Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just like riding a bike, the younger generation

Oh you guys.  You guys.

About a week and a half ago on a Sunday Sebastian decided that it was time to take his training wheels off.  I was understandably nervous and hesitant, but Christopher was all for it.

And really, it makes sense to start early instead of waiting until he's 30 years old like someone I know.  He's young enough that he doesn't have the embarrassment when he falls off but old enough to feel a sort of pride in himself for learning something new.

And learn he did.  His feet aren't nearly long enough for him to push off by himself, and he still can't seem to catch himself when he starts to wobble, but he got the balancing down after a day or two and after a week of trying is able to turn without falling.

We still have to run beside him or be ready to catch him if he starts to loose his balance, but it's so incredibly amazing to watch.

I'm so proud.  So very, very proud.

Way to go my sweet boy.  I may have cried a little when you mastered the balancing.  And when you turned by yourself.  And probably again when you can push off and stop by yourself.  It's my right as your mother.

True story, right after this video was taken he had a major crash, his worst yet, where the handlebar dug into his stomach.  But he was still willing to get back on.  We are careful to encourage him and tell him how strong and brave he is for getting back on, even when's hurt himself.

I'm so amazed by him, every day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A day in the life

All this cuteness doesn't make up for the torture, Adele.
(Okay, maybe a little bit.)
Hey you know those days when you’re daughter screams all morning and so you take the kids outside after a rain with their rain boots on but then the oldest wants to play with the poppers so you run inside but realize you have to pee and so attempt to do that but also realize you haven’t flushed the toilet from when your son used it earlier because you’re a scatterbrained mess and so flush it but the water/mess starts to rise but thankfully stops before it overflows and so you run upstairs to use that bathroom and also get the plunger but while you’re running you simultaneously sneeze which causes you to pee a little because you’ve birthed two children through your lady area but you still make it upstairs and realize that that toilet hasn’t been flushed either because your son never flushes the toilet and you flush it yourself, like always, praying that it doesn’t overflow and thankfully it doesn’t so you use it yourself then get the plunger and run back downstairs but by this time the children are inside and try to follow you into the bathroom while you’re holding the plunger and so you lock them out while the youngest screams again but you fix the toilet and run back upstairs to put the plunger back, then wash your hands and grab the poppers and head outside to smash them on the ground and when that’s done you decide to go back inside and try to get some work done but there is even more screaming and also tearing old (antique?) books off of the bookshelf from the youngest as well as much, much more screaming, especially when you refuse to let her hold the ridiculously technicolor generic yogurt in a tube because the last time you let her it got all over the place because she got pissed off at it and squirted it all over the wall so you put some in a bowl with a spoon and let her eat it that way although most of it ends up in everything except her mouth and she screams some more and also cries and hits everything and throws the raisins you’ve given her as a consolation prize all over the floor so you decide that maybe it’s time to put her down for a nap a whole hour and a half early and you do, and hope for a reprieve, but now you can hear her in her crib screaming because she’s thrown her pacifier in the floor as a ploy to get you to come back into her room and really, all you want to do is curl up in bed and read or maybe just watch all that Mad Men you are behind on or a cheesy romantic comedy and maybe knit a little but you realize that’s not going to happen any time soon so you know you’ll get up when you’re done posting this and comfort the screaming child and hopefully, maybe she’ll take a nap and feel better in the afternoon?

That’s the type of day I’m having right now.

The oldest is being an angel by the way, probably because he knows there's only so much of this I can take before my brain explodes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Homemade Friday: Baby sweaters in a hurry! (Maile and Master Charles)

The thing about giving yourself a deadline is that there is no one else holding you accountable but yourself.  So you have to be responsible.  Also not very nice to yourself.

When I realized that I had three weeks until my mother-in-law left for Germany and I had two sweaters I wanted to knit so she could take them with her, I probably said ‘sonofabitch!’ and fretted for a bit, then moved on.

I had no time to stop and decide if I really wanted to put myself through what I was about to.  I just did.

The first baby pattern I knit was the Maile sweater.  It’s been on my ‘want to knit’ list for a long time, but I never got around to it because of all the other projects on my ‘want to knit’ list.  I’d actually planned on making it for Adele, because it’s so simple and sweet, but also has just a touch of decorative lacework to make it interesting.

As usual, my gauge was off so I just cast on the amount of stitches for the newborn size instead of the 3 month size, which was what I wanted it to be when it was finished.  Thankfully it worked.  I made it long because too many times I think that baby sweater patterns end up not shorter than I’d like. 

For the sleeves I didn’t decrease as much as the pattern called for on either size.

And I love this little sweater  (I know I say that about a lot of baby sweaters, but they’re just so adorably small).  I love it even more since I found those little Peter Rabbit buttons.  It may be hard to see them from the photo but trust me, they’re almost edible they’re so sweet.  Luckily I bought all they had (which actually was only 3 packets) so I can use them on another project for one of my kids, too.

The yarn is Knitpicks Shine Sport in Hollyberry, using size 3 needles.

It took me 10 days to finish it, which may not sound fast to some of you but when the only knitting time you have starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 9:30, it’s pretty good.  For me at least.

The second sweater is for a little boy who’s older than the baby the Maile Sweater is for.  This one is the Master Charles Sweater, and I may or may not have been sold on it because of the bright blue eyes of the little boy modeling it on the pattern.  Click on that link and you will see what I'm talking about.

It’s size 12 months and gauge was off so I cast on for the 6 month size and just adjusted the body and arm lengths to that of the 12 month.

I love cables on little boy sweaters and once I figured this one out it was super easy.  It’s no fault of the pattern that I had to rip the cable section back three times, all the way down to the start.  I just wasn’t reading the chart as closely as I should have. 

Yarn is Knitpicks Swish Worsted in Squirrel Heather, using size 6 and 7 needles. 

This one I finished in 9 days.  

So I was done with the knitting part of the sweaters, by the time my mother-in-law left, but the Master Charles sweater was still wet from its blocking when I took it and the red one over to my mom’s so she could sew the buttons on.

(Don’t laugh – the last time I sewed buttons on, for these bunnies, one fell off after only two days.  I prefer to trust a professional.)

But the sweaters made it with the help of a friend who was leaving for Germany a little later than Chris’ mom.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Motherhood & More: Life wears you down, love keeps you going*

So I’m sitting here, staring at a blank page, wondering where to start. 

Writer’s block? Maybe. More like I’ve got the “I’m so tired from everyone in my house being sick” block. That happens to moms.

And so here I am, thinking about something I read recently, how mothers, especially stay-at-home mothers, are simultaneously lonely and never have enough time to ourselves.

That one hit home. My days seem to be endlessly stretched out with chores and obligations to everyone but myself. And as a result I stay up too late, watching TV, knitting, twittering. Which only makes the next day that much harder, and makes me want to be alone that much more.

Vicious cycle, that.

There are many days when I feel like I just can’t do it. I can’t spend another minute being the sole person throughout the day taking care of my kids. The pressure to be a perfect mom is tremendous, whether I bring it on myself or society crushes my need to lock myself in the bathroom just for a few minutes of peace, implying there is something wrong with me for needing that time.

And so, daily, I feel like I’m not giving enough of myself. I’m not playing with the kids enough. I’m not energized enough to chase them around. I want them to go play by themselves, to not crawl on me whenever I sit down for five minutes to give myself a break.

But I’ve got to get it together. Because I don’t want them to remember their childhoods as that time when Mama wouldn’t play with us. I do worry, constantly, about what their first memories will be. I want them to be happy. I want them to feel loved. And I want them to have a fantastic time.

But I also don’t want to lose myself.

This is a lonely gig, made even more so by the fact my almost-saint of a husband is going to school for his master’s degree and therefore never stops, is always busy, but still makes time to spend time with us.

No, it’s not nearly as much as I’d like, and sometimes in the evenings I want to have a real live adult conversation but that’s impossible because he’s writing another of his many, many papers, or mowing the grass or fixing some essential part of our house.

So we’re all struggling. We’re all tired. We’re all running on fumes. But there is an end in sight. This summer should spell the end of my husband’s schooling, at least for now. And maybe with that some of the parenting tasks will be lifted off my shoulders, or at the very least I’ll have someone to talk to again.

I also read something recently written by a mother of four, with twins who aren’t yet a year old. She spoke of how she had everything around her she could possibly want, all the people she loved, all the things that gave her joy. But she couldn’t help looking at other people who were free to do what they wanted, go where they wanted, who didn’t have small people constantly relying on them for care, and feeling a tug. A tug of jealousy, a tug of want, a tug of needing to get up and follow them.

And to that I say yes. Exactly.

But we don’t. We stay because we know that this feeling will pass. We stay because we are mothers, and yes, it is the hardest, but also the best and most important job in the world. We stay because we love them, because we couldn’t imagine life without them.

And so we stay.

Even when we don’t want to.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on May 23, 2012. 

(I was having a bad day when I wrote this.  I promise I'm not planning on running away from home any time soon.  Unless the kids don't stop whining.  Cause then I'm out of here.  Preferably to somewhere mountainy.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Soccer didn't help me lose weight because I ate two dinners every night on account of all the running

Monday is kicking my ass, as usual.

So, to allow everyone to laugh at my expense in the hopes of making your Monday a little less shitty, here's a few journal entries.

I was 14.  Still (always) obsessed with boys.  Also melodramatic.  And kind of boring.  So maybe this won't brighten your Monday quite as much as I thought ...

(You can find the rest of the entries here.)



Today was the first soccer practice.  It only lasted about 15 m in. because it started raining, lightning & thundering.  I'm so excited about playing!  All we did tonight was kick the ball around.  I wasn't as bad as I thought I'd be!  Mom left yesterday for Ohio.  She's going to come home Friday, because of the retreat (confirmation) The class lasts until March 15, 2 days before confirmation.  I already have my dress.  It's purple with flowers on it.  I really like it!  My next soccer practice is on Saturday, the same day as the retreat.  I guess I'll have to miss practice.  I really like Panko.  I'm not sure if he likes me or not.  I hope so.  I just can't go up to him & ask.  I'm a chicken!  Marigold's birthday was yesterday.  I haven't gotten her anything yet.  I think I might get her some make-up or something.  I'm tired, so I guess I'll stop writing.  



We didn't have school today.  I can't believe it's snowing in the middle of March.  We don't have any electricity & haven't had any since 7:00 a.m. this morning.  I sat around all day reading.  I am so sick of reading, but there's nothing else to do.  It's 10:15 p.m. & I don't want to go to sleep yet.  I got confirmed on Sun. March 17.  It wasn't really a big deal.  About Panko, he's so in love with Edie S. that I don't think I have a chance.  Seven Spanish Angels just came on the radio.  So many memories are attached to that song.  I feel like crying.  So many things have changed since I was little.  I wish they hadn't.  Things just don't seem right, some how, I don't know really what I mean.  It's just different.  I think I might go to bed now, or read a little more.



It was 70 degrees today.  I love it!  It's weird, because it's 70 degrees & there's still snow on the ground.  It'll take a while for all of the drifts to melt.  I just got done doing yoga.  I love that little book.  I am determined to lose at least 15 pounds (THE STORY OF MY LIFE, STILL TO THIS DAY!). Right now I'm between 145 & 150.  I'm hoping that soccer will help.  Every time that it starts getting warmer, I decide to turn into this natural person, like using organic things, doing yoga, things like that. (By the way, by 'organic' I meant Natural Essence shampoo.  Cause yeah, totally organic.)  I'm not really sure why.  I've decided that I'm going to live in Texas & go to college there.  I want to live where my parents did.  In a town called Liberty something.  It sounds really nice.  My parents led a really interesting life.  That's what I want.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Homemade Friday: That damn striped sweater is finally finished

Sort of.

I mean, the outside may look like this:

But the inside looks like this:

No matter.  I am diligently working hard to finish because I don’t want this one sitting around all summer 98 percent finished so that on the first cool day of fall I have to rush to weave in the ridiculous amount of ends and sew up the underarms so Sebastian can wear it.

Cause this sweater is so worth the time and effort. 

It’s awesome, guys.  It’s just what I wanted.  It’s light so he can wear it without overheating as he tends to do in big bulky sweaters.  Plus it's just a little big so hopefully, provided he doesn't grow much this summer, he can wear it for most of the fall and winter.  And the stripes are so neat looking.  Almost, dare I say it … stylish?

This sweater has been a long time coming.  I started in January, but got sidetracked by socks and baby sweaters and other baby sweaters (I’ve got a couple to show you next week!  They’re on their way to Germany right now.)

But it’s finished. 

I mean, I did have to bribe Sebastian with television to get him to put the sweater on, but I’m just blaming that on the fact that it’s about 85 degrees outside.  Not exactly sweater weather.

But I kind of can’t wait for it to be sweater weather now.

(But if I ever start to knit a striped sweater again, please remind me of the days and days the finishing part of the knitting process took.  Also maybe knock me in the head a little, just to be sure I really get it.)

Sweater pattern: My own
Yarn: Knitpicks Simply Cotton Sport in Grey Heather and Prussian Heather

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Conversations with Sebastian, Vol. 3

Sebastian:  Mom!  There’s something in my butt!

Me:  What?!

S: No!  You gotta come see!  There’s something in my butt and you gotta get it out!

Me: Is it poop? (In my head: I don’t know whether to wish for it to be poop or to not be poop.)

Sebastian: No!  Look!  You gotta get it out!

Epilogue:  He sharted.  I got it out.  The end.

(Being a mother is strange sometimes.)