Christmas Chaos


Ryan got art supplies, puzzles, hot wheels, craft stuff and his favorite -his hockey equipment - and lessons

Doctor Andy got a lab coat, Dr kit (incl microscope and a human body model), hotwheel racetrack, remote control helicopter, puzzles, art supplies and- of course sparring gear!

I think Colin had more fun with the paper...

Todd got his Battlefront edition PSP. I got the Hoover Hard Floor Cleaner (aka kitchen zamboni), a bunch of DVDs, knitpicks Optiosn set, and 6 skeins of handspun alpaca.

No injuries. No trips to the Hospital.



One of the on-line groups I belong to did a "secret santa" type gift exchange. I was lucky enough to have Cynthia for a "HO".

some yummy dark chocolate and blooming tea ( also yummy!)

laceweight baby merino in orchid and a copy of the Forrest Canopy Shoulder Shawl (by Susan)

Then this was hidden under the pattern:

LUCKY ME!!! I - of course- had to wind the wool immediately!

I'm not sure if Cynthia knows this about me - or if she is just a REALLY good gift-giver, but I am not a knitter that can handle having a "stash". really. I know most of you Knitters are quite perplexed, but I just cant have things like baby merino or 6 skeins of handspun baby alpaca in 3 colorways (thanks mom!!!) sitting around the house. They taunt me to me knitted (or crocheted). even the scraps of "good yarn" beg to be used up. The only exception is craft/novelty yarns. I am not opposed to using them. I buy them as projects require and toss the extras in my stash bin (20 gal tote only 1/3 full) to never be seen again.

so, even though I have a pair of mittens, a miter square shawl and a hat OTN, a pair of longies in need of finishing (yes Julia - those are for Cassidy) and another pair of mittens and a pair of Todd socks queued, I am swatching the shawl on my new knitpicks options (also from Mom!).


The Newest Karate Kid

A little over a year ago, soccer ended and I was looking for a way for Andy to get some exercise and social interaction. He got a flyer in his backpack for "Karate Club". It actually took some convincing to get Todd (who will be testing for his blue belt soon!) on board.

The first class, he REFUSED to participate. The second class wasnt' a whole lot better, but he did try. He continued to get better, but he stayed in a fog. I went to watch one week - 60 kids in Karate PLUS another 50 or so in the YMCA after school program. There was a LOT of noise - no wonder!

The instructor suggested we move him to the "Little Dragons" class at the community center near our house. Immediate improvement! He was now really learning. Not just karate, but also how to stand still and how to listen. Last year, Karate did more for him than any therapy the school provided.

Now, he is medicated and really starting to excel in everything- including martial arts. He is starting to get bored in the LD class. We talked to the instructor and decided it was time for him to move up to the Kids program.

Friday was a big day for Andy. He was supposed to be testing for his red/black belt. He got his camoflage belt. He was quite suprised! At first he was confused. Sabunim began his speech about the camo belt. Andy looked down at his belt - with the 3 stripes on it - and looked like he thought Sabunim forgot that he was testing. then, Sabunim said that his brother was in the class, his dad helps teach the class and mom even takes the self-defense class. the light went on- and he was excited!

He was SO proud of himself - and we are so proud of him too. He has come so far from the kindergartener who would not participate!


Christmas Gifts

Last week, I had intended on this weeks blog entried consisting of pics of Andy's belt test and the boys' Christmas haul - and I will get to that. First I need to share a story about what happened to me on Christmas Eve.

I had to drag the afore mentioned boys with me to the grocery store. I normally shop without kids and I almost never take more than one with me. Between the lack of sleep and the stress that comes along with making Christmas "perfect" for the kids I was NOT equipt to bring them shopping. I was in NO mood to handle the "gimmies" when we had already extended our tight budget to buy them all the goodies on their lists (well, almost, Ryan wanted a mororcyle. we decided hockey was safer.) My shopping trip sounded like this:

Kid: I want this!
Mom: It's not on our list.
Kid: But I want it.
Mom: It's not on our list.
Other Kid: Buy me that!
Mom: Not. on. the. list.
Toddler: (grabs whatever he can reach off of shelves)
Mom: (growls)
Toddler: GRRRRRR!
Kid: I want red apples!
Other Kid: NO! I hate red apples! I want green grannies!
Kid: GROSS! Red ones are yummier!

Then an older* woman comes by, puts a $20 bill in my hand and says "I've been there. Merry Christmas!" and walks away. I was touched and moved beyond words. I bought the red and the green apples. Her kindness is a Christmas gift I will never forget. It really isn't about the money. None of us would have gone hungry or cold yesterday without that $20, but the empathy, kindness and generosity showed me that the world still does care about one another - something we dont do enough anymore. Christmas is a time to show the world we care about eachother and thank the Lord for his Son. It isnt' about The latest electronics or the best sales.

*older only means older than me - NOT "old". This particular woman appeared to be about 70ish.


O Christmas Tree

I thought the boys had a bad case of the "Christmas Crazies" after Ryan's birthday and breakfast with Santa. OH NO! It has gotten exponentiaily worse now that the tree-trimming has begun!

We finally got our tree on Saturday. We usually go to the tree farm between our parents' houses. This year, I think we started a new tradition. We went accross town to a Catholic school that was selling trees as a fund raiser. Short drive. Good cause.

Since we waited so long to get our tree, they were pretty well picked over. There were a couple "passable" trees. Colin grabbed on to one and would NOT let go- so we bought it. I thought it was nice and full, though a few lower branches were a bit scragly.

The nice volunteers gave our tree a nice fresh cut and then 4 of them attempted to run it through the bailer. It didn't fit. They tied it to the roof. We drove home.

Todd took it off the roof and left on his errands leaving me to get the tree up (Don't get mad at him- it is better for our marriage that he just get the hell out of my way!). I dragged it in the fron door- barely fit. To get it into the living room- I pulled and the boys pushed. Once in the stand, I stood it up in the center of the room. It took up the ENTIRE room. Some quick work with the pruners on the sad little branches and I was able to push it up against the wall- with a few branches poking through the stairs.

I am so Impressed with our lovely tree that I wanted to make sure I got some good pictures.

I backed up as far as I could without going through the window and yet I could not capture its full girth.

Notice the tree skirt? It is about 6ft in diameter. It is also one of my favorite things about Christmas. A tradition I started the year Todd and I got married. I made the skirt that year- blue felt with white sparkly felt snow drifts and embroidered stars. I add an element every year.

  • 1999- I made the skirt
  • 2000- I added the house- which looks like ours because we moved in that year.
  • 2001- I added the train (and I still need to buy more buttons to finish the wheels!) to represent Andy and his love of Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • 2002- Ryan was born Thanksgiving weekend. I photocopied a snowman from one of his outfits and made the pattern for the snowman.
  • 2003- The Christmas tree was added to represent our family growing stronger.
  • 2004- The year of "the fire". I added the angel that was watching over our family that night.
  • 2005- Is noticably (to me) absent. It was our first Christmas home after a long battle with the insurance company. We had high hopes and great expectations for that Christmas, but it turned out to be one that Todd can't even remember and I just want to forget. Looking back now, I think I am going to add a "Tree of Life" because life does go on.
  • 2006- Gifts were added under the tree to represent Colin- a true gift from God.
  • 2007 - I haven't added anything yet, and I'm still not sure what it'll be- maybe a penguin?
Shown here with toddler* for scale.

*Said toddler had his 15m check up yesterday. He is now around the 50th %ile for both height and weight!


Christmas Knitting - 8 days to go

  • 6 2.5 hats
  • 6 2 washcloths
  • 3 2.5 pair mittens

I haven't even started my sewing:
  • 1 quilted potholder
  • 2 pair pajama pants
  • 1 purse (satin - I'm avoiding it!)

and my hands are too cramped for a real blog entry.


First Snow

We've gotten a little snow here and there this winter. but this is the first "plowable" snow of the season - and people are acting like it's never snowed here before. We go through this every winter. Makes me crazy. What has happened in the last 9 months that makes people think it wouldn't snow this winter?

oh- and I get to work out in the field tomorrow. Joy.


I lied...

I told you to come back for non- knitting content today. I lied. I don't have anything for you. You just need to take up knitting. I'll distract you with pictures of Colin coloring for the first time. I don't know why I've never given him crayons before... maybe Santa needs to bring some toddler-friendly crayons and paper.

On to the needles!

I'm making a pile of washchloths.

Ryan and I made a batch of oatmeal scrub bars to go with them.

I got this in the mail the other day.

Pretty, no? It'll be socks for Todd when it grows up. For now, he is getting the yarn for Christmas. If I actually have time, I may cast on the toes - maybe.

When I got home last night and convinced my children that they actually do need to sleep, I was able to frog the mittens and start over.

That's better!


stupid stupid stupid

If you have no interest in knitting- come back tomorrow. For the rest of you:

What is the very FIRST thing you do when you knit a new pattern? Gauge swatch - of course! I decided with all of my christmas knitting that I don't have time for such trivial nonsense. (stupid!) I brought my needles (US 9s) and some WW Wool Ease (spiltty stuff, but soft and durable. Great for kid mittens) to work to start on them during lunch. I printed my pattern, highlighted the right size and began to cast on the appropriate # of stitches.

As I cast on and began to knit I was starting to think that maybe they were looking a bit big. Oh well - kids grow fast. They'll fit eventually, right? (stupid!) Kept on knitting.

Then I began to wonder if I should be using a smaller needle because the ribbing wasn't really cinching in the cuff. After all, I just grabbed the 9s because that is what I usually use for WW. I knit a few more rows. (stupid!) Then I decided to check the pattern. It calls for- ready for this? - US2. (STUPID!) Now, you would think I'd stop knitting at this point, rip it out and start over when I get home. nope. I finished the round! It is now sitting in my handy travel knit caddy on my desk and mocking me.

The moral of the story:
  1. READ the pattern FIRST
  2. KNIT the gage swatch!
  3. STOP when you know you've screwed up beyond fixing.
  4. Start Christmas knitting earlier - like January.


A Low Pressure System to the South...

Andy likes the weather. He has to watch Dr. Mel every morning. He is first in line to check out weather.com at school. He's trying to figure out what the numbers mean to him. (How cold is 28, Mom?) So, we've asked Santa to bring him a mini-weather station.

see how it shows him what to wear? it has indoor and outdoor temp, barometer, sunrise/sunset and other cool stuff. The kid is going to FLIP!

I had to scan this in to show you how this 6-year-old thinks.

This is a weather map of the US. See us in CT? he labeled it. That thng sticking out of the west coast is California. He even drew in Alaska, but he didn't have enough paper for Hawaii. Those boxes are states. The midwest is pretty square - so he says. Notice all the rain in the northwest and the cold air masses over Canada? Those "L"s are a low pressure system moving north. There is a frontal boundary in there too.

just for giggles, here is today's weather map (couldnt find yesterday's) from weather.com

he did his map strictly from memory...


Stupid Questions..

"How long will this cold weather last, Geoff?"
"Until Spring, Ted."

really... I can't stand the news anchors sometimes. Can they really be that moronic? At least the weather-guy is a complete wise-ass.


The Birthday Bash

The big 5 party continued Friday evening. Ryan got to open the rest of his gifts from Mom, Dad, Andy, Colin, my parents and my sister after Karate on Friday.

He unwrapped Colin's gift first. As he tore off the paper he exclaimed "Knitting Needles! COOL!" I really love that kid- and I really wish I got this on video instead of stills. As excited as he was about getting his own knitting needles, he was probably a bit more excited once he realized they they were NOT knitting needles, but drum sticks.

Andy got him a drum pad to practice on (we have real - and loud- drums already). Mommy & Daddy got him lessons!

Grandma got him a chef jacket and embroidered his name one it. she also got him some refrigerated cookie dough. We made cookies after his party on Saturday.

He had a blast at the party. I think all the kids did. They got to ride on the zip line

- like the Batman on his cake!

They learned some Martial Arts moves.

Played some games.

Did an obstacle course.

And some jousting.

And the coolest part? Colin took 2 steps at the party! FINALLY!