9 Months Update

on 29 October 2012

I feel like I've been in a fog and someone just poked me and my Girl is 9 months old already.

She's a bit on the small side (25th percentile for height and weight), but she's rolling and army crawling everywhere.  She's still shy and observant, I started to say cautious, but she really isn't cautious.  She's rolled right off the bed twice now, she's pulled a lamp off of a shelf onto her head, she pulls books off the shelf and onto her head, she's pulled a basket of toys off a shelf and onto her head, are you sensing a theme here?  Anyway, she's shy of people, but ridiculously fearless when she's surrounded by her family.  She loves her brother to distraction and wants to be in the middle of whatever he's doing.

She's fully weaned and drinking this insanely expensive hypoallergenic formula, for now.  We'll probably keep trying her with dairy because I have a strong hope that she'll outgrow it.  I spent last weekend making up a huge batch of baby food for her, and her favorite is mixed berry-plum-barley.  She seems to be in this strange hurry to grow up and do everything herself, which I don't remember the Boy doing.  It's a little alarming, at one point a couple of weeks ago, after the incident with the lamp, I looked at her and said, "Where is the FIRE, child?  Why are you in such a hurry to grow up?  Just be a BABY."  Good grief.

She's completely exasperating.  But she's also funny.  And sweet.  And absolutely darling.

Gox Box Socks

on 26 October 2012

You've read One Fish, Two Fish right?  It's a classic, so I'm assuming everyone has read it at some point.

The Boy loves it, and he goes through these phases where he wants to read the same book over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  Back in the Spring it was all One Fish, Two Fish all the time, and he asked if we could find him some Gox Box Socks.  And I thought, "Hey, that's fun!  I bet I could just MAKE those."

So I picked up some yellow wool and my sticks and I knitted them up in a week.  I had put them away, thinking that I would save them and give them to him for Christmas, but he's been growing so fast lately that I want him to be able to wear them before they're too small.  And since he thinks they're magical (they make him brave when he wears them), I thought I would take some pictures and hopefully give y'all a smile.

They're so bright and cheerful and fun and he loves them so much, that now I'm feeling twitchy and I want to go to the yarn shop and buy up a bunch more brightly colored yarn to whip out more super fun socks.

It was flu shot day, so he was having a cuddle with Agnes and his woobie.  He actually freaked out at the shot, which he's never done before, so we all needed some down time to recover.

What do you do?

Do you ever have those days?

You know the ones.  The ones where you make all of these plans for greatness and then everything goes off.  Not horribly, catastrophically wrong, just...not according to plan either.  So while it's not quite a BAD day, it's a disappointing day.

For some reason, I can deal with the horrible, catastrophically bad days.  I have trouble with the plain, boring, dull, annoying disappointing days.

And today is one of them.

It's just a day, but it's making me want to QUIT absolutely everything.

I tried to shrink my sweater a bit in the laundry, and what I was aiming for was shrinking in the WIDTH, the body, but maintaining the LENGTH.  Having never shrunk woolen fabric intentionally before, I can say it was a wonderful learning experience, but my sweater is basically ruined.  It shrank.  And now it fits beautifully in the BODY.  But the length!?  I lost a good 4 inches.  In the body and sleeves.  And the extra long sleeves were my favorite part.  So, now I know.  But all of that work...I just want to quit.

And the Boy?  The boy is having  a fun-tastic day, but when we sat down to work on his reading, he just was fidgety and didn't want to try.  And, of course, we TRY any way.  Not wanting to do something is hardly a viable excuse in these parts (I don't want to wipe all of the bums I have to, but I do it any way).  And we haven't been diligent with his read aloud this week and oh man, it really shows.  He just struggled.  I actually do understand this, that some days with homeschooling it's going to be brilliant (like last week when he read 4 books by himself in a row without making any mistakes) and some days are going to be like today.  But since it's coming in company with other disappointing things, I really just want to throw in the towel and lay on my floor and eat chocolate.

And my Girl?  My girl didn't sleep well last night, didn't nap well this morning and has been like a house-a-fire all day long.  And not content to just wreak havoc with harmless things, she is most drawn to sticking her finger in a light socket, pulling enormous books down on her skull, or jamming sharp, pointy objects in her eyes.  (Not that I let her do those things, but that's what she's constantly going for and I constantly have to stop her.)  So I get nothing done if she's down on the floor exploring, or I imprison her in the exersaucer to do frivolous things like wash the dishes or diapers.  There's just no way to win.

And that about sums up my day.  There's just no way to win.  Maybe I should just lay on the floor and eat chocolate.  But I'm curious, what do you do when you have a bit of a day?

Bit of a Pickle

on 24 October 2012

I have such a story to tell you.

So Chris and I were to move.  Into a 3-bedroom unit across the parking lot.  Not a big move, but a move.  We were all excited about more space and reorganizing our household.  It's gotten a little out of hand with the addition of a child, then a puppy, then the removal of a cat and the upheval of the year that's been.  And all of this was to happen, oh, next week.

So I started packing and cleaning out and reorganizing, so that the move would go as smoothly as possible.

And then last Monday, I got a call from our leasing office.  They weren't sure how it had happened, but they had rented our 3-bedroom to someone else.  Not to worry!  They had another 3-bedroom in another building, all would be well.

Except that I'm married to a man who doesn't cope well with change (and his son is JUST like him).

So I talked to Chris, who flew off into a tailspin of rage and frustration, which is probably more from the sudden change than any oversight on the part of the leasing office.  And then I talked to the leasing office again and calmly explained that the different building wouldn't work, that we would find another solution.

And for about 4 hours I felt sick to my stomach thinking that I was going to have to find us a new place to live in 2 weeks. And then Chris looked at me and I looked at him and we said, "Let's just stay here.  It's do-able."  And so with that, Chris went to work and I went to work.

(Did I mention that this all came the week that Chris was working his tail off studying for the GMAT which he took on Friday?  No.  Well, we were doing that too.)

I had already packed the books, so I set about deep-cleaning the apartment and moving some furniture around to try to alleviate frustration with the space.  I packed up some things for storage, and unpacked other things to put away.  I talked to my sister and agreed to store some of our excess in her attic.

After  a week of deep cleaning, shifting furniture, and packing away empty jars; then reorganizing just about everything the apartment is finally, finally starting to feel like it's in order.  We signed another 6 month lease and everything is calm again.

I told Chris when we went to bed after hauling our storage up to my sister's house, we seem to be stuck in some kind of black-hole-vortex with this apartment.  We originally signed a 15 month lease back in July of 2010, we have been extending in 6 month increments ever since.  Just when we think we're really going to move, either buy a house, or move into a bigger space, something happens and we just stay put.  It's strange, but we had a good laugh about it.  Here we are and here we shall remain.  For a season.

Household Management

on 22 October 2012

" [The Mistress of the Home] ought always to remember that she is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega in the government of her establishment; and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regulated.  She is, therefore, a person of far more importance in a community than she usually thinks she is.  On her pattern her daughters model themselves; by her counsels they are directed...Therefore, let each mistress always remember her responsible position, never approving a mean action, nor speaking an unrefined word.  Let her conduct be such that her inferiors may respect her, and such as an honorable and right-minded man may look for in his wife and the mother of his children...let the mistress of every house rise to the responsibility of its managment; so that in doing her duty to all around her, she may receive the genuine reward of respect, love, and affection."

  • Isabella Beeton, 1861 [emphasis mine]


on 15 October 2012

I finished my sweater!

Last week actually, but there are no pictures as of yet.  I keep pulling it on to walk Molly early in the morning when it's chilly out, and I'm virtually IMPERVIOUS to the cold.  It's at least one full size too big for me, so I may try to shrink it in the wash, but for now, it's like a lovely, wooly blanket with sleeves.

As I was doing the finishing work on it I was thinking back to when I first learned how to knit.

It was 3 years ago, right about this time of the year.  We had only been in Georgia for a few short months, the Boy would go to bed by 6:30 every evening, but Chris wouldn't be home until 9:00 or later (if he had after-work commitments), so I would sit alone in our apartment every night.

After I had the Boy, when I finally realized that THIS mammoth task of Mothering would be my work for the foreseeable future, I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to learn, but had been putting off because I was in school and pursuing a career as a lofty, ivory-towered Academic.  Some of them were more involved than others, and thus more expensive than others.  But there were a few that could be done, on my own and on a relatively small budget.

So I took myself to the only craft store in town and bought 1 ball of Patons wool and 1 pair of wooden needles.  I dug out the book my Grandmother had given me the year before and sat on the couch and tried to decipher the rather cryptic instructions.

And FAILED.  I could NOT for the life of me figure out what that woman who wrote the book was talking about!  (I've read enough now to know that there ARE books out there that are written in such a way that it's actually possible to figure out what they want you to do.)

So I did what any smart girl of my generation would do.  I took myself to the internet.

I found a great website with some wonderful tutorials and I sat at my computer, night after night, practice practice practicing until I felt reasonably competent, and then I would rip everything out and start over again.  I didn't have a pattern, I wasn't on Ravelry, I had no real, tangible goal, I just wanted to learn.

And then, as usual, I got sidetracked.  I went down other paths, I learned a few other things.  And then, when we moved back to North Carolina, I went back to knitting.

I made my first pair of socks for my Boy, and then for Christmas, I determined to make Chris' first ever Christmas socks.

And it was that Christmas that I realized that knitting was actually calming me down.  I love Christmas, but I get a little worked up trying to make sure that it's a happy one for Chris and the Boy.  But as I sat on the couch quietly knitting every evening I felt the worry and anxiety and frenetic energy of the season slip quietly away.  Those socks aren't worn much now.  I've learned so much in the 2 years since I knit them that they really aren't very comfortable compared with my more recent endeavors. 

My only regret is that I didn't sit down and learn sooner.

A Flannel Mountain

on 08 October 2012

You know, Necessity really IS the Mother of Invention.

I was outfitting the Boy last month and I ran into problems when it came to pajamas.  Here's the problem...the Boy LOATHES blankets.  He says that "the blanket makes my FEET hot, Mama."  But what I really suspect is that he can't move as freely as he likes when he's asleep.  So, his pajamas need to be first, WARM.  Second, they need to be soft.  That's more for me than for him, I refuse to dress my children in colors or textures I wouldn't wear myself (were I blessed with their coloring), so most synthetic fabrics are out.  Third, (and this one is also for me) they need to be...not-covered-in-characters, so no Spider man, no Captain America, not even Thomas the Tank Engine.  I just wanted plain!  And Warm!  And soft!  But such pajamas are rarely found, and when found are considerably MORE expensive than I was willing to pay for them.

So after stewing about it for a couple of days, I hunted up a pajama pattern I bought 3 years ago with the intention of sewing up some pants for him when he was still my small and precious baby.  After looking at the pattern I felt decidedly more determined, so I headed to Joanns.

Then I spent every single day at Joanns for a WEEK.

Here's the problem.  I bought a bunch of flannel for the boy, washed it up and cut out the legs and Chris was looking at it and said, "Wow, that's really cute.  How much did you pay for all of this."  The flannel at the time was 50% off, so the amount was not very much at all and he said, "Why are we NOT doing this for the Girl too?!"  So I had to keep going BACK to Joanns to buy flannel for the Girl.  Then elastic for the waistbands.  Then THREAD.  It was crazy.

Then I got all kinds of sidetracked with a trip to Savannah and the start of school with the Boy, so they were partially sewn and pinned and waiting.  Well, a couple of  weeks ago I finally finished them...

The results?

It is now almost impossible to get these children to put on actual CLOTHES.

Clarification:  It's impossible to get them OUT of their pajamas in the morning.  They live in the pajamas, which is nice and sweet, but you know, people start to look at you funny when you're children never get out of baggy flannel pajamas.

My Prince

on 04 October 2012

Knitting has done a lot for me in the 3 short years I have been working with it.  It gives me occupation, it's incredibly practical, it's a powerful reminder of one of my favorite truths: that little things matter, and most importantly it settles my ever-present anxiety. 

But Chris might have a slightly different perspective.  I think he likes the knitting, he certainly likes the socks, and I think he much prefers the mellowing effect it has on my, shall we say, concentrated temperament.  But I think he finds himself baffled by the presence of so much yarn.  Yarn everywhere.  Yarn stashed in a big bin in the closet, on the shelf, in the desk and occasionally left out just to rub like a good-luck-inducing charm on shelves or the dresser. 

And it might just be my own obsessive personality, but I have a tendency to talk projects with him.  I did the same thing in graduate school, when I was working on a complicated analysis, I would sit at his feet and talk the entire idea out, making notes and flagging quotes to use and he would just look at me with this bemused expression the entire time.  I still do this occasionally (though it's now in the car when we're going somewhere, and it usually involves minutiae from a novel I've read half a dozen times but only recently noticed).  And now I talk through knitting projects with him, yes, even his traditional Christmas socks.  I'm starting to wonder if he's not so crazy about this habit, since he specifically asked that his Christmas socks this year actually be a SURPRISE.

I've resisted buying a swift, partly because I'm cheap and partly because we have no where for it to live.  So when I need to wind hanks of yarn into smoothly, tangle-free balls, he usually holds the hanks for me and we have a nice chat while I wind the yarn.

So I spent the bulk of last Saturday winding balls for upcoming projects so that I could shift seamlessly between them when I felt like it.  The first ball (a charcoal grey alpaca that I've had for two years) I draped around a chair and wound while Chris was at work on Friday night.  Saturday morning he held the pinky-lavender wool blend (the Boy helped) while I wound it.  But then on Saturday afternoon he was watching a movie and he worked so hard all week that I didn't want to ask him to help me, so I laid out the hank of navy blue merino wool and started to wind it up.

Now, I love wool.  Hands down it's my favorite yarn to work with.  But wool sticks to itself, that's why it shrinks in the wash.  So as I was winding, the wool was sticking to itself and NOT staying in the nice wide circle I had laid it out in.  After about an hour, I had a big tangled heap of navy yarn.  And by big, I mean it looked like a big plate of navy blue spaghetti.  Or hair.  Very curly, tangled messy hair.

It was at this point that I asked for help.  I have since acknowledged that the time to ask for help was at the BEGINNING before making the enormous mess.

So Chris looked at me and said, "Um.  Yeah.  Is there a reason you didn't ask me to help you at the beginning?"  And I said, "You were watching a movie.  I didn't want to interrupt."  And he said, "Dude.  Before making an enormous mess of it, just ASK for help.  Ok?"  At which point we both laughed and agreed that I would ask for help.

And then he did something that I did NOT expect and remain awed by.  He took the whole mess and painstakingly over 2 days, spent SIX HOURS untangling the hank of yarn and winding it into a neat ball.  For me.  Just me.

How did I ever get so lucky?

One Reason...

on 03 October 2012

Here's one reason why the sweater might be taking so long to finish.

It's awfully hard to knit when your dog keeps laying on your work in progress.

Changing my name for the week...

on 02 October 2012


Due to my behavior this morning it has become apparent that I'm changing my name for the week.

Just call me Grumperella.

The Girl has chosen NOT to return to nursing and my supply is dwindling in unbelief.  Because of a monthly hormonal shift, I could happily chew on a chocolate covered salt lick, and that hormonal shift is also diminishing my milk supply and so we've decided to wean her quietly.  I waged some chemical warfare on some ants that were staging an invasion in my kitchen, and I am knitting a sweater that feels like it has no end.

Seriously.  I'm going to be knitting this sweater when I'm 85.

(Of course it doesn't help that I have other projects now that I really want to be working on, but I don't feel like it's reasonable to abandon the sweater when I actually NEED the object.  And so I continue to knit on it, even though I feel like I've been sucked into some yarny black hole.  That or the gnomes are coming in at night (with the ANTS) and unraveling everything I knit during the day so the thing never grows any longer.)

Other than that, school with my boy is going great.  I'm not sure if it's because he's so smart, or because we're only doing 10-15 minute lessons followed by games, followed by reading, which we were already doing.  Either way, he's been remarkably patient while his Mama has a not-so-quiet nutty over the whole nursing strike situation.

Per my sister's recommendation, I've picked up some fully loaded diet pepsi (my new beverage of choice, but I've been drinking the caffeine free variety) and some good chocolate to get me through this grumptastic week. 

I have such a story to tell y'all of the princely nature of my husband, I'm wishing I had taken pictures to truly convey the miracle he performed for me, but I didn't so you will just have to use your imaginations and I will use my extensive vocabulary and together we will all marvel at the man I married.  But not today.  Today I am going to go start on chocolate for the day.