Tuesday, September 08, 2009

‘K’ Is For Knitting!

As anyone who reads this blog on occasion has probably noticed, I find it hard to find time to knit. With two young children, I have no idea why that might be the case ;0). I still have my Not So Shrunken cardie on the needles but, as it’s fitted as you knit and I was rapidly changing size last Fall when I was working on it, it got put away until I gave birth to baby number two. I do not like having two sweaters on the needles at the same time (despite my habit to have many other types of knitting projects on the go at the same time!) and I have been concentrating on small projects. They still take me forever though.

Here are the second pair of Tangle’s Fingerless Cable mittens that I’ve knit this year.

The lucky recipient, whose birthday was in April – whoops! – only just received them. Project specifics: free Tangle pattern found here. Misti Alpaca’s 100% Baby Alpaca, Chunky 2 ply in black, which was lovely to knit with but holy cow does alpaca ever run when you lose a stitch! I also used less than a skein to knit the pair and have enough left over for something very small.

Here are the second pair of Fetching gloves that I’ve knit lately.

Here are the specifics: Mission Falls 1824 100% merino superwash in the Wildflower 662 colour. I had a very accomodating model! Iain calls these the "arm ones" and was breathing down my neck to wear them when I was binding off the second one.

These are going to a very special lady in my life who occassionally reads this blog so I hope she does not mind the 'spoiler'!

I have really fallen in love with this colour and would love to knit a sweater for myself with it someday.

Here is a picture of the gorgeous Malabrigo that is to become a Whisper Cardigan someday.

I bought 2 skeins.

And here are two other DK weight sock yarns that I picked up at Baadeck Yarns. Yummy!

Believe it or not, I actually have another project that will be ready to come off the needles soon. Go me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Journey Home - Part Two

Warning: Unlike my last post, this post is very picture heavy!

The rest of our trip went much better. I think the knowledge that we had no more schedules to keep, other than getting DH to the East coast by Sunday the 26th to begin work on the 27th, changed our mood into a holiday one and that certainly helped with the driving.

On the morning of our third day of travel, we arrived into Port aux Basques, NL around 5:00 AM and to a beautifully calm and clear morning. Daybreak promised a beautiful sunny day and we headed to the hotel, where we were supposed to have spent the night, to cancel our reservation. As luck would have it, they had no record of me booking two rooms, despite my having a confirmation number! It didn’t really matter as we no longer needed the room but could have been an issue the night before had we arrived on time to a ‘no vacancy’ sign. DH had the discussion with the hotel people leaving Mudder and I with the boys and pets to fend off the mosquitoes (we call them ‘nippers’) – the only downfall of a windless summer morning – out in the parking lot.

Our next stop was at a Tim Hortons for breakfast and then we hit the road again, with the people van only stopping once to nurse Aidan before pulling onto the highway again and making the three hour drive to Deer Lake in good time. The zoo van stopped more often for coffee and we arrived with poor Mudder having a caffeine withdrawal headache. Luckily, we had two rooms booked at the Deer Lake Motel and one of them was available for us to check into early. By that time, I decided to use my “‘we’re all exhausted after getting off an unexpected overnight ferry with a two week old’, can we please check in early?” card.

After showers and a bath for Iain, we headed to the beach. When planning our trip home, DH and I had tried to factor in short driving days, ideally when the kids were napping, and hoped to incorporate some fun time over the course of the trip. To me, fun time on the West coast of Newfoundland in the summer means ‘beach’. Our day in Deer Lake was ideal as the weather was beautiful and there is nothing our toddler likes better than to play in a lake with his dog. The newborn and I enjoyed the view from our sun shelter (well, as you can see, Aidan enjoyed the view of the back of his eyelids). I got a row of knitting in before succumbing to the chip wagon up on the parking lot.

Playing with Iain in our motel room.

Bath time for little boys!

Mudder and DH went for pizza for supper while I stayed behind in the people motel room with the children (the pets stayed in the ‘pet’ motel room with Mudder). After supper, we all went to our respective rooms and, at least in the case of our room, quickly fell into an exhausted sleep.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny again and marked day number four. While DH packed up the vans, Mudder, Iain, Aidan and I crossed the TCH (Trans Canada Highway) to the Irving gas station across the road from the motel to check out the giant moose that Iain had had his eye on. I’m not sure which he was more entranced by: the moose,

the big rocks or the transport trucks!

Off we went again only to have the people van pull over at the Howley exit to tend to Aidan. By that time, we were enjoying the drive without the stress of a schedule so stopping did not hold any of the stress it had on day two. Unlike most of our forays off the highway to tend to the boys, DH was able to meet up with us for this one and he, Mudder, Para and Iain played while I nursed and changed Aidan. We set off again and made it as far as Lewisporte for a late lunch. Here are some pictures of Iain showing how much he loves his new little brother.

Holding hands.

A hug from big brother - aw!

After Lewisporte, the feeling of getting closer to home really set in as we drove to our destination for that night: Victoria Cove, Gander Bay where my parents intend on eventually retiring and where we had ‘booked’ accommodations with my second cousin, Mudder’s first cousin and one of her best friends. Thanks for the room and board again, V!

News of our arrival had preceded us and, in true Newfoundland Labrador style, we had people dropping in to see us (lets face it – they came to see the boys!). We had a nice evening chatting and relaxing.

The next morning, we visited my great-great grandfather’s house that is the construction zone where my parents intend on retiring within the next couple of years. Doesn’t it look great?

And here is the view from their sun room and the front rooms. Wow.

We left Gander Bay after gasing up at my cousin’s gas station in Gander Bay South, our usual stop when in that part of the island. We managed to see a few more relatives there and to show Aidan and Iain off to a few more people. Our next food stop was at a park in Clarenville where Mudder and I entertained Iain and Aidan while DH brought us lunch. Iain really enjoyed the jungle gym and it amazes me how good a climber he is at his age (amazes and terrifies…)! Day number five of travel brought us all the way to Upper Gullies, Conception Bay South and my parents house. Mudder had been away for 5 weeks and was, I think, very pleased to be home. Although we were tired, it was so nice to drive in the drive way, be greeted by Dali (the family dog) and to see the Atlantic from the back windows.

Before we left NS, DH asked me if I wanted to do something special or symbolic on our way back to the island to signify the importance of me moving back home after being away for thirteen years. At the time, I could not think of anything. Now that I’m here, I’ve found that what I want to do and what has become a symbol of this journey home for me is my intention to bring my children to as many of those spots that I remember from when I was a child as possible. More on that in another post!

Since arriving home, I have seen two pothead whales from Mudder and Fadder’s back windows (on two separate days). The children and I have visited many family members, friends and many St. John’s city parks. Most exciting of all, we finally found and bought the third house Aidan and I viewed our first week back! We take possession of it on September 15th. All in all, it has been an exciting first month here.

The adventure continues in my next post and there might even be knitting content!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Journey Home - Part One

We left Middleton on Tuesday, July 22nd in two vans. Mudder and I drove in the ‘people van’ with the boys and DH escorted the zoo in the camper van. We were absolutely loaded down (and I didn’t get any good pictures of that. Sigh) and got away from our house and Middleton much later than we’d hoped for. However, we only drove as far as Truro that day and the trip went a lot faster than anticipated. We stayed at a hotel that took pets (the Holiday Inn Truro in case you need similar accommodations) and had a reasonably good nights sleep. Not bad for our first day of travel.
The next day was a bit of an adventure and established a pattern. Aidan began screaming for the first five minutes of most legs of the trip, resulting in Mudder and I finding the next exit off the highway and me tending to him. I thought the van’s DVD system was a bit over the top when DH mentioned he wanted that option (I wanted the leather seats to assist with easy spill clean up so both of us have expensive taste) but it really helped appease the toddler and maintain my sanity as I do not deal well with a newborn screaming when I cannot get to him immediately.

The 1988 camper van overtook us on the highway at some point when we were stopped tending to the children so we met up with DH and the pets in Baddeck, on Cape Breton Island. I highly recommend visiting Baddeck if you are ever in that neck of the woods as it is a lovely town. Setting Baddeck as our next meeting point worked out well as DH really wanted to see the Alexander Graham Bell historic site (it's the Centennial year of the flight of the Silver Dart) and he took Iain while Mudder, Aidan and I went to Baadeck Yarns. As luck would have it, Aidan was hungry as soon as we arrived so I sat and nursed him while surrounded by yarn. That was lovely until he needed a significant diaper change so we went back to the van to do that and for me to top him up. Disaster struck when I realised that one of the ladies I saw working in the shop leaving and I noticed the time – 5:00 PM – closing time! Almost in tears, I handed Aidan over to Mom and scrambled back into the shop in hopes that they closed at 5:30. I have been trying to get a relaxed and lengthy visit to browse in that shop for two years now and each time something seems to prevent it.

When I stuck my head in the door and asked what time the shop closed, the owner said “We close at 5:00 but we knew you were outside with the baby so come on in and shop.” Be still my beating heart - what sweethearts! It turns out the owners live in the same building as the yarn shop (be still my beating heart again!) and are a retired Canadian Forces couple like DH and I! We had a lovely chat and I walked out with some gorgeous yarn including two skeins of Marlabrigo Lace (100% Baby Merino) in the Mariposa 125 colourway. Marlabrigo is a type of yarn which I had only heard about on Suzanne’s blog and had never seen in person. It is gorgeous and, when I saw a knit up sample using this yarn in the shop, I decided that it was going to be my leaving NS treat to myself. My newest stash addition will become this Whisper Cardigan.

After that very happy experience, the whole family grabbed sandwiches at a local deli and got back on the road. The original time to catch our ferry from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL was at 6:30 PM. However, we had heard that Marine Atlantic was having trouble making their booking times and were not surprised when we received a telephone call from them advising that our ferry crossing was delayed and we had an extra hour before needing to be at the terminal. When we arrived in North Sydney, the ferry traffic line was, literally, backed up past the terminal line up area and out onto the highway. None of us had ever seen the line up so bad. And, our situation got worse.

Aidan started screaming the last 40 minutes of the ‘creeping forward at just fast enough of a pace that Mudder could not jump out of the van and grab him and walk next to us’ phase of the line up. When we finally got to the ticket gate, he was pretty much hysterical. The ticket agent then proceeded to have an extensive telephone call with somebody about an issue unrelated to our booking before completing our registration process. Aidan continued to scream and I was very close to tears myself, so Mom saved us by getting out and taking Aidan from the van and walking with him until we got through the booking process and parked in our waiting spot for the ferry. I may just blank out the whole four hours prior to leaving NS due to emotional trauma!

Through the jigs and reels (and the luxury of time having softened the memories somewhat), we did not leave port until about 12:30 AM after struggling, exhausted, into our cabin. Thank God I insisted on only taking a crossing that had a cabin for us as I was not sure how I would be feeling after the delivery and a journey with a newborn. Iain was so overtired that it took about 30 minutes of him screaming before he finally dropped off to sleep. After that, the rest of us managed to crawl into the bunks for about four hours of sleep (Aidan sleeps wonderfully next to Mommy :)). I must note that, despite the number of times she has taken this trip, this was the first time that my mother had ever been able to sleep on a ferry crossing from NS to NL. Apparently anything is possible if you’re tired enough!

The first part of this trip was so stressful for me that I did not take any pictures and I am already regretting that oversight (the pictures above were taken in Deer Lake, NL the day after our ferry crossing). However, reality was that we were all exhausted, physically and emotionally, from just having had a new baby and packing and preparing for a big move. I have some great images in my head from that first gorgeous morning when we arrived back on the island in Port aux Basques and of the drive East. However, our first pictures of the trip are of our first day back on the island in Deer Lake where we spent most of the third day and night number three of the trip. Unfortunately for you, those details will be in my next post. Catch up with you soon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Are Here!

I have a lot to tell you about the past month but wanted to drop by quickly to let you know that we are all here safe and sound. It has been a journey of ups and downs. Aidan has done wonderfully. He weighed in at a whopping 12 lbs 7 ounces today at the Doctor’s office. He continues to be a wonderfully calm little boy who likes his naps – bless him!

It seems as though we have thrown a bit too much at our wee two year old who has really had a change of personality. Like DH said over the weekend, it’s as though someone flicked a switch. However, who can blame him? New environment in which he doesn’t have free rein as usual, new brother, new job meaning Daddy worked for 12 days straight for 16 – 18 hour days (that is now over and Iain has done much better the past two days when Daddy was home at supper time), sleep deprived and overly stressed mother…. You get the picture. Our days are a work in progress and I’m trying to get him/us back on a schedule similar to our days in Nova Scotia and he seems to be responding very well to that. Suggestions welcome and appreciated and, please, wish me luck.

I will write a longer blog post about the exact details of our trip here soon. We are currently ensconced at my parent’s house in Conception Bay South. I spent our first week here looking for a house and we seem to have found one that we really like. I will provide further details if/when the transaction is complete.

I also have another FO to report on – a pair of Fetching gloves in Mission Falls’ beautiful Wildflower tri-colour colourway. I love the colour and hope to use it in a sweater in the future.

So many things to tell you when I find the darn whatsit to get the pictures off my camera…

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're Off!

You may not have noticed but there is a flurry of activity around Chez Fibreholic these days. Not only have we been blessed with a newborn but we are moving...tomorrow! This is a quick post to let you know that I will be out of contact until we get semi-settled at my parent's place in Newfoundland. We are taking our time with short driving days and are hoping for great weather so that we can visit a couple of beaches along the way.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sweater Model

Here is Aidan modelling the sweater I knit for him a few weeks back, providing proof that we have another active boy on our hands.

These pictures were taken just before we left the hospital.

Aidan was two days old when these pictures were taken.

I predict active boy trouble in our future!

Luckily, the child sleeps...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Breaking News!

On Tuesday morning at 2:06 AM, our family welcomed a baby BOY! We have decided to name him Aidan Allan. He was 8 lbs 6 ozs when he was born (exactly the same as Iain’s birth weight!) and 20” long. Not that labour is ever easy; Aidan made it a bit more of a challenge by being born face up. He is beautiful and a joy. Now, if we can just get him on Nova Scotia time versus European time (he is up from 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM usually) we will be all set!

Aidan and I returned home on Thursday evening. We seem to be adjusting well to the new addition. Having DH at home and Grandma here as well has been a Godsend.

Iain is quite taken with Aidan and calls him by his name or by ‘baby brother’. He often stops to look at his brother adoringly during the day, which just makes my heart melt!

By the way, April, you were the ONLY one to guess ‘boy’! Send me your snail mail address via email and I will get some cool pressies off to you.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

No Baby Yet!

I know a baby update is the real reason why you dropped by so I thought I’d talk about that first so that, if you don’t have time, you can just read sentence one and move along. Baby number two has definitely moved down and I’m definitely going to have a baby soon but, really, even the medical system needs a psychic to know when the baby will actually be born! For now, I’ve been luxuriating in lots of naps (thanks, Mudder and DH!) and lots of help around the house. I have also managed to finish another pair of fingerless mittens. Let’s see if I can get a picture of them before Canada Post gets them…

Since Iain’s birthday party, we have been mainly sticking close to home. Mudder, Iain and I have been out for short forays into town for groceries and the post office. We (less Iain) even went into the Greenwood Mall to go to the bookstore on Monday night – a rare treat! I also got back the proofs from my and Iain’s pregnancy belly photo shoot the week before last and I am really pleased with them. What a great memory for all of us.

This past Saturday, DH really wanted to go on a day trip. As the weather has been overcast but still very hot and heavy, we headed out to Blomidon Provincial Park’s day use area where it is usually several degrees cooler. It was cooler and LOVELY. Iain does not fall asleep well in a vehicle but was due for a nap when we left the house. Therefore, he drifted off about 10 minutes before we arrived at the park.

I love how deeply he sleeps once he gets to sleep!

Para thought a nap was in order too!

It was a fun time. I opted not to go down and up the stairs to the beach so sat and knit at the picnic table while DH, Iain, Mudder and Para went walking on the beach. The Bay of Fundy Tide was coming in so the beach got smaller and smaller rapidly.

DH and Iain also found the creek just below where we’d secured our picnic table and Iain was pretty wet and happy by the time they found their way back to me. Para drank a minimal amount of salt water. She is a very smart dog in some ways but there are a few areas where she needs help. Around salt water is one of them. I assume that because we spent most of her early years exploring fresh water (rivers and ponds in and around Goose Bay, Labrador and Cold Lake, Alberta), she figures all water is drinkable. It just means keeping a close eye on her when we are near the ocean.

Just before Iain was born, we purchased a new camera. In keeping with that precedent, a new Canon Power Shot SD780 IS arrived at our post office box last week. Our old camera kept eating batteries (e.g. after four pictures you would have to replace the batteries) and it was driving me crazy. I think I like this new, very little camera but I still need to play with it more. I made DH buy the red coloured exterior one. I think he’s coming to grips with that.

I have also been trying to concentrate on taking lots of pictures of Iain these days. I am very aware that these are his last days as a ‘single’ child and I want to record them. He is growing into such a wonderful, silly boy with such a great sense of humour and adventure. Of course, all of this means he has his challenging moments but, hey, he turns two on Saturday so that is expected! Here’s our silly wee 'about to become a big brother' boy:

And last but certainly not least, Happy Birthday FIL (father-in-law)! And, Happy Birthday, Canada! It’s a hot, wet, and overcast Canada Day in the Annapolis Valley so we are staying here at home enjoying some ‘down’ time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moving Right Along

It’s been an eventful few weeks. We celebrated Iain’s second birthday party a few weeks early (on June 13th) so that the big event could be celebrated without A) me going into/being in labour and B) a brand new newborn. That plan went well as baby number two is still safely (though heavily…) contained within. Here are some shots of the big day.

The van's official introduction to 'Mommyhood':

The outdoor decorations (unfortunately, after a couple of rainy days, it was too wet to host most of the party outside. We moved out later in the afternoon):

Some of the guest shoe collection:

Iain loves balloons and so did all of his guests! These balloons provided endless entertainment and made it all around the house:

The finished cake. This was a bit of a coup. I like having a theme to plan a party around and Iain loves horses (which he calls 'neighs'). Therefore, the invitations I designed had a horse on them. I wanted to decorate a cake with a horse but the cake pan from Wilton was discontinued. I checked locally for a cake pan but wasn't willing to part with $30 for the only beaten up one I could find. Enter ebay (which I rarely use) and a $6 USD pan and here it is!

And here is the birthday boy!

I picked up Mudder from the airport this past Tuesday. Anyone who knows my mother will know that this was a big deal as she is terrified of flying. However, after considering her options (e.g. driving here by herself or taking the bus/ferry/bus which would take over two days), she decided that flying might be the best option of all. She seemed to do well or at least was feeling good enough about the whole one way experience (she will be returning to the island via ferry with us on July 24th) to give Iain lots of big waves and smiles as she came down the escalator to arrivals. For his part, once he saw ‘Gramma’, Iain didn’t stop smiling. He wasn’t quite brave enough to run into her arms however, one she bent down to give him a hug, he wanted ‘Up!’ immediately! They have, pretty much, been inseparable ever since. They are upstairs playing a rendition of golf/hockey as I type.

I am working on designing thank you cards for Iain’s birthday (I made his birthday invitations) and then getting onto the new baby announcement and thank you cards (designed already in my head which is a wonder). I am also doing some knitting. I finished a set of 100% Misti 2 ply chunky baby alpaca fingerless mittens (I got mine from Wool-Tyme online) from this Tangle pattern (and just realised that I have them upstairs, ready to send in the mail and forgot to take a final picture – argh!). It’s a really quick and fun pattern if you’re not me and want a quick and fun pattern. I may have started these this time last year and only finished them about a week ago. Ahem. Moving right along, I have another glove almost finished for another family recipient. Another late birthday gift but not as late as the ones above which were due in July. Of 2008…! I’d hang my head in fibre shame but I’m so pleased to have a genuine knitted FO that I’m too proud! Oh, the alpaca is gorgeous and I have leftovers from knitting two gloves - yeah! This is also a one skein project.

As for baby number two, there are no signs of an imminent release program apart from the fact that the baby has really dropped. S/he is giving me some cramps but not too many and, thankfully, I can eat again. In fact, since Mudder arrived and I’ve been put on a ‘nap at least once a day’ program, I’ve been feeling pretty good. Still tired but almost human. It’s been wonderful – my mother actually LOVES to do laundry. Seriously. She loves it and loves to hang it on the line, take it in and fold it. Too bad I didn’t inherit that gene! Then again, she also does not mind cleaning up after a meal one bit and I MUCH prefer for cook or bake and have someone else clean up after me. Therefore, we’re a great team.

DH has two weeks left in the Canadian Forces. He has mentioned that me having a baby early would help him retire ‘early’ but I’ve been ignoring his and Mudder’s offers for me to go and wash walls. After all, the baby isn’t due until July 4th and my recollection of the whole labour experience is just less than two years old (aka fresh in my mind). Regardless, I likely should get my hospital bag packed. Right now I have about three piles designated to go with me but really haven’t concentrated on getting too organised with putting it all in one bag.

Here’s a belly shot from June 7th. I know, I know, I’m overdue for a new one. I’ll keep that in mind for this week.