Tuesday, April 29, 2008

family health stuff


There is no place in the baby book for "baby's first bloodwork."

According to our pediatrician, because of all the crap toys from China, it is now a NY state law that all children be tested for lead exposure at ages 1 and 2. We had Daughter tested at 1 because we live in an old house and don't know exactly what lurks within our walls. But back then she didn't know what was going on so it was only mildly traumatic (for all of us). They enacted this law after Daughter's 2nd well-check, so the doctor said we have to do the second test now.

(She also said they never see lead contamination from crappy toys in the area where we live because people are fairly well-off, as opposed to in the city or poorer areas where kids play with cheaper toys. But whatever. Due to my in-laws we have seen a few dollar-store toys enter our home, much to my chagrin. Moving on.....)

We got the order a week ago, but as fasting was required, I had to schedule an early morning appointment and couldn't get in until today. Plus Hubs had to come with us to hold her. I mentioned to her last week that she was going to have a turn at 'the lab,' which she understands because she comes with me once a month to get my thyroid bloodwork done. She didn't like that idea at all, even when I promised treats. In fact, she screamed in my face, "I don't need any treats, and I don't need any pokes!"

So I didn't mention anything else about it. This morning we scooped her out of bed, threw some clothes on, and took her to the lab. She figured we were there for me, but when we got into the room she willingly sat in the big chair with Daddy. I told her in cheerful! tones! that it was her! turn! for a test!

And she was totally cool. She hugged her favorite stuffed friends in one arm and stuck the other one straight out. Hubs held her around the waist while I held her arm straight, and the phlebotomist quickly stuck the needle in her arm while Daughter watched. She did not even flinch! Nothing! 3 little tubes of blood later and she was cheerfully showing off her bandaid to anyone who would look.

"That was a good poke, Mommy! Let's go get a donut!"

Yes, my dear. A donut, indeed. And a shot of whiskey for mommy. (I kid.)


In other news, my allergy problem has apparently left my body unable to ward off germs. As of Sunday morning I felt a cold beginning to settle in my throat. Now it's become a full-fledged chest cold with wheezy breathing and a hacking cough. I'm going to just go for the full whine here and say I feel like crapola. Really, really lousy. My nose is red and raw from all the allergy-related blowing and wiping, and the rest of the skin on my face has that tight, sore, dry feeling you get when you're sick, know what I mean? Ugh.

My OB is of the opinion that no cold medicine is good for pregnancy except for tylenol and sudafed, but they mean the junky sudafed they sell on the shelf that has no good active ingredients in it (as opposed to the good stuff you get behind the pharmacy counter where they take your drivers license, for pete's sake). Worthless! So I'm sipping hot (decaf) tea with big teaspoons of honey for my throat and coughing till I gag. I treat myself to one (1) Halls cherry cough drop per day when I figure I'm feeling the worst, because if people used to drink and smoke and still give birth to healthy babies I figure a few throat lozenges won't do any harm.

Baby is thrilled with all this coughing and is registering his disapproval with roundhouse kicks to my internal organs. I'm just praying I don't wet my pants. Yeah, I said it.


Friday, April 25, 2008

baby gift

I've finally just about finished up this baby gift for the girl who cuts my hair (I have trouble calling her "my hairdresser" - does anyone under 50 use that expression anymore?). I bought the stuff back in February before my last cut, thinking I'd complete the set for her back then, but HA. Fate had other plans for me and my nausea and tiredness were still in full force. Luckily she still has a month to go and is still working, so I will deliver these things tomorrow at my appointment.

Sorry if this picture gives anyone vertigo...it certainly makes me feel dizzy. I didn't mean to hit such a strange angle. I was in a hurry because Daughter is awake from nap in her bed and I want to get this posted quickly before she's up and around. Anyway, here's the whole set. Blanket, sweater, pants.

I don't remember the pattern I used for these, but I've made them seven thousand times and posted them here. Any basic pull-on baby pants pattern will give you the same result. These are a size small, which I am hoping corresponds roughly with twelve months. The fabric is a sweet flannel print I got at Joann's during a recent sale (well, back in February, I guess). The pants are completely finished with french seams and double-turned hems/casing because my serger is currently dead.

The sweater: Knitting Pure and Simple neck down cardigan in 12-month size. I have made this pattern so many times I can practically knit it in my sleep. Just a fabulous, fabulous pattern for a little kid sweater. Yes, I know, there are no buttons. They are here in my knitting bag and will be sewn on tonight. The yarn is wool-ease in, I believe, denim. I love wool-ease for baby sweaters because it's both warm and totally easy care. Needles: US 7 and 8. The color is a bit washed out here, but the light is funny today. It's really a bit darker blue. More like...denim. Imagine that.

And the blanket. Acres and acres of stockinette and seed stitch. When I cast this bad boy off I did a victory lap around the house. SO BORING! It is supposed to be a hooded blanket but I just can't bring myself to do it. Instead it is approximately a 28" square plain blanket, enough said. This was made with one of those "pound of love" skeins from Lion Brand, two strands held doubled, knit on US 10.5 needles. It's fairly heavy and warm, but drapes nicely because of the huge needles used to knit it. I have to say, I LOVE this little blanket, but I won't be making one for my own baby. Too mind-numbing. The colorway is also denim or maybe faded denim, so it coordinates nicely with the sweater, and the pattern came right from the ball band. Easy peasy, and can I just say this? Only $5. Do you know what Baby Gap would charge for a blanket like this? Sometimes it pays to know how to make stuff.

In fact, just for funsies, the whole outfit plus blanket only cost...hang on, I'll do the math...$4 for the sweater, $1.50 for the pants, and $5 for the blanket. $10.50 for the whole ensemble!?! I'm not trying to be cheap here, but hello, it's nice to be frugal and give a fairly nice gift all at the same time. Sometimes sewing and knitting for children really can save you money (as opposed to sewing for adults, which usually breaks the bank in my opinion).

Oh, and yeah, she is having a boy. Which is lucky, because I bought all the stuff before I knew that!

Aaaaaaand, happy day, I actually have enough flannel to make these same pants for my own baby! I loves me some frugality! What color sweater should I make to go with them? Would red be too obnoxious, to go with the little lion manes? I think I have some red in my stash.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

brain dump

Thanks for the kind birthday wishes for Daughter. She had a lovely birthday and received many fun gifts (I have played enough Candyland and Memory over the past 4 days thankyouverymuch), though she did not like when we sang the birthday song. She told us so after everyone was gone. And again the next day. Oh well, she comes by that honestly. Neither her father nor I enjoy being the center of attention, so it makes sense that she does not.

And aside from the freak 88 degrees we reached on Saturday, the weather has been perfectly perfect for the past week. Low 70s, abundant sunshine, everything bursting into bloom. Unfortunately my allergies are also bursting into bloom, and as of right now I can't quite open my eyes all the way. This morning my husband helpfully observed that I look stoned. Awesome! Just the image I want to project. I tried to put some makeup on to cover the purple undereye circles, but my skin feels like tissue paper and it actually hurt to pat on cover-up. So I guess I'll just have to look stoned for the time being. In addition, my ears, throat, nose, and mouth itch constantly and frankly, it's making everyday living pretty taxing. And no, I haven't taken any medication because I can't. I'm not allowed. Why not?

Because I'm 21 weeks pregnant, kids. Yep, this is the official announcement. And dudes, it's a boy. I'm just a wee bit freaked out by this news because hello, we have no boys in our family (I have two sisters). I hesitate to even post this news right now because I'm so scared of something going wrong, but it's not like I can keep it a secret forever. As of right now everything looks fine - the placenta is a tad low but not over the cervix, and I have had absolutely no symptoms of placenta previa so my doc is not worried - and baby is a-kickin' day and night. I have bloodwork for my thyroid issues once a month and my medication is being adjusted accordingly, so here's hoping things will work out right this time. Please, if you think of it, say a prayer for our son-to-be.

Due to my fear of jinxing myself, I have not been knitting or sewing anything for the wee lad. Not only have I been too tired and queasy (though that has mostly passed), but I also have no money due to the rising cost of EVERYTHING. Ay-yi-yi, every time I go out I see that gas prices have increased by like, at least 6 cents each time! (Most recently I saw $3.65 for the lowest grade.) What is the deal? We live in the sticks so I have to drive a fair distance to get almost anywhere...so we go to playgroup, a once-weekly trip to the supermarket, and usually a once-weekly trip to grandma's house. Otherwise we're homebound. LAME! Thank goodness there is a playground at the end of our street, or else we'd be insane by now.

Also, we are entering a new state of somewhat extreme frugality in our house because last week we purchased a new car. Wheee! The lease on Hubs' car was up, and while a car was ok for him, we did have at least one incidence of it getting stuck in the driveway after a heavy snowfall. So as it was my turn for a new vehicle, we chose another 4-wheel-drive SUV. I know, I know, that is so stupid in this economy, but we have a basic philosophy regarding the vehicle I drive, and it is this: as long as I am driving small fry around in a wintery environment, I will drive a brand-new car that has 4-wheel-drive capability. I realize that flies in the face of what many people believe about buying cars, but this is what we believe works for us. I will not say exactly what we got, but I will say we chose the 0% financing option which unfortunately is a 36-month payoff. Yes, we have to pay for this car in 3 years. It's going to be kind of painful, but not unmanageable. We're both so sick of sending interest out the door every month, and since my old jeep is paid off, Hubs is driving that to work, and we've taken on a large payment. On purpose. Hopefully in 3 years we will have 2 fully-paid-for vehicles in decent shape and can enjoy a little time with no car payments at all.

Oh, we also began contributing a chunk of Hubs' paycheck to his 401k a few weeks ago, so that changes things even more around here. But it's a necessity as we'd like to have some funds when we retire.

As a result of all this insanity, I spent several days (literally) working up a new budget for our family. I have always clipped coupons and shopped sales, but I'm now becoming a complete freak about it. Grocery shopping used to be one of my favorite activities, but now it's become a huge challenge to get everything we need at a reasonable level of spending. Add gas expenses to that, and the mortgage, our stupid, stupid student loans, and utilities...well, let's just say I'm constantly checking my spreadsheet and filling in numbers to make it all work. Hubs is taking lunch to work each day to help out, and I've cut out almost all hobby spending - my only recent purchases have been fabrics/notions for my bridesmaid dress and Daughter's flower girl dress for my sister's wedding. And due to Joann's awesome recent sale, I only spent $21 on all that. Anyway, our main goal right now is to leave our savings untouched, and in fact still save a tad each week, while also paying all the bills (I've mentioned this before, but it's worth re-telling: we use a credit card, but we pay it each month and never carry a balance).

So I may post occasionally about things relating to frugal living, just to keep myself honest. It's hard because I'm the home finance person. Hubs makes the money but I do almost all the spending. It's kind of a huge responsibility, when you think about it. But I've become really adept at working the sales, and I'm turning into a rebate queen as well. It might bleed into the blog because it's a big part of my life right now. We're working hard to create a more comfortable life for ourselves in the future, and we're doing the belt-tightening now, while Daughter is small and doesn't know the difference between W*Mart and Gymboree.

So that is my brain dump for today. There are some projects in the works...my hands have remembered how to knit, and I've been sewing a bit as well (some new things for the etsy shop, finally). I hope to get back into posting something interesting quite soon.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

birthday girl

Not quite sure how we went from this:

To this:

But I can tell you that it's happened in the blink of an eye. How can 3 years go by so fast?

Happy birthday, sweet girl. You are the light of my life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

drive by

Hello! Very busy! Just dropping in to assure everyone I am alive and kicking.

Back soon with real content!

Oh wait, there's this!

We visited a working dairy farm this morning. Guess what? Even if you don't touch anything, you still come home stinking like cow poop! I'm getting in the shower now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

she knits!

Check it out...for the first time in, what, 3 months? Knitting makes an appearance on this blog!

Yes, I still do play with sticks and string. I don't know what my problem has been, but ever since I finished Killeany, I haven't felt any urge to knit. I've tried, but every time I've picked up a project it's felt wrong in my hands. I couldn't get into a rhythm and kept tossing things aside. Sewing has captured my attention more than knitting, so I gave in and did that instead.

But for some reason, now that spring is springing, I have this insane urge to knit stuff. I know, it makes no sense. Warm weather ahead** - get out the wool! Weird.

What you see above are 3 of the 6 or so projects that are started and in various states of completion (in addition are a shawl I started a year ago, and two socks). The large blue rectangle is a baby blanket for a wee boy soon to make his appearance. The girl who cuts my hair is expecting in about 6 or 7 weeks. She is a friend and also my former boss's daughter, so I felt compelled to make her something. The blue sweater is also for her baby, and is just the Knitting Pure and Simple top down cardigan in a 12-month size. I like to make slightly larger items for baby gifts because I figure people will always get lots of teeny clothes, but then have nothing for when the babe is growing. Also, since he is to be born in May, he won't need wool sweaters until next winter, so it makes sense to do a larger size. The blanket is about halfway done, and the sweater just needs sleeves.

The purple bit there is a sleeve. There's a small backstory here: last week when it was still mighty cold here, I told Daughter she needed to put a sweater on because it was freezing in the house. She never wants to wear a sweater, but I told her she could pick out whatever sweater she wanted from her drawer. She liked that idea, and to my amazement she chose Killeany. She has worn that sweater exactly ONCE since I finished it, and it has kind of broken my heart that every time I pull it out and suggest it she tells me she won't wear it. But lo! She chose it herself and I was tickled.

She then went on to tell me how beautiful it is and how much she loves it, but could I make her a purple sweater now?

I actually had some purple yarn set aside to do just that, so I told her I'd be happy to. She happily trotted off to the dining room (where she knows the yarn is kept in a cabinet) and pulled out a dining chair. I asked her what she was doing and she said, while clambering up, "I'll sit here, Mommy, and watch you while you make my purple sweater!"

Bless her little heart.

So of course I had to start her purple sweater. Can anyone guess what pattern I'm using from that little bit of sleeve?

**For the record, it is supposed to snow here next week.

Monday, April 07, 2008

newest frock

Ok peeps, this is going to be a fast one because it is 65 awesome degrees of awesomeness outside and my behind belongs in a lawn chair with a beverage and my knitting right now!

Newest dress for Daughter:

"Why Kate, we did not know you are Amish."

It is a bit puritanical-looking, I suppose. But it is so sweet and soft I don't even care. This is, once again, New Look 6745, size 2. The fabric is brushed denim I picked up at Joann last week (40% off sale, baby!) and I think it took about 2/3 yard or so. Very economical! I felt ok about my big $.99 splurge on the buttons after only spending about $3 on the fabric. :)

Here, the back is a little jazzier than the front:

Daughter picked out these buttons herself, and no, your eyes do not deceive you - they are different colors.

Here's a closeup:

The reason this dress is so plain-jane is because Daughter has several pairs of adorable and brightly colored tights languishing in her drawer, and I wanted to make her a plain denim dress that can be worn with all of them. This should fit the bill nicely. Despite our lovely 60+ degree days right now, we have plenty of chilly spring weather ahead before summer truly arrives, so this dress will definitely get worn right now, and should hopefully still fit in autumn.

Mmmmkay, I'm off to soak up some SUN!

Friday, April 04, 2008

mama's day off

Shhhhhhhhh...listen. Can you hear it?

Can you hear the silence?

I am home alone.

Daughter will be 3 in two weeks and I believe this is the very first time I have been totally alone in my house since she was born.

My mom picked her up this morning, took her on an adventure of some sort, and will be bringing her back for dinner. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I'm fighting the urge to do housework - though I did change the sheets and clear up all the dirty dishes - because this is supposed to be a day off for me. I've traced some patterns and now that I've eaten lunch I'll cut out some garments. I may get some stitching time in today as well.

People, Lord knows I love my child more than anything, and would jump in front of a train for her if need be...but oh my goodness, I am really, really enjoying this day.