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.