Lately SK & I have discovered a fork in the road while parenting a "Big Boy". SK's newest theory is that to be a good parent you must learn to be a creative liar. I know what he's trying to say, but "liar" has negative connotations. And I've been learning that honesty & truth isn't always pretty when it spews out of a kid's mouth.
Almost all creative lying is done because it's in our favor. The train is always "broken" at the zoo. When I've promised a Sonic treat, sometimes Sonic closes when it rains or when it turns 3:16 p.m. Sometimes I regret my honesty when Gus asks, "Is it like the medicine you take everyday so you don't have a baby grow in your belly?" There are days when I would have rather told Gus that he has a Dong or a Tally-Wacker. I'm having a hard time listening to Penis being rhymed with every letter in the alphabet. And really, Dong & Tally-Wacker are funnier to hear.
Honesty is the better way. (Zoo & Sonic lies are because we're lazy. Don't judge.) I didn't tell Gus that my birth control was candy or medicine for head/tummy ache because of what could have happened. Last thing I need is to come home & find Gus popping hormones cause he didn't feel good. Great, now I've got a Hormone Junkie to deal with. At two, he asked, "What's this?" There was never any discussion that we'd use different names for genitals. I guess if I would have told him it was a Willy, I'd have to hear Willy, Nilly, Pilly, Zilly, Billy, & Milly all day long. But the other day I got a flash of a question that I'd have to answer one day. A question I dread because by the time Gus is asking it, creative lying might not work as well. One day, he's going to ask the Calculator question.
You remember where you were the day that you realized a calculator would cut your test/homework time in half & increase your grade to an A+. Someday Gus will ask,"Why can't I use the calculator all the time?" What do I say? It's true, Calculators are awesome! I can't tell you the last time I scribbled out complicated numbers for multiplication. I can't even imagine drawing the little house over the numbers for division. I can add & subtract with the comfort & ease of my phone. But the response from the teacher or parent is always something similar to this, "You need to know the basics & you won't always have the calculator handy." Am I going to have to say this when I really don't believe it? Ugh.
But on Monday, the "Know the Basics" phrase smacked me off my pedestal & made me question my future response. I need to have everything written down: a virtual knitting calculator. The charts are highlighted for even & odd rows. The symbols are spelled out. If I'm cabling, I need to write down which side I dig into the stitches & how to knit/purl them when I've moved them. Increase rows are tallied & a counter is always used. All this doesn't make my knitting perfect, but it does make my knitting dead easy. It also takes away the actual understanding of why I'm doing something. I'm doing it because it's written that way!
The other day I was knitting along and referring to my page. I was almost to the top of the sweater when it hit me what I was doing. This sounds almost stupid to even write, but I had no clue until this moment. When I would do a Right Leaning Cable, I never really paid attention to the name or what it was actually doing. It could have been called a Ba Ba Booey Cable. I was about to push my right needle into the last two stitches through the front. That's when it dawned on me that the cable was leaning to the right. I always look at the cable as the entire cable; the bottom twist & the top twist. Both those twists together made it hard for me to see that it leaned to the right. My relying on the charts made it hard for to see what my knitting was actually doing. At this moment, I could chuck the charts. I knew by the previous cables which way I had to enter the stitches. Back for the left cables & front for the right cables! Next up on my knitting discovery, learning the real differences between a SSK & a K2TOG.
I'm going to spend the next couple of days finishing Vivian. I'm sure that I'll be doing it to the sounds of Gus' favorite new song, "Penis. Menis."
edit to the post: Dead Easy. Famous last words. I just counted my stitches & compared it to the total in the pattern. 90 stitches for the hood portion. I've got 142. What the hell?! Maybe if the designer listed the stitches more often, this could have been avoided. What to do now? Should I rip to the sleeves? I think I had the correct number of stitches at that point & that was the last place where the stitch count was listed.
2nd edit to post: Slap to the head! Figured it out. Once again, I don't claim to be the smarter sibling. When you rip with Cascade Eco Wool, the stitches stay put. Nice to know.
If Gus was allowed, I'd let him Hunt-n-Peck a "Thank You" letter for his birthday wishes. It has been a dizzying couple of weeks & it doesn't appear to be slowing down until the middle of May. It all began with Gus & I spending a lovely day together for his birthday. We dropped Tuck off at daycare & explored our town. It's so exciting to watch him interact with his world. He's always been more cautious. He does a lot of waiting until the crowd clears. Then he gets really interested in what the buttons do or what the video is explaining. I think that age four brings lots of question about this world. "Why did that space shuttle explode?" "Who is the Army fighting?" "What does 'hostage' mean?" "How did I get into your belly?" The first three questions are perfect examples of why we don't watch the news, but sometimes you can't escape these images. The last one has been one we've been waiting on since I felt him first kick inside me. I think I gave good answers. He seemed to be satisfied, but I can tell more are coming. And fast!
Thank you for all of your book suggestions! I went with James & the Giant Peach since I had never read it or at least don't remember doing so. The first night we made it through three chapters and the next night we made it through about nine. Every third page there's a picture, so that helps keep his attention. There are times during the day that he asks for the book and other times he would rather read something with lots of pictures. In the picture above, all he wanted was his book and the really big blanket. Thanks again and I hope that your weekend was filled with moments similar to Gus'.
p.s. I've been dicking around with Lightroom's free preview and some presets found on Flickr. I feel rather inadequate, but it's amusing to toss colors all over the place.
A year ago, I was sitting in a hospital bed in shock. I was shocked by with how great I felt after the c-section (way less dirty than a vaginal birth) & how much this little baby didn't look a thing like his brother (where was the hair?). He has been a complete joy from his first screams. Bites & all! With the second baby, I think you feel like you're going to start at the beginning of the race. I knew the sleepless nights were coming. I remember teething. Time to start saying "No." Start closing the basement door. Hot! Hooot! I'm here to say that you don't start ahead of the other racers. Maybe somewhere in the middle, but not at the start. Each baby is completely different which starts the parenting game all over. My two boys are different. Gus started out fast & funny. You could always reel him in if needed. Tuck takes his time. But once he finds his speed, you can't stop him. They are in love with each other. Tuck needs to be with Gus & Gus finds things to make Tuck laugh. It leads to some of the funniest things I've ever seen.
The past couple nights there have been a lot of noise coming from the bedroom. In the morning, we usually find books scattered all over the floor. I wanted to see what was really happening behind closed doors, so I hung out a bit last night. Once I got Gus in bed, Tuck was standing doing his best Stevie Wonder impression. We couldn't stop laughing. While laughing, Gus says "Mom? What happen to our boy? What happen to our boy?" He's just getting older & we love it!
Happy Birthday, my littlest!
Sorry in advance for the photo-less blog post. You may understand as you read, but I've included lots of links.
This has been a Gus weekend. Hell, it's been a Gus couple of weeks! We need to start something here at Two Black Sheep. Let's start Momma Honesty before pregnancy. Nobody ever tells you half the shit you'll go through. And when someone does, you think that your precious babe will NEVER do that to you. I remember watching "Happiest Baby on the Block" video (a Lola must have). And I told SK that those babies were rare. "My mom says they sleep all the time. Ours will sleep." What did I know? I wasn't even sure I could be an okay Mom. We ended up with one of those babies. When Gus was a calm little 2 year-old, people would warn me of the Terrible 3's. Why warn me then? I can't do anything about it. It's coming & I just can't give him away for a year. I really wish people would have properly warned me when I was thinking about getting pregnant. A sweet old woman could have sat me down and said this:
Listen, sweetie. One day you'll be looking at a precious face thinking about much you love this cherub. And then the next day, that cherub remembers he's 3. The wings fall off & the horns sprout. You'll be powerless, sweetie. Under your breath you'll be cussing. You'll promise him the world if he behaves in the store. You'll give up & start taking away any kind of privileges a 3 year-old could acquire. Finally, you'll give in to the stares around you & scream ,"He's 3! Don't tell me your kid never did this!"
I think the thing that makes 3 so difficult is the unbearable sweetness & cuteness that lives in the creature. For example, in the morning while I was nursing Tuck, Gus strokes his head & says, "I love Tuck. I just love him." Or he'll create an elaborate story about how when he can drive he'll take me to a farm & share apples with me. He flashes those big eyes, bat the long eyelashes & you'll forget all about him trying to swat at you because you said "No" to candy at 7:30 a.m.
When I get little breaks, I've been working on projects for my special demon. His Mr. Rogers jacket is nearing the end. I'm almost done with the first sleeve. Top-down is funny to me. I have to read & re-read the instructions to make sure that I'm doing it right. But while doing the sleeve decreases, my Knitter's Light turned on. This is how designers pick where decrease go! Oh... There are a couple things that I wish I had done differently, but I'll save that for the finishing post.
Lately, I've been very proud that I'm a quitter. How many sweaters have I frogged to start something else? Enough. How many projects sit in my basket & I know that I won't pick them up again? A lot. How many knit-alongs do I join & abandon? A couple. Hello, ABC-along, I loved you the most. Socktober was a bust. At least, Ava knew her limitations. I got one tiny sock done. I wanted to knit 4. They were kid size so I didn't think it'd be an issue. I finished the lone sock about 2 weeks ago, but was unsure if it'd fit Gus. After trying on the cardigan, I wrestled the sock on. Seems to fit. Which means, I need to cast on for the mate. I forget what yarn I'm using, but it's scratchy for a super-wash. I'm starting to question my love of super-wash. The past couple have been wonky. It will come back though. I'm pretty sure that I'll fish SK's sweater out of the dryer & it will become mine. I forget to check the tags. And why would they sell 100% merino at discount stores?
Let me balance my Crazed Momma post with more knittiness. Let me get to the the awards. Disclaimer: these are all Lola's favorite blogs. Don't hold it against her if you hate 'em. When we first started our blog, it seemed like there was an award or meme every other day. I haven't seen as many during the past 6 months. The lovely Sarah nominated us around Halloween & we've been bad knit bloggers. Blogging is something that goes comes in waves for me. My schedule isn't fixed so there are weeks that I live in my car & dream of the day I can properly check my Bloglines. During the last couple days of pregnancy & first couple months of Tuck's life, I would surf all day. My Bookmark page grew to an obscene length. I don't have a method to which ones go to Bloglines & which stay in the Bookmark tab. There are blogs that I check every day, sometimes twice a day, but I don't subscribe. There's something about getting acquainted with a blog for a bit. Learning their links & sidebar. Much more cozy than the cold sterile Bloglines wallpaper. I thought that for the I Love Your Blog award that I'd highlight a couple blogs that I stalk & have yet to subscribe. I will. I have no method to my insanity.
Coyote Craft: Whenever I think of coyote's, I always think of the very detailed American Indian t-shirts that you get from the stand in the middle of the mall with dream catchers. Just not my thing. I was a little hesitant when I clicked on the blog link the first time. I really enjoy her Buddhist thought & her Patchwork Potholder.
Tiffany in the Trees: Ditto to everything above. You just want to have your camera with you at every second. It makes me want to be the creepy person at the library crawling in an awkward angle to take a picture. Go on & scroll down. You'll stop & I hope you feel the same way. I only wish I would have posted a picture in honor of these blogs, but please refer to the top of the post. My attention has been elsewhere.
Wendy Knits: Ok. This isn't really accurate. I haven't read Wendy Knits since I discovered knit blogs. No solid reason. It was always a good & informative read. But this post is my most sacred bookmark ever! Recently, we got a new computer. This was the one link I needed to save! I can remember everyone else's. Hell, I love Bloglines for this reason. But if I ever lost this link, I'd scream. I'm sure I would find it, but it's so much easier being right there in my Bookmarks.
Gonzomama Knits: Because she's just had the cutest little Bea we've ever seen! Ava & I would talk about her like she was a next-door-neighbor. "Has she had the kid yet? I haven't been to a computer today." "Isn't she almost like 2 weeks over due?" "And she's still out there taking pictures! God love her." And then this popped up. Congrats again!
Those are my current new favorites! We both have a long list of blogs we love & we're happy that some people love us. We're hoping some of that love shines down for Ava's knit a-long. I promise to knit at least one. I'll use the same yarn that I used for the one I submitted to the book's knit-along. I also forget the brand, but I do remember that it's a super-wash & feels like a good one. So come on. You know that you really don't want to start those holiday gifts now! Knit for someone else. Nothing like being behind the game during the holidays. Holidays without stress is like me without pink eye when I've got a huge work meeting. It just doesn't seem right.
For the past 2 years, we've taken the kid/kids to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch. We always go with SK's brother & his 2 kids. I love this trip so much. I like how excited Gus gets when he finds an apple. I like how he points out the "dead" apples on the ground. This year, his class took a trip a week earlier to the same orchard. During that trip, he learned the proper way to pick an apple. This year he took great care to twist the apple off its branch. We picked a bunch of Suncrisp & Melrose apples. SK enjoys a tart apple & I'm happy with any kind that makes a good sauce. I also love the trip because we get the best pictures. We're really trying to display more pictures around our house. I need to learn how to adjust my Color Balance so the orange doesn't blow up my camera, but overall I'm happy with our pictures. This year the trip also helped with my sanity.
Early last week, our company had to cut more positions. Within my department, we lost about 8 people. A year ago, my company did the same thing. Right now, I feel like a sitting duck. Well, this duck needs to get up & do something. This news & all of the current economy woes is starting to get to me. I don't watch the news any longer. I try really hard not to click on CNN.com, but I seem to click a couple times a day just to punish myself. Not to sound really Crunchy, but I can no longer live in what my Future might be. It ruins my Present. This is really easy for me to type, but much harder to actually do. When you grow up, people are always telling you to think about your future. Join clubs in high school & it will be easier to get into college. Get a good internship so you can land a great job out of college. Work hard now so your boss will recognize it & promote you. But in the end, did any of that work for me? I'm pretty sure I would have gotten into college without being part of the Yearbook club. My internship had nothing to do with my current job. There's no room for growth with my job & they still cut people.
I'm not saying to live fully in the moment. The kids' Well Checks would never happen because I'd forget to schedule them. I wouldn't finish one project because I'd start the next one that inspired me. Forget saving! But I really need to stop worrying about something that may never happen. And if it does, worrying about it now will have no effect on the outcome. I've had to change my reading habits because they help my Worry grow at a rate that I can't control or sustain. I've picked up a few books that I'm hoping will keep me sane & productive. (side note: Why doesn't everyone buy used books on Amazon? I got a hard copy of Everyday Blessings for $0.46!)
I'm going to stop watching as much tv (Beside the Mentalist, there isn't a new show that I love. How hot is Simon Baker?) & get back to reading, sewing, & knitting. I've got an apron & quilt to finish. Why did I but material for B's quilt? Another reason to live in the moment, there's always better fabric around the corner! I finished Tuck's Runaround & have the yoke finished on Gus'. I may have to rip out some of the length on Tuck's. It's a little more tunic than pullover.
Sorry for the doom-and-gloom post, but I don't think I'm alone in this. Even just typing the post out has helped, but don't worry. I won't use the blog as my therapy.
Goodness, this next month is going require a lot of patience, kindness & breathing. Oh and lots of wine. I took the boys home last weekend to visit with Mom and Dad. Mom warned me that she just wasn't quite herself, and that she was having a hard time with the jet-lag. Her version of "hard time" is different from my version. The list in the picture is from a manic period I spent with Mom trying to list everything that needs to be done for the wedding. But I think that things are under control and our family is in the final stretch of this wedding. I'm trying to imagine the posts that will come from this blessed event. The blog may finally be revealed when Ava and I are caught giggling around the computer.
I have some required knitting that needs to be finished within the next couple of months. Amanda is on hold because I'm waiting for my 40 inch cable to return from Ava's house. Mindless knit: Marsan Watchcap in Moda Washable Wool. I really do enjoy this yarn and if you use a coupon, it'd be a great deal for almost 200 yards of superwash. Has anyone used this yarn and how does it wash up? Our friend leaves the first week of August and I'd like to have it done prior to him leaving. 1x1 twisted rib is slow going, but it's easy to do while watching 2 kids. Regular ole knit: Tuck's Trellis in Lion Brand Wool Ease. This is a sentimental knit. I made Gus one in Wool Ease and I loved how he looked in it. Like a young Mr. Rogers. I'll try to dig up some pictures. I doubt that I did a swatch for Gus'. Why not? I was a young knitter and it's a kid knit. I really don't think that I did because I would have remembered the frustration! I began this with another yarn and it would have fit Tuck in 4 years. I tried it again with the Wool Ease and it would have fit Tuck in 2 years. So I made a crazy decision to knit the smallest size on needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended. If I could just remember the proper cabling without a needle technique, I'd be cruising.
Ava, we're real behind on ABC along. I think that we need to play catch-up. God we're lazy.
p.s. Burn, baby, burn!
p.s. again. Kristen, we need you address for the winning contest entry! Email us, please.
Tuck's expression is how our family is feeling right now. In this picture, I believe that he's really pissed because I put him in the chair. These became popular right after Gus was too big for them. I was thrilled that the bandwagon drove right on by our little family. I swore that I would never buy one, but our mother passed one along. We slip Tuck into the chair so we can get a good laugh. He doesn't seem to find it funny. Anyway back to our family's feelings, we're getting pissier and pissier as each day passes. Bro is changing wedding dates at a rapid speed. Fine. But the dates are getting closer not farther in the year. We're patiently waiting for a final date. And on that date, you'll have a fabulous drunk/bitter post from Two Black Sheep.
Gust is coming along. I think that I'm going to make some length adjustments to the pattern. The final measurement is 45 inches. That's a little short for my taste. Before blocking, the pattern says that it should measure 35 inches. So it grows 10 inches in the final blocking process. That makes my adjusting easy! Knit until it's 10 inches shorter than I'd like. Unfortunatly that means I've got to knit another 30 inches. Damn, Lola. When Ava came to visit, I made the most important change with this project. I swapped my Knitpick metal needles for some bamboo. Usually, I hate bamboo. It has made the entire project tolerable. And so I'll keep truckin'.
I picked up the afghan again. I really have to focus when I get to the ends. If I don't, I'm adding hexagons which fucks up the border and adds width. I've also decided that I don't need to stick with four separate colors for each hexagon. I still love these little motifs, but I do need to write the pattern down. I struggled a little when I grabbed the project. Who knows when it will be done. I might be working on this one in the Nursing Home.
Gus' Big Boy quilt is finished and is in the wash. I'll post on that soon. I finished the binding last night and had a celebratory glass of wine. I folded it and put it on the other side of the room so I wouldn't accidentally spill Merlot all over it. I looked at it lovingly and proudly during the AI finals. Big post once I've got it in its final resting place. I think I'm going to squeak out a pillow or two with the scraps.
p.s. Tuck's expression is not a reflection of his attitude. I can't tell you enough what a fabulous baby he is! He just laughs and smiles all day. He goes to bed well and wakes up even better.
p.p.s Wheat Bread from the book turned out well. Instead of 4 loaves, I got 2 out of the recipe. The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the size. Not great for sandwiches, but incredibly tastey. I took the rest of the dough and made a larger loaf hoping for a higher loaf. But the taste is so good. I think that it has a lot to do with using All-Purpose instead of actual bread flour. I also think that the bread lasts a little longer than bread machine dough. Start baking people!