Monday, September 26, 2011

Snippet from Willow's Homework


I may have to remind Willow of this in a few years...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Went to The Renaissance Fair...

And these were the only two pictures I took... Okay, I'm not normally that lame when it comes to photography, but there was a reason for it. We went to the Pa Rennfaire on Sunday for the first time and had so much fun. It only took a little over an hour to get there on the PA Turnpike and it was a beautiful day for a drive. Here is a picture of Willow sitting on a gorgeous butterfly bench on the way into the fairgrounds:


So you see, I did bring my camera with me. Before we left, I was reading the fair's policies (as in where I could nurse without getting hassled - turns out you can go to any first aid office and they have a little privacy area set up for nursing and changing) and I saw a bit about photography - it said:

Taking photographs and video on the grounds of Mount Hope Estate and Winery and all our events is permitted provided the photographer understands that the photos and video are for personal use only.

It was that last bit - 'personal use only' that stumped me. I mean, I haven't commercialized my blog, but... I decided to have the camera ready, and just see what other people were doing. As it turns out, the only place I saw people overtly taking pictures was at the joust.

In any case, we had a wonderful time - so much so that we bought return tickets before we left. Willow is ready to run away and join the SCA at this point (Andrew says the circus is declasse) and desperately wants to come in costume the next time we come. I'm trying to think of what I can whip up for her. It was Pirate's weekend while we were there, so there were more people on the scantily clad side than probably normal - some how I don't think that a corset and jeggings are period correct... There was an amazing variety of costumes as well - everything from handstitched and incredibly accurate to Disney princess costumes - it was all fun.

And Tara - I am in the home stretch on your socks - I've turned the heel - see:


I had hoped to have these done by the first day of autumn, but seeing as that is Friday - not sure that will happen. But, it won't be long after that. These are going to be great-coloured socks to wear in autumn!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Uh-oh, Grandfather -

I think we may have to share more of the asparagus next year!

Piper has been eating Level 2 baby foods, and I have tried to introduce the odd soft solid, but she hasn't been terribly interested so far. Cut to today - Andrew had to work late, so Willow and I took advantage of this by having salmon, buttered rice, and asparagus for dinner. My strange husband cannot stand the smell of salmon, so they only time we get to enjoy it is if he is out. Anyway - Piper had already been fed, but I wanted to keep her occupied while I tried to eat my dinner without too much baby intervention. So - I gave her two stalks of asparagus. At first I thought she was just playing with them - there was an awful lot of swinging them in the air and squishing them with her fingers:


But then I noticed that one stalk was noticeably shorter than the other... and then the next time I looked, she had the stalk in her mouth and was sucking and gumming on it.


Don't let the expression fool you - she ate one entire stalk and part of the other. Success!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Proof

That I hoarded baby clothes for nearly 9 years...

Willow in 2002:

I love you this much!

Piper in 2011:


Recognize this shirt, Mom?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago I was not a mother or a knitter.

Ten years ago I was working in a position I had no intention of keeping. It was just something to bide away the time and make some pocket money while I waited for my husband to study and take the bar exam. Andrew had graduated from law school a few months earlier, and we moved back from Colorado to Delaware in early June. We were living with his parents while we waited for the results, and spent our time imagining where we might end up moving once some lucky law firm snapped him up. I had plans to go back to teaching, but had no intention of taking the Delaware teaching certification exams if this was not the state we would be staying in.

Then 9/11 happened.

It’s true what people say – it was an absolutely beautiful day. The East Coast humidity that had me cowering in air-conditioning all summer had finally let up, the sky was blue, and I was looking forward to being able to spend time outside when I got home later. The first clue I had that anything had happened was that Sue, a woman in my office who had come into the office late because her daughter had a dentist appointment, said her car radio had breaking news that a plane had hit a skyscraper in New York City. She asked me if I had heard anything – I looked on the usual news websites, and didn’t see anything. That quickly changed.

Pretty soon all the news sites were clogged – you couldn’t get on CNN or Fox News or MSNBC to save your life. I started directing people to the Canadian news website for CTV news – I guess since Canada is less populous the website wasn’t bombarded like the American news sites. Everything stopped at work. There were security guards placed at all doors, and the people in my hall were crowded into one of the director’s offices, listening to the fancy old-time radio that he usually listened to Phillies’ games on. Andrew called me to ask me if I had heard. He begged me to go home. I told him we weren’t told to do that yet – but once schools started calling parents and telling them to come get their kids, my company sent everyone home. It was eleven o’clock in the morning.

My office was very close to home – on a normal day it would take five to ten minutes to drive home. In that short time, I saw three car accidents on the main road. The only thing I could think of was that people were so consumed with what was on the radio – and virtually the same thing was on whatever radio station you listened to – that they didn’t notice the other cars around them. I arrived home, and spent the rest of my day sitting in front of the television, flicking back and forth through all the news channels. Andrew came home and watched with me for a little bit, but then he couldn’t take it anymore. He still can’t.

The days that followed were strange. It’s odd that 9/11 is so crystal clear and absolutely fixed in my memory but the days after are cloudy. I remember stomach-aching sadness. I remember worry because I was so far away from my family and there were so many fears and theories about what had happened and what possibly could still happen. Andrew’s parents’ house is on a Philadelphia International Airport flight path, and on a normal day, you see planes go by every 5 – 10 minutes and the engine noise is near constant – but in those days afterward it was eerie in its absence.

About two weeks after 9/11, I started to take knitting lessons at Michaels’. I already knew how to crochet, but I still felt the need to do something else to calm down. About a month after 9/11, Andrew and I decided to take a weekend away – we spent the weekend down at Dewey Beach in Southern Delaware:

Dewey Beach

Willow was conceived that weekend. We have long maintained that we were neither trying nor terribly avoiding getting pregnant – but that Willow had willed herself into being.

People wonder how you are affected by the events of 9/11. You know the game ‘Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon’? The idea is that you take any actor or actress, and within seven degrees of connection, you can get back to Kevin Bacon. It’s something like that. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone or is related to someone who was affected – especially here on the East Coast. I was listening to the radio the other day, and someone said that we on the East Coast are so much more emotionally tied to 9/11 - here in Philadelphia and Wilmington we are practically equidistant between New York and Washington, D.C., and I wholeheartedly agree with that emotional punch. Personally, the events of 9/11 delayed many things for Andrew and me; we ended up living with Andrew's parents for nearly three years (to my eternal gratitude). Jobs were hard to come by - law firms that had expressed interest in Andrew prior to 9/11 were suddenly freezing all hiring. But things got better. We got stronger.

Ten years later I am a mother to two and a knitter. I am happily working at the same place (although I have moved quite a few rungs up the career ladder), and the closest I come to teaching anymore is training my co-workers on new systems. We live less than two miles from my husband’s parents and are firmly in place in Delaware.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Water Baby In Training

Oh, I have been waiting for this day for a long time!

Piper started her swimming lessons! Willow has been taking swimming lessons since she was 3 years old, and she is now at the penultimate level for the YMCA swimming lessons. I have been at the pool for nearly all of Willow's lessons, and I always loved watching the baby classes. They would sing songs, dance around the pool, and all the nervous mommies and daddies would be hovering around as the instructors would take the babies away and miraculously the babies would be kicking and paddling on their own. At our pool the babies must be six months old and be able to sit up on their own to start lessons, and this was the first session that Piper could sign up for after turning six months old.

Willow came along to take pictures for us - here is Piper strapped to the floatation belt and using the dumb bell to float and chase after toys:


Here is Piper doing the back starfish float:


(Look! She is wearing her Applecheeks washable swim diapers! All the other babies save one were wearing disposable swim diapers. Piper still couldn't wear one if she wanted to - she is still 2 pounds underweight for the smallest size.)

Willow even took a video - you might want to turn your volume down a bit - a combination of Willow being happily shrill and not realizing how close she was to the microphone and me being pissed that she was running around the pool:

Piper had a ball and loved kicking and splashing in the water - I can't wait until next week!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

WiP It Wednesday: Really, I Have Been Knitting

Admittedly, my knitting time has been extremely diminished between sick and teething baby, but it has been happening. I took the socks that I promised my friend Tara for winning Piper's birth date pool on vacation with me, and managed to get quite a bit of it done while in the passenger seat of my Mom's minivan:


And a close up:


Someone asked the last time I posted a picture of these socks in process if this was a feather and fan pattern - but no. The lace pattern creates interlocking diamonds. I have also been working on a project for a swap in my January 2011 Babies group on Ravelry, but since I haven't sent it to my partner yet (and it is late!) all I can show you is a odd close up of the pattern in front of the garment:


This is the first time I have knit anything in Knitpicks' Swish Superwash. I wanted to test it out on something small before I bought a whole bunch of it for a larger piece. I do like it - and I really like this dark teal colour I am knitting with for this present.

Lots of stuff has been happening on the Willow and Piper fronts as well - Here is Willow on her first day of Grade 4:


We did have some bus drama, however - on the first day of school the driver missed her stop on the route altogether (apparently missed about half of them and had to re-do the route three times...) and she didn't get to school until nearly 10am, and on the second day she was a half hour late... that afternoon there was an administrator riding along to make sure the driver hit all the stops.

As for Piper, she has mastered all sorts of things in the last two weeks, such as sitting up on her own:


Feeding herself:


And standing up using things as props:


But today was her second day of 100'F+ fever, and she spent chunks of her day sprawled out on the floor like this:


Hopefully the fever is gone tomorrow and things can start going back to normal around here. Well, as normal as things get for us.