Friday, March 30, 2007

The Mind Of A 6 Year Old Boy

Today at Ryan's school it is Spirit Day and Twin Day. Last night Ryan called one of his best buddies, Jacob, on the phone to talk about being his twin. It was 10 minutes of "wanna be my twin? uh-huh. uh-huh. yeah. uh-huh..."

This morning I asked him what he and Jacob are doing to be twins today.

Ryan's answer: "We're both the same height"

Monday, March 26, 2007


I'm not sure how this happened, but Mondays have turned into a day of housework for me. It's not that I don't clean on the weekends. I really do. But I have a husband and an extra kid hanging around on Saturday and Sunday and, well, by Monday my house needs a good once over. Mike really hates to do housework. He will get very offended when he reads this and point out to me that he helps out a lot, which he does, but he is not the neatest person. I mean, he is neat, as in nifty, but not neat, as in tidy. For example, he did clear the table after dinner last night, which was very nice and helpful. But he did not notice the splats of jello on the floor, which I cleaned up this morning. Now, if it had been clear, invisible jello, he might be able to make an excellent case. However, this jello was bright red....

So it's been a day of drudgery for me. The laundry pile is astronomical. Not only do we have the usual Monday amount of laundry, but over the weekend Ryan had 2 accidents in bed and Alice, the 14 year old neurotic passive aggressive cat also had an accident, in our bed. All over the quilt and the down comforter. So that's a few loads for the sanitizing feature in my new washer. And to top that off, we finally found the leak from our bathroom.

About 3 years ago my dad added a new bedroom and bathroom onto our house, making a story and a half into a true two story. Our old bedroom became the kid's playroom. This was a much needed remodel and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for it. The new bathroom is directly above our old master bath, downstairs. A couple of years ago the ceiling started leaking in the old downstairs bathroom. Turns out the new grout in the new shower was bad...that was a long story.

We never repaired the ceiling because, well, I don't know. About 2 months ago, the ceiling started leaking again. But very inconsistantly this time. We shut things off, we turned them back on, we stopped using it, we could not find the pattern or figure out what was leaking this time. My parents babysat for us on Saturday and my dad decided to get to the bottom of it. After cutting a few larger holes in our already ruined ceiling he discovered the source of the leak--the upstairs toilet. YUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!

All that to say, I have bathmats and bathroom floors to sanitize today as well.

So today I have vacuumed everything, I've dusted, I've changed sheets, I'm hauling laundry all over the's only 11:00 am and I'm exhausted. I could never clean houses for a living. I honestly think it would age me 20 years.

I sat and colored with Eric for a while, but he keeps criticizing my technique and color choices, so I'm done with that.

I haven't actually folded any laundry yet today. I've put laundry away from the baskets in our rooms that have been there since the last laundry day (I needed to empty them to re-use the baskets), but I just don't know if I have it in me right now to fold. It's a double edged sword though because if I don't fold it then it will sit in baskets in the living room, taunting me. And I can't relax at night when I'm surrounded by piles of laundry. But it is such a tedious, thankless job...

I sold 4 cupcake hats as a special order, so unfortunately for Mike that meant I got to make a trip to the yarn store yesterday. After doing a bit of shopping around for yarn for the Cinderella project, I came to the realization that I should order the yarn. No store is going to have every color I need and I don't want to mix and match brands...Cascade 220 comes in every conceivable color and Webs ( sells it at a discount--how could I resist?! So far this is promising to be a much better knitting week than last week. And if everyone would stop peeing all over the house, I may develop a slightly better attitude about cleaning. Slightly.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Big Day

It 's an exciting day here! Ryan's top front tooth came out today. It's been ready for the last couple of days, just hanging by a thread. We've tried pulling it several times, but it just wasn't quite ready. When Ryan got in the van this afternoon after the bus dropped him off, he flashed me a big jack-o-lantern smile--he had pulled his tooth out himself at lunch time! In the school office they gave him the special tooth-shaped necklace to hold his tooth for the rest of the day. I think he must have popped a few buttons off his shirt striding into class after lunch. This is the 3rd tooth has has lost and it is exciting each time.

If I have to be honest, I think I get more excited about loose teeth than Ryan does (and he gets pretty excited!). I'm not sure what it is. The mark of a true 1st grader? The 7 year old boy face? Am I nostaligic for when I lost my first few teeth?

It's the mark of a child who is growing up, but is still a little kid. This is the only time in his life that he will have the trademark snaggletooth jack-o-lantern smile (unless he plays hockey....) and I'm reveling in it. Once those permanent front teeth grow in he will have a big kid face and there will be a part of my baby that will be gone forever.

As I was taking his picture this afternoon Ryan actually asked me if the tooth fairy will put the money under his pillow, or if I will. Didn't we just go through this??!? Do you really want the answer to this question? Eric was jumping around and I wanted to take a couple more pictures, so I was able to avoid the subject in the jumble of things. For now.

I got "Itty Bitty Hats" in the mail yesterday. It is THE knitting book of 2006. I think I got the last copy. But it was truly a must-have. I've been waiting for it for over a month. The first Amazon Marketplace order never came and, after 3 weeks, I emailed the seller only to find out that it was out of stock and they never planned to send it or the email informing me I was out of luck. They received a less than satisfactory review. However, the next Amazon Marketplace seller was quite professional and now that it's in my hot little hands I am all in a tizzy to get started.

The problem is the hat I want to make uses my size 6 circular needles and my size 6 double pointed needles. These are by far my most used needles, which you can tell just by looking at them. The circular needles are all dented from a very bad experience with bobbles, and the wooden double pointed needles have a lovely patina on them from years of use. I recently lost one of the double pointed, which irritates me to no end... I really need about 3 sets of each. My size 6 needles are currently being used for this horrid frog hat that I am sorry I ever started. It started out easy enough, but the pattern calls for a crown on the top. I have used 2 kinds of needles and started that stupid crown about 5 times. The directions are less than helpful. When my new book came I got all excited until I realized that the blasted frog hat was using my size 6 needles. So I very reluctantly decided to finish the stupid thing. About half way through the crown I realized that it wasn't looking anything like the picture. The crown on the hat the cute baby in the picture is wearing is standing up, nice and regal. My crown is flopping all over the frog head like it is made of wet noodles and I'm too annoyed to come up with a way to make it work. I hate the frog hat. I'm not sure what annoys me more--the fact that I've wasted a skein of yarn or an entire evening of knitting was for nothing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Secrets and Lies

Ryan is nearly 7 and I am still learning things about him every day. He is in the 1st grade and I am amazed at the way he has grown up this year. And then there are some ways that he has not...

As March 17th approached, Ryan became very excited. Not only was it St. Patrick's Day, but it was also our 17th wedding anniversary. And it was the day of his cousin Jack's 6th birthday party. So Ryan had a lot to look forward to that day (I don't know why our anniversary was such a big deal to him--we were planning to celebrate without him). He had learned a lot about leprechauns in class (???) and came home on the 16th and wrote a letter to a leprechaun, asking for 3 pieces of gold. He sealed it in an envelope and put it in the mailbox, with the flag up.

Mike and I had been at our bookgroup that night and around 10:30 realized that Ryan was going to wake up expecting to find gold. We talked about it--do we play along? Will he be crushed if he wakes up to the truth? Is this wrong? What do we do?? We ended up running to Safeway on the way home and bought the only "gold" candy we could find at 11:00pm--Rolos. Ryan and Eric each got 3 gold Rolos in the mailbox the next morning.

This is the point when I start to question all of my decision making and parenting skills. All along the way I could have told him that leprechauns are make-believe. I could have allowed him to find the letter in the mailbox the next morning and put the pieces together himself. We do the Santa thing, Ryan believes in the tooth fairy, but leprechauns have never been "celebrated" in our house before. And yet I went along with it, allowing him to have his fun.

During dinner on Sunday Ryan suddenly asked me if I put the gold candy in the mailbox, or if it really came from a leprechaun. I faultered. Do I perpetuate a lie? He is almost 7 years old--can he handle the disappointing truth? Maybe this is a good litmus test should the Santa question come up...I realized that I can't look my kids in the face and lie to them. I can play along with their games, but when asked a direct question I have to be honest with them. I looked at Mike for strength. He ran away like a little girl. So I gathered up all of my courage and told Ryan that yes, I did put the candy in the mailbox. He asked again, just to make sure he heard me correctly. When I answered truthfully again, he burst into tears. And ran off with Mike to be comforted.

I sat with Ryan for a long time, apologizing for hurting his feelings. I explained that he had been having fun and that I wanted to have fun with him, but I don't ever want to lie to him. He had asked me a question and I felt that I needed to be truthful. He accused me of tricking him, which I suppose in a way I did. Although I don't think he was able to put it into words, I can imagine he felt foolish for ever believing in leprechauns. And I felt terrible that I did something that made him feel that way. It was a tough love moment. If I had to do it again, I'm not sure what I would change. All I could do was apologize for making a mistake and for hurting his feelings. Now I live in fear--what if he actually asks about Santa?! I may have to take a valium for that moment.

We did eventually make up. He was unwilling to forgive me for awhile, but then I bribed him with our new favorite show--BBC's Robin Hood. I have been Tivo-ing it and decided after episode 1 that Ryan would be fine watching it. He and I are both hooked on this show. An hour of swashbuckling and all was forgiven.

What did I knit this weekend? Nothing. A very disappoining weekend in terms of knitting. I gardened, I celebrated my anniversary, I got a haircut, I did 545781 loads of laundry (which is still all over my living room. I think it's growing. Honestly, I keep putting it away and everytime I turn around there is more), but no real knitting was accomplished. However, my Cinderella pattern came yesterday. I keep reading it and re-reading it. I am absolutely itching to get started. But I have to do it right. I need to figure out how many colors of yarn I need (and there are a lot), I need to come up with the money (again, a lot...), and I need to make sure I buy the right yarn, not just whatever is in stock. This cannot be a make-shift project--it will be done to perfection. Mike saw me reading the pattern and looked over my shoulder at it. He sounded very wary when he said "that looks really complicated". I couldn't keep the smile off my face when I answered "I know!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Our 4 year old, Eric, has developed a fascination with Godzilla. You know the one--big robotic monster on the fake movie set with the frightened "bilingual" Japanese people trying miserably to form some kind of a believable plot around this horrific creature. These movies are so bad, I swear you can actually see the zipper on the back of the Godzilla costume. I'm really not sure when or where this obsession began. Eric has always loved dinosaurs, lizards, frogs...anything reptilian (we're not sure where that came from either--Ryan has never been into dinosaurs and well, Mike and I are hardly paleantologists). But somewhere along the way Eric learned of Godzilla.

Whenever we are in the car, he'll ask if we can go to the video store and rent a Godzilla movie. He seriouly asks this every day. And once in a while I actually will treat him. The looks I get from the video store employee when I ask the whereabouts of Godzilla--and when we find the Godzilla section Eric will start jumping up and down, announcing to everyone "There's Godzilla!!! There's the three-headed monster!!! I want that one!!! I want that one!!!!"

This weekend we borrowed a 5 disk DVD set of Godzilla movies from some friends. All week long I have been drawing pictures of the DVD covers, to Eric's specifications, for him to color. Every day he begs to watch one of them. And the humans mean nothing to him. I have to fast forward to the monster parts and then he will just sit there, eyes glued to the tv, calling me over to see the "really cool" parts (I don't actually know what the really cool parts are. I think the really cool parts are actually in an unrelated movie...).

Eric is our "all boy" kid. We weren't really prepared for that. Frankly, I wasn't prepared for boys at all, and Mike is not an "all boy" kind of guy. So Ryan was not really that much of a surprise to us--he loves to read, loves to draw, is into comic books, fantasy, that sort of thing. Sure, he does a lot of traditional "boy" things too, but he has never been in to cars, lizards, balls, construction trucks and all that. Eric owns all of that. He is fearless and was throwing himself down the slide in our backyard before he could walk. He is burlier than Ryan and is a true right-hander (where Ryan is extremely left-handed). He has mastered the art of entertainment through bodily functions at the age of 4. He loves gross, slimy, smelly, oozing things. He thinks volcanos bursting with hot molten lava are way cool. And when I say he loves dinosaurs, I don't mean cute little Little Foot from Land Before Time. He loves the T-Rex. He loves the pictures of the carnivores tearing the flesh from their prey. We actually have a "life sized" poster of a T-Rex mouth in our play room, blood and guts dripping from it's razor sharp teeth. Eric loves it.

Eric is a major reason cleaning my house is such a unrewarding experience. It's a good thing he's so darn cute!

On the knitting front--day 2 of unsatsifactory knitting time. I started to knit something last night and ripped the whole thing out. I knit about an inch of a duck-foot slipper today. However, I did order a very hard to find book that contains just about the most adorable thing I have ever seen. It's a topsy-turvy Cinderella pattern by Jean Greenhowe. Now, this woman is very talented, but frankly, if I saw her books in a store, I would move to a completely different section, as far away from the weird-old-lady-this-would-look-cute-as-a-toilet-paper-cover-section as I could get. For instance, she has an entire book devoted to knitting clowns. She is from England and her things are very very British. The scary kind of British.

But during my "knitting research" yesterday I came across a blogger's flicker pictures of her completed knitting projects and saw Cinderella. Now you tell me, how can I not try to make this??

I don't know what it is about this thing and I don't know what I will do with it, but it must be made.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Long Day

This was one of those days. It started out fine. Ryan got off to the bus on time, Eric went to preschool. I ran errands, as I always get to do on Tuesdays. I was even able to make a quick trip to the yarn store, as I was conveniently in the neighborhood!

Eric was so tired after preschool he could barely eat his lunch. Perfect--time for a nap! I took him potty, read him 3 books, put his favorite music on...2 hours to myself! Except that 20 minutes later he came downstairs, as refreshed as if he had slept all day. He made it pefectly clear that nap time was over. I set him up with his new Cars coloring book and went back to what I had been doing--completing an on-line interview with I was trying to come up with thoughtful answers to the questions, as people were going to be reading all about the most important topic of all time--knitting. And Eric would not stop talking. He told me about every color of marker he was using, about each part of Lightning McQueen he was coloring...and each time I patiently explained that Mommy needed to think so I couldn't talk. Then I became a little less patient, then less, then LESS....

And then it was time to pick Ryan up. Again, that part of our afternoon started out fine, but then it would not end. The house is a complete mess, there is laundry every where, and I found I was getting nothing productive done. I kept trying to get them to play nicely with each other and someone kept bursting into tears... and they kept fighting over the gameboy, and fighting over which pictures to color.

At one point Ryan called Daddy to see what time he would be home from work. I expected to hear something like 20 minutes. No, it was going to be at least an hour. AN HOUR?! I was brought back to the days when my boys were babies and an hour truly seemed like a week...there was no way I could handle another hour of the chaos in my house. And then I remembered something to make it even worse--Mike is about to take a new job and, if all goes as planned, he will need to go to Chicago for a week. An entire week. Now, I know I shouldn't complain. Everyone's husband travels. All of my friends are home alone with their kids while Daddy is on a business trip. I have no one to complain to because they all do it all of the time. But seriously, I just don't think I can handle a week of this by myself! I mean, as crazy as Mike makes me at times, he does make himself useful around the house from time to time. For instance, he did pick up dinner tonight because we have no food, and he'll be going to the grocery store this evening to buy said food...who will do that when he's gone? I have a very strict policy against bringing my kids to the grocery store. I've always said I will go hungry before I even do that again. And now I'm facing it head on.

Who will feed the frog? It is a well documented fact that I will have nothing to do with Slimy the frog and his live crickets. Can we give him a week's worth of crickets? Can he go that long? I think I'll need to research that. Is it time to explain to Ryan about Frog heaven?

And to top it off, I've done no knitting. I've done a knitting interview, knitting shopping, knitting research (oh my word, Leah, you're not going to believe what I've found!), I've felted a couple of items in my washing machine using up a weeks worth of hot water for a small 3rd world country for a pair of felted baby slippers, but no actual click-clacking of the needles has occured. It makes me a little twitchy.

So now it's 8:00 and I have a couple of choices--clean up or knit? If I clean first, I will be resentful that cleaning has taken up the last of my knitting time today. If I forego the cleaning, then I can't really enjoy the knitting because I can't relax in clutter. What to do, what to do....

Friday, March 9, 2007

Weird Etsy Things

So, I'm very confused and perplexed by the Etsy crowd. People actually do sell things on Etsy. You can see what has been sold. There are people out there, all over the world, purchasing things from Etsy. I have people looking at my products. I have one hat that has been viewed 161 times. I have 15 people who claim me as a favorite. I'm advertising on two different blog sites, specifically for moms (as my products are for cute kids and their moms!), and in the last month since I started, I've made one sale (ok, I've made two sales, but the first was to my friend Meghan who bought a cupcake from me just to give me my first sale...). Personally, I think my stuff is pretty darn cute. Others have told me so as well. People have hired me to make baby hats for them. In other words, this is not all in my mind. And yet, I cannot get anyone to purchase my products.

Now, this is what gets me. I like to look at Time Machine 2 on Etsy--it's a list of the most recently posted products, so you get to see a huge variety of what's out there. On Time Machine 2 I ran across home-made maxi pads. And the description, well, it defied description. As Meghan put it, "way to go green, crazy lady!". First of all, these things are machine washable. Now, I have a brand new front load washer and dryer. State of the art Whirlpool Duet with a sanitizing feature. I use this sanitizing feature at least one each laundry day (yes, I have laundry days--I can't do a load every day like my friends do) to wash towels and my kids' underwear. I would not ever wash my maxi pads in the washing machine, even on the sanitizing setting. Those are items that are meant to be thrown away. The creator of these ingenious products goes on to say that, if you hose them off in your garden, it makes great plant food. I'm just picturing my neighbor, Walter, poking his head over the fence for a chat, as he often does, and seeing me hosing down my maxi pads in my rose garden. I think he would move away. And how do you tell people what you do? "Oh, all of this cute fabric I'm buying? Why, I'm making my own maxi pads! Would you like to order some?"

My point is this: she has sold 25 of these things. I am making the most adorable baby hats, felted bunny slippers, plush cupcakes with beaded sprinkles....honestly, my stuff is precious. And no one wants it.

Mike thinks I should start to knit my own maxi pads. Then I'll be sure to make them the right size and he will never again come home from the store with the wrong product. And then I will finally get some sales!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I accomplish more with knitting than I do with housework. You just need to visit my home, any time of the day, to realize this statement is true. I do accept the fact that part of my job is to maintain our home. But it is very clear that I am the only one for which that is a priority. At all.

I did quite a bit of house work today--Ryan has early start on Wednesdays, so Mike takes him to the bus for me on those days. He needs to be at the bus by 7:45 and I just can't do that. But I was pretty much ready to start my day by 8:00. Ryan was having a friend come home with him for the first time and I thought it would be nice if the house was presentable for Hunter. I was actually cleaning my house to impress a 7 year old. I can't risk him going back home and telling his mom how messy Ryan's house is.

So I vacuumed. And I cleaned 3 of 4 bathrooms. I have 2 small boys and one big boy, so the bathrooms REALLY needed to be cleaned. And keep in mind that I don't clean my bathrooms as often as I should. I truly hate to clean them and it's a thankless job, so sometimes they are at risk of being classified as a bio-hazzard before I get to them. And then it takes a lot longer because they are so dirty. It's a vicious cycle. I also cleaned my kitchen. I do value a clean kitchen and that is one area of my house that gets daily attention, but I put an extra bit of elbow grease into it just because. I did all of this by 9:30.....I worked very hard, was proud of my accomplishments, then sat down with Eric to play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The great thing about playdates is that the kids entertain each other and, if things are going well, they completely leave you alone (unlike Ryan's playdate yesterday with Emily the neighbor girl. Emily did not want to draw comic books, which made Ryan cry, which made Emily ignore him, which made him cry more and follow me around the house crying because Emily was ignorning him, which made her ignore him even more....). So I got a ton of knitting done this afternoon! It was great! I sat on the couch, watched a movie, and knit uninterrupted for about 2 hours while the kids played. I have several cupcake bottoms to show for it!

Then Ryan and I went to Kids Choir at church and left Mike and Eric home alone. All of my work has been undone. The kitchen is a complete disaster (and I don't understand that--Mike fixed Eric's favorite I-don't-want-to-cook-peanut butter and jelly tortilla). It looks like Mike was making dinner for 8 and I think he had a bowl of cereal. My living room rug already needs to be vacuumed again and, well, they all used the clean bathrooms...All of the couch cushions are on the floor, there are crayons everywhere...just once I want to be the one who comes home to the clean spotless house!

But....the 5 cupcake bottoms I knit are all very much intact and are lined up very neatly along the sofa table, just where I left them. All of the work I put into THAT project is still rewarding me. I am not looking at the cupcake bottoms and muttering to myself "why even bother..."

This just proves that I should spend more time knitting. And hire a housekeeper.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Baby Hats

A little about me: My name is Jennifer and I have a store on called KNITTINGQUEEN2, selling hand knit baby hats and other adorable things.

I have been married for 17 years to a very sweet man named Mike and I have an almost 7 year old boy, Ryan, and a 4 year old, Eric. We live in a Christian, non-smoking, one elderly cat household. I am a stay at home mom and I do try to maintain my house, but with 3 boys, I'm having a hard time seeing the point. I do keep up with the laundry because, well, I have to. But unless company is coming, I'd rather spend time knitting than dusting. Knitting is more fun and no matter how often you dust, you'll just get more dust.

I learned to knit 11 years ago and took to it immediately. I don't know why--no one in my family knits. I was inspired by no one and whenever I need help, I am left to my own devices. And I have never considered myself an artistic or creative person. But for some reason I wanted to learn to knit. So I took a class and after the first session I knew it was meant to be.

Fast forward 4 years and I am pregnant with my first child. Suddenly a real reason to knit! An itty bitty thing to make itty bitty things for. I made him a sweater. I made the same sweater for my best friend who was also pregnant with her first son. The sweaters were cute, but something was missing.... and then I started making baby hats. Fruit caps, stripes, snowmen--I was getting crazy with the hats. I was giving them away. I was selling them at craft bazaars. I was knitting them for the sake of knitting them (you know you're a true knitter when you knit for the shear love of knitting and the fact that it will actually become a useful garment is really not a factor at all. When you are done you have this completely adorable cupcake hat and then it suddenly dawns on you--what am I going to do with this? I have two boys. And your husband just rolls his eyes because he tried to understand this years ago and knows it's better to just smile and nod. So you put it on the shelf behind your computer, and start rumaging through stacks of books and magazines because you remember that somewhere in your "office" there is a completely adorable pattern for a daisy hat...).

So here I am, 11 years later, trying to go public with my creations. I have yarn and patterns all over my house. All over. My family of boys just steps over it. When I get after my husband, for the love of all that is holy, to please clean up his clutter (!), he does it without ever mentioning my double standard. I think he knows I could use my knitting needles as a weapon. I did impale my hand the other day with a sock needle and made myself bleed, so he knows the danger is real. My 4 year old has asked on a number of occasions "why are you making more baby hats?". And I don't really have a good answer for him. But I am hoping that by getting my services "out there", I will delight someone to the point of actually wanting to buy one of my hats.

I am running out of shelf space, so I am begging anyone who reads this to help me clear out my inventory--I have more ideas just itching to be knit!