Monday, October 30, 2006

J-man (doesn't) carve pumpkins.

My son is a bit obsessive-compulsive about things like dirty hands and untied shoes, so it came as no surprise that he refused to touch pumpkin guts today. He was braver than I thought he'd be, though. He sat watching me dig them out with my hands and repeated "Punkin... eeewwwww!" with every squishy handful. And I was able to get him to at least dig around with a spoon, so he took part, at least in a small way, with carving his pumpkins.

I probably should have just given him a paintbrush and some paints and let him decorate them how he wanted, but I guess I'm a traditionalist when it comes to halloween pumpkins.

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You want me to stick my hand in there?!

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It's not so bad with the spoon.

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Meet my friend, Jack.

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And Mommy made me a Blue's Clues Punkin, too!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What we've been up to.

There's a good reason I haven't been blogging lately. I'm tired.

Thursday we had a new piece of hand-me-down furniture delivered. It's a massively huge curio cabinet give to us by my parents. You see, Wilfredo collects dicast cars. He has lots of these. They take up space and are not very functional, unless you consider them kitty cat toys. And so, for years, they've been tucked into just about every nook and cranny we could find. They were dusty, ugly, and an eyesore in my livingroom.
I've always wanted to have a nice place to display them. I mean, lets face it. I'm not a big fan of the little metal farraris and BMW's, but I know they mean a lot to him, and he really enjoys them. I guess they're sort of like his yarn. So, now, after all these years, they finally have a place of their own, behind glass, lighted even. They almost look nice.

The center portion of the curio cabinet is supposed to serve as a bar, but since we're not big drinkers, and because in order to get this monster thing in here, something else had to go, it now serves as our computer desk. I love it. The bar closes up and hides everything inside. Makes our livingroom look much nicer than the cluttered desk that was here previously.

And in even better news, the old not-so-attractive case that some of Wil's cars used to reside in became my yarn stash cabinet! I know that Wil thinks I've gone nuts, arranging my yarns by fiber and color and stacking them ever so neatly to display in the corner of the livingroom, but it certainly has beauty! Much more attractive than his silly big-kid hotwheels! :) Now I just need some more yarn to fill it up. :)

So, between rearranging the entire livingroom, assembling the curio cabinet, cleaning 15 years worth of nicotene stain off of it, and then arranging the cars, and arranging the yarn, and arranging the rest of the livingroom to accommodate the new giant furniture, I've been a bit busy.

Yesterday we took J-man to Wil's company picnic. One good thing about working for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, even if you are at the bottom of the totem pole, is that they put on a good party. There was barbecue, icecream, the usual hotdogs and popcorn, live entertainment throughout the day, pony rides, rockwall climbing, midway games, a craft tent, pony rides, and J's two favorite things in the world-- the helicopter and the train ride.

J got to check out the inside (and please Lord, let this be the only time he ever does!) of the Lifeflight helicopter for the hospital. He met one of the pilots, got to sit in the seat. It wasn't well organized, so I wasn't really able to get a good picture of him, but I'll include a couple anyway.

Then the train ride. He spotted the train while looking at the helicopter, and couldn't wait to get on! Of course, once he was on, he was terrified. I'm glad that Dad rode it with him, and not me. I'm such a softie that I would have made the driver stop and let us off. Wil is much tougher than I am, and he convinced J to stay on. By the time the train returned to me, J was smiling and laughing. Hooray for Dada!

Afterwards we had planned on going to a fall festival to do the hayride and let J participate in the costume contest, but he fell asleep in the car the minute we left the picnic.

In knitting news... I've still got my little J socks going, as well as my lace scarf. Both of them have been pretty much ignored this week since I got a request from hubby for a hat. He shaved his head the other day and decided he needed something to hide the bare noggin. So hat knitting I did. Only I underestimated the size of his skull, ripped it out, then over-estimated. Yeah, I know, I could have avoided all of that with a little measuring, but I'm goofy like that. So, the verdict is that the hat was a flop. Instead of trying for a third time to fix it, I decided to frog the whole damn thing and now I'm working on Tychus for him. With all that garter, it's sure to fit well. And, while I wasn't sure he'd like the bold stripey look, he actually says he likes it. Yay!

Last night, watching tv with J, I was inspired to add another project to my already severely behind holiday knitting. It'll be the last one I do, simply because it's more of a goofy thing than a functional one, but if I do end up making it, I think it'll be a lot of fun.

And here come the pictures!

The Helicopter

The Train

The new furniture.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aunt Amanda Rocks!

Thank you so much to our very crafty Aunt Amanda who took the time to send J-man this super-cool halloween costume! He's so in love with it that he'd sleep in it if I'd let him!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Raising the Class Clown

Today, in a desperate attempt to get Jonas to eat something I taught him how to slurp Jell-o through a straw.

Although he thought it was a great party trick, and delighted in watching me do it, he wasn't fooled as to the result.

I'm sure this is one of those things that will come back to bite me in the ass in, oh, about 5 years, when the school principal calls me to let me know that my unruly and poorly mannered son will be staying for detention.

Next week I'll teach him the advanced technique of snorting spaghetti noodles through his nose.

And, to prove that I'm not a terrible parent, he's currently watching his "They Might Be Giants" DVD and reciting his alphabet along with the robot dude while pretending to breakdance.

'tis the season

Jonas is destined to never be well in the fall months. I think he got that from me. I remember being sick almost every Halloween and Thanksgiving of my childhood.

For the past 2 days we've pretty much laid in bed together and watched tv and read books. The only thing he's done is whimper and moan with a hand to his mouth saying "Mama, hurt." Even in his sleep.

Poor baby. I'm sneakingly suspicious that it's Hand, Foot and Mouth disease again, although much milder than the mess that left his face looking like it went through a meat grinder back in February. He does have a few blisters that I can see on his tongue, and by the way he's complaining and won't let me look, I'm assuming there are more in his throat.

We're alternating Tylenol and Motrin every 4 hours to keep his fever down, and right now, for the first time since we went to bed Saturday night, he's out of bed and playing a little. Maybe he's on the mend. Now if I could just get him to eat or drink.

We did get a couple of Scooby Doo fruit snacks in him this morning. Not exactly what I expected to be the winner, but hey, whatever works. After rejecting icecream, popsicles, milkshakes, soup, pudding, yogurt, jell-o, and Pediasure, I'll take what I can get.

I've managed to get a few more repeats of my lace project done, but it's something that I can only really work on when J's napping and Wil isn't home. Otherwise, I end up screwing it up and having to frog back several rows. So, what do I do instead? Of course, I add a third project into the works. I'm just a regular project floozy, aren't I?

My third project is even more mindless than the socks. You see, Wil shaved his head yesterday. Bald. I'm not opposed to his shiny dome or anything, but it's been a long time since it's seen the light of day, and you all know how that can look, right? A little pale, flaky even. So, until his head grows accustomed to it's new nakedness, he's asked me to whip up just a simple, basic hat for him. After completing about 1/3 of it last night, he slipped it on his head to make sure I wasn't going to cut his brain's circulation off, smiled, laughed, and then said, "I look like an angry black muslim! My patients probably won't let me in."

So, we're calling it his "Easy day at work" hat now.

Going to go see if J feels like making a quick trip to the library. We've got books due back today. And if he feels up to it, it'd be nice to get a few new ones to read to him while he gets over this... whatever it is.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So much for monogamy

Throughout my rather short time as an avid knitter, I've always managed to keep just one project going at a time. You see, I know how I can be-- get more than one thing going, and the less exciting project ends up stuffed in a drawer or a closet and forgotten about. I've always remedied that with strict self-discipline.

Ok Angie, you can start playing with that pretty ball of mohair and that neat lace pattern just as soon as you finish this million row of stockinette thing you're working on right now.

See, it works, I finish the snooze project, and it give me something to look forward to.

Yesterday I let it all slide and, despite only having just cast on for the second little J sock moments before, pulled out that pretty, soft, fuzzy ball of mohair and started on a Falling Leaves scarf, instead.

I hang my head in shame, but not too low, because I am absolutely loving lace knitting! This is my first attempt at it, and I'm only on my fourth repeat of the pattern, but I'm hooked! It's so soft and light and yummy. And there's something so rewarding about taking that dangling wad of holey fabric and stretching it out into something amazingly beautiful and delicate, isn't there?

I suppose I picked a good time to cheat on my one project rule because when my eyes cross from following the lace pattern, I can drop it and pick up my simple, no frills little J sock and get lost in some mindless K3P2 ribbing for a while.

Pictures will be posted later.

I just spent 5 straight hours staring at this monitor doing transcription files for my course. My eyes are about to pop out of their sockets. It's kicking my ass, to be honest. I really thought I had a good grasp on grammar and language until I started listening to and trying to decipher what someone is mumbling into a recorder. That, coupled with the fact that it's not going as quickly as I thought it would, and the quickly dwindling savings account that's keeping us afloat without my paycheck is making me wonder if I might have made a bad move here.

It has to get easier the more you do it, right?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Midnight Snack

Thanks to Gretchen's post about delicious warm bread fresh from the oven, I knew that I had to make some, too.

After J woke up from his nap in the afternoon we got started in the kitchen. I would call out an ingredient and he'd go and find it. It was cute watching the little wheels in his head turn as he thought about where I kept the flour, sugar, yeast, etc. He had absolutely no problem with the eggs and butter, though. They seem to be two of his major food groups right now.

And so up in the chair he went, which reminds me that I really need to get him a stool of some sort to climb on. The chair is dangerous and slides out from under him unless I stand behind with a foot against the leg. No injuries yet, but a couple of close calls. He poured, we talked about measurements and counted, he operated the mixer. And the cutest part of all is that as all of it started to come together in the bowl, he looked on, amazed, and started singing The Wiggles "Dough" song. Honestly, I don't think he's seen that particular song in 4 or 5 months. It's not on either of the videos we own, and now that we don't get up at the crack of dawn, we don't watch them on tv all that much. Ahhh, the power of memory!

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As the dough was rising, Wil came home and suggested that we go visit a friend whose daughter had been in the hospital overnight with (surprise) croup. Poor little Devi seemed much improved when we visited, and she and J played together a bit before she went to bed. This is the beautiful little blue-eyed girl that we've decided is going to be J's future wife. She's just adorable, and she's grown so much in the last two months. At J's birthday party she was just starting to do the army crawl thing. Yesterday she was standing up and cruising, using J for balance.

We stayed out longer than expected, came home to some seriously risen dough which got punched down, rolled into balls, and left to rise again. They finally came out of the oven at midnight and man! They were worth the wait! So delicious and warm and all melty in the mouth. I brushed mine with butter instead of the eggwash, and while they weren't as shiny and photogenic as Gretchen's, they were delicious.

So thank you Gretchen, for the wonderful recipe, and for the reminder that it's the perfect time of year to start cranking out the homemade goodies. This recipe will most certainly become a standard for us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rumplestiltskin ain't got nothin' on me!

Sure, the mythical troll turned staw into gold, but who needs that much gold, anyway? Me, I turned baby clothes into yarn. Beat that!

My parents had a garage sale this weekend and, seeing as how I had a literal TON of outgrown baby clothes in my shed (seriously, I had more clothes than would fit in my car to haul over there, and my car is fairly roomy!) I decided to see what I could make off of them.

Well, I sold about 1/3 of everything I took over there and I made about $200. Wahoo! Yarn money!

So, yesterday J and I took a drive to A.C. Moore because they had Patons on sale for $3.99. Along with that, they had Sugar and Cream for $1.17, but even at the good price, I couldn't make myself buy any. I've still got plenty of the cotton that I won in Gretchen's raffle. Nonetheless, I stocked up well on just about everything I needed for Christmas knitting, and only spent a little of my $200.

J and I had a snack at Panera Bread, checked out Michaels who also had wool on sale for $4. If I'd known that, I might have skipped A.C. Moore, since Michaels was closer. We were going to hit JoAnn, too, but J was tired and fell asleep on the way home.

We also went and got Dada his birthday gift, a couple of cards, a Tres Leches cake, which I wouldn't have a clue how to make on my own, and a cuban sandwich for dinner. All that, and I still have $40 in my pocket. Yay!

It feels good to have money again, no matter how short-lived it might have been.

J and I are going to go get our hair cut today, and we'll stop by the consignment shop on the way home to see how they buy baby clothes. I don't know if they'd prefer I pick out the nice matching outfits, or if they'll give me a price per pound sort of deal. If I could get a dollar a pound, I'd probably have another $200! Otherwise, I'll give them to the sharing center. Funny, isn't it? I'd much rather give something away for free to someone I know needs it than be low-balled by someone who can afford to pay a fair price.

At one point over the weekend I had a lady offer to buy every bit of it if I'd give her a good price. I started adding up what a fair price might be in my head, and thinking of all the thousands of dollars worth of clothes sitting there, I just couldn't come up with one that she would accept. Just a few hours after she left, I picked through the rack and gave away a lot of the cutest outfits, most still with tags, to a friend whose sister just had a baby.

Another thing that amazes me is the crap people try to BS you with while haggling over a quarter! I can't tell you how many people in this town are buying baby clothes for underpriveledged children and orphans. *rolls eyes* I'm sure there are a few that are sincerely doing so, but puh-leese! And if you truly are doing so, you can use it as a tax write-off, so go ahead and pay me full price!

Friday, October 13, 2006

5 Spooky Weird Things About Me

Playing along with Amanda and Katrina... I guess I live fairly boring life because I'm having a hard time with this one.

1. Well, I consider myself a pagan. Is being a witch spooky enough, or has it become too mainstream?

2. I get creeped out driving at night, even in familiar places. I'm afraid I'll get lost, even if I'm in my own neighborhood.

3. One of my great-great relatives (I've forgotten exactly who) on my mother's side was shot between the eyes on the courthouse steps for refusing to pay a $100 fine for attacking his neighbor with an axe. I have a small scar directly between my eyes, with no recollection of an injury there.

4. I not only believe in ghosts, but swear that I've seen one on the roadside in North Carolina. We passed this guy on a street corner, standing there as if hitching a ride. No one passed us in either direction, and about 5 miles down the road, he was standing on another corner. Exact same guy. *eek*

5. I have absolutely no problem with handling dead things. At the vet clinic it was often my job to body bag the DOA's and the euthanasias. I sometimes even stop while driving to move the poor hit animals out of the street. (Yes, I wash my hands when I'm done)

Ok, play along if you want. And happy Friday the 13th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Eat your peas, dammit!

The things you'll do when you're sleep deprived...

Jonas woke up at about 1 am with every mother's worst nightmare: That seal-like barking cough that can only mean Croup. Not such a big deal, eh? No, not until you factor in his tendency toward asthma, and the fact that the Claritin he takes for his allergies further dries out his throat. So, that barking cough turned into a full-fleged wheezing, can't breathe, panic attack for him. And, of course, I'd have to face it alone with him, since less than an hour before Wil had been called out to service a patient's oxygen equipment.

So we sat in the bathroom with the shower steaming and we rocked and sang and otherwise tried to calm down. At one point I was so worried that I was about to take him to the emergency room. Probably the only thing that kept me from doing so was the fact that I probably would have had a wreck and killed us both while trying to drive and pay attention to him in the back seat at the same time.

After about 30 minutes in the steamy bathroom, the wheezing had calmed some, and I went and dug out his nebulizer, only to realize that I had thrown out all of his neb medicines because they were getting old. He hasn't needed them in a long time. *knock on wood*

So I call Wil, ask him to stop by the pharmacy on the way home and pick up nebs, and hurry home with them. The pharmacy tells him that the prescription they have on file has expired. Go figure.

He and I took turns throughout the night keeping an eye on the dozing J-man. He'd sleep for an hour or two, wake up coughing, and settle back to sleep. Fortunately, he didn't have any more of the wheezing spells. I felt a lot better with Wil home, knowing that we had a truck full of oxygen in the driveway if needed. :)

When he woke up this morning he was in bad shape again, so we tossed on some clothes and went to the doctor's office without even brushing our teeth. We drove there with the windows down in the car, and the humid air must have helped because by the time we arrived he was much better again. Still a little wheezy, but not gasping.

By 9:30 we had our diagnosis- exactly what I suspected. Croup. And we were sent on our way with steroids in both oral form and nebulizer. He's feeling MUCH better now, and the steroids have him bouncing off the walls, but I'm sure that tonight we'll go through the barking routine again. What is it about croup that makes it so much worse at night?

In other news, J's favorite fish is sick. Now you don't have to give me the lecture about it being "just a fish" and that I could easily replace him with a look-alike and J would be none the wiser, but still... I'd like to make him better if I can. So, in doing research today, it appears that poor little Spaz has "dropsy". Either that, or gas. Sort of funny to think of a goldfish that just needs to fart, isn't it?

Most of the reading I've done suggests adding some fiber to their diet in order to help them get better. So, J's fishies are now on a green pea only diet. Didn't know fish liked peas, but they most certainly do! They come to the top and snatch them right out of my fingers! Cute in a goldfishy way.

Don't know if I can "cure" him or not, but I'm giving it a try.

And finally, I finished J's little clogs yesterday. They're still a little damp, but he's allowed me to slip them on his feet, and they fit perfectly! Can anyone spot the glaring mistake I made? Ok, well maybe it's only *glaring* to me now that it's felted, but I wish I'd caught it before I'd tossed them in the machine.

And I'll leave you with a cute picture of J playing with his Rescue Heroes. He's really starting to use his imagination and create little conversations between them. Usually it goes something like this: "Mama, woof-woof, ball... yes! Oh cool! No swipee, phone." Where the other will answer: "Car...vroom! Airplane, helicopter, juice, choo-choo, GO!" I suppose it makes sense in a two-year-old's world.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I finally sealed the grout in our master bathroom today. Let me tell you something-- they aren't joking when they tell you to use that stuff in a well ventilated area. Now, that poses a major problem for me. Our master bathroom has no a/c vent at all and gets no ventilation at all. So, with window open (as if it might do any good) and armed with a mask over my face, I set to work.

Sealing grout isn't all that hard. I don't really know why I've put it off this long. The worst part is that the house is still filled with the fumes. Ugh.

With that done, I set to work on the other bathroom. Just the routine cleaning. We have some of the worst water in the world, I'm convinced. I have to attack the shower with CLR about once a week to keep the rust stains from getting out of control. Even now, after scrubbing until my arms ache, there's an orangish tint to the ivory tile and it drives me crazy. We really need to re-do that entire bathroom soon since the grout is starting to fail in some places (probably from constant scrubbing with harsh chemicals) and there's a chip in the tub right next to the drain that is starting to rust and grow.

Homeownership is so much fun! *sarcastic grin*

So, given the options of re-tiling and replacing the tub or installing one of those vinyl drop-in type of things, I think I've decided that the vinyl is the way to go. Sure, it's not as pretty as tile, but it can be installed over the existing mess without a lot of demolition, it's done in one day, and keeping it clean and rust stain free will be considerable easier.

In other news, we're all still fighting off some sort of cold. We're grumpy, sniffly, and achy. But it hasn't slowed J down very much. He and I spent the morning outside today getting a little sun. He helped me pull weeds from the flowerbeds and bagged them all up for the trash. He's such a good helper! I hope that he'll continue to be as enthusiastic about chores as he gets older, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

So, besides that, the only other thing going on is laundry. Not very exciting, but I feel productive for the first time in quite a while.

Also working on a pair of felted clogs for my shoe-loving son. It's the first pattern I've actually paid money for, and I'm not disappointed. They are simple and quick, and even though I've only got one finished, and it hasn't been felted yet, he's already in love with it. Yay! Might make a few more pairs as christmas gifts, too. But let's see how these turn out once they're felted first.

J's still napping, so I think I'll take this spare time to do some closet clearing. The parents are going to have a garage sale this weekend and it would be a perfect opportunity for me to get rid of some junk, and put a little extra money in our bank account. It would be nice if I could sell enough to be able to buy Wil a birthday present without tapping into the bank. It seems kind of lame to go out and buy him something with the money that he earned, doesn't it? If I can sell the window unit a/c and this computer desk for a decent price, I'll even be able to tuck a little away as yarn money. Nothing makes me happier!

BTW, if any of you knitterly readers know of a good and inexpensive online source for linen yarn, I'd love for you to share it. The plan is to make a nice set of hand towels for the mother-in-law.

Ok, back to work.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The little things

Here's a little set of bath goodies made as a gift for my sister's birthday. Paired with some fancy soaps, they made a decent girlie gift and they knit up quick. I might make the little bath mitts a standard christmas goodie for some of the girls on my list, along with some Bath and Bodyworks soap or something.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

His own opinion

I had planned on dressing Jonas up as a lion for Halloween. You know, with the hair all poofed out as his mane and some facepaint and a little brown fuzzy lion suit. He would have been so cute. And with hair like his, it was a logical choice, right. Sure.

But J is at the age where he forms his own opinions, and when asked if he wanted to be a lion he looked at me like I was crazy, shook his head and said "No Mama! No lion! Firefighter!"

So he's got the obligatory little boy infatuation with firetrucks and firemen, and how can I refuse?

Man, I never realized how quickly they can go from being your little doll to their own little individuals!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

While everyone else is picking apples...

here I am picking limes. We've all heard the old saying about "When life gives you lemons..." and knowing that the same must hold true with their green cousins, I set to work in the kitchen this afternoon to see what I could come up with.

And the answer is so obvious that it's almost painful.

Three eggs, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of lime juice mixed together, poured into a graham cracker crust and baked just long enough to kill any nasty egg bugs. Toss in fridge until set and chilled and Ta-Da! Key lime pie.

Of course, one pie, no matter how sour you want it, can use up that many limes, so, what's the obvious next step? Uh-huh.

Cherry Limeade baby! Ok, so besides the fact that crushed ice makes the real McCoy, this is a dead ringer for Sonic's. Jonas was napping so I couldn't quite justify breaking out the blender to crush ice.

Monday, October 02, 2006

It's Someone's Special Day