging myself to break out of my safe little comfort zone.

As I explained to my husband, consider the cooking world. Haute cuisine is admired by the elite, but it's not really approachable or useful for most people. I am comfort food to the art world. Nothing's wrong with it. You'll get full and feel good, but it won't usually get any critical acclaim. And who needs it? The critics think some strange stuff is good.

The problem is, I'm kind of bored with myself. That sounded dumb and angsty, didn't it? Like there aren't bigger problems on this Earth. Okay, I'm being a whiny brat. I think I'll stop whining now and get up and do something.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ribbons Baby Blanket

Ribbons Baby Blanket
Originally uploaded by christyc730
My current work in progress (okay, fine, I've got about half a dozen others, but this one has me hooked). My goal is to add one stripe per day. So far I'm moving along at exactly that rate, but as the stripes get longer, I have a feeling I won't keep up this pace. Luckily, it's a baby blanket (from the FiberTrends Ribbons Baby Blanket pattern, color sequencing inspired by Grumperina), so I don't have to keep my interest level too high for too long. I'm back onto green today.

This color scheme was an artistic vision. I saw a really cute dragonfly that my son drew and colored orange, green and blue. I thought it would be perfect for a baby blanket for a kind of hip/trendy mama - you know, one who doesn't necessarily dress a boy in pale blue or a girl in soft pink. And I know plenty of them. This particular one is due in November sometime. But my artistic vision was a lot softer, more muted shades of these colors. The resulting reality (as in the only yarns I could find at Jo-Ann's or Michael's, the only places open during my available shopping time, and since I had the desperate urge to get started, waiting for an online order wasn't going to happen) is a little bolder than I would like. I mean, I don't hate it. But it's not as sweet and cute as I was meaning for it to be.

Right now I have an artistic vision for another baby with a hip/trendy mama. I'm on a quest to find just the right shades of brown, purple, fushia and pink. I saw a girl at Mr. T's school wearing a dress striped like that and knew those were the perfect colors for a girl baby blanket.

Oh, man. I just realized that the intended baby of the brown, purple, fushia and pink blanket has not made known its gender. And since I said pink stuff, it's almost certainly a boy. Well, darn. There goes my funky, trendy girl blanket. I think I can rework my color scheme for a boy. Maybe brown, blue, aqua and green or something.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

Pumpkin Bran Muffins
Originally uploaded by christyc730
So it's possible the source of my right upper quadrant pain has been found. Something about too much colon and a coil in it. Because of this, I need to eat a high fiber diet. I'm not real big on vegetables, especially grean leafy ones. I mean, I'll eat a salad, but it's not a staple of my diet. Or it wasn't before last week. So now I'm trying to eat apples and spinach salads and other stuff that I do like that meets my new dietary needs.

So I got the brilliant idea to combine my favorite fall baking and high fiber. And there we have pumpkin bran muffins. I used a recipe on the back of the unprocessed bran box that called for applesauce. I just substituted in the same amount of pumpkin and added about a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, in case the bran taste was overwhelming.

Turns out it wasn't so bad. The taste is perfect. The...I don't know, mouth feel, I guess is kind of chewy, but tolerable. I also tried banana bran muffins that use bran flakes. They're better, but I remembered too late that I don't like banana bread. On Sunday I experimented with replacing 1/3 cup flour with unprocessed bran in my favorite cornbread recipe. Not even noticeable.

So I'm trying to follow the new high fiber diet, but I'm still struggling to get as much fiber in one (even with supplements) that I'm supposed to. It's just a lot of food to eat in one day.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins (from my box of unprocessed bran - I subbed pumpkin for the applesauce recipe that's on the box)

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unprocessed bran
1/2 sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 milk
1/4 vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400F. Line muffin pan with paper cups or spray with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. In medium bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, oil and egg. Blend well. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Best if served warm.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Like trying to figure out what to have for dinner...

"What do you want to have for dinner?"
"I don't know. What do you want to have?"
"I don't know. What are you in the mood for?"

That's how my kids have been about their Halloween costumes. Completely indecisive. Miss G says something different every single time someone asks her. Miss S is still easy. She just says she's a "frincess." That we can do. I even have a ready-made Cinderella from when Miss G was that age. Perfect. Mr. T wants to be Spiderman. But without the mask. He hates having things on his head, always has. Of course, there's still 29 days for them to all change their minds.

This is why I'm not sewing costumes this year. I did two years ago and they turned out very nicely. But in the long run, I may be crafty, but I'm also pretty pragmatic. Sometimes buying off the rack, while cheap-looking, is just more cost and time effective. If I can't find T H E dream costume, then we can talk making one (like two years ago, I couldn't find Belle for Miss G). But if it's made on a shelf for a reasonable price, I'm probably gonna buy it. Same goes for curtains, clothing, etc. I only make what I can't find elsewhere, which does happen since I tend to get these artistic visions in my head that I can't always find in real life.

So what's everyone actually going to be? Ask me on October 30.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The joys of fall...

Fall is my favorite season. For lots of reasons. I love the weather - warm days, cool nights. I love the colors - reds, oranges and browns. I love the holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving. I love the foods - pumpkin bread, turkey. And I love that TV is back. New episodes of my favorite shows, new shows to either love or hate.

Here's what I've been watching this week.

  • Chuck. Um. LOVE. First of all, I love me a nerd. What can I say? And a smart guy with a sense of humor? Gets me every time. And it seems like each week's mystery is solved in the week, which I require is most of my shows.
  • Bones. David Boreanaz. Sigh. And like most of my favorite shows, anchored by a quirky ensemble cast. The mystery didn't really grab me, but it doesn't have to. I'm more interested in character development most of the time.
  • House. Some shows sort of start getting repetitive and boring when they do the same thing basically over and over, but it so works for House. I miss the ensemble (actually, not that much in this one episode), but I love the House.
  • Private Practice. Meh. I'm actually not a rah-rah Grey's fan to start with. Add to that that I've never really like Addison's character in Seattle and, well, I'm not sure why I watched this. I flipped back and forth between this and the Bionic Woman, which started really boring so PP sucked me in. I think next week I'll try Bionic Woman again.
  • Life. I didn't think I would like this. I didn't even mean to watch it. I meant to go to bed. But then I watched a few minutes and that was all it took. It fits my TV-watching profile, but adds a little something new. I'm not usually into season (series?)-long mysteries. The whole Lost/Heroes/etc. thing overwhelms me. I want episodes that stand alone so if I miss a week, I can pick up the next week without watching the missed ep. Hmm. I think all of my favorite shows are just like that.
Tonight I'll probably be watching My Name is Earl, Grey's Anatomy and ER. Maybe. I don't know about Grey's or ER yet. I sleep better if I don't watch those types of shows right before bed anyway.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who's watching this stuff?

I've been seriously annoyed lately by several commercials. Why? It's only a commercial, right? Normally, I'm pretty media-savvy. I look at commercials from the perspective of the people paying for them and creating them and realize what they're trying to do. And I'm cool with what I see. Their goal is to increase product awareness, get people interested in buying their product and obviously to make more money. So they target certain audiences. Of course, this time that's what's got me so annoyed.

There are at least two commercials that I've seen lately in which a working mom comes home and proceeds to be the only one taking care of household duties. I know I"m a SAHM. Because of this, I generally cook and clean. It's cool. Tom and I have agreed on this and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have a little trouble letting him do things any way other than my way. But these images suggest that only a woman can prepare a meal or do the dishes or laundry or clean the bathroom or whatever. This commercial shows Mom coming home from work, then she puts food in front of her family while the man and kids wait impatiently. Um, hello? What freaking year is this? Why is the dad just sitting there? The best part? They show this commercial during the day, when the people watching it are generally at-home moms like me.

I need to just stop thinking.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stuff floating in my head...

Someone very close to me is pregnant. Which kind of changes my plans. Tom and I had sort of decided to try to conceive baby numero quatro this month. But I don't want to steal this person's thunder, to be a little Friends Monica about it. We decided we didn't want Miss S and the potential fourth to be a full four years apart in school, like they would be if we waited until January, like I'd been planning. So now I'm kind of torn. I probably would advise myself not to worry about it and go ahead with what we'd already planned. I just don't know. We have to wait a while anyway, so I'm just going to see what happens.

And then there's that football team I like. Dude. What is up. I mean, come on. Although I have to say it's almost better than last year where I expected them to win all their games and they got demolished. It's almost easier to have low expectations.

Other than those two things, I guess the other stuff is pretty normal day-to-day stuff. You know, knitting some hats (all part of my winter plan - I hate taking Mr. T to school in the mornings with wet hair in the winter, but I hate my hair when I first wake up. So I've been knitting hats to cover it up. Then I can come home and shower and let my hair dry inside. Don't suggest a blow dryer. I don't own one and there's a very, VERY good reason for that. Frizzy hair + blow dryer = people running screaming from me in fright.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quirky kids...quirky football season...

I sometimes wonder if I, being the quirky and appreciative of quirks person than I am, am a little too indulgent of my children's odd little habits. Like Mr. T likes things arranged a certain way on his bed. He always sits in the same spot on the sofa every morning. Just a bunch of little things that makes him a twinge obsessive. Miss G has her weird little things (like her Fran Drescher laugh that no one I know does, nor have we ever watched the Nanny in her lifetime, so I have no idea where she picked it up). I'm sure in time Miss S will pick up her own little quirks. And I'll encourage them. I like individuality.

Sometimes it seems Mr. T is a little too rigid in his habits and that laugh of Miss G's can really grate and I wonder if I indulge this too much because I like quirky types. Maybe I should be discouraging these things. It goes against everything I believe in, though. I guess really what I need to do is figure out how to encourage their unique qualities while helping them fit those into an often narrow-minded society (no offense, society).

Seriously, though, do not speak to me about Notre Dame. Unless it is to commiserate. In which case, dude. What's going on? ND and Michigan playing for their first win of the season? Yikes. College football is all shook up. My preseason picks to win it all haven't won a game yet. I really though Michigan had it this year. Returning some really quality players, fired up over their losses last season, but no. They had to go and lose my dollar I bet my brother. His preseason pick (Texas) is still in it, but not without some close calls. I'm kind of liking LSU for the national championship. I hate to say it after the way they beat up on ND last year, but they're looking just as strong this year. Some excellent games have been played though. Double and triple overtime? Awesome.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another vacation photo...

Originally uploaded by christyc730
The boardwalk. The highlight of any trip to the beach. At least if you're under 10. Actually, it's still one of my favorite parts. And sharing some of my favorite childhood memories with my kids is always something special to me.

Brazen bird...

Originally uploaded by christyc730
The seagulls (which, despite being the mascot of the university I graduated from, annoy me to no end) were especially bold this weekend. Those are my kids sand toys right there. This guy was only about five feet from me.

We got back yesterday and we are all completely exhausted. But we couldn't have ordered better weather, right down to clouds on the day we left. That always makes me happy. There's nothing worse than leaving the perfect vacation during continuing perfect weather. Cloudy, drizzling rain sort of makes you think, "Oh, I wouldn't be missing anything anyway."

The kids loved the beach. Miss S especially. She loved the ocean. I would take her out up to her waist and she'd point out to the ocean and tell me "Go that way." Even getting wiped out more than once didn't make her any less adventurous. Miss G, on the other hand, got taken for a bit of a ride on the first day and wouldn't get back in until the last day. She joined her dad in the pool. He doesn't like to swim in water where he can't see what's swimming with him. Mr. T just dug in the sand, as expected. He would walk in the ocean, but only for a few minutes and then back out. He told Miss G that there are sharks in the water, so on top of her wipe-out, she was afraid of sharks, no matter how I tried to reason with her. They're both too smart for their own good sometimes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Three days all to myself...

My mom has the girls and Mr. T has school, so I've been all alone during the day. What excitement did I get up to in that time? The real fun stuff like cleaning the carpets, sorting (read: eliminating) toys, running errands without unbuckling carseats. It's been very nice. And a little lonely. I kind of miss the chatter...all. day. long. Because neither one of my girls ever shuts up. Okay, really it's been nice and quiet. I watched the new View (it's okay, but since I'll probably never get to see it again - Diego rules the TV here - I don't really care). Fun stuff, huh?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Up close and personal

Originally uploaded by christyc730
This is my middle DD's hand feeding a big old giraffe. Actually, she's a teenager, in giraffe terms, not old at all. I just felt like sharing one of my very favorite pictures from our trip to South Carolina. Can you believe you can actually feed the giraffes? We also fed goats and llamas, but they were way less exciting. The whole zoo is sort of set up to look like the animals aren't really enclosed. Now I don't know about most people, but me? I like the lions behind very sturdy bars. The illusion that they're roaming free is just a little unsettling. I had to investigate and they really are behind a fence - an electrified one at that, but it was freaky to see the lions, tigers and bears just lounging around, with the appearance that if they decided to walk across the rocks they could roam the zoo.

This picture is one of my photographic screw-ups. I tried to explain it to Tom but he doesn't really get it or see the big deal. I shot this - in absolute broad daylight - at ISO 1600. Because we'd just been inside and I was taking pictures of the tropical aquariums at that ISO. They turned out great. I forgot to switch it back to 200. So beautiful outdoor pictures like this are now full of noise or grain. I'd say lesson learned, but I had just done the same thing on our first day walking around the river. I have tons of cool kudzu growing on weird things shots that are all grainy. And when we went to Punta Cana in November, I went from our hotel room (1600) to the beach without changing ISO there too. So I don't seem to have learned anything. Maybe now I will. Yeah, I'm not hopeful.

And I can't believe I forgot. Do you know what happens one week from tonight? Oh, yeah. College football, baby. Looks like I"m going to be forced to watch the team that totally whipped my team in the Sugar Bowl last year when I'd rather watch the Rutgers game, but I'm so excited that the season's starting again that I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Counting down...

Only six more days until school starts. That means six more days where I don't have to stress about where we need to be and when in the mornings. I'm a little worried that I've taken on too much this year, at least three days a week. Miss G's preschool starts at 9 and Mr. T's school starts at 9:20. I have to take them both to both places. They're only a few miles apart, but the hurry-up part will make me a little crazed on those mornings, I think.

It's been rainy and cool here for the past couple of days. I'm starting to think fall, even though I know it's just a tease and will likely be nasty hot by the weekend again. I love fall. I love back to school. Tom thinks I"m insane, but I really love the newness and the whole fresh slate of possibilities. Even now, as an adult who hasn't even been to college in seven years, I can't help but think of all the new things I can do and create. Fall inspires the crafter in me. I always take on new projects this time of year. And get sudden bursts of creativity or organization that just overtake me. On Saturday, I emptied out our very cluttered kitchen to make room for the projects I'm going to want to do. I don't even know what they are yet. I just know that once fall settles in, I'm going to want to create. Something.

Also on Saturday, I bit the bullet and just bought the whole list of school supplies. I'd been trying to buy a little bit along the way so it wasn't all at once. But my memory is kind of crap and I kept forgetting to take the list with me. And of course, I couldn't remember anything on the list except pencils. Yeah, got those. I took the list and bought everything. But I don't mind. I'm actually (not so) secretly happy to have a reason to buy school supplies again. I love them. In years past, I've always bought myself new pens and a notebook or two. Just because. Who doesn't love a fresh notebook and pretty pens?

I'm trying to decide if we're going to shop for back to school clothes. We don't have a tax-free day or anything this year, so there's no incentive there. And Mr. T hasn't really grown so much that his clothes from last year don't fit. In fact, they still look quite nice. And the weather, today's rain excluded, will be warm for at least another month. I'm thinking of waiting until it actually does get a little cooler and trying on his winter clothes to see what he really needs. And Miss G really only needs new tights, since she wears dresses year round. Lots and lots of new tights. Most pairs only get worn once before they have a hole ripped in them.

The last thing I'm thinking about is our trip to the beach. I haven't expressly told the kids yet, but Mr. T is a smart cookie. I think he's figured it out from listening to adults conversations. Miss G and Baby S are going the whole week of Labor Day with my mother. My dad and Mr. T and I are driving down for the weekend. I have these visions of getting loads and loads of stuff done around the house. I think reality is going to go a lot less ideally. But getting some things done will be nice anyway. Now if I can just avoid the black hole that is the Internet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I need another vacation...

So far, my week back at home is not going well. I washed all the kids clothes from our trip without checking my son's pockets. Of course he had a crayon (or three) in one of them. Every item of clothing is blue, red and yellow. At least we had to back to school shop anyway. Actually, most things came clean after a few turns in a hot washing machine cycle.

Then today I was at the library because I needed brain-free reading material. I have a cold (who catches a cold in 110 degree weather. Apparently, I do) and can't really concentrate on anything, so I thought a little mindless reading was in order. I grabbed a few super-cheesy romance novels (normally, my romance novels are not remotely cheesy), returned my intellectual choices unread and picked up a few knitting books. I like to preview them to see if they're worth buying. Most aren't. Then in the parking lot, I knocked myself out with the car door. Well, not completely out, just backwards a few feet and induced the whole starfield simulation screen saver effect. I sat down and drove to my next errand, except I couldn't remember where I wanted to go. So I just went home. I'm sitting here now alternating typing and icing my increasing head lump.

I so need another vacation.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

24 hours in our car

Our First Sonic
Originally uploaded by christyc730
We drove to Columbia, SC to see my brother-in-law get his Ph.D. It's a 9 to 10 hour car trip that we managed to do in 12 hours. Each way. So in the past week, we've spent over 24 hours in our van (at least that, since we also drove all around sight-seeing). While there, I saw my first actual Sonic. We see their ads on tv around here, but we don't have one (probably there is one someplace, but I don't know where it is). I HAD to try it. It was a little disappointing. Not worth driving twelve hours to get to.

Mainly our trip consisted of a culinary tour of Columbia. I was a little frustrated. I didn't drive half a day just to sit in a hotel room until the next meal. I wanted to go out and do things. But we were there with a large group (pretty much Tom's entire family went down) and it was difficult, if not impossible, to mobilize everyone. It wasn't until it was just us five left that we did anything interesting. We crammed several days worth of local fun into one day. We went to the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in the morning and the (air-conditioned) SC State Museum in the afternoon. Because - good god it was hot. Way too hot to be outside in the mid-day. The coolest temperature we saw was 91. At night. Mostly it was 100 or above during the day. The hotel pool wasn't even refreshing. It was so warm it was like swimming in sweat.

Monday, August 6, 2007

97 cent yarn

Red Heart Hunny
Originally uploaded by christyc730
I found this cute, super soft yarn at Jo-Ann's on clearance. Who can resist 97 cents for such pretty pink yarn? Not me, obviously. I bought it to knit something (a hat?) for my cousin's baby, who is due in October. Thing is? She doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl. I've pretty much confirmed that it's a boy. My instincts for baby gender prediction are 100% inaccurate. I made my friend an altered notebook/baby journal. The morning of her baby shower, I noticed that I had made it pink. She did not at the time know what she was having. Turned out to be a boy. This is not the only time my instincts have been off. I was wrong on all three of my own children, both my, pretty much everyone I've known who was having a baby, I guessed wrong. I now pride myself on my 100% inaccuracy rate. I buy pink yarn, I tell my cousin she's having a boy. It's practically a guarantee (watch her have a girl now).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tenth anniversary...

Today is the tenth anniversary of my first legal alcoholic beverage. Yep, I'm 31 today. I celebrated by renewing my driver's license, which I could have done a month ago, but, let's face it, everything's more fun if you have a time crunch, even if it is self-created. Plus, I firmly believe that your license picture is better if you have that birthday glow. It worked the last two times I went. Not as much today. It's super humid and my frizzy hair didn't quite photograph well. I totally lucked out timewise, though. We were at my in-law's house and the DMV near their house was empty. I didn't even wait in line.

So this is the big day I've been dreading. Thirty sounds cool, right? It's even, it's like a big deal. 31? Blah. I'm in my thirties. Dude. I am IN my thirties. I am in my THIRTIES. I was hanging out with my teenaged to early twenties cousins and couldn't remember the time passing from when I was their age to now. I mean, I am aware of the things that happened in there (you know, a wedding, a couple or three kids, etc.), but time is a funny thing. I always used to think I'd be so completely different when I was 30 (or in my thirties as I must say now). But I'm the same person I always was, just happier with myself, more confident. I can't honestly complain about this aging thing. Plus, I totally got carded buying wine last week. I almost kissed the guy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gender constructing...

Back before I had kids and was stuck in post adolescent idealistic phase (post regarding quoteable movies, like Clueless, to follow), I thought that all you had to do was buy your kids all the boy and girl toys and they'd like everything. I truly believed that we made girls like babies by buying them babies. I had major moral objections to the girl aisles being pink and boy aisles being full of violent predators. I questioned my grandmother on the choice of a toy broom set for one of my cousins. "Why don't you buy that for one of the boys?"

Turns out sometimes boys really just like boy toys. The gender constructing thing is more after the fact than a marketing ploy. My girls are into babies. My son is into cars and trucks. And since I have both male and female children, we have ALL the toys (it feels like a freaking toy store most of the time). They could choose anything. Sometimes Miss G likes to play with cars and dinosaurs. Sometimes Mr. T likes to take care of a baby doll (only for a minute or two, though).

And so now both Miss G and Mr. T are playing with Barbies. Oddly, Miss G is Ken and Mr. T is Barbie/Mom. Barbie/Mom thinks they need to leave their baby with its aunt, but Ken thinks they should just leave it home alone.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Surreptitiously Stashbusting...



Well, first I'll start by confessing that the Bamboo yarn is new, and rather contrary to the spirit of stashbusting. Okay, so it's out and out the opposite of stashbusting. But it was at Joann's and I was so excited to see these cool new yarns (they also had Alpaca, Cashmere, organic cotton and...okay, I just blanked.). I had to buy a skein of the bamboo because it's just too soft to believe. You have to feel it. I NEEDED this in my stash. And I had a 40% off coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket. Everything else I was buying was on sale, so I couldn't use the coupon.

The second picture is the blanket I just started knitting for my brother-in-law for Christmas. I've been wanted to make a log cabin afghan and I've been wanting to use this yarn from my stash that I bought to make a sweater with and have since decided it's just a smidge too bulky for a child's sweater (after having made each of my daughter's a sweater out of it in other colors). I think it's going to end up being blue, yellow, white and black. He's color blind, so putting red or green in there would just be mean of me. Not that I wouldn't do it on other things, but the amount of time I put into knitting something is out of proportion to the amount of fun I'll have teasing him about being color blind.

So the stash-busting. I've been working mainly from my stash all summer. I've been trying to avoid calling it stash-busting because, well, that's a little too much pressure for me. I did that for Lent - no new craft supplies at all. And after Lent I went on a yarn-buying spree that has left me with a supply that currently allows me to stash bust. Nice, huh? I was at the craft store, was it yesterday? Maybe the day before. I can't exactly remember these things anymore. But while I was there, an employee was putting skein after skein of a lovely pale yellow yarn back on the shelves. An older woman asked her if that was what she'd just returned. It was. She returned it because she couldn't get gauge with it. What? I've never heard of such a thing. I mean, I've heard of gauge (although I don't get too hung up on it unless I'm making something wearable), but returning that which does not match gauge? Wow. I'm sure she has a fixed income, so I know that it makes sense to return the old before buying new, but I have a hard time using yarn to make something. There is some pressure implicit in the act of beginning a project - will it live up to the pattern, my vision, my gift-giving standards? This has often prevented me from doing anything at all. I'm what they call a failed perfectionist. I know that real life will not live up to my expectations, so I don't even attempt some things. Other things (like the awful lace hat I knit) I just embrace the imperfection. I don't know why the distinction. I"m sure further investigation would reveal something deep.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

I finished knitting stuff!

A rare thing for me. First we have the ballband dishcloth that I've been working on since April (okay, I worked on it for three days in April and then never touched again until two weeks ago).

Then while at my in-laws, I started and finished (in two days! My record of being the slowest knitter in the world was in jeopardy for a while. Don't worry, I've reclaimed it. I haven't knit since we got back) the hat from Knitting Daily's Peapod Baby set. It probably would have looked better if a) I hadn't used blue (kind of negates the "Leaf" part of the Leaf Lace, but I had this Cotton Tots that I wanted to use. I also have some Cotton Ease in a really pretty sage that I will probably use next time) and b) I had understood how lace charts are to be read. I read left to right (I'm American, that's how we read) and later found out knitting charts read right to left. But the pattern is almost visible, so I'm not too upset.

We're not going to talk about how many new projects I started that are not finished. I'm almost done a lace knit hat (it's in the car - I should probably go get it and finish it since it is almost done). I started a crocheted dishcloth (hey, I remember how to crochet!) and a knit dishcloth. I must say I found lace to be much easier than I thought it would be. You just follow the pattern and it happens. It's way cool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A word that I continually struggle with, strive for and dream of. Right now, I'm the closest to peaceful that I've been in a long time. It's not completely there. But I know that it's up to me to get it. And by peace, I don't mean that all is perfect in my life. I just mean that no matter what mini-crisis or stress I dream up (and trust me, I have a particular talent for dreaming up stress), I know how to deal with it, either in action or in thought. Sometimes it's a matter of getting up and doing something. Sometimes it's just peaceful mantra that I've learned over the years. It goes something like "Worry about what I can do today or tomorrow, not what next week or next month is going to be like."

I tend to keep myself up every night worrying about money and the kids and Tom and all the teeny, tiny, highly unlikely things that could go wrong in our lives. Actually, I should say that I used to do that. It was especially bad when my first child was born through our second child's first birthday or so. For about three years I was sleepless and not just because I had little kids. I worried. Constantly.

I'm not saying I don't worry now. I just know how to keep myself from focusing on the irrational stuff. And I know that I can't let myself worry about things I have no control over or things that I can't change - and knowing that some things are going to require a change.

Tom recently asked me why I've been so happy lately. It comes down to this. Peace. I haven't felt this way in a long time (the year he first met me, in fact). Now I know why I missed it so much, why Peace is the thing I wish for the most.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It's been a while...




Those are some pictures from the past two weeks. DH and the kids and I have been staying with my in-laws, something we do most summers. It was like living in 1985. No cable. No Internet access. They have a computer, but it's basically a giant calculator to them. I got some knitting done, caught up on my reading pile (thanks to PaperBackSwap, I actually have a pile for a change). But believe me, not having access to the Internet - at all - is serious deprivation for me. Especially me. I love all the information, the gorgeous photography, the creative projects, the community. I realized during my hiatus that I'm seriously addicted. I'm going to work on that. Later, obviously. Right now, I'm catching up on two weeks worth of Internet usage.

It's a strange thing to have in-laws. You have an intimate look at someone else's family. You are at once an outsider and part of the family, even more so I think when you have kids. Somethings I couldn't care less about pre-kids, now are important to me for their sakes. Tom's great-great grandmother who was once kind of irrelevent to me is now my children's great-great-great grandmother. Whole different thing. I try very hard not to judge my in-laws. Honestly, I do. As in-laws go, mine are pretty cool. Not too nosy, not demanding or domineering in any way. My MIL is a little less than subtle about her wish for us to move closer, but she's not petulant about it. There are just some little things that are completely different from what I've known that I just can't even wrap my brain around them. I want to understand why they are the way the are and why they do the things that I can't comprehend. Tom says he doesn't even know and he's got 25 years of knowing them on me.
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

C'est fini!


Sure, my nephew's four weeks old and I meant to have this done to give to him the day he was born. But he won't remember that I'm a slacker, right? I mean what does a four-week-old remember about when he got a blanket, right? So anyway, the pattern is modified from Lion Brand's Happy Baby Blanket. I used different yarn, different sized needles and different colors. I can't seem to just follow a pattern in its entirety. Sign of a creative thinker? Probably I'm just lazy. And cheap (especially when it comes to the $20/skein yarns recommended in a lot of knitting books - $5 is my limit, maybe $10 if I have a gift card).
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Last day of school...

I think I'm the only dork parent who's teary-eyed at the thought of the end of the year - and not because I'll have all three kids (and Tom) home all summer. It's been a really long year for Mr. T in school and I'm glad to see the end of it. He's grown a lot, physically and emotionally. And I can't get over how he just picks up anything and reads it. Anything.

When I was in school, I had this bittersweet thing about the last day of school. I hated to see it end, but I wouldn't give up summer (and sleeping in) for anything. And I always looked forward to starting school again. I didn't really love school all that much, academically. I guess inherently I'm a people watcher. I loved being around all the people from school.

So starts the summer. Typically, we go spend a lot of time at my husband's parents' farm. He drives a tractor while I play farm wife and the kids have a freedom they just don't have here in the burbs. Then we'll spend some time here trying to clean out the basement from the mess we made all winter when it was too cold to spend any time down there, just shoved the Christmas decorations in a corner. Then two crazy adults are going to drive three kids for 8-9 hours. Yeah, that'd be Tom and me. Tom's brother Uncle E is receiving his Ph. D., so it's a big deal, so we're all making the trek southward. I'm so crazy that I'm excited about it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More on children's television...

I can justify anything. Seriously. I have had to eat ice cream every night this week because I have acid reflux (apparently, although my gastroenterologist had to delay my follow-up appointment even further than two months). I mean, I can come up with a semi-logical rationale for doing damned near anything. That includes my parenting decisions. Like watching television.

1. Fact: Television is part of our pop culture. Almost everyone can relate to something on television. It's a unifier. I'm supporting unity.

2. There is no end of children's programming. This is most assuredly true. 24-7. Freaking PBS Kids is on. The point is, if the television is going to be on, it should at least be tuned to something appropriate for children.

3. Most of the television we watch is educational - Animal Planet, History Channel, Discovery Channel.

Got something you need rationalized? I can do it. No problem.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Been crazy crafting...

I got my sewing machine out a few months ago and ever since I've been experimenting with purses, camera straps, headbands - all sorts of stuff. I'm not sure what I'll work on next. I made some really cute purses for my nephew, who is 2 and loves to borrow my girls' purses. We're calling them boy bags so as not to offend my brother, whose son shall not carry a purse.

I finished knitting my new nephew (he's almost three weeks old!) his blanket, but I lost my yarn needles (AGAIN!), so I'm stuck until I either find them or admit that I just need to buy them by the dozen and go to the craft store for more. And once I do that, I need to figure out if I can still crochet, since it needs a crocheted border. Probably should have thought of that before I knit it, huh?

My goal for today is to pretty up my blog, since I had to lose my very cute template to add my etsy stuff. Don't know why. I'm pretty savvy about computers, but the blogger thing totally confuses me, although if I really cared, I could probably figure it out. I love computers. Like, seriously love. My dad's computer got a virus and I was so excited to go over there and figure it out. Tom laughed at me when I told him how much I loved getting rid of a virus (Trojan in this case). Yeah, I'm a dork.

Monday, June 11, 2007

38? What the hell?

Athlon's preseason college football rankings are out. All I can say is 38? Dude, what the freaking hell? Miami is freaking 23rd and Notre Dame is 38th? Okay, so they're a big unknown this year with the loss of some seriously major players. And so they didn't have such a great bowl appearance even with those players, but, come on, ranking dudes, 38th? Eh, anyway it's a better starting position than 2 (which is where they started last year and fell all too hard, all too quickly).

September cannot get here fast enough. Although I'm not wishing away my summer (bypassing the birthday - 31, why does that sound worse than 30?), but at least when the lazy days end, I'll have a reward.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sharing something with another generation...

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to share with my children the most magical, wonderful movie moment. You know the one. Dorothy's up inside the cyclone and suddenly the house drops. First she opens one door, then she opens the second door onto...color. Glorious magical color. Tom and I let the two older kids stay up late Sunday night to enjoy just that very moment. Miss G loved it - the way I love it. Mr. T was less impressed, lol.

I've been conscious lately, especially as my children start to express their musical tastes ("I don't like this song, Mom." "Turn this one up, Mom."), of just how my music could be shaping their musical tastes. I know at some point they discover their own music, but for now, I am sharing my favorite music (courtesy of my beloved iPod). Some of it is music of my own parents that shaped my childhood that I get a rush of nostalgia and intermingling joy that I can share the same songs that I remember hearing in the back of our mint green wood-paneled station wagon.

So my kids will remember Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Dave Matthews Band, Sublime, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Herman's Hermits, the Beatles, ABBA, Garth Brooks and Jimmy Buffett. To name a few.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

On Children's Television...

I admit it. I'm a total television addict. In a totally dorky way, though. My favorite channels are the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV and DIYNetwork. I only watch a select number of shows on the big networks (House, Bones, Scrubs, My Name is Earl...I can't think of any others. That might be it).

So it seems only natural that my kids would occasionally watch tv. No more than half an hour per day, right? Yeah, sorry, that's not going to happen. First of all, I'm not a morning person, so the hour it takes me to wake up is tv time. And then my almost 2 year old likes to turn the TV on. So I make sure it's tuned to something I don't mind them seeing. Like public television or other programming designed to be educational for toddlers and preschoolers. There's just so much quality television for the under-5 set that I can't see letting them watch shows not intended for little kids (like Spongebob or Rugrats - is that even on anymore?). My only exception is Jimmy Neutron, which is usually clean and promotes child geniuses. Can't argue with that.

Unfortunately for me, I am unable to tune out some of the weirdness of kids shows. Like the Berenstain Bears always makes me question what Mama and Papa were thinking when they named Brother. What if they hadn't had another kid? For that matter, wasn't it rather presumptuous of their parents to name them Mama and Papa as infants?

Oh, there's more coming another day...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zen of Crafting, following directions and gender

Last night I was working on a purse that I want to give my sister for her birthday when I noticed that I had messed up something that couldn't be hidden. So I moved on to another part that I could work on before fixing that mistake. And messed it up. At that, I put the fabric down, turned off my sewing machine and had an ice cream sandwich. "This purse doesn't want me to work on it right now." How very Zen of you, Tom tells me. Is it? I hadn't realized, but I do it with all my craft projects. If things start to go wrong, something about the project is telling me to take a break. Most likely, my brain is processing the abstract and turning it into instructions on what I need to do to fix whatever I messed up earlier. It's funny - if I can't figure something out, I know that I just need to put it down, do something else and come back to it later. Meanwhile, I've been sort of thinking about it, but not consciously and it all comes out a bit easier. Not always, but usually.

I'm not typically a picture learner. I need to read the words on how to do something. Sometimes, for the very complicated, a picture helps, but I still require words to make me understand. Tom is the opposite, as is our son. We were watching him put a Lego model together and he just looked at the pictures and picked up the right parts. In no time, he'd made the model exactly as it looked on the box. Tom thinks the same way and suggests that it's learned from putting Lego together. I claim that Lego directions are made that way because the people who like to put them together think in pictures.

This is why me and Ikea don't always get along. Their oh-so-detailed images of gender-free figures picking up board A just don't click in my head. So in that case, I have to do it along with the picture and - get this - actually follow directions. So not me. In this, Tom and I are the opposites of our gender stereotypes. I don't even read the directions, or if I do, it's more as a general guideline or to get me started. Tom? He reads every direction before he starts and then rereads them as he goes along. Now, I admit this his way is probably better. He gets all the tools he needs out ahead of time where I have to stop and go find a flat-head screwdriver instead of a Phillips-head. And he has a perfect finished product, where mine has probably been fudged once or twice. But that whole organized, read the directions thing? Let's face it. Boring.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Idoling late...again... this week...

I love the ellipsis, don't I?

So anyway, my family has a weekly dinner. My sister and brother and all the kids and I go to my parents for dinner. It's usually on Tuesday or Thursday (my sister's days off, depending on the week). For the past two weeks it's been Tuesday. So I've had to watch a little bit late.

Some sappy slow song. Beautiful voice. The song is like nails on a chalkboard, but her voice is gorgeous.
She works hard for the money - Maybe not the best choice for her (in light of the other two in this round), but not bad at all.
I Who Have Nothing. Didn't they tell her this was her best performance? I guess that's what everyone picks. Just as powerful and amazing as the first time she sang it.

Roxanne - Doesn't really show off the fact that dude can actually sing. Not a great choice.
This Love - Better, but when Simon says he made this song unique, I can only conclude that Simon doesn't know the song. Because it was good, but it wasn't totally original.
I don't know this - Good, but not knock me down amazing.

Believe or something - stupid Whitney song. I can't stand Whitney Houston. The judges love this, but I just think it's robbed Melinda of all personality.
Nutbush City Limits - Now this is more like it.
I'm a Woman - this was one of my favorite performances of hers. I mean, when I think of Melinda, I think of her singing this song. Great choice.

I can't even rank them anymore. I'll just say that I think the finale is going to have a male and a female in it. Why? Because Jordin and Melinda are just a touch too similar. Oh, who am I kidding. I have no clue. I don't have a feeling about this one at all. I'm thinking, though, that Jordin is in the most danger tonight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The perils of technology...

Did you ever see that Saturday Night Live skit where they're showing the newest iPod (yes, newer than the one Guy X bought two seconds ago) and it's a little pin point. Then they newest five seconds later and it's invisible? Yeah, that's the current condition of my iPod. Which I prefer to believe over "lost." Mr. Apple, sir, a $200 piece of joy and magic and all that is good should not be so small that it cannot be found amongst a few (dozen) toys. I mean, seriously.

Speaking of Saturday Night Live, as I wrote that I was thinking when the heck was I up late enough to see SNL in the past five years? Must have been something going on that day. Actually, this going to bed before 11 thing started...around July. It's like I turned 30 and everything went to hell. I go to bed - sometimes before 10 (okay, rarely, if ever before 10, but still)! I'm a stay at home mom, I mean, it's not like I have to get up in the morning. What's wrong with me? The kids don't usually get up until 8, so neither do I. I'm sure the medical crap I'm dealing with is just coincidence, but it's still annoying.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

From winter to mother's day...

I don't have much to say lately. I'm sort of coming out of my winter fog finally and actually talking to real people. I have to confess that I've spent much of this past winter battling the winter blues, possibly true depression. I don't know. I've been up and down all my life, so it's not unusual to me to have a six month low period. It's just been a while. I've been shutting myself off from almost everyone. Now I have a lot of communicating to do to get back to normal.

I'm starting to think about getting a job. Maybe a career (the difference being something that pays the bills and something that fills my soul). I just don't really know what it is that I want to do, exactly. I like so many things. I'm pretty good at a lot of things. I'm really good at none of those. Maybe I spread myself too thin to become truly good at any one thing.

Since we were married Tom has told me that I bore easily. He worried that I would get bored of him. I assured him that was not at all true. I could never get bored of him and I don't bore easily at all. Turns out he was half right (and I hate to even think this, but he usually is when it comes to things like that about me). I do bore easily. I hate doing the exact same thing all the time. I have to because my kids really do thrive on routine, but it's just not for me.

Now as for getting bored of him, well, he's a human being and as such changes, sometimes minute to minute. Not so boring. We've been together for ten years. Ten. Years. We've been married for almost nine. Sometimes the passage of time floors me, since it feels like yesterday that we were two newlywed kids against the world two states and six hours away from anyone or anything we'd ever known. It doesn't seem possible that we could be parents of a six year old (and four and two year olds, but the six thing is really hard to grasp).

That always makes me think - do my parents still wonder at how old I (their oldest child) is? On my birthday last year, while I was wondering how the heck I got to be thirty already, were they thinking I can't believe I have a thirty year old child? And did my grandparents think the same thing when their youngest child turned 40 this year? Or their oldest turned 53? When I think of them this way I'm stunned that it took me this long to figure out what now seems so obvious. I understand so much more about my parents and grandparents. I don't know if you can possibly understand how much your parents love you until you have children. I know I didn't.

Monday, May 7, 2007

A very important date in MamaChris history...

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the single most significant event in my life. I love my husband, but it is not our wedding anniversary - although that is the second most significant event in my life. I love my daughters, but it is not their birthdays. It is the anniversary of the birth of my son, the sixth anniversary of the day I became something else entirely - a mother. At 2:02 a.m., Sunday, May 6, 2001, I gave birth to a perfect baby boy. And my life changed. Not instantly. I was not one of those who just instantaneously became a mother when their child was born. But I immediately grasped the larger responsibilities of being a mother.

This year the calendar falls the same way it did the year my son was born, the year my son made me a mother one week before Mother's Day. It has me thinking more than usual about everything I was doing that year (working until Thursday despite being in early labor).

Today that boy is absolutely amazing. His very own little person, so small and young and yet so very grown up in so many ways. Frustrating and complex, loving and totally innocent.

To my sweet son, the song I sang to him when he was small enough to hold. How wonderful life is when you're in the world....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hello, Bon Jovi (or American Idol a day late)...

I was out last night, so I'm watching last night's American Idol during naps this afteroon (thank you, DVR). So loads of fun this week - two people going home, Jon Bon Jovi. Yeah, that's enough. He just gets better looking with every passing year, doesn't he? I love him and his music, so this should be totally fun.

Phil - Blaze of Glory. Among my favorites. I had the soundtrack to the movie and listened to it all the time on my very first CD player. A slightly twangy opening, but wow. I mean, wow. Good luck following that, kids.

Jordin - Her mom used to play her Bon Jovi when she was little? I'm officially old. Livin on a Prayer. Another good one, but I don't know that it will show off her voice. But does it matter? After the way they screwed with her last week, isn't everyone going to be voting for the poor girl? I think the band, while rockin', is too loud to really hear her sing. But it's not horrible. I think it's going to depend on how the others (like LaKisha, who I can't see singing Bon Jovi) work this out.

LaKisha - speak of the devil. I suspected she'd go slow. I mean, how could she not? I didn't love it, but I don't really love "This Ain't a Love Song" itself.

Blake - You Give Love A Bad Name. OMG. Welcome back, beatbox boy. Love it. LOVE. IT. I've been feeling like he's gotten away from that edge that I liked so much, but this brought back and then some. Awesome.

Chris - Wanted Dead or Alive. I don't know. I thought it was good, but boring. I'd rather hear Jon Bon Jovi singing it. Maybe I just don't like him. Okay, I know I don't like him (really his style of music, since I don't know him personally), but maybe that's coloring my opinion.

Melinda - Here I was worried about the girl and she blows the house away with Have a Nice Day. Nice hair. Now see, this is what makes a true pro - she fits into any genre, like it doesn't matter what she's singing, as long as she's up there doing it.

Let's rank them first:

Now, I don't know if that's how it's going to go down, though. I just can't see Jording leaving tonight. I'd say it's Chris and LaKisha.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A brief sports interlude...

I need to talk NFL Draft. It's the closest thing I can get to college football in April, so I was way psyched for it. Turns out I shouldn't have been. It's not like I stayed home glued to my TV or anything, but I followed the coverage every now and then on tv and online. Here's what I have to say:

1. What the hell, Cleveland? And all you dumbasses who had picks 4 through 21? Brady Quinn? You passed on Brady Quinn? Y'all suck.

2. Baltimore, what the hell? Troy Smith? Are ya kiddin me? Sure he won the flipping Heisman trophy and he team only lost one game. But, well, I don't like him. And I won't cheer you on if he's your QB. If he's on the bench, I am willing to overlook him.

3. I would like to commend Detroit on the selection of Drew Stanton, who I think it going to end up being the best NFL QB out of this year's draft. (Sorry, Brady - but you're definitely be the hottest).

That's really all I have. Unless I start all over on number 1. I mean, seriously, Cleveland, Miami, etc. What were you all thinking? No one needs a quarterback? No one needs their team's hot factor to instantly quadruple? Really?

My first craft show...

Let's just say the fact that I forgot to take pictures of the purses I made beforehand turned out not to be a problem. I still have them all. But it's okay. It was free and there was free food. No big loss. And I had a nice afternoon out without the kids for a change. I'm not complaining.

So on Tuesday I finished knitting and felting my fifth or sixth purse. I realized that there was no way I would get anything done in time to sell on Sunday. So I looked into sewing purses. I went downstairs to my fabric stash, pulled out some cute fabrics and started sewing. I only put out about $15 in interfacing, so I didn't even have many expenses.

Will I do another craft show? Probably not anytime soon, but eventually. After I've had some time to knit some more and get better at sewing purses. And only with someone fun (like my sister, who I was with today).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mommy guilt...

I try not to feel guilty, but sometimes I just do. Intellectually, I can tell myself that moms are allowed to be in bad moods since everyone has bad days. That's just how it is. But my emotional side saw my bad mood and won't stop hounding me about it. I had next to no patience with the kids and was just sort of detached yesterday. I didn't yell or scream, I was just sort of distant. I hate feeling like that, especially since there really wasn't a reason for it.

But the really stupid part of the guilt comes in when Tom got home. I let him take over and I just sort of zoned. And felt immensely guilty for taking twenty minutes while the kids were still awake to just be inside myself. Like I can't turn the reigns over without feeling guilty. How stupid is that? He's their father - I didn't hand responsibility over to some stranger off the street.

And I'm going to face this again this weekend when I go out. I have a baby shower for an old friend on Saturday and a craft show (whole other post there) on Sunday. Tom is going to be gone the following weekend all weekend, so it will actually be nice for me to get out while I can, but I'm already feeling guilty for leaving him alone with the kids.

Moms are weird. Maybe not all moms. At any rate, I'm weird.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shoe Shopping: A Gender War

Shoe shopping with a (four year old) girl:

Girl: Hmm, that shoe is pretty, but the bow is blue and I like pink. That shoe is beautiful. Mom, can I have it?
Mom: No way. You can't have platform flip-flops when you can barely walk in sneakers. How about these? They have princesses on them.
Girl: Um, I don't think so. I like these sparkly pink ones.
Mom: But they're three sizes too small.
Girl: But I like them!
Mom: Then go ahead, try them on.

Girl proceeds to try on six or seven different pairs of shoes. Including ones that aren't her size but are "bee-yootiful" like the sparkly pink ones. After much debating, she ends up saying let's get these (princess shoes that Mom had pointed out).

Shoe shopping with a (six year old) boy:

Boy: Hey those look just like the shoes I have on my feet. And they have my size.

Boy tries on shoes. They fit. We're done.

One of these kids is going to give me fits when she's a teenager.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Deep thoughts...

I've been thinking some deep thoughts today - nothing monumental or earth-shattering, just absorbing the enormity of the shootings at Virginia Tech, trying to take in the far-reaching effects of something like this and just process it in my head.

You know what I can't get past? French class. So many of those kids were just sitting in French class Monday morning, conjugating irregular verbs or discussing the finer points of the subjunctive and then they were shot. killed. I can't stop thinking about this part. Because this? This I get. I have crystal clear memories of sitting in French class on Monday mornings. French was my favorite class - the one where I felt like I belonged, like I truly was learning something and knew what I was doing. French class was peace for me for four (eight including high school) years. It was my (mainly useless to my life) major. Several of the students killed were also French majors. One was a professor. I had aspirations of becoming a French professor at one time.

And why does everyone in our society immediately leap to blame? Can we not just learn all we can before leaping to our conclusions that someone didn't do enough? And can't we just blame the only one who deserves it? What good does criticizing the reaction do now except obscure the greater need? Don't assign blame for what's happened. Take what happened and learn from it. Put plans in place in the horrible event that this happens again. Reach out to troubled students and don't let them get to this point. Act to prevent this, don't talk about who did what wrong in things that can't be changed. You can't change the past - you can learn from it to change the future. This is where our energies should be focused, if they need to be anywhere other than grieving alongside the families and friends who lost loved ones.

Excuse the serious nature of my thoughts tonight. I can't exactly discuss this with my five year old, so it comes out here.

In lighter news, adios Sanjaya. It's about freaking time, America.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Idol does country...

Yeah, I skipped last week. I don't know. I just didn't feel like it. I don't know. The show wasn't interesting, I was bored and out of it.

So on to country.

Phil - Keith Urban "Where the Blacktop Ends". I liked him tonight. I don't always, but tonight he was pretty good. He'll probably go home, right?

Jordin - Martina McBride "Broken Wing." What balls does it take to sing Martina (the Celine/Whitney/etc. of country) right to Martina's face? Luckily for Jordin, she's got it. Damn. I had chills.

LaKisha - Jesus Take the Wheel. Ooh, not her best. Just kind of shrieky at the high parts and drowned out at the low parts. I'm worried for her.

Sanjaya - Something to Talk about. What can I say? Nice bandana? Um, yeah, that's about it.

Chris - Mayberry. I don't know this song and I don't like him singing it. Is that because he doesn't do it well or I just don't like him? Can't tell. Probably at least partly that second one.

Melinda - Trouble is a Woman. This is the Melinda that everyone loves. Girl was on fire tonight.

Blake - When the stars go blue. Nice song choice, but to be honest, it was kind of boring. Of course, following such an energetic performance from Melinda, it could just be in comparison.

So let's rank them for tonight:
Jordin/Melinda (honestly, I can't decide which one was better tonight)

I'd love to say that this is the week we say goodbye to Sanjaya, but my gut says LaKisha. I'd love to be surprised.

Friday, April 13, 2007



See that green plastic egg in the bend of that tree? There has been an egg hidden in that very spot - a tree in my grandparents' backyard - for every single Easter I can remember - probably longer than that, really. My aunts and uncles hid an egg there for me and my sister and brother and our cousins when we were little. Then we grew up and hid eggs there for our younger cousins. Now they've grown up and are hiding an egg there for my kids. Among my fondest hopes is that my kids will hide an egg there for the children of my younger cousins. I love that my kids are able to have some of the same things to remember as I do, just as I love that they remember the same things that Tom knew as a child and they also have completely unique experiences all their own.

This picture will always make me smile and think about my childhood and my grandparents' house and years and years of holidays spent there. I hope that it also makes me think about the memories we're making every day - that every moment is potentially the one that my children will remember and tell their own children about. I hope this calms me on hard days and makes me take a deep breath before I scold. I hope this makes me spend a little more time playing and a little less time worrying about little things.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Things happen for a reason...

So lately I've had this pain in my upper right side, right under my ribcage. Sometimes it extends into my back. Mainly it's annoying, but at times it's very painful. And this coming from someone who's definition of pain was forever altered by a very severe ankle fracture. So I took myself to the doctor to see what she thought (in itself a sign that I was in pain - I'm kind of a "no doctor" type). She says "gallbladder." Nope. Don't have one anymore. Therefore she decided to send me off to see a gastroenterologist. He says it's probably scarring. More tests to verify this, but it's probably what is it is and it's more annoying than a huge problem for now.

The point of my medical drama? While my doctor was writing the referral request, I asked her to look at a mole on my thigh. She didn't like it and immediately scheduled a removal and biopsy. The results came in this afternoon. It wasn't cancerous, but it would have been eventually.

I told my sister this and she thinks it's crazy, but I think my gallbladder pain was intended to get me to the doctor to have this mole removed. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm more spiritual than I think I am because I think someone, a higher someone, was looking out for me. Tonight I'm relieved. And thankful.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tony Bennett Night on Idol...

First, allow me to begin by saying I LOVE Tony Bennett and that whole crooner style of music. Love it. So I have high hopes for the evening (Melinda, honey, please don't disappoint)...

Blake - Mack the Knife. Meh. A bit of a boring selection, honestly. But digging the house band. Okay, I'm loving this. He's not trying to make it something it's not and he's really singing it well. Awesome.

Phil - Night and Day. Love the outfit - very appropriate. I wasn't sure at first - a little boring, maybe, but he definitely worked it out and really finished strong. Second week in a row that I've liked him.

Melinda - I've Got Rhythm. Her hair's a little younger looking this week. Great song choice - upbeat and slow to show off her personality and her voice. One of my favorite Melinda performances to date (That W-O-M-A-N one is my fave).

Chris R. - Don't Get Around Much Anymore. I love this song. And without changing it all except for him singing it and not someone older, he's almost making this swing classic seem current. And while I don't generally like him, I like this. And not just because I would love to see this music hit the mainstream again.

Jordin - Cute, well sung, but a little old sounding. Randy was right that she didn't bring the young to it like Chris did. And Randy had it right when he told Melinda that she's teaching the others to sing. Jordin was totally working M's moves. Melinda better watch out.

Gina - another subdued performance that really shows off how she can sing. I didn't LOVE it, but it was good.

Haley - really not her best, IMO. She's weak in parts and just kind of flat. I don't know if it's the song choice, which is kind of boring.

LaKisha - shaky start, but that girl can sing. And she is also learning from Melinda with the hand motions, but she still doesn't seem to connect the way M does. I think Jordin is learning faster.

Man, tough to rank tonight. I think I'll skip that. My bottom two is Haley and Sanjaya. But I bet the actual bottom two is Haley and Phil. And this is probably Haley's week to go.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The completed pair of socks...

The color seems a little off. They're really a very light pink.

A mother's confessions...

I have some things to get off my chest.

1. I refuse to eat the slimy, chewed on food my toddler offers me. I just can't.

2. While I think of myself as laid back about messes and things, it really bugs me if the kids don't put toys back in their appropriate bin. I have to go through and re-sort the toys at least once a month.

3. I sometimes drink Kool-Aid in a glass that matches the color of the Kool-Aid and tell the kids it's water.

4. I lose my temper and yell. I hate that. Yes, they probably did something wrong, but I hate losing it anyway.

5. My kids talked late (26 months and 30 months respectively for the first two. The third is 20 months and has only a smattering of words) and I think it's my fault for not talking enough to them.

6. I actually used the phrase "Because I said so." This morning.

7. I've been known to turn two pages of a very long book together just to get it over with. Of course, now that Mr. T reads, that doesn't fly anymore.

8. I sometimes disagree with my husband about how to discipline, but I never say this in front of our kids. And I don't usually argue with Tom about it after they've gone to bed and I have to remind myself not to question his lectures because I would never want him to question my methods.

9. Some days I count the minutes until bedtime and curse daylight savings time for it being light later.

10. Sometimes I think one of my kids is cuter than the others or one is my special favorite. Then I change my mind to another one. Then the other one. They're all cute and special and my favorite for different reasons.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

To Miss G, on her fourth birthday...

You came into this world in a most unusual way. Well, I mean, technically, it was just the normal way, but the cast on my left leg made it unique. I think I was a first for both my OB and my orthopedic surgeon. 34 weeks pregnant with a broken ankle. Delivered at 41 weeks (you just have do things at your own pace, don't you?) with cast still on.

Four years later, and you still do things your own way. You pick out your own clothes (dresses and skirts only - princesses don't wear pants), you make your own lunch, you get things done. If you want to. You have ambition. You have drive. Even if it's just to spread your own peanut butter. One day that drive will serve you well.

You started preschool this past fall and let me tell you, they love you there. You are thriving in the school environment when I worried you wouldn't like it because you can't do your own thing. Turns out the independence they teach is right up your alley.

I hate to confess this, but of my three children, for some reason you have always tried my patience the most. I don't know if it's our similar independent streaks or that you're so much like my sister (with whom I get along - now that we don't live together) or why exactly it is you test me. I often feel like I have failed. I hate that.

Your moods are changeable. Crying and angry one minute, laughing and happy the next. No exaggeration - it happens that fast. Sometimes I don't know what to do with you and your moods - usually I just wait you out, since I know the stormy moods don't last long. Or I ask you do something grown-up because anything that appeals to your sense of independence is good, right?

Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

A sock grows...and my newly diagnosed problem...

I like to call it "Too Many Works in Progress"-itis. I'm working on the socks mentioned in the title of this post. And so rather than just plug on and finish that, last night I decided to cast on for a burp cloth for my cousin's baby. And is if that weren't enough, I just this morning cast on for the purse I need to make for my young cousin's birthday (my oldest cousin on my mom's side is 29 and the youngest one is 4 - only a few weeks younger than my middle DD - whose birthday was yesterday. Happy Birthday, Miss G). And sometime before I finish any of these projects, I'll probably cast on for an evening clutch I want to make myself. Oh, and another pair of socks for a knitalong.

The good thing? Stash-busting. Yay, me.

As for the sock, I'm knitting my very first ever pair of socks. It's so much easier than I thought it would be. Here's some pictures of the first one. It is actually finished, but now I have come to the inherent problem in knitting socks. You have to make a second one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Idol Week 3: And then there were ten...

A whole show about Gwen Stefani's favorite songs? Weird. I mean, kind of a random thing, no? I think I'll submit my iPod playlist for next week's show.

LaKisha - Let's Dance. To be honest, this is kind of boring. Yeah, she's definitely among the top singers, but the song is boring and even her something extra she brings didn't enliven it for me. Donna Summers? Was Gwen Stefani's list made from a random playlist generator?

Chris Sligh - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. He sounds quite a bit like Sting. I wasn't sure at the start, but I think this is a good song for him. We know it, he sings it well. Goooo, Chris. Isn't Paula cute with her constructive criticism while she was rocking out during the song? Kind of makes it hard to actually listen to her.

Gina - I'll Stand by You. Is that the name of this song? Wow. This is the best she's sounded, voice wise in weeks. I will say that the outfit is just bizarre. She's overplaying the rock thing, but I think it makes sense, career-wise, for her to do this. She's not going to win (I think we can all agree on this - just not enough people like the rocker thing), but by sticking with a strong style, she's already working a post-Idol career.

Sanjaya - Bathwater. I'm sorry. I just can't stop laughing. Why? Why? Why? I have nothing else to say.

Haley - True Colors. I don't know. It's not bad. It's not very interesting, but it's not bad.

Phil - Every Breath You Take. I haven't liked Phil this much for a while, like since the first week with the just the guys. And they covered up his creepy head. Very nice.

Melinda - Heaven Knows. Was Gwen Stefani really so influenced by disco? Interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I mean, excellent singing, obviously. But, well, maybe I don't like the song, but I didn't love it.

Blake - Lovesong. Hmm, I haven't really seen his appeal before tonight. He's kind of hot. And he really can sing when he isn't distracting us with the beatbox boy thing.

Jordin - Hey, Baby. Really? Okay. It's not horrible. I think there was probably a better "fun" song choice out there, but it was cute. It seemed a little weak in the beginning, but it was okay overall.

Chris R - Don't Speak. I just don't like him. And I don't like his voice either - you know, something about the quality of his voice, not how well he sings or not.

So for a fun little fact, it IS possible to watch 60+ minutes of American Idol in less than 30 minutes. I started watching it at 9 on my DVR because I thought it was over and caught up to the end. I missed all the Gwen Stefani chats, but that stuff drives me crazy anyway.

I think I'll rank them tonight:
Melinda/Blake (tie)
LaKisha/Jordin (tie)
Chris Sligh
Chris R/Haley (tie)

I'm thinking it's Haley's time to go. Boring gets em every time. Although I wouldn't discount the curse of the fauxhawk (see also: Nadia Turner).

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Anti-Craft Craftster

I do a lot of hobbies that would be considered by some to be - and there's just no other word for it - crafty. That word makes me cringe. I'm NOT crafty. I just like to knit. And crochet. And sew. And make stuff. That does not make me...crafty. Ugh. I think it's because of years spent with my mother attending craft shows have burned into my mind that crafts=country. And I'm SOOOO not country. I'm retro, I'm modern, I'm classic, but I am NOT country. Which is why I don't do much knitting (etc.) for the house. It almost always reads as country. Even a crocheted afghan has to work hard not to be hokey and country. The only stuff I would (ugh) craft for the house would be retro kitschy - you know, aware that it's hokey.

I suppose I should say that I mean no offense to fans of the country look. It's just not for me. At all. I doubt my retro-vintage-modern eclectic look would suit you either. Different strokes and all that. That's fine. So why do I still have to stop myself from screaming "I'm NOT crafty!" whenever I hear someone tell me I am? Too many years spent at those craft shows, I guess. I recently went to one with my mother-in-law and nothing has changed in all the years since my mom stopped selling at them.

I hereby resolve to work on my preconceived notions of crafty. I will endeavor to find the good in being a craftster. So help me, DIY Network.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

idol meets iTunes...

I'm cruising iTunes, as I do every now and then, looking for new music and as always I check the top 100 downloads. In the top fifty are three songs by previous contestants (two by Daughtry) and one song from Tuesday's episode. As much as I like older music, I'm pretty sure the Zombies wouldn't have made the top 50 downloads without American Idol. And I have to say that while I have some issues with American Idol in general, despite being totally hooked on the show, I do like that it's bringing some true classics back and hopefully encouraging a new generation to at least appreciate music from the 60s (and ideally before and after as well).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Idoling a bit late this week...

Tom was home early last night, so I watched American Idol, but didn't blog it. I thought he might enjoy the theme - 60s British Invasion. I was partly right. He liked, well, one song. These are probably out of order because I'm trying to do it from memory.

Haley - Tell Him. Very cutesy. I'm considering betting on Simon's response - cruise ship, theme park, etc. No? Really? They liked it? I mean, it wasn't bad, but it was a tad boring, despite her perky performance. I think group psychology is coming into play here. They blasted her last week and I bet a lot of people responded by voting for her (I tried, but it was always busy, such is the case every time I've ever attempted to vote)

Chris R. - Dude, that was so boring. I mean, yeah, the acoustic thing was cool. And yeah, you're cute in that way that my sister likes, but does not in any way appeal to me. But you're totally wearing blue eyeshadow and that freaks me out. How does Simon not know this song? Oh, Tom doesn't know it either. So why do I know it, then? Must go back to my oldies station phase from high school.

Blake - A vaguely modern take that is basically the exact song from the 60s with some electronic sounds over it. And the judges love it. Because it's not really risky at all. I don't mind it, but I really liked what he did last week, so I guess I'm not qualified to judge. Tom claims that this is just a copycat of a cover that's already been done. He does know his British music, so he's probably right.

Stephanie - Love Me. I like this song. But she's not singing her best tonight. And the glam dress with the kick ass boots? Weird. I think she's in danger. And the judges agree. That ought to get the voting going.

Phil - Oh, dear. I don't know if it's the song, the arrangement, or just him, but this is awful. I'm fastforwarding through it, it's so bad. I pick him to leave tonight now.

LaKisha - Diamonds Are Forever. This is the song Tom liked. Again, I think the judges harshing on her was a calculated psychological ploy. In past years, voters have not always responded well to the judges drooling over their anointed one week after week.

Sanjaya - Well, his hair's better this week. That's something. And he's not really trying to sing as well as the rest of them, so that's another something. Is that girl crying? For real? Oh, so that's who's voting for him. I get it now. Actually not his worst performance, though his singing was horrific. The judges praise in what must be another calculated ploy, right?

Jordin - Wow. She's really coming into her own. She sang this so beautifully and she looks amazing. But seriously, what a horrible song, lyrics-wise.

Chris Sligh - What's with the starting in the audience? He just looks like he got lost. Tom likes this song, if not Chris Sligh singing it.

Gina - Love the hair. Love the outfit, the song, the set. Even love her performance, but the singing? Man. It's rough in spots and she mumbles or moves the microphone so we can't hear her sometimes. But I give her points for being different, if what they've declared her to be.

Melinda - A song from Oliver? I think that's stretching the definition of British Invasion just a tad. And this is so freaking boring. Not even Melinda is making it unboring, despite what the judges are trying to tell her.

So the best of the night for me - LaKisha or Jordin.

Worst of the night: Stephanie, Phil, with Phil being my prediction for who's going home.