Friday, February 27, 2009

So sick of being sick

This week I've felt a little under the weather, but generally, even when my children are sick, I don't really get much of anything. This morning, however, I woke up with a fever. I think the last time I had a fever was when I was 10 or something. By this afternoon it had gone up to 102.6, but now it's back down to 100.5, so the fluids and the nap I took earlier must be helping at least a little.

On the upside, I was once again surprised and overwhelmed with yet another bunch of amazing things from my friends in the Spunky Club.

Really you guys, I'm humbled and touched that there are so many of you who care so much about me. You've made a difficult week a good deal brighter.

Many hugs and much love to you all. (For more pics of the packages, click through to the Flickr set)

My children are all safely off to bed, so I bid you all goodnight. 8:00PM. This is a new record for me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More sick...and cookies and yarn

Sparky and Daisy are both sick now, so it's back to the Dr's for us this morning. Yuck. I'll be so happy when all of this is past.

Here's some fun we had yesterday, before I realized that everyone could be contagious.

I'm pretty sure that I've never decorated sugar cookies before. Well, I suppose that technically I still haven't, as yesterday was more about moderating than actually doing any of the decorating myself, but it was still fun. Sugary and messy, but totally worth it. (Side note: notice the premixed bags of frosting? Totally worth the price for the ease of use!)

Here's the three bobbins for my baby camel/merino 3-ply I've been working on for the past few months.

I finally got it plied two days ago, but...well, it's just too thin. It's a three-ply, and it's hovering somewhere between laceweight and fingering weight, which will put it squarely in the fingering weight range once I've washed it and let it bloom a little. I had really wanted it to be more of a sport/worsted, but I guess I undershot that just a bit.

I've considered making a center-pull ball and plying it against itself for a cabled-yarn (would be 6-ply at that point), but I'm not sure I want to do that either, since the yarn could just end up coming out kind of hard, and I feel like exquisite softness is the whole point of this particular fiber blend. Hmm. Well, it's being set aside until I can decide what to do with it, exactly.

At the moment, I'm still working on the sleeves for my cardigan (Rav. link), and playing with some of the new batts I've got. Pictures to follow!

Well, I'd best be getting myself dressed and then wake the children for our doctor's visit today. When we get home from the appointment, my plan is to crash on the couch with all of my little guys, pass out the warm tea, Kleenex and bubblegum flavored medicine and watch movies. Already, I can't wait for naptime. (Why did I give up coffee?!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A sick little guy and a sweet scarf

Max is sick. I've never taken my children to the Dr's before because of an illness, because they've never had something that lasts for more than 2 or 3 days...until this week. Max came down with a fever, and has had one on and off since. On Thursday night it finally got so high that he could hardly walk; his little legs were stiff and sore from the high temperature (102 as best as I could tell). It really scared me, so finally on Friday morning I called the clinic on post and got a same-day appointment.

The Dr. wasn't the most thorough (he looked in his ears and eyes, but didn't even check his throat), and didn't seem to be all that knowledgeable about children ("make sure he rests, and don't let him play" -- what?!), but he determined that it was a persistant sinus infection that had turned into something his body couldn't properly fight. Like all good Army Docs, he sent us home with an entire goody bag of free meds: Amoxicillin, children's Motrin, and Loratadine Syrup (non-drowsy allergy relief).

I've decided not to give him the allergy stuff, since I don't think it's absolutely necessary, and I'm worried it might end up being a stimulant and would end up with him climbing the walls; he seems to be breathing OK (although stuffy). Also, it's a terrible fight to get him to take anything at all, so I save my battles for the other two (you've got to plan ahead when confronting a 3-year-old of his constitution).

So anyway, that's the current drama. We managed to go to Stitch 'n Bitch this morning though -- I know that I'm supposed to give him as much rest as possible, but we really needed to get out of the house, and the venue we hold the meets at are particularly child-friendly and non-stressful to him since he's familiar with it.

In happier news, here's yet another scarf (wait -- a woven scarf? What a surprise!)

A while ago I'd posted a kind of sly project-in-progress pic, but I can show it to you now in it's full glory because it has safely arrived at it's new home. I wove this for a friend's birthday. She lives here in Germany and her husband is part of the same battalion as Greg, but she's home with her family back in the States at the moment, so I had to mail it to her.

The scarf is from a kit called "Winter Woven Scarf" in the colorway "Sage", composed of two handpainted elements: skinny sock yarn warp (the up-and-down) and a bulky thick-and-thin weft (the back-and-forth part). I love the finished product, and would have already bought another kit for myself...except that it's almost impossible for me to pick a color. This is why I am in fiber clubs -- I am terrible at narrowing things down, and it's nice to just have someone do the choosing for me. That being said, I might spring for a kit in the Bruised Ego colorway if Amy stocks it again...(I am truly a sucker for anything purple or green -- or both!)

I'm on the sleeves of my Charming Shawl-Collared Cardigan, so I'm nearing completion...except that I screwed up the decreases for the back and will have to go back and fix that up, but it won't take too long (big yarn, big needles). I'm not rushing any of my projects at the moment (mostly because that's just plain impossible with my little nursing dude), but I'm pretty sure that I'll have the cardi done sometime in the next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A big box of love

So today I had planned to share with you more on my latest scone obsession (I made the Honey Nut ones from my new fav. cookbook: they need more honey, but are still good), but then I went and fetched this from the post office:

A box of Spunky goodness

Yes, my dears that is an entire box full of Valentine's Day hugs from around the world, thanks to my very darling and incredibly generous Spunky friends.

Spunky gifts

To say that I'm blown away is just a terrible understatement. I looked a the large box and thought, "hmm, that's really strange, because I don't remember ordering anything recently...although I've been really tired, so maybe I forgot..." I was surprised, to say the least, when I opened it. What really got me all choked up, however, was when I started to open up all of the packages, big and small, and began to realize the thoughtfulness and love that went into each gift. Not only were there things in there for me, but also for each of my children. You can click through to the Flickr set for details if you would like to see what was inside of each (I'm afraid some of my reader's browsers would just keel over dead if I posted every pic here).

I don't know who masterminded this whole thing, but thank you to each one of you who participated in this. Reading each of your notes: encouragement, thanking our family for our sacrifice to our country, words of comfort, and fun comments made me feel like I'm not alone at all.

Deeply and truly, thank you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The British invasion continues!

My friend Becky emailed me last week, alerting me to the fact that there's a British cafe on a nearby Air Force Base. Of course we had to go, so my children and I met up with her and her little girl on Friday for some fish and chips. My children were on their worst behavior for whatever reason, so lunch itself was kind of frustrating (the plan of relaxing and knitting was just straight out -- it was difficult enough just to eat!). On the upside, we stopped in the botique grocery off of the cafe after lunch, and I discovered that I no longer need to mail order!

We picked up these cookies as well for snacking on the way home, since none of the children had really eaten properly at the restaurant (don't you hate it when that happens?)

Now it must be noted that I certainly don't *need* any more jams or spreads of any kind. I'd show you what is already in my refrigerator, but the shear number of them is just embarrassing. Apparently I'm obsessed.

Of course as soon as I got home, I had to have scones, so I threw together a recipe of Oat Scones from my new favorite cookbook "Baking: from my home to yours" by Dori Greenspan.

Side note: My mom and I enjoyed this book so much that I mail-ordered a copy for her, delivered the day after she got back home as a thank-you for all of the help and support over the last month. But really, do I need an excuse to give a little special something to such an awesome mom? I think not. :)

These scones were nubby with oats, lightly sweet, and completely perfect with anything I put on top of it. I'm going to try some of her other scones recipes, but at the moment this is my new favorite. I'll share the recipe in a future post.

Remember this handspun?

To refresh your memory, it's two versions of the same wool and colorway: Romney in Eclipse, a Spunky Club fiber from the summer. I had spun the bulky singles over the summer, and then when a friend gave me her 4 oz bump a few months ago, I spun that into a fine singles and navajo-plied it to use as warp.

All of this to say, two days before my mom and Rachel left, I managed to warp and weave this scarf for my sister Hannah:

She'd seen me spinning the softly twisted airy singles over the summer, and had commented on how she liked it. I loved the yarn itself, but being the Orange Phobic that I am, I knew that I would never make anything for myself with it, so I made a mental note to set it aside for her.

All of my siblings have been intrigued by my new interest in weaving, so when I sent the scarf home with my mom for Hannah, there was a good bit of jealousy all around. Thankfully they're jealous over something that's easy and quick to make! (What would I do if everyone suddenly got Sweater Lust?! Well they just wouldn't get them, that's what would happen.) :)

I taught Rachel to weave on this for the first foot of it or so, so there are child-sweetened bits that make it even more special.

According to Hannah, even though it's Romney, she finds it perfectly comfortable against her neck, and as an added bonus it matches perfectly a brand new handbag that she just bought. A winning situation all around.

Today I plan to make flapjacks with some of the Golden Syrup. I had always thought of flapjacks as huge pancakes, so this'll be fun to discover something new!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I'm feeling a little melancholy...have been all week, which accounts for the blogging silence (well that along with the ever present busyness of caring for my 4 small people). With my mom and sister gone, I am no longer distracted from the fact that Greg is gone, and it is as though I can feel too much. All of my nerves and emotions are raw, and I am far too aware of it. I am terribly thankful to have a Valentine...but it would be lovely to have him here with me. Only a few more months.

Despite the challenges of the week (the children have made it obvious to me that they're also struggling with all of the changes), I am still glad that I can wake up to tiny faces like this every morning:

As difficult as it may be to believe, this little dude turned 8 weeks old two days ago. My goodness. His dimples melt my heart every time he smiles. Thank God he's getting past his colic, and I see these smiles often now.

One of my favorite ways to distract myself from Lack Of Greg is mindless entertainment. Today being what it is, I felt it necessary to stock up on suitable material at the Shopette today when I was on post:

I am a huge fan of Seth Rogen and the whole Freaks and Geeks crew, so Zach and Miri is slated for tonight, for sure.

Daisy has recently discovered dresses, and doesn't ever want to take them off:

(Seen here with a corduroy jumper on over her pajamas)

If I could find the time (make the time?) to sew, I'd whip her up a bunch of little shifts to wear each day. I plan to start collecting suitable patterns (very simple ones) and fabrics, and maybe I'll manage to get the sewing machine out this spring.

For now though, it's all about the knitting:

This is the Charming Shawl Collared Cardigan (Ravelry link) from Sweater Babe, in Cascade 109 Tweed (a WEBS closeout, so grab some while you can!) It's a clever pattern, but quick with bulky yarn and fat needles, which is good, because I can only knit a tiny bit at a time with the current demands of my life.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The end of a visit: on my own again

Today, my mom and Rachel finally had to go back home. Our month long visit was a lovely one. Not only is my mom an incredible cook, but she also continually encourages me and inspires me to success as a mother to my own children, and in the gentle art of making a home; cheering me on as I made time in my day to put laundry away, cleaning a bathroom while I uncluttered my house, giving the children the extra hugs and cuddles they've been needing since Billy arrived, and taking turns rocking and burping Billy (who is just now coming out of a fair amount of colic), any many more things too innumerable to mention. To say that she's helped me this past month is an understatement. At the end of every visit that I have with my mom (when I go back to NY for a visit or she comes here), she helps me come up with a game plan to have successful days with my children. Equipped thusly, I feel that I can take on anything.

Not related to anything mentioned above: I have recently received some very cool things in the mail. First, remember that Chris at Briar Rose Fibers sent me a sweater's worth of wool when Greg deployed? Well, she emailed me again, saying that she once again wanted to thank our family for our service to our country...and she custom dyed me yet another sweater's worth of her fabulous yarn!

This time, I chose fresh spring greens in her dreamy Wistful yarn, a blend of alpaca, merino and silk. With the gray skies we've been having around here, it's been difficult to get any kind of an accurate picture, color wise, so this is actually even more lush and vivid -- you'll just have to use a tiny bit of imagination.

This is very special yarn that needs a very special pattern for it, so I'll wait until the inspiration strikes to break into them. Chris, the warmest of hugs to you and your family. Thank you so much for your generosity.

A second thing, and this was a complete surprise -- Ellenspn of Sheepwreck must have cracked into my Amazon wishlist, because this showed up last week!

My Elizabeth Zimmerman collection is now complete. I'm so excited to have them all, and so blessed by her unexpected gift!

Lastly, I've been wondering about some British ingredients for quite a while, and finally I decided that I'd waited long enough -- I needed to have them in my pantry! I found an online British food shop that ships to Germany, and so these arrived at my front door a few days ago:

We've been making scones and trying to find any excuse to eat things drenched in Golden Syrup since (syrup on cheddar cheese grits. mmmmm.....) The Black Treacle tastes to me like a happy medium between regular molasses and blackstrap, and I'm sure would be wonderful in something like molasses cookies or gingerbread, among other more traditional uses. Delicous and fun!

Now my dears, if you'll excuse me I'm off to bed. Billy is asleep, and since I'm on my own now, there are no breaks. I need to get sleep when I can!


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