Friday, November 30, 2012

Homemade Friday: I finally, for real, finished the damn striped sweater

And it is delicious.

Yes, I just described my knitting as delicious, but I truly think it is fitting.

It took me almost a year to complete, and even though I said I wanted to make sure I finished weaving all of the ridiculous amounts of ends before it got cold, I didn't.  I procrastinated and cheated on it with other knitting projects, such as socks and deer that show their love for each other on a hat. 

But it is done.  Completely.  I finished it two weeks ago, which isn't quite a year after I started it, so I think I'm still a winner in the knitting department.

However, the child has grown.  The sweater fits perfectly rightthissecond.  If I want it to last any longer I'll have to lengthen the sleeves and lengthen the body.  But that's not too much trouble.

It's good for now.  And he likes it, even if he makes weird faces when I take pictures of him wearing it.

It's soft and has clean lines and is lightweight and comfortable.

I want one.

(No I didn't crop the smoothie out of those two pictures because I didn't notice it until I was almost finished and my daughter is in her crib yelling instead of sleeping like she's supposed to be doing so I'll probably have to go rock her and my 15 minute lunch break is now over.  Don't judge me.)

Other posts related to this sweater:

Homemade Friday: A photo essay of unfinished knitting projects

Homemade Friday: That damn striped sweater still isn't finished OH MAH GAWD 

Homemade Friday: That damn striped sweater is finally finished 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Motherhood and more: The good things of Christmas may come early

I admit it.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music for at least the past three weeks, much to my husband’s irritation. I mean, it’s not like it’s on all the time, and it’s only in the car when he’s not riding with me. But still. He knows and is therefore sufficiently bothered.

And yet, I don’t care.

It’s not like I glossed over or forgot about Thanksgiving. It’s still my second favorite holiday, mainly because there’s almost no preparation you have to do other than food-related and making sure you discuss with your kids what it means to be thankful. And it’s always just so comfortable, you know? A whole day of visiting with family and eating is my idea of a perfect day. There’s no expectation, other than that you show up early to help cut up fruit for the fruit salad or stir the gravy and set the table.

I love it, and this year was no different.

But when radio stations started playing Christmas music after Halloween, I resisted as long as I could. I knew I was supposed to wait, that I was supposed to be perturbed at the early date that people start celebrating the holidays. It’s just that it makes me so happy. It brings back all of the nostalgic memories of growing up when my parent’s would move our giant, heavy heater away from the non-working fireplace so Santa could get into our house, or that time when we had family over and it snowed and was so cold that we went ice skating on the pond. Or when, as a teenager, I played guitar every Christmas Eve Mass, or every Christmas get-together that included too many people in too small of a house, but where no one would change a thing.

And my son is so, so excited about everything this year. He’s trying extra hard to be good, which really isn’t that difficult for him anyway, these days. And he was insistent that we decorate the house this past weekend because it was time. I agreed. And where do you think all of his holiday excitement comes from, anyway?
And so maybe it was for him that I turned the dial to the Christmas station. Or maybe it was for me and the peace and happiness I get when I listen to songs that I’ve listened to every year for as long as I can remember.

I used to be a strong proponent of not losing sight of Thanksgiving, of celebrating one holiday at a time and I still am to an extent. I hate the commercialization of everything and how stores start shoving giant blow-up snowmen at us in mid-October. And I dislike how much shopping happens on Thanksgiving night, when everyone knows you’re supposed to be passed out in a turkey and pie-induced coma on the couch.
But that doesn’t stop me from cranking the sound up when I hear Sting’s version of "I Saw Three Ships," or "O, Holy Night," which never fails to move me.

However, I will never, ever enjoy "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

That’s just good taste.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on November 28, 2012. 

(I also realized I never shared my last Kentucky At Home stories with you.  You can find them here.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's surprising how many times he's smelled patchouli and patchouli-related scents

My ass hurts.  Or maybe it’s my back upper thigh.  My hamstring?  Except it’s not muscle related, unless by muscle related that means waves of achy pain that reverberate all down my leg from my lower butt cheek to the back of my knee and that doesn’t go away even after weeks and weeks, and that is so much worse at night.

I googled achy thigh pain and got sciatica. 


I think this means I’m officially old, right?  I mean, especially if you add it to the wrist pain in the form of a ganglion cyst and the foot pain from that time I stepped funny and twisted the top of my foot, which I didn’t’ even think was possible and which still hurts even though it was more than a month ago, or maybe two months ago, I can’t remember, which is another sign of being old.  Although maybe my foot would feel better if I would stop dropping 12 packs of Pepsi Max on it, right on the part that hurts.  I know I’m not supposed to be drinking sodas at all because they are BAD FOR ME, and most definitely shouldn’t be drinking the ones that have fake sugar in them because I’m going to get cancer and go into shock or something, but really, my sciatica will probably kill me before that anyway, or else my poor memory which causes me to leave the crockpot on even hours after I’m done with it which will create Final Destination-esque havoc.

Or something.


(I should probably say that I haven’t actually gone to the doctor for this or anything.  I prefer to live in google-created drama rather than have the professionals tell me I need to exercise more.  I’m trying.  It’s just that it is so very hard to get out of the house when your children hang all over you and insist on being fed and cared for.   Also maybe I should eat less chocolate.)

(Speaking of food!)  Our Thanksgiving was really good – the kids were well-behaved-ish, and Sebastian was introduced to Ninjago and Star Wars and I kind of wish that had never happened because all of our conversations have revolved around them since. 

But it was inevitable, anyway because the kid loves fighting shows.  I am not raising a hippie, which is even more evident whenever he holds his nose up and makes gagging noises every time he smells patchouli. 

So, to sum up:  I am old and also in pain all of the time and yet my husband still refuses to stop smacking me on the butt, and the children are now following his lead and so my behind is smacked an average of 5468 times a day.

Also:  Good food, Star Wars, Ninjago, no hippies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baby gets bangs

I didn't really want to do it.  But every morning I fight and cajole and bribe and distract her to let me have 30 seconds to put her hair up so it's not hanging in her eyes.  And then I pull half of her hair out every evening when I take out her pony tail holder.

Plus it was just taking too much time to grow long enough to stay behind her ears

So I annoyed and pestered Christopher long enough to get him to agree with me to cut bangs so if this all turned out bad I could just turn to him and say "But you told me to do it!"

Luckily there is no need for that.

I mean, yes, when I saw the first cut and her eyes that weren't covered by mass amounts of hair anymore, my stomach did kind of flop around and then sink.  But not because of how it looks.  Just because she is my baby and this is the first time ever cutting her hair in all of her 2 years and I can't believe that so much time has past and where is my tiny, fussy infant?

(She's turned into a bigger, fussy toddler.)

The kids and I went to my parents' house this morning to help bake some pies for Thanksgiving (because we need 5 pies for 11 people, oh yes we do).  I thought this would be a good time to have my dad trim Adele up since he's the official first-haircut-cutter.  Plus I didn't want to give myself too much time to think about it because I am a wuss and would totally back out if I thought about it for more than a day and a half.

So after the pies were baked, with help from both of the kids, who were remarkably well behaved, I convinced Dad to start.  We stuck her in the high chair to keep her still.  She was pretty weirded out, and had no idea why everyone was holding her down and coming at her face with scissors and taking her picture.

(It's a rite of passage, Adele!)

Let me remind you of the before:

She did much better than I thought she would.  She hated having all the little pieces of hair in her face and kept trying to brush them off, but other than that and sitting about as still as you'd expect a 2 year old who's never had a haircut before, which is not at all, everything was fine.

But my baby isn't my baby anymore.

Luckily potty training is going horribly in that she refuses to sit on the potty and also refuses to keep her diaper on and I have to monitor her pretty heavily so that I don't spend my days cleaning up various accidents off of the floor.

At least she still needs me.

That bump on Adele's forehead is where Chris said her
horn was poking through.  Or she fell on a rock.  Whichever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I still change my mind 1nc a month about the boys I like

As it is now the week of Thanksgiving and my brain is occupied with daydreaming about my dad's stuffing and my mom's pecan pie, formulating thoughts aren't happening so well.  Kind of like that last sentence that doesn't even make sense to me and I just wrote it.

Or maybe I'm a bit scatterbrained because my children have reset my internal alarm clock for 4 a.m. and so I am currently passive aggressively yelling at them in my mind while simultaneously sleeping in my mind and I don't have much else room for making sentences that are coherent and/or entertaining.

(Or I could just stop making excuses and right something that was worth a shit anymore.  Either way ...)

So let's make fun of me some more, shall we?  We haven't had a journal entry in awhile, and I think it's about time. 

(The rest of my lovely, embarrassing journal entries can be found here.)


8-14-93 (12 years old)

I think I should start writing in this journal some more.  I hardly ever do.  I guess its just hard for me to put my feelings into words.  (Oh the MELODRAMA!)

I really like Beacon.  I think I change my mind about 1nc a month about the guys I like.  But I think I might like Beacon for awhile.  I think he might like me.  Before school got out he kinda flirted with me.  If he does like me he's afraid to show it because I'm not in the "in" crowd or because Humperdink doesn't like me or something like that.

I can't wait for school to start.  I'm kinda nervous to because I won't know most of the people there & I don't think I'll know what to do.  We start school on Aug. 30.  I haven't even gone school shopping yet. 

Last night I dreamed that I was pregnant & I kept trying to hide it.  I was pretty big.  The funny thing is no one seemed to notice I was pregnant.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Friday: Chocolate Graham Crackers

These came about, as most of the things I do in life, because Sebastian was bugging me.

I'd printed out this recipe from Weelicious months ago because they looked easy and delicious and like it was something he and I could do together.  We don't even try to let Adele help anymore as it usually ends in loud, ear-splitting disaster. 

In this photo you can see the difference in cutting out cookies the
right way and the wrong way.  Also his glee in making me insane.

However, I overestimated my ability to just go with the flow and not care that Sebastian was cutting his chocolate graham cracker leaves right out of the middle instead of on the edges LIKE I ALREADY TOLD YOU FIVE TIMES, CHILD! 


I really need to work on my coping skills, apparently.

Everyone's cookie sheets look like this, right? 
It's not just mine?

But about a week ago on one of those afternoons where I start to feel like I'm neglecting my 1950s motherhood duties I brought out this recipe. 

I mixed everything up according to the directions.  The only deviation was that I used dark chocolate cocoa, which I would highly recommend for anyone who uses cocoa.  It's just better.  Especially in brownies.

Wait, I did actually have to add more water than the recipe called for.  And I used my kitchenaid mixer instead of a food processor. 

I separated the dough in two because it was a lot to work with at once.  Sebastian and I took turns rolling it out.  He's got his own I found from For Small Hands.  (I love everything that site has to offer.)

The leaf cookie cutter was the smallest of a set I got years and years and years ago and hardly every used.  But it was perfect.  It made small cookies, which are great for my kids' hands.

The only problem was that this recipe made a ton of cookies.  Like a lot.  Like a whole ton of a lot.

Like 162.  I know because I counted.  Because I am insane.

The recipe is called 'graham crackers' but really it's like a small chocolate cookie that you don't feel awful giving your children.  (Whole Wheat Flour!  Honey!  Cinnamon!)

The kids loved them and so did the rest of us.  Except for all the mess it left on our teeth.

How nice would it be to wake up from a nap
and have fresh cookies waiting?  Lucky child.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rambling ramblings

I just cleaned out my email inbox - all 900+ messages - to avoid working on a story for the newspaper that I will actually get paid for.

I win at life.

It's just, this time of the day, when I've got Adele upstairs in her crib not napping and Sebastian is mesmerized by the television, this time is the only time I've got to myself.  Unless you count the time after they go to bed, which I don't because my mind is so much full of mush that I only have the brain power to laugh at stupid tv jokes. 

And so I avoid it.

Also I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in months, mainly because my children are tortuous and like to wake up at 5, which, while painful, could have been worse.  And then the time change happened.  Last week was rough, ya'll.  We averaged waking up at about 4:30 every morning.  And by 'we' I of course mean Sebastian, who doesn't know how to be quiet when he gets up to use the bathroom and slams doors and toilet seats and generally makes a ruckus which wakes up his sister.

Today they slept in until 5:40.  That would have been fine except I went to bed late because Christopher was out of town and I don't sleep well when he's gone on account of all the zombies and whatnot that could come knocking on the door.  So I was in bed late and awake early, way before the children started stirring.

I was so tired this morning that I kept feeling that weightless thing.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  That thing where you lay down but you can't really feel how your head is attached to your body and you definitely can't feel how your body is touching anything because it really isn't because it is flying through space and also possibly levitating.

You all feel that, too, right?  It's not just me?  Do I need to go to the doctor?

But anyway, I'm sure all of you are tired of me mentioning how tired I am all the time.

But the only other thing going on, really, is the fact that I am finally almost up to date on uploading all of my pictures onto shutterfly.  Which is kind of a big deal as before this weekend I was behind two years.

Don't worry.  I'm patting myself on the back for you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I think this is a bit rambly on account of all the not sleeping I'm doing

Here is a picture that accurately summarizes how I feel.

I’m going to jump on the bandwagon, I think.

No, not tell everyone every day how thankful I am for baby Jesus and my family and the birds and the trees and coffee and children who can wipe their own behinds.  (Damn, November.)

No, I’m going to bitch about Daylight Saving Time.  Because I hate it with all the hate I have to give and that’s a lot, more even than I hate how much I love cake.  Also more than I hate the months leading up to the presidential election.  (Look at me being timely!)

You guys.  With the time change yesterday Sebastian got out of bed at 4:18 a.m.  A.M.  Does that make anyone else’s body ache?  Because it does mine, mostly because I am too glassy eyed and exhausted to be able to function properly, thus my core aches.  Does that happen to anyone else?  Just me because I’m uniquely special?  Okay then.

I made Chris get out of bed and tell Sebastian to get back in bed because he was being ridiculous, that it was still the middle of the night.  Before you tell me I’m spoiled, I’ll let you know that I was awake for about an hour sometime in the middle of the night because Adele whined for about 30 seconds and then went back to sleep but of course I didn’t.  Also I breastfed two children each for a year, including all of the middle of the night feedings while he was sleeping soundly.  I win every argument.

Sebastian is suddenly an early riser, like crazy early.  Add that to his refusal to even attempt a nap and our evenings and days are full of whine.  I look at his little red-rimmed eyes and want to forcibly tape them shut so he can sleep.  Because that would help, right?  Torture always makes me tired.

But actually he’s doing better than he probably should be.  Even today when we went to Target because he earned some allowance and it wasn’t really enough for the toys he wanted but was enough for him to get something small and I COULD NOT CONVINCE HIM that he could always SAVE the money until next week when it would be double and he could get an even bigger toy!  Delayed gratification is not something that 4 year old understands, but who can really blame him? 

But he couldn’t decide and couldn’t decide and we’d been in the toy section for 30 minutes and Adele was screaming because that’s what she does any time we’re in any store at all and I set the timer on my phone for 5 minutes and told him to pick something by the time it went off or we were leaving with nothing and he could just save his money and even then he didn’t fuss or whine.  We found a generic nerf gun and he was fine.  Until he changed his mind when we were all the way on the other side of the store.  But I let him go back and pick up the ninja lego overpriced little man provided that was all he did because we weren’t looking at anything else THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

Anyway, what was I saying? 

That I’m so tired my eyes are burning and my head kind of feels like it’s going to run away from my body just so it can rest on that pillow over there that the rest of me probably won’t see for hours and hours and hours?

That sounds about right.

(4:38 this morning.  When I heard him getting dressed, because that’s the first thing he does in the morning, I ran upstairs and told him to get his behind back in bed because IT’S NOT TIME TO GET UP GO TO SLEEP YOU CRAZY CHILD!  I left him fake crying because he insisted he was ready to get up.  No one went back to sleep but everyone stayed in bed until 6.)


(Daylight Saving Time is a cold-hearted bastard to parents of small children.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Homemade Friday: The Fierce Ninja Costume

I'd like to promise that this will be the total and final, for-real-this-time last time I discuss this costume.

But.  We'll see.

It's just that when it comes to sewing it never works out for me.  Seams will be wonky, hems will be uneven, and I have to rip out mistakes multiple times.

Do you know how many times I used the seam ripper on this entire costume?  Once.  Just once.  It's kind of a record.

I'd been playing with the idea of making Sebastian a ninja costume for a few weeks now.  Part (most) of it was mom guilt.  My mom made all of mine and my sister's costumes growing up, and it actually felt weird to buy a mass produced one.  But for the past few years that's what I've done because I didn't feel like I had the time to sew one myself.  Or the capability.  But mostly the time.

And I saw how much Sebastian loved to wear his costumes throughout the year.  He literally wore the pants off his bat costume from last year.  But I've never paid full price for costumes, mostly because I don't want to pay $20-$30 for something that's going to fall apart.  I may have spent the same amount for the costume I made, but it was custom-made and it'll hopefully last a lot longer.

The kids were gone last Saturday all day so I figured it was now or never.  I didn't tell Sebastian I was making it at first in case I completely screwed it up or ran out of time.  I didn't want him asking me over and over and over again when it was going to be finished.  Like he did when I finally told him two days before it was finished.  He literally lay at my feet while I sewed asking "Is it ready yet?  How about now?  It's ready now, right?"

Lesson learned, Sebastian.

The pattern I used was for a karate outfit, I think, but all the ninja costume patterns looked weird and complicated and awkward.  I just made the belt extra wide and tied it in the back instead of the front.  I started with the jacket and it all went relatively easy.  I used black and red flannel, which may be the only fabric I ever sew with because it worked great. 

I found this free pattern online for the ninja hood.  It was a little difficult at first, mostly because I couldn't believe that something so large (13 inches across!) would fit like it was supposed to.  But I trusted the directions and it worked out fine.  In case you ever need to make a ninja hood, I saved the picture and opened it up on my desktop and enlarged it until the measurements were the right size, then traced it onto some computer paper that had been taped together.  I'm sure there's a much more 'correct' way to do it, but this was the way that worked for me.

I finished the hood first because I knew he wanted something to wear and the jacket required hand sewing that I wasn't ready to work on yet.  He wore it all that day. 

At first he was still saying he wanted to wear his Spiderman costume I'd gotten him at a consignment sale that didn't have a mask, and I was okay with that.  I wasn't going to force him to wear the ninja one just because I made it, so I bought some face paint to put a Spiderman face on him if he wanted.  But I didn't need to as eventually he didn't even mention Spiderman.  (That means I win.  Suck it, Spiderman!)

And next year I'm thinking I may be able to tackle costumes for both kids.


(Look how stinkin' cute he is!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pretend it's still Halloween

I have to say that yesterday was one of the best Halloweens we've ever had.

Sebastian was old enough to be super excited about every part, including going home from trick-or-treating to hand out candy to all the other kids.  And Adele, once she figured that if she walked up to strangers' doors with her bag open people would just give her candy, she was all for it.

Look at the camera, Adele!

We're not ones for staying out all that long because none of us need as much candy as they get and plus, like I said, it's pretty fun just handing some out to all the other kids.

But everyone quit early this year since it was so cold so we didn't actually get to hand out that much.  Sebastian was a little disappointed and tried calling to various children who were across the street saying "Hey!  We've got candy here!"  Sometimes it worked and every time it embarrassed his father.

So we have a ton of candy left over, but most of it is milk duds which nobody likes because eating them hurts and kind of makes me nervous that one of my teeth will just pop out one day stuck to a piece of tough caramel.

But I'd already eaten about 3/4 of the good candy anyway, so no big deal.  Anybody want some milk duds?  Or whoppers?  We've got lots of those, too.

I had a great time.  The kids were relatively well behaved.  Adele fizzled out early so Chris took her back home and Sebastian kept walking for about 5 minutes more until we both decided that it was a good time to head home ourselves.

Sebastian takes after his father in that he can't get his
picture taken without making a face.

None of us got too cold ourselves because we all had layers on.  Adele was dressed in a full fleece outfit that I was a little jealous of, she looked so warm.  I also had a gnome outfit for her, but it came with a skirt and felt it wouldn't be good parenting to put her in it, even though it was much cuter than the butterfly she ended up with.  And really, we all would have been miserable if she was miserable, you know?

Sebastian had a ninja costume made out of flannel, complete with a hat that covered his face, and long johns on underneath so he was warm, too.  I'll ramble on more about it tomorrow because I MADE IT MYSELF.  (I know.  I CAN'T WAIT EITHER!)

So we had a good Halloween this year.  Especially Adele with her bouquet of suckers she kept taking out of our candy bowl, opening and licking.  Then repeating the process.

Sugared up, both of them.