31 May 2006

The vacuum chronicles

Bug absolutely adores his "orange vacuum." He uses it daily and doesn't want to stop for naps, for bedtime, for diaper changes, for anything! One night, he even wanted it to sleep in bed with us. Another day, the only way I got him to go down for his nap was to lay the Swiffer on the sofa, cover it with a blanket and tell Bug that the vacuum needed a nap too.

I think we are the only parents in the world that threaten to take our child's chores away if he doesn't behave well. I only hope he is this enthusiastic about his chores in a few years.

We're gonna FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT for Iowa!

As Kitty Daddy and I are both University of Iowa alums (that's where we met as undergraduates), here is the scarf and socks that I made for him for last Christmas.
The scarf was my first stab at double knitting. Both ends have the same design, but it is folded so one end shows each side of the fabric. I "borrowed" a Hawkeye logo that I found on the web and made my pattern using Excel. I set the rows and column sizes to be of the same proportion as my gage swatch, imported the graphic and stretched it to size, then proceeded to color in the grid cells to make my design. The scarf was knit with Black and Gold Cascade 220.

The socks are the same yarn and I knit them cuff down and used the same tubular cast-on as for the scarf, followed by 1x1 rib. It worked out okay, but I'm not complete enamored of it. I used "afterthought" heels (aka Peasant heels) for the first time and like that technique a lot. Those are my feet modeling the socks, so they are a little big, but not as big as they are on Bug:

They fit Kitty Daddy much better!

Laundry Quandary

Ugh! Laundry has never been one of my favorite chores, but after eight years of having my own washer and dryer in my own house, I have just about had it with living in an apartment again. We live in a three-unit and there is one washer ($1.25) and one dryer ($1.00) in the basement. To do a weeks worth of laundry for four people, it usually ends up taking five or six loads, in order to get the loads small enough that the stoopid washer gets things vaguely clean. This is in addition to the three to four loads of diapers per week.

The alternative is loading clothes, kids, quarters, and laundry supplies into the van and making the trek to the Laundromat. While I was finishing my dissertation, we did this every Sunday and Kitty Daddy would take one of the kids with him to run errands at Walgreens. Now, I am trying to get laundry done during the week so the four of us can have some fun family time instead of cranky laundry time on the weekend. Even though the Laundromat takes less than 2 hours to do a whole week, that significantly stretches the patience of the two littlest family members. Plus, I have to keep close watch on Bean so she doesn't go play in the toilet or go outside and play in the parking lot, her two favorite laundry-time hobbies.

Either way, I am very happy that there is less than three more months of this. We have put in an application for a townhouse style apartment that has a washer and dryer in the apartment. Assuming all goes well, we will be moving there the last week of August!

29 May 2006

More crumpets

I am now three skeins (50 g each) into Bean's dress. We took a car trip to visit grandpa, who lives about an hour and a half away and I got to bliss out with mindless stockinette in the round with the nice, soft Shine Worsted there and back. The skirt part of the dress is now about 2" long.

Since the skirt has twice as many stitches as the bodice, it is going to be A LOT more stockinette. There is nothing better than the mindless knitting of stockinette in the round to relax and achieve a zen-like state. Or at least as close to one as a mother of a 3-1/2 year old and a 1-1/2 year old can ever hope to get.

Shhhh...if you listen very carefully...

You can hear the angels sing:

(softly, as if from a great distance) Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Yes, people, our crappy little un-air-conditioned apartment is now a crappy little air-conditioned apartment! Two days at or near 90 and it isn't even June yet. I turn into a slug when it gets much past the mid-70's. Give me 6 foot snowdrifts anytime!

We found a portable A/C on sale at Menards and did the deed. We got it up and running and, while it isn't powerful enough to keep the whole apartment cool all the time, I think that we can keep the living room bearable during the day so the kids can nap and I can find the gumption to make dinner at home.

27 May 2006

A renewable (and seemingly inexhaustible) energy source

Since Bug likes to help with the cleaning and has become very fond of the vacuum cleaner (at least when it's turned off). Everytime the vacuum is out, he wants to "pee-tend" vacuum, which drives Mollie Dog crazy. She HATES the vacuum monster and feels obligated to harass it and drive it back into hiding whether it is making noise or not. So, as a solution, we started looking for a silent carpet sweeper (like the ones they use in restaurants). Since we didn't find one at Target and Bug was extremely disappointed, we decided to try a Swiffer Carpet Flick. What a solution! Bug started sweeping with it after lunch and only parted with it to take a nap with a major tantrum. We promised that he could vacuum more after his nap. We can only hope that he takes ownership of chores with such ferocity when he gets older!

Speaking of tantrums, we also found a pair of summer sandals for Bean at Target. We took off one sneaker and sock to try one on and she was most upset when we went to take it off. So we did all of our shopping with her in the cart seat wearing one sandal with the other dangling from its elastic band. Taking it off to have it scanned so we could pay was also a major trauma. The bright side is that this morning, when she was being very opinionated about not wanting to get dressed, I just handed her the sandals and all tantrums subsided and she muttered about her pretty "shoo" the whole time she was being dressed.

26 May 2006

What a great book!

I just picked this book up from the local library, and it looks like I might have to add it to my "must buy" list! Extraordinarily cute, very creative projects to make for kids are in here. Among the coolest (in my humble opinion) are:

  • felted fire fighter's helmet (Bug would adore this!!!)
  • tool belt and tools (hammer, saw, and screwdriver)
  • bowling ball and pins
All sorts of cool dress-up things too:
  • felted wizard and princess hats
  • crown
  • princess dress
  • Egyptian queen
  • mermaid outfit
  • Viking outfit
If I can be a good girl and get some (non-knitting) things crossed off of my to-do list, I think I will have to add the fire hat to my "In Planning" list. Also, Bug might need a set of tools and a tool belt next time we go to visit grandpa (he's do-it-yourselfer and woodworking hobbyist).

Spring Bean

Oh man...how cute is that? Big brown eyes, wavy hair, seersucker and rickrack sundress...

Well, big brother has been getting more than his fair share of blog space since he has the larger vocabulary and we tend to tailor our activities more toward his interests. But Bean is keeping us entertained, too! Her vocabulary is growing, with favorite words including Mom-mom (yours truly), Dada, Go (with an outstretched hand to pull you along), Dipe (diaper), Shoo (shoes), and Neh-neh (nursing). Skill-wise, she is trying desperately to jump, and can't quite get both feet off the floor. It is a pretty adorable tippy-toe thing though!

With warmer weather here, Bean is finally getting to wear her new sundresses from Grandma. It also means that we get to spend more time outside, especially at the park. She loves slides, which means I have to keep my eye on her since some of the slides at Bug's favorite park end several feet off the ground. She climbs like a monkey and does her best to keep up with big brother's exploits. Fortunately, Bug is just starting to get very social at the park, so he finds "fends" to play with and I can follow Bean around and just keep an eye on Bug. The other day, he dragged a little girl about his age over to me and said, "She my girlfend." Not only sociable, but a little Casanova in the making! Of course, he also (on another occasion) dragged a little girl over and patted her and said, "She my brother." Go figure...who can tell what is going to come out of a three-year-old mouth!

Back again!

Last Friday, the internet connection puked off. I was able to get online for a short time Sunday night, but since then, I have been lucky to get online for more than about 5 minutes at a time. What a PAIN!! Finally, the cable company was able to get a technician out yesterday and it seems to be fixed.

Before getting the internet back, we went to the last story time for the spring session in the morning. We'll have two weeks off and then story time will start up again for six weeks in Bug's favorite park! Since it was the last day, there was a special theme of fire engines! We read three fire engine books, sang two fire engine songs, and got to meet real firemen and see a real fire truck! Very exciting!

25 May 2006

Crumpets update

While my internet connection was gone for six days, my yarn arrived for Bean's Crumpets dress. It is going pretty fast...mostly because I really like the feel of working with the Shine Worsted and the pattern is pretty straightforward considering how fancy and complicated it looks! I have the bodice done, the loop holes for the ribbon sash and I am working on the increase row for the skirt. Bean is just going to be SO ADORABLE in the dress! I can hardly wait!!!

Picot cuffs

First of all, to give credit where due, I based my first attempt at picot edging on this website. I made some modifications, mostly to adapt to my own klutziness and inability to join in the round without twisting everything up. So here she goes...

Step One: Crochet chain.

I used Cascade 220 left from another project and a big honkin' size J hook to make sure the chain was nice and loose. I chained the 80 stitches I needed, plus six or eight more so I didn't have to deal with the very end stitches. The first stitch or two tend to be tighter and harder to pick up and if I get too cl0se to the last stitch, they start to unravel. My only complaints about the wool is that is splits and grabs making unraveling more difficult (more about that to come). This picture shows the middle loop used to pick up stitches. Along the edge are pairs of stitches kind of like this: (). The "middle loops" are the ones running down the middle (duh!) and offset to the right in this picture.

Step Two: Picking up stitches.

To pick up stitches from the chain, put the tip of the needle through the "middle loop" from bottom to top. (*Picture snapped here*) Then, loop yarn under the needle tip (I do this right-handed), pull the left end of the chain taut with the left hand and pull the loop through just like a knit stitch. Here's the part where I trade efficiency for ease. I used a size 4 straight needle and a second kind of spare yarn (left over from my first pair of socks). For my sock, I picked up 80 stitches.

Step Three: Knit flat for a few rows. I just did simple garter stitch (knit both sides) for three rows. This is to give me something to hold on to when I'm trying to join my circular needles.

Step Four: Real yarn at last!!

Now I knit one row using the right yarn for the sock and the right sized dpn's. Since I use 5 dpn's, I knit 20 stitches per needle.

Step Five: Join in the round

Just a regular join, but the extra edge from the flat knitting gave me something to hold onto, and it was much easier to see whether or not things were getting twisted.

Step Six: After joining knit three rounds in stockinette.

Step Seven: Repeat (yo, k2tog) for one round.

Step Eight: Knit three more rounds in stockinette.

Here's the unfolded cuff. Just to make things more confusing I switched to magic loop. The only reason for it was that I am a tense knitter and very hard on small wood or bamboo needles and the size 2 circulars I ordered didn't arrive until after I had started!

Step Nine: Pick up loops at beginning of real yarn.

Weave a dpn into the first row of knitting. The stitches are shaped like this: \/. The dpn goes under the / and over the \. I picked up 20 stitches on each dpn this way.

This picture shows all the stitches picked up. The needles switched because I forgot to use smaller needles to do this when I took the first picture. These are size 00. If you use the same size as you knit with, it is almost impossible to get the ruffles off.

Step Ten: Unravel chain.

Pull the end of the chain to unravel stitches. I needed to unloop the yarn from the very first stitch, but after that it went smoothly with two exceptions. First, the wool fibers stick together, so I needed to pick fuzzies to get the unravelling going again every few stitches. Second, I split the yarn when I was picking up stitches in a couple of places. There I had to do some very careful surgery with the scissors to get the chain loose. For future reference: Make the chain out of slippery, non-splitting yarn.

Step Eleven: Unravel other waste yarn.

Since it is unravelled from the bottom, the loose end needed to be fed through a loop at the end of the row a couple of times.

Step Twelve: Knit edges together.

To do this, I turned the knitting "inside out" so the right (knit) side was on the inside of the circle. Then I could bring the beginning edge up in the back. This part took a little patience and a LOT of fiddling to get the needles where they belonged and overlapped so they would move when they needed to. Then I knit the first stitch of the round since I had a little twisting on the first sock. Then the next 80 stitches were knitting the top and bottom together. The right needle goes through the next stitch in the round knitwise, then through the first loop on the smaller dpn knitwise, so it looks like the picture. Then loop the yarn around like regular knitting and pull the new loop through both the top loop and the bottom loop.

Step Thirteen: Step back and admire your work.

The top of the picture shows the right side of the cuff and the bottom shows the inside (you can see the first row of purls. Stand up, take a bow, and then knit stockinette like crazy until it is heel time! Sit back down, too, if it make you more comfortable!

22 May 2006


Last night as we were getting ready for bed, I asked Bug what his favorite thing was from the big weekend. We listed out all of the different things we had done on Saturday and Sunday. His favorite of the whole she-bang: the hot dog he had for lunch on Saturday. Kids! (rolling eyes)

21 May 2006

I don’t want to go sit in the mud!

A neighboring community with a very Norwegian heritage was celebrating Syttende Mai (Norwegian Independence Day) and we went to check out the festival today. Bug wanted to go back to his favorite park again for pink lemonade, trains, and slides, but we kept reassuring him that we would find something fun to do at Syttende Mai. Finally, after several repetitions of this conversation, Bug announced "But I don't want to go sit in the mud." The resistance finally made sense and we explained that "Syttende Mai" wasn't "Sit in the mud," that we didn't want to sit in the mud either, and that there would be lots of fun things to do. The funny pronunciations and misunderstandings go both ways...last night, I couldn't figure out what Bug meant by a "monster in the van," until we finally realized he was talking about the "mustard on his pants" from yesterday's hot dog for lunch!

Some highlights from Syttende Mai include face painting (a heart-shaped Norwegian flag for Bean and a rainbow for Bug), a quilt and hardanger show (more fun for mom and dad), an arts festival where we bought a water balloon yo-yo that made it most of the way home, and lots of yummy food and drink stands. We headed home before the parade...obviously the planners didn't consider Bug and Bean's nap time when they made the schedule. Tired little ones and crankiness abounded by the time we headed back home!

20 May 2006

Big Rigs in the park

On Monday, when we went to the park with Grandma and Grandpa, we saw a whole bunch of big rigs pulling in with loads of carnival rides for the upcoming Irish festival in our town. The highlight of Monday was seeing a little train on the back of one truck. Trains and trucks! Two of Bug's favorite things!! Since then, we have been checking every day or two and watched more big rigs, trucks, and campers arriving with rides and concessions and tents and all the other festival trappings.

Today we finally got to experience the end result. The festival started last night and we showed up this morning to check things out. One of the first things we did was get carnival tickets and Bug, Bean, and Kitty Daddy rode that train we had been talking about all week! Before that though, we fed llamas, sheep, and goats and visited with a baby bison at the petting zoo. In the same tent, Bug got a pony ride...kind of expensive for four ponies going around in a circle for a short time, but Bug was delighted. He picked the biggest one...ride 'em cowboy! Kitty Daddy showed off his skill at carnival games and won a pair of fuzzy purple dice that Bug and Bean squabbled over off and on. With the tickets we had left, Bug and I climbed up a whole bunch of stairs and rode down on a big slide! We went to part of a story time sponsored by the local library, but the little ones were too excited to sit still or participate in the songs. We also strolled through the cultural tent and saw wool being spun into yarn.

For some reason, the bottle of pink lemonade that Bug got with lunch was one of the highlights of the day. He spent the rest of the day talking about it. I suspect that it wasn't so much the actual lemonade as what it represented...little trains on big rigs, huge slides, and other special things in his favorite park.

18 May 2006


Okay, how's this...

Re-revised Rule #1 of Parenting: Do NOT wake a sleeping baby.

Life and death is so over-rated...

Can you say "Cranky Pants"???

Diaper Wipes

Yeah, they are kind of fancy for wiping poopy butts, but I'm using up some cotton yarn and trying out some things.

Wipe #1: Nothing too fancy...garter stitch with verigated yarn.

Wipe #2: Kind of a funky ripple things with plain yarn. To make it: CO 29
Row 1: S1 knitwise, k1, k2tog, k4, (k1, yo, k1) double increase, k4, (slip 2 as if to knit, k1, psso) double decrease, k4, (k1, yo, k1) double increase, k4, ssk, k1
Row 2: S1 knitwise, p to last stitch, k1
Repeat rows 1 and 2, CO on an even row.

Hmmmm...when you turn it the way it was knitted, thusly:

This would be just gorgeous as a center panel in a tank top or a short-sleeved summer sweater with the funky zig-zaggy edge at the neckline and bottom hem. Hmmmmmm...

Okay, I lied...cast on edge is on the top. But I definitely like the "W" shape better than the "M" shape. I'm thinking: knit from the top down? Or maybe reverse increases and decreases (yo at each edge, double increase at center, two double decreases between)? Ooo, oo, oo, I feel another wipe coming on!!

An excavator!

Okay, just when I start to figure out the rules, they change.

Old Rule #1 of Parenting: Do NOT wake a sleeping baby, except in life or death situations.

New Rule #1 of Parenting: Do NOT wake a sleeping baby, except in life or death situations OR if there is an excavator getting ready to dig in your front yard.

Apparently there was a water main break that needed to be repaired. I had just gotten Bug and Bean down for their naps and was getting ready to get a little work done. I kept hearing trucks sounds, especially the "beep, beep, beep" of backing up. Since today is trash day, I didn't think too much of it. However, since it kept going and going and going, I peeked out the window to see what was going on and if there was anything I could do to keep it from interrupting nap time.

And, there, milling around in our front yard, are several pickup trucks, a couple of dump trucks and *gasp* an excavator. I watched them maneuver around for a while, debating madly whether I should wake up Bug or let him sleep. Finally, as they got the excavator into position, I decided that this was too cool to miss, so I woke up the sleeping Bug. He was not happy being woken, but once I got him to the window, he was wide awake and very excited! We sat out on our miniature deck and watched the whole operation. There were three dump trucks coming and going and it took two dump trucks of fill to refill the hole that they dug. They didn't finish completely...it still needs topsoil and sod or seed, but other than that Bug and I watched the whole process.

There is going to be one significantly overtired and seriously cranky Bug in the house tonight, but how often does an excavator dig right in your front yard???

17 May 2006

It's a sock!

I'm halfway done with a pair of socks!! I am making these out of Regia Norweger Ringel Color (#5160) on #2 dpns. These are going to look great with faded demin! The specs: I'm knitting them top down with a picot cuff (detail below). The heels are double wrapped short row heels.

Here is a close-up of the picot cuff. It was a huge pain in the butt getting started. I have never had trouble joining in the round, but for some reason I could NOT get started with the provisional cast-on without getting things all twisted up. I finally got it to work, took detailed notes and will blog with pictures as I start the second sock so I have it documented for the next time I want a picot edge on something.

Waiting for yarn

I am making incremental progress on Bean's Crumpets dress. Today I ordered the yarn. I decided on Crocus. It was a hard decision, because I also love Watermelon, Coral, Snapdragon, Bachelor Button, and Reef as possibilities for Bean. I'm going to have to be a very good girl and get lots of work done while I'm waiting for my yarn, because I suspect that once I pick it up, I'm not going to want to put it down until Bean is wearing her dress!

Busy, busy, busy

Well after a week of grandma and grandpa, we got them safely on the plane back home yesterday and are trying to settle back down to "normal" (whatever the heck that is!!). We had a fabulous time while they visited, including outings to storytime (Thursday), the children's museum (Friday), and the park (Monday, the only morning it wasn't raining).

We drove to the "old house" on Saturday morning, since commencement wasn't until 3:00 pm. It was a loooong ceremony with over 150 Ph.D.s and over 600 Master's. Since I was squished in with the other graduates on the floor, I didn't see first hand, but rumor has it that Bug did a great job sitting through it on grandma's lap (with only the occasional whispered bribe). Bean and Kitty Daddy ended up doing laps around the arena to keep her amused.

Sunday was a *fancy* mother's day breakfast at Burger King, before heading back home. Okay, it was actually a quick breakfast so we didn't have to brave the crowds elsewhere. The service was pretty bad, but we retaliated by Bean smearing applesauce EVERYWHERE. She hasn't quite mastered the whole spoon concept. Or, more accurately, she is great with a spoon, it's the silly gravity thing that messes things up.

I promise there will be pictures soonish...though updates will be at the whim of the cable company, as our cable modem has become completely flaky again. *grumble, grumble, grumble*

12 May 2006

My new love...

I couldn't wait to try out my new Shine Worsted. It felt so soft and cuddly on the skein and I wanted to see how it works. It knits beautifully and makes such a lovely, soft fabric. So then I added a cable and it was nice to work with and has such lovely stitch definition. I paid for and downloaded the Crumpets pattern this morning. Now I just need to decide what color I want. I'm also toying with the idea of a tank/shell for me, maybe with some of those luscious cables.

10 May 2006

Yarn in the mail!!

Woo-hoo...I just got my order from KnitPicks! It was a small order, but still exciting. I got color cards for the Palette line (I wanted to see if all those colors are as pretty IRL as they are online) and Shine Worsted and one skein of Shine Worsted to take for a test drive. If I like it, I'm planning on ordering more to make Chiagu's Crumpets for Bean.

Where are they?

I picked up grandma and grandpa from the airport last night and delivered them to their hotel. Bug is SO excited to see them this morning. He has a row of matchbox cars lined up on the back of the sofa looking out the window to watch for them.

Where gramma and grampa?

Gramma and grampa here?

When gramma and grampa comin'?

and so on...

09 May 2006

Viva la Soaker!!

My first two soakers! For the very first, I used Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and the free version of Fern and Faerie's pattern. It was my first time using circular needles and double pointed needles...very exciting!

For my second soaker, I tried my hand at kool-aid yarn dying and added some Fair Isle hearts. Otherwise, same yarn and pattern as number one.

Since I wasn't thrilled with the free design, I decided to splurge and actually *gasp* buy a soaker pattern. I decided on Holy Sheep! Yarn's soaker since it had variable gage and included instructions soakers, shorties, and longies. I added some blue kool-aid dying to my repetoire and made this little stripey number. It was supposed to be red and white stripes on the top and blue for the rest, but I didn't have enough blue. Guess I should have made another pair of red and white stripes before switching, but I was feeling too impatient to rip it out and fix it, so I improvised. Also, you will notice that all three of these wool babies are somewhat felted. They got tossed in the diaper pail and washed with the diapers too many times. You can't teach an old cat new tricks...

These two little babies are my workhorses. They also use the HS!Y pattern, but I switched to acrylic. It doesn't have wool's nice properties, but I can wash them with the diapers without creating a felted miniature soaker. I used Red Heart Kids verigated yarn for both. While I find most acrylic yarn hard to work with, the Kids stuff was a lot softer and easier to work with than the regular stuff.

Baby Gnomes

Awwwww...aren't they cute?? The blue baby boy is out of Lion Brand WoolEase Chunky leftover from my cardigan and the pink baby girl is out of Bernat Cottontots. The pink girl is actually version 2.0. The first one got dunked in the toilet at the laundromat and Kitty Daddy was too squeamish to wash it, so it went in the trash. Also, on this version, I wised up and figured out that adding a couple of stitches to the hat diameter would make it fit on the gnome's head better.

Bean just loves to carry her babies around and give them lots of cuddles and love!

Adventures in Toilet Training

I use the term "training" loosely. My philosophy is they'll do it when they are ready. We got Bug a "little potty" when he turned two and have read books about it and talked about it, but it's just in the last couple of months that he has really gotten at all interested in the idea. He asks to use the potty now and then and will sometimes use it if we offer the idea. He does both pee and poo on the "big potty" when he does go.

Ironically enough, after a loooong wait for Bug to be ready for toilet training, Bean can't wait to get started. We have clothing-optional mornings for Bean when she gets a bit of diaper rash, and after a couple of puddles in the living room, I started putting the little potty chair out when she was in the buff. She still left puddles in the living room, but always right next to the potty chair. So, she gets the concept of using the potty, she just hasn't completely figured out the execution. Now she likes to play with the potty chair when big brother is using the big potty, but her attention span still isn't long enough to actually get anything inside the potty, but that will come with time.

So I could conceivably go from two in diapers to none in diapers in a fairly short time. I suspect that Bug will be more interested now that nice weather is here, since shorts are easier to get on and off than jeans. Also, since we have no A/C we might end up with days with only training pants on to stay cool. Then it will be very easy, should the need arise. Whew, whatever will I do with my free time once I don't need to wash diapers anymore???

07 May 2006

Bug vocabulary lessons

Bug rarely stops talking and he uses vocabulary that surprises and delights us. By far, though, my favorite part is his funny pronunciations and self-invented words.

Lesson One: General Vocabulary

  • Treet Fweeper - street sweeper, as in "Dat treet fweeper fweepin da treet."
  • Push-dozer - bulldozer
  • Doovin - doing, as in "What Daddy doovin?"
  • Flahlahs - flowers, as it "Dat not dandelion, dat flahlah." Yes, he can argue with ANYTHING!
  • Lunch store - restaurant
Lesson Two: Animals
  • 'Mingas - big pink birds
  • Dork - the bird that allegedly brings babies (along the same lines, Mommy often does a double take when he announces I have two big sticks...)
  • Rhinacha - rhinoceros
  • Pingwing - arctic bird, black and white, waddles
  • 'Raffe - think loooooong neck
  • 'Nakes - snakes
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Now, go study hard. There will be a quiz!

06 May 2006

Spring Cleaning!!

The last few days have been some serious spring cleaning. I don't usually get too uptight about deep cleaning, but the kitchen floor in this apartment was atrocious. It has been grossing me out ever since we moved in last September, so over the course of three days I have been giving it a serious scrubbing. I discovered that the yellowish linoleum with blue lines and flowers and brown spots is actually yellowish linoleum with blue lines and flowers and indentations that have collected ickiness for heaven-only-knows how long. Okay, brief pause for a group "Eeeewwww."

Today was carpets. I shampooed most of the living room and a few trouble spots in the bedroom (where Bean got ahold of a tube of lipstick, for example). We finally got an upright shampooer since Mollie is not 100% reliable...we spot clean and then shampoo every once and while. Kitty Daddy and Bug and Bean went for a car ride to look at some possible apartments for next fall so I wouldn't have to work around the little ones.

I wanted to get as much of this stuff done this weekend as possible, since we will have company coming on Tuesday. Don't get me wrong, I'm not cleaning so we have a clean house for guests, I'm doing it now since we will be busy next week and I'm afraid it will start getting to warm before long (apartment has no A/C). My parents are here for a visit and next Saturday is my Ph.D. graduation! I don't have any illusions that they are coming for graduation...they only visit to see Bug and Bean ;o).

05 May 2006

Valentine's Bears

These are the teddy bears I knit for the kids for Valentine's Day 2006. The pattern is Harry Bear and Bean's bear (the light brown one) was knit from Lion Brand Homespun (Fawn) and her pink scarf is plain ol' garter stitch in Bernat Cottontots (Strawberry) with Bernat LuLu (Berry swirl) fringes. Bug's bear was knit from Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick (Marine).

For both bears, I embroidered the faces with el-cheap-o black acrylic yarn that I had on hand. I knit them both with the same kneedles, but Bug's bear ended up quite a bit bigger because of the bulkier yarn. That works...he's the big brother so he should have the bigger bear!

I had a lot of fun making them...they are big enough to look like an accomplishment, yet they go pretty quickly. The front and back are knit separately and then seamed together and stuffed. And, in case you are wondering, the white stuff is CAT HAIR. With a name like Kitty Mommy would you expect anything less?

Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo...

...I do believe it,
I do believe it's true.

We went to the zoo this morning. Of course we had to go see Bug's 'mingos, but we also saw most of the other animals as well. The bears were really active today. Mr. Polar Bear was pacing and a brown bear was either swimming or taking a bath. Mr. Lion gave a great show too...he was pacing back and forth in front of the glass so we got an up-close view of the BIG kitty. Bug doesn't quite understand the glass/fence concept at the zoo and was feeling kind of nervous being so close to the big cat.

Bean's favorite part today was the primate house. We found a hanging bar where you could see how you stack up compared to primates. Bug lasted 7 seconds and Bean lasted 8 seconds, but on her second try, she hung for 30 seconds. By the time she was done a crowd of high schoolers had gathered to watch. The first of the big kids to try it didn't even make it to 10 seconds. Never underestimate the powers of a Super Tiny!

Meet the Kats: Bean

Last, but certainly not least, this is my sweet Bean. Can I just say that you have not truly experienced life until you have seen a 19-month-old dancin' queen shaking her groove thang in footy pajamas.

Bug selected the music this morning: Nirvana Nevermind. Selection criteria: it was blue.

04 May 2006

Meet the Kats: Bug

My Bug turned three last December. He is a smart, funny, and amazing little bundle of raw energy (not that the mom-lady might be biased or anything).

Today we took a picnic to the park and he decided that we would eat our picnic in the middle of the little wooden bridge connecting the play area to the rest of the park. We also went to the first farmer's market of the season, which was a favorite activity last fall and one that we missed over the winter!

Since I painted my toenails red during nap time yesterday, he insisted that I give him "pretty toes" tonight. We found some manly blue nail polish and did so. Bug is comfortable enough with his own masculinity to feel free to try out "pretty toes" and "hair dos" (barrettes or ponytails). I think it makes Kitty Daddy squirm a little, but he will probably grow out of it, and if he doesn't, we'll still be crazy in love with him!

03 May 2006

Meet the Kats: Mollie Dog

Mollie is not a cat...she just thinks she is. The youngest of our hairy children is a miniature black-and-tan dachshund. She also joined our family by way of the animal shelter. She always thinks she is freezing to death and burrows deep underneath the blankets (goes to ground) even if it's 90 degrees out. While she can be a huge pain in the butt, she is also quite cute and very affectionate. Posted by Picasa

Meet the Kats: Kitty Man

What can I say? He's little. He's orange. And if you have ever met him, you know that "little and orange" is not necessarily a compliment.

Before joining our family, KM was a pound puppy.

His mantra: "Give me pets, NOW...oh, and belly rubs...lots of belly rubs...okay, a few more belly rubs." Anyone who does is treated to purrs that can be heard three states away. But don't even think about stopping...Posted by Picasa

02 May 2006

Meet the Kats: Kitten Chai

This is the sweet kitten that made us kitty parents. She joined our family just a couple of months before Kitty Daddy and I got married. She was adopted from a litter from one of Kitty Daddy's coworker's cats.

She has taken responsibility for keeping me (relatively) sane. She always knows when I am particularly stressed out and works hard to make me feel better. Posted by Picasa

Meet the Kats: Kitty Daddy

Since I started with me, we will go from oldest to youngest. So the next is Kitty Daddy. We've been married for almost eight years (our anniversary is next Monday). KD is a nurse practitioner. By far his best feature is that he puts up with (most of) my eccentricities.

01 May 2006

Meet the Kats: Kitty Mommy

Hello world,

I am Kitty Mommy. I am the proud mama of a three-year-old boy (my Bug), an 18-month girl (my Bean), two cats (Kitten Chai and Kitty Man) and one small wiener dog. I am finishing my Ph.D. in Civil Engineering this semester. I enjoy knitting, reading, music, and playing on the computer.