7

484 Days

That’s 1 year 3 months and 29 days to be exact.  That’s also how long I’ve been “working” on my Day Zero Project (101 things in 1001 days).  I say working with those little quotey bits around it because being a new mom means that you are never really doing anything for yourself anymore.  Not that I’m complaining, just sayin’ ;)  But since I am almost to the halfway point on my list of stuff to accomplish, I figure it’s about time I do a little inventory of my progress and see what I can start working towards next.  Besides, I’m feeling really lame about the fact that I used to post 2-3 times a week and I’m lucky if I can write 2-3 times a month now.  So, I’m squeezing this one in to fill my quota.
 
One of my goals was to try to cook 10 new things during my 1001 days of self-improvement.  I haven’t been very good about keeping track of my progress in this arena so I know that I’ve cooked more than I’m accounting for, but for all intensive purposes, I’m over halfway to my goal with 6 new recipes under my apron.  Maybe I’m just subconsciously refusing to acknowledge some of the utter atrocities against gastronomy that have come out of my kitchen in the last couple months and that’s why I didn’t account for them.  When a magazine comments that “this is best skillet lasagna we’ve ever tasted” you kinda tend to believe them.  But I can tell you, it’s not.  Don’t cook it.  Don’t believe the hype.  I’m a Virgo and I have never had a single difficulty following a recipe to the letter.  But I was really beginning to wonder what the crap was going on.  Did I lose my cooking skillz?  ‘Cause that’s the one Domestic Diva thing (besides laundry) that I really can do. If I don’t have that, then sheesh, I got nothin’.
 
I finally had success last weekend with the Baked Shrimp Curry shown below which scored a solid 8.5 from R. Darling.  I think I mentioned before that 9 is the highest something can rate unless it’s served naked ;)  He ranked it a half point below perfect only because he thought it could be tweaked a little.  I agreed.  But an 8.5 was a welcome relief after the resounding 4’s I’d been getting up to that point.  Maybe it’s just the push I need to keep trying.
 

Baked Shrimp Curry


 
Things completed to date:

  1. February 2, 2010 – Grew a munchkin :)
  2. March 9, 2010 – Finally replaced the crappy paper shade over our “bonus” window in our bedroom with beautiful wood blinds.
  3. November 24, 2010 – Knit Mom her Pirate Fake-Isle Earflap Hat (finally!)
  4. January 22, 2011 – Renewed my Library Card

 
Wow. That’s kind of depressing that I’ve only finished 4 things on my list!  But here’s the list of stuff I’m currently working on:

  1. Put $50 or more each month into our savings account.  I started this in January 2010 and was doing pretty well until Knittymunchkin showed up so early.  Since then I’ve been able to do it most months, but there were a few months that were pretty tight with the fundage, so I had to skip a couple.  But we had a great tax refund this year and I’m hoping to get back on track with this soon.
  2. Organize our closet.  I recently spent over $100 at The Container Store on stuff to help get our closet more organized.  This is definitely a work in progress since we really need to put some effort into decluttering first, but I’m working on all of that all over the house.  Kinda crazy how I have to spend money to get myself more organized though.  Don’t know how much I like that idea, but if it works, I’m all for it.  I’m sick and tired of my mess.
  3. Buy an advent calendar with drawers or cubbies for the baby (future holiday traditions).  I’m sort of changing this one a little and have decided to knit him Smitten as an alternative.  I’ve made maybe 3 mittens so far and I really need to get my butt in gear if I’m going to finish this for him in time for this Christmas.  I was thinking 2 mini-mittens each month would be no big deal and would get me to my goal on time, but now I’m realizing I am totally not sticking to that timeline so I’d better get on it.
  4. Finally put all our photos in a photo album where they belong.  Weeeeellll, I was working on this really heavily before Knittymunchkin (are you sensing a theme here?) but haven’t done any work since.  And I’ve got a lot to do since I have to go as far back as our honeymoon (in 2004!) to get things in order, nevermind all the baby photos I have not even glanced at, much less printed out.  Le sigh.
  5. Try 10 new recipes.  As you saw above, I’m getting there!  6 down, 4 to go.
  6. Knit 5 things from IK (or Knitscene).  I’ve knit 2 things: Chameleon Scarf and Oscilloscope Shawl.  So, we’re getting there.  The good thing is, I love most of the stuff from IK and Knitscene so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to complete this eventually.
  7. Knit a Baby Surprise Jacket.  I’m such a finishing slacker.  This is totally done.  It just needs buttons!  And I’m pretty sure it won’t fit him anymore.  Bad Mommy :(
  8. Whittle my UFO’s down to zero, or 3 minimum.  I’ve finished 3 of the original 10.  We’ll get there.  I think the next UFO I’ll tackle after I finish Momo and the Subway Hat, is my secrety squirrel test knit socks that really aren’t secrety anymore.  Now that I’ll be attending Sock Summit, I’ve got me a fever!  And the only prescription is more socks!
  9. Whittle my stash down to half.  O.k.  So I’m totally slacking on this one too, but I am getting better at not buying so much yarn (at least until Sock Summit, ha ha) and I’m working as much as I can from stash.  It’s a great feeling to know I didn’t have to buy yarn to complete something.  Though I’ll probably never make this goal, the fact is, I get satisfaction just from making the effort and sometimes that’s just as important as actually meeting the goal.
  10. Knit a sweater in pieces.  I actually started a project in pieces quite a while ago for an SKC KAL, but never finished knitting the pieces.  I took a seaming class recently (March 25, 2011) at my LYS to gain a little confidence with the technique and seamed a little bit of my sweater.  It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought (I pretty much knew the basics, but didn’t realize I did) and now I feel a bit better about the whole thing.  I hope to finish this sweater before too long and once it’s done, hopefully I’ll have the confidence to try another and with each one, get a little less intimidated with seamed construction.

 
And that’s a snapshot of the last 484 days.  Man, do I have some work to do!

Advertisements
12

Begin Again

The hardest part about returning to blogging after a long break is not so much about the desire to blog, but about finding your voice again after so much time has passed.  What do I say?  How do I say it?  Will people listen?  Am I boring?  Is it worth it?  So many questions.

The world outside my window is covered in a downy gown of white, like so many feathers nestling together under the trees.  It looks so pure and peaceful, a perfect reflection of the clean slate I am beginning with as I start to write again and rediscover my own inner thoughts.

This year I am already thinking quite a lot about reducing, reusing (or just using), and really focusing on just what I need and nothing more.  It’s hard.  I’m sentimental and I tend to hang onto things thinking they’re “too special” for everyday use or save things I “know” I’ll use later and then never do.  I put some thought into this towards the beginning of last year, in preparation for Knittymunchkin’s arrival, but then things got kind of crazy with his early debut and adapting to new motherhood etc.  Now that we have settled into a little more of a routine (for now), I’d like to take that idea back out and dust it off and see what I can do about it.

You know that I’ve been talking quite a lot about knitting from stash for a while now.  I have been working steadily on getting everything into Ravelry and also a spreadsheet I made myself to keep track of how much I have and how much I need to use to whittle my stash down by at least half (one of my Day Zero/101 in 1001 goals).  I don’t have absolutely everything in there and the number won’t be static (because I plan to go to Sock Summit this year and will most definitely be purchasing some things!) but it looks a little something like this:

  • Total Yardage: 294,359.40 yds
  • Number of balls/hanks/skeins: 1766.91
  • Number of Sock Yarn hanks/balls/skeins: 152

Whew!  Mama has some work to do!  So in preparation, I set myself up with a Personal Project Club (a little like the Personal Sock Club I did in 2009).  I set up 6 bags with different projects in them;  some new projects, some projects that need to get finished, some small, some bigger.

Yesterday I finished my current WIP (Oscilloscope Shawl from Knitscene, Fall 2010) so I allowed myself to choose my first project from my personal project club.  And I chose: Subway Hat from Modern Top-Down Knitting.  I’m so excited!  There is just something whimsical I love about this little hat :)  The funny thing is, I actually want (for once!) to finish some of my current WIP’s/UFO’s before starting this hat, even though I know it will be quick.  Crazy, huh?  But I’m going to ride that wave until it crests.

Stay tuned for pics of my shawl once I can get it blocked and photographed, which I hope will be soon!  Not my usual kind of thang, but I think I might like it.

9

Remembering 2010

What can I say about 2010 as it comes to a close?  It sped by so quickly, yet there were moments (both effervescent and scary) that seemed to last an eternity.  I suppose it is the same each year.  There are joys and sorrows, tears and laughter.  And before you know it a whole new bright and shiny year is ready to begin.  That’s the beauty of this season.  A fresh start and renewed optimism are gifts each of us are entitled to receive with open hearts.

But for one small moment, I’d like to remember the year that was 2010.

I read 13 books and finished a paltry 14 knitted items, though it’s a wonder to me that I accomplished any of that at all.  I guess if I hadn’t been reading the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon) I might have finished more books (each one is well over 1000 pages each) and if I didn’t have a newborn I might have finished more knits.

In January, Knittymunchkin kicked happily inside me as I napped and nested, my blood pressure soaring insidiouslyWe bought a family car and I said goodbye to a sock club, already attempting to discourage my nasty stash acquisition habit.  I hired a doula and made a list of 101 things I’d like to accomplish in the next 1001 days, and even got started.

Then the calendar flipped to February and our lives changed in a matter of 2 days.  On February 1st I went in for routine fetal stress monitoring and ended up getting an unscheduled ultrasound and, ultimately, being admitted and labor induced.  When Knittymunchkin’s heart rate would drop with each contraction (contractions I couldn’t even feel) they told us I’d need a c-section the next morning.  And on February 2nd at 8:05 AM, 5 weeks and 1 day early, our little groundhog arrived weighing 4 lbs. 7 oz.  We had waited over 8 months to find out if Knittymunchkin was a boy or a girl (I just knew he’d be a boy!) and finally the day had arrived.  The rest of February would be a torturous roller coaster of ups and downs as Knittymunchkin lingered in the ICU building up his strength to come home.

March was spent adjusting to home life with our new little guy.  I struggled with feelings of inadequacy about my new role (and still do on frequent occasions), and functioning with a huge sleep deficit.  I almost gave up on breastfeeding, even after all the valiant attempts we made during his ICU stay, but managed to stick with it and now Knittymunchkin is a nursing champ :)  I’m so glad that he figured it out because I was getting awfully tired of the pumping, bottle feedings, washing all the myriad pieces of equipment for both, and doing this every couple hours day in and day out.  It was exhausting.  Not that I’m not exhausted now, but you get the idea.  It was 3 times as much work for each feeding as it is the good “old-fashioned” way.

In April I finally woke from my stupor enough to start to notice the rapid development my little guy had been making since February.  I sent announcements – late.  I even knit a littleLife was changing fast.

May came, along with my very first Mother’s DayI finished some things and I dressed my baby funny :)

In June I questioned how I felt about blogging and asked you to share your thoughts too.  We took our first trip out of town with Knittymunchkin and he was a trooper!  We loved him more and more each day.  I finished a project that had been hanging around way too long and knit something quick and easy to soothe my soul. We caught colds, something that always sucks in summertime, and then we got better.

July arrived and it was hot hot hot.  My little boy could put his foot in his mouth and we started attempting to feed him solid foods.  It felt like there was never enough time for anything.  Little did I know things were going to get even busier!

In August I chopped off my hair.  It had been growing for close to a year and I was ready for a change.  I instantly regretted it.  At first I thought it was too short, but then I started to like how different that was for me.  But my idea had backfired.  In seeking to avoid Knittymunchkin’s wee grabby little fingers, I  had unwittingly foiled myself instead.  Because now there was not enough hair for a ponytail anymore and Knittymunchkin could pull with wild abandon.  I’m still in the process of growing it back out and only now (in December) is it long enough for a stubby little ponytail.  Knittymunchkin started the month off at a healthy 15.2 lbs and began eating his fruits & veg like a champ!  But he still cannot stand carrots and bananas.

This September I turned 37.  Ugh. ‘Nuff said.  But that’s when my real new year began.

In October I celebrated my 4th bloggyversary and announced a break for 2 months.  Knittymunchkin got 4 teeth and ended the month at 17 lbs. 10 oz.  I could finally wear my plain wedding band again, though I’ll have to lose 10 more pounds to be able to wear my diamond again :(  Oh how I miss it!  Started teaching Knittymunchkin some basic sign language and he got his first kiss at baby class.

November and December have been all about establishing a healthy routine and focusing on the lightning fast changes occurring in Knittymunchkin’s development.  It’s truly amazing to look back and see how far he’s come.  I know all you other moms out there know what I mean :)  It’s hard to believe that he is almost 11 months old now.  How fast this year has flown!  I’ve enjoyed my time off from the intrawebs and haven’t missed it nearly as much as I expected to.  It’s hard to come back after so much time off.  I feel like I did when I moved away for one year in 7th grade and came back to find that my friends had moved on despite my going away.  They still liked me and I slowly fit back in, but the feeling of being an outsider, like I’d missed out on the secret joke that everyone else got and I didn’t, lingered on for years.  I hope the inspiration of the new year will carry me forward and help me transition back into an online presence that is Goldilocks perfect – neither too much time online nor too little.

So all my best to you as you perhaps take a moment to reflect on your very own 2010.  I wish the best for you in the upcoming year and look forward to sharing with you as all our hopes and dreams for 2011 become reality!

11

Never Enough

  • Never enough time to knit, never enough time to read, never enough time to blog, just never enough time, period.
  • Never enough clothes that fit.  I’m too small for maternity clothes, too big for pre-preg clothes, and too cheap to buy stuff that will fit me right now, hoping as I am that I will lose the last 9 lbs. shortly.  Of course if I don’t stop eating crap that’s bad for me, I might get there sooner.
  • Speaking of which, there is absolutely NO time to workout, though we do take a spin around the neighborhood nearly every day, and carrying around an almost-6-month-old all day has just got to burn some calories.  It has to count for something or I might cry.
  • There’s never enough clean cloth diapers.  I do laundry nearly every day.
  • There is, most definitely, NEVER enough sleep.  Never enough naps, never uninterrupted snoozing.
  • Never enough money.  How is it that we still have to live paycheck to paycheck even with R. Darling’s good job and the fact that I never go anywhere anymore or spend money on myself (at all, ever)?
  • There are never enough photos of Knittymunchkin.  I take as many as I can, but I know that someday I will still regret not taking more.  Especially pictures of us with him.  We have maybe 2 of those each :(
  • There are never enough opportunities to hear my little boy laugh each day.  My face hurts sometimes from giggling along with his latest game.
  • Never enough time for the garden.  It looks dried out and awful and it makes me sad how the weeds are taking over.
  • There are never enough people in my world for whom to knit. I love to knit for other people but no one in my family appreciates hand knits (except for R. Darling, but seriously, how many hats and scarves can he really wear?). Do any of you know someone who would like a handknit? There’s only certain kinds of things I can knit for charity, and so many unsuitable patterns I’d love to try. But what to do with the finished item? I can’t wear it all!
  • Never enough ways to keep my little one occupied during the day! He’s like a sponge, greedy for more stuff to soak up, and gets bored of the “usual” games so readily these days.

 
I did find time last weekend to try one new recipe though, part of my Day Zero goals.
 

I loves me some rhubarb!


 
I was excited to try this one as it is one of R. Darling’s Grandma’s recipes, and rhubarb (incredibly plentiful in my garden, despite neglect) is one of my all time favorite dessert components.  Unfortunately, the recipe didn’t live up to the hype (sorry Grandma!).  R. Darling gave it a 6, saying it needed more rhubarb, and I gave it a 6 too because the raspberry jello made it taste too much like raspberry and not enough like rhubarb.  Meh.  I won’t be making this again.  But at least I satisfied my curiosity and I am 3 recipes down out of my goal of 10.
 
R. Darling starts 2 weeks of vacation beginning tomorrow (though we have tons of scheduled appointments and he’s got 3 overtime shifts during his “vacation”).  I am so excited to maybe get  a little extra time for some knitting and maybe a little work in the garden.  I’d like to finish my book too.  Just the psychological value of having an extra pair of hands during the day taking care of Knittymunchkin will be priceless for me.
 
Hope you are all enjoying your summer vacation too!

14

Learning Curve

We’ve been having a time of it here at Chez Funkytown.  Knittymunchkin has been going through an extremely exhausting fussy stage, complete with wailing, waking up several times a night (from dead sleep to frantic crying in 1.5 seconds flat), not napping, and crying & pulling while nursing.  The only thing that keeps him mildly content is for me to carry him around all day long.  Needless to say, my back hurts.  Though he’s taken quite nicely to the Baby Bjorn that he used to hate.  Bonus!
 

When he was born, we found out he had acid reflux, which can be really common for preemies.  We have been giving him medicine for it for a few months and he’s been doing so well (not spitting up & not grunting with discomfort while laying down) that we thought we’d try discontinuing the medicine.  He seemed to be doing really well for a day or two, other than the increase in fussing & the waking up at night. Silly me, I didn’t put two and two together until he started spitting up again the past couple days.  D’oh!  Maybe it’s because he still needs his medicine, dummy!  So we’ve started that again and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will bring him, and us, some relief.  Because this waking up every two hours all night long has got to stop.  I feel like spawn of the dead, all groggy and stuff all day long.  And knitting?  There’s been zip.zero.nada.
 

Sometimes this works too.....


 

I started doing some more extensive reading when he began having so much additional trouble sleeping recently.  It could also be a growth spurt or teething, but I don’t see any evidence of new tooth sprouts, so I don’t know about that.  I really think it’s the reflux coming back.  But I also found out that, apparently, I am a prime candidate for the SMITU award (Shittiest Mother In The Universe – smite you! – I just made that up), for even considering the notion of letting my child “cry it out” like I mentioned the other day.  Dr. Sears says so, so I guess it must be true.  I was just going by the books I’ve read up to this point which tell you you need to “train” your child to fall asleep on their own, otherwise they’ll never learn how.  But surprise surprise, Dr. Sears says you’ll just cause your child to cry more because you aren’t meeting their needs and when you do this you are cheaping out on creating a wonderful relationship with your baby.  Wow.  I really have a lot to learn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably never be a militant full-on attachment parenting advocate (people should do what’s right for them, without judgment), but I do think we’ve  benefited from a kinder, gentler, approach towards bedtime. Yes, he does still need to be rocked to sleep for the most part, but he falls asleep faster than he used to and cries less.  Plus, I think we’re bonding more.  I guess it really is a win-win.
 

Meats & Veg In One Big Pot!


 

Despite all this crazy mama drama, I have still managed to find time to try one new recipe (part of my Day Zero Project goals).  I apologize to all you vegetarians out there who will be offended by my pot roast photo up there.  I’m sorry, but I still do eat meat.  I’ve never been very good at cooking it because, frankly, when I lived alone I mostly ate chicken, veg, & pasta.  But I now live with a bona fide carnivore and meat is what’s for dinner.  It’s been dang hot here so I was looking for something to cook in the crock pot that wouldn’t heat up the house.  A friend of ours came over to meet Knittymunchkin for the first time and was talking about going home to cook a pot roast.  He made it sound so easy I thought, why not?  I hopped on the inrawebz and found a likely recipe here.  Following some of the advice of the reviewers I changed it up a little and settled in for a 10 hour wait.  It smelled great and looked good when we dished up.  The flavor however, was missing something.  It’s not like it was bad, it just wasn’t amazing.  R. Darling gave it an 8 and I gave it a 7 for the meat and an 8 for the veg.  As in, I would cook it again, but it sorely needs something.  Any of you lovely readers have a secrety squirrel ingredient you’d be willing to share for fantastic pot roast?  I thought the balsamic vinegar I added would do the trick but sadly, no.  Maybe I didn’t add enough.
 

Well, it’s all part of my learning curve. I’m still on the upward climb, but I will get there someday. I have to!

6

Finish Along

My friend Jess from Knitting Up North is having a Finish-a-long and contest!  Man do I ever need this kick in the pants!  It’s one of my Day Zero Project (101 things in 1001 Days) goals to whittle my UFO’s down to 3 or less and I really got things started by finally finishing my Chameleon Scarf.  Too bad I didn’t wait on that one, because there’s a prize for completing the oldest UFO and I betcha that one would have taken the cake ;)  Anyway, come join the fun!  What a great way to motivate each other to get those knits out the door and onto some warm bodies!  Like Jess said, you’d be surprised how little there is left to do on some things.  I always discover this when I pull out an old project, and I always wonder to myself why I just laid it down instead of powering through.  Oh wait, it’s because I’m kind of addicted to the smell of new yarn.  The “old” stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore!
 
So, onto my list.  I need to finish:
 

  • Jaywalkers:  I’ve been working on a version of this since April 15, 2008, but have ripped it out and reworked it so many times that I’m really starting anew each time.  So the official start date of this one is June 14, 2010 and I am just about 20 rounds from finishing the first sock.  Then on to sock #2…
  • BSJ:  This is completely finished except for the seaming and weaving in of ends and a few buttons.  Shouldn’t take much to do that!
  • Felix Cardigan (like the ones I made here):  This one just needs buttons!  I originally made it for Knittymunchkin, but he’s a bit big for it now.  Maybe I’ll send it to our friends who are expecting a boy any day now.
  • Cherry Fizz:  Started June 12, 2009 (really????).  I’m just over halfway finished.  Would love to get this done, but I’m thinking shooting for finishing the other 3 is more likely.

 
I also have 7 (yikes!) other UFO’s that are totally hibernating.  I obviously won’t finish these during the Finish-a-long, but they’re in my mind as next on the list.  Only trouble is, 4 of those are sweaters and I don’t expect to be working on any sweaters until I am back to my no-longer-breastfeeding sized self.  But all in good time.
 
Meanwhile, I did finish something recently for our neighbor who just had a new little girl.
 

A Little Pink Hat


 

  • PatternSimple Newborn Hat With A Touch Of Lace by Ginny Foreman (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  79.2 yds of Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Blush”
  • Needles:  16 inch, Size 4 bamboo circs & Size 4 dpns
  • Mods:  Made hat larger by casting on 99 stitches (instead of 81), and worked 2 inches after lace section instead of 1.5 inches

 
This hat was simple & quick to knit.  I love how it turned out!  Because I made it wider and not quite as tall (proportionally) as the original, it came out more like a beanie than a regular hat.  But I still like it.  Word is, the new Mama likes it too, though it fits her 2 year old better than her newborn.  Boo on that!  I made it bigger on purpose, but didn’t mean for it to be that big.  She kept telling us that her first daughter is in the 90th percentile for size, so I figured the new little one would have a big head too.  Guess not.  But at least it fits one of the kids!  That’s all I could ask for, I guess. And, best of all, it totally came from stash. Huzzah!
 
So come join us and finish up some of your UFO’s too!  I’d love to hear all about it :)