Monday, December 29, 2008

tagged: favorite ornament(s)

so about 3 weeks ago, michelle wrote this post. we were just putting our tree up at the time and i was trying to take photos when my camera bit the dust.

i ended up using chris's camera but he's in charge of downloading and uploading the images on that camera. so they sat. and sat. and then we feasted and then they sat some more until i really started to complain about it in the past few days. i have at least 3 different posts that i'm preparing to write but they are all heavily dependant on photos. so they were on hold until i got my damn photos. so finally, he did took care of them for me and here we are.

as per the assignment on the spice rack, i wanted to share my a few of my favorites (sorry i can't just share one, i have too many favorites to share only one). and i'm also sorry that these aren't more timely, i really wanted to get this one up before the 25th....

there are MORE actually than the few i'll talk about here, but these are at the top. i'll go in order of their age.

the "pregnant clown" one of my mom's good friends bought this for her when she was pregnant with me. over 32 years ago. (i just had my birthday and i'm just getting used to the fact that i'm THIRTY-TWO jeesh.... anyways). this clown has a big belly, and yarn hair and is really pretty silly looking but the meaning behind it is special and that makes it a favorite.

next up, ribbon angel. she's handmade, with a wooden ball head and a clothes pin as her body, her dress is ribbons and her wings are felt with gold string details and her halo is gold metalic pipe cleaner. her head is droopy. someone gave this ornament to my mom a long time ago, and she gave it to me to put on my little tree that i used to put up in my bedroom as a child. i've had it on my tree since i was a little girl and i've always loved it. it just makes me think of christmas and its modest, simple meaning. she's fragile, so i keep her out of reach from the kids.

third, frosted glass ball, decorated by a dear college friend, leo. leo is one of our best friends. chris was in his wedding last year, we just adore his wife, anne and their little girl, charolotte. leo made this ornament for chris and i while we were all in college. we put a tree up in our house, i lived with chris and two other guys and the five of us all would hang out a LOT. so while home for christmas with his family and his sisters he decorated this ornament for us. it was a craft project that his sisters were doing. he doesn't usually take up these sorts of passtimes on his own :) the ornament has two christmas trees, a snowman and the words: To: Chris, Cara, Blazic, Chi and Pauly (our golden retreiver's name) From: Leo '98' all drawn with metalic paint. i will always put this ornament on my tree, it brings back such fun memories of good times and friends that i just don't want to forget about. the five of us all keep in touch and see each other often.

last but not least, the christmas flip flops. purchased in maui in october 2003 on our honeymoon. fabulous trip, fabulous food, fabulous weather, fabulous sights, a loving companion, a wedding full of love and people who surrounded us with their love as we started such an awesome journey together. these remind me of the good times we've had and the even greater times to come. in the past 5 years together of our "married lives together" we've both changed and grown into such different people but we are always a couple and have gone through these changes together. i wouldn't be the person i am today without chris and i'm pretty sure he would say the same about me. we have two beautiful boys together and i wake up each day excited about playing with them and watching chris play with them. seeing us all grow and learn together is one of the most amazing things to ever witness.

i hope you all had a wonderful christmas with your families and wish you good will in 2009.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a little less bah humbug than last time and some MILESTONES

ok, so some time has passed since my last post. i think we are both a little more into the holiday spirit now and we're able to deal with some of the stress that comes along with this time of the year. i'm done shopping. i do have to pick up a book that i ordered from a small local book store. but that's easy. i still have to wrap it all and bake. OOH, and finish knitting. i'm close. really close. and the pattern is way easy so it's going very smoothly, i just need some extra time to really bang it out.

i finished decorating the house today, the tree is up, and the lights are hung outside. it looks quite festive :) and the kids are really enjoying it. max especially.

on the home front.... let's see, max is learning to sing some christmas tunes! (talk about cute!) andy is also learning some sounds and they are sorta words too. right now he knows three "words" bottle, mama and dada. he still mixes up mama and dada but he's got "ba" down pat! AND!!!! he's walking and it's amazing! he's been cruising for quite some time now and in the past couple of weeks he's been taking one or two steps between chris and i during our "walking practice sessions". but this weekend he really took off! he's now taking a few steps between household objects and even from things into the middle of the room. he gets so excited about it too! it's adorable! he tries to follow max but can't keep up. and he definetly knows that crawling is his most efficient way to get from point A to point B. but he's becoming more and more brave by the minute and that is so much fun to watch. today was his big day and i know that by the end of the week he'll be in full walk mode :) the thought of this makes my cry!

OK, eyes are dry and i can see the computer screen again :)

i'm really looking forward to the next two weeks, i've got a bunch of playdates planned and i can't wait to spend time with my family and watch my kids enjoy the splendor of the holidays. i also have plans with some old friends and i'll get to meet my friend valerie's little girl who is 2 days older than andy. they'll be coming into town the 26th and will be having lunch at our house that day. then friends from ohio will be coming to spend the night on new year's eve. again, i'll be entertaining! i can't wait! i AM on the lookout for some recipe suggestions. anyone have any suggestions? i'm looking for things that are on the simple side. and i'll also take suggestions for sides and apps too ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the true meaning.....

so i'm about to get a little deep here... hope you all don't mind....

today we packed up the kids and took them to the mall in their coordinated shirts to see santa. we got there around 1pm, and santa had just left to take a much needed lunch break..... so... we were forced to walk around the mall. we could have done the easy thing and taken the kids to the play area but it was packed with too many kids and germs and strollers for chris to handle so we went to the bookstore and walked around the mall instead. the book store was empty we killed some time there.... then walked around the malll. we were solicited to a minimum of 3 times. for dumb stuff.... flying helocopters, heated sacks of something.... curling irons, cell phones, the list goes on, you all know what i'm talking about right? you've all been there....

the solicitation and flashing lights, the sounds and smells of the mall are enough to push anyone completely off the edge... i mean, chris and i aren't big spenders, we live pretty modest lives. we drive used cars, i buy most all of our clothing on sale, in fact i usually by most of our household items on sale or at a discount store. the thought of spending money on gifts just because it's what we are supposed to do is just NOT sitting well. we encounter this delema each year..... and each year we end up being quite crabby about the whole process. which is really not how christmas is supposed to feel. right?

i mean, it's just jammed down our throats that we have to spend spend spend on gifts and tips and what-nots when i would so much rather take that money and spend it on my kids or pay some bills or put it into savings.

so once the kids were home and down for their naps, chris and i were enjoying a cup of coffee and discussing the gross and repulsive nature of the mall and the season when we came up with an idea.

a little background first: both of our families are quite small, we each have one sibling and only my brother is married. our kids are the only grandchildren. this year and last year we had decided to pull names for christmas. we each buy for that one person, we have a set limit. last year we just pulled names and went on our merry way. this year on one side we put our names on a slip of paper and listed a few suggestions for whoever pulled our name. on chris's side it had already been discussed that my mil wasn't planning on sticking to the rules of only buying for the person who's name she pulled. she didn't like the concept and is only playing along in theory... even though we told her that we would all prefer that she spend the money on the kids and that we don't need anything. her choice i suppose. however, chris and i are still not comfortable with this process. we both feel like the suggestions we recieved were rediculous and unnessesary. (read: underware and water gobblets.) then, during our conversation, i mentioned how i love to give gifts and i enjoy seeing people open the gifts that i give because i very rarely purchase a gift just to fullfill the void of a gift but i rather give something that i know that person would like. (read: knitted or handmade gifts.) so we have come up with an idea... however i'm not sure how to proceed.

since we've already pulled names in both families i'm not sure how to really bring the subject back up. i HAVE to do it on thursday or else the window will close. but our suggestion is going to be that we each need to scrap any ideas that involve going to the mall or stores. and instead we all need to get creative. i know that i won't have a problem doing this, but i'm nervous for a few family members.... i would like to urge anyone who has already shopped to return gifts and to instead think about the person they are to get something for, think about what they would like and make something. bake something, write something, arange to watch the kids for a night while chris and i have some time alone. ya know? somethings are priceless right?

however i feel like if i suggest this, a few family members are going to think we've either lost it or that we are being cheap. i don't want them to think that..... i just want to bring back the true meaning of the holiday.....

am i wrong to suggest how others purchase their gifts? am i wrong for requesting that people return their store bought items? should chris and i just proceed in this direction ourselves and not worry about how the rest of the family fullfills christmas wishes?

i hate to feel this way during the holidays. i love spending time with our families and it's become such a wonder filled time of the year since having children (max is totally into santa this year btw). i just want it to be stressless and painless and not revolve around shopping and the mall and the horrific and ugly commercially driven monster that it has become.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

curried turkey soup

i've had a few requests for this recipe in the past few weeks, so i thought i would share it here.

i look forward to making this soup with thanksgiving leftovers more than i look forward to the actual thanksgiving meal....

curried turkey soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup minced onion (i keep mine more chopped, i like a lumpier soup i suppose)
4-8 tablespoons flour (this depends on the amount of mashed potatoes used)
5-6 cups turkey or chicken stock, hot
optional ingredients: mashed potatoes, broccoli, asparagus tips, rice.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 generous cup diced turkey (i usually double this)
4 tablespoons minced parsley

in a large stock pot, melt butter stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
add in the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until very translucent.
meanwhile, heat stock in a separate pan or in the microwave.
stir in flour (NOTE: i would start with 4 tbls first depending on if you're using mashed potatoes), cook for 2 minutes then remove pan from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
vigorously whisk in hot stock and return to stove, simmer for one minute continuing to whisk.
if using mashed potatoes, add them 1 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.
stir in cream by spoonfuls, simmering slowly.

season with pepper to taste

stir in turkey and other optional veggies and again bring to a simmer.
sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Friday, November 7, 2008

halloween and a few other things

this is us on halloween! taking photos of more than one family member has become a bit difficult. no one looks at the photographer at the same time! ever... max has decided that he's not keen on having his photo taken regardless of who else is in the photo. so we have to sneak them in while he's not paying attention. it's really bizaare... he used to smile perfectly for the camera, now he hides his face and runs in the other direction. anyways....

halloween was a great time! max really enjoyed it! he especially enjoyed handing out our treats to all the other little kids :) it was super cute! andy did pretty well too!

i've started a new knitting project. i've bought two different kinds of yarn to knit this scarf, plans are in the works for two scarves for two ladies. so far, i'm enjoying the pattern. i also bought yarn for max's winter hat. i suppose i should cast on for that since he's probably going to need a hat before christmas.

this week has been a long week, a stressful week, but i'm glad it's almost over. tonight i'm headed out for drinks with a friend. and tomorrow, my mom is coming to watch the boys while i go shopping for ME! she's decided that she's apparently sick of seeing me in the same old duds... so she gave me a bit of cash to use on ME! and only me! i can't wait! chris will be shooting a wedding while i shop :) then on sunday, weather permitting, we're going to take the boys on a hike then head to my parent's for dinner. should be a fun weekend!

OOH! and i found a babysitter! fun times are ahead with this find! she's super smart, has lots of experience, and the kids really got along with her. she lives a block away too! i had her come over for a little intro with the kids then towards the end of her time with us, i ran a quick errand to the grocery store and left the kids with her. it was perfect! and i can't wait to hire her again!

AND, here's something fun, she crochet's but wants to learn how to knit! she asked if i would teach her! how fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

five years and counting

i'm prefacing this with an apology. my posts have been very very light on the photos lately... my camera is on its last leg and frankly i'm just not excited about using it.... while out of town i used one of chris's new cameras but he doesn't have the images off of it yet so i don't have anything to share.... however even that camera was giving us fits too.... so hopefully some of my photos came out and i'll be able to share them very very soon.

next up: your regularly scheduled blog.....

we're back! our weekend without the kids was spectacular! i missed them heaps but really enjoyed the much needed couple time. we hiked, we relaxed, we ate, we talked (and were not interrupted 27 times during one sentence). it was glorious!

here's a link to where we stayed, it's got the hokiest name ever.... it's called the love nest but we prefer to call it the awesome nest! the awesome nest has a hot tub, a queen sized bed, pool table, fire place, deck, full kitchen and positioned on a very private lot and only sleeps two. it was perfect. it was tastefully decorated and not cheesy in the least bit (as the name might suggest). the owners were very helpful and stayed out of our hair and only helped when needed. we think they lived on the property too but it was a large chunk of land so we never saw or heard from them.

we left thursday around 1 pm and headed to the hocking hills area located just south of columbus, near to athens (ohio u.) and south of lancaster. the drive took us nearly 4 hours, due to a little traffic near lancaster it was about 4:30 and was rush hour i suppose... once we got there, we checked in with the owners and asked about a quick pizza place. we placed our order then had to drive about 15 minutes to pick it up (no delivery to the awesome nest). we also grocery shopped at a nearby local grocery store. we picked up some steaks and veggies for dinner on saturday, some breakfast foods and some munchies.

we got back to the awesome nest, ate our pizza and decided to relax in the hot tub. something we had both been looking forward to for a while. ahhhhhh, it was so enjoyable!

the next day we got up, had some breakfast, took a quick dip in the hot tub and headed out for our day of hiking and exploring. first we headed to cantwell cliffs state park, it was very pretty, the fall color was sorta dull since a lot of their trees had turned then they had a few hard frosts and the color fell but there was still some green left... within the time that we were there, the green leaves turned and were gorgeous by saturday afternoon. after this small hike we headed to the town of logan ohio, it's a small historic town, lots of antiques and a few places to eat. we ate at the spotted owl, we had some good wraps, pretty tasty.

after lunch we headed to rockbridge nature preserve. it was a short hike in until we saw a natural rock bridge that we could actually walk on. quite amazing and not something that you typically see in this part of the country verses oh lets say utah... granted it wasn't as spectacular as natural bridges utah but it was still pretty amazing for southeast ohio.

the weather started to get cloudy and we knew that it was supposed to start raining. so we headed on to our next destination, cedar falls state park. the falls were dry, i guess they had a very dry summer.... the area was very pretty though. it started to drizzle a bit while we were there. on our way to our next stop, it started to full out rain. our next stop, ash cave state park. we put on our coats, had a snack under the back hatch of our jeep and started to walk the path to the cave. wow! what a sight! a huge cave, rock overhang that made a perfect rain shelter. we were only one of a few other families there. the cave was huge though and really could have provided shelter for more than 150 people. the view out of the cave was beautiful too, the color was just perfect, and it was raining. it was really great!we hiked up to the top of the cave, it was very pretty up there too.

we then left the area, so that we could head back to our awesome nest, to get cleaned up for dinner. we had reservations at the grouse nest for 6:30. the grouse nest is a very nice restaurant tucked into the country side and part of hocking hills resort about a 45 minute drive from our cabin but very close to the last attraction that we had just seen.... so we drove a bit much that day and back tracked but it was worth it. we both had venison meatloaf with a sweet potato and veggie of the day which happened to be mushrooms that were picked on the resort property. man was it gooood!!!! it's not every day that you see venison meatloaf on a menu. we headed back in the rain for a soak in the hot tub.....

the next day we had set aside for just relaxing. we had planned on not leaving the cabin and it's property. however the day was gorgeous, it had cleared and it was a bright and sunny day. we decided to head out to see a few other sights that we wanted to catch before we left the area. we had a late breakfast, then headed to old man's cave state park.... however, before we got there we passed rockhouse state park, so we stopped. i'm so glad that we did! this was my favorite sight of the weekend. it's a cave that has a few small slot entrances to a totally secluded "house". it looks out into a ravine. and it absolutely amazing! the hike takes you from the top rim down a path down some steps that have been carved out of the existing rock in the hill side. there are steps all around this area that we believe were carved and created during the great depression by a group called the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.). apparently during the depression, in an effort to keep people employed the government employed people to do manual labor at the parks, thus creating some amazing rock architecture. the C.C.C. still exists today but in a bit of a different structure. they still maintain the parks but they use wood instead of rock. a bit less back breaking i suppose. regardless the rock structures are just amazing! i plan on doing a bit more research on the c.c.c. and the service they provided to the area.

after rockhouse we headed to old man's cave. again a huge system of rock carved steps and tunnels. truly amazing and beautiful.

after old man's cave we headed back to the cabin, we relaxed for a bit in the hot tub then cooked our steaks, asparagus and salad. then relaxed a bit more in the hot tub and watched the stars.

sunday morning we knew it would be clear, so we set the alarm for 7 am, (before the sunrise), made some coffee, and enjoyed it in the crisp morning air in the.... hot tub. a bit of a reoccurring theme here huh? it was so enjoyable!

after the sun came up, we had breakfast, cleaned up and headed home. our drive home took only 3 hours. we then stopped at my parents to pick up the kids, we missed them terribly! they missed us too but apparently were very good little boys. they slept well and ate well too. and no one had any problems :)

i feel so much more relaxed and refreshed since taking our little break. i love my kids dearly but i think we ALL needed a little vacation from each other. however seeing the families there with kids were were about 7 yrs old and up seemed to be having so much fun exploring with their kids. i can't wait for that! i hate to feel like i'm wishing life away but really, that's going to be a fun time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

gha! an overdue update.

i've been soooo out of the loop for the past two weeks. i had a bit of a meltdown with my laptop, it's been in the shop for a week and a half.... plus i was just super duper busy prior to that happening thus, no update for.... oh my god, almost a month.... so sorry!

well, gosh, since sept 17th, i really can't even remember what all we've been up to.... that's horrible. well, with a quick glance back at my calendar for the past few weeks i see that a whole lot of nothing interesting has been happening but a whole lot of working has been taking up a lot of our time. and really that's not going to stop for the next two weeks.

chris has a photographer/friend coming to stay with us this saturday through thursday, he's going to be doing some presentations and will have an photo exhibit while here. this all means that we'll have a house guest, first one since my good friend valerie stayed with us when i had my baby shower (while pregnant with max)! so i need to get some things done around the house before he gets here saturday, we still aren't sure of his arrival time.... he then will be staying with us until the following thursday, which coincidentally is the same day that chris and i leave for our little 3 day vacation without the boys!

we're headed to hocking hills ohio to stay in a little cabin in the woods. we'll be relaxing, hiking, eating, relaxing hot tub style, relaxing, sleeping, eating... and basically just getting some much needed couple time. we can't wait and have been counting down the days since the beginning of october. (full review to follow)

as for knitting, FLS is in a bag in the corner... i have a small mistake that i need to fix on the 1st arm, it's not hard, but i need brain power to fix it, and that's something i'm laking these days. i really want to take it to ohio with me, finished... i need to get going on this. i also bought an extra ball of yarn for her, the arms would have been a bit too short without it.

i also attended a workshop provided by Yarns Unlimited, Jared Flood was the presenter. it was really fun and very inspiring. it was also great fun to get together with two good friends and have some good greek food for lunch too! i plan on using the techniques that he discussed on a sweater for chris. although i will probably not be starting that until after the holiday season. maybe a bit before if he's lucky.

for the past few weeks, little things will happen with the kids and i'll think, 'ooh i have to blog about that' or 'this'. i never kept a running list (must start listing these thoughts) and now i can't remember most of them.

one of them is that max has started to sing, he's always sorta singsonged a bit but he has recently started to sing the theme song to bob the builder, it's super cute. he also sings his abc's, but it sounds more like "bee dee dee" lol, it's funny. he's very interested in letters and numbers and writing too. he has a small doodle pro and his drawings recently went from be swirly curly circles to little symbol-like/letter-like scribbles. he knows that letters make words and is really into the tv show Super Why! on pbs. in fact it's actually slowly taking over his love for curious george, george is his old stand by and good buddy and he still asks to watch that show but there is so much more to learn in super why so i've been suggesting that in place of george and he is happy to watch.

andy, well, let's see, teeth 5 & 6 have emerged. number 6 is actually still emerging but i think that it's broken the skin but i just can't quite feel it. i expect to be able to tomorrow or friday. he's been a biting fool. shoulders, knee caps, fingers, legs, noses, cheeks, really anything that he can! it's pretty funny. he's also cruising.

the weather has been perfect, fall is upon us! i just love all the color outside and the kids love to watch the leaves fall to the ground. max exclaims, "uhno!" and andy watches in wonder. this is an amazing time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

hmmmm, not sure what to put here

how's about a list?

1. i'm obsessed with facebook these days. in the past two weeks i have found (or they have found me) two roommates from slippery rock. one i had totally lost contact with. the other reads this blog regularly (hi carrie!) and has a hard time replying to emails (*wink*) so it's great to be able to see what's up in her life with her and her FOUR kiddo's! it's no wonder she doesn't have time to email! glad we're back in touch!

2. i cleaned out my knitting stash. it wasn't totally overwhelming or anything but nothing was organized and i had patterns just strewn all through my knitting basket in the living room, lost in the half dozen totes that i use to transport my knitting. needles were out of their cases and just not organized at all. i put everything into ziplocks and now it somehow takes up half the space as it did before. yay! i also logged all of my needles on ravelry and printed out the little needle chart to put into my purse so that i don't buy duplicate needles AGAIN....

3. i've stalled out on feb lady sweater. i think my lack of organization was contributing to that... i need to sit down with her again. i'm making a date with her tonight! i hope i stick to it! it's nearing sweater weather and really i could have used her these past few mornings.... i need to get knitting.

4. max had a cold last week.... i had thought it was allergies but now that andy is a cranky pants with a boggerific runny nose, i'm now convinced i was wrong. sorry if we made anyone sick at playdates... it's apparently a very slow moving cold since it's been a week and a half since max started to show symptoms. and andy is just today showing signs of this cold. poor kid starts to cry before his little butt even touches the carpet when i go to set him down... ugh... i have yet to get it and same with chris.... which totally sucks because even if i would have caught it prior to andy then i could at least be giving him some antibodies through nursing and his go at it might be a little bit better but... what can ya do?

5. coffee. i'm obsessed! i don't know why i never realized this before but coffee can make a totally shitty day (read: cranky kids makes a cranky mama) turn into sunshine and puppydogs! i'm serious! i've found that most days by mid afternoon, i'm totally done with being a mom. my kids make me crazy and i have considered running away (ok, we all know i won't follow through so don't report me). but if i have some coffee, i'm a completely different person! i have energy to deal with whining and crying and multple shitty diapers within an hour! it's great! it doesn't seem to mess with andy and his sleeping either so that's a great thing! i've been on this iced hazelnut latte kick! i have hazelnut coffee, i brew an entire pot, use some of it that day then save the rest in the fridge for the rest of the week. i pour it over a lot of ice, mix in a bit of milk and hazelnut syrup and i swear it tastes just like i've stopped at my local coffee shop and spent $4 for the same thing! but really i've spent about $.30! woooo!!!

ok, i'm off to clean up the kitchen aka disaster area and do a little bit of photo work.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

makin' baby food

ok, so the title of this post is cracking me up and really could be taken a FEW different ways....
1. makin' baby food - bow chicka bow wow... i guess this would be maybe strawberries, whipped cream and champagne maybe some dark chocolate syrup, cherries... ok, you catch my drift right?
2. makin' baby food - not a pretty picture here but making food out of babies... you know the kind of babies that you could just eat up because of their cuteness right? err....
3. makin' baby food - just what it says. making baby food. food for babies!

this post will be about option number three :)

i've ventured into the rhealm of making baby food, heehee.... i didn't make pureed foods for max, i just bought jarred and felt the convenience was priceless. one it was easy to crack open a jar, feed the kid and even make an outing out of going to the grocery store on a weekly basis for more jarred foods (we could only fit one weeks of jarred foods in our cupboard). well, these days running to the store every week with two babies for jarred baby food isn't so convenient. so i've opted to just keep a small stash of jars on hand for out of the house feedings but make my own and freeze it from fresh veggies from our garden, farmers markets and the grocery store.

wowee is it fun! i documented my last batch "P Dub style" for your viewing pleasure. this batch is carrots, i've done sweet potatoes, zuchinni and sumer squash too. but carrots are soooo pretty and i just really wanted to catch their beauty and share it with you. so enjoy!

i purchased these carrots (with their pretty green tops on i might add) from the ambridge farmers market. they were a $1 a bunch and for whatever reason i only got one bunch.... while chopping i tasted a raw piece, i stopped dead in my tracks, turned to andy and told him, "andy, you are ONE lucky baby, these are the best damn carrots mommy has ever tasted!" i plan on heading back to the farmers market next week to try to score some more of these.... they were just fantastic! and really were how carrots are supposed to taste! no further text is needed, this is how it's done folks!

once into the ice cube trays, i wrap in saranwrap and freeze then i pop them out of the tray and into a ziplock. this will be about 5 meals... sadly. i really should have picked up more than one bunch. also for a ratio tip, i learned that one large sweet potato makes up one tray as well. next time i'll be doing two at a time...

also, i have found the greatest invention of our time, the mesh feeder! ha! with max i saw these things in the stores and immediate thought, yuck, what a mess this would be, who would use one of those? well, this time around, i thought what the heck and threw caution to the wind and bought one so that andy can enjoy some farmers market cantaloupe on his own. he LOVES it! i do too! it's more than a way for him to "eat" or suck on something but it's a fun toy! i filled this with a nice juicy piece of fruit for him, put him in his high chair in the kitchen and made his baby food and he was happy as a little clam the entire time! impressive! look how cute he is:

happy (belated) birthday little man

i'm soooo behind!!!! i can't believe that a week and a half have already passed since my little man turned TWO! yay max! you're TWO! he can say two, in fact he knows one, two and three and can hold up that many fingers when asked! (but only when he feels like it). he's also learning his letters and knows a handful, mostly m, a & x but also knows d (for daddy of course).

he's growing like crazy too, he's into larger sneakers and has almost grown out of his summer sandals. thank god because they are quite stinky these days....

we had a small party for him, it was just family. his big gift from us was a really cool train set. the kind with the wooden tracks and the little magnetic cars. he loves to play with it and was super excited when he opened it. he loves choo choo's :)

i also ordered a YUMMY cake from my neighbor who bakes cakes as a side business. she brought us cupcakes when andy was born and man oh man were they outstanding!!!! so i ordered the same chocolate batter and buttercream icing for max's cake and was NOT disappointed. i had her put curious george on it for max since he LOVES his "georgie".

max got some fun new toys to play with, one new itemis play-doh. we had a few tubs already but when we tried to play with it about 6 months ago, max was still wanting to just eat it. so i put it away... well, we got the new stuff out the other day and this is what we did:

so much fun! i haven't played with play-doh in forEVER! max enjoyed it too, i got some cookie cutters out and we made stars and snowmen and kitty cats and moon's and all sorts of fun things, then i built an actual snow man and then pink worm. max likes to watch me work the play-doh, he's not quite into doing it all himself yet.... but that's soon to come i'm sure! his favorite thing to do is to get it out of the tub and then put it back in. over and over and over again...

overall it was a nice day, i took it easy food wise, i ordered a sandwich ring and made two salads, an Asian coleslaw salad from annie's cookbook and a fruit salad with all sorts of fresh summer fruits in it. everything was tasty and super easy! which is how i like everything these days :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

mama's back!

i'm back! whooo! i'm back! not that i'm back to blogging, nope, i'm back to bike riding!

i haven't been on my bike for ehh, i'm going to say at least 2 years and 9 months... and well, i got pregnant for max in december so i'm going out on a limb here and say that it was at least 3 years ago since i was on my bike. well, i've finally brought water to that drought.

over the weekend chris got my bike back into working condition. put air in the tires, checked the gears cleaned it up a bit and shortly after, i took my first spin around the block, twice. after that trek back up the hill i had rubber band legs... seriously they weren't working correctly. i stretched, i felt fine and didn't even feel the slightest twinge the following day. which is when i started to scour for a kid trailer to pull behind the bike. i found one. it was a bit more than i wanted to spend but hell, i really wanted to get back out there on my bike in a regular fashion. last night chris made the quick drive to clinton, pa to pick it up. it's in perfect condition. a few spots that need a needle and thread on the netting but nothing i can't fix easily.

then tonight i whipped up a quick dinner and then we packed up the kids and the bikes and the new bike trailer and drove about 4 minutes to the head of the montour trail which sits just at the edge of our town. first we hooked the trailer to chris's bike. he towed it for the first half of the ride. then we swapped and i took it back. it's EASY! the kids LOVE it! max got to see a ton of doggies who we walking on the trail with their owners. we rode two miles, swapped the trailer and rode two miles back, it took about 40 minutes. and the complete outing took exactly an hour. it was soooo refreshing! it was invigorating! i was riding my bike with my kids :) max stayed awake the whole time. andy fell asleep at some point on the way back. he seemed to enjoy it though :) max babbled the entire way and kept saying "bye" to everyone that we passed.

i can't wait to do this again. now i just have to figure out how i can do it by myself.... our bike rack is on the roof of our car. and well i'm slightly vertically challenged... i wonder if i can fit it into the back of the car... we'll have to try it out...

anyways, i'm just so happy to be able to do fun active stuff again with my husband and family. for so long it was chris who was going out and doing all the fun outdoors stuff. i did some hiking while pregnant with max and we did a bit last spring/summer (2007) with him in the back back but i spent most of last summer pregnant again and frankly had no energy to do much outside of what i had to do... now it's back, i feel normal again and i LOVE it! yay!

sorry about not having any photos... i somehow managed to forget my camera on this trip. i'm sure there will be more just like it so look for some on my flickr in the near future.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

my week in review - a bit of a hodgepodge

eta: as michelle kindly pointed out in the comments, yes in addition to everything below andy managed to sit up yesterday completely on his own, he went from being on his back to his side to supporting himself with one arm but sorta still on his side to sitting! it was really funny to watch :) i had never seen him do that before and was quite thrilled to witness it! and so was michelle!

this past week, (definition of "past week" last wednesday july 30 - today august 5th) has been a long 7 days.... chris was (and is still) out of the country for work and is returning tomorrow, aug 6th. i was home alone with the kids. the beginning of the week was the roughest. max was not very cooperating and andy was giving me fits. i was nervous and cranky about having to put two kids to bed at the same time without any help, not happy about having to deal with mealtimes alone and jealous that i had to be a single parent while chris was out traveling the world, without me.

i had a TON of help from MY family, however we're 7 days in and still no phone calls what-so-ever from the ils.... not even to see if i've heard from chris... so strange...

anyways, my brother and his wife came over one night with pasta and homemade sauce! that rocked! my parents had us over a few times. i managed to cook a few times too, very proud of that, and ordered pizza only once! i also tried to plan as many things to do outside of the house as possible. we went to target twice... we went on a playdate with blogless lauren and her little guy leo, we went to the zoo with our cousin elizabeth and her twin boys, and today we had an impromptu play date with michelle and amelia which was very nice! max showed a very sensitive and gentlemanly side to him that i've never seen in my life! it was so darling! he was sharing everything he owned, held her hand and gave everyone kisses before they left :)

i have also managed to keep the house in relatively neat order. i have some cleaning to do upstairs tomorrow but i've kept up with the housework more this week than i normally do when chris is out of town for short trips. about mid-way through the week i got the hang of everything. meals were fairly smooth and bedtime was a breeze. i love, i mean LOVE, dvr. really i'm not sure how i would have done it without this new gadget. bedtimes consisted of cleaning up the toys while andy rolled around on the floor and cried and max sorta helped me. then i got him some milk and a snack and put him in his folding nemo chair and put on a curious george episode. i took andy upstairs got him ready for bed, fed him and put him down (awake i might add!!!) and then went back down to watch the rest of george with max and maybe even another episode if it was still early. then off to bed with him too. it was beautiful!

after the kids were both in bed, i then watched a few movies on ondemand this week. a quick review:
1. The Ex with Zach Braff and Amanda Peet. cute movie, a few funny scenes and a few new parent jokes. i enjoyed the baby/parenting dialog the most. wasn't a waste of time.
2. Moving McAlister with Mila Kunis from that 70's show and a guy that i've never seen or heard of before and that guy from napoleon dynamite. eh, so so but sorta cute. i watched the whole thing, enjoyed parts of it but it wasn't the most entertaining movie. cute story line though and the ending was nice. wasn't a complete waste of time but sorta almost was...
3. Definitely, Maybe with Ryan Reynalds and that girl from wedding crashers who was the younger sister who was maddly in love with vince vaugh and a few other female actresses. anyways. this was by far the best of the bunch! very entertaining love story that is creatively told to his young daughter. there are some sad parts about divorce but they are overshadowed by the happy parts. definitely NOT a waste of time and i'm glad i watched it even though the title alone annoyed me and i didn't think i would like it one bit.

knitting, i've done nothing.

sewing, i finished everlasting and started a few others...
i sewed a handle onto my everlasting bag, i'm quite happy with how it turned out:

another photo here.

i started my grocery bag beautification project, inspired by this blog, i pinned this fabric onto one side of this bag from giant eagle MONTHS ago... so long ago that i've never been able to use this bag at the store for actual grocery toting... i have only covered one side. the other side also has a logo on it so it's getting pinned and sewn up tonight. i have at least one other bag to pin and sew as well. i thought we bought three of these things but apparently we either lost one or only bought two... i'm not certain.... anyways, here's the outcome, i'm pleased with this as well.

the fabric i used on this one is one of two vintage napkins that were my parents. my mom gave them to me and i wanted to find a good use for the fabric as i have no use for two fabric napkins.... i absolutely LOVE this fabric and wish i had a big piece of it because i could totally wear a skirt with this print.

i'm really looking forward to heading to the airport tomorrow night. i miss chris a TON and i know he misses us. i've been talking up his return to max so he's getting excited too. overall, this week hasn't been too horrible. i've managed to at least shower a few times, we had some fun outside of the house and now we're looking forward to chris's return home :) and i'm looking forward to a visit to the salon all by myself on thursday! ha!

Monday, July 28, 2008

this is going to be a long one

ok, cleaning house a bit, a few lists:

andy stats:
he's sitting unassisted for a minute or so at a time.
he's up on all fours doing that thing where they sway back and forth and he sometimes does a little crawling in the backwards direction.
he's eating a load of cereal.
he had fresh zucchini from my cousin's garden while on vacation and fresh picked blueberries and some banana.
he will go down for a nap or to sleep at night without being asleep, i can put him in his crib and if he's sleepy enough he'll fall asleep in about 10 minutes. if he's not, he lets you know by screaming, i go get him we play for another 20-30 minutes then try again and he usually goes down the 2nd time.
he has become baptized to the religion of the lake goers.

max stats:
he is feeding himself really well with utensils. he has mastered the spoon for cereal and ice cream and other spoon friendly foods.
he is potty training himself.

yes, i said potty training himself. he's been peeing on the potty for quite some time. not at any really regular intervals during the day but before and after naps and bedtime and any other time we change a diaper (he doesn't always go when we put him on there but he understands that if he goes, he gets to flush! big fun!) so while on vacation we were eating a late dinner and he was giving us a hell of a time basically he didn't want to eat. we didn't fight it. we let him get down from his chair, he went to the other room to be private then quickly came back to let chris know that he had pooed.

it was just a little bit so chris put him on the potty to finish. he went some more and exclaimed that he was "all done!"
the next day the same thing happened except all of the poo ended up in the potty.
this was a few days ago, we haven't changed a poopy diaper since.
fastforward to today, we had lunch he started to play, i was cleaning up and he runs in and says, "mama, this!" and grabbed his crotch. so we went to the potty, his diaper was wet but not warm so i know he hadn't peed lately in it. i put him on the pot and leave the room (he won't do anything in there if you're in there with him). at this point i hear him trying to go. wouldn't you know it, i then had to go too.... so i leave him there and run to the basement. i go. (i know tmi) then run back upstairs to find him still going... so i stand outside the door and listen. then i hear a plop and he starts to whine so i go back in to find that he went a TON! i gave him a big kiss, cleaned him up and let him flush the toilet! big excitement! we aren't close to getting rid of diapers all together because he still pees there quite often. i'm fairly certain that i could train him if i took the time but i need chris to be here on a somewhat normal schedule and frankly that's not going to be the case until the end of august. so maybe we'll attempt it the week of his birthday.

vacation wrap up:
ahhhh the lake! we had some crappy weather, especially early in the week. it would be sorta clear in the mornings but by 10 or so it would cloud up and rain off and on for the rest of the day only to clear around 7 pm or so... then mid week there was one day it rained all day. then thursday and friday it was pretty nice and then saturday it was sunny until about 1 then got cloudy again just in time for us to pack up and leave. regardless of the weather we still had fun. and got a good amount of swimming and lake lounging done too.

andy make his lake debut!
here he is with papa! both look pretty happy to be there!

max played with his bucket and rocks! this is my favorite photo of the entire week!

i relaxed in a chair in the water....

we had a great time not doing a whole lot. my mom and i did manage to go shopping in a small town one afternoon, i found some great antique buttons. three pearly white ones that are square and are angular and 9 dark blue ones that are pearly. i also got some super cool antique post cards from around 1906 for chris. one is of the intersection of 4th and wood downtown (right where he works) and the other is a view of 1st ave taken from station square. both are pretty neat.

another day my mom and i also went to pick blue berries! we got there kinda late and they were going to close in about 20 minutes. but between the two of us we each filled a 1 gallon ziplock bag! we had enough blue berries for the week and we both got to take home about half a bag each! we're still eating fresh blueberries! for those two large bags, we paid $8! can't beat that! i can't wait to do that again next year!

i also made a lot of progress on my FLS. not quite done with the body yet. i did have to fix a mistake (thanks amanda for that technique! i did it all by myself! yay!) i am starting to worry that i need to buy two more balls of yarn...

as for traveling with this kids. this trip was a little easier. we left the house about 5 on our way up. we stopped around 7 for breakfast then again about 2 hours later so that could feed andy again and so that max could run around a bit.
then about 30 minutes after that the kids were both having fits... so i crawled into the back seat and proceeded to read to them... all the while i felt like i could have yacked....

as for the ride home.... we were supposed to leave early sunday morning. chris has a job scheduled for about 3 pm that day so we had to hustle. we then decided late afternoon on saturday that we would just scrap that and instead pack up the car and the kids that evening and leave around 8 pm (aka bedtime). so i cleaned, chris packed the car, max helped us both ;) then we left! my parents stayed until the morning then traveled early. we got home about 2 am... we were very groggy. the kids slept through the whole thing. it was awesome! we didn't have to even stop to pee, we only made a quick stop at a T & A for a caffeinated drink for chris. then we kept going just like the old days b.c. (before children).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

review: idlewild and soakzone

wow! really wow! is really what sums it all up!

yesterday we took max and andy along with chris's parents and his sister to idlewild and soakzone for a day of fun! and fun we had!

max was the perfect age. any younger and he wouldn't have really enjoyed it much. andy, obviously didn't do anything but ride in the stroller but that's ok. both kids, since they were under 2 were free.

first we walked through storybook forest, very cute, pretty dated looking and not too exciting. they did have some live animals that max liked. but that was the extent of it. they were having christmas in july though so that was sorta funny, santa was there and they had everything decorated for christmas. although most of the decorations were sort of lame and tacky...

here is max in storybook forest, this was a large pumpkin and i believe it was part of the peter peter pumpkin eater story:

next we had lunch, again, wow! lunch was awesome! best amusement part food i think i've ever had! everyone but me had bbq chicken, i tasted max's and it was really good! yummy sides too! i had a taco wrap and it was really good too! nothing was greasy, nothing was fatty, it was all pretty healthy.

after lunch we went to the part of the part that is called jumpin jungle. there was a huge pit of balls, max was in love! and a large rope wall thing that chris and max climbed up, some fun slides too!

here's max in the balls:after the jumpin jungle we went to racoon lagoon. it's the amusement park portion of the park for little kids. what a blast! max rode a ton of rides, but what seemed like not even half of them. then we took a ride on the trolley from mr roger's land of makebelieve. how cute! we sang a song, we had a party and saw all the characters from the show :) max was beat but he enjoyed it.

after that we headed over to soakzone to cool off. we got pretty wet, there are a lot of fun things for everyone to do. one cool part was this large thing that looked like a pirate ship with lots of decks and steps and stuff. on top there was a gigantic bucket that was constantly filling with water but when it got to it's tipping point it would dump a TON of water on top of the whole thing. however while this large bucket was filling it was constantly "raining" on this structure. there were hoses and spouts all over the place. it was a blast even for us big kids!

we then got ourselves dry and put the kids in the stroller and started to walk to the car. max was out before we even left the pool area. totally tuckered out!

we left the house a little after 8 am, and we didn't get back until 8 pm. max did great without a nap. i'm amazed! but expecting today's nap to be sorta long.... the entire park was fantastic. no annoying patrons. everyone was there to have fun and that's what we did. the funny part was how chris and i both weren't expecting a whole lot. the last time each of us were there we were about 13 years old. and we both remembered it sucking a whole lot. i'm thinking that was because when you're 13 pretty much everything sucks. but frankly, this place isn't for the older children, it's for the young ones. everything was geared towards them and that's what made it super special!

i can't wait to go back soon! and max said, "all done!"
to see more photos of our fun day click here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

awesome thrift store finds

chris did his usually errands around town this morning, and while there he found a few items that he wanted me to check out. there were two jogging strollers both listed for $20 both had their flaws.... and not worth the effort to purchase and resell. so if any readers are looking for some heavily used singer joggers there are two at the st vincent depaul in coraopolis today....

while there, i did find a few other items that were totally worth the drive down there.

here's one:
we have one of these already but we have two kiddos... so i was in search of another. $2.99! score! and doesn't andy look sooooo damn cute in there!? he's such a good little model! i had to hose it off and take a few clorox wipes to it and some goo gone but it's good as new now :)

here's purchase number 2:
again a few clorox wipes later and it's in perfect condition.... and it even makes firetruck sounds!

and for the crafty readers:
there's bias tape, seam bindings, rick rack and some other seaming covers. all in some fun retro colors! 3 for $.49! now i need to dust off my machine again soon!

i spent less than $8 there and got a whole lot of fun!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

firsts: pineapple and cereal

andy had his first taste of food today. he's been clamoring for food ever since he's been sitting with us for meals which has been a few months now. i of course got the go ahead to start them when i was ready at his 4 month check up. i wasn't ready and frankly didn't think i would be for another month or so but apparently i wasn't the only one to make this decision. andy had to weigh in on it too.

yesterday i decided to make this yummy treat but we didn't actually have the treat until tonight. man was it goooood. andy was ready to nurse and go to bed but we were having our snack so i decided to give him a little taste. i mean really it's just pineapple. no added sugar or anything so what can it hurt? he licked it up like he's never had food ever in his life, oh wait... he hasn't! i didn't give him much just little bits on the tip of my spoon. but once we finished he got really angry and demanded more food. so i made him some baby oatmeal, it's all i had on hand... i made him about an inch or so in one of those small take n toss bowls... he ate all of it! then i took him upstairs, changed him into his bedtime clothes and he nursed for a full session. he wasn't asleep though when he was done which is about normal for the past 4-5 days. i put him down, gave him his binky and walked out the door. he fussed (hardly) for a few minutes and then..... quiet.

he's also been sleeping through the night like a champ lately. it's morphed a bit in the past few days but it's super in my opinion. he goes down between 8 and 8:30 then wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30, nurses and goes back down for about 3 more hours. it's lovely.

his naps are still hit or miss and not very consistent. but i usually get at least an hour sometimes two in the afternoon when both boys are napping. it's just not at the same time daily and sometimes doesn't happen at all.

now i'm on poop watch. i remember with max when we started cereal there were a few long no-poo spells in the beginning. then when the poo came... holy crap... literally. fun times area ahead :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

people are for the birds

i wasn't going to blog about this but annie sorta left some readers hanging on some details as to what happened on our last outing with the kids so i'll share what happened. personally, it had me so worked up and so pissed off about our society that i really just wanted to forget all about it. but the more i thought about it, i think i really did need to actually talk about it here because well, damnit not everything is peaches and cream and not all parenting situations are perfect either and well, frankly not all parents are perfect either and especially myself but after thinking about it some more i realized that one doesn't have to be perfect, who the heck should really be all that perfect except for the one and only perfect one Himself, ya know? but instead of being perfect we should all strive to be just good, decent, loving people who pay attention to what we're doing in the world and not act like animals in public and not act like our poo isn't smelly and not cause caustic situations for others who are just trying to get their kids out of the house as to not have a tantruming toddler on their hands at 10 am in the morning due to boredom (ok, that got a little deep for my normally very light blog) so onto the story....

as annie mentioned we took the kiddos to the national aviary on monday. it was a fun outing except for the other PEOPLE. have i ever mentioned my dislike for most other humans? well, here's how it went down...

annie and i had our double strollers in a narrow hallway looking at some birds with our little guys. when around the corner we heard quite a ruckus. not sure if it was sparked by a bird attack or what... but shortly there after a heard of wild buffalo, err about 5 or 6 7 year olds acting very unruly came racing past us (all still screaming at full volume) while one child tripped on my stroller, knocked max's cup out of his hands and pretty much landed right in the middle of my double stroller and on top of andy. she quickly got up and kept. on . going. i about lost it. i yelled at her (there was no adult insight right away) told her to NEVER run in a public space and basically said it was very rude and totally uncalled for to be acting like that! then when an adult appeared i yelled at her to control her kids and how rude she was too! the adult was a counselor of sorts, the kids were with a YMCA summer camp group that was also touring the aviary. she pretty much looked at me like i had four heads and kept on going. max was crying because he was stunned that he had been run into and because his sippy cup was knocked out of his hands.... andy didn't really know what just happened and my blood pressure was probably 170 over 100. i got everyone back together and calmed down and we left the hall. annie was all like "whoa...." then i told her that she didn't need to be worrying about getting into a fight at dave matthews a few weeks ago but instead she should have been concerned with ME getting into a fight at the aviary...

i saw this counselor a few more times throughout our visit and she did give me the stink eye a few times... i just couldn't believe that she didn't have those kids under some sort of control. i realize that taking kids out in public is always an adventure but why didn't these kids know that they shouldn't run in public places like this? why haven't their parents taught them this? i knew not to run in places like that when i was that age. i knew to apologize if i did something wrong.... why has this country turned into a large breading ground for ill behaved people, children and adults alike? is it due to drugs? is it due to single parent homes? is it because our society has lost all ability to act like reasonable humans? is it because our society has turned into a cushy place where we all just turn our heads and ignore issues that should be addressed? is it because we, as a society, believe that in t-ball everyone should get a trophy and that there aren't any losers? and that everyone gets a pat on the back and told they did a great job even when they did a terrible job... thus just making their mediocre work seem stellar in their minds?

i'm glad that i yelled at that little girl and the adult minder. i'm glad that the whole thing didn't render me speechless like it normally would have. i think becoming a parent has loosened my usually tight lipped nature to just let things go. i think the mother instinct kicked in and i needed to protect my kids and that included reprimanding the others involved. maybe that little girl took a minute to realize what she did. maybe my yelling at her made her stop and think for a split second that maybe she should not run and act like an animal in public places. i hope to think it might have. but i fear that it just went right on past her and she'll just end up doing something just as hideous in the future because she just hasn't been taught the right way to be a good citizen by her parents.

ok, rant over. this blog will be back to it's usual lightheartedness by the next post.

Monday, July 7, 2008


annie tagged me last week and i'm just now getting to it... here's the criteria:

"Name five things that you can't live without. It can't be a person, it has to be something material that actually makes your life easier. It can't be something in general, it must be exact. Also, it can't be the obvious like a cell phone or computer."

1. napping babies. if everyone takes a nap in a day's time, i'm happy! double bonus points if they both happen at the same time. i can't live without them though because grumpy babies makes for grumpy mama and no one likes those.

2. my baby carrier. i love this thing and frankly couldn't take both boys out of the house alone without it.

3. my new mp3 player as mentioned below.

4. sorry to glomb on but our DVR. srsly, how did we ever manage before this thing!?

5. my key fob for my car... i know it might sound lame but i hate fumbling around for keys and then sticking it in the key hole to unlock the car doors. this is my first car that has the key fob thingie and i'm very glad i have it especially now that i have kids. now my back only gets mildly damp while i put them in the car instead of soaked (if it's raining of course) now that i don't have to unlock the front door, open the door, unlock the rest of the doors, go around the other side, blah blah blah, you get the picture...

i tag, uh... i dunno... jen and michelle. hopefully you haven't been tagged yet?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

this century

i have joined the masses. i have a new mode of music and it's called a trio clip and looks like this.

mine is kelly green. chris loaded it with all of our anti-corporate sounding music that we dig and i put a few dmb, beatles, old school beach boys and abba on it too. i love music and love listening to it loud. i like to hear everything IN the song, not just the main parts that are usually the only thing you can hear when in the car. yesterday i got to use it while i relaxed on the deck. both kids were napping, and my chores were done so i got out my knitting, relaxed in a deck chair and listen to some tunes on my mp3 player :). it rocked!

now i'm off to do the same thing!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

update to below mentioned knitting

no frogging here, in fact, no need to add any additional increases either... i must have been on crack when i counted the other day because according to what i figured today, i'm right on target and haven't missed ANY increases.

i LOVE my new needles :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

pittsburgh children's museum and new circulars

so on friday i took max, andy, papa and grandma (my parents) to the children's museum for a morning of play, play, play and some more play. sprinkled with a few tantrums, a few tears, a shower and some lunch. ooh and it was all topped off with a nap.

what a fun place! i haven't been there since it was called the buhl planetarium. well, i lie, i was there for a benefit a few years ago but we were only in the cafe area and i didn't get to see and play with all the cool things inside the actual museum part of the place.

max LOVED it! so did the rest of us, including andy. he had a fun time watching all the crazy that happens there.

1st stop, mr roger's neighborhood where max drove a trolley and peeked inside some little doors and played with a huge one of these. it was about 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. max had a blast with this. i had fun watching him have a blast.

then we moved on to the attic, where there are lots of fun old school things to play with. these are things they had at the old buhl planetarium. from there we played with some match box cars that max thought he could take home with him and he also drove a mini cooper. totally cute.

then we went on to the nursery where max played with a few toys that were probably more his speed than anything else and i fed andy. then we went up to waterplay. where max took a shower and so did i! all the other kids were sorta damp, not my max, he was soaked. he seriously put his head under the water and stood there. he also tried to drink from the spouts, ick... i have some funny video but it's not uploaded yet. after about 45 minutes in this area, max exclaimed that he was all done so we changed him into dry clothes and went to the cafe for lunch where he had a melt down, tried diet coke for the first time (decided he didn't like it) and ate a cheese burger and some fries.

we were in the car no less than 2 minutes when he fell asleep. frankly if i weren't driving i would have been that way too... it was a really fun time and all of us enjoyed it and we can't wait to go back.

knitting report. i'm on row 30 of my feb lady sweater. i found some mistakes and it looks like i'm short either 20 or 30 stitches in regards to my increases. i was tired when i did my calculating so i need to go back and do it again to make sure that my numbers are indeed as screwy as i think they are. however i also decided that i needed new, longer circulars to continue with this project. i was using 32 in size 8's.... and i need to be trying this on as we go so i called yarns unlimited in sewickley to see what they had and i then promptly drove there to pick them up. i got 47 in addi turbo lace circulars and i'm excited to try them out. one thing that i've already noticed is that the cord is super soft and not all squirrelly. i had a pair of cheapo ones from joanns that seriously recoil every time they are left to sit unworked... it's annoying and i can already tell that this will be a nice feature to these new ones :) i'm now well rested and by tonight i'll be ready to recount and refigure my errors and make my decision as to rip or just keep going just adding a few extra increases as i go to get to the right number needed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

go get a drink and take a seat

knitting at the beach, what a treat! talk about relaxing! i finished my bag, i made a HUGE mistake in it and frankly it's pretty obvious but i couldn't figure out how to fix it without frogging it and i knew that if i frogged i would risk messing it up even more.... so i left it because frankly it's a market bag, i'm going to put fruit and veggies in it from the farmers market and really all it needs to do is hold those items. it already looks super as it is and unless i encounter another knitter while using it i would bet that most people wouldn't even notice it... plus it's such a huge mistake that it almost goes completely around the entire bag and it's right in the middle so really it COULD have been deliberate.... finished photos to come soon, i bought ribbon for a strap and i need to sew that on before i will take finished photos of it.

vacation was perfect. chris and i both got a nice break from being full time parents. with so many hands and arms around to hold and play with the boys we hardly held on to them at all the entire week :) willing family members and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins ROCK! andy spent nearly NO time on the floor this week... which i'm sure he liked but it meant that he didn't practice rolling over much. before we left he would sometimes do it but not consistently. since we returned home, if placed on the floor or in his crib, he will be on his belly in no time and reaching for anything within reach. he has also started to play with things :) jennifer, the ball and rattle are the top two items that he likes to play with and i've finally managed to get max to understand that they are andy's toys and not his to play with.

another cute thing that happened is max has started to talk to andy. yesterday max was holding a ball, he looked at andy, pointed to the ball and said "ball" to him as if to teach him what it was :) max was very serious about it and he didn't exclaim "ball" to him like he usually does to us. i think he's taking this brother thing very seriously.

ok, vacation details... let's see.... mostly we relaxed on the beach, max collected rocks for us and dug in the sand. by about thursday he was hip to actually getting into the water on his own. chris didn't have much time to relax at the beach due to this. we took the fairy to cape may one day. it was a major time suck. the boat ride took 75 minutes each way and then we had to take a shuttle that took about 30 minutes each way as well. plus we had two kids, camera gear and a double jogger to get on the shuttle bus... that was a little stressful. thankfully again we had some extra hands around. but it was still slightly annoying and way too commercial once we got there. we did have a good lunch and bought some yummy fudge from the fudge kitchen. but while there someone had an accident and the entire town lost power. making shopping without cash a little difficult. anyways, back on the fairy we went, i had a stiff drink to smooth my nerves and that was that. the following evening chris and i had a date night at a cool restaurant called agave, it was a tequilla bar and the food there was OUTSTANDING! best meal all week. we cooked in most every other night, and only managed to have lunch out twice. blah...

one morning the whole crew decided to take a bike ride, i had to stay back with andy so i put him in the stroller and set out to find the local yarn shop. it was called ginger moon fine yarn and antique shop. i found this:
i know, not the same link i gave you in the last post. but in my opinion better :) this will be my yarn for my version of the feb lady sweater. i've swatched, i'm right on with gauge and i hope to cast on tonight after the boys go to bed. it's such a lovely color! photos to follow or be at least uploaded to flickr and ravelry very very soon!

overall, i was really glad we decided to vacation with chris's family. i'll admit, i was a little nervous about it but really it was quite lovely and very relaxing. if you have young children and have considered vacationing with family but thought that it might end up stressful. you might want to rethink it. the grandparents and aunts and uncles had a blast with max and andy and max and andy loved having a lot of time to play with them as well.

ok, back to reality

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

greetings from da beach version 2.0

hi all! i'm here, we're well, enjoying ourselves and relaxing :)

max is having a great time, he loves playing in the sand and finding lots of rocks for mommy :)

andy is doing well too and enjoying sitting with his grandparents and aunt and great aunt and uncle too :)

i've almost completed everlasting :) i've got the top band to knit then bo and i'm done. as michelle mentioned in her blog, what a dream it is to knit on the beach :) heaven on earth :)

i found a great lys nearby and i think i found my yarn for my feb lady sweater :) amy, you'll be happy it's a beatiful deep purple :) i can't wait to co!

no photos just yet... we've been trying to not do too much computer work while here :)

more updates upon returning home!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


i need a nap.

i need to put the clean clothes away.

i need to pack.

i need to clean.

i need to relax.

we're preparing to head out of town this weekend for a week's stay at the beach with chris's family. it should be fun, i hope it's fun. i ran to kmart today for a few incedentals and ended up dropping $75.... that's the most i've ever spent there... but i attribute it to having to buy about 8 greeting cards... damn those things are expensive.... it sucks.

max is a horror these past few days. refusing food. cranky pants. coloring on carpets, doors and toys. screaming at the top of his lungs and flinging himself onto every piece of furniture and every floor of every room. it's a lovely sight. i am not sure what the entire reason for this behavior is... it may be some more teeth... it might be that he has some sort of sick... doubtful.... but i think it's called a toddler and being very near to being 2 yrs old and his lack of communication skills.

he is saying new words daily. i really don't know how many things he can say but he can say a lot. but he still can't communicate well. this has got to be so frustrating... i feel his pain. i want to understand him so it's just as frustrating to me.

andy is doing well. he's finally regulating his feeding schedule and not eating every 45 minutes to an hour... he went through a major growth spurt last week so that has tappered off. he's also huge. he is 4 months old now and he's currently wearing clothing that is 6-9 months. he's very long. he is also getting the hang of naps and his nighttime sleeping. a pattern has arrived. but it's very easily disturbed... fun times are ahead while we beach it next week...

on the knitting front. i'm still working on everlasting:

i'm about half way complete. i need to join new balls soon (i'm using two strands of hempathy so that it's sturdy enough). i'll be taking this as my beach knitting. i also checked out ravelry for info on some local yarn shops near where we will be staying. there are three. i think i'll take a little me time one morning and check these shops out. maybe find some yarn for MY lady sweater :)

i might check in once or two next week, in order to do that i have to go to the local library. it's not within walking distance... so that's a deterrent.

until then i leave you with this, my giggly little baby:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

baby kimono for petra

i knit my first sweater! and maybe it's doesn't quite count because it's a baby sweater and there is really not much in terms of shaping but i had to do increases and decreases and there is even an eyelet edge :) but i loved this little pattern and i completed it in record time :) i plan on making a few more for new babies on the horizon. i might even try to make one for andy, by increasing the size... however he's turning out to be quite a little porker so i'm not sure how large to make it...

this is the mama to be, she's due aug 10th. and i think she looks great! this past october, she married a good friend of ours, leo, who chris met a few weeks before he met me :) so i've known leo about as long as i've known chris. the three of us used to hang out pretty often and leo is like a brother to me. i've grown just as close to his wife now too and that's awesome :) they are planning on naming their little girl Petra.

here's a close up detail of the ribbons which couldn't have matched any better:
now i'm on the lookout for something new to knit...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

mom's night out and a bit of a hodge podge

this past weekend i had my first mom date without any kids or husbands since having maxwell. it was great! my friend annie and i went to see dave matthews. annie is an avid concert goer and i on the other hand haven't been to see a live show in over 7 years i think. it's been so long that i can't even remember the exact date. needless to say, this mom date was totally worth it and i had so much fun that i can't wait to do it again.

the wedding. the wedding went off perfectly! the weather couldn't have been more pleasant. my boys couldn't have behaved any better, the tent couldn't have looked prettier (you can see the fun paper flowers we made in the photo of max below) and the happy newly weds couldn't have been more in love :) *cheese* they are currently traveling the north eastern coast in Maine and plan to be back in the burgh this weekend.

here's a photo that my cousin, johanna, took of my little guy max. so far it's the best photo that captures his cute little outfit :) andy had the same thing on.
ooh, knitting. well.... first, annie wouldn't let me knit while we tailgated on saturday. sooooo, the little bib i was working on did NOT get finished. but i did manage to complete the finishing touches to the sweater so that i could give it to the mama to be on sunday. she loved it, i took photos of it with her. i'll share those in the next post.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

*shouting* FOOD PORN

ok, so i know, right? two posts in two days! whoa!

i just had to share some photos and a recipe...

Chocolate Chip Macaroons w/ Pecans
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cup flaked or shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
2 tablespoons pecans, toasted & chopped finely (optional)

i always double this recipe (today i tripled it), one can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) and two bags of coconut seem to do the trick. i use the entire bag because well, why throw the little bit of leftover away. since the can of milk is a bit bigger than i need by about 2 oz then it compensates for the extra coconut.

1. preheat oven to 325, line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. in a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt.
3. stir in the coconut, chocolate chips and pecans.
4. drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
5. bake 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
6. remove the sheet to a cookie rack and let stand until cookies are completely cool.

my notes, i have never used pecans. only the chocolate chips. i also let the cookies cool for about a minute on the sheet then i move to a cooling rack, i never have any issues. i've lost a few but hey, a broken cookie still tastes like a cookie right? just means more or me :)

and one more photo for good measure :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

what's been going on

whew, here i am... i know i know long time no update. we've had a few busy weekends and andy is "waking up" from being an impossible infant so he's needing me to entertain him more and more. plus, max has become a bit more needy lately too.... not sure what that's all about but we'll just have to roll with it i guess... for me it just means less time online. which isn't all that bad really.

ok, let's see, two sunday's ago was Mother's day. we had a lovely day here, it was raining so we didn't get to sit on the deck and eat out their either but we managed to enjoy ourselves inside. we hosted both mom's at our house, this is the 3rd or 4th year that we've done this. usually we grill something and the "kids" all take care of the food. we made a yummy marinade for chicken, it's lemon based, i made a broccoli salad that was OUT OF THIS WORLD and a regular salad. i'll be making the broccoli salad again very soon. my brother and his fiance brought dessert and my sister in law brought pasta salad. it was all really tasty! and it was a nice relaxing day. OOH, and from my boys i got a white dog wood for the front yard. and i can't believe that we didn't take any photos that day...

this past sunday andy was baptized. then we had both sets of parents, siblings and the god parents over for lunch. i made baked ziti (really penne but who really cares) with ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and jarred sauce. it always goes over well. plus i bought a sandwich tray from costco! it was turkey, ham, and roast beef croissants with an herb mayo spread and dijonaise type spread. all very good! and for dessert... ooh dessert.... i also went the store bought route and got a coconut cream pie from costco! oooh it was good! a HUGE pie for $9.99, you just can't beat that! here we are at church. andy was super good, max, not so much.... andy is wearing the same gown that my mother was baptized in, so was my brother and me and max too. this makes 5 babies to wear this gown. it's pretty simple but super cute and has held up surprisingly well for the past 63 years!

this week we're preparing for my brother's wedding. they are having their wedding at their house. i was there this morning to meet the tent people, they set the tent up and delivered the tables, chairs, glassware and linens. they were super nice and very friendly and worked very fast. the tent looks great. it takes up the entire backyard. it's going to be crowded but i'm sure it will work out. tonight i'm heading back over there to help her make tissue paper flowers like these.

before saturday i have a few things i need to do.... one, hem both sets of pants for the boys.... i got them the cutest outfits to wear, they'll be in matching searsucker pants with little white shirts. thank god it's supposed to warm up :) i also need to paint my nails again and maybe find a super duper undergarment sucker inner for my deflated tired around my waist... ooh and bake another batch of cookies, i did one batch last night. i need to make the macaroons tomorrow. (sorry this paragraph was sort of a mental note to myself)

then friday, out of town guests start arriving. i'll be picking a few up from the airport that morning. entertaining one for lunch that day, then later that afternoon we'll head to my parents to meet up with the rest of the travelers and visit with family. that night we'll have dinner with them, then saturday at 5 we'll be at the wedding. not sure what else we'll need to do that morning.... still waiting to be told what they will need us to help with... frankly i'm not sure they even know what they need help with yet.

sunday, my parents are hosting brunch. then i'm sure more visiting and a few naps in there for max.

then monday, we're having a cookout for just a few guests that aren't leaving until that evening. we're just doing burgers and salads, easy peasy.

on the knitting front, i have a baby shower to attend on June 1st. and frankly i wanted to make something for her but i just didn't know what... i thought maybe another btrs baby blankie but i wasn't too excited about that... so i picked up MDK and POOF, remembered that i wanted to knit a baby kimono for someone at some point. so i cast on with yarn that i already had and here i am, just about 10 days later with two more rows to knit and then a cast off and i'm done. it's super cute, i used yellow and pink. the body is pink, the arms and neck are yellow. it's adorable and wow, super simple to knit! i even added the adorable little eyelet edge around the neck. so cute! i bought ribbon for the side ties too, yellow, pink and orange. should look nice with the whole thing. photos to come soon, here's one that i took a few days ago. i want to get her a few other things too, i'm thinking some essentials would be a good addition to this little sweater since this can be worn with just about anything. maybe if i find a little pair of jeans i'll get those too... but we'll see.