Monday, December 22, 2008

In which she attempts to catch up...

Wow... my poor, neglected blog. School was canceled for all of last week due to the weather here. Now we're in to the winter break. Christmas is Thursday, and I don't have as much accomplished as I'd like. I take comfort knowing that I am not alone. (I've been reading your blogs! I know you're all just as behind as I am. :))

Thursday before last (the 11th), I took the elf to the Raindrop Knitting Class at Gossamer in Portland. It's a very short drive across the bridge from Erin's school. I think I remember there being four other girls there. Someone mentioned that a couple of them went to school at Richmond and I did overhear them telling each other they could speak Japanese. Richmond is only partial immersion, with much bigger class sizes. Erin didn't seem to learn anything new, knitting-wise. However, I do think it was nice for her to do something with kids her own age. The teacher, Susan, did a GREAT job. She was very patient and spoke to the kids as equals. (I notice that many adults speak down to children). At one point, I found myself very impressed when after only two rows of work she switched Erin to loom knitting. She explained that children can only be expected to really focus on something for about as many minutes as their age in years. I completely agree on this. Erin is 6 years old and actually did a great job focusing for a little more than fifteen minutes before she started talking a lot and not paying attention.
The loom was a marvelously simple homemade contraption of four short popsicle sticks glued to a sturdy cardboard tube. It worked perfectly to keep Erin occupied for the remainder of the class and she ended up making a three foot icord.

All last week we kept ourselves very busy. We made gingerbread, gingerbread ornaments, popcorn garland, put our tree up, and many other things. I've made a fair amount of progress on my gifts list as well.

The gingerbread turned out fantastic. I am not a fan of gingerbread. In fact, I usually run the other way. It tends to have a falling out with my tummy and makes me feel less than presentable. I really wanted to make some ornaments though. Because we have allergies to deal with and it is easier to go from a Vegan recipe than from a regular recipe wih substitute, I searched Google for a Vegan gingerbread recipe and lo' and behold it came up with a hit from The PPK. I am a huge fan of this woman's recipes. I spotted the Veganomicon in Powell's when we were there for the Mason Dixon signing and fell in love after a quick look-thru.

Isa really outdoes herself, as she has converted my hate for gingerbread to pure joy-upon-sight of the stuff. I doubled the recipe on the site, intending for all of it to be used for construction materials in a glorious gingerbread city. However, I ended up eating more than half the cookies we made. Actually, to be honest I had help. Yes really! Even Connor was allowed to eat his own gingerbread cookie. The rest, I overcooked (purposefully, mind you!), strung with crocheted ties and hung on the tree. They're beautiful! And it took all night plus another day to accomplish. After adding popcorn garland, I just fell in love. Our tree is gorgeous. It has to be the most lightly trimmed tree I have every done, but it is simple and beautiful and really more work than you'd think.

If anything, you should strive for the opposite. i.e. "Oh, that? Simple. Quick. Easy." and not its horrible opposite "It took you how long??"

Next year, I resolve to begin Christmas prep in advance (hah!) and make felted ornaments and add some shiny orbs and candy canes. The perfect, and perfectly cheap candy canes in the store got the snub as I chanted my personal mantra "I could make better ones myself!"... Yes, if only there was a tear in space-time and I could crawl inside it to work on every monumentally over-simplified Martha-Stewart-esque task that I could ever dream up. If only.

This story will have to continue later on, as my patient husband is waiting for me to stream an episode of "Heroes" via Netflix, and I really should get back to work on the last two inches of my Fingerless Mitts Gift project. Until next time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apparently, he's a biter too.

Yesterday, I casually mentioned to Jesse that whenever I saw Connor open his mouth to nurse, I cringed at the sight of those little teeth.

I jinxed myself. Over the next 24 hours I would be bitten hard... a total of three times. Prior to this, I had done well in avoiding the bites. I noticed that he would only bite (just a little pinch, mind you) after he was really done eating and just being giggly. So, if I noticed the behavior leading to the biting coming on, I would unlatch him and that would be it.

This biting shouldn't be difficult to avoid, as it occurs after Connor has fallen asleep. I'll have to watch him instead of getting so involved in the knitting. The first time I was bitten yesterday, I held back the shriek for a good five seconds, until it was apparent that startling him awake was the only way to get him to let go and the pain was enough that I just really had to scream.

This biting is accompanied by other telltale signs (more drooling, grabbing at the gums) that the eruption of more teeth will happen soon. Oh, goody.

Monday, December 8, 2008

She's a biter!

My sister-in-law is getting married today. Monday, you ask? Yes, it's at the courthouse. I say kudos to them! They're going to have a party afterward at their apartment, and I believe tomorrow they are leaving for Newport for the honeymoon.

For her bachelorette party/bridal shower, we all went out to lunch at Red Robin then to a nail salon to get mani-pedis. I was very surprised by the great service at Red Robin. My sister (Jaimie) informed our server that since I was breastfeeding my dairy-allergic son, I could not have ANY dairy. The server responded very excitedly that she could go back and check with the cooking staff to see if anything I wanted had any hidden dairy. Generally, I refrain from going out to eat. Most servers are less than happy to deal with me, and I have been told by servers that something didn't have dairy in it and it ended up being loaded. (these did not check to make sure).

At the nail salon, I opted for a simple manicure. Last time I had a pedi there was two years ago for mother's day. For two months afterward, my feet were itchy and stinky. (TMI?? bwaha!) I chose a granny smith apple-green nail polish and inadvertently created a color trifecta.

I was very embarrassed by my short nails. Usually, they are long, but my childhood habit of biting has recently returned. Maybe due to recent stress? Probably. I've also been clenching ym jaw a lot, which causes headaches and makes my teeth hurt. I'm trying to focus on releasing all that tension. It isn't working very well.

Anyway, I had a great time! Much better than I thought I would. (I'm not a social person, really :))

Connor is attacking my leg... and we need to get going anyway. We have a lunching playdate with Cori!

Radical Knitting

I love this video. It slays me. That's why I'm putting it here.

Just in case anyone missed it (I saw it on Ravelry first).

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Who put the 'F' in FedEx?

Okay, now does this make sense? I was looking up the tracking for a package I ordered at Amazon. It's a new baby seat.

It's coming from Texas.
They took it to Oakland, California. Just a state away. Not too far, really.
No, wait... Then they took it to Tennessee?

How is Tennessee closer to Oregon than California? Oh, I get it. That's where the wormhole is. Gotcha.

Or maybe they want to make sure that I don't get it before the estimated delivery date.

Actually, I do understand that if there weren't enough packages heading to OR from CA (who would have thought?) the package would "hitch a ride" to another city where a shipment to OR was already scheduled. In this case, a city in TN.

Oh, well. It sucks, but at least the seat is on it's way. $60 cheaper than anywhere local and with free 2 day shipping. Can't really argue with that.

Christmas FRENZY.

I need to use this space for a few notes.

We're in a recession; it's finally being acknowledged. We have an extremely small budget for Chistmas, so we decided to put it into materials. And, really, we don't need to buy a ton of materials because we already have a fair amount stashed away. I cringe when perusing the toy section of the store, anyway. It's mostly plastic!

Here's my WORKING (not final- just ideas) list:

My daughter:
a kimono, obi, tabi socks, etc
a baby doll basinet with frilly bedding and a doll quilt (I have a basket shaped like a cradle)
a cat doll and its clothes (waldorf construction), to go in the basinet
a kusudama (medicine ball- it's an origami ornament)
knit and felted slippers
knit lace gloves
an apron (frilly, like the 20s)
Christmas PJs
a calendar in Japanese
a "princess dress"

My son:
soft cotton book
soft blocks
a stuffed dog
some clothes
knitted play fruit and vegetables
a stacking toy
socks and booties
Christmas PJs
waldorf doll
wood push cart, like this one

Gwendy (their cousin). This list is also for her birthday:
Her mom has requested a knit bear, like Erin's
A spring dress
knit socks and bonnet (in the purple baby bamboo) Almost done, but not added to my Rav project page... oops.
A Christmas dress
Waldorf baby doll
Cloth pull cart for the doll

Daniele (a sister):
dog carrier purse
dog sweater (this is actually done. I caved and gave it to her already. Need to add to project page.)
quilted slippers
fingerless gloves

Jaimie (SIL). also for bday:
felted Pastaza slippers
The nifty Burt's Bees kit they sent after I complained about milk in the baby lotion

Everyone else:
Olive/grapeseed and various other oils SOAP
knit spa cloths
chocolate truffles
chocolate covered cherries (all the ingredients were at Costco!)

I have other things planned for individuals, but will focus on that later if I have time.

Where did all the content go?

The fair spirits who read my blog might be wondering where all the posts have gone so suddenly. Well, there was a decent amount of backstory going on there. It was all very dramatic. I happened to read some things and was brought down by the gloominess of it all. Since I don't feel like I am a gloomy person, I don't want to write that way. My life has just been very tumultuous over the past seven years (no joke!). Well, allow me to sum a few key points. I'll do this very matter-of-fact-ly.

I am a stay-at-home mama in my mid-twenties, with a baby boy and a girl in Kindergarten. She speaks Japanese fluently. I do not. (maybe someday!)
My mom passed away from ovarian cancer two years ago. She died hours before her 48th birthday. I was very close to her, think about her everyday, and am deeply hurt by her loss. Every day is a healing process and I have yet to come to terms with reality on this subject.
I'm married to a perfect match. My love for him is very deep and I fully expect us to go through the course of life together. End of story. I'd still like to take that honeymoon we missed, though. :)
I'm a very crafty person. I love or have at least seriously dabbled in: quilting, knitting, crochet, tailoring, painting (acrylic and water color), needle felting, beading and jewelry making, dolls, scrapbooking, cardmaking, toys, gardening, mosaic glass, woodworking, origami, floral design (I worked as a florist during college), candles and soap, website design and implementation, graphic design, programming, writing (fiction), publishing, etc etc etc!
I volunteer at my daughter's school. I wish I didn't. It is VERY hard work, many all-nighters and a lot of money invested. The parents who don't volunteer (of which there are many) are very unappreciative and sometimes downright rude.
I have four sisters. No brothers. I wish we were closer, but it seems like we're all too busy to make time for each other.

Hmm. Well, that's quite a bit of info. On to other things.