Monday, 25 May 2009

Life in the fast lane

Life with a newly mobile child is exhausting. Everything must (and should) be explored. Once explored, it must (and should NOT) be tasted. Or ingested. Right now, I've earned a moment to update by putting Sweet Pea at my feet, and distracting her with a tape measure. Because she only wants to play with it if it's not actually a toy.

New developments:
We now clap our hands, climb stairs, walk on our own on purpose!!, and say bye-bye.
She has finally discovered that walkers are good for walking with. She does endless laps around the main floor with them. Actually, she prefers one over the other . . . whatever.

Owl. In a sweater. With a hat.
Inspired by one I saw on Ravelry. Pattern is actually a ball, which you embellish to suggest an owl.
Made up of leftovers from other stuff. Given away as a birthday gift. Along with this:

It's a mustache for your fingers! That's the pattern name. I would call it a finger 'stache . . . and I did!!
Super fun, fast, and a big hit. I'm going to have to make more, I suspect.

Hats: A bunch of them. Most without patterns. Behold, my prowess!!

Poppy (2 of 'em!)


With limes.

Most bad-ass hat to date!
I love how the fuzziness of the pink is totally juxtaposed with the skull.
Love. I am in it.

The hats are more for the hospital/midwife/doula services pile of donation. I'm up to 14 now, I think.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Mother's Day: I get it now.

I've been savouring the memory of Mother's day. Rolling it over in my mind when I have a rough moment, or feel like screaming. And dudes, I finally get it.

For the past 5 or so years, I've been getting pretty irked around Mother's day. I wasn't a mother myself, and I didn't feel I had required mothering in a fair while. Mother's day, frankly, pissed me right off. I like to think I give my mom the thanks she deserves while the iron is hot, so to speak. Saying thank you, doing little things together, that kind of stuff. Holidays - even Hallmark ones - require a lot of time management, diplomacy and organisation. Spend the right amount of time, the right amount of money, don't favour anyone . . . it's exhausting. Most holidays raise my ire. Hallmark holidays bring me dangerously close to the edge.

Anyway, this year, I was expecting high dramaz around Mother's day. I was expecting heartache and aggravation. And I didn't get any of that.
It began before 6am, when Sweet Pea decided to get up. This was not the high point of the day, btw. I like to think she was just so excited and happy to see me, and get my first Mother's day going.
Let's skip to the good parts:
Mr. Wonderful and Sweet Pea had co-ordinated via telepathy and decided to get me a Lush gift of epic proportions!!
There was a box full of wonderful from my wee girl, and 2 small bags of wonderful from . . . Wonderful!
I showered with this. One of my favourite Lush products. Ever. It was much needed following my early-ass morning.
Our visit with my parents was great. No dramaz, no disasters, we left a little later than we had anticipated.
Our visit with the in-laws was also delightfully drama-free. We left a little later than anticipated once again.
Once we got home and tucked the small girl into her crib, Mr. Wonderful ran me a bath -- with this! The bubbles were up past my ears. Sinful. Decadent. Perfect!! Then, he rubbed my back with this. I was pretty sure I had died and gone to heaven.

And there was plenty more Lush-y goodness where that came from. I still have stuff to use! And I will, one of these days. (This is what's left after a week of indulgence.)

It was all-around, a freakin' great day! I want days like that . . . every day! Now I understand.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Developmental Boom!

I recently heard that once a child crosses the 10 month threshold, their development blossoms. Suddenly (and all at once) they will do new, marvelous things. We are certainly seeing that in Sweet Pea's case.
On her 10 month birthday, she took her first steps. Three of them. I was so proud, I nearly cried! She's only taken 2 steps since then. I don't even think she knows she did it. That said, her cruising is gaining in momentum . . . and reckless-ness. Sometimes it's scary just how far she can get around the house without ever touching a person.

She also claps now. From wherever she is sitting, I will hear the darling little 'pat, pat, pat' of her tiny chubby hands clapping. She's so ridiculously proud/excited about this development. If I clap along with her, she is sure to bust into a huge grin!

She is very brave, and is trying very hard to learn how to do stairs. She will get to the bottom step, pull herself up, and then stand there jumping. It's adorable. She does go down stairs, though only with an adult's help. She does it just like an adult, upright and facing forward. I'm trying to get her to go down like a baby . . but I'm fairly certain she thinks I'm nuts.

Just today she started dancing without holding on to anything. So brave! And so astonishing! She didn't fall down at all while practicing this skill.

She's also practicing sitting down from standing. Does it over and over and over. Sometimes while holding on to something (then she bends her knees), sometimes not (bends at the waist and throws her weight back until . . FLUMP!). She's actually surprisingly graceful in this maneuver.

There's more. I know there's more. But there's just so much more all at once that I can't even keep track of all of it! Because she's now so mobile, and requires constant vigilance, my knitting is suffering terribly. I can't say I mind. I think it's a pretty fair trade! I knit after she goes to bed, anyway.

Other Sweet Pea news:
We're participating in the Statistics Canada National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth. I'm super pumped about this. When I was in university, we looked at data collected in this study from years ago. I know how important participation in these things are. I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to be part of it.
And finally, we have selected a daycare! The wheels are in motion for my return to work. Now, I know what you're thinking - and yes, I do have over a month of leave left . . . I like to be prepared. The daycare is in a local home, run by a PSW. There are 3 other little girls in care there, currently 10 months, 14 months and 2 years. My girl will have peers to play with! (The other girl Sweet Pea's age is only in care for 2 hours a week so that brings the ratio of caregiver to itty wee girls to an acceptable level.) I don't relish the thought of going back to work and losing so much Sweet Pea time, but I do look forward to having adult company. And a reasonable paycheque.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Dissecting a knit. Sort of.

So I'm working on this baby cardigan. The Twinkle Vintage Baby Cardigan. Sadly, only available via Ravelry.
I bought the yummy yarn for it. Casbah. I cast on, and did about 10 rows before I started to have serious doubts. This is the sweater initially meant for the baby due in August. You may have read about it.

Casbah is delightfully soft, and machine washable. The colour I got is enchanting. Unfortunately, It is also 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon. I feel this may be too warm for a summer baby. I knit something different as a back-up for the August baby.
Having done that, I pressed on with the Twinkle Cardi.

I have a confession to make: It is the most fun I have had with a knitting project in a long time. Because I chose my own stitch pattern. And did it inside out!

Here is the yoke in progress. You can really see the depth of the colourway here. Yum!This is what it looks like today. Yoke is done, body is well underway. The stitch pattern I selected is from my Barbara Walker, Volume 1. This is actually the wrong song, called spot stitch, or dot stitch. The right side is called sand stitch.

This is the right side of the stitch pattern (sand stitch). Still pretty, but I thought a bit too garter-y. With the variegated yarn, the stitch pattern is kind of lost when you see the piece in person.

With the dot stitch, you can absolutely see what's going on.

The pattern suggests using stockinette for the body of this cardigan, but I noticed in looking at a few completed projects, the garter button band pulls the st st. I chose this stitch pattern because it still maintains a bit of garter, while looking . . . well, beautiful!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Who doesn't love a yard sale?

I totally typo'd that . . . it said 'yarn sale'.

Anyway, yesterday was town garage sale day. I remained locked up in my home -- for 2 reasons:

1) I don't need anything. No furniture, or nick knacks, or junk. If I were to go out, I would only find things to buy and bring home. In fact, sitting at the window, I saw people driving by with loads of stuff I totally would have picked up. Yard toys. Gorgeous furniture. You name it, I coveted it.

2) It was dumping rain like a sonofabitch yesterday morning. Going out would have meant bringing Sweet Pea along. Bringing Sweet Pea along would have meant loading and unloading her from the car seat. Which would have meant hanging half out of the car in the deluge. No thank you. At one point, there was even hail. Ugh.

The people across the road from us hosted a yard sale. Since Sweet Pea gets up at OMGtooearly these days, I got to see the whole thing. I was surprised at the vast spread of humanity frequenting yard sales. What I was most surprised to see was this:

NOTE: I've been informed these are Mennonites, not Amish. Carry on.
That's right outside my front window. Now, I don't really know why it shocked me so to see the onslaught of Amish . . . (maybe it was the fact that one of them bought a microwave!) I mean, it makes sense, right? They're just people, after all. But I was really thrown by the sheer volume of horses parking in front of my house. And, btw, you can only see 2 buggies in this picture. There were more, I just couldn't get them all in the same frame. For the record: Amish kids in their big bonnets and full skirts? Totally adorable.
The Amish were the first on the scene - they were completely finished by about 8am. Also among the first were the luxury car owners. BMWs, Lexus, Cadillacs . . . not the type I would expect to see at a yard sale. Confidently parking all over the street, in driveways not their own, in front of driveways not their own - then striding with purposeful steps toward the sale, the rain never touching their perfect hair and polished clothing. Usually, they left with nothing.
Mixed in, of course, were the people I expected to see at a yard sale. The regular people. People like me. Who parked where they should. Who wore jeans and sweaters or jackets that looked . . well, worn! With little wrinkles and bits of food on them. They wore shoes that didn't look like they just came out of the box. These were real people. People who actually got wet - the rain not fearing retribution.
It was definitely an interesting excercise in people watching. Sweet Pea agreed. She stood at the window watching and watching. When I took her away from the window, she cried.

Cripes, and now there's knitting content. This is going to be a lengthy post.

Easter Bunny Honey.
On Ravelry Here

I totally made some modifications. The ears, I don't remember what I did. The arms are 4 stitch I-cord. Sweet Pea likes to hold I-cord and swing stuff around by it.

Be vewy quiet! She's hunting Wabbits!

The construction of this rabbit is totally unlike any toy I've ever made before. It's done like a sock, with a heel flap and a gussett. Kind of interesting. The body was an enjoyable knit. The arms and ears went on and on forever.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Well . . .

. . . she's gone.
I'm $167 lighter, and no longer a cat owner. And oddly, I'm kind of fine with that. I think that for the past 9 days I've been slowly saying good-bye, and letting go.

There were tears shed, it's true. But not as many tears as I had expected. I'm willing to bet there will be more tears shed as reality sinks in. Truly, I thought I would be a snotty mess tonight. I'm definitely not.

When I picked her up to put her in her carrier I couldn't help but notice the massive lump where her tummy used to go. Poor kitty! It was bulging. I can't imagine it was very comfortable for her. I bet that's why she was peeing outside her box. I don't even know if she would have made it to Monday and her original appointment, or if we would have been calling an emergency vet on the weekend.

Anyway, it's done now.

Kitten, AKA Bertram B. Cat
March 1, 1992 - May 8, 2009
Vicious, obnoxious, soft and furry.
Cuddled only when she wanted to. As likely to bite as to purr.
Wrecker of shoes, carpet, and various and sundry other things.
Operator of the famed 'cat alarm' (M'owm'owm'owm'ow . . and so on)
Never did catch the laser pointer's light.
Terrorist of the basement - 'no really stranger, I'm very cute and sweet . . . pat me?? BITE!!'
RIP you wretched bitch. I'll miss you. And I'll always love you. And I still don't know why.

She went and did it.

Bert. She made me mad enough to move her 'final' vet appointment to tonight. It was supposed to be Monday. When you pee on Sweet Pea's stuff, I get REALLY ANGRY!!

Dumb cat.

Maybe she did it on purpose. Now I'm not all weepy about putting her to sleep anymore.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Decisions, decisions

Sometimes, being an adult sucks. Like, when you can't sleep until noon anymore, or eat ice cream right before bed. And sometimes it sucks even more. Like when you have to make really heavy decisions. Decisions you want no part of.

The crotchety old lady Sweet Pea is terrorizing in this image is one decision I wish I didn't have to make.
This cat was my 12th birthday present. She is now 17 years old. She is also very sickly.
We took her to the vet this week to have a gnarly growth on her toe looked at. It's hideous. So as not to squick anyone out too badly, I won't post the photo of the toe, but rather a link to it. As it turns out, the toe is the least of the cat's worries. (It's a bit of claw tissue - built up and burst out of the toe after 17 years.)
The vet offered to sedate her, and work the icky toe growth out. Then she discovered a bad heart murmur. No sedation for Bert, she wouldn't wake up again. Over the course of her exam, the vet also uncovered . . . wait for it . . . . a thyroid condition!! Lucky cat! The vet said it is a manageable condition, but she wouldn't suggest managing it due to . . . . The Kidney Tumour! which is apt to flare up and kill her in a rather painful, horrible way with virtually no notice.
So Bert is currently on antibiotics, to deal with the infection in her toe. We were advised that all we can really do is keep her comfortable at this point.
The vet will be calling on Monday to see how the cat is doing with her antibiotic. In that respect, she's doing really well. The infection has cleared up nicely (yes, I know to give her all the pills!). However, she's not been herself since that visit to the vet. She's losing her appetite. This may be a rare side-effect of the antibiotic, or it may be the kidney tumour. In either case, I think it's time to make the decision. I'll be making an appointment to have my 12th birthday present, my long-time companion, frustration, confidante, and lap rug euthanized. I really don't want her to go through the painful death the vet described.
Truth be told, it will be a bit of a relief. Bert has never been what one would call a good cat. She's a pee-er, a biter, fiercely aggressive and highly obnoxious. I think it's her personality that really endears her to me. And I wonder how much of that personality is due to her thyroid, and the tumour she's been harbouring.
I will miss her. I'm sure I'll cry for a few days. Hell, I'm crying now just thinking about it - and she's still sitting in my lap! I know it needs to be done. Her whole tummy is a firm mass. Still, I wish it were a call I didn't have to make.

Another decision I wish someone would make for me:
My return to work. I go back at the end of June/beginning of July. The details keep me awake at night. Will I go back full, or part time? Day or afternoon shift? Miss the day time with my girl, or miss her bed time? A lot of it is dependent upon finding the right daycare. Right now, the plan is that she will go to her Grandma's house. If that remains the plan, then I will go back part time days. If I find a daycare in town that I'm super happy with, I will go back full time afternoons. But then one little thing happens that turns all my planning on its ear. Tonight, Mr. Wonderful is taking some much deserved adult time with a friend of his. He missed Sweet Pea's bedtime. Usually his part in the routine is to change her diaper, and read her a story. Apparently, this is MIGHTILY important to that tiny girl.
I did her whole bedtime routine. She didn't go to sleep at the end, like usual. She sat on my lap and looked around, calling for her dad. Eventually I just put her in the crib, thinking she would fall asleep (she was exhausted). She had a half-hour meltdown! This is a seriously big deal for Sweet Pea who is typically so even-tempered and happy, people ask what drugs we have her on. She was screaming for her dad. Finally the only thing that would chill her out was another nursing session - and that was rough to do what with the sniffling and ragged gasping. When she eventually passed out, I just sat and rocked her for a while . . . wondering what the hell to do. In 2.5 months I'll be back to work -- I don't think I can miss her bed time. So much for my plan of working 1-9, and having 5 hours a day with her before work. Now what do I do?