20100630

WIP Wednesday: Am I even still knitting?

It's a good thing that Jenn actually does and writes about gardening, knitting, sewing, photography ... my one and only craft has fallen to the wayside as I have gotten busy crafting another project, with a nine month timeline.

But, there has been some action, and Anna asked for an update, so my WIP in all its glory....

check that sleeve

It's been a work-in-progress forever. But, it's a reasonably simple pattern, once I decided I had gotten past "the hard part". Now it actually has sleeve holes, instead of just being draped over my shoulder to give the impression of a sleeve! It's just stockinette for inches and inches now. Bryan is very good about encouraging me to go to knitting, even when I'm tired. And I don't have wine to slow me down anymore, so I should just shoot through this like a rocket ship!

Which project will be completed first? Only time will tell!

20100629

Father's Day

Father's Day was a failure for me this year all due to my lack of effort. I will tell you the truth, after Paul's birthday and N's birthday rolls around, I've got little energy for Father's Day. I start out pretty good with good ideas for gifts for Paul and great ideas for parties for N and then by mid June it's all gone. I should probably store up ideas for gifts for poor Paul, but I'll tell you the truth, he's buys a lot of what he wants and the experiences he'd like (such as sailing lessons or cooking lessons or woodworking lessons) don't come cheap. After a bit, I hate getting him the same thing year after year ("more cooking goodies!!") and feeling lame. Next year, I'd really like to try to do something a little more special for his birthday, at least.

The present I was saving for still seems like a workable gift. Yes, it's a very late gift, but it's not cheap and I was unprepared to get it for him. I was excited about it, but recent talks with him leave me a little unsure. Hopefully it all works out for the best when he eventually gets it.

So, what did we do on Father's Day? We visited my mom overnight. While this seems strange, it allows me and Paul to go out the night before and for Paul to sleep in the day of, so it really was a present for Paul too! We saw Toy Story 3 which was great, but not as great as Toy Story 2. If you're a fan of Pixar films, or a fan of the first two Toy Stories, or both, get yourself out there if you haven't already and see it. It really felt like a nice ending to the series. If you're a sobber like me, make sure you bring some tissues with you.

The day of Father's Day, we slept in while my mom played with N, went to brunch, and watched N splash in his new sprinkler toy. While N definitely had more fun, I'd like to think both father and son enjoyed themselves.



My creation


After that, it was a glorious nap for everyone, and after we awoke, a trip to Paul's father's to say Happy Father's Day! N managed to snag some of the corn they had for dinner, but mostly didn't eat. It's like he knew I was making tacos later in the evening! That's right, folks. I made dinner! I know. It was a momentous occasion full of celebration. Sure, it was just tacos and refried beans, and nothing was really from scratch, but I think we all managed to stuff ourselves and enjoy it.

I know Paul reads this blog, so I'll end this with a picture and some information for him. Sweetie, this baby would like to mow a lawn with you, probably right now. If he's awake, he's probably discussing it with me too. We'll miss you when you go to work for a few weeks.


SMILE!

20100625

Catch Up Here, Fall Back There

In "mind-boggling to me" news, the more I catch up with my photos, the more I fall behind in posting here. I have a text file saved with about ten things I want to blog about, and I've mostly got the pictures for those posts online, and I simply am not writing those posts.

To be fair, there's been a lot more than normal going on in my life, and it has not all been happy, but a lot of happy stuff has been happening. Let's talk about that instead since if I talk about the depressing, I'll end up in a downward spiral.

Last year, I was simply wiped with taking care of N, and he was so young that he wouldn't have appreciated anything we wanted to do. This year, however, the world of summer time events and festivals has opened before our little family. Approximately two weeks ago, Paul and I packed up N and headed to Skippack's Summertyme Festival. Skippack is one of those little towns in the suburbs of Philadelphia that has a ton of little shops, interesting restaurants, and a folksy/charming feel. If you live in Bucks County and read this, it's reminiscent of New Hope. If you live in Philadelphia, it's got shades of Chestnut Hill written across it. Though to be fair, Skippack is not as nice as either of those two places, if you ask me.

However, I do love to explore new places, and the few times I visited Skippack (for the yarn store Yarnings), I've thought of visiting. With the festival going on, we had a great excuse to head over. It was a small festival, but N really liked it, sweltering heat and all. Elmo was wandering the grounds, and N humorously had no ideas who Elmo was. N would stare at him in fascination and great suspicion. When I asked Elmo if he minded taking a picture with us, N really wanted nothing to do with the whole thing and rapidly asked for escape.



Nathan Is Like "Who Are You?"


There was also a moonbounce, which we decided that N should attempt since my cousin's son is soon to have a moonbounce party for his fourth birthday. I honestly believed that N would dislike the moonbounce, but N has his own ideas on what he likes or dislikes. What he likes is moonbounces and daddies who play peekaboo with him while he bounces. What he dislikes are mommies who want to take pictures and then eventually ask him to get out of the moonbounce.


MOONBOUNCE


Watching him on the moonbounce was great. He didn't quite understand how to jump like the older children were jumping, so he'd let their jumps propel him into the air, often sending him flying so that he'd roll around helplessly on the ground of the bounce.

We also hit up the petting zoo, but N didn't appreciate it as much as I had hoped. Truthfully, I was a little put off by it too, but I'm a hater of dirt, grass, and bugs. The inclusion of poop, non-cute animal drool, and a donkey really didn't help matters. We quickly pet the bunnies and fed the goats and headed out of there!


I'll Feed


There was a small section of crafters selling their goods, but due to N's nearing naptime, I didn't get much of a chance to explore them. Still, with the addition of other things we didn't manage to make it to, I'd recommend this to families looking for something to do in the summer heat. I'm fairly sure this is an annual event in Skippack.

Speaking of other summertime annual events that N is experiencing, Paul recommends the Plymouth Meeting Strawberry Festival. Two thousand and ten was their 73rd year doing the festival and any festival that celebrates strawberries is okay with me. I have not yet managed to make it, but N has gone these last two years. He highly approves of the watermelon they sell there.


Love That Watermelon

20100618

Statistics Lie, Pictures Are Love

Cripes, I'm about ten pictures away from being all caught up with posting photos. I know you're not impressed by that, but it's been years since I've been caught up with posting photos. Okay, that might be melodramatic since there was one point in the last two years besides today that I was current with my photo posting.

This is allowing me to blog about things which happened only a day or two ago, like my visit to the raspberry plants which helped me to determine that I think a firefly is living on one of them.


Firefly Lives Here


It's there every time I check on my plants and I check on them on a daily basis. It's always on a different leaf, so I don't think it's dead. If it were any other type of bug, I'd flip and call for Paul to bring death from above, but lightning bugs are my most favoritest bug.

In other words, they're about the only bug that don't cause me to scream in horror. The other day, Paul and I were shopping with N for N's birthday gifts at Toys'R'Us. I was looking at the Tag Junior Book Pal Thingie (and incidentally, does any one who reads this blog like that toy for their child) and I hear "Go show that to Mommy". N comes toddling over with a box in hand, looking up at me adorably and smiling. He hands me the box and I look at it. It's a box of bugs. I scream and drop the box in the middle of the aisle. Paul is laughing horribly in the background and N picks up the box in considerably confusion and tries to hand it back to me. After some screaming from me to get Paul to get the box back from N who will not leave me alone about taking it, Paul takes the box and laughs harder because the box contains real bugs, not just plastic ones. Sure, they're somehow preserved and dead, but a box of bugs. Man, he's lucky I didn't bop him one in the face in the middle of the store.

That's a lot of digressing when all I really wanted to tell you was that I managed to get some pictures taken and posted. Now I can check my Flickr stats on a daily basis once again to see if people are checking pictures of my darling N or if that stupid sofa I photographed years ago is still the hit of my Flickr account.

I love statistics, you know. I'm almost always checking my blog stats (using Google Analytics). In fact, just recently, I was checking my stats for this page and I was getting depressed. I had posted three times in a week and gotten no hits. How could this be, I asked myself. Sure, I had no readers, but at least Paul was looking at my blog, right? I mean, once a week, right? I normally got a few readers a week, and I was posting so much! I started to get worked up about it, and then I noticed my craft blog was getting no hits either. I experienced a deep depression before I realized I was a moron. I had forgotten to install the Analytics script to my website so there was nothing to track people hitting my page. People don't hate me, Google just doesn't know that they exist. (Or they do hate me, but Google still isn't aware that my nemesi are checking my page to see if I'm plotting against them. Hint, nemesi: I totally am.)

I'm off to have some fairy bread now. It's delicious: buttered bread with nonpareils. I like to toast my bread first, but give it a try. It makes me smile.


Fairy Bread

20100615

Mostly Happy Birthday, Boys

After years and years of trying to think of things to post, I feel like I have a ton of stuff to say. Maybe it's because I've (temporarily) nearly caught up with posting photos, so that the photos I put up today are from within the last week or two!

I feel that for years I've been behind in posting photos by a month or two, but though we held N's birthday party only a little over a week ago, I got up all the photos today. Helen told me that I would eventually post faster if I ceased to process them so much. I did not stop processing, I stopped chatting. You see, I was so super chatty in my Flickr picture posts that I had nothing left to chat about for this blog. Though you might not guess it, eventually my chattiness dies and I go play video games to recharge.

When I got pregnant, I found my due date was to be less than a week from Paul's birthday. I immediately apologized because I hated the idea of lessening Paul's birthday by putting our child's right on top of it. He took it in stride and shrugged it off, but I still felt bad. I was exuberant knowing that I would probably deliver a few weeks early or late (this is really what I thought) and he'd find it was at least a few weeks off of his birthday. Folks, I'm that 3% of women that deliver on their due date. Ha! Surprise! So now all the birthday goodness is packed into a week or two of celebration, cake, and dancing.

Of course, the fact that every thing is in June ups the ante. This means that come late May I need birthday cards for N from 'us', birthday cards for Paul from N and from me, Father's Day cards from N and from me, and Father's Day cards for Paul's dad. Hallmark only makes money from me in May and November. (That's a bald-faced lie too. I love wrapping paper so much that I spontaneously gift myself some throughout the year.)

Nathan's Latest Obsession


Understandably, picking cards to Paul from N is so much more fun than anything else. The cards are sweet, cute, and they make me want to hug them. The one Paul got for his birthday has even become an obsession in our household, regularly passed from N to me and back.

For N's party, we hosted at Paul's childhood home thanks to my exceedingly generous in-laws. There was cake (two, really) and ice cream and air rockets and children.

Nathan's Day


It was the perfect day, cool and bright and delicious. I think N enjoyed the party theme of the jungle animals (though I'm sure he would have loved a tractor or lawn mower themed party more) and the other kids enjoyed celebrating. I enjoyed celebrating N, but don't I do that every day?

20100614

I Love Merrymead Farm

As anyone who knows me well in real life can tell you, I adore milk. I guzzle it like it's going out of style. Our household can sometimes go through a gallon in three days, and personally, I used to go through a gallon in two days. While looking for things to do with N last autumn, I found a little farm near us called Merrymead.

Recently, while visiting the farm, I picked up a gallon of their milk. Folks, that was the best milk I've ever had, hands down. It was perfect and delicious and I now make visits to their farm solely to get this milk. The best part of the visits is that N loves to go there too! They've got a ton of animals for children to see, including N's favorites: cows.

Calves!


If you don't love cows, they also have a hog, ducks, rabbits, goats, sheep, a donkey, and some peacocks. They have fantastic ice cream to snack on, and they sell freshly ground peanut butter and local jams and butchered meat. I like to take a trip up there with N, view the animals, wash our hands at the children height sinks, snack on a little ice cream, and leave with some milk and whatever other little items catch my fancy that day.

While that's not bad, the place gets even more awesome every autumn with hayrides, gigantic corn mazes (and tiny ones too for the littles), and delightful autumnal treats.

Farmer Nathan


I'm so happy that we discovered this place, and I'm sure we'll be visiting pretty regularly for as long as we live at this house!

Carrots!

I must confess, when it comes to things like gardening, I'm never quite sure whether to post in my 'life' blog or my craft blog. Whenever I consider folding the two together, however, I realize how much I tend to babble on about N. While I love my son and think the sun rises and sets on him, I'm not quite sure that you do too, you know? Do you really need to hear about his Easter egg hunts? I think I have decided, in the meantime, to define gardening as a 'craft' though really it's a hobby. I know that's a strange definition, but from what I can gather from the blogs I read, you crafters are in love with gardening.

So, while peas are still coming from our garden (though the plants are not doing well), a few of the carrots have started showing signs of being ready for eating! Paul and N pulled one from our garden and brought it to me to admire.

Let's Take A Produce Pic


When I asked him to take about eight hundred photos of it, N got peeved and chucked the carrot at me.

HERE!


I guess I kind of deserved that.

We still need to pull a few more carrots from our garden, but that should be soon. Sadly, it is so hot out that Paul is about 95% uninterested in cooking, so I'm thinking I won't get my roasted carrot-avocado salad soon.

In good (?) news, our watermelon plant appears to be overtaking our garden.

20100612

Summer Is Officially Here!

You know it is summer when you're picking fresh peas from your garden and popping them into your mouth before you even get in the house:

More Peas


and when your son and nephew are housing watermelon and ice cream at parties:

This Doesn't Taste As Good Anymore


and when the sparklers and lightening bugs come out:

Nathan Holding The Sparkler


and when you go to swim for hours and then go to Dairy Queen after it all.

One time, before we were married, I asked Paul what he liked about me, and he said that it was that every holiday and every season thrills me. I throw myself into Christmas, and bloom at the first signs of spring. I feel completely American and patriotic when July Fourth comes around. Every season is my favorite while I'm in the middle of it, but I think I love the freedom and hedonism of summer most of all. (Ask me how I feel this autumn, though.)

I'm Totally Screwing With My Site

Since Blogger decided to update their templates, I decided to update my blog. I'm still not in love with the design, but it's both closer and farther from what I wanted. I feel like I'm losing a lot of the simplicity of my blog, while adding features I want to see (such as the Tweet This bit). We'll see how much I change it over the next couple of weeks/months.

Now, I've only got one link today, so I'll make it count. I've taught numerous people how to knit, and I've converted a hefty portion of my female family and friends to knitterdom. However, I'm a lousy, lousy teacher. I've got no patience for people, no ability to explain clearly (or even speak clearly), and a lack of understanding about how people even make mistakes which I don't normally make. To be fair, I'm usually lousy at learning things from people too. It's why I learn most of my crafts from really clear books.

However, over the course of the last year, two of my 'pupils' have made mistakes in knitting that, if I were a better teacher, probably would never have occurred. The latest instance led my cousin to admit that she had been purling incorrectly for ages. I want her, and all other people who make mistakes at knitting, to feel better about this. One of the knitting blogs I follow, a blog with nearly a thousand followers, recently admitted that she's been doing yarnovers incorrectly forever. I admire this type of post because it's the type the knitting world needs. The one where you read it and go, "Shoot, I've been doing it incorrectly as well. At least I didn't have to discover that in front of a whole class of people."

Maybe if you're making mistakes in your knitting and you fixed those mistakes, you should blog about it. I will definitely try to think of some to add myself, but my first piece of advice is: "Don't hand your lacy baby blanket to your mother to let her count the stitches because she'll drop it all off the needles and then you won't know how to fix it, so you'll just pick it up as best possible and it'll have a giant knotty hole in the middle of all the lacework."

20100609

Wordless Wednesday #8 -- Yay, Peas!

Lilly Loves The Peas

Remember Last Summer

You remember last summer when I posted about how during summers all knitting blogs shut down? At the time, I was doing sewing. This year, I feel like I'm totally overweight and I need to diet, so I don't want to sew garments. However, I am gardening! Sort of. My husband and son are the real gardeners.

Playing With Dirt


The things in our garden that interest me the most are our raspberry plants, our watermelons, our pumpkins, and our peas. Of all of those, only the peas have come about. A few weeks ago, while out in the garden, I noticed that our peas were putting out shoots all over the place.

Pea Shoots!


At that point, I bugged Paul to do what we should have done much much earlier -- put in stuff for them to climb and water them more often. This did some good, but we can clearly do much better next year. We only had two really great plants this year, and at least three plants just didn't make it beyond the early stages.

Today, for the first time, Paul and I (and my cousin and her children) reaped the benefits of Paul's hard work!

Pea Mosiac!


We picked pods off the plants and opened and snacked. Delicious and sweet and wonderful. I am thinking I might pick a few to open and saute in some butter and salt, but they barely need it! My cousin's youngest loved them and happily gobbled up all the contents of the pods I opened. When I asked her to smile for the picture, she could barely acknowledge me as she scrabbled for the peas in her mom's hands.

I'm going to mark the peas as a success this year. Check back later to see if I've got an update on our carrots which are looking promising! I've been itching to make Smitten Kitchen's Roasted Carrot and Avocado salad.

What are you guys up to this summer?