Thursday, March 27, 2008

Aran Scarf


This is the scarf I'm making for my International Scarf Exchange 6 (ISE6) pal. I'm rather surprised that I ended up going with something as involved as this is going to be, given the time frame and my obvious time shortages for anything extracurricular. My pal mentioned that they liked cables and hadn't yet tried the technique themselves...so I figured that since I like knitting cables so much, why not spread the love a little bit? Anything worth doing is worth doing well, right?

This is a shot of half a repeat. I plan to do about ten repeats and am aiming for half a repeat a day. I never have time for knitting on the weekends, so I'm looking at 2.5 full repeats a week, which should take me about a month to get this done. It absolutely must be finished by May 26th, so my proposed stitching schedule will definitely keep me ahead of the game, which is good.

The Little Lamb Scarf


I'm going to estimate this as being about 40% done. There's nothing special about the patterns, just a 2x2 ribbing; but I love the yarn and just wanted to show it off in something simple. The scarf is going on hiatus for a while as I channel all available spare nano-seconds into the Aran Scarf for my ISE6 pal, so I thought I'd post a little picture...because it's pretty.

Kitchen Trouble

Courtesy of Rabbit...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ABC Tag

Wow, was I ever happy to get tagged to do this. I had my six week check-up this morning and it took FOREVER, so I'm happy to just kick back and do something frivolous for a little while.

A- Attached or single: Thermal bonded.

B- Best Friend: Mr. Brooke and Denise. The mirror. (Ha ha)

C-Cake or Pie: Both! I generally prefer pie, but get intense cravings for ooey gooey frosting sometimes and cake fills that void very nicely.

D- Day of Choice: Saturday...or Wednesday, it's my sewing day.

E- Essential Item: Right now? Nursing pads. (Normally I'd say mascara.)

F- Favorite Color: I think this changes everyday. I generally always have pink near the top of the list. I did see some yarn today that was some beautiful shades of blue, purple and green, so those are my favorite at this particular moment.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms: Both. I really like gummy stuff, it's my favorite type of candy.

H- Hometown: I'm going to go with Spanish Fork.

I- Indulgence(s): Watching Gilmore Girls re-runs. A couple of hours by myself out of the house to dawdle about shops that I like. Taking a bubble bath during the time the girls get ready for bed.

J- January or July: One's too hot and one's too cold and gray and dealing with the inevitable letdown feeling that comes after the excitement of the holidays.

K-Kids: Bluebird, Rabbit & Little Lamb. They're so much more awesome than the other kids at the playground. Ha ha.

L-Life is incomplete without: Aside from the obvious? Yarn and sleep. And gum. (I'm easy to please at the moment.)

M- Marriage Date: December 28, 2002

N- Number of Siblings: One younger brother, three younger half brothers and an ever-changing number of step-siblings. (I don't bother keeping track of those anymore.)

O- Oranges or Apples: Apples. Jonagold or Pink Lady or Honeycrisp.

P- Phobias or Fears: Fire. It was super great when my house burned down. (I knew it was going to happen someday!) I also have a thing about animal hair, it makes me gag when I have it on my clothes. Holly was great fun. I also don't like human hair that's no longer attached to a human. Good thing I never became a hair stylist or dog groomer.

Q- Quote(s): "Do the best you can and God will make up the rest" or something to that effect, from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.

R- Reason To Smile: Little Lamb smiling, Rabbit always giving me a kiss before she goes outside, Rabbit trying to jump, Bluebird talking like an adult, Bluebird sitting by me on the couch and holding my hand, finding a pen that I accidentally left out and seeing that every piece of paper in its general vicinity has Bluebird's attempts at writing her name scrawled on them, Mr. Brooke coming home early from work, Mr. Brooke & Little Lamb taking a nap together on the couch, my brother phoning (I talk about it for days afterwards), Mr. Brooke complaining about how old he is, going to bed before 11:30pm (that is one blissful smile), yarn.

S- Season: I like each one when they're pretty to look at.

T- Tag: Kathleen, Krista, Mrs. Mordecai, and any other regulars that my sleep-deprived brain cannot recall at the moment. (Last night was a rough one, let me tell ya...I'll survive though.)

U- Unknown Fact About Me: I went to a caucus last night

V- Veggies or Fruit: Veggies! Low in calories so I can eat until I'm actually full.

W- Worst Habit: Holding others to too high of expectations. (Or so I'm told--I don't think my expectations are high, but really just sufficiently normal; and it bugs me when people can't get their acts together enough to obtain a decent level of normalcy. But the fact that people complain about it obviously means something.)

X- X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds

Y- Your Favorite Food: I don't have one, I just plain like food.

Z: Zodiac: Taurus with Sagittarius ascendant. (In my former life, I was an astrology junkie. But don't worry, I'm over that phase now. Don't ask me to draw up your star chart, I don't do that anymore.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Weekend

We do the commercial Easter stuff (baskets, bunny, eggs, etc.) on Saturday in order to preserve the sacred nature of the holiday on the Sabbath. Here's what the girls awoke to on Saturday morning:
They tore into the candy immediately and the only way we could pull them away from their baskets was to remind them of the city's Easter Egg Hunt and a promise to go through the Carl's Jr. drive-thru for breakfast.

I like to think that Little Lamb was excited to go. (She started smiling two weeks ago and this is the closest I've come in capturing it with the camera.)
Bluebird and Rabbit were very excited to go the Easter Egg Hunt...and it was so weird to need two strollers to transport our family around the park!


Bluebird won a special gift bag from the Chamber of Commerce!

Rabbit was simply happy to open her eggs and find candy.

We made our post-newborn church debut on Easter Sunday. I originally wasn't planning to go back until May, but I couldn't stand staying home anymore. And besides, the girls had matching Easter dresses and I couldn't wait until May for them to wear them:




I tried for a group shot of the girls, but this is as close as I could get.

It was so good to get back to church again, I've missed it so much. And Easter Sunday is always a wonderful day at church, even if it is your first time attending with three children. (Oddly enough, the three children thing went very smoothly...I even sang with the choir after the choir director hunted me down and thrust sheet music that I'd never seen into my hands and pleaded for me to sing...)

It takes a while to unload all the girls from the car, so by the time I walked through the door with Little Lamb, Bluebird and Rabbit had already gone in and taken off their shoes and it just made me smile to see their matching Easter footwear on the floor. I love having a bunch of little girls.

Peek A Boo

Thursday, March 20, 2008

There Are No Spare Moments

Little Lamb has definitely emerged from the "I'm either sleeping or eating" phase of newborn-ness to "Feed me or hold me all day and I'll let you sleep at night" stage. I'm doing my best to uphold my end of the bargain.

She's awake a whole lot more now, which brings its obvious complications to my daily life. I hate that newborns sleep so much in the beginning and totally dupe you out into thinking that you're totally able to handle X amount of kids, no sweat. They totally lull you into a false sense of confidence and then WHAM! Reality hits you and it ain't pretty. If she could talk and if she had conscious control of her hands, she'd totally be pointing at me and taunting me right now. ("Ha ha, thought you had it down...thought it was going to be a smooth transition...man oh man, did I ever fool you! Mwahahahahaha!" *spit up*)

But thank goodness, God made infants completely incapable of mockery, so when us mothers face the brutal truth that another kid is going to shake things up a bit, our sweet little ones cannot laugh at us...which is good, because if she did, I'd collapse into a bawling heap on the kitchen floor be hard-pressed to remain the cool and collected mother that I am trying to be these days.

You're actually incredibly lucky to be getting a post out of me right now. This forced schedule of continual nursing and holding makes it mighty hard to do anything else. And, sadly enough, blogging is so gigantically far down on the list of things to do when I do have a spare moment (and it takes a few seconds for me to register that a spare moment is indeed happening to me...) that I'm quite certain things are going to get incredibly quiet on the blog for the next eighteen years a while.

Oh, wait, I didn't have a spare moment after all...I was supposed to be getting a snack for Bluebird and got sidetracked by the computer...

International Scarf Exchange 6

This post is for my secret pal because s/he cannot get an email to me. (Has anyone else ever had issues with yahoo accounts emailing gmail accounts?)

So, secret pal, if you need to ask/tell me anything, feel free to post your questions here in the comments section.

Another reason that blogs are good.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Brooke!


The big two nine. I can't believe he'll be thirty next year! We had a nice little celebration for him, just the five of us. He requested something small and low-key because he still tires out easily with recovering from his biopsy. (And when your birthday falls on the Ides of March, carousing with friends is generally a bad idea...)

All in all, I was quite pleased with yesterday's shindig. We had New York steaks (which I think will replace Filet Mignon as my favorite cut...), big baked potatoes, Caesar salad and homemade rolls for dinner. (Mr. Brooke's a big meat and potatoes type of guy.)

And for dessert, we had Chocolate Mint Cheesecake...my first attempt ever at making cheesecake and it turned out extremely well! The girls especially liked the mint layer of the cheesecake, which I had to concoct after Mr. Brooke asked for a "grasshopper pie-type cheesecake." My family sincerely tests my culinary abilities sometimes!

Of course, there were presents, handled by Miss Bluebird, the self-elected "Present Princess" of the evening.

The girls gave him an ice cream maker and Bluebird has not stopped hounding him to make some since he opened it. (The bowl is in the freezer as I speak, freezing as fast as it can in order to appease her as quickly as possible.)

I gave him a bench grinder. It was obviously his favorite present. (I don't know what in the world you need a bench grinder for, but he's been requesting one for about two years now and I've already bought him all the other tools that were less expensive...his other requested tool option was $360.) Mr. Brooke actually guessed that he would receive a tool of some sort and spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage in order to better accomodate his growing collection. He's now trying to talk me into only parking outside the garage so he can move his tools into better locations (ie. where the car goes...) for more ease in working with them. (I responded with that he needs to get a big fat raise so we can buy a new house with a four car garage...)

(Little Lamb was there, too.)

Another Brooke birthday party success! Bluebird is already planning for mine (in May). And then "Birthday Season" will be over until Rabbit's birthday in August. (Seriously, FOUR birthdays in twelve weeks, plus Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Mother's Day...Mr. Brooke just commented to me that our house has had balloons in it non-stop since the beginning of February.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oh, the Irony...

You know, when I started up the blog, I had a glimmer of hope that I would become a little popular amongst the homemakers who frequent the internet and that people would link to me and/or quote me in all my infinite wisdom. I was looking to increase the amount of respect for full-time homemakers and hoped to help cast off the stigma that full-time homemakers aren't smart or that they're overly emotional and couldn't handle the stress of an outside job.

Well, I had my first "big" quote that has attracted a bazillion visitors today alone:

AAG Touched Lives! (You have to scroll down a little bit.)

The title of the post, the contents of the post...SO what I wanted the rest of the world to use for their first impression of me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Crazy Lady Who Cries in the Car

Hi. Remember me, the lady who had a baby less than a month ago? In a move that only serves to prove my complete insanity, I have signed up for International Scarf Exchange 6, which is basically another Scarfapalooza-type deal. I have willingly signed up and committed to knitting a scarf by the end of the May for a complete stranger. Yes, it's a sickness. No, I don't know how to fix it.

Further proof of my craziness:
I couldn't help myself, I have to make a quilt for my brother's little boy. When I was pregnant with Rabbit and entertaining the idea that she might be a boy, I fell in love with the idea of a cowboy quilt. Obviously, I have had no need to make a cowboy quilt yet for my own offspring, but I walked into the quilt shop this afternoon and saw this fabric set and I just could not buy it fast enough. I also bought some pre-cut squares of an elegant flowery fabric collection with the intent to make a blanket for Little Lamb. Yes, it's a very bad sickness. No, I still haven't found a cure...nor do I really want to.

And yes, I cry in the car too. What in the world is up with the music world with all the songs about baby/little girls these days? Seriously, I look like a complete freak every time I drive my car and I start bawling. Apparently, Carrie Underwood has a new song out called "All American Girl," and I was crying within fifteen seconds of hearing it for the first time today. Yeesh. I don't want my girls to go away someday, I want to keep them with me forever! It's way too much to think about their eventual departure with whomever they choose to marry in the future...

...but then again, when they are gone to their own households I will have a whole lot more time to quilt and knit.

(I know, it's a bad sickness...)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyaaaaaaaa

Little Lamb slept from 10pm-3am. And then she nursed super quick and was asleep by 3:30, and then slept until 6:30.

Eight hours of sleep!

(I need it...it takes a bit of energy to take care of the three girls and my recovering husband...thank you Little Lamb.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Feeling Better...

It feels good to get something definitely done. And considering that it only took fifteen minutes to finish the last steps of the scarf, I chuckle that I put it off for so long. (I was afraid of steam blocking. Silly, but true.)

And it feels extremely good to finish something that was such a test to my knitting skills. My goodness, I actually made this thing! (You'd say that too after you took a look at the pattern chart!) Woo-hoo!

For those not in the know, this is the Backyard Leaves scarf. The pattern is usually found in the book Scarf Style, but I got my pattern from the 2006 Interweave Knits Holiday issue. (Someday I will own Scarf Style. Someday.)

I used KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes in Forest Heather for this. I don't think the heathered color was a good choice--I think the leaves would show up better in a solid color. Oh well, it's still nice. And it's already driving me crazy that this is going to sit in my closet until Christmas, when I gift it to a very nice person. Hopefully I can also knit up the scarf I have in mind for her husband by then. I'm a little iffy on that possibility.

*sigh* Now I can stop with the fidgeting for a few weeks. I like to have at least as many finished projects as what number of months we've gone through in a particular year. Three finished projects for 2008, right on track...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Creativity...the lack thereof...the need for completion

I've lots of theories behind the need to be creative on a regular basis. One theory of mine is that God is a creator, we're here to become more like Him...therefore, the need to create and be creative. Another theory is that we (women especially) spend our days doing a lot of repetitive tasks--picking up toys, doing laundry, washing the dishes--that will need to be repeated every day and never are really "done" because you're just going to do them again tomorrow. But having projects that have finite ending points...that's where you get some peace in your heart at having finished something.

Whatever the reason is, I have a tremendous desire to create. It really starts to wear on me if I don't get some creative time every few days...like right now. I finished the knitting on the Backyard Leaves scarf the day before Little Lamb was born and now it simply awaits some steam blocking and sewing of the two halves together. (Funny aside: I finished the knitting and thought to myself, "There. Now I can have this baby." And that night my water broke!) Since I didn't want to lug out the ironing board in my humungous pregnant state to block Mr. Leafy, I started another scarf with some yarn I had in my stash that evening...I even worked a row of it while I was at the hospital. And I worked on it for fifteen minutes when Little Lamb was two days old. Those were my last moments spent on a creative pursuit...more than two weeks ago. I'm getting fidgety.

I'm getting this antsy feeling to unearth my sewing machine from beneath all the whatever is hiding it from view down in the craft room and start sewing like a crazy person. I've seen some of the cutest patterns for tote bags, hats, quilts and little girl dresses lately...oh my goodness, would I like to spend an afternoon sewing without interruption! I know that I've got three quilts in progress that I'd really just like to scratch off the mental list of unfinished projects...

And the knitting--I've got yarn and patterns for three baby cardigans that I would really like to see my girls wear before they get too big, the argyle scarf (the book is in my possession!), a reversible cabled scarf for the Backyard Leaves recipient's significant other, the scarf I started right before Little Lamb was born (perhaps I will call it the "Little Lamb Scarf"?), and a desire to make mittens. (Mittens in March? I blame it on Elizabeth Zimmerman and her "Mittens for Next Winter" chapter for the month of May in Knitter's Almanac...and I blame it on Piecework Magazine's emphasis on mittens in its latest issue.)

Perhaps it's not a desire to create, but a desire to feel like something is finished; and I've just demonstrated the mountain of unfinishedness that's lurking in the basement...bad Feng Shui indeed. Hmmm. Maybe I just need to grab the projects that are closest to completion and just finish the silly things. (Dare I even say that I cannot start another project until I finish a set number of In-Progress works?)

That's it. We're doing some creativity housecleaning. I'm not sure of what just yet. Off the top of my head, things that aren't finished:

1. Backyard Leaves Scarf
2. Cheerful Baby Quilt
3. Blue & Yellow Quilt
4. The Ugly Baby Girl Quilt (I'm not sure if I'll ever finish this)
5. The Little Lamb Scarf
6. Monogrammed Throw Pillow (oh, the calamity that it has turned into...it pains me to look at it and try to figure out how to make it all better again)
7. Patriotic Braided Rug (no motivation as I do not have a patriotic room to put it in until the basement gets finished)

Except for the last two items, I really could get all those done with relative ease. The quilts are pretty near completion, although I'm not exactly sure how far along the Ugly Baby Girl Quilt is. Perhaps I'll shoot for finishing up the two scarves and the two non-ugly quilts.

But that brings me back to the original dilemma of finding time to do it all...

*sigh*

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Week in Random Pictures

Bluebird takes her big sister duties very seriously--she's "babysitting" Little Lamb while I finished clearing the table after breakfast one day.

Happy girl in pink butterflies. This is one of my favorite outfits. I even think about using it for inspiration to paint the girls' room...

Gotta get in a photo or two of me with my girls.

Bluebird finally opened her birthday present from Mr. Brooke's mother. I received it in the mail and forgot it in the car, and then Little Lamb happened and it got moved from the car to a spot in the garage and we discovered it the other day...yeah, that's pretty bad. But Bluebird loves it regardless of how long it took to get to her. It's a copy of "Fox in Socks" by Dr. Seuss and a matching Fox in Socks stuffed animal. She's taken it to bed with her every night and hugs it while I read the book to her. As my mother-in-law would say, "For cute!"

Rabbit likes to sleep with the green bunny.

And she's moved beyond Dr. Seuss to nineteenth-century slave narratives.