Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Today was absolutely lovely. A trip to the yarn store, lunch out with Steve, three walks and two trips to the park on account of the fantastic weather...what more could I ask for?

Since Saturday Steve and I have been craving some Greek food, only to be disappointed again and again. Sunday we went on a quest all over the city, only to find out that every single Greek restaurant within a 50 mile radius is closed on Sundays. (We did, however, find a rather delicious Italian place.) Monday night he called when leaving work and said he was going to go to the Greek place and pick up some stuff. Turns out they close early Monday nights. Ack! So today when he called and invited Emma and me to enjoy a Greek lunch with him, I had to scrap our original plans to go to the children's museum. It was totally worth it; that was for sure the tastiest lunch I've eaten in months. (And now that I think about it, I've eaten out at least once every single day since last Thursday. Good golly - no wonder I've been feeling a little extra chunky lately!)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Steve didn't work at all the entire weekend, so we managed to fill our time with a lot of fun stuff. He recently got a little bonus at work, $100 of which was a giftcard to the Plaza. He gave it to me to spend and I was overjoyed because there is a yarn store right off the Plaza and I figured they would take it. Finding myself surrounded by yarn with $100 to spend was, alas, too good to be true. They wouldn't accept the card, but I did end up buying a few knitting books from Barnes & Noble and a couple shirts from the Gap. Sweet!

I'm in the midst of a small knitting disaster. I'm making a poncho for Emma that consists of two rectangles stitched together in such a way that they should rest cutely on her shoulders. The problem is I have run out of yarn with about three inches still left to go. Not normally a big deal, but this is yarn I unraveled (and dyed) so there is no way for me to find that exact yarn again. I don't know what to do. I'll probably end up just trying to find a solid color yarn in a similar gauge that matches. I'm sure it will not look good, but I don't want to unravel the whole thing. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Lately Emma has been carrying around this little stuffed Pooh. Yesterday she couldn't find it and we looked everywhere, to no avail. This morning I opened a drawer in the kitchen to grab a towel, and there was Pooh, cozily tucked in and ready for bed.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I've been having an ugly week. I'm feeling pale and dumpy and flabby. I'm annoyed with myself for the way I've been eating. I obsess about making really healthy meals for us, then I go and snack on bad stuff in between. Like yesterday I ate super healthy stuff all day, and then last night before we put a movie in, Steve convinced me to run to the gas station to get snacks. I could have refused all together, or just gotten something for him, but no, I had to get myself some Chili Cheese Fritos and cappucino as well. (Which, by the way, left me with a case of The World's Most Horrendous Knock-You-Off-Your-Feet Breath.)

In order to feel a little better about myself, today I decided to try working out at the community center again. The last time I unsuccessfully tried to leave Emma in the tot drop was about five months ago. All the way there this morning I was telling her about the fun she was going to have playing with toys and kids. She was really excited until I handed her over to the lady and started to explain that I would be back. She looked a little concerned, but they walked off towards the toys and I left, crossing my fingers that she would be happy there. I decided to try one of the treadmillls first. Being unfamiliar with the settings, I put it on some sort of cardio workout at a speed that sounded good to me, all for 30 mintes. Good Lord. I must have unknowingly set it on "Only For People Who Run Three Marathons Every Week". After two minutes, I was certain I was going collapse and roll off the back, where I would lay in a motionless heap, except for my poor heart still trying to hammer itself through my chest. I was determined to finish my 30 minutes, however, so I kept on. I was concentrating so hard on not dying that I almost didn't hear the announcement over the speakers asking Sarah to please return to the tot drop. So after eight minutes of practically sprinting up a mountain, I had to quit and go rescue Emma. When I got there she was a sobbing, shuddering mess. I felt terrible for her, but also sad that I wasn't going to be able to work out. Ever, apparently. I tried to go in and play with her, but she just clung to me, whimpering, "home...home...home". I'd like to try it again soon so on the way home I talked excitedly about the fun she had there. She must have fallen for it, because by the time we were home, she was asking, "Play? Kids? Toys?" I guess next week we'll try it again and maybe then I'll be able to work out for ten minutes instead of eight. Baby steps, baby steps.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I finished knitting this hat for my brother. It is done with recycled yarn and is shown here modeled by the lovely and talented Emma.

I also dyed another skein. So from this one $4.00 Goodwill sweater (I didn't think of taking a picture until I already unraveled the sleeves), I got 480 yards of lovely dyeable yarn. It would have been more, but I was having trouble unraveling one of the sleeves. The yarn kept breaking and I got so frustrated that eventually I just flung the whole dumb sleeve in the trash.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Today is a big day. Emma finally let me give her some pigtails!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today I finished my first felted project. It was pretty much a bust. I used some old left over ugly yarn, so it's not too great a loss. I was hoping I could use it to cart my knitting supplies around, but it's way too small for that. Emma is loving it as a purse, though. To the left you can see it pre-felting. Don't ask me why the handles are so off center. If I knew why, I would have been sure to do them correctly. I also did my three needle bind-off inside out. This is basically just a whole project gone wrong.

Today I made another cooking club meal. It was a LOT of trouble and took forever, so that's the last time I will be making that dish. Plus I didn't saute the celery long enough so the soup has a little unwelcome crunch to it. To anyone reading this who will be receiving my Wild Rice Soup, I apologize.

I finished Emma's birthday video (that I was supposed to be giving her last year). If you're interested in more pictures of Emma than you ever cared to see, you can view it here. Please feel free to turn up your volume. Note: You will be asked to download a plugin. This is very easy and quick to do, so if you want to watch it, don't let that stop you. If you don't want to watch it, here is a single picture so you can get your cuteness fix.

Monday, January 23, 2006

If you can stand it, here's another post about Emma's cuteness. We just got a Wheels on the Bus book, and on the page where the babies on the bus go wah, wah, wah, there is a picture of a stressed-out looking mom holding two very upset babies. We never make it any farther than that page, because when we get there, Emma always insists that I nurse the babies so they won't be sad anymore. I've been nursing that book several times a day ever since we got it.

Last time I was at my mom's, our toilet paper ran out, so Steve had to go by some. I'm always the one who gets it (and changes it), so he doesn't know about the magic of double rolls. He bought this gigantic package of all single rolls. Ever since then I feel like all I've been doing is changing the empty rolls! How did anyone ever get anything done before there were double rolls???

Friday, January 20, 2006

Well, Steve just called. He's not coming home tonight. His flight was cancelled and he'll be spending the night in Milwaukee. Poop.
Steve should be home in about two hours! He's going in to work tomorrow, but tonight I'm just focusing on his being home.

Emma loves to play house under anything bigger than a paper towel. Today I made the mistake of creating a big "house" in which we could play. Once we were inside, we weren't allowed to leave. The dogs would escape and she would crawl out and chase after them, yelling, "DOE! PATS! HOUSE!", and then drag them back in. I think poor Joe and Pax were even more sick of playing house than I was.

I'm planning to make a slideshow video for Emma's birthday every year depicting the previous year. It's time I should start working on the second year, so I've been busy working on the first year, which I never actually completely finished. Oops! I moved some picture files around awhile ago and it's been a huge hassle getting this thing together. I finally thought I had it finished today and for some reason it wouldn't copy to the DVD. Argh! I'm going to have to mess with it some more, but I'm already sick of putting so much time into what should really be a very simple project.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I think the yarn turned out pretty well for my first attempt. The purple color is a little more dominant than I wanted, but that's okay. Here is it before I cooked it.

This, the hanging to dry process, was the hardest part. I was anxious to wind it into a skein but it took all night to dry.

And here is the finished product. Not too bad. Now I just have to come up with something to knit with it!
There has been an insane amount of drama in my AP group lately. I am so sad about what is happening to our group. Why in God's name is it so difficult for adults to get along already??!!?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Emma and I have had a pretty great couple of days. This morning we had a fun playdate and then came home for more fun activities. We dyed yarn, which she (and I) thought was pretty great. We're definitely going to have to do that again. I'll post pictures tomorrow when it's dry. We also made Spanakopita, which was easy to make and SO yummy. I think Steve is jealous that he's missing out on all this good food this week. I can't remember the last time I've had the urge to cook so much. Don't worry, though, I'm sure it won't last long!

Emma has been asleep before 8:00 the last two nights (!) so I've had time to drag out the sewing machine and sew myself a couple of needle cases. My knitting needles were all just thrown in a disorganized drawer so this system is much better.

The only bad thing about the last two days is that our mail hasn't come until almost 6:00! What is UP with that? Doesn't the Post Office know I'm waiting impatiently all day long for that mail?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Apparently The Plan is back on track. Emma has been asleep since 7:40 tonight. Amazing.

Today I realized that we have not been eating our green leafies as diligently as we should, so I found a few recipes to incorporate into my meal repertoire. For dinner tonight I made Potato-Kale Quiche and it was delicious! Emma scarfed it down like she was starving. Tomorrow I'm making Spanakopita. Mmmmmm!

I recently found two cookbooks that I'm loving and am going to purchase. Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer and The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook - you should check them out.

Tomorrow is trash day and I do not want go outside in the cold and drag the cans to the street. Brrr!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Okay, I wasn't tagged, but I saw this on another blog and thought it looked like fun.


Four Jobs I've Had
1. sandwich maker at Imo's
2. administrative assistant at Midwest Engineering Services
3. server at Olive Garden
4. driver at Pizza Hut

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Notting Hill
2. Back to the Future Trilogy (Can I count that as one?)
3. Love Actually
4. Moulin Rouge

Four Places I've Lived
1. Rolla, Missouri
2. Lima, Ohio
3. Carbondale, Illinois
4. Eugene, Oregon

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch
1. 24
2. Seinfeld
3. 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray
4. Design on a Dime

Four Places I've Been on Vacation
1. Orlando, Florida
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Galena, Illinois

Four Blogs You Visit Daily
1. Toole (Warning: This guy is hilarious but NOT family friendly.)
2. Dooce
3. Yarn Harlot
4. Redhead Princess

Four of Your Favorite Foods
1. mashed potatoes
2. roasted red pepper hummus
3. chocolate chip cookies
4. asparagus

Four Places You'd Rather Be
1. in Michigan with Steve
2. Now that Emma's asleep, I'm pretty darn happy being right here.

Four Musical Artists You Love
1. Sarah McLaughlin
2. Jack Johnson
3. Rachel Fuller
4. Lori McKenna

Four Vehicles I've Owned
1. 1986 Mazda 626
2. 1987 Honda CRX
3. 1992 Mercury Sable (ugh!)
4. 1993 Mazda MX-6

Four taggees
1. Katie (wifewomanmother)
2. Katie (runningkt)
3. Abbie
4. Dad
Emma has had a little fever off and on for the past two days, and it's killing our sleep routine. At least I guess that's what it is. She won't stay asleep without my being right next to her at all. During the night if I roll away from her she wakes up and cries out for me. Yesterday she didn't get a nap because she woke up as soon as I left the room and I could never get her back to sleep. Then last night she was asleep at 9:00, but woke up no less than ten times between then and midnight. I should have just given up and gone to bed because I spent my whole night in there nursing her back to sleep anyway. Now we just got back from driving her around because she was so overly exhausted that she would NOT fall asleep for anything. I hope she sleeps for a long time.

Yesterday I made one batch of meals - Honey Pork Chops - for this month's cooking club. I made enough for us to have it for dinner last night. The recipe said to cook them for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I did that and they were so overdone and tough that they were barely edible. Rats! Now I have to figure out how long they should really be cooked and change the directions I wrote on all the freezer bags.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Steve's flight gets in tonight a little after midnight. He is leaving Sunday afternoon for another week. I just talked to him and he informed me that he has to go into the office tomorrow and work all day and probably all evening. He said he's really going to try to get everything finished tomorrow so he can hang out with Emma and me for a few hours before he leaves again Sunday. Wow. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

This is the beginning of his busy season again. Every year I forget how absolutely horrible it is and then when January, February, March, and April come around, I have to get used to seeing him for about three hours total per week all over again. Ems and I might as well just move to my mom's house for the next three months so we are not rotting away here by ourselves.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Well, apparently it's International Delurking Week. Who comes up with these things? To celebrate, if you read this blog but have never left a comment, now is your chance to do so. Come on, you know you want to!
Tonight I almost had a heart attack. Emma and I were eating dinner at her little table in the living room. It was dark outside. The doorbell rang. Our porch light is burnt out so if I opened the door I would have only seen darkness. Especially because Steve is still out of town, I was especially freaked that some unknown person was ringing our doorbell after dark. I grabbed Emma and carried her into the hall. Whoever was standing on our porch continued to ring our bell, like, five more times. The dogs were going crazy and suddenly I was sure I heard our garage door opening. I didn't know if I should hide in the closet or call 911. My cell phone was back out in the living room so I chose the closet. When I didn't hear the doorbell anymore, I peeked out my bedroom window. And, boy, did I feel stupid.

Our neighbor told me earlier this week that she was going to make some homemade cinnamon rolls and bring us some. I saw her at the house across the street, handing a plate to the woman who lives there. I hope she comes by again tomorrow (during daylight!) because I would hate to miss out on those cinnamon rolls!

Oh, yeah, and apparently my mind was working overtime because, when I checked, our garage door was still very much closed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I just heard about this today and it's way cool! You can go to www.paperbackswap.com and list old books you have and trade for other books you want - for free! Well, you have to pay shipping for the books you send out, but it's still a darn good deal!

David and Abbie just left. We had such a good time while they were here. It was nice to have someone else around to play House-in-the- Laundry-Basket with her.

Yesterday we went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and then to the Art Museum. Cheesecake Factory was good, museum, not so much. I can't decide if it was my fault for trying to bring Emma there, or the fault of the museum employees for being uppity child-hating snobs. Emma was being pretty darn good while we were there, but we were still getting dirty looks from all the security guards/ushers/people in suits/whatever they are who stand in every room and look over everything. It's not like she was knocking over sculptures or anything. Sure, there may have been a few fingerprints on the glass, but still... So at one point we were in a room and Emma spotted a duck in a painting. She let out a joyful, "Quack!", then was so pleased with the echo that she couldn't stop herself there. "Quack? Quack! QUACK! QUACK!" At that point one of the suit guys in the corner came over and said, "You need to keep that stupid kid quiet or get the heck out of here NOW!" Okay, so those weren't his exact words, but that was the essence of it. The other patrons stopped milling around silently to stare at us as I dragged Emma away. As we left the room, she called back to them (hopefully out of spite), "QUACK! QUACK QUACK QUACK! QUACK!"

Monday, January 09, 2006

I am walking on air. Emma was asleep by 9:00 last night, and this morning we actually made it to a 9:30 playgroup! I am SO incredibly thrilled with the success of this plan. Last night after Emma was asleep, I was able to sit by myself and watch Wedding Crashers, drink tea, and knit uninterrupted for three hours. Heaven.

Steve is out of town this week, but the good news is that my brother David and his girlfriend Abbie are coming tonight to visit for a few days. I think tomorrow we're going to the Art Museum and to lunch on the Plaza.

Last week at my mom's house, Emma said my brothers' names (Andy, David, and Peter) for the first time. Now whenever she's playing with a toy phone or a cell phone, she says into the receiver, "Annie? Date? Pert?" She is too cute.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Time for a little What's on the Needles...

Okay, so these are off the needles now, but were just recently finished. They were for my brother Peter and were the most tedious knitting project ever.
This doesn't look like much now, but is eventually going to be a poncho for Emma. The yarn is from an unraveled sweater.
I recently finished this sock and plan to cast on for the second one today. They are for my mom.

These are for me.

This barely-started hat is going to be for my brother. This is also recycled yarn.
And, lastly, this scarf is my first cabled project. I'm not sure who's going to get it when it's finished...maybe me!
Amazing. Unbelievable. Last night lights went out at 9:06. Then (are you ready for this?), Emma was sound asleep at 9:18. Steve and I actually had almost three hours to hang out by ourselves. This plan is working wonderfully so far. I didn't feel like going to bed last night at midnight, but I had to stick with the plan, so I did. The very hardest part of the plan is waking Emma up in the morning. Right now she's still asleep and I'm inclined to let her sleep so I can take a shower, pick up the house, etc. However, I know it will be worth it tonight, so off to wake her up I go.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Today started out badly, but ended up being pretty decent. Last night was bad, bad, bad. Emma spent most of the night crying to nurse and tearing at my shirt. I wanted to spend most of the night crying because I was so completely exhausted. This morning, I finally gave up at about 7:00 a.m. I certainly didn't want to get up then, but I didn't want to give in and let her nurse, so we just got up for the day. Bleh. However, it turned out to be not so bad. You can accomplish a lot in a day that begins so early. Who knew?

So besides cleaning Emma's room, doing three loads of laundry, baking cookies, making 30 burritos, cooking a double batch of chili, vacuuming, sweeping the kitchen and bedrooms, and doing the usual daily chores, I was also able to play a lot of "kitchen" and take Emma and the dogs to the park. The weather was so nice that after we played at the park, we went for a two-mile walk. Emma was in the Mei Tai and it felt really good to get a little work-out. We haven't been going on walks since it got colder, but I think we'll start up again.

I have a new plan. (Why does it seem like almost every day I come up with some sort of new plan?) We are going to have a bedtime routine for Emma and really stick to it in hopes of getting back onto a more normal sleep schedule. Plan goes: bath, massage, stories, night-night. Tonight her bath started at 8:40, I started her massage at 9:10, we all got into bed and read a few stories at 9:20, lights out at 9:40, hopefully to be asleep by 10:00. The last part didn't go exactly as planned, but she did finally fall asleep at 10:45. Not too bad for the first night. Tomorrow we are getting up at 8:00. Now here's the tricky part. I let her nurse while she was falling asleep. I think I'm going to concentrate on this schedule thing and then maybe then work on the night weaning. I'm giving it up for now partially because I don't want to suffer through any more nights like last night, and partially because I think there must be a reason why she is nursing so much. Maybe a growth spurt, maybe teething, whatever, but I'm going to trust her little body to know what's best for itself.

Oh, and I got some yarn in the mail today! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I decided to come home a day early in hopes of avoiding another difficult night. On the drive home I was thinking about some things I want to change in our lives. Usually I think New Years Resolutions are silly and I don't bother making any, but I can hardly avoid calling them that at this time of year, so here they are:

1. I think Emma is getting bored with me and is probably starting to require more stimulation. She had such a great time playing with my parents, my brothers, and my brothers' girlfriends while we were at my mom's that I'm afraid it's going to be a let-down for her to come back home and have only me as her single playmate. I'm going to make every effort to get out and take her to playgroups, Toddler Time at our community center, Mommy & Me at our other community center, and any other activities I can find. The problem with this is that these activities are usually in the morning, which brings me to the next resolution...

2. Our time schedule has gotten pretty ridiculous. Emma hasn't been to bed before 2:00 a.m. once in the last week, and getting up before 11:00 a.m. is a struggle for both of us. My plan is to have Emma asleep every night at 10:00, and myself in bed every night by midnight. That should enable us to get up by 9:00 every morning. If Emma wants to sleep later than that, great, but I will be getting up then. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to manage getting the kid to sleep every night by 10:00. I've requested The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers from the library, so hopefully that will help.

Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Exhaustion is setting in. The last few nights, Emma has been nursing literally all night long. This morning we were up hours before we should have been because I couldn't take it anymore and refused to let her nurse. She cried and cried but I had to stick to it and eventually we just got up. Argh. I need to start developing a plan for night weaning, but I'm so torn over it. Most nights are okay, so I'm sure there is a reason for her nursing so much at times. Because I know she may be teething, or missing her papa, or maybe didn't eat enough during the day, I feel guilty for trying to take away her night nursing. But another part of me says that the nursing relationship has to be working for both of us and this constant night nursing (which includes switching from side to side every three seconds) is not working for me. More on this as I mull it over.

This Saturday is the next cooking club meal switch. I'm a tad nervous because we are still at my mom's and won't get home until Thursday night. That leaves me only Friday to buy the groceries I need and make enough chili, burritos, and cookies for five families each. Yikes. I'm also a little nervous about my veggie dish. I'm planning to make these. I've made them before and I think they're delicious, but whenever I tell people about them, they're like "Sweet potatoes and kidney beans?!? Yuck!" I just hope the people in my group aren't wondering why I brought them such a weird and gross-sounding meal!

Monday, January 02, 2006

My brother and his girlfriend are in town from Oregon this week so Ems and I are staying at my mom's while they are here. After living it up until 2:30 last night, and then gallavanting around St. Louis all day today, Ems is plum tuckered out. It is 9:16 p.m. and she is, amazingly, asleep. Today my bothers, their girlfriends, my parents, and my grandparents all went out to lunch, then to the arch (pretty fun and interesting), then to the history museum (much less fun and interesting), and then to dinner. The rest of the crew is now at a hockey game. I opted out because I did not feel up to chasing a toddler around the arena amidst a bunch of screaming fans.

Now I'm here, enjoying the silence, and trying to decide what to do with this unusual gift of free time. If my parents' dog ever stops whining to go outside and come back in every thirty seconds, I might be able to get some knitting done.