Monday, October 29, 2012

Not my standard wedding weekend post

Our friends Bryan and Christina got married!

There was a Tetris cake and a mashed potato bar and fire-breathing and toasting and cheering and fire-twirling and everyone was attractive and happy.

Naturally, I didn't take a single picture.  The microphone was dead and the best man needed it to give a toast and I had AA batteries, so into the microphone they went!  They're rechargeable, and I'm really glad I remembered to take them home with me.

Also, I didn't actually attend the wedding.

Jessi and I got ourselves lost.  Really, really lost.  Thanks to the directions of a cashier at a gas station, we were able to get back to our hotel and try all over again.  When that didn't work, we broke down and called people because the reception was up and running by this point.  After getting directions from the groom himself, we finally made it there.  Most people were too excited about loading up their mashed potatoes in martini glasses at the mashed potato bar (I think this says a lot about our values, in general) to make fun of us.  There was a lot of visiting and catching up and, really, if I was going to miss someone's wedding I'd want it to be Bryan and Christina's.

I should be clear: I don't want to miss friends' weddings and I didn't want to line up a sitter, pack my bags, make plans, and drive 4 hours just to miss one.  But of all the people I could slight by missing their wedding, Bryan and Christina would probably be the most gracious.  And so they were.

Cody couldn't make it, and Evelyn spent the night with my parents, but the three of us had a good time apart.  Cody took a nap and ate lunch with Casey, and then fixed himself sausage for breakfast the next day.  Evelyn watched football and visited with people at church and came home smelling a little like Mo.  And Jessi and I had a safe trip and a lot of good talks and we stopped at a Braum's on our way home.

Fine, we ate Braum's for breakfast.  It was all we hoped it would be, and all two girls with grandparents from Miami, OK could ever want out of life.

But everyone was happy to be back home.  Jessi had crafting projects to tackle and boxes to unpack (she's moved.  Such a jetsetter).  And Cody and I are usually happiest when we have Evelyn near, scattering her trail of cereal and toys.  Evelyn, to be honest, will probably be bored and disappointed that this week won't include any sleepovers or interstate travels.

But I'm thrilled.  I'm happy for my friends, and ready to wrap up some knitting, and thrilled to drive nowhere new for a little while.

But if anyone needs help navigating a good chunk of Springdale, AR, I'm your man.  I feel like I've seen a lot of it now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Our family values

Donuts.  We value donuts.  And gas station spellings of things.

Dad just sent me this picture:

Evelyn has been rocking out with my parents in Memphis for the past day.  They went to celebrate some of Robert's academic achievements and she's very good at clapping, so it only seemed natural to bring her along.  I've been getting texts and emails of her smiling and eating and wearing several different outfits, so I can only assume that everyone is having a blast.  I've gotten quite a bit done with her gone (but not nearly enough), but I'm ready to enjoy her again.  I'm her mom, so I think it's okay to be selfish like that.

I can't wait to see her this evening.

I hope she brings some of those donuts home with her.  Sharing food is another one of my favorite family values.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts on looking at a picture of my stash

  • I should have moved Evelyn's PEZ dispenser out of the way before I took this.
  • This is a gross amount of yarn.
  • This isn't even the yarn that's in project bags, attached to projects, hidden in a drawer at work, tucked away in my purse, oh crap I just looked up and saw a ball of yarn on a cabinet.
  • I'm really glad I got most of this tucked away before Cody came home.
  • I feel gross. 
  • This is several charitable donations' worth of yarn.
  • The last 3 charities we've donated to haven't sent us acknowledgement letters for tax deductions and I know the checks have gone through.
  • I'm really glad I found that cotton yarn so I can knit some washrags.
  • I feel weird that I don't know how to knit washrags.
  • I feel weird that I can lose yarns.
  • I have a lot more brown yarn than I thought.  So cozy.
  • I really like buying blue yarn. Why do I not knit with more blue yarn?
  • I'm cute in blue.  This is the narcissistic thought of someone who believes it's okay to have this much yarn.
  • I can use a lot of these scraps for amigurumi.
  • Or baby booties!
  • Dadgum, I have a lot of baby booties to make.
  • I noticed Evelyn trying to wear some doll shoes the other day.
  • She doesn't even have jeans that fit and I have all this yarn.
  • Okay, she doesn't have jeans that fit because toddler sizing is stupid.
  • I wonder if I can find a clearer picture and cross post this.
  • This is a lot of yarn.
  • I can't believe some kind of bug burrowed into one of the smaller balls!
  • It happens to everyone!
  • I'm a little glad that I accidentally dropped the entire thing in the trash can.
  • I need more plastic bags and tubs.
  • Maybe I need to get some of this yarn knitted/crocheted up into other things so I won't have to feel gross about this yarn.
  • I kind of wish I'd gone to the yarn store on my free afternoon.
  • Yarn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just because I do

Just a heads-up: I am also writing at the Leisure Arts blog.  I've been posting over there for about a week and a half, and I held off on saying anything here because I'm oddly embarrassed about things I write.  Which is weird.  Because, duh.  Blog.

But I went to the Leisure Arts building, which is its own exclamation-points-filled post, and no one said "This isn't working out." Yay!  In fact, people had nice things to say about my posts.  All 8 of them!  One of them was just a 'hi, I'm Jen' post!  This was incredibly encouraging and also very unsettling because the last time I handed in writing to receive feedback was in college.  Teachers are rarely in the habit of saying "Yes, keep doing what you're doing!" and have more of a tendency to say "You shouldn't put things off until the last minute, and should definitely use more sources."

Anyway, I would have linked to the blog today even if everyone hadn't been so nice because I just really, really love today's post.  I sincerely had a blast working on it and I'm getting a little less nervous every day about being a craft blogger* because I'm having fun (awesome) and making a little extra money (really awesome) and getting to play with some free stuff (the most awesome dream come true) so that I can write about yarn-related activities (really, undeniably, incontrovertibly, and all-caps AWESOME).

I really love yarn things.  If you've ever read any post I've ever written, you probably know this.  But to have a place where I get to talk about it nonstop is just too much fun.  So if you read this sometimes and think to yourself, "I wish Jen would post fewer pictures of Evelyn and talk more about how much she loves matching up the right yarn weight with the right pattern," then you know where to find me.

*It's fine to laugh at the term "craft blogger."  I do.  My friend Rob just asked if I wanted to write on their blog and it seemed like a good idea, so I said I would.  I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Typo Tuesday: A Very 'Special' Edition

I'm going to gripe about something that's incorrect, even if it's not typed out and I don't have a picture of it.  But I have seen people write this way, so I think it counts.

The other night, Evelyn and I went for a walk near our apartment.  She staggered around in a vacant, gravelly lot to burn off the last of the day's energy and I watched her.  A woman came by to basically do the same thing with her dog.  The dog would inspect Evelyn and Evelyn would inspect the dog, and everyone involved was very cute and respectful.  After a while, the dog's mom asked if Evelyn had just learned to walk.  I told her she had just really gotten the hang of things this past month, and we watched Evelyn careen over some uneven ground for a moment.  Then this happened.

"So, how old is she?"
"Nineteen months."
"Is she special needs?  I'm just asking because she's really small and she's just now walking."
"Ah, no.  She's just really small and takes her time doing stuff."

The woman went on to explain that she worked with children "who are special needs" and thought maybe there was something to Evelyn's size and wobbly steps and I went on to explain that Evelyn has been climbing things for the past 9 months because she is strong.  I probably also said something about her genetic background, which is a perfect storm of phenomenally small tininess and Hobbit-elf characteristics.  We parted amicably, with Evelyn waving at her new friends and me thinking "What a jackass."

Let's disregard the part where a total stranger asked personal questions about my child's health and development while implying that maybe I was not doing a good job of care for her.  That is a part of my everyday life as a parent.  It's even more fulfilling than I dreamed it would be.

No, let's get to the part where she asked if my child was literally special needs.  What does that even mean? I've heard people say this for years and I hate it every time.

"I'm ADD."  No, you're not.  You don't even have ADD, and what you are is distracted.  It makes sense to say "I'm distracted.",  or even more accurately, "I'm not paying attention."*

"I'm OCD and can't stand to see things out of order." No.  Just no.  OCD is a serious illness, and your nervous habit of straightening magazines on a coffee table is neither obsessive, nor compulsive.  There's no need to trivialize a very serious problem while spewing your grammatically incorrect lies.  No one is OCD, but some people do have it.

"I'm anal."  I wish you could see what happens to my soul whenever this happens.

As for Evelyn being special needs?  She's not.  She's special or whatever.  I'm her mom, so you can't really take my word for it.  

I could get into the psychology of what saying someone is special needs means or why using the phrase "an individual with disabilities" is so much different than saying "a disabled individual", but this isn't a post about how people are so much more than their depression or asthma or cancer or missing leg or whatever.  I really hope you're smart enough to figure that out on your own without my witty post spelling things out for you.

This is just a plea, people of the world, to stop using terms incorrectly.  You're not ADD, you're not OCD, and I truly and desperately hope you're not anal.  So please, please, please stop saying that you are.

In conclusion, here is a picture of an adorable child.  As far as I know, she doesn't have special needs.

"I heard the word 'special.' I can only assume you're talking about me. Please compliment my sunglasses."

*Most of the people I know who have ADD don't run around yelling "I'm ADD!  I can't do anything!" unless they're just idiots.  I know that sometimes a person's ADD can be incredibly difficult, and at those times it would be correct to say "My ADD is just making it really hard to concentrate right now."  Or, as one of my siblings would say, "This isn't important! Do you want a snack?"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Outdoorsy baby

Evelyn played at my parents' house this weekend.  Mom emailed me the first four pictures.  I'm including her descriptions as the photo captions.

We are about to put on her carharts and go feed the chickens.

This is what we get for giving her a puzzle with locks on it. She sees a lock and key and goes to work.
 FACT: Evelyn has been pretty interested in locks and keys for months--even before she got a puzzle that has a lot of fasteners and locks and doors.  It's just that now she's a champion.

Playing in the garden. I couldn't get pictures of her with all of the flowers but she had fun. Turtle is running from her.
 Turtle is a cat.  (Sara named her that because she has a mottled coat that looks like turtle cheesecake.)  Turtle has gotten much friendlier in her old age, but I think she knew what she was doing when she ran away from my little creature.  Read on.

After we gathered eggs, she had a hard time understanding that they were fragile. Murphy had a snack after we practiced being gentle.
This is Murphy:

Murphy, protector of babies and eater of eggs.

 This wasn't Evelyn's first time out at the farm since she learned to walk, but she seemed to have the most fun doing it this weekend.  She climbed up and down stairs, literally ran in circles, and chased various animals.

Mo is obviously fleeing in terror from this growling menace.

Evelyn had a great weekend.  The weather was beautiful, the animals were plentiful, and the playmates were spectacular.  You can tell she had a wonderful time.

I can see why.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I have a date tonight.

I've been knitting a tiny Jayne hat for Evelyn to wear.

I think yesterday was the best time I've ever had at the state fair.

These pressure front fluctuations are wreaking absolute havoc with my sinuses.

I'm ready to try some new things.

I may switch out our clothes this weekend.

I need to order some pictures.

I love Halloween candy.

I really love this picture a lot.

I love Masterpiece.

I'm making a scarf for myself.

I need book recommendations.

I need a stronger glasses.

I hope you're great.

I might re-read Beowulf (Seamus Heaney translation. Duh).

The end.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

State fair trip, 2012

I took Evelyn to the fair this morning, and we had a pretty good time!  Here's a big pile of pictures.  I promise that Evelyn was at least slightly more enthusiastic about things than she looked.  Not pictured: our lovely mother-daughter caricature portrait, seeing a couple of friends, and the shiny tractors.

Either she has the same reaction to sawdust that I do, or going an hour past naptime was getting to her.  Either way, we went home after this.

Now she's in her bed, and sometimes I hear her talking over the monitor.  I hope she'll take at least a small nap before our evening gets underway, but I'm not counting on it.  It's fine, though.  The state fair only happens once a year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baby's first zoo trip!

My dad bundled up Evelyn last Friday and took her to the zoo.  He said the giraffes, elephants, and bears were her favorites.  He also said she was pretty interested in gorillas.  She was also a big fan of running around (while staying safely close to her stroller), which is why he could only take so many pictures.  But these are the ones he emailed to me, and I wanted to put them out here because they're lovely and cute. 

He said she had a great time.  I knew she would.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Evelyn June is 19 months old?

I don't know what happened.  But Evelyn is another month older and now she's a great big girl.

She's getting better at walking, insists on feeding herself, and seems to be cutting some more teeth.

We started going to a library program for babies and she loves it.  And last week her granddad took her to the zoo, and she really, really loved that.

We've been walking lots of places lately, and she's been babbling and repeating sounds like crazy.  She's been dancing and carrying a purse and enjoying adventures.  She's better at sleeping away from home, and she loves shoes and hats.

We just love her.  It's been really fun to watch her grow and change, and every month is a little more fun.

This post is mostly just a big ol' picture dump because it's hard to describe how she's learning and growing.  She's a different person every few days and it's surreal to see how much she understands and remembers.  She's trying out words and facial expressions and her newest obsession is having a coffee cup that she pretends to drink from.  She's silly and loud, but also focused (sometimes) and good at whispering.  She throws herself on you if she hears the word "hug" or "kiss".  She still likes her pacifier.

She's just the best.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I ♥ Yarn Day!

Mark your calendars!  Today is the day you can talk about your love of yarn!

I honestly didn't realize there were days when we couldn't talk about it.  How embarrassing.

No matter.  I'm here to talk about yarn because I want to.

I love yarn.  I love the texture and I love the color and I love that there are so many different types and weights and .... and... I love yarn.

I've noticed lately that I like cotton yarns and anything that's bulky weight.  I want to start projects that I can finish within a 'reasonable' space of time.  I've been impatient with my projects lately, so I've either been making things that are very small or I've been using yarn that's very big so that it will knit up quickly.  I like yarn that's easy to care for (i.e., machine washable) because that makes giving handknitted gifts a little easier.  It also makes knitting for Evelyn a little easier.

I even love yarn so much that on Tuesday, I went to The Yarn Mart to attend a yarn tasting.  (Yes, I asked to be on an emailing list so I could get updates about sales and events like yarn tasting.  I'm sure you do things like this, too.)

Get it?

You could squish, squeeze, and even knit different types of yarn and rate yarns that you especially liked or disliked.  All of the yarns were Cascade, and all of the store's Cascade yarns were 20% off.  Glorious.


There were prizes!  I love prizes.

I even won something (I love prizes, but I rarely win them)!

What's in the bag.


And this.

For these!

In case you can't read the label, that's alpaca yarn.  I love alpaca.  It's really soft without snagging on everything.  So. Very. Soft.

I don't know if I'll make the hat, but I might try the mittens.  No really, I might mean it this time!  You are my witness and that's a really pretty pattern.

Also, I bought this yarn and a sweater pattern because I want a simple pullover sweater and for some reason I think I'm just the person to make that sweater happen:

I guess this is the part where I should show you a picture of my stash but I won't because

1. I didn't pull everything out and take a picture because I didn't realize today was, um, today until it hit and
2. I'm a little embarrassed about all the yarn I haven't used.  It's a little gross.

BUT! I have projects and plans.  My beautiful yarn will be put to good use and there will be beautiful projects.  And then I might need to buy more yarn.

Because I love it.

Also: I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that Michael's is having sales on a lot of its yarn today and tomorrow.  I also get emails from Michael's.  It's fine, okay?  Just fine.