31 July 2006

Too stinkin' hot

We are once again in the midst of a heat wave. It's 93 at noon. Ish.

We spent a long weekend (Friday through Sunday) in Central Iowa helping clean Kitty Daddy's mom's basement, and boy, did we pick a great weekend for it! Hot, hot, hot! It was wonderfully cool down the basement, but outside was awful. I spent most of Friday chasing Bug and Bean, who had a ball playing in grandma's big yard. On Saturday, we were joined by Kitty Daddy's two sisters and it was even hotter and more humid. Bug was so excited to have cousins to play with! Other than the heat, a nice time was had by all, and the change in how the basement looked was amazing!

25 July 2006

Take me out to the ball game...

Sunday night was Kitty Daddy's office picnic. They had it at the Madison Mallard's ballpark, with a big picnic and door prizes followed by a baseball game. The picnic was nice and we made out like bandits with the door prizes. Everyone got five tickets to put in to be drawn for a whole bunch of prizes. There were gift certificates, picnic dishes, a cooler, and lots of other stuff. We won a 7 game yard set (volleyball, badminton, jai-alai lite, velco "mitts", etc.) and a little Weber Smoky Joe grill that came with a bag of charcoal, lighter fluid, a set of grill tools, and a small table cloth. It was by far the nicest of the prizes!

We used the grill tonight to make hamburgers. YUM!!! Nothing like grilled burger. We also toasted marshmallows. Man, I haven't had a toasted marshmallow in years. The first one tasted just like everything that is good about summer.

Now our living room is overrun by invisible babies. Bean was playing with Bug's baby doll and I made a comment about being grandma to Bean's baby. Bug was intrigued, so he conjured up a whole bunch of invisible babies that were his. He kept pulling more out of a box and handing them too me, then one got tangled in my knitting and started flying around the living room. Love that imagination!!

24 July 2006

Twisted Rib for a soaker

Since I always end up with ugly ribbing and still have to put eyelets and i-cord to keep the soaker on, I decided to try something different. I had seen something about knitting through the back loop to get a neater looking rib, but I didn't have access to the computer when I was ready to start the ribbing. I couldn't remember if I was supposed to use the back loop for the knit stitches, the purl stitches or all stitches, so I experimented a little and decided to go with all stitches. I like the way it looks, but I think the next time I will try just the knit stitches.

I had to monkey around a bit to get the eyelets to look right. I put an eyelet in a purl column so it kind of blends in. The normal eyelet is:

  • Just before eyelet: k, p, k
  • Row 1: k, yo, k2tog (the instruction I used say to use a double yo, but I find that too loose)
  • Row 2: k, p into yo, k
  • Row 3: k, p into yo in row below, k
To modify it for the back loop stuff I did this:
  • Just before eyelet: k tbl, p tbl, k tbl
  • Row 1: k tbl, slip stitch as if to p tbl (two times), slip the two stitches back to L needle, k2tog
  • Row 2: k tbl, p into yo normally, k tbl
  • Row 3: k tbl, p into yo in row below normally, k tbl

22 July 2006


Today we went to see butterflies at Olbrich Gardens. This is an annual event at the garden. They had a huge exhibit of collected butterflies (on pins), with butterflies from all over the world. Then we walked through the Conservatory, where butterflies were flying all around. They also had two hatching stations, where you could see butterflies coming out of their chrysalises and Bug got to touch some dead butterflies in a bowl.

Finally, we walked through the outdoor gardens and collected stamps in our butterfly passports. There were six stations, and each had a butterfly fact and a task to do to earn the stamp. In one garden, we identified water for them to drink, flowers to find nectar, foliage to rest on, and wide open spaces for flying. We also looked for good places to lay eggs, food that caterpillars would like, sturdy branches for making a chrysalis, and warm sunny spots to allow wings to dry after emerging from the chrysalis. Each of the kids got a coupon for a free custard cone as a reward for filling up the passports.

21 July 2006

Sprechen Sie Bean?

Since Bean's vocabulary is growing rapidly now, here are some of her words:

  • Mommy, mom-mom, mama: Mommy
  • Daddy, dee, dee-dee, dee-dee-dee: Daddy
  • Day-dew: Thank you
  • Neh-neh, nummy: sip o' the good stuff
  • Neh-neh: drink of anything
  • titty: kitty
  • goggie: doggy
  • ball: ball or bowl
  • shooo: shoe
  • go: go (tough one, eh?)
  • dop (with hand gesture): stop
  • bee-bee: baby
  • bubba: brother
  • Doo: Scooby Doo (Bug's favorite video)
  • dipe: diaper
  • bye-bye: bye-bye
  • nana: banana
I'll add more if I think of any over the next day or two...

20 July 2006

Stormy weather

With the humidity creeping higher and higher yesterday, there was no surprise that last night was stormy. Some pretty spectacular wind, thunder, lightening, and rain. 10,000 customers of our gas and electric utility lost power (I can tell you who one of those is!) around 3:00 am this morning. As of 8:00 am, around 2,000 were still without power (still can tell you one of those). We finally got power back around 3:00 pm this afternoon. I still haven't worked up the courage to debrief the fridge and freezer yet.

Although it isn't too hot (high 70's), the humidity is still pretty high. Without a fan to move the air, the apartment was pretty miserable, so the kids and I took a BK lunch and art supplies to the park for a couple of hours. It was still pretty of humid and sticky, but nearly pleasant outdoors, since there was a breeze.

19 July 2006


Things have been very quiet, mostly because of the heat. Yesterday was better than it has been, high in the mid 80's and much less humid. We actually got to sleep in the bedroom instead of the living room last night! What a concept. It's looking very gray and sounding rather rumbly, so even though the humidity was back up (WAY UP) this morning, the storms might help.

Although the prospect of moving again is intimidating at best, I am looking forward to being settled in our new apartment. The best thing (after central air, of course) is that it will be within walking distance of all sorts of things. A short walk to our HMO primary care provider and a couple of shops and restaurants. A pleasant longer walk to a playground, the 'Bou, several more restaurants. A longer walk (requiring the wagon or a stroller for the kidlings) to our grocery store, more shops and restaurants, and our favorite "Keys" park. The weekly farmer's market and the rec center are still in the walkable/easy bikeable range, but with little ones, those would probably be considered a hike and an adventure rather than just a walk!


Here are a couple of works in progress...

This is an acrylic soaker. All of our covers are starting to fall apart and I am (optomistically) hoping that they won't be in diapers too much longer, so I don't want to invest in too many new covers. I'm also using up the acrylic in my stash and will probably knit at least three soakers before I run out.

This is feather and fan lace using sock yarn. I actually CO about a month ago and the lonely CO row sat on my desk forever, then when I finally got started on it I added an extra row in the third repeat. Since I was feeling cranky, I decided to frog rather than fix. Once I restarted, it has been going relatively quickly. This is also a stash buster. I found this yarn on sale and bought one skein. I had already made my first pair of socks from one skein, and so I figured

1 skein = 1 pair of socks
right? Nope. My first pair of socks, the yarn was in a 100 g skein. This was a 50 g skein. Having since figured out that one sock is approximately 50 g of sock yarn, I realized that this would never become socks, so I decided to do a test run on lace. We'll see if it ends up long enough to do anything with...

The fire fighter's helmet is still, technically, a WIP, but I am so close to finishing that I thought I would wait to post when it is done.

18 July 2006


I have been getting comment spam, so I have added word verification. Sorry. While I love getting comments from real people (hint, hint), not so much so from computers.

17 July 2006

Beating the heat

One of our hot day strategies is popsicles. Actually Edy's Fruit Bars. They have actual fruit instead of just artificially colored and flavored sugar water. I'm not sure they have that many more redeeming qualities than the old-fashioned kind, but they are still a good way to cool off. We've only had them once before, but Bug knew to strip down to a diaper before going outside for them! And yes, the kids are wearing 'sposies. We had some leftovers from the recent flu incident.

After the treat, we got out the bubbles for a while. Talk about cheap entertainment. For 60¢, we have had two nice outdoors romps and we've barely used enough to make a dent in the bottle. We definitely have to get some pictures of bubble chasing, but I need one hand for the bubble solution and one hand for the wand, which doesn't leave diddley for taking pictures. Bug is still a little small to make the bubbles for himself. He mostly dribbles the mix all over.

The good news is that tomorrow should be at least somewhat cooler.

16 July 2006

Still hot

Temps in the 90's and dewpoints in the 70's today. Ick. Double Ick. We are mostly about just trying to stay cool right now. Yesterday morning we made a short trip to the park to try and use up some kidling energy and then mostly ran errands and tried to stay in the air-conditioned car or air-conditioned stores, except for a break to go home and nap.

This morning, we tried doing some (indoor) cleaning and organizing before it got too hot, but then gave up and went to the mall and let the kids play on the indoor play structure. We obviously weren't the only family with this bright idea...it was very crowded! There were also some good clearance sales going on in the mall, so we did some shopping, too.

15 July 2006

Ick. Hot.

Little A2C2 is working his electronic buns off, but just not keeping up with the heat! It's in the low 90's today and the forecast is for the high 90's tomorrow. And humid. Oof.

Also had to share this picture of Bug playing with blocks. Just recently he has gotten so much more "organized" with his playing. For a long time, block play was always stack two or three blocks and then get frustrated and knock them over. Now, all of a sudden, he is building fortresses, complete with construction trucks hauling in materials.

Developmentally, this is quintessential Bug. He sticks with what he knows for a while and then...LURCH...a new skill set, almost overnight. I can already tell that Bean is more slow and steady progress, with little changes here and there, constantly.

This pic also shows his fresh haircut. Bug and Daddy went to the "haircut store" and got groomed Thursday night (long overdue, see before picture in play dough entry).

14 July 2006

Wild and Crazy Day

Well, not so much crazy as just scattered. Since our current apartment will be vacant in September, we have been periodically getting notices that the management company will be showing it. Not that I care whether the apartment gets rented or not, but it is just so much easier for us to be out of the house and not have to deal with it. So to escape an 11:00 am showing and also to just get out after being cooped up for laundry day, we headed out into the big world.

First stop was the library branch nearest where we live. I had holds on a couple of movies for Bug and several books for me that needed to be picked up. Bug loves playing with the trains and looking at books, so he was excited to go. However, shortly after getting the holds picked up and checked out, Bean decided to go into full-body tantrum mode (i.e., go limp, flop on the floor, and scream at the top of her lungs. It's quite impressive. Really.), so we checked out a couple of books for Bug and beat a hasty retreat. The librarian gave both kids stamps on their hands so at least they weren't screaming the whole time I was checking out!

Since we still had plenty of time to kill and the only other necessary errand was groceries (gotta do that one last!), we headed next to Keys park. When we got there, two buses full of Y-campers were running around and it was packed, but we stayed anyway for close to an hour. Mom couldn't last any longer. Even though it was still early (around 11:00), it was already in the mid to high 80's and humid (dew points have been in the 70's. Ick.). Since I was sweating like a pig feeling warmish and getting cranky, I decided that I had earned a frozen coffee-containing something.

Next stop, the 'Bou. We shared some frozen frou-frou coffee drinks and enjoyed the air conditioning. Someone had dropped a good portion of a blueberry muffin just outside the door. One of the employees swept up most of the crumbs and then carried out a couple of paper cups full of water to try and rinse the smooshed blueberries off the sidewalk. Talk about the neatest thing Bug had every seen! He even got to help dump one of the cups of water. We also read one of Bug's library books and I got a few pages read in one of my books before Bean was getting bored and climbing the walls.

When we went out to the van, there was a crane parked behind us getting ready to install the sign on the store between Caribou and Qdoba. While I could have gingerly inched out of the parking space and gotten around the crane, Bug was fascinated, so we sat in the van and watched them unstrap the sign, hook up the crane, swing the sign over to the sidewalk, and then lift it up and start to get it fastened. We probably watched for 45 minutes. Since it was STILL HOT and the lot was very crowded over the lunch hour, we snuck out when the car next to us left, giving me more space to maneuver out without embarrassing myself.

Finally, a quick run through the grocery store since it was now one-ish and the littles were getting tired and crabby, followed by scooting home for naps (after the requisite doughnut in the parking lot).

12 July 2006

Huge sigh of relief

I'm not sure there are adequate words to describe how relieved I am that the fire fighter's helmet isn't going into the "Total Disaster" column. It took three runs through a hot wash cycle (two with a couple of towels last night and one more with the first load of laundry this morning), but it ended up close to the right size! The diameter is a bit snug on Bug's head, but I am drying it over a plastic coffee can to stretch it in that direction a bit and I think it will be just fine. I still think it's a little on the tall side, but it might be fine once the front patch and embroidery are in place.

Clay day

Since we have once again rolled around to icky laundry day, and since yesterday was an indoor rainy day, I was scratching my head for something fun and interesting. In the process, I came across the play dough the kids got from Aunt S and Uncle J last Christmas. I had set it aside since Bean was in the infamous eat-everything phase and today seemed like a good day for it.

We decided to go monochrome for now; otherwise, it would just be one big brownish lump. It was still a lot of fun even with just one color. Bug chose orange and I picked out red for Bean and off we went. Bean mostly pulled hers into pieces and threw them on the floor (for mama to pick up), but Bug went to town rolling and squooshing. After a while, Bug decided that he wanted green. I passed the orange to Bean so she could have variety, too. Here are the two little future Rodins in action:

And a couple of Bug's masterpieces...orange 'nakes (I say they look like carrots, but what does Mama know??):

And a green pancake:

For now we are about process rather than product, so Mama snapped these pictures and we squooshed the dough back into airtight bags for next time. Someday we might bake something and make it permanent, but not today.

11 July 2006

Pre-felting anxiety

As in significant, major, full-blown pre-felting anxiety. Is there any way in the world that this:

is ever going to look like a fire fighter's helmet??? Holy Guacamole!!! It's in the washer felting right now. Gulp.

And just to make sure that I was in complete freaked-out mode, I kept watching the skein getting smaller and wondering if I was going to make it. Fortunately, I did. But from approximately 220 yards of yarn, I had a whopping two feet left by the time I finished and wove in the end.

Raining bucket

We are having a lovely gray rainy day today. Lovely, because any time it is July and not icky hot and humid is a good day in my book. Also, we haven't had a lot of rain, so we were due for a good soaking. Because it is cool and dark, Bug slept in until 11:00 am this morning! He was up and got a fresh diaper and clothes on when Daddy was getting ready for work, but he went back to bed and crashed hard! As much as I adore my Bug, can I just say how marvelous it was to have a quiet morning alone with Bean? Being a little sister, one-on-one time with Mama is a pretty rare commodity.

If you need a laugh today: Find a three-year-old and have him (or her) say "Lanolin."

10 July 2006

Quiet Weekend

We spent a pretty quiet and lazy weekend. We went for a quick swim at the pool on Sunday afternoon. We went for supper at Ella's Deli, since matzo ball soup sounded kind of good after having icky tummies, even though it is certainly not soup weather. I had a "Chicken Salad Pump Platter." It was a mound of chicken salad, a mound of potato salad, a mound of coleslaw, a couple of tomato slices, a couple of sweet onion slices, cream cheese on pumpernickel wedges and a quarter of big honkin' kosher deli dill pickle. Oh my, was it good. Not only was it among the best potato salad and coleslaw I have tasted, what a perfect hot weather meal!!! We hadn't been there since Bean's first birthday, so the kids had great fun getting re-acquainted with all of the crazy displays.

This morning the kids and I went to "Keys" park for a short time and then grocery shopping. The weather cooled down overnight and it was a lovely morning, but unfortunately there were three school busses with Y-camp/day-care/nursery school kids so it was packed and some of the bigger Y-campers were being pretty rowdy and knocking little ones over (no casualties in our family). Bug made a fast friend. He found another mama to push him on the "big boy" swings for a while. She was there with her three kids, who were 8, 10, and 12. She said that missed pushing little ones on the swing, so Bug had a great time and I was able to keep a closer eye on Bean, the amazing monkey girl. Bug invited his new friend to go look at the cows with us after, but she respectfully declined, in order to stay with her own kids. We both thought it was pretty cute!

08 July 2006

On the mend

Well, it looks like Daddy got it too, but just tired and upset tummy without puking. We have been laying low and taking it easy and everyone seems to be heading in the right direction again!

After a year and a half of Bug insisting that he is a little baby or a little kitty, now that he knows that he has to be bigger to ride on the waterslide at the pool, he is suddenly all about being a "big boy." He is currently 40-1/4" tall and needs to be 42" to go on the waterslide. We also measured Bean. She is a 34" long tall bean.

We are also taking advantage of this newfound excitement to talk about other big-boy things. Mostly underpants. Oooooh, the excitement. I really don't get out much, do I?

07 July 2006

Not exactly a three-peat

The good news: No puking Bean last night.

The bad news:

2:45 am: Bug
3:30 am: Bug
6:45 am: Mama
7:15 am: Bug
While I felt great around 7:00 am, I have been vaguely queasy ever since, so I don't think the festivities are over yet. All I can say is thank goodness Kitty Daddy offered to clean up the bathroom before work! My hero!

06 July 2006

Where's the fire??

Well, it looks more like a fire fighter's hat than it did a couple of days ago, but there is still a ways to go. If I'm understanding the pattern correctly, the part sticking out is the back edge of the brim (that hangs down a little in back) and I just joined in the round to work on the rest of the brim.

So far I am liking the KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. It works pretty easily, not quite as nice as Cascade 220, but for the difference in price ($3.58 vs. $6.50-$7.00 for 100 g), I don't mind the small difference in quality.

Probably more than excitement...

Since Bean was (mostly) her perky little self yesterday, I wrote off the middle of the night puke-fest to Independence Day excitement. She took a longer than average nap, which I figured was because of the late bedtime. However, at 3:00 am again this morning,

Needless to say, we are planning a quiet day today with extra cuddles and naps. Yesterday was pretty low key, too...laundry day usually is! Of course, the laundry excitement is spilling over into today too...all the bedding. again.

05 July 2006

Fourth of July!

We had a fun day for the fourth. We checked out the new municipal pool in the early afternoon. Both kids had a blast. The pool has a zero depth entry so they could explore a good chunk without hanging around someone's neck. There are also fountains and spraying things to play around in the shallow end. Bug is just a couple of inches too short for the water slides (minimum 42") and the first thing he asked this morning was if he was big enough for the slides now! They also have a water and sand play area that the kids had a lot of fun with.

After excellent naps all around (Kitty Daddy and I crashed too after the fresh air and sunshine), we had brats and kraut and watermelon for supper and then went to a fireworks display. There was also a fair going on so we walked around while we waited and saw some baby animals and Bug and Bean got to pet some tiny chicks and ducklings.

The fireworks were a lot of fun. They were a little loud for Bug, but he still enjoyed watching. Bean was feeling the effects of being up waaaay past her bedtime and mostly snuggled with me and her blanket while we watched. We didn't get home until around 10:30, so everyone was pretty tired.

We thought the grand finale was the big splashy display that ended the fireworks, but we were wrong. The grand finale was Bean barfing at 3:00 am. All over the bed, the blankie, the jammies and the hair. I guess it was just too much excitement for one day. I learned that there is no good way to get barf out of long baby hair without further upsetting said baby. Fortunately, once everything was out of her system and she got cleaned up, she went right back to sleep. Poor Beanie...

03 July 2006

Beautiful Bean

I don't often cross-post between my blogs, but I had to show this one off! For Bean admirers...admire away. For knitters, the details are here.

Ta-da! Finished!!

Of course, with a model this cute, how can it not look great???

Let's see, to review...the important stats are:
Pattern: Chiagu Crumpets
Yarn: Shine Worsted in Crocus
Needles: Denise Interchangeable in size 8 and size G crochet hook


Last night Kitty Daddy was channel surfing and ran across the original Jaws movie. It was close to the end, where the boat is sinking and the guy is shooting at the great white shark. When he finally hits the shark (side note: I did not know that great white sharks had the same tendency to explode on impact as a Pinto!) Bug said, "Oh no! The crocodilla broken!" We reassured him that (1) that crocodilla is, in fact, a shark, (2) the shark is actually a pretend shark, and (3) this is a movie, so it is all silly and pretend.

Oh, and was Richard Dreyfuss about 12 when this flick was shot??? Okay, maybe 17 to account for the unfortunate mid-70's facial hair situation?

02 July 2006


This was our reward for getting through the grocery shopping on Thursday with no (major) tantrums. Before we went to the grocery store, we stopped at Walgreen's and picked up some finger paints. Since Bug had such a great time with the watercolors and has been begging almost daily to paint, I thought we would try a new media. The top three paintings are Bug's:

And this one is Bean's:

She had fun not only with the painting, but also crumpling the painted paper. Gotta love the creative process! She also had a ball painting herself. I wanted to get a picture of that, but after errands and painting we were long overdue for a nap and everyone was starting to melt down.

01 July 2006

Fluff in the Mail!

Guess what came yesterday?? The book and yarn from KnitPicks!!! Does it look like a firefighter's helmet yet? No? Not even if you reeeeeeally squint? Huhn. Go figure.

I can't wait to start, but I have promised myself that I won't even swatch until I finish Bean's dress. I think I have finally figured out what I want to do for the shoulder straps after trying out a couple of different things. It doesn't help that the figuring out part is kind of picky work, so I have to find the rare moments when the kids won't be using me as a jungle gym while I knit.

Fairly Easy Fair Isle

This is an older finished project that I am finally getting around to posting. The pattern is Fairly Easy Fair Isle from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. Kate Watson is the designer. I used Wool-Ease Chunky (Lion Brand) in Charcoal, Blue Bell, Deep Rose, and Fisherman.