Thursday, December 26, 2013

Motherhood and More: It's finally here*

It’s Christmas again, and much like the rest of the adults, I’m wondering where in the world the year has
gone. It seems like just last week when I was celebrating New Year 2013 by going to bed at 10:30 p.m.

But to my children, this Christmas took ages and ages to get here, even with the daily countdown my son has been doing for the past few weeks.

“Thirteen more days until Christmas! Nine more days! Five more days!”

It doesn’t help that we have a pretty awesome wooden Advent Calendar from the kids’ great-grandparents in Germany that every year is stocked with chocolate or small gifts. My son has lost a lot of sleep by waking up at 5 a.m. every morning wanting to see what he’s gotten. We force him to go back to bed but the stubborn kid won’t sleep.

I can’t blame him, really. He got that aspect of his personality from me. I’m an early riser, and on Christmas morning I am a super-ridiculously-early riser. My sister has fond memories of me yelling at her to wake up already; Santa Claus came and Mom and Dad won’t let me open my presents until after you get up! They did that on purpose, of course, because they knew how hard it is to wake her up and so they’d get a few extra minutes of sleep while I tried to shove my sister out of bed.

Smart parents.

My son is just as excited about celebrations and holidays as I am, which is good because traditions mean a lot in our family.

And Christmas, to me, is lasagna and fried chicken, and early mornings and singing carols. It’s cookies and eggnog and entirely too many sweets. It’s waiting until after dinner to open presents at the family gatherings, which I suspect is just to torture children.

And it’s also crab cakes at my in-laws and shrimp salad and wine and German cookies.

It’s my husband complaining about the fact that I make him do stocking stuffers, and then putting the biggest gift in the stocking when everyone knows that’s the place for random junk and chocolate.

It’s attempting to discuss with my kids the true meaning of the season.

It’s laughter and family and hoping for snow. It’s knitting last-minute gifts that will probably not be finished in time, and maybe, possibly trying to sew something. It’s wanting to make handmade ornaments with the kids but not getting around to it because of all of the knitting.

It’s coffee and pie and cinnamon rolls and probably more coffee because I’ve stayed up too late trying to finish what needs finishing. It’s waiting until after Christmas Eve at my in-laws to wrap any of the kids’ gifts, which means that sleep is a luxury I don’t get as I will be woken up at 4:30 in the morning by an excited little boy and a little girl who is just starting to feel all the anticipation.

It’s staring at Christmas lights in silence.

It’s extra long hugs and taking time to reflect on what means the most in my life.

Merry Christmas. It took ages and ages to get here.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 25, 2013.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Homemade Friday: GAAAAAAHHH!!

I do not have time to be writing this post.  I am in the midst of knitting things for other people like a scarf and a hat and baby chucks and I have all the yarn for a sweater for Christopher that has a small chance of being finished in time for his birthday in January, plus there's that sweater I am (was?) working on for myself, and a multitude of socks.  And I am still under the delusion that I will have time to sew something for both my kids for Christmas.

Stop laughing at me.

So to compensate for this not really being a post - here are some pictures of what I've been working on:

Knit!  Chucks!

Scarves!  Lots and lots of scarves!

And one and 1/10th of a pair of socks for Sebastian!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Homemade Friday: Caherciveen from Contemporary Irish Knits

There are many things that my son inherited from his father - his looks, his good-natured teasing, his inability to lay around in bed after he wakes up first thing in the morning. 

But still, he also has a bit of me in there, too.  I most noticed it when I showed him the Caherciveen* pattern in Contemporary Irish Knits.  I'd thought of him when I saw it, and had picked out a nice, go-with-everything brown tweed yarn to use.  But then I remembered how picky he was, and how I didn't want to take the time to knit something that he would have no intention of wearing.

I showed him the pattern and asked if he liked it.  He was excited, but insisted that it had to be green, just like the picture.  And that's where I saw myself.  Whenever I would look at patterns with my Mom, when I wanted her to sew something for me, I would insist that we find the exact fabric that was on picture on the pattern, or some approximation of it.  My reasoning was that I wanted the entire design, just like the picture.  I've since grown out of that and learned the joys of multiple fabric and yarn choices.  But I had to smile a bit to myself as Sebastian and I searched for the right green yarn.

We settled on Knitpicks City Tweed in Basil, but I don't think they carry that color anymore.  The yarn is soft blend of merino wool, alpaca and tweed and worked great for this pattern.  I followed the pattern, knitting the 6 year old size.  It was an easy knit, and I especially liked the i-cord bind-off around all the edges.  I think it made the sweater look more finished, you know? 

The one thing that I'm not entirely in love with is the hood. It turned out a little pointy.  

However, I'm not entirely sure how much Sebastian will wear the vest.  Or let me rephrase - He will wear it much more often if I knit a big pouch pocket onto it.  And that's another thing he gets from me - the love of pockets.  So I have plans to pick up some stitches around the front and create one, which shouldn't be too hard.  He's worn it once and looked ridiculously handsome in it. 

So we'll see.  I try to nudge him to wear it on occasion, without being overly forceful.   But the kid has his own mind about clothing choices.

*I looked it up - it's a town in Ireland.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving is a time for dodging barf. Also for dislocated elbow joints.

Hello.  How was your Thanksgiving holiday?  I hope it was nice and full of good food and cheer and whatnot.

Mine was.  Partially.  I mean, there was all the good food and family and fun.  But there was also barfing and dislocated bones.  And then more barfing.

Wednesday we went to my parents' house to help my mom bake pies.  It was really fun, the kids mostly behaved and helped roll out the crust and Adele stuck her fingers in it over and over and over again, but Nana just fixed the holes and went on.

On Thursday we went to visit Chris' parents for a little bit, then some other friends, then on to my parents' house for the huge, delicious meal.

And then on Friday Adele barfed.  So I left her and went shopping with my mom and niece.

(Kidding!  I mean, I did go shopping but there was much hand wringing and doubt and worry involved in my decision to leave.)

She barfed again while I was gone.  Chris sent me a picture of her holding a bowl of barf and said that she was better at barfing into a bowl than she is at peeing on the potty. 

And then because she felt bad that I missed it she barfed again for me when I got home.  And then we put up out Christmas tree.  It was fun and only a little bit argument-inducing as Adele wasn't putting the ornaments on how Sebastian wanted her to.  Apparently 10 ornaments on one part of a string of lights is not the way to do it.

On Saturday there was no barfing, and I finished decorating.  And then it was Adele's naptime and when I was trying to get her to go upstairs she did that thing where she jellyfished her entire body and I attempted to pull her upstairs by her arms because that's the only thing I could hold on to and then she cried because I dislocated her elbow joint because I am a horrible, horrible mother.  And then I wanted to barf.

It's apparently called Nursemaid's elbow and isn't that uncommon in kids.  I would have felt worse except a friend of mine, who is a wonderfully calm and patient mother, did the same thing to her daughter a few years ago.

I didn't really know what had happened, honestly.  She just kept crying and holding her arm and wouldn't let me move it.  So we went to CareFirst and waited and the doctor came in and pushed the bone back in place and she screamed and cried.  He said she should start using it again by the time the x-rays were done.  And the x-rays were horrible and awful because I had to hold her arm down while she screamed because SHE WAS IN PAIN.  And then she was pissed and still wasn't moving her arm so the doctor ordered more x-rays just in case because she was pointing to her wrist and saying that was were her arm hurt.  So this time they lay her down on the x-ray table and I held her down again while she screamed and then she fell asleep because she was exhausted from all the screaming.  Plus, naptime.

The doctor came back in and said all the bones looked fine, and he told me to wake her up to see if she could move her arm or if he'd have to try again to put the joint back in place.  But I couldn't get her to wake up and we moved her arm all around and she didn't even flinch so we left.

Sleepy baby girl in the doctor's office.
She woke up before I got her in the car and said her arm was all better and she was back to her crazy self, albeit a milder version.

And then yesterday she was calm in the morning, which should have been an indication that as soon as I put her down for a nap (without the jellyfish or dislocated elbow joint, thankyouverymuch) she would barf all over herself and her blankets.  I cleaned her and her bed up then tucked her in and she went right to sleep.  She woke up calm and ate dinner and hasn't barfed since.  So, fingers crossed, we're done with all that.

This was right before she barfed all over everything. 

Also - I am a horrible, horrible mother.

Also again, I am apparently trying to see how many times I can incorporate the word 'barf' into one post.