Monday, January 26, 2009

Little bits

I haven't really found the time or the burning desire to blog lately, but I wanted to update in some way. There's been plenty going on around here. It's just been hard to find the time to put it all together in some sort of orderly fashion.

Consider this an extremely disorganized rundown, since I have about an hour to myself (bliss!) and don't want to spend the whole thing in front of the computer.

Where did we leave off? Oh, Christmas, right.

Since then, we've had a birthday around here. The nephew turned 10. Hard to believe it, but it's true. He's no longer a baby, or even really a kid. He's in the double digits, and seems more like a young man every day.

Of course, he wasn't too grown up for a Pokemon birthday cake, which I had the pleasure of making. Anyone here ever had to try and make frosting red?

My original plan for the cake was to make it an actual ball, but I had to bake the hell out of it to get it done in the center, and it was dry and gross. After tasting a little piece of it J gagged a little and asked "Is it still going to taste like this when it gets to the party?"

You have to appreciate the honesty there. So we baked a second cake at the last minute, and just a plain round cake had to do. I didn't even out the layers very well. Did you not read that comment about last minute? Seriously. It may have still been warm when he blew out the candles. Also the reason you can see chocolate crumbs peeking through the white frosting. Oh well. No one deemed it ugly, and everyone agreed that it was moist and delicious. There was only one tiny piece leftover, too. Not bad, considering it was 4 layers thick.

What else? Well, for Christmas Granny and Daddy Dave bestowed upon my son a bug vacuum and this little kit of tubes and bubbles and connectors and magnifying glasses. I waited the appropriate amount of time for him to forget about the thing, then tucked it into a box in his closet, hoping he'd forget it's there. Anyone in my family can attest to my dislike, and maybe even my fear of six-legged crawly things. But J has a mind like a steel trap, and he adores this particular gift. So I pulled on my big girl panties the other day, and we took the bug vac to the yard to try and catch us some.

Here's my budding entemologist inspecting his find.

Thanks Daddy Dave and Granny!

On the knitting front, I finally completed what I've officially dubbed "that damn sweater" that I started for J back in October or November. It's not that it was all that difficult. As a matter of fact, it was just that boring. I couldn't bring myself to work on it most days, simply because one more inch of plain grey stockinette was going to kill me. It turned out well enough. The sleeves are a bit too long, but but it fits him well otherwise. I could have made it an inch wider, perhaps, just to make it easier for him to get into and out of on his own. But it doesn't really matter anyway because he refuses to wear it, opting for his store-bought fleece hoodie. He says that "the yarn one is too itchy". He's right. It's not the softest yarn in the world, and he does have sensitive skin. But I intended for it to be worn over a long sleeved shirt, so didn't think the itch factor would bother him so much. Oh well. Did I mention I finished the damn sweater?

Moving along... we've had a cold spell here the past week. The temperatures have even dropped below freezing a couple of times, and J needed a new hat to wear. I'm the world's worst hat knitter. I don't have any idea what it is about the simple hat that baffles and eludes me, but my hats always turn out terrible. Either enormous, or too tight, or too short, or big enough to pull down over your shoulders. I can't knit a hat to save my life. But I do have a lot of this yarn, so I figured it wouldn't be wasteful to give a go to some stranded knitting. I mean, it's only about 30 total rows from cast on to weaving ends, so it's not like it was a major commitment or anything. I started this hat, the Polar Knits Skull Beanie, just before dinner time, and finished it before tucking J in for bed. I'm quite pleased. The pattern was simple enough that it wasn't overwhelming, and I learned that I'm not too horrible at the whole stranding thing. There's certainly room for improvement, but this one, amazingly, fit J perfectly. Made me want to cast on about 100 more of them! Yippie! I did have to alter the pattern a little, though. With 6 pattern repeats this wouldn't have fit anyone, so I scaled it back to 5. Easy enough.

Finally, here's a sad little picture of Kelli. Her Mama dresses her funny.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

And this (among other reasons) is why I knit...

Two months of layaway, and weekly payments later, hubby has finally gotten his ultimate dream-- a real RC car. Not the cheap kind you pick up at WalMart for $50. No ma'am. We're talking the ones that go as fast as my real car, and have remotes that look like they could launch the space shuttle. It's a boy genetic, I'm sure... this need for speed in tiny packages.

We're operating on a 'don't ask, don't tell' sort of basis right now. I'm forbidden to ask how much it cost, and he's forbidden to actually tell me. But we do know that it was somewhere between a new car payment and a mortgage payment, and that, my friends, equates to a lot of yarn.

I mean, do you know what I could do with that much of a yarn budget?! Think cashmere sweaters. Nay, think long flowing cashmere coats if you so desire. I could knit a house cozy and still have a few balls to spare. Months and months of needles clicking serenely away in my lap.

So, an hour of waiting for the battery to charge, an hour of taking it out of the box and assembling it. And then 20 minutes in the driveway before it was totally trashed Seriously. We're talking one wheel completely shredded, and the front suspension busted and leaking oil all over my couch while trying to fix said tire.

And so that's why I sit here, my soft squishy darlings all laid out before me, half of a cardigan in my lap, the other in my head, biting my tongue and hoping that the hobby store accepts exchanges on slightly used cars.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Catch-up Christmas Post

Yeah, I know I'm a lazy blogger, and with Christmas come and gone, no one is really all that interested in seeing pictures of the event anymore. We're probably all on Christmas overload. But bear with me, since I feel obligated to talk about it.

I worked a half a day on Christmas eve, and then made the mad dash all over town. One of my coworkers was kind enough to volunteer her husband to play Santa for us and assmeble J's new bike, which is really the only thing that he asked for this year. Bless them for doing this for us! I never would have found the time to do it around here AND keep it a secret.

That freed me up to get all of the other gifts wrapped and under the tree before picking munchkin up from Abuela's house.

He and the nephew came home to find a tree just brimming with presents, and much inspection ensued.

At one point the nephew took a header straight down into a pile of gifts, and required assistance to get out without ripping half of them open. Gotta love the enthusiasm of little boys.

That night, before bed, J had to go outside and sprinkle glittered oatmeal on the lawn. He received this as a goodie at his school Christmas party with a little poem attached that read "Sprinkle on the lawn at night. The moon will make it sparkle bright! As Santa's reindeer fly and roam, this will guide them to your home!" What a cute little idea!

Of course, we left a note for Santa along with cookies and milk, and a bowl of carrots and celery for the reindeer. Can't have enough things to bribe Santa with, I suppose.

Morning arrived, and J was so excited to step out into the living room to find that Santa hadn't forgotten him!

It was a little strange, this being the first year that my parents haven't been here for the holidays. But we made the best of it by making use of Skype to all be together during the gift opening. It wasn't quite the same, but it did work out well, and it was really nice to get to be together in some way.

J loved all of his gifts, but the winner of the day was the Snuggie made for him by Nana. He's been pining for one ever since seeing the commercial for it several months ago, and begging me to order him one. Funny what captures a child's heart. Nana did an amazing job, making his out of dinosaur fleece, and even managing to package it along with the very same identical book light that comes with the 'real' one. Way to go Nana! Despite it being 80 degrees on Christmas day, J stayed snuggled under it for the rest of the day, not even getting up to open the rest of his gifts.

Handmade Christmas was a huge success, I think. Everything received and everything given seemed to be a hit. Of course, there were plenty of purchased gifts for the boys as well, but certainly not the amount as in years past. And the fact that the handmade ones were loved more by J than the store bought ones made me a super-proud Mama.

This post is getting long, so I'll save the handmade recap for another time. I don't know if we'll all agree to do it again this year, but I know that I'm certainly up for trying to keep the tradition up.

Hope everyone's 2009 is off to a great start.

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