Monday, December 31, 2007

Last day of 2007

New Years Snow

So, it's the last day of 2007. I've been trying to decide if I wanted to post a reflective year end recap kind of post and decided against it. 2007 has been an interesting year for my family. Interesting - that's just the word I was looking for. My father died in January, Oldest Boy broke his arm in February and then became a teenager in April, same boy broke his arm in June and we're now awaiting word on whether or not he needs surgery on his ankle, we had a chunk of our home renovated, there was lots and lots of baseball and soccer and football played. We've been almost frantically busy at times. We also came into a nice little inheritance and were able to pay for our renovations, buy season ski passes for the boys, and pay off our credit card and medical debts. It's been a full and interesting year.

Odo - sigh

We woke up to snow yet again this morning. By noon we should have passed the record set sometime in the 1800s for the most snow in December. It's like a winter wonderland out there. Everyone in our family is getting to spend the last day of 2007 just as they would like to. Mr. Baseball took the two older boys and a neighbor friend skiing, Youngest Boy and his best bud are hanging at our house playing without the interference of big brothers, and I'm still in my jammies hanging out on the computer. I couldn't be happier. Even Odysseus gets to spend his day hanging around without anyone picking him up and carrying him around like a rag doll.

Tomorrow I may update with some WIP photos before we leave for vacation.

I wish you all a very happy New Year. May 2008 be filled with peace and joy for you and your families.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The stockings were hung


They were hung by the chimney with care and filled to the brim with goodies on Christmas Eve. The stockings have always been one of my favorite Christmas traditions. But now the stockings are empty and ready to be put away for another year.

We had a very nice Christmas. The inlaws arrived on Sunday for a brief overnight visit. The boys were thrilled to see their grandparents. We spent Christmas Eve with neighbors who do a very nice home church service. My boys like this so much better than going to "real" church on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, we all spent the entire day in our jammies. We opened gifts, played with the new Wii, ate yummy food, and just generally enjoyed a relaxing Christmas. Mr. Baseball and the boys are off skiing today - enjoying the sunshine and very moderate temperatures. I did my annual post Christmas shopping this morning and finished by noon. I love to buy Hallmark wrapping paper for next year and scoff up some good deals at Target.

Now I'm spending the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and knitting the Cherry Cordial sock. I clean a bit and knit a bit. I'm enjoying the quiet of my house.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

No catchy title today

Cherry Cordial 2

I've been planning a post all week to write about knitting this sock. This sock took many trips this week as we went to the orthopedic surgeon on Monday to have Oldest Boy's sore ankle looked at, to the dentist on Tuesday for cleanings all around, to an MRI for Oldest Boy on Thursday, and back to the orthopedic surgeon yesterday. There's been lots and lots of waiting room knitting. I'm loving the Yarntini yarn and the ease of a plain vanilla sock is quite soothing.

Unfortunately, when we returned to the orthopedic surgeon yesterday we were given bad news about Oldest Boy's ankle. I didn't understand most of what the doctor said as I had two of the boys with me and my brain pretty much stopped working when he started talking about dead bone and detaching cartilage and surgery. I went in prepared for the doctor to say that the shadow on the x-ray was "nothing" and was not prepared for bad news. Oldest Boy is inan air cast for now until we return to see the surgeon on January 11th. I'll know a lot more then. Until then I just keep reminding myself that he's no worse today now that we know there's something wrong than he was on Monday when we didn't know. I know he'll be fine.

Pine Grosbeak

When I returned from my walk this morning, I had a flock of these Pine Grosbeaks in my front tree again. They love to eat the tiny apples and they don't even move when I come near or make noise. I don't know how I never noticed them until this year. I have two friends who also only noticed them for the first time this year and I got to prove how smart I am when I could tell them what kind of bird they had seen. I think they're very nice.

I must return to the bustle of preparing for Christmas. My inlaws arrive tomorrow and there is much to be done before then. The timer just beeped and it's time to pull the spiced almonds out of the oven. It sure smells good in here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hitting the slopes

Jared and Adam

After all the storminess we've had in the last week, the weatherman predicted that today would be a beautiful New England winter day (I know it's not really winter yet but come on ... we've already had almost 2 feet of snow). Based on that forecast, I promised the boys I'd take them skiing today. That weatherman was spot on. It was a perfect day for skiing/snowboarding with temperatures in the 30s and very little wind. You might notice in the photo above that Oldest Boy is boarding with his winter coat unzipped and flying wide open (it makes a mother proud to see such a thing).

Back in April, our closest ski area had a special on season ski passes and we bought one for each of the boys (including Mr. Baseball). This is Oldest Boy's last year at home with us as he plans to attend high school next year. We fully intend to take advantage of our flexible schedule and ski as much as possible.


The older boys went skiing a couple of weekends ago but Youngest Boy was nervous about getting back on the slopes. He was a little timid at the start of the day but soon got his feet under him. By the middle of the day, he was zooming down the slopes.


It should be said that I don't actually ski. I CAN ski but I haven't for years and I don't intend to start. My job is to make sure we have everything we need, pack up snacks and lunches, get everyone ready to go, and then sit in the lodge to help the boys when they come in. I sat about five feet from this fire all day long knitting my Cherry Cordial sock. It's a tough life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zee Zig Zag Hat

zig zag front

Zee Zig Zag Hat, she is finished!

I haven't knit something this quick in many years. I cast on last Thursday and finished on Monday night. It's really a very nice pattern. In fact, I think I'll make another one with just a couple of modifications. This is the first time I've knit with Koigu. I must say that although it's lovely yarn, I don't really get all the hype. I liked the solid yarn much better than the variegated yarn. I'm sure it's the same base but the solid felt softer and even a little thicker. I do like how the two worked together.

zig zag back

The hat fits me a lot differently than it does my boys but they were the easiest models I could find. They proclaimed the hat itchy and all of them said they would not want me to knit a hat for them. Oldest son has been asking me to knit him a hat for ages and I was planning to do so but if they find Koigu itchy I'm not sure what yarn he would like.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's a hat!

Zig Zag Hat

What's this you ask? It's a hat. The pattern is called Zig Zag Hat and it is published by one of my not so local yarn stores (nothing is actually local where I live). I've admired the samples in the store many times and had some Koigu in the stash. I decided after I finished the Monkeys that I would take some time to knit something besides socks.

I really like how this hat is turning out. I'm not entirely convinced the hat will fit when it's done but I did try on the store sample more than once or twice. I'm terribly slow at two color knitting. I never learned how to do it properly and so I drop the yarn each time and pick up the new color. I don't have the patience to learn the "right" way so this works for me. I'm almost done a full repeat of the pattern and it only calls for a repeat and a half before knitting the top of the hat. I may have a hat to show soon.

Vanilla Cherry Cordial

I realized after casting on for the Zig Zag Hat that I also needed a portable project. Our schedule is filled with dentist, doctor and orthodontist appointments and I need something I can knit without thinking. I cast on some Yarntini in Cherry Cordial to make a plain vanilla sock. Socks are the one thing I can knit from start to finish without following any pattern or directions. I'm in no hurry to finish these - no deadlines - which is making them even more enjoyable. This is my first time knitting with Yarntini and I'm liking it a lot. This is the variegated version and not the self striping but I like how it's knitting up into almost single row stripes.

Right now I'm headed off to bed. I know when I wake up in the morning we'll be in the midst of a Nor'easter. I've got all the food we'll need and we plan to hunker down for the storm. I made two batches of gingerbread dough and have them in the fridge for the night. Tomorrow, if all goes well, the boys and I will roll out dough and make gingerbread cookies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finished Monkeys

monkey toes
Pattern: Monkeys
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Happy Forest
Needles: Size 2.5 mm Knit Picks Circulars
Modifications: I used a standard slip stitch heel instead of a stockinette one and added extra pattern repeats to the leg and foot to accommodate my big feet.

I cast on the first sock of this pair the night of the World Series. They were knit as good luck juju for the Red Sox and dubbed Green Monster Rally Monkey socks after the Green Monster in Fenway Park.

It's hardly original to knit Monkeys. There are 2,857 pairs on Ravelry alone. I really liked the pattern, however, and found it both addictive and quick to knit (despite the long time between casting on and finishing). I never memorized the pattern but it was very easy to follow and I like the socks a lot. The Dream in Color Smooshy is definitely my new favorite sock yarn. I can't think of a single bad thing to say about it. It's smooshy, has great color, lots of yardage, is pleasant to knit with, and has good stitch definition. I'm so happy to have more in my stash.

Finished Monkeys

I've got a list of knitting plans. I'm hoping to have a couple of finished objects that are not socks. I need to wind up some yarn and cast on for a hat and I need to finalize my plans for some mittens. Until then, I've cast on a simple plain vanilla sock with some of the Yarntini in my stash. I need to have something simple to knit for upcoming doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments and plain vanilla socks are the one item I don't need any form of pattern for from beginning to end.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Finished Objects

Today is a good day to show off a few finished objects.

I finished these Harvest Cable socks on Friday and have been trying to photograph them since then. I have come to accept that this is the best I'm going to get with the winter light.

Harvest Cable Socks
Pattern: Harvest Cables by the Sockguy (pattern no longer available)
Yarn: Wollmeise in Spice Market
Needles: Size 2.5 mm Knit Picks circulars

I can't say that I love knitting with Wollmeise. It's rather stringy and feels like cotton. It tends to hurt my wrists some, too. I will say, however, that I love the yardage and the colors are fabulous. Once the items are washed the fabric is lovely. I love my Wollmeise socks.

The second finished object is a picture of the Chocolate Crinkles from yesterday. It sure is nice to have cookies when it is COLD outside. When I left for my walk this morning it was only 19 F. It's a good thing I have a walking buddy or I'd never leave my house in the winter.


My final picture shows the colors of our new kitchen walls and some of the cabinetry.

Odo napping

We found Odo up there last night - apparently playing hide-n-seek all by himself.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What a day!

The day started out quietly enough. We all went to bed last night knowing that we'd wake to snow and we weren't disappointed. The boys got their schoolwork done quickly and headed outside. Oldest Boy knew that he had to get the driveway snowblowed before he could play with friends and set right to work.

snowy tree

I took advantage of the quiet time to sit down and knit a few rows. I'm hoping to finish this second Monkey sock so I can start some mittens. As I was enjoying my solitude, Middle Boy came running into the house to tell me that Oldest Boy had fallen through the ceiling. I went running into the garage and saw Oldest Boy hanging by his armpits between two beams. He has gone into the attic space over the garage to get sleds and the floor collapsed beneath him. He was able to catch himself from falling through onto the garden implements below but he couldn't get down without risking serious injury. I was able to maneuver the ladder below him and he climbed down without incident.

(to the left of the white beam is the entry to the attic space - to the right are the two beams he fell through)

The only injury Oldest Boy sustained is a large gash to his left hand. He recovered quickly and went out to sled with his brothers and the neighbor. They stayed out there almost all day.


My nerves were shot after this incident and I didn't have the ability to sit and knit and I wanted to distract myself from thinking of all the what ifs. I kept myself busy in the Izzy way (Grey's Anatomy reference). I spent the entire rest of the day baking and cooking.

baking supplies

By dinner time, we had Molasses cookies, Chocolate Crinkle cookies, bread sticks, and Italian Wedding soup. My nervous energy had delicious dividends. Oldest Boy is fine and I'm just counting my blessings.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tree hunting

We went out for our annual tree hunting today. Usually, we're much more prepared and we go out on a warm October or November day and tag our tree. Then Mr. Baseball goes by himself in December to cut it down and haul it home. This year we weren't that organized so we did it all at one time.

First, we had to look at acres of trees and fight about debate the merits of each one. Some are too tall or too short; some too skinny or too fat. Some are just plain ugly. Eventually we found a tree to call our own.

THE tree

Oldest Boy did the honors of cutting down the tree by himself.

cutting it down

And I was there to catch it as it fell.

catching the tree

Oldest Boy proclaimed himself The Conqueror.

the conqueror

Finally, we loaded it onto a sled and Middle Boy hauled it out.

hauling it out

Mr. Baseball will get it set up complete with lights while I bring Oldest Boy to youth group this afternoon. Tonight, we'll decorate it as a family and tomorrow, while the snow falls, we'll be able to enjoy our new tree.