26 February 2007

No business like snow business!

While the promised storm certainly did materialize, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. On the one hand, it is the most snow I have seen at once since we moved to Wisconsin. However, even though it snowed all day Sunday, the temperature hung out at 33°F so the depth of snow really didn't change the whole day...it just kept getting heavier and denser.

Daddy went out to shovel our front walk and the kids played in the snow. Bean would find a big lump of snow, walk up to some one, announce "Gah Choo" and throw it. She could usually hit the target if she was about 6" away. Bug, on the other hand, has a much more deadly snowball arm.

The drifts and snowplow piles were quite impressive. Now Bean can tell her future child to stop complaining about how deep the snow is, when she survived the blizzard of '07 the drifts were over her head!

The snowplow piles from the parking lot were even more impressive...great for a king of the mountain game!

Or queen of the mountain!

In knitting news, I survived the interminable cast-on, but found out it gets better. Okay, if you are a knitter, ponder this one: "Cast on 504 stitches. Join in the round, being careful not to twist." Yeah, sure, I'll wait while you finish rolling on the floor laughing. The problem with that many stitches is there is no stinkin' way to tell if there is a twist or not. I have knit seven rounds for the ruffle and am in the decrease row and I'm still not sure whether or not I'm twisted. I'll probably make it to the armpits and THEN find out I have a twist. Keeping fingers, toes, and assorted cats, dogs, and small children crossed.

Bug continues to do marvelously with the whole potty deal. He's still not 100% reliable through the night, but a pair of training pants worn under regular underpants satisfies both of us. Once I get over this stinkin' cold, I will try harder to remember to get him up to potty in the middle of the night. His newest skill is "holding it." While it is a useful skill to have, for example, in the car. As in "Can you hold it until we get home??", he seems to be trying to be an overachiever. When I read the signs, I will ask him if he has to go potty. While holding his crotch with both hands, crossing his legs, and doing the pee-pee dance in 12-part harmony with full orchestration, he will assure me that no thank you, he is fine and doesn't need to go potty. Yeah, right.

23 February 2007

Gettin' ready for SNOW!

After being absolutely spoiled by balmy weather in the 40's and most of the winter's snow melting away, it appears that winter is coming back full force. The forecast for the weekend is snow, snow, and more snow...10-12" total is predicted by mid-day Sunday! It has already started this evening and the ground has returned to a full white cover.

Fortunately, the kids and I found lots of good books at the library today and I have *started* casting on for Bean's sweater. I foolishly decided to do a ruffled hem on the sweater. Just for the record, if I ever decide to do a ruffled hem again on anything bigger than a wrist or ankle, please shoot me and put me out of my suffering. I am ending up with 6 stitches per inch with the superwash wool and I will be making a 28" circumference sweater (okay, one small blessing...it's little Bean instead of *gasp* me or--worse yet--daddy!) so that's 168 stitches. I am going for frilly with a k3tog type picot ruffle so that means casting on 504 stitches. Of course, I can never get the right tail length on the first try, so I cast on 250 stitches and realized my tail was WAY too short. I started with a longer tail and have cast on 250 and am still slightly short of my original slip knot, so theory says I should make it to 504 just fine. If the casting on doesn't kill me, I think that knitting 504 stitches in the round might. Fortunately, it will just be the hem and then I can get decreased down to a much more manageable 168 stitches. With luck, I may be to the decrease by the time Bean graduates from high school. A snowy weekend may be just the thing.

In spinning news, I don't think I ever got around to blogging about our trip to Susan's Fiber Shop a couple of weekends ago. We looked around her shop, which has an absolutely amazing amount of yarn and fiber and patterns and books packed in. They are in the process of remodelling, so things will be more spacious in the spring. I got to stroke pretty yarns and fibers and Daddy and the kids got to look at sheep out the window (she has her own flock). While I was there I got a half a pound of cheap roving to get some practice. I am planning on making a scraper mitten for Kitty Daddy out of some of the spun yarn. So far I have spun and plied a spindle-full (about 22 yards). It isn't the prettiest stuff I've seen, but at $0.63/oz., it will do for practicing and the colors are manly enough for a Daddy scraper mitt.

20 February 2007

Finished Slippers

This weekend I finally got around to felting the kids' slippers. I am pleased with how they turned out, but was a little surprised that there seems to be more stitch definition remaining after felting that there was with Daddy's slippers. It could be the difference in wool (Daddy's were Wool of the Andes) or maybe I just was getting a little tighter gage so it didn't felt as smoothly. The kids like them, though they don't keep them on any better than shoes or socks. Oh well, if their little feet get cold, they know where to find the slippers!

By the way, the white crud on the slippers in from felting them in a load of diapers...I have been gradually picking it off, but I'm just to lazy to sit down and pick it all off at once.

Specifications
Yarn: Cascade 220. I had saved the ball bands and was going to put the colors here, but, of course, I can't find them right now. If they turn up, I will edit this!
Needles: Denise Interchangeables, size 15
Pattern: Fiber Trends Children's Felt Clogs (CH-38x)
Verdict: Love the kid's pattern as much as the adult...maybe more because they knit up quicker (Let's hear it for instant gratification!). I am still convinced that felting is pretty close to magic. Taking something ridiculously big and floppy and turning it into something sturdy and the right size is just too much fun.

18 February 2007

Choo-choo!

Sunday's adventure was the Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale! We had gone to this last year and had a fun time looking at all the model trains, so we went back to see it again! Bug got his engineer's license after learning how to run this little Thomas train:

Of course, Mama snapped the pic when the train was hiding behind the foilage...you'll have to take my word, I guess! Daddy and the kids also got to take a little train ride:

It was just a short straight-away, then they all got up and turned around:

And came back to where they started:

We had a fun time, but after several cold, quiet weekends, I think having two fun activities in one weekend was a little much and the kids were kind of worn out for the trains. Of course, after Bug found the love of his life at the sheep show yesterday, it would have been very hard to top that!

17 February 2007

Baaaaaaaa!

We went to see sheep being sheared at A-Z Farms in Oregon, WI this morning. While I am not fluent in sheep, I'm pretty sure most of them were saying, "Dude, it's too stinkin' cold to be taking our fleecies off!"

The kids both had a ball feeding hay to the nekkid sheep.


In the process, Bug bonded with the "blue sheep with a zero and a four" and named him Roly. I'm not sure what was so special about this particular sheep, but it was, without a doubt, true love and you just don't come between a boy and his sheep! So I made sure to get a special picture of Roly.

In addition to the shearing, they also had some smaller animal in pens, including two lamb (which we will be going back in March for lambing!)

rabbits, chickens,

pheasants, and turkeys.
The also had a (heated!!!) workroom in the back of the barn where they were demonstrating spinning and knitting. I watched a woman work a hand spindle for a while and concluded that I am not doing bad, it will just take a lot more practice to get more fluid and coordinated. They also had some interesting displays with locks from different breeds of sheep and some very soft pelts and various and assorted knit and sheep-related products for sale.

The verdict for all was a fun outing and we are looking forward to going back for lambing next month!

After the shearing, we made our required trip to Target and Bug is now the proud owner of two pair of Star Wars boxer-briefs and three pair of Star Wars briefs. OF COURSE, he had to change into a pair immediately when we got home and, despite all evidence to the contrary, insists that he is NOT a wookie-butt. You be the judge...

16 February 2007

More painting fun

This first picture was rescued from the pile of masterpieces from our last painting day. I have no idea who painted it, or what the intention was, but it looks so much like bird that it just tickled me!

This one is a Bug work from our painting day this week. Obviously, it is a face, with two big eyes, a blue-green nose and a big red mouth. I got the commentary as it was being painted, so I know these things for sure. The one that is less obvious and that totally cracks me up is the red dot below the eye on the left and the red squiggle below the other eye: those are the ears. Hee-hee, isn't Bug a cutie???

This is Bean producing. Yes, she is wearing only the hoodie. She has been "helping" with Bug's potty learning, but that doesn't stop (or even slow down) art!

And, as usual, there is more paint on Bean than on the paper...

Thank goodness for washable paints, eh?

In knitting news, I am starting on Bean's second slipper. I should be finished with the slippers and ready to felt before long, since I am planning on picking it up once I get off the computer.

15 February 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

We had a quiet, at-home Valentine's Day. For dinner we had yummy lasagna, garlic bread and jello salad:
The jello was strawberry-banana in a heart-shaped mold garnished with cool-whip, bananas and red sugar sprinkles. Needless to say, a big hit with Bug!

This is the desert that Mom put together for the family:

Heart-shaped brownies, with a little cool whip and garnished with special Valentine's Peanut Butter Cup and Peppermint Patty. We only made up one plate for a bedtime snack, because Daddy's Valentine for us was a Cold Stone Creamery cake (Coffee House Crunch, second row on the left)...pretty decadent! We still have a good chunk left in the freezer!

14 February 2007

Potty Humor

The Potty Learning battle continues and I am delighted to say that after digging in his heels and refusing for so long, Bug is well on the way to saying "Bye-bye" to diapers. In less than a week, we have gone from his previous resistant state to almost there. Bug has been able to keep his pants dry all day and has even had a couple of naps in underpants without incident! We aren't quite ready for overnight, but getting close there too. This morning, his diaper was just a little wet (compared to the typically sodden overnight diapers) and he took it off and peed first thing! He is currently getting a sticker to put on a chart every time he pees in the potty and when the chart is full (35 stickers), we are going shopping for some Star Wars underpants. Very exciting stuff!

Turning to the promised humor, my sister-in-law is also working on the whole potty things with four-year-old D. According to my mother-in-law, one morning, D woke up and pronounced with some alarm, "Someone peed in my pants!" All I can say is that I hope it was someone he knows. If this is not the most hilarious thing ever, I apologize. Maybe if you aren't living in the potty chair, it isn't nearly so funny, but I just about fell over laughing when I first heard it and still get the giggles when I think about it.

On a non-potty note: Happy Valentine's Day!!!

12 February 2007

Nearly Finished Object

I finished Bug's slippers today, except for felting. Since that means they are HUGE on him, that isn't a trivial "except." I am planning on knitting Bean's slippers before felting both pairs. So I have actually been doing a little knitting in odd moments, but not much to show for it. I have been swatching for Bean's sweater and leggings, but still haven't completely decided there. I have also been keeping on with my sock "purse project," and have just started shaping the toes. After that, a heel and weaving in ends and I will have a new pair of socks.

Even though the weather has been cold and snowy and perfect for knitting, I have been in a minor knitting funk. I think I just have too many irons in the fire at the moment and things will settle down and get back to normal soon!

10 February 2007

Adventures in Potty Learning

* sigh *

09 February 2007

Goin' Commando!

We have been working on potty learning at our house. We have been trying this off-and-on for quite a while, but it has moved to the forefront again now that Bug fights diaper changes tooth and nail, and this has led to a bit of a rashy situationl. Earlier in the week I told him that if he wouldn't cooperate with diaper changes, I wasn't going to put a diaper on him. I gave him the choice of underwear or bare butt and he has been alternating between the two, with some success. There have been some wet underpants, but there has also been some spontaneous (as in, without CONSTANT reminding from mom) peeing in the potty chair. Of course, Bean can NOT tolerate nakedness unless she is participating, so she has been trying out the potty too. She tends to be on the more accidents/few successes side of big brother, but she, too, has gotten some pee in the potty on occasion.

Anyway, on to today's adventures...we had our usual Friday library and lunch date and while we were there, Bean went into the ladies room (right next to the children's area) to check out the potty. While we were in there, she announced, "Poop." This has been her way of saying that she wants to remove her diaper (and all of her clothes) and sit on the potty. Well, since we will have to tackle public restrooms at some point, I decided I was game to try. Unfortunately, I missed the subtleties of tense in her statement. When we were removing the diaper, it became clear that she had been using the past tense, not the future. Oops. So I worked on getting her cleaned up while debating the possibilities. I didn't have any clean diapers with me since both kids are big enough to handle in car changes if necessary. I really couldn't leave her naked in the bathroom while I ran out to the car. I didn't want to put the filthy diaper back on her. I decided that the best I could do was put her jeans back on without a diaper and hustle everyone home. We had to get Bug disengaged from the trains and check out books, and the whole time I am thinking, "For the love of wool, please don't let her poop anymore, and if she does PLEASE don't let it come out the pants leg." Fortunately, Bean took it in stride and we made it out and home just fine!

Bug's turn came later. After he got up from his nap, I gave him the choice of undies or bare butt, but he was insisting on a diaper. I just let him keep protesting and finally he decided that he wanted pants without undies or diapies. So, we just put his jeans on to much giggling on his part. Must be that pesky Y-chromosome...

06 February 2007

Bug meets his match

Today, we were standing in line behind another mother and her two little boys. One looked to be about Bug's size and the other was a bit younger than Bean. Bug did his usual ├╝ber-social thing and went up and introduced himself and started chatting. While he usually does this to adults, who never quite know what to make of his conversations, in this case, he found another little dude that spoke his language. The conversation went something like this:

Bug: My name is [firstname] with crayons.
Other Little Dude: I got a new truck at home.
Bug: [Bean's firstname] calls me Geeky, 'cause she can't say [firstname]. What's that on your shirt?
O.L.D.: It's a pretend spider. My name is [name].
Bug: We had a spider at Grandma's house and I played too.
(etc.)
Both little guys were jumping from topic to topic having the greatest chat. And every couple of minutes, Bean would throw in her two cents worth, with great enthusiasm and little clarity. It was all I could do not to roll around on the floor laughing. Even the receptionist we were waiting in line for was trying to follow the conversation. I really wasn't sure we were going to get the two little guys pried apart when we were ready to go! Before today, I wouldn't have thought there was anyone who could go head-to-head with my little Mr. Non-Sequitur.

04 February 2007

Just Super!

Yesterday was our "big" Superbowl party. It was a wild rocking time with the four of us (the animals also came and went) and lots of snacky stuff. We had spinach dip, eight layer dip, sausage bites, and jello. And of course, lots of chips, veggies, pretzels, etc. for dipping.

* Aside for the Jello backstory *
Jello has become Bug's new favorite thing. A couple of weeks ago, we went out to eat and he got Jello as the side dish for his kids meal and was completely taken by it. It certainly wasn't the first time he had ever tasted it, but apparently the time was ripe and he was in the midst of a serious dietary Jello deficiency. So after much nagging, we got a few boxes last Thursday and have had it nearly daily since then.
Okay, back to the Superbowl party. While Mom was making the party treats yesterday morning, Bug had to check if I had remembered Jello. Well, I hadn't so I made up a batch right away, but it hadn't set yet when we set out the rest of the treats mid-afternoon. To keep Bug from having a complete conniption fit, I told him that the Jello was extra special and that we couldn't have any until kickoff. Anyway, after we had a little bit of party snacking, the kids were getting tired, so we decided to work toward a nap. Bug was up on my lap cuddling and acting sleepy and we had the following conversation:
Mom: You know what? I think we are all feeling kind of sleepy and we should go upstairs and have a rest before the game starts.
Bug: What game?
Mom: The football game.
Bug: What football game?
Mom: Ummm, the Superbowl football game?
Bug: What Superbowl football game? [ponders for a moment before the light goes on] Oh, the Superbowl football game with jello!
Mom: Yeah, that one.
Anyway, a nice time was had by all and we were happy the Colts won. We had trouble deciding who to root for since we had been cheering for the losing teams in both the AFC and NFC championships. In the end, we decided to go for Indianapolis, since they had this former Hawkeye starting in offense, this former Hawkeye starting in defense, and this South Dakota boy (by way of Yankton, Rapid City Central High, and SDSU...not to my folks, yes, I lied on the phone). Also, Coach Tony Dungy seems like such a good egg in the big ego sports world. He never raises his voice or swears. Besides, a good friend in grade school and Kitty Daddy were both huge Steelers fans when Dungy was doing good things there (late 70s), so why not?

I think Bean may have been cheering on the Bears, as she spent most of the game on the sofa with somewhere between three and six stuffed bears. She didn't seem too upset by the loss though. She also provided an alternate half-time show, complete with singing and dancing. She and Prince did quite the duet of "Purple Rain"!

This morning, Bug's first request was to have "leftover party" for lunch.

02 February 2007

Brrrrrrr...

This morning at 11:00 am, as we set out for our lunch and library Friday, it was a balmy, near tropical 1.6°. That's Fahrenheit, folks, a toasty -17°C for you SI and metric loving people. And now, two hours later, the thermometer hasn't budged. The forecast high is 7°F and I think we already saw that in the wee hours of the morning. Now that we are home from the library, I think we are STAYING PUT! We have new books and videos from the library and I think some binkits and perhaps hot cocoa might be order, as well.

This week's outings went more smoothly than last week, though yesterday at the grocery store, Bug had to stop everyone and announce "My name is [firstname] and my foot isn't owie anymore." Which, of course, means that he had to explain that he had a hurt foot last week. It was about even odds whether he said his foot got hurt because he was having a pillow fight with daddy, or just gave the abridged version: it hurt because daddy hit him.

Today, at the library, we didn't have anyone flipping through the phone book looking for CPS, but Miss Bean did manage to make two smaller kids cry. She has adopted big brother's method of plowing into and grabbing away when some has something she has. Since she is built like a two-year-old Mack truck, it is certainly a bit intimidating. I really don't think she actually hurt anyone, since I managed to intercede before it got physical, but when she is in bulldozer mode, I would certainly be scared if I were smaller than her!

I have been knitting away in my spare moments, but nothing exciting enough for its own post. I have one of Bug's slippers done and the other just needs the second sole before they are ready for felting. Though I will probably wait until I can felt both Bug's and Bean's slippers together. The second red, white, and black sock continues on in my odd moments. I am getting pretty close to the toe decreases and then just the heel will remain (I am doing "afterthought" heels, so that's the last thing that goes in). Miss Bean's sweater and leggings have been stewing in my head. I have started swatching since I would like to do interesting hems and cuffs. I have been perusing Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein, which I have out from the library and have a couple of ideas that I want to try out. Swatching pictures coming soon, I hope...