Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mountains of Dusty Books

I love books.  Old books, new books, books with hard covers, books bound with paper.  I went to school and got a degree in English Literature and afterwards began a long and varied obsession with accumulating books.  

Did I say "accumulating"?  Perhaps "amassing" would be a better word.  I gathered copies of books around me like Fahrenheit 451 may actually come to pass and the only thing standing between me and a  life without Pride and Prejudice would be the six copies I had stashed in the living room cupboard.  There wasn't a library sale I missed from the Twin Cities to Duluth.  I have two large bookshelves in my living room full up of books--Did I just hear you say you wanted to read Tess of the D'Urbervilles?  You can borrow my copy!-- plus half a cupboard and please don't even ask to see my bedroom!  I loved to read and spent many hours with a variety of authors.

And then I had babies.

It's amazing how children will change your life.  I never imagined myself as a non-reader, which functionally so many people are, and I'm not.  It's just that the amount and subject of my materials has changed so dramatically.  I don't have the time or patience for the classics anymore.  I don't enjoy them in the same way and I'm starting to question whether or not I ever did.  Boswell's Life of Johnson?  Really?  I read it, but I don't remember enjoying it.  I am certainly not going to read it again.  Charles Dickens?  There are people who read through his books like wildfire, but I have never been one of them.  I've never met a man so intent on beating his audience over the head with a Moral Lesson and until I learn to enjoy a good thrashing I am sure I won't like him, either.

So, today has been something of a culmination of what has been happening to me in the four and a half years since I had my first baby.  Peter and I went through our entire house and collected seven dusty boxes of books to take over to the Library.  I am still Keeper of Volumes--you can tell because he didn't have to rent a small truck to get my collection out of the house--but the number has been dramatically reduced.  And you know what?  It feels good!  I had three or four old dictionaries, one of which belonged to my grandpa.  I kept his and sent off the three that didn't.  I said good-bye to Dickens, to DeFoe, to Plato and Locke.  I was able to acknowledge that I still wanted to read A Letter Concerning Toleration VERY much, but that perhaps this isn't the year.  When it is, I will buy it new.  I'll enjoy it more than the 1958 edition I had, anyway.  It feels so good to let go of who I was and turn to accept the person I am today.  I am looking forward to seeing what I will be reading when the kids are a little older.

So, in the meantime, you'll find me chasing the kids and reading books when I can.  But they won't likely be about systems of government or the ways of human error.  Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters can stay--even Anne-- but today's reading is more likely to be about knitting, cooking, and suspicious looking deaths.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I know that nobody cares what I had for lunch today, but this was to the point of being so indigestible that it reminded me of college.  When I was in college, I would often open a huge can of baked beans and eat nothing but baked beans with bread.  Some days, I'd make a pan of white rice and eat it mixed with butter, salt, and parmesan cheese.  But the best days were when I would get up in the morning, open a half gallon of ice cream and eat nothing but that all day long.  You can NEVER get sick of chocolate ice cream.  Until you do.

So, today, while the kids ate their peanut butter and honey sandwiches I had a mashed avocado and Miracle Whip Light sandwich with a side of baked beans (hence the college reminiscing).  Pregnant or not, I am SHOCKED that I kept that down.

How Does Your Garden Grow

Today we got our first harvest from our new garden.  Radishes.  Thomas and Anna were so excited to be able to pick some real vegetables, even though Thomas doesn't like "spicy food".  I pulled the radishes and handed them over our rabbit fence to Thomas who pulled off the tops for the compost.  Anna walked around the yard chomping the radishes like apples.  Who knew they came with a core?  Personally, I'm just thrilled to see that I can grow things after all.  I'm like a real farmer.

In other news, see what came in the mail for the new baby?

It's a beautiful, organic cotton baby hat that will be just right for a fuzzy baby head this winter.  It came from Kristina over at Yarnsticks!  It makes me glad that I live in such a snowy state.  Knitted warmth would be much less satisfying if I lived in Texas.  Thank you, Kristina!  I am pretty excited about this pretty little hat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Laziest Trimester

I've decided that pregnancy is my Zero Level.  It seems like it takes a monumental effort to accomplish anything.  I don't understand this.  The books say that your second trimester in particular should be characterized by "energy and increased optimism".  I've found my second trimester to be a lot like my first, minus the constant, low-grade nausea.  I suppose it's another great Lie of Pregnancy--sort of like the one that says your complexion will take on a rosy glow.  The only glow my complexion exhibits is the glow of hormone induced acne.

I will admit that I do have my bursts of motivation and energy and it's a lucky thing or my rug would be invisible past the piles of toys and cat hair.  For the most part, however, I find the idea of mopping the kitchen floor overwhelming and the thought of vacuuming the living room depressing to the point of collapse.  Just this morning I asked P to help me organize the clothes in my closet.  I mean, come on--help me organize my clothes?  But that's right--I still have non-maternity winter clothes, non-maternity summer clothes, and my maternity wardrobe (such as it is) all crowding around, trying to fight for space in our closet.  I find the idea of packing it all up and putting it away an impossible dream.  Usually I'm right on top of this sort of thing but this year?  Forget about it.

I seem to remember feeling this way when I was expecting Thomas and Anna, but I'm having a hard time remembering when my desire to get off the couch returned.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't actually taken root in the couch yet, if you have small children you know that you do get up and moving because you have to, but I'm wondering when it will stop being so hard.

But, enough of that.  I'll leave you with a picture of the wee ones playing pirate, or posing in their pirate hats (with flags of the Jolly Roger).  I'm going to spend the rest of the day not thinking about our kitchen remodel that seems to be coming up in a couple of months.  I'm also not thinking about how my maternity shorts aren't fitting the way they used to because I seem to be carrying this baby incredibly low.  But those are stories for another day.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photo Updates

In honor of the first 80+ degree weather we've seen this summer, I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of the kids enjoying the warm temperatures this morning.

You won't be able to see it, but their shockingly pale Minnesotan skin is thickly covered with SPF 50.  Thomas doesn't burn easily, but Anna has skin from our Swedish kin.  Poor thing.  It's good for her that we only have about 90 days of sunny weather in Minnesota each year.

Also, she kindly obliged me by modeling her new longies for a picture.  One day I'll figure out how to upload photos onto Ravelry, but for now this will have to do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Funniest Things

This weekend we went to visit my parents at their hobby farm.  They live on seven acres just outside of a small town.  While they have scaled back their garden quite a bit since my brother and I have grown, it is still sizable and provides most of their vegetables for the year (and a large portion of my family's vegetables as well).  

We spent Father's Day doing things like scrubbing the dirt off of about 18 soaker hoses.  When that particular job was done, I was walking Anna back to the house, past the garden.  She exclaimed, pointing at the newly planted seedlings and sprouting plants, "Look!  They have food sticking out of the ground!"

I'm still laughing to think of it.  How strange the world must seem when you're two years old!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the best dad in the world!

Love, Baby Thomas

Love, Baby Anna

Friday, June 13, 2008


I've had a crampy, achy abdomen all morning today.  Growing pains, I suppose.

I know I've been very busy washing and hanging out three loads of laundry, making a rare trip to Target, and dealing with two temperamental kids.  I need to take a break, drink some water and lay down with my feet up.  Just not having to mediate disagreements between two ornery young ones would be a great start towards getting this crampy feeling to stop.

I wish there was an on-call nanny service I could use for an hour or two.

Project Complete!

The longies are done!  As of 7:30 this morning the I-cord is knit, the ends are woven in, and these little pants are ready to bravely meet the world.  I'm so glad to have finally finished a project.  Anna can model them for me later.  She can wear them for her nap today.

I finished them with two or three yards of yarn to spare.  I think that this was the perfect project to use up this yarn.  It's always so satisfying to have a project that finishes up a skein so completely.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Which I Ramble On and On

I wish I could spin a story about how busy we've been.  It wouldn't be true, but it would be a way to account for my time, at least.  It seems that we've been able to creep out of the Early Spring weather we've been having since late April and we've finally had some temperatures in the 70s.  Our lazy summer days started in February, though.  We've hardly gone anywhere or done anything since we started expecting this baby.  Grocery store?  Maybe later.  Trip to Target?  Do I have to?  Children's museum?  You've got to be kidding.  My poor kids have become hermity homebodies.

Maybe this is starting to change, though.  This week we actually managed a trip to the zoo with my friend Kate and her little girls.  It was so refreshing to walk with the children in the warm summer air and see sparkly new scenery.  The exhibit we chose to walk through was unexpectedly packed with people--families, tourists, and school groups.  It's a new exhibit so it wasn't really the best choice.  But, the kids did get to see the hairy grizzly bear and a swimming otter--two things Anna is still talking about.  I'm hoping that with the nice weather we can manage some more outings, even if I need a friend's assistance in getting motivated.

I finally decided what to do with the yarn.  Marsha suggested that the brown wasn't too masculine for little girl soakers and I decided that she was right. 

I decided to knit some longies for Anna, though, instead of Baby Nuevo.  I really like knit pants for her, especially for sleeping.  They're great if her diaper leaks a bit and she's always warm and cozy in them.  I had a pair that she wore last winter and they just don't fit anymore!  

Can I just say how much I like this Little Turtle Knits pattern?  All of the math is worked out for each size and the sizes go up to 30+ lbs.  I find the fit is generous so I never wish I'd made the next size up.  They have a high rise so it will fit well over the fullest cut diaper.  The only thing I don't care for is how the crotch pulls a bit on an active child.  A gusset like the one on the LTK Picky Pants pattern might correct this, I think.  I'm looking forward to buying a copy of her PP pattern when I get my next allowance.  

I'm hoping to finish these pants today.  Knitting a pair of pants is very comparable to the amount of knitting in a sweater, I think.  It is a TON of knitting!  Have any of you knit longies for a little baby?  I'm wondering how you keep their tummy covered if they're wearing longies and a t-shirt?  I should think that longies and a long-sleeve onsie might look strange.  What do you think?  This baby will be born just as the weather turns cold and our house is very drafty.  I'd like to do longie diaper covers but the Cold Tummy Syndrome has been a concern.

I seem to be running out of time before this baby is born.  I keep getting sidetracked on the knitting.  All this baby has so far is one pair of (mostly finished) soakers.  What is wrong with me, I wonder?  I've knit sweaters for both of the kids (mostly--Anna's cabled sweater is languishing.  I have no idea why that has been abandoned in the Bag of Knitting Purgatory), I've knit pants for Anna, and next on my list is a felted bag to hold some of Anna's soft toys.  I haven't a sweater or a blanket even planned for this baby.  I ordered some Peace Fleece to knit soakers for The Baby, but this is knitting at its most utilitarian.  Really.  Knitting you can pee on.  Sort of puts dishcloths and socks in a new perspective.  Hardly the loving knitting of booties, sweaters, and bonnets, eh?  

That said, I think what I'd really love to knit this baby is a blanket.  A blanket will last for a lot longer than a little sweater.  Maybe that's an idea I can think about.  Do any of you have favorite baby blanket patterns?  I can consider all of my options while I finish Anna's sweater, pants, felted bag and begin on baby soakers.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wanted: Drive-Thru Knitting Shop

I wish I could turn one of the coffee shops in town into a knitting store.  Better yet, we could use one less manicure salon.  How many manicurists does it take to service one moderately sized suburb?

My life would be so much easier if I could get my little hands on  set of size 6 dpns at a moment's notice.  There have been so many times when I find myself mid-project, nearing the final lap when I'm brought up short by a distinct lack of knitting needles.  I have no other explanation than an apparent Black Hole of knitting equipment that has manifested itself in my knitting cupboard.  

I've been knitting for years now and a size 6 needle is by FAR my most utilized size, but time and again I find myself scrounging the bottom of my needle bag trying in vain to locate a size 6 needle.  If I were one to have a lot of UFOs lying around occupying sets of needles I could understand it.  But even taking that into consideration I still can never find a size 6 when I need it!  I have a set of dpns that I just bought sitting in an unfinished pair of Fetching right now, but I  bought those needles a month ago.  Where have all the other sets gone?  I'm sure there must be more around here.

I could live with this Knitting Impairment just fine if getting yet another set of size 6 dpns would be as simple as making a trip to Target.  It's not like I have to hook up the sled dogs and cross the Yukon, but it involves a small drive to another town or a trip into the city to get to the nearest yarn shop.

I never get my cat groomed.  I really don't need more than one coffee shop at a time.  I don't know how our town can keep so many mortgage places in business.  We have a tattoo parlor and no less than three Subway shops.  There are two or three manicure places within a block of each other.  I have no idea why our little town can't keep one yarn shop in business.  How frustrating.

Now, if our town had a yarn shop with a drive-through window, curb-side yarn winding, and also sold bread and milk--I'm sure that THEN we'd have a boom business on our hand.  I'm sure they'd do well enough just selling me size 6 double pointed needles every week.

And, P--honey?, I have a birthday coming up, as you know, and I think that a couple of sets of Clover's lovely bamboo double pointed knitting needles would be just the thing.  I could use them in a size 6.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Any Ideas?

I've been stash-diving lately and I came across this skein (+some) of Andes worsted weight yarn.  It has 165 yards in the full skein and I think the other skein has about, oh, 75 yards left.  I used the other part of the skein to make some simple mittens.

I don't know what to do with the rest of it!  Mittens, of course, are an idea.  I could even find an interesting pattern for a hat, I'm sure.  I could even knit some little boy soakers, if I thought I'd be having a little boy in the fall.  I just can't seem to find anything that gets me excited about knitting this yarn.  Maybe something in a seed stitch?  I may just knit a few Kleen Kanteen kozies like I've seen on another website.

I don't know!  I'm interested in hearing if you have any ideas, though!