21 June 2007

Coffee, Caribou, Clean Carpets, and Plain Ol' Dumb Luck*

Today was "Cooler Fest" at Caribou Coffee. They were giving away their cooler drinks, and since their Caramel Cooler is my drug of choice for summer, there is no way we could pass that up! It was a 12 oz cup (which is smaller than the regular "small" at 16 oz.), but, hey folks, free coffee is free coffee. We won't mention that we might have accidentally dropped by the Monona Caribou before going to our "regular" Caribou that is a couple of blocks from our apartment.

At our Caribou, they had a poor soul dressed up as a caribou (though all the other customers in the store insisted on calling him a moose) that was standing on the corner with a sign advertising the event. We happened to drop in during his (or hers...I didn't think it would have been polite to lift up his/her tail and check, so we will just call it a "him") break, so he was just walking into the shop when we pulled up. He disappeared into the back just as we were coming in, so we thought we had missed him, but after we got our coffees, he came back out. Both kids shook his paw and then played peek-a-boo with him while he was standing in the entrance. They were both completely taken by the 'bou. Bug got all silly and giggly and Bean just stood and stared with big eyes the whole time he was in the store. We left shortly after he headed back out to the corner, so we drove around the block so the kids could wave good-bye to him.

Since I am finally getting caught up around the house and back to normal after coming home from vacation, I took advantage of a couple of warm, sunny, relatively low humidity days to start shampooing the carpets. We have a shampooer, so at least we don't need to rent on and do the whole house in one day, which is good, because with one not-completely housebroken dog and little ones that have a tendency to run around with no diaper on and/or to spill all manner of thing anywhere, anytime, we need to shampoo more often than the average Joe. Anyway, yesterday I did the rug that is under the table on the dining room carpet (does anyone else think the whole concept of "dining room carpet" is just plain fundamentally flawed to begin with??? Even without kids, stuff winds up on the floor, or is that just me?) and laid it out over the clothes drying rack and storage bin on the back porch. After that I did the dining room carpet. Not a huge accomplishment, but not bad for the third trimester!

The plain ol' dumb luck came after leaving the rug out on the porch overnight. Usually I do these things and the procrastinate putting them back inside until they get rained on and have to stay outside to dry and get rained on again, etc. However, this morning, I was looking out the back window and decided to be a big girl and bring the rug in. With lots of kid help (that makes any job just that much harder ;o) ), we got it in and rolled it out and got the table and chairs put back where they belong. Not five minutes later, I looked outside and it had started raining! Now, I am one of those people that ALWAYS gets the bright idea to move the rug five minutes after it starts, so I was more pleased that I should have been! The other thing that could be filed under "dumb luck" (but would be more appropriate under "every cloud has a silver lining") is that today's rain wasn't the good rain associated with a cold front that brings cooler, dryer weather, but a garden variety Midwestern rainstorm that just leaves everything kind of muggy and icky, so the forecast is for more humidity over the next few days, so I may be off the hook with the next section of carpet cleaning for a little while.

* you wouldn't believe how long I wracked my brain to come up with a clever synonym for plain ol' dumb luck that started with a C. *sigh*

18 June 2007

Father's Day Weekend

On Saturday, we went to Eugster's Farm for the annual Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast. For $5 for adults, $3 for kids three and over, and little ones free, we got all the scrambled eggs with ham, pancakes, frozen custard with strawberries, juice, coffee, and milk we could eat! We all had a wonderful meal, but Bean, who is still two, definitely got her money's worth. I think my parents can attest to just how many pancakes our little girl can eat (when Dad made pancakes while we were in Oregon, she ate more either KittyDaddy or me!). After eating, we had a ball playing in the Petting Farm area! The definite favorite was the huge sandbox:

Bug, the social butterfly, found all sorts of friends to play with!

They also spent quite a while playing on the swingsets. Both kids took a try on the monkey bars. I couldn't get an action shot of Bug, but here's Bean:

KittyDaddy was pretty worried that she would fall and get hurt. He didn't realize that she is part monkey and could have hung there for the whole afternoon. We also got to pet kittens and goats and chase chickens and check out all sorts of other animals. The deer were especially fun, since the little guys were getting "nummies"

I personally liked this guy, but I want to know what happened to the "a":

On Sunday, we took KittyDaddy out to dinner for Father's Day. We went to the Prime Quarter Steakhouse. It's a grill-your-own joint and we had a good time, though the kids got a little bored by the time we were done. The steaks were very good (and I'm not a big beef person, so that is high praise coming from me), too. They also had a salad bar, baked potatoes, and Texas toast. We got dressed up for dinner (well, relatively speaking, dressed up for us...I actually wore makeup). I didn't get pictures of the four of us, but later that evening, Bug put together his "Joe Cool Number One" ensemble, so I got a picture of him:

Of course, Miss Bean could never miss out on a photo op, so she posed, too:

All in all, a loverly weekend, although the temps were generally hanging out in the hot and humid region. Fortunately, it is supposed to cool down again by tomorrow!

14 June 2007

A Bug's Eye View

Rumor has it (actually, an email from my mom) that the pics my dad took of our vacation exploits is in the mail and on the way, so there will hopefully be a bit of vacation recap occurring soonishly. Meanwhile, I thought I would give you a quick Bug's eye recap of the highlights of our trip:

  • "I need to tell Caffy" - we left our other car with one of Kitty Daddy's co-workers so it wouldn't have to sit in the apartment parking lot unattended for two weeks. For the first five days of our trip, Bug found at least one thing a day that he absolutely had to tell "Caffy" when we got back from our trip.
  • "Is it a flush potty or a porta-potty?" - Bug got his first taste of Porta-potties outside of a fruit stand on the way to the visit the coast (Mmmmmmm...unbelievable strawberries...the first real strawberries I have had in ages...at least since Bug has been born!). So everytime we stopped in a public restroom since, this was the question. If the potty in question was, in fact, a flush potty, the next question was, inevitably, "Is it a magic potty or a regular potty?" We also had our first experience with automatically flushing toilets. He was also completely taken by "Magic Sinks" and "Magic Paper Towels," but the toilets were the definite winner.
  • Electric Trains and Electric Blankets - while driving around Portland, we saw the MAX lightrail train and, as Bug is a big fan of trains in general, it was love at first sight. Bug and Namma had a discussion about how MAX was an electric train, rather than powered by typical diesel or steam engines. In the course of the discussion, other things powered by electricity came up, including the electric blanket, which Bug had never heard of. He got to see Grandma's electric blanket and has been taken by the concept ever since. He would have been delighted to drag everyone he met upstairs to see Grandma's electric blanket, but Bean was the only taker.

13 June 2007

Actual Knitting Content???

Is it true? Can it be?

Why yes, since one of the side benefits of a road trip vacation is knitting in the car time! My entrelac purse-ish things was almost done (I started binding off the night before we left), so I decided to leave it in Wisconsin, since I didn't think my folks needed to provide their washing machine for felting. Besides, I plan to line it, so I wouldn't have been able to finish it on the road anyway! Because of seatbelt laws, car knitting is one of the rare times I can knit without having small people climbing all over me, so I decided to go the involved, fiddly route and start my big lace shawl. After three cast-on attempts, more interruptions than I can count (I need a drink...I dropped my toy...how many miles to the next town...and so on), the discovery of just how much coordination it takes to deal with eight stitches on four sticks (way more than I actually possess), frequent and creative swearing, and nearly 800 miles, this was the result:

After two more days of knitting (that went much more smoothly...especially after I got out my nail file and sharped my Brittany DPNs) and about a half of a round done in Oregon, this is what I came home with:

It definitely looks much more like lace now. After taking this picture this morning, I finished the round I was on (36 stitches per needle, up from two!) and then switched to KnitPicks circulars and now this baby is going to sail! While I adore my wood DPNs, I readily admit that they might not be the best for picky lace knitting...especially if you want to do something completely silly like slide the stitches along the needle! But dang, my size six wood DPNs sure are sharp now!!

On the way home I decided I was too tired to deal with the intellectual side of lace, and I was about ready to change to circulars and the only circs I had were my Denise Interchangeables, which probably would have been even more aggravating than the wood DPNs, so I went with completely mindless stockinette and started a Mason-Dixon baby kimono for Little Brother using the Blue Sky Organic Cotton I got last summer with my birthday gift certificate. Right now, I am thinking about doing matching cap and booties using this and a coordinating soaker (not cotton, definitely wool!!) to take LB home from the hospital.

My last, not-so-grand update is my current sock. At the park yesterday, I finished the last two rounds before starting the heel and got a couple of rows into the heel in the car when we ran to the Home Depot last night!

So now, I will need to update my progress bars again and do something about the WIP ADD that is becoming apparent from that list! Hopefully, I can get some FOs out of that list and I am seriously considering frogging Bean's sweater and starting it over when fall gets closer. It has been sitting there for so long, I can't decide what I want to do for stripes, I'm just not feeling the love right now, and I just swiped the needles for my lace shawl.

12 June 2007

Oh yeah...

We also got to see Uncle Chopped Liver and Aunt Chopped Tofu for a day while on vacation, as well as Cousin Rigby-Dog and Cousin Bast-Cat. Cousin Chino-Cat wouldn't come out of hiding.

10 June 2007

Of Velcro Cats and Squirrelly Children

We survived our two-week vacation and had a lot of fun with Grandma, Grandpa, and Great-Grandma 'Dell. There will be details to come as Grandpa finishes pictures (we let him be the official photographer!) and I start getting back to normal. I popped into email and Bloglines occasionally while we were in Oregon, but didn't have nearly enough time to even pretend to stay caught up so, if you haven't seen or heard from me lately, I'm trying to get caught up!

While we were gone, Miss Mollie Dog stayed at the doggie hotel (boarded at the vet's) and the kittens stayed home with a friend checking in on them daily. Mollie had the entire vet staff wrapped around her little paw by the time we got back, so she didn't suffer a bit. The cats on the other hand have developed some abandonment issues. You know how cat hair sticks all over clothing? It turns out that if the situation is dire enough, Kitty Man hair will stick to my clothing with the cat still attached. Kitty Chai has been sticking pretty close too, but more within the context of a "normal cat" (I term I use very loosely). She has also made a couple of tries to escape out the front door to register her disapproval.

The kids had a fabulous time and did amazingly well in the car for a total of six days (2000 miles each way) and had a blast while we were there. However, we are now being repaid for their good behavior. Both kids have been unusually crazy since we got home. I completely understand that they are decompressing and readjusting to being home after a HUGE (but fun) upheaval, but man, Mama's tired and cranky and had just about had it!