Saturday, December 31, 2005

Out of hibernation: a photo essay, part II

Later on Christmas morning we went over to visit with Tim's family, where happy, mass hysteria ensued.

Nate, however, managed to find a quiet moment to read his new dinosaur book.

In the relatively quieter days that followed, I was able to make slightly more progress on a few projects. I finally felted these hats that I had knit in October. The green one was meant for Hattie,

and the purple one for Charlotte. I had made the circumference on Charlotte's so big that I had to pleat it to get it anywhere near hat size. Now they both fit me perfectly, however, so I'm thinking that I may need to run them back through the washing machine another time to see if they'll shrink more to get them anywhere near toddler size. And yes, that is a balloon sitting in a bowl that they're drying on.

Yesterday we went over to my sister's for a visit. This is a picture of everyone wearing Nate's sweaters through the ages. Hattie is on the Big Wheel that Grandma and Grandpa gave her for Christmas. She can't really ride it yet, but that hasn't stopped her from getting around on it.

Another picture of the girls before we left for Aunt Anne's.

Today I got caught up on almost all of my holiday baking! Only a week behind! I made the dough for these ginger cookies over a week ago and only today got a chance to roll them out. Accordingly, while I cut out some cookies in holiday shapes, I felt free to use a variety of other cookie cutters. If you look closely, you'll see the United States, a football helmet, a couple of dinosaurs, a lion, and a polar bear, in addition to some more traditional shapes. The lion was in honor of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which Nate and I went to see the other day. We finished reading all the Chronicles right around Thanksgiving, so it was a fun outing for us. We really enjoyed the movie!

And more cookies. The holidays at our house apparently include a fish, a triceratops and a mammoth (LOVE the mammoth, even if he is a pain to get onto the cookie sheet in one piece). This is not, however, a shot of the sheet that slipped in my hand as I was taking it out of the oven. And of course it was the sheet with no sides, so the cookies slipped right off. Fortunately I was able to both curtail my expletives and save most of the cookies, as Hattie was standing right there watching. She was very concerned that I was hurt, but felt much better after I gave her a broken cookie.

And finally, some buckeyes for Tim. I had been promising him that I would make them since before Christmas. So all hail the New Year's Buckeyes!

Happy New Year, everybody!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Out of hibernation: a photo essay, part I

No, we have not fallen off the face of the earth. Rather than whine about how busy we've been, I thought I would show you instead. (This is all from the first week I didn't post -- I was going to put everything in one huge post, but either I can't figure it out or Blogger only allows so many pictures per post, because for some reason it cuts me off here. So the next post will be a continuation.)

In the week before Christmas, we all got sick (fortunately no pictures of that), we got better, and then we went to see Hattie in her school program. The program was very cute and well performed. The two-year-olds, however, were so far in front that they were in the dark. So unless you happened to be sitting in the front row, on the correct side (which we weren't), you were unable to watch your particular child sit there and not sing. I did run over to the other side to get a quick shot to preserve the moment. This is the best I could do from behind a solid wall of moms, ten deep, who were completely blocking the aisle.

Then on Christmas Eve we went out for our traditional nice lunch with my family. Somewhat limited by the number of restaurants that were open for an early lunch that day (1), we ended up at a place decorated as if it were somewhere in Europe during World War II. It was fun for the kids because it's located at the end of a runway to a small airport. And there were very few other people there, so we had the place almost to ourselves. Overall, a very enjoyable afternoon.
Here Nate and Hattie are mugging for the camera in part of the decor. Hattie looks almost too comfortable and at ease there in the driver's seat for a two-year-old.

All the kids piled on Dad after lunch.

Walking out to the car afterwards -- Charlotte with Daddy and Hattie with "Unco Weeow and Anne Ant."

That same day I finished Hattie's stocking. Yay! Now every member of the family has his or her own stocking! It only took me ten years.

The next morning was Christmas morning. We all got some great presents.

Among Hattie's favorite gifts were 1) a necklace, 2) a stepstool painted like a tiger, and 3) a hairclip shaped like a penguin. Here she is, modeling all three. And yes, that is a hole in the toe of her pajamas because they were handed down to her from her sister, but they all three got new pajamas from us this year.


To be continued.......


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Speech Notebook Wednesday

Here's this week's Speech Notebook entry:

And last week's, since I was too busy trying to function to blog:

In other events of note today, Nate wrote some thank you letters for his birthday presents


(Charlotte also did some "writing").

And my grandmother had her 100th birthday. We talked to her on the phone, but it was hard for her to figure out who we were with no context. Still, we wished her a very happy birthday and told her we were thinking about her and that we loved her. It's got to be hard to reach that age and lose so much of what made you vital for so many decades. She's not in very good health these days, so I feel like the best we can do at this point is wish her peace. Happy Birthday, Grandma. We love you.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Decorating

Hoo boy. Take one husband out of town, three small children, one large dog, and a crazy schedule, and you'll find that blogging ends up very low on the list of priorities.

Even with Mom here to help out, it's been a week of very short tempers, too little sleep (both the kids and me), falling asleep at stoplights (me), and the capper, the night I took the dog out right before the kids' baths, and was unable to locate his deposit in the pitch dark so I could pick it up. Grumpy and frustrated, I gave up and went in to give the kids their baths. I walked around the first floor a little and that's when I found his deposit. On the BOTTOM OF MY SHOE. In every possible crevice of my oh-so gripping sneakers. And now in many other places as well -- in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the dining room ON THE CARPET. You get the picture. Disgusted beyond measure, I scrubbed everything in sight while cussing an unbelievably blue streak. The poor dog was in disgrace for two days, even though he didn't really do anything he shouldn't have done, except maybe poop in the darkest spot in the yard. Fortunately Mom had started the kids' baths, as I was too busy going into conniptions until I cleaned everything up the best I could.

But we did manage to put the Christmas decorations up before Tim left. First, the tree.

Then, a few days later, the wreath. The only portion of it I can take credit for is the red berries that have been jammed into an already beautiful wreath. You will also notice that there is no bow on this wreath. That is due to my complete and utter lack of ability to make a decent bow. So I have opted for the minimalist approach this year, at least as far as wreaths are concerned.

Usually my Christmas decorating attempts look like this:

a scrawny, fake garland that has been inexpertly arranged on some structure, adorned with semi-resurrected bows that someone made for me in a previous year. This year I stopped before I ruined it further by attaching fake fruit that doesn't match.

However, I was not as restrained when it came to the banister:

not a very bright picture, but apparently we live in a place where pinecones, red berries, and grapes all grow on the same pine boughs! And again, no bows.

Tim came home Friday night, and it took me all day yesterday to start to function semi-normally again. Today he took extreme pity on me and took the kids over to Grandma and Grandpa's for the morning until after lunch. I spent all day working on his stocking, which I finally finished.

Even though this is the 10th Christmas we've been married, he's always had to use the boyfriend stocking, which is a non-specific stocking purchased at a grocery store many years ago that we used whenever someone's boyfriend came over for Christmas.

I have a stocking that my mother and grandmother made for me when I was very small, and I've used it ever since. For some unknown reason I was unable to find the time to make Tim a similar one in the years after we were married but before we had kids. And after we had kids, I made one for them, always meaning to make Tim's next. That accounted for the next 5 years, and last year we were within a month of moving when Christmas came around, so he is just now getting his own stocking.

Here's mine, which is 40 years old now!

And the one I made for Nate a few years ago.

Charlotte's was the last one I finished. Her birthday is on Epiphany, commonly regarded as the day the Wise Men made their appearance, so I had to go with the Nativity scene on hers. If you notice a striking resemblance between this design and the pictures in her Speech Notebook, that would be because I designed this myself. Without the benefit of clip art, which would have been the sensible way to do it. I prefer to think of it as 'primitive art.'

And you may be thinking, where is Hattie's? I only started hers today and it isn't finished yet. But it's a pretty simple design, and therefore a lot closer to being done than you might think. In a couple of days we all could have finished stockings for the first time ever! I ran out of navy felt, so I'll have to resume after a trip to the closest Michael's.

Monday, December 05, 2005

"Hmmm. Slacking off, I am."

Yoda -

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life greets it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.


Flattering, if nothing else.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Speech Notebook Wednesday

Finally, another Speech Notebook Wednesday! This one covers Thanksgiving. The interesting color scheme (purple, midnight blue, bright orange, green, and a weird brown) is due entirely to the limited number of crayons that were lying on the kitchen counter 5 minutes before the bus arrived.

And one more, since we missed the week before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mealtime Antics

As if dealing with mealtime wasn't enough of an issue now that we have to take Hattie's situation into account, the aggravation factor was multiplied today by the fact that The Terrible Twos are in full force at our house.

At breakfast we had the first catastrophe --

Me: Hattie, would you like a banana?
H: Yes.
Me: Here, I'll peel it.
H: NO! NO! NO! ME PEEL IT!!!!!
Me: Okay, here. I'll just start it for you.
H: NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! ME PEEL IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(while peeling it unconventionally, half the banana breaks off and falls onto her plate)
H: UH OH! 'NANA FALL DOWN!
Me: That's okay. Here, I'll take the peel away.
H: NO! DON' WANNIT!!!! NO WAN' 'NANA!!!!! BROKEN!!!!!
(followed by 15 minutes of weeping and much gnashing of teeth)
(and then, finally, by the eating of the aforementioned banana with visible enjoyment)

At lunch it was a different crisis --

Me: Hattie, would you like cheese or peanut butter?
H: P'nut butter.
Me: Okay. I'll get the crackers.
H: NO! NO CRACKERS! BREAD! WAN' SAMMICH!
Me: Okay. You want a peanut butter sandwich.
H: Yes.
Me: Okay. Here you go.
H: NO! NO SAMMICH! CRACKERS!!! CRACKERS!!! CRACKERS!!! CRACKERS!!! (and so on for 15 minutes)
(At this point I must say I lost my cool.)
Me: No crackers! I asked if you wanted crackers and you said no. The sandwich is already made, so that's what you'll be having.
H: NO! NO SAMMICH! CRACKERS!!! AAUUGGHHHHH! CRACKERS!!! AAUUGGHHHHHH!
(followed by the forceful pushing away of the plate and then shortly by the tearful eating of said sammich)
H: WAN' MOAH! (we have no idea where she got that Boston accent)
Me: More what? What would you like more of?
H: MOAH PETZZLS! MOAH SAMMICH! MOAH BAPPLE!
Me: Your whole lunch? You want another whole lunch?
H: Yes.
Me: How about some more apple? Would you like some more apple?
H: Yes.
Me: Okay. Here you go.
H: NO! NO BAPPLE! DON' WANNIT!!! (apple is thrown overhand across the table)
At this point I rolled my eyes for the last time, put the neatly peeled and prepared apple back into the container and lunch was over.

At snacktime --

I tested her blood sugar after her nap and she was low, signifying that she needed a snack that would quickly get into her system. Usually we use apple juice for this.
H: WAN' SNACK!
Me: Okay. Here's some juice.
H: NO! NO JUICE!! DON' WANNIT!!
Me: (increasingly desperate) Can't you drink this juice for me, Hattie? Have this juice.
H: NO! DON' WANNIT!!
Me: (really desperate now) Here, have these Teddy Grahams. And here's your juice. (which she did end up drinking about half of)

Tim says she gets that gene from MY side of the family.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Aftermath

We all made it this far through the Thanksgiving weekend, thanks in no small part to the HUGE efforts of my mother, who once again came through in the clutch. With her help we were able, despite being sick ourselves and having an intimidating list of new diabetic duties, to put Thanksgiving together for our nearest and dearest.

We ate incredibly well,

and made an incredibly large mess.

Tim and Nate bonded at a basketball game,

and there was a little 'Mary Poppins'-watching going on, too.

But I was not totally unproductive. We are all, Hattie included, gradually coming to terms with living with diabetes. All things considered, we are lucky that it's not worse. Yes, we may have to change some daily habits and introduce new ones, but we feel much better after talking to other people who have been living with it for years. It's still a little scary, but not nearly as scary as it was in the beginning.

I was even able to find the time to knit this apple hat, which turned out to be a beanie rather than the kind of hat that can keep your ears warm. I'm thinking I'll tweak the pattern slightly on the next one.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Priorities

Wednesday afternoon I took Hattie to the doctor so they could "check her out" since she had been so thirsty lately. We ended up being admitted to the children's hospital immediately.

An hour later she had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as "juvenile onset."

Fortunately we had caught it early enough that she hadn't gone into ketoacidosis. Too frequently parents find out that their child is diabetic only after a trip through the ICU. So we avoided that, but not the two-day hospital stay. Hattie will now be insulin-dependent for the rest of her life.

After the initial bone-jarring impact of hearing the diagnosis, Tim and I have been focused on educating ourselves about the disease, the symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycemia, and the various treatments that will now become second nature to us all. Even Hattie is quickly becoming accustomed to half a dozen or more fingersticks and a minimum of 5 insulin shots daily.

As our vision clears and the dust settles, we are finding that there is a strong support network for families living with diabetes. Our families are doing everything they can to help. And we are assured that with proper management of her blood sugar she can expect to live a normal and full life. While it will be a challenge initially to figure out exactly how she is feeling and what her schedules will be since she is only 2, eventually all the processes associated with managing diabetes will become so commonplace for her that as a teenager and adult she should have no trouble keeping up with them all. And research continues, so who can say how many advancements will have been made 20 years from now?

Panic and fear by themselves, while sometimes unavoidable, are not as helpful when trying to reach an objective. It is the redirection and application of their energy that helps you achieve your goal.

Our first priority is keeping Hattie healthy, and we are directing all our energy towards that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Gorgeous days

We lucked out and the weather was beautiful in Charlottesville while we were there. We took the requisite tourist shots,

went to the football game (some of us took a little nap),

while Nate met Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot. Buzz made Nate take off the Virginia hat he had on on top of the Georgia Tech hat.

Hattie managed to bounce back a quarter or two later.

We also visited Montpelier, home of James Madison, our 4th president. Charlotte particularly enjoyed the acoustiguide, which she treated like a phone. She loved conversing with the narrator!

The Virginia countryside is so unbelievably pretty! See the horses and the Blue Ridge in the background? It does the heart good.

We went to the gift shop, but Hattie preferred to play outside.

Finally it was time to go home, so we packed up the kids' backpacks and headed out.

The day after we got home was Nate's 6th birthday. I cheated on the cupcakes for his classmates by buying them, but I was able to make him a cake.

Happy Birthday, Nate!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Back again

Well, we're back. We had a great weekend, driving up to Charlottesville on Friday, and back today. The trip up was fine, the trip back AMAZING, due almost entirely to the use of our new DVD player (also known as kiddie crack). And down the slippery slope we go.

Too tired now to get the camera for pictures. Too intimidated by Mount Washmore. Dreading the 8 a.m. arrival of our chipper, every-other-weekly housekeeper tomorrow, who will arrive to find every available horizontal surface covered and therefore uncleanable unless I run around and bounce off walls like an over-caffeinated Roomba one room ahead of her. And did I mention that tomorrow is Nate's 6th birthday?

More on our fun trip later. And the birthday!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Going, going,...still going....not gone yet

So what do you do when you have to pack for 5 people for a 4-day trip? If you're like me, you blog! Or surf. Or walk around spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find some marginally useful item. Or do, I don't know what. Not pack.

I have an interesting approach to getting things done. First, I procrastinate as long as humanly possible. Then I fly around in an OCD-inspired frenzy. It's quite a sight, seeing someone procrastinating AND in a frenzy. But it's an approach I've mastered over the last 30 years. (Just ask my mother. How many school reports and projects did I work on at breakfast the day they were due? WAY too many.)

Logically, it would seem that this might not be the most effective method. And yet, everything gets done! (Mostly.) (Well, the important stuff.) Any rational mind would realize that if you do things properly and steadily, without getting sidetracked, you get to stay sane and get everything done without stress.

But the stress! That's what gets the work done! And also what makes you take blood pressure medication!

And anyway, Tim said that he doesn't want to leave before midnight, which gives me two more hours. (Aha! The source of the current procrastination -- the deadline is not near enough!)

The source of all this angst is our trip to Charlottesville, VA, where we are going (in a few hours) for the UVA/Georgia Tech football game. What with varying degrees of pregnancy/bedrest/new babies over the past few years, we haven't been to this particular away game since 1997, we think. So now we are taking a long weekend to visit Charlottesville in the fall.

Our most recent strategy for long trips (last year we drove to Maine for Thanksgiving from GEORGIA. With 3 kids, age 4 and under. We were INSANE.) is to put the kids and Tim to bed at a reasonable hour while I continue to pack. Once everything is packed in the car, the last thing we put in is the kids, in their PJs. Tim drives, I sleep. At least in theory.

Last year Tim brought along some Dramamine to give to the kids "to make them sleep." I was self-righteously horrified that he would even think of drugging our children just to make the trip more pleasant. Four hours of solid screaming later by a minimum of one child, more likely, two at a time, I was digging like a dog through our bag, yelling, "Where is that goddamned DRAMAMINE?"

So I am hoping that now that everyone is a year older, things will go more smoothly. But I am bringing along the Dramamine, just in case.

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

With embellishments


Flowers - prefelted
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
Flowers, etc., that I made, also to felt, and then apply to hats. I'm having such fun making the embellishments that I thought I'd make several, felt them, and then just see what goes best on which hat.

Have to apologize for the back room-type photos. If I had been on the ball, I would have taken the pictures while it was still light outside.

Still, maybe the craptastic quality of these shots will make the 'after' pics that much more attractive. Hmmm.

Hats


Hats - prefelted
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
Finally finished both hats for Charlotte and Hattie. These look odd and out of shape because they haven't been felted yet.

With luck they'll be cute little hats when they're done.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Boots


Does anyone else ever do this? Go through a catalog and pick out everything you would buy if money were no object?

Well, I've just run up an imaginary tab of $1,879 from the most recent Sundance catalog. And that's only counting boots. Well, and a couple of sweaters and skirts to wear the boots with.

The boots I like are the Harness Boots, the Range Riders (in chocolate nubuck), the Haight-Ashbury boots, in black, the Hometown Hiking boots, the Pompano boot, and the Ruffle Top boot, in both black leather and chocolate suede. That would be size 6 and a half (occasionally 7), Euro size 37, and kids' size 5.


To go with this great stable of boots, I'll be needing a Toasty Tweed or Marled Turtleneck sweater, with a long denim or blue floral skirt.

Now all I need is a home on the range, a couple more dogs, some horses to ride, and an old pick-up truck, and I'll be all set.