Confessions of a Mombie

All our lives we've been warned of the dangers of doing drugs. No one tells you that Motherhood kills brain cells. Just how many episodes of "Blue's Clues" one can watch without doing serious damage is still a matter in much need of investigation. Let this blog serve as a warning to all of the dangers that come with loving three tiny creatures wholly and unconditionally. It is an addiction, an obsession... and the world's best high.

Monday, October 15, 2007

On Borrowed Time


The postman has come and gone for today and I am safe for another 24 hours. I must use that precious (knitting) time wisely as the stitches I am making now may be my last.

For those not familiar with Sock Wars it is a bloody fight-to-the death competition waged across the globe by fearless warriors armed with nothing more than pointy sticks and string. Those brave enough to sign on for the current battle received the previously top-secret pattern early Saturday morning along with the name and address of their first "target". The object is to knit said target a pair of socks according to the pattern and mail them off before being "assassinated" by someone else. Those killed off in the first round must then mail their socks and target to their own assassin for round two. Last one still barefoot is the winner.

Of course, those competing come from all walks of life and some are taking the little contest more seriously than others. The only relative certainty was that, barring a very speedy knitter willing to hand-deliver socks to Waterloo (or spring for Fed Ex) there was little chance of receiving anything before today. My killer has been eerily silent thus far, and I have no knowledge whereof my death socks will come. I do know that there are several competitors living in the Netherlands, so it is very likely that they don't have far to go.

As for the crafting and delivery of my own weapon, progress thus far has been slow. While many sock warriors planned to spend the entire weekend diligently knitting, I had several factors working against me doing the same.
1 - A beautiful, sunny weekend after a long and rainy week.
2- Three small children chomping at the bit to get outside after rain, school, and stomach virus had kept them in.
3 - A work-weary husband also eager to spend some quality family time.

Fortunately for me, our weekend destinations required quite a bit of driving and I managed to all but finish my first sock traveling as a passenger to Aachen, Germany on Saturday (further fueled by the Starbucks they have there!) and to Bellewaerde Amusement Park on Sunday (with some additional insomnia-induced knitting early Sunday morning - thanks AGAIN Starbucks!).

Now I need to cast on the second sock and, as Brenda Dayne would say "knit like the wind." My target can sleep soundly for another night.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Greetings from Waterloo

I suppose now that we are living on a different continent and in another time zone from most of our friends and family, it might be nice to start blogging again. The summer came and went with a whirlwind of activity culminating in our big move from Woonsocket, Rhode Island to Waterloo, Belgium.

But the fun didn't stop there...oh, no, it didn't. The very first night spent in our new house, Simon climbed into bed with Leo and me absolutely burning with fever. Of course, our stuff had not yet arrived and a thermometer was nowhere to be found. Leo ran out to the pharmacy (one of the few places around here open at all hours) and thus we were welcomed to the Land of Metric. Turns out that 40 degrees Celsius is BAD and we were also about to acquaint ourselves intimately with the Belgian medical system.

With no primary physician and no SIS cards, the emergency room was pretty much our only choice, so we decided to take him to a children's hospital. Nothing like a little baptism by fire to make one feel at home in a new country. Simon spent 7 days at L'Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola in Brussels, overlooking Brupark, with the Atomium right out his window. He was treated with IV antibiotics for a kidney infection most likely caused by the same bacteria that had made all the kids sick earlier that summer.

The one good thing to come of all this was that Leo's mom got to come visit to help us out. As much as my mom wanted to come herself, she did not yet have a passport and instead very generously bought the ticket to get us some much-needed aid. By the end of her stay, Simon was well enough to get out for a bit and we even got to do some sightseeing. By coincidence, my friend Sonja was visiting some family in Germany and also came to stay for a few was definitely a full house amongst all the boxes but under the circumstances it was actually a really wonderful visit.

With all that excitement finally over we are now settling into a new school year and starting to feel at home in our new surroundings. Elly and Simon are both attending a local school, conveniently located just steps from our front door. What a nice change that is from the 40-mile round trip into Providence twice a day! I have joined the American Women's Club for a little taste of home and have recently completed their "Hints for Living in Belgium" three-week course (more on that in a future post). We are getting by with one car and I have pretty much everything within walking distance - something I have always wanted. Leo has already started his Dutch classes and is picking the language up extremely fast. I'm still in the process of blowing the dust off my French and need to get back up to speed before taking on a third language, but I am at least trying to pick up the bits and pieces that he share with me after class.

All in all, I think living here is going to be an amazing experience and I am going to make a sincere effort to share at least a bit of it here now that I finally feel like I have a little time to spare.

Our new house:

Elly and Simon ready for school:

The Atomium:

Leo holding Sophie in three countries at once (Belgium, Netherlands and Germany):

Monday, June 25, 2007

FO Post: Keeping busy while the kids have been sick

Isn't it supposed to be summer? We've had a nasty virus here complete with double ear infections for all three kids, so here's what has been keeping me from losing my mind:

First up is a summer set I made for my daughter, Sophie. Both pieces were completed following Knitty patterns and were done in Ty-Dy 100% cotton from Knit One, Crochet Too (Color 423: Veranda) The hat is a modified version of Miss Dashwood, size 1-2 years. I omitted the earflaps and attached the ties directly to the hat under the bobbles. The top is Katja, following the instructions for size 18 months and knitting entirely in the round.
Front view:
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Side view:
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Back view as my model makes her get-away:
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This second set was knit for my cousin's baby, due in October. Pink and green is her favorite color combination and this was made to match a Hanna Andersson opposite stripe playdress. The yarn is Knitpicks Swish Superwash in Bubblegum, Aloe and a tiny bit of Dublin for the leaf on the hat. The hat is Lilly's Hat from Stitch Marker and the sweater is the Raglan Sleeve Easy Baby Sweater modified to be newborn size.

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Modeled by my favorite doll since I have no newborn handy:
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Great Start to a Long Weekend!!!

Great start to a long weekend!!!
Look what was in my mailbox!! A beautifully soft skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino with an accompanying pattern for a baby hat, several little packets of uniquely scented wool wash, two specially-made CDs (one for me, one for my kids), some REALLY yummy, spicy-smelling tea, and, the piece de resistance, the cutest little handmade dolphin ( who has already become fast friends with my one-year old, Sophie :) Thank you secret pal - you are great!!!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

My Secret Pal Questionaire

Your knitting/crocheting habits & desires

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?
I knit, therefore I am :)

2. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Less than a year, taught by my best friend. I never shy away from a challenge, however, and would consider myself at least an intermediate knitter despite the fact that I haven't been at it very long.

3. What are your favorite yarns or fibers to knit with? What yarns/fibers do you avoid, dislike or hate? Are you allergic to any fibers? I love wool/silk blends and really soft merino wools. I also like superwash and the softer cottons for children's items. I avoid anything stiff or scratchy unless it is intended for felting. No allergies here :)

4. What do you use to store your needles/hooks? How about your other tools, like stitch holders and point protectors? Where do you store your yarn? I have a handmade needle case made for me as a Christmas gift. Most of my notions and yarn are in a large, wheeled craft "suitcase" that I also received as a gift.

5. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Do you have a needle preference—bamboo, aluminum, plastic, etc.? Any needles you'd like to try? I use a variety of needles for a variety of purposes. I knit socks on DPNs and prefer aluminum to bamboo, though I just got a set of polymer "comfort zone" needles and am really enjoying them (have hated plastic needles in the past). I like short (16 or 12") circs for hats but might like to try a long Addi turbo to attempt magic loop socks.

6. Do you own a ball winder and/or swift? Would you prefer to receive center-pull balls of yarn, if the person that has you owns a winder/swift and is so inclined? I don't have a ball winder or swift, but don't mind winding by hand - I find it is a good way to get to know the yarn before a project.

7. Are you a sock knitter? Do you want to learn? Definitely - socks are my favorite "carry along" project.

8. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Love knitting for my kids and I particulary like knitting in the round - the less seaming/finishing the better.

9. What are you knitting right now? Any current obsessions like socks, lace, felting, etc.? Two charity projects - Socks for Soldiers and Hokie Healing squares. A cable-and-lace scarf for my Godmother and a baby sweater and hat set for my cousin :)

10. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? What have you always wanted to try knitting/crocheting? I finally got the Alan Dart gnome pattern and am looking forward to trying my hand at toys - I'd love a really good book on how to knit toys.

11. How old is your oldest UFO (UnFinished Object)? The only one not destined for the frog pond is Counterpoint from Magknits, which is intended for a music teacher friend. It is illusion knit and pretty boring to work, though I am happy with how it looks.

12. Do you have any knitting magazine subscriptions? Any that you love or buy regularly? No subscriptions, but I love IK.

13. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Absolutely!

14. Would you like to receive hand knitted socks? If so, what are your foot measurements? (Don't give just your shoe size—measure around the ball of your foot and also the length from heel to toe.) Of course, giving this information is no guarantee that you will actually receive knitted socks. It's just in case. Sure! My foot is 9.5 inches long and about 8 inches around :)

Non-knitting stuff

1. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Include a link.
Don't have one, though DH says I am welcome to post his, lol.

2. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) Any you can't stand?
I like fruity scents and love white/green tea. Don't like Vanilla scents.

3. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy or snacks? Anything you would hate to get? I love chocolate - the darker the better - not a real fan of candy and sugar.

4. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (in case your buddy wants to make you a CD) Love Canadian Bands - Moxy Fruvous, Great Big Sea, Les Cowboys Fringants. Have an ipod and can play MP3s.

5. What is your favorite holiday? not a big holiday person - Autumn is my favorite season

6. Do you have a favorite animated character, animal, etc.? Curious George because he reminds me of my son.

7. Are you into any fandoms? (Harry Potter, Buffy, etc.) None

8. How do you decorate your room/house? Is there anything that you collect?
Dust? I am not much of a decorator - my taste is very simple/natural.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? Is there a specific color family/palette that you enjoy knitting with or wearing? I love blues and greens but am open to just about anything.

10. Would you like and use icons, layouts, banners or wallpapers? Anything specific?
Not really.

Other information about you

1. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? Dye yarn? Are you looking to try any of these, and which ones?
I love kool-aid dying and would definitely love to try spinning some day.

2. What is your family/living situation? Do you have any pets? Married with three small kids - Noelle (5), Simon (3), and Sophie (1). We also have a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix named Charity and recently lost our dear Beagle, Justin.

3. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens/gloves, slippers or ponchos? Any and all except maybe ponchos (it would really depend on the poncho I think)

4. Do you make graphics? Do you have a paid Livejournal account?
No and No :(

5. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

6. Anything else you'd like to add?
I can't wait to get started!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Goodbye, Old Friend - In Memory of Justin Caisse (7/3/99 - 1/8/07)

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Our faithful beagle is now keeping my Dad company in Heaven and life will never quite be the same. Yes, there is less poop (though Simon and Sophie do try to make up the difference) but the house feels so empty without him here snoring by my feet. I miss him so much already, though I have yet to really let myself begin to grieve. Leo has taken it harder than I have so far...
I am sure that will change as the truth of his absence hits me, probably when I least expect it.

I love you Justin, and I'm so relieved to know that you're no longer in pain. Go chase some rabbits, buddy, and give Dad a kiss for me.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

There Were Five In the Bed and the Little One Said...

"Let's just kick Mom out - more room for us!"
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See the evil grin?
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So it's officially Thanksgiving and I have yet to post my Halloween pics, but they are coming soon, I promise. This post, inspired by a little child-induced insomnia, is destined to be short....It is 3:22 a.m. and I am merely stalling while I plot my strategy for how to get back into bed. The two oldest were safely tucked away elsewhere at a nice reasonable hour, only to wake each other up and climb in with us minutes after I finally went to sleep. No wonder this is my favorite Hathor comic:
It is actually signed and framed on the wall of our bedroom - a little Mother's Day present from Leo. Ah, the many joys of the Family Bed!