Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Yarn-Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things this week for another yarn-along...

On the Needles: With all this knitting for baby I nearly forgot that it was getting to be about time to start knitting a little someone's annual fall sweater. In falls past I just picked out a pattern I thought would look nice on Mr. S, but this year S is old enough to pick something out himself. So when he told me he wanted a dinosaur sweater, I immediately began searching Ravelry and found this sweet Diplodocus Sweater (which also has a KAL going on right now). S loved the pattern and so now I'm knitting away on it and getting closer and closer to the color-stranded knitting part, which has me a little nervous since I've never done color-stranded knitting. It looks easy, but if I'm suddenly switching to a different patttern you'll know why.

I'm using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in these fallish colors. I hope it turns out, and I hope S likes it!

Off the Bookshelf: The wonderful thing about these yarn-alongs (and read-alongs) is that I get such wonderful book and knitting pattern recommendations. I guess that's one of the main points. And so I ordered Simplicity Parenting since so many in this group are reading it. I absolutely love it so far, and since our family is already doing so much of what the author suggests I feel pretty good.

However, there remains one deep, dark secret that our family has needed to wrangled with for some time now, and that is the overwhelming amount of toys in our household. This is harder than you'd think since husband is a toy designer by trade and an avid toy collector. Thankfully most of his toys are in storage, otherwise our house would be nothing but a shrine to Star Wars, Star Trek and He-Man, with lots and lots of comic book figures interspersed.

We definitely have the problem of aunts, unlces, grandparents (and ourselves) buying toys for our kid, but we also have the unique problem of having easy and cheap access to all manner of toys. One of the perks of being in the toy industry is free or deeply discounted toys. When T worked for Hasbro a couple of summers ago he came home with bags of toys all the time that he got for at least 50% off in the Hasbro employee toy store. So, S shares his father's passion for Star Wars and toys in general and our home is overrun with action figures and light sabres (we have three of the real sounding, real looking light sabres and multiple other plastic push-button light sabres--I just asked why we needed so many and received a very logical, detailed response from T that I won't go into here). Luckily, T has thrown toys out before and is willing to go through and help me get rid of a lot of stuff that doesn't get played with. When it comes to throwing things out he's more ruthless than I am.

So this is the long, rambling way to say that Simplicity Parenting hit the nail on the head when it comes to our toy problem and opened up a whole dialogue that desperately needed to take place between T and I. Before this new babe comes along 3/4 of the toys in our household will make a slow disappearance to either the garbage can or the Salvation Army. And if S asks what happened I'll blame it on the Dark Side.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What to do in the Event of a Hurricane...

1. Before the hurricane arrives, drive around town running last minute errands and enjoy being outside of your home while you can.

Our little town was prepared for Irene with taped up and boarded up windows and sandbags around doorframes. Most of the stores closed early on Saturday and remained closed Sunday. Since the NYC transit system shut down, my college closed and I got a three-day weekend.

2. Fill spare containers in your house with filtered tap water. Fill the bathtub with water as well; this way you can still flush the toilet in a water outage. Make sure batteries and flashlights, matches and candles are all out where you can find them.

3. Then, relax. Wait for the storm. Make hurricane cookies, and be sure to deliver some to your neighbors.

Peanut Butter cookies in our case...and some with M&Ms as requested by one little Gwyn.

4. Make sure your wild animals have a proper watering hole.

5. Make sure your Lego town has an official Space Patrol Paddy Wagon.

6. With all this time on your hands, make a super-delicious homemade dinner. I made a big batch of pizza dough, some of which I froze for next week and some of which we rolled out topped with our favorite sauce and cheese.

7. Enjoy slice after slice of 9-grain bread homemade by your upstairs neighbor.

8. Knit. Finish up some mending and button-sewing. Prepare for new knitting projects.

9. Make sure your Brachiosaurus has plenty of eggs in her nest.

10. Stay up late watching movies and listening to the storm move in.

11. Wake up early and assess the damage. Try not to watch too much news. Once it's safe, take a walk around your town and feel lucky that you have no downed trees, no flooding, no exposed electrical wires.

We were very lucky. The only evidence Irene was here were the branches and leaves all over the roads, the waterline where the bay overflowed its banks and all the garbage that washed ashore. We were happy our resident geese weathered the storm just fine. Much of the surrounding areas had terrible flooding, including parts of downtown NYC, Hoboken and Jersey City. The Jersey Shore also got hit pretty hard, but thankfully Hurricane Irene was fairly gentle and didn't deliver the blow the media had us all prepared for.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Week 23

Week 23 was a little disappointing (but so far things are getting better in week 24). This was the week my insurance company told me that midwives were not a covered benefit. I'd been thinking of switching from my OBGYN group to a local group of midwives that deliver at a hospital fairly close to us and was starting to get excited about meeting with them when I thought I'd better first call my insurance company. I was so bummed out after talking to one of the Aetna representatives (who was a bit rude) and ended up crying in the bathroom at work. However, just this morning I heard from one of the midwives, who told me they did indeed work with my insurance company and that it was actually illegal for my insurance company to tell me that midwives weren't covered. They are very interested in talking to my insurance company now. She also told me that my first appointment would be free that way I could decide whether or not I want to switch to their practice. So, I'm calling today!

This may be my last baby, I hope not, but if it is I want the chance to deliver naturally with a midwife and not have to worry about fighting with the hospital staff over whether or not I can eat or drink, have to wear a monitor, can walk around, etc. Plus after reading all the stats on medical birth in the U.S. (we have the second highest maternal/infant mortality rate of all industrialized countries), I feel much safer with a midwife.

Also this week we discovered that the crib we were saving up for will not fit in our bedroom. So I had to cancel the mattress I'd just ordered for said crib, and now we're thinking of going with a mini-crib, which will very tightly fit into the space at the foot of our bed. I couldn't find any good eco-friendly options for the mini-crib, not like the Pacific Rim Crib I was saving my pennies for, but I did find a great organic cotton and wool mattress for it. The nice thing about the mini crib is that it converts to a twin size bed, which will save us money down the road.

This week was also the week I returned to work after a few refreshing days in Tennessee. It's always so hard to come back, and while I was gone one of my very favorite co-workers moved to California. I didn't even get a chance to say a proper good-bye to her, and I already miss her sweet face. She's also from the South, which means one less Southerner working at my library (There are only 6 of us out of 70 people). Cheryl, if you're reading this, you are sorely missed around here. Our knitting circle isn't the same without you.

T took these photos yet again at our favorite park. I always love it when Mr. S ends up in the background.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Yarn-Along

Yarning along with Ginny from Small Things again this week...

On and Off the Needles:
Finished up my first Puerperium, and I love every minute of it. If my mother hadn't already knitted me up a bunch I'd make a few more. Now to find the perfect buttons. I had 3/4 of a skein of Silky Merino left over, and so I started the Modern Baby Bonnet from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies. All I have left is the button band and some seaming and I'm done. See Rachel's version for more inspiration. This week I also started making a pair of Tiny Trousers from the same vintage knitting book and using some more anniversary yarn from Hilltop Handspun. These are knitting up so super-fast that I think I'll make a few more pairs to serve as longies. This will be my first time cloth diapering, but I imagine I'll use longies just as much as regular soakers since my babe is due in the winter.

Off the Bookshelf: Reading the new Poets & Writers, which is full of great articles as always. I look forward to every issue. I've also been flipping through Simple Sewing for Babies a lot lately, contemplating my first real sewing project, which I think will be a new nursing pillow since my old one is kind of dingy. But I'm also wanting to make some pants and bloomers. This is a great beginner sewing book, and I'm hoping husband will help me get started this weekend (hint, hint husband). The Barbara Kingsolver I'd started before vacation has fallen by the wayside. I may pick it up later when I'm ready to dive into a long, involved novel.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Tennessee

More evidence of our wonderful little vacation in Tennessee, where we enjoyed the flora and fauna...

...camped in Grandie and Grandpa's yard (until a certain little boy became too scared to stay outside any longer, at which point we had a slumber party in my parents' basement)...

...grilled hotdogs (veggie in my case), roasted marshmallows and ate lots of watermelon...

...hiked and enjoyed being far away from the madness of the city.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More from TN

On our last day in Tennessee we met T's family and spent a full morning and afternoon at the Knoxville Zoo. We were happy to see everyone again, and Seamus had a lot fun playing with his cousins.

We've been to a lot of zoos, but the Knoxville Zoo still remains our favorite, surpassing Turtle Back Zoo and the Central Park Zoo (however that may change since we've yet to visit the Bronx Zoo). Knoxville's zoo is fairly large with exotic animals like an albino alligator and classic zoo animals like lions, elephants, giraffes and rhinos.

The exhibits are well-designed and there's lots of hands-on stuff for little ones, plenty of tree shade and a water misting system that runs throughout the zoo to keep everyone cool.

S loved playing the mist, and was soaking wet for most of the day.

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