Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dye-O-Rama--the good and the bad

I will start with the good, the wonderful, the fantastic, the really, really, really COOL stuff. My yarn arrived from my pal, Desdemona . It is beautiful and so perfect! C. is fighting over it with me, as it's all her favorite colors. Here's the pic:
The colors aren't as brilliant as they are in person. It's a denim blue, tealy-kinda green, and deep pink that's almost purple. Scrumptious! (as is the chocolate bar that came with it! lol)

Now before you think that I am slacking off on working on the yarn for MY pal, I want to give some background on what I've done since the beginning of Dye-O-Rama. I signed up on April 22nd and immediately ordered my dye-your-own yarn from KnitPicks. I'd done a variegated yarn for Sockapaloooza, and was pleased with the way that turned out, but I really wanted to learn how to make striped yarn for socks! I found a cool website that showed how to string yarn all over your house to stripe it, but figured that might strangle at least one child... Then I found directions for Scout's Ghetto Warping Board. This, I thought, was the board for me! I ran to Home Depot and bought the materials and told DH that he could make this for my Mother's Day gift. Of course, that meant that I didn't get the board until Mother's Day... So we're already up to May 14th. I immediately do a "dry run" with some cheap Lion Brand Fisherman's wool and three extremely differently colored Wilton food pastes (pink, green, blue). Hmmm...

Other than the green barely showing up at all, it's okay... and knit up, it's definitely stripey!!! :) I learned a few things--namely that, when using the warping board, it wraps down and then back up, so you don't get a regular repeat (A,B,C,A,B,C...) but a palindrome-type repeat (A,B,C,B,A,B,C). I also figured out that, with socks, one loop will be one round, and I think I want wider stripes than that. Not a bad start, though.

So I read my Pal's dye-o-meme-o-rama and find out that she likes peach and aqua shades. I don't own either of these in Wilton food paste, so I head to Michael's to buy some. Luckily, a package exists with both peach AND aqua. I do another trial, using the warping board and Fishermen's wool, and my new Wilton dye. See anything wrong with the colors?In case you can't tell, the peach is fuschia and the aqua is PURPLE??? (the natural actually stayed natural)

And then I heard from my dye pal that she'd sent my yarn and I REALLY panicked.

So I'm falling back on what I know. Today I wrapped (warped?) an entire skein of yarn on my warping board and dyed it with the same three colors that I used for my Sock Pal's socks (brown, moss green and orange). These were listed as colors that my Dye Pal likes, so I hope she accepts my sincerest apologies and likes the brown/green/orange yarn, too.

As soon as the yarn dries, I'll twist it up and try to write a tutorial of sorts for using Scout's Warping Board. I hope that will help some people who were confused as to how to use it. I think it worked really well and I'm excited to twist up the yarn (and to see how it knits up!), but I'm still really annoyed with the peach and aqua... I guess I may have to try some "real" dyes and not just the food types... (addiction....) Oh, well, DH wanted to get some tie dye stuff from Dharma anyway. :)

Monday, May 15, 2006

The value of a stay-at-home-mom

There's a kind of cool salary wizard at Mom Salary Wizard to calculate what moms should make for their "mom job". (There are versions for SAHM's and WOHM's)

According to the wizard, I'm worth $154,096 a year. In contrast, had I stayed at my teaching job, I might by now be making close to $50,000 a year.

And I think it's nice that the "value" of having a parent at home is being recognized. (This article popped up on My Yahoo as one of the top stories last week. ) I think it's certainly a better article than the ones that talk about how a woman is wasting her life, her intelligence, and her self-worth by staying home with the kids. But mainly, I don't need the justification, and I think it reeks of materialism. The joy that I get from staying home is not in realizing the monetary value of what we're saving (although G. will repeatedly tell me, when I consider returning to the paid workforce, how much my staying home SAVES us...). The value and the benefits that I get are the things that are not countable.

I did not start out my parenting "career" as an Attachment Parent, but I grew into it, following my daughter's lead. The more I followed her lead, the more I wanted to BE with her--fulltime. And so I quit my paid job when she was a little over two, and haven't looked back in nine years.

And I read a wonderful quote posted on my friend NewMama's website. Kim Pekin, the President of Natural Family Boutique, said: "I think that love of parenting is one of the biggest benefits of attachment parenting....[while] 'detachment' style parenting makes parenting into a job, another thing on your list of things to do."

I think the two ideas are similar. If you read an article that tells you that, as a stay-at-home mom (or working mom...) you should be making some exhorbitant amount of money, then a part of your mind might start counting out money/fees/charges in your everyday life. But if you realize that the benefits of being home (or being with your child after work...) are your true payment, then you realize that you're not missing out on anything. In fact, you're the wealthier one.

Friday, May 12, 2006

a little this; a little that

It has been raining constantly for the last three days, with high temps in the 40's... I guess I shouldn't complain, however, since my mom got 18 inches of snow!

At any rate, I'm feeling positively cooped up. The good news is that I've been able to do quite a bit of knitting. Of course, I'm knitting gifts, so I can't post photos. I've even "created" a pattern of sorts, which may or may not work out well. If it works out, I'll even post a pattern (my first!)

The lousy weather has given time for "practicing" of T's new birthday gift. Here's a picture of T. and C., watching the DVD on "how to play guitar". Very cute...

And finally, I took this picture one short week ago--when it was still nice outside:

Monday, May 08, 2006

T's golden birthday

Today is T's "golden birthday"--that is, he turns 8 on May 8th. As usual, I am remembering his birth day on this, his birthday. :)

Of my three, T's birth was far-and-away the best experience. My water broke first, so I *knew* it was the real thing (unlike with C's birth). Though labor did not start immediately, I used some natural means of labor induction, and they worked (unlike with M's birth). Having my supportive husband there was invaluable and wonderful. I did not birth on my back. I did not push for hours. I *watched* as he was born and I immediately was able to hold him and put him to my breast. His big sister C. was there at his birth and she did a wonderful job of guiding me and cheering me when the pushing got tough. It was a birth the way that all births should be!

And T. was an amazing baby... He nursed 45 minutes out of every hour around the clock. He was born at 8 lb., 4 oz.; at one week he was up to 9 lbs. even. At two months, he'd almost doubled his birth weight at 16 lb., 2 oz. At 4 months, we left the doctor's office and drove to Toys R Us because he'd outgrown his infant carseat at 21 lb., 6 oz. At 15 months, he weighed what his 3 YO sister currently weighs: 29 lb., 3 oz.

It has been a blast to watch this pudgy baby (who nonetheless walked at 10 months) turn into a long, lean boy. He refused solids until he was 15 months and for years his diet consisted of a handful of items: bread, cheese, chicken nuggets, pancakes and french fries. Today many would still call him a picky eater (he doesn't like pizza or spaghetti), but he can get by at a friend's house w/o my having to pack him a separate meal. He ate ONION RINGS last week! And he'll eat tacos and hamburgers and ham or salami on a sandwich!

He loves video games and pokemon and tamagotchis. He is finally reading SOME fiction for fun and he adores math. He asked for an electric guitar for his birthday and he's growing his hair so that he looks like Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. He plays soccer and wants to learn tennis. His favorite color is green and he wants a pair of green Chuck Taylor All-stars (low tops) for his birthday, too.

Happy 8th Birthday, T. I love you...

Friday, May 05, 2006


I can't believe it! I'd forgotten all about Sockapaloooza because I was so busy getting ready for Cinco de Mayo. So when I opened the front door to check the mailbox and this bright green package fell out, I was doubly excited!

YAY!!! They are awesome! All the way from Anne S. in Houston, Texas, I got:

That's a beautiful pair of socks, plus a postcard from Houston, a keychain from Houston (the kids will fight over that one ;)), and a skein of Socks That Rock--Cobblestone County colorway! OMG, I had read about this yarn, but had no idea till I touched it... oooh...

But on to the socks...

And I don't believe that Anne has a blog, so I'll have to email her to hound her for details on the socks. They were made w/ Trekking XXL, according to her tag. They have a nice, even ribbing all the way up. But the heel is the funkiest I've ever seen! And it fits wonderfully! And the toe... It's a gradual (not just on the sides) decrease over like two inches and I think it ends w/o grafting... I need to find this pattern! Check out the cool heel and toes:

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Anne! This was so much fun! It was even cooler to not have seen these socks anywhere before receiving them. :)

And thank you, Alison, for organizing this. And thanks, Ashley, for being a great sock sister!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's not quite California

Unlike my dear Californian friends, Stefaneener and Suzee, my planting is limited by the late last frosts. However, it has been above freezing for awhile and I have been itching to get SOMETHING done garden-wise. We live on a tiny little corner lot in a wonderful suburb. Our tiny lot has essentially no back yard and our limited side yard is taken up by an enormous playstructure. So I have to be creative with my planting. First, my "planter" (ie: old laundry room sink) which now contains seeds for parsley, cilantro, basil and chives:

The Ecology Club at the University where G. teaches had a plant sale this week, and he kindly picked me up some plants. We have:
Hot Peppers (that's how they were labelled!):


Cherry Tomato:

Here's the whole "system":

And finally, my tulips are blooming!

Homebound fun with blogs...

I guess (I hope...) I can finally say that we're done with the sickness. Last Tuesday C. started vomiting. M. got it Friday. I got it last night and T. woke up sick this morning... So he's on the couch, M's banished to the bedroom so T. can rest, and I'm catching up on blogs.

Here's a fun thing I found: Who Were You In Your Past Life? Here's mine:

Your past life diagnosis:
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Central Africa around the year 575.Your profession was that of a librarian, priest or keeper of tribal relics.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:

Seeker of truth and wisdom. You could have seen your future lives. Others perceived you as an idealist illuminating path to future.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:

Your lesson is the development and expansion of your mental consciousness. Find a good teacher and spend a good part of your time and energy on learning from his wisdom.
Do you remember now?

I am especially amused by the part that tells me to find a good teacher and spend a good part of my time and energy learning from his wisdom. G., as a professor, qualifies, I think :)

One more thing...
Today is the official mailing day for . I mailed my socks out a week ago (overseas pal!), but I just realized that I could be receiving socks from MY pal any day now! :) Oh, the excitement! I have been browsing all the sock blogs every Tuesday (update day) and wondering which pair is mine... :)

Update at 5:30 pm.... me and my big mouth! as per usual, T. is the sickest of the crew and he proceeded to (unlike his sisters, who upchucked 2x each) be sick all day long. I am *so* looking forward to leaving to tutor tonight....