Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why, Yes! I Do Knit! Just Slowly…

Not that you’ve heard much it about recently but, I have been knitting. Sleeve number one of the chevron sweater is complete and I’ve an inch knit of sleeve number two. It took me a week to knit the first sleeve. The second one is being slowed down by other priorities. However, I have a bad case of finishitis and, despite the siren call from Chase from behind the dining room door where he is currently hung out of Iain’s reach, I am resisting other knitting projects.

Speaking of Iain’s chevron sweater, I have a story to tell you. We were lucky enough to host some extended family (that means, my mother’s first cousin, making her my first cousin, once removed, and her husband) for supper a couple of weeks ago. F had sent out an email tease saying that they were headed to NS and hoping to stop into her favourite yarn store (my LYS!) and would be staying about a 45 minute drive away from us. It turns out that D, F’s husband, has a sister living between here and my LYS. This same sister is also a frequent attendee at the shop’s knitting afternoon (which I have yet to attend. Iain is turning into a Yarn Monster. I cannot afford the destruction he might wreak if I actually let him lose in a yarn shop) and has been known to help others with their knitting! How cool is that?!? I mean, not only does it turn out I “know” someone who goes to the same knitting store but, we’re practically related (to a Newfoundland and Labradorian, the sister of your first cousin, once removed’s (new Patty word there!) husband is a relative)!

Anyway, both F and I were raving about the shop and their selection. F was bringing out all kinds of knitting candy from her bag after her two days of shopping there (she had to make a second trip, ending up with yarn for a new sweater although she had had no intention of knitting a sweater when she walked into the place). I, too, was enthused and proudly showed her my progress on Iain’s sweater, raving about the hand dying abilities of the Fleece Artist and the quality of the yarn. I was feeling quite cocky in fact. F looked at my knitting so far and stroked it tenderly, then said,

“But, this isn’t the project that you showed me in the fall when you were home…?”

Yep. It’s the same bloody sweater. SIGH.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Confess

One of the things I like about writing for a blog is that it holds me accountable. A knitting blog is the best way to ensure you knit a few rows a week, if only to keep up with some of your more prolific blogging friends. There are many times when I’ve spent just five minutes knitting a couple of rows just so that I can honestly say ‘Yes! I was knitting this week!” on a blog post. It is time to come out of the closet about something else that the Internet may hold me accountable for. You don’t know this about me.

One of the great things about nursing is that I’ve lost my pregnancy weight. One of the bad things about nursing is that I’ve lost my pregnancy weight without watching what I eat. At. All. I can eat all kinds of things in all kinds of proportions and not gain weight. In fact, I still sometimes lose. A few weeks ago, I somewhat sarcastically decided to try and OD on junk food so that I could become good and truly sick of it and exorcise the beast. Well, my friends, it’s official. It is not possible for me to get sick of junk food. In fact, the more I eat, the more I want. I can drink Coke, eat a large bag of chips (you know, a LARGE sized bag), and three chocolate bars a day and it still takes about a month to notice any difference in the waist line department. That, my friends, is downright scary.

It is especially scary because weight gain is one of the ways I ensure that I watch what I ingest. Yes, it is a bit of a vanity issue. Partially a vanity issue and partially because I usually notice my jeans are too tight at about the same time I realise that I’m not feeling as well as I used to, my hips hurt and my skin looks terrible. My waist line watching helps ensure that I eat healthily and that at least something in every meal was ‘alive’ recently (e.g. green vegetables, fresh fruit, etc). When I can eat what I want and do not need to worry about the ol’ waistline, well, it seems that things can get out of control.

So bad is my addiction that threats of illness, or worse, do not affect my eating decisions. Heart disease and Type 2 diabetes run in my family but fear of those developing have not dampened my urge to gorge. The guilt associated with still nursing and eating crap (and it’s effect on the quality of my milk supply) hasn’t changed my ways either.

One of my blogging friends, Jen over at The Life of a Busy Little Bee, is one of my heroes. She has been running and is training for a big race. I did that once. I ran a half-marathon in 2005. I ran the race in May of a year, and a month, that were horrendously difficult due to a couple of personal tragedies. In fact, the final few weeks before the half-marathon saw me train very little because of the other events happening in my life. However, I had decided that a half-marathon is a mind game. As long as you can run 10K, I figured you can run just about any distance you put your mind to. I use the Running Room founder, John Stanton’s, running methodology of running for 10 minutes and walking for one minute and it works a charm. In fact, I guarantee that you can walk away from a half-marathon like I did: with a spring in your step and no muscle pain the next day. I finished the half-marathon on sheer will power, determined not to let the events of the past month ruin a carefully prepared lifelong dream.

Anyways, I was visiting Jen’s blog and left a comment about, perhaps, running a race with her sometime. I admit it, it was kind of an off the cuff comment. After all, I have an almost 11 month old and am living in a community with no family members (apart from DH) who I rely on for childcare during the day so training for a big race would be crazy, right? Well, Jen wrote me right back and was very interested in running a race together sometime and I got to thinking. Really, why not? I love to run. My hips are bugging me from lack of exercise. A friend has a jogging stroller that she has offered for me to try out and see if Iain and I like it so that I could train with him during the week…And my eating habits are out of control and need to be changed.

So, Jen? Here’s the deal. Yes, I’m interested in running a race with you. If you’re willing to nag me on occasion about how the training is going, I’m willing to make a commitment. Starting this week. Maybe even starting on Monday. I’m looking at the Valley Harvest half-marathon in Wolfville (NS) on October 12th as a potential 2008 goal, with a 10K race sometime before that. Even if we can’t physically get together for a race, we could do it ‘virtually’. Willing to take on a self-professed junkaholic who wants to mend her ways?

Friday, May 16, 2008


Before my baby was born, I tried to mentally prepare myself for how much my life would change. No more going to the movies every Tuesday night. No more sleeping in until I woke up on weekends. No more crafting until I dropped. Naturally, nothing could really prepare me for the real thing until it happened but it was a good mental exercise just the same.

As Iain and I move through his first seasons together, I am learning as I go. Many, many things have changed and, yet, some things have not. For example, the lawn still has to be mowed, baby or no. For the past couple of weeks, I have been doing what I’ve been calling ‘patchwork lawn mowing’. I would choose a section of lawn and hope to complete it until Iain, from the confines of his stroller, began to fuss. Once the section was finished, I would take him out of the stroller to crawl around and play while I raked. Luckily, Iain’s favourite tool is a rake! As long as the weather stayed good, I could get the front and one of the side lawns completed in, say, six days. And then start all over again. And did I mention that there was still the larger side and the whole back of the house lawn left?

For three weeks, I diligently kept up my patchwork mowing. I only occasionally stopped to swear when I ran out of cord length (we use an electric mower for environmental reasons. We have a push mower as well but, with just under an acre of property, the push mower is too time consuming. Eventually, we hope to go back to the push mower meaning that most of our property has been changed to flower beds and garden. I think I’d rather weed. Feel free to quote me on that when I start complaining about weeding in a few years). However, once DH directed me to a longer electrical cord stored in the van, I am doing better in that department. Still, once I got the lawn mowed, there was no energy or time to do anything else in the garden, such as weeding, and I knew something had to change.

DH has been looking at a child carrier from MEC ever since Iain was born. I have resisted the idea. I find them heavy without a baby in them and did not want to spend money on something I felt I would rarely use and DH would only use when we go hiking. After all, we do have three slings to choose from. One of my friends has the same carrier that DH was looking at and offered for me to borrow it and try Iain in it for a lawn mowing stint. I still wasn’t convinced. The child hates to be confined (right down to refusing to wear a bib, for heavens sake!) and I choose my battles with him very, very carefully. He is so small and I don’t think it’s fair to him to force him to do something he dislikes so vehemently on a regular basis.

After a short fight regarding the straps and how long it was taking for me to get him ‘locked down’ and into the carrier, an unconvinced Patty headed out with baby Iain and the lawn mower.

Guess what? The kid liked it. He hardly made a sound – unusual for my chatty boy. He liked it so much that he fell asleep while I worked. I thought that was so cute that I marched right into the house and got out the camera, with Iain on my back and asleep the whole time.

I also took some garden shots and you can see the unfinished mowing job in the background.

Amazingly, I also managed to get the whole front lawn with all the side bits completed. In. One. Day. The next day, I completed the back yard. That’s the whole lawn in two days versus seven to ten. This carrier may be a new modern day miracle.

While I was starting on the first bit of the lawn, two young gentlemen drove by and I waved at them (you do that in small towns). I was turned around and mowing another section so didn’t hear them stop and come over to speak with me. They yelled out from behind me,

"Um, do you need some help?"

I turned around and smiled and said "No thanks." Both were wearing name tags from the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints church so I can only assume they were young missionaries. One of them said,

"Yeah. We were, like, driving along and there you were with a mower and a cord and a baby on your back and a dog. You’re, like, supermom!"

Supermom? Darn tootin’!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Two Days After Mother's Day!

It was a wee bit cold this Mother's Day here in Nova Scotia. We were lucky enough to have company Saturday night and, after they left on Sunday, DH and I decided to bring Iain to the playground. Here he is enjoying his very first time on the slide. Can you tell that Para wants to join in? (Note: make sure the volume on your computer is turned down. It was a very windy day so the sound of the wind is loud. All I’m saying is "Hello, Daddy!" "Here goes Iain on his very first slide." and "Whee!")

We used to take Para to playgrounds and, when no one else was around, get her to go up and down the slide (and for anyone who is concerned, Para never ever did her business in the sand on a playground. That is unacceptable for any dog owner to allow as far as we are concerned). One time, DH took her to the playground behind the military quarters where we lived in Cold Lake, Alberta. The jungle gym there had a tube slide. DH gave Para the command to go up the stairs and then down the slide. However, once she got to the slide and looked down, she hesitated. DH kept saying ‘Okay, Para, down the slide!" But, she continued to hesitate – unusual for her. DH said that finally, she looked at him, seemed to give a doggy shrug and headed down the slide. To his surprise, two teenagers popped out of the bottom of the tube slide before the dog came out! I don’t know who was more surprised – the young couple caught necking in the tube slide or DH!

Unfortunately, the arthritis in Para’s back is now too bad to allow her to use a slide anymore. She usually twists her back coming down and that is too much twisting for our old dog. It is really hard to see her slowing down.

I was going to say, ta da! An FO already in May but then I looked at the calendar and noticed the date. If anyone can help me find the first week of May 2008, I’d really appreciate it. Either way, though, this is another FO for 2008!

Well, the cross stitch portion is completed. It also needs to be washed as I’m sure you can tell from the stretch marks. As I’ve decided not to frame this project at a framing store, I now have to get sewing in order to hang it on the wall. Unfortunately, that means this project will have to join the sewing queue in the basement. Still, it takes me forever to complete a cross stitch and I consider this project complete despite the eventual sewing it will have to endure.

Details: This cross stitch came in a kit designed and produced by Paradise Stitching Co., Paradise, Newfoundland. This company can be contacted on the Internet here. The name of this kit was ‘Basilica’. Finished stitched size 7.4" X 5.2"

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

I haven’t posted a book review in ages and, amazingly enough, I actually have read a couple of books recently.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is a great read for, I’d guess, 9 – 10 year olds, as well as those of us who love children’s literature like me! It is fast paced, a little gross (to please those girls and boys who might like the thought of eating worms…), with strong male and female characters. This is the beginning of a trilogy based on the idea of "what happened before Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie?" I highly recommend the first book. I am halfway through the second in the trilogy (it’s called Peter and the Shadow Thieves) and am equally impressed although I have to admit that I keep having to put it down as the lead ‘bad character’ scares the crap out of me.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. Okay, I admit it. I bought this book in board book format for Iain because I liked the name. For a change, you can judge this book by its, well okay not its cover, but its title. It is a great book. The ‘Oh dear, the driver sheep forgets to steer’ cracks me up every time! This would be a wonderful addition to a hand knitted gift for all those new babies in your world.

Crewel World by Monica Ferris. This is the first in a mystery series based on a lead female character who owns a needlework store. DH was laughing at me for picking this up from the library. I was a little dubious at first. I love Ian Rankin’s Rebus mysteries and comparing these two authors would be like comparing apples and oranges as Rankin’s books are much darker and grittier. That being said, I quite enjoyed this book and intend on working my way through the series. They are a quick read but not too quick (e.g. like I find Janet Evanovich’s novels to be) and the characters fairly well developed. I was a bit thrown by the needlepoint information contained in the book – I’m not sure the level of detail needs to be there for the plot line, however, I still enjoyed it. If you like mysteries and want to add something fun and light to your repertoire, than these books are for you.

The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. I wrote a blog post about us using elimination communication with Iain awhile ago. I saw this book at the library and thought I’d have a boo. It’s a great read and is a great addition to Ingrid Bauer’s book. The Diaper Free Baby also has suggestions about starting an EC support group in your area, which is an interesting concept for me to consider. I returned my copy to the library and intend on buying one of my own.

Sorry, I haven’t bought any new knitting books (!) recently to comment on. I did receive my Summer 2008 copy of Interweave Knits magazine though. I really like the articles but, believe it or not, none of the patterns speak to me. That happens to me about once a year with this subscription. That’s not too much of a bad thing, however, seeing as most magazines have 5 – 6 patterns that beg for me to knit them (my pocket book only goes so deep and my time is so limited!).

Off to stitch – cross stitch that is. My WIP is almost complete!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ten Months Today!

How time flies! Happy, happy ten month birthday, my little Iain Bean!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fun in the Sun

This morning didn’t start off so well. Unfortunately, it started last night. Come to think of it, it all really started a few weeks ago when Iain started biting when he nursed. Hard. While nursing. Shall I say it again to highlight the painful importance of what has become my nursing life? OW! The night before last, he bit me once on each side. Sort of a sick cosmic balance thing, I suppose. I’m a nursing mother who has her child sleep with her…up until last night. As I now need to be awake to protect myself while nursing (if I keep a sharp eye on him, I can get my finger in his mouth to intercept his teeth prior to contact), I needed to ensure I’m good and awake while nursing him at night. Therefore, I said,

"Self, why not leave Iain in his crib (where he sleeps for naps and at night up until he gets up to nurse around 11:00 PM and then we go to bed together)? What a brilliant plan! Why didn’t I think of this before (um, cause he wasn’t in the habit of biting me at night before? During the day is another matter…)?"

So, after the tenth time (no, I am not exaggerating) of getting up and seeing to Iain last night, I realised exactly why I had not put this brilliant plan into force before. He ended up in our bed again. I’m happy to report there was no biting but I did wake up with him (when he woke me up, naturally!) at 7:22 AM feeling a lot like I did eight months ago while in the depths of sleep deprivation. Amazingly, my body isn’t used to that routine anymore. How time makes a body forget! Like, forgetting that whole labour business. Actually, its probably a good thing time lets us forget things like that or the human race might not have done so well …but, I digress.

Yes, the morning didn’t start off well. I got up tired and it was a grey, grey day outside. I wasn’t happy about that as ‘they’ had promised good weather for today. The fact that I managed to not be grumpy was no minor miracle.

After being up long enough for DH to join us from his sleep, I got to go back to bed for an hour and a half (thank God!). Then it was up again to watch Iain because DH and a friend from up the road (actually, the friend from up the road did 99% of the hard work – gotta love those friends with great gardening tools! Interestingly enough, this friend is related to the nice gentleman who shovels our driveway. We love this small town!) turned this (taken last summer. I forgot to get a 'before' shot this morning. Blame is on the biting induced sleep deprivation).

into this. And, the sun came out while they were working on it so ‘they’ were right after all!

We received our Veseys berry order (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and one blackberry cane) this week and DH really wanted to get them in the ground. Now that this rather huge garden plot is ready, I’m thinking of adding onions, garlic and pumpkins. You know, the things we tend to buy a lot of during the year. I want to store them in our cold room. DH will also be putting in his usual tomato crop for a tomato sauce and salsa extravaganza in the fall.

Here is DH planting the strawberries this afternoon.

All done!

Naturally, Iain and Para helped.

Iain checked the soil’s PH and other chemical compositions,

while Para supervised.

You can never have enough good supervision, I say.

Me? This was what was in front of me on the deck before I made supper.

Life is good in the Annapolis Valley. Wanna visit?

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Whew! Hi there! How are you doing? I’m doing fine, thanks. Things have been a little crazy around here these days. I imagine you are experiencing something similar. After all, life seems to be busy no matter who you are. Hopefully you're doing something you enjoy, wherever you are.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the things that have been keeping me/we busy.

Visiting Cottage Cove and the Bay of Fundy this past Sunday evening for my ocean fix.

Para liked it too!

Sunset shot. Isn’t it lovely? Sigh. It only takes us seven minutes to drive to the shore by car and it still isn't close enough.

Our two cats are becoming grand friends. This is singularly spectacular particularly if you are one of the chosen few who saw these two together the first year. It was tough. They must be siblings as they still fight sometimes too…

Our little boy is becoming quite the bookworm.

What fun is a dishwasher if you can’t play in it?

I really think Iain has the right idea here; I’d much rather play in the dishwasher than load/unload it any day. Mind you, I have a feeling the dishwasher door wouldn’t appreciate my weight placed on it like it's tolerating Iain's.

My Daddy wears combat boots (and I am too bloody busy to let my mother put my pants back on after a potty break – thus the à la diaper shot).

The only stitching going on around here this week (but, hey, I have made progress!).