Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Everything will be alright

Bullet's death really hit Andrew this evening. He had a tantrum over me getting a cherry on my sundae and he didn't get one. I realized that he had quite a weekend, busy and happy to spend time with his grandparents, but sad that he lost his doggie. He hasn't dealt with death before and this was very abstract because, although I explained that Bullet was sick and might not live, he didn't have a chance to say good bye. We told Andrew that Bullet's body was at the vet's and that he was in our hearts and memories, and we would be getting Bullet's ashes back, but he didn't quite realize that Bullet really wasn't going to come home again. It was so hard to see him hurting, knowing how he feels (because I feel that way too). Tim gave Andrew a picture of Bullet to keep with him and say good bye to and that helped. He also has a stuffed dog that is the same colors as Bullet and he renamed that dog Bullet. Tonight before bed we read the last chapter of Charlotte's Web, which was his choice, which is where Charlotte's children hatch. Wilbur thinks about how Charlotte will always have a place in his heart. I was proud of Andrew for choosing that chapter to read and thought he was very wise to want to read about remembering Charlotte and meeting her children rather than reading about her death. He is expecting to be sad until we get a part of Bullet back, meaning his ashes, and that may happen. He wants to bury Bullet's ashes "up north" since Bullet always loved being there, which I think is also wise and thought full. I am very proud of my little boy. He has grown today, even though that growing hurt, and appreciates the love we give to and receive from our pets and each other a little more.

I will talk about knitting next time, I did do quite a bit while riding in the car. Last night I appreciated having a place to put down my thoughts when I couldn't sleep. Thank you for the kind comments Jess and Cynthia.

Goodbye Bullet

click for more pictures

Bullet died tonight around 11pm. I first met him while working at the Humane Society. He was the only dog of the hundreds I worked with there that I wanted to bring home with me. It took a little work to finally bring him home, and when we did, we let you sleep in our bedroom the first night. Every time Tim or I moved he came over to check on us. Early on he ate kleenex, paper towel and books, and he didn't like to be in his crate, but gradually we all adjusted. He didn't like fighting. When he was younger we took him to the dog park and he was always the one to walk in and break up fights. One time Tim and his friend were pretending to fight, so Bullet growled at Tim's friend. Then Tim and I pretended to fight and Bullet growled at Tim. Although he was protective, he was never mean. He would bark at anyone who walked past the windows and yard at first and later just the yard. He wasn't always the bravest dog. He didn't like getting his nails trimmed or taking a bath. Sometimes I called him my fearful protector. He always did try to protect us though. This past winter Tim took Nick and Bullet for a walk and had Nicholas in the sling under his jacket. A man started yelling at Tim and Bullet growled lowly, and his hair stood up on his back. Once the guy saw Bullet he muttered something and turned around and walked away. He was also a big teddy bear. I could not have asked for a better dog for the kids. When Andrew was first walking he crawled all over Bullet and Bullet never complained. Even tonight as I was getting ready to take him to the Emergency Clinic and held Nick and watched over Bullet, Nick was so excited to see his doggie. He taught Andrew about being kind to animals and would happily hang out with him. He didn't like to be alone, except finally on his porch. Thankfully, he didn't spend his last days alone. We went up north (to my parents' house). I wasn't sure if we should go this time since Bullet had been having some loose stools, but he seemed to be getting better and Bullet has always loved going up north. He will realize halfway where we are going and just stand in the back of the Jeep with his nose to the window. He had a wonderful day Saturday. He was even running around, which he hasn't really done in a long time since he has been pretty stiff, I was jogging to keep up with him. Sunday he was a little more sluggish (he usually is though since he runs around the first day) and then he was sick while we went into Bemidji. After we came home we walked around a bit, Bullet got brushed (which he loves) and after that he kept getting a little slower until he just didn't really want to get up anymore. He was worse this morning and we tried to decide if it would be better to stay or go home. We finally decided to go and loaded Bullet into the back of the Jeep one last time. We stopped in Grand Rapids and ate outside near the parking lot leaving the back of the Jeep open and coming over to give him water, talk to him, pet him, etc. I said goodbye to him then because I just had a feeling he might not make it home. We stopped again in Pine City and he didn't want to look up or drink any water and I knew he wasn't doing well. We decided to stop at home and drop Tim and the kids and Nick's bed off and then Bullet and I would go to the clinic if Bullet was still with us. We went to the clinic, I had one of the staff follow me outside, and we found that Bullet was almost gone. I sat with him and pet him and told him he was a good boy and I think he was gone by the time we got him inside. I will miss him. He wasn't my first dog, but he was the first dog that was really mine and not my dad's. He was almost always in the house with us and in what ever doorway we wanted to go through. He didn't like to be away from his family. I spent a lot of time this weekend sitting with him and talking to him an petting him and I am glad I did. I met him seven years ago, which went too fast, and he was about ten years old. He was getting stiff, but did well until the last couple days, which is about as good as we can ask. Good bye Bullet. You were a good dog and we loved you very much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Meet Ted


What ya doing with that thing mom?

Do I really need to wear the hood?

I really am happy (even though my clothes don't match).

Hey mom, do you see this thing right here?

A pine cone you say? What's that? Is it good for eating?

Maybe I will just hide it. Then maybe I can eat it.

Nah. This is just too cool to keep to myself. See my pine cone everyone?

Pattern: Ted by knitting at knoon (scroll down)
Yarn: Pattons Classic Merino in Brown purchased at Michaels - I don't have the info from the skein.
Needles: KnitPics Options size 6 and 7

The sweater turned out great. I wish it was either written for larger sizes or Nick hadn't grown so fast. I made the largest size (12-18 month) and it might fit him through the beginning of fall. It is great to put on him when the evening has gotten cool and it is so very cute. The pattern called for a zipper at the neck. I didn't put one in partly because he was growing so fast that I wanted him to be able to wear it soon and partly because I just didn't want to sew in a zipper. I do have some buttons I really like that I may sew on some day and crochet some loops to attach them. It doesn't really need a closure for just wearing on cool evenings, the v neck that happens works just fine as it isn't too large and it probably wouldn't be closed anyway, but if it was worn more in the winter I would add buttons or a zipper to keep the back of the hood closer to Nick's neck for warmth. This sweater had a rather embarrassing start. I read the pattern three or four times and couldn't figure out how the front was supposed to work. I saw that it needed a zipper, but the schematics didn't show an opening to put it in and the pattern has you cast on the same amount of stitches for the front and the back. Being that I started this sweater when Nicholas was about four months old, sleep deprivation was messing with my ability to interpret directions. In my head I could only see two possibilities, cardigan or pullover and I couldn't figure out how this pullover was supposed to have a zipper. I emailed the designer asking for clarification or different instructions or something. She responded that the zipper only went half way, but I could make it into a cardigan if I wanted to. For some reason I wasn't able to figure out that option myself, but once I read the email it made perfect sense. The rest of the pattern went smoothly and the only thing I did differently was the ears. I made them like a short row toe with the beginning at the widest part and did some funky back and forth intarsia in the round for the pink insides and decreased toward the bottom. I made one ear the way the pattern was written, but decided to play around and this made a much neater ear for me and then I didn't need to sew it together. All in all this was a great pattern. The pattern also includes some leggings, which I didn't make.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Of course, I called my mom (who is busy with their opening weekend) and said hi to one of my grandmas. Tim and the boys surprised me with a gift they purchased yesterday at the Shepherd's Harvest. Carders - so I can buy something other than already prepared to spin if I want to. I also received a book about using my carders and blending colors.
Thanks guys!!

Ted and Shepherd's Harvest

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I somehow turned off the comment option for new posts. When I turned it back on, it didn't add a comment option for past posts or posts I edited. So, if you want strawberries, I think you should be able to comment here.

By the way, I don't use any chemicals on my yard or garden and haven't for about five years, in case you were curious about the plants.

Strawberry Plants

Does anyone local want some strawberry plants. They try to take over my garden every year and I hate throwing them out. I have them bagged up in groups of four. I think I have about 6 bags. I can bring them with tomorrow, just leave me a comment.

Edit- I just fixed the comments if anyone thought about commenting on a previous post

Friday, May 11, 2007


Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket



Close up of main stitch pattern

Close up of edging

Pattern: Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket by Fiber Trends - fingering weight option
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine in Rue - I used four of the six skeins I purchased
Needles: KnitPics Options size 6
Started: April 14
Finished: May 10

I did frog this once after knitting a skein beause I couldn't pull out the provisional cast on. The second time I started I knit did the provisional cast on, knit the edging, and then started the main part of the blanket. This way I didn't have as much time invested if the cast on didn't work. I didn't use near the amount of yarn the pattern suggests and I did the recommended number of repeats and my gauge was pretty close(it is only a blanket). The yarn was a little like string at the beginning, but it didn't bother me as much as I did more knitting. I think it was easier to use the mostly cotton yarn in an open lace pattern than it is in a denser fabric. My only complaint with the yarn now is that I seem to snag single or two plyes of the yarn on things which is much harder to fix than just snagging the whole piece of yarn. Nick needed a lighter blanket since his are all pretty warm and he seems to like having a blankie to sleep with. It is also great for peek-a-boo. I may have it with me tomorrow at Shepherd's Harvest.

Basketweave Scarf

close up of the stitch pattern

Pattern: A stitch pattern from The New Knitting Stitch Library
Yarn: KnitPicks Waukeshaw - 100% alpaca that was available on their website only this past winter
Needles: Clover bamboo circular size 8

This scarf was kind of dissapointing. The yarn was very smooth and silky while being knit, but the scarf is kind of scratchy, especially on the purl bumps. This makes it more comfortable to wear it wrong side out since there is more stockinette there. Tim claimed it and doesn't mind how it feels and doesn't really care which side is supposed to be on the outside. It also looks good with his leather jacket. He is happy to have a scarf, and I enjoyed knitting it, even if I'm not thrilled with the end product. Now I am wondering what I should do with the tree skeins of red I have of this yarn. Maybe some lined mittens...



He is a little soul-less right now. ;)

I also have Ted done, or as done as he is going to be as long as he doesn't seem to really need some type of closure at the neck. I purchased a zipper, but didn't really want to sew it in (there just isn't that much free time right now - I would rather knit something else). I also purchased some leather buttons that I will sew on one side and crochet a loop to the other side if I decide to put them on. Ted didn't get his picture taken because once I was outside with the camera I realized he was dirty. Nicholas has been wearing the sweater on cool mornings and must have gotten someting on it. Of course now Spice is laying on it so it will be clean, but have cat hair on it. If it is cool tomorrow I will put it on and take a picture. Oh, and he hasn't been cooperating for pictures of the snuffling or tongue thing mentioned previously. Maybe I will catch it soon.

I will be at Shepherd's Harvest tomorrow - for as long as I can convince Tim and the kids it is fun. I might have Nick in a purple pouch or a beige sling - or he might just stick with Tim. Hopefully I will run into some other bloggers there.

Busy Day and My Yard/Landscaping

We have had quite a few plant filled days lately. I have been doing some yard and garden clean-up this week. I also took some pictures to compare a couple areas with past years. When we moved in there was a wedge shaped garden in the front of the house that was completely over grown. We named it the jungle. The first spring after we moved in we dug up everything (saving the huge hostas) and planted mostly bare root plants ordered from Gurneys as well as the divided hostas.


The landscape fabric was eventually pulled up but it did keep the weeds down the first years after tilling everything into the dirt.


The garden has filled in quite a bit and looks worlds better than the jungle did. The garden was pretty inexpensive overall. The hostas were already there, the ordered plants were pretty cheap, some were trades from my church's annual plant exchange, and a few were purchased as tiny perennial plants at the farmer's market or Friends School plant sale. It does take time for things to fill in, but everything comes up every year, so there isn't much I need to do from year to year but keep it weeded.

Speaking of the Friends School plant sale, that was the main event for today. The plan was to get there before it opened and get what we needed and bring a lunch to the YMCA, eat, go to swimming lessons, and go home, take naps, etc. That didn't happen. Nick was extremely cranky so he went to bed (he slept pretty late this morning so I didn't expect him to nap much - always expect babies to do the opposite of what you are expecting). I eventually went in after 11am (the sale started at 11) and woke him up. I thought we could still make it to the sale and headed off to the fairgrounds. Last year it was cold and rainy on the Friday the sale opened. There was a line to get in at the very beginning, but everyone was let in and there wasn't any more line. Today - a beautiful, sunny day that wasn't too warm - there was a line to get in when we arrived at 1130. Our plans quickly changed and we decided to head to the Y first, eat, play on the playground, go to swimming lessons and then go back to the sale. That worked out well. Andrew loved going to the sale. He helped me pick out some plants, put things in the stroller for me, put a couple things back that I changed my mind on, stayed right by me the whole time and was just amazingly good. There were a few things that were sold out when we got there, but we found plenty of great plants. We purchased a shrub rose for the front of the house where we used to have a huge (almost as tall as our two story house) arborvitae, a mockorange shrub for a corner of our back yard, a couple plants for the bed you saw above and the one across the sidewalk from it - more on that in a minute - and some peppers, tomatoes, and other veggies for the veggie garden.

So, back to the garden across the sidewalk. We have a huge pine tree over there. The area over there wasn't as bad as the jungle and therefore it took a little longer to get to that garden. Last year was a big year for that area. I dug up the peonies that were along the fence in the back and planted them in an L shape in front of the fence and along the side of the yard. We purchased a bird bath, and a bench as well as some more inexpensive perennial plants and hostas split from other parts of the yard. Two years before(?), we cleaned up the area toward the front of the tree, put in some edging, divided some more hostas (we had a bunch of huge hostas - my mom also received one whole hosta as well as some parts and some were sent off to the neighbors and the church plant exchange). The result...

The front of the pine tree - the grass could stand to be mowed again

bench, birdbath, peonies, hostas, etc.

a big open area that might be filled with some more plants and a path to the bench - unfortunately, there are a lot of tree roots there so it is hard to dig.

The front of the pine tree the year after the hostas were put in. The bush behind the pine tree was a hydrangea and one source of tree roots.

I also have pictures of the change in a section of our back yard.

2001 - Believe me, this already looks better than when we moved in. The apple tree likes to kill the grass under it, and there is a grape vine slowly killing half of the tree. We have a paver path from the sidewalk to the deck and have just pulled out all the grasses planted around the deck.

Another view of the same.

2004 - The tree has been cut down. We kept trying to kill the grape vine and it just wouldn't die, so we cut the tree down instead. The lack of grass was another reason, especially since we have a big dog and though Andrew would like to play in the grass instead of mud. Since the grape vine was so hardy, we decided to build a trellis for it. We also put a paver walkway from the sidewalk to the deck which is much more functional than the path of four pavers. I also planted another grape vine at the end of the trellis.

The tree stump has been replaced with grass, there is a hedge of alpine current all along the deck, and this area is very nice to play in. The hedge was planted in stages since it is along two sides of our deck an we actually bought decent sized plants to put there. Andrew also has a sandbox pretty much in front of the kennel.

This area still needs some work.

Overall, our yard has been fun to transform over the past six summers. It has been gradual, but the effect has been huge. I guess my overall theme is "how to landscape your yard cheap over a period of few years". I have knitting finished and in progress pictures too, but I will put them in another post.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blogger just ate my post

I was almost done too. Oh well, I will try tomorrow instead.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Funny Nick Tricks

Nicholas has been doing two funny things these last couple days. The first is that he scrunches up his nose and breathes in and out making noise. He has been doing this for about a week. He mostly does it when he is excited and he thinks it is pretty funny when we copy him. Today he started sticking his tongue out and feeling his lips and tonight was feeling his teeth too. Almost every time I looked at him this evening he had his tongue out. He must have just realized he could feel things with it. I will try to take pictures tomorrow.

I am almost finished with Nick's blanket, the Estonian Lullaby blanket. It is completely knit and 6 out of 10 ends woven in. Why didn't I finish the last 4? I dropped my needle and couldn't find it anywhere. And, of course, I didn't seem to have any more. I stopped at Michaels and fixed that problem. I did start something else instead of finishing the blanket - the best in show socks from Socks, Socks, Socks. I have cast on four times now. Maybe this will be the last. It's not a big deal though. I would rather keep starting them until I like them then just knit on regardless, mostly because they have two or three colors in each row and are going to be a lot of work. I also started charting out a design for Andrew's sweater. So, the plan tonight is; weave in last four ends on the blanket, sew last seam (sewing in legs) on the duck, look through the Friend's School Plant Sale book, and maybe work on the socks. My plan tomorrow is to take a bunch of pictures of the yard and gardens and compare them to a couple years back as well as take pictures of some FOs.

And just for fun, here are pictures of three out of the four pairs of pants I knit for Andrew pre-blog

Little Turtle Knits - Longies (scroll down about halfway) - size Medium
Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted
Andrew is almost 6 months in this picture.

Fern and Faerie ( I think this is the pattern - I did the elastic waistband and these were knit to test the pattern)
Cascade 220
Andrew is 8 months in this picture.

My own pattern
Paton's Classic Merino in Denim Marl
Andrew is just a few days away from being two in this picture.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Online Jigsaw Puzzles

I found this site yesterday. I like jigsaw puzzles, but I have a problem. Once I start one I can't stop. This site makes it much easier to exercise my spacial skills without wondering if someone is going to eat the pieces before I get it done (plus they are pretty small). Andrew also loves puzzles. This is the puzzle I did this morning.
Click to Mix and Solve

Now I need to fold some laundry before Nick wakes up.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More Stuff (and cute pictures of the kids)

Continuing in April...
I went to yarn over with my sil-Jessica. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well so we didn't stay too long (sorry again Jessica). After going home and sleeping for a couple hours I was feeling much better. I mentioned to Tim that I hadn't gotten much of a chance to look, so he suggested we could stop by. It helps that yarnover was only held a few miles from my house, but it still, it was nice. I bought two skeins of grey alpaca from Alpacas of the Ark. The woman selling the yarn was so nice. I didn't have cash or my check book since I usually just have my check card and when I asked if they would take a credit card and she said no, I just figured that I would put the yarn back. I was disappointed, but then she went on to tell me that I could just mail her a check and she would give me one of her cards. I was really surprised and she just told me that she finds she can always trust knitters. While at yarnover in the afternoon I ran into Knittymaa and Knittybaby - the first of a string of encounters with some of the knitters I hung out with at the Yarn Harlot. The next weekend I checked out the Craftstravaganza and saw Mama Grouch and her little one. I didn't stay long though since it was very crowded and I had Tim and the boys with.

Thankfully, Tim had his last photography class just over a week ago and has his last writing class this week. It is so much easier when I know Tim will be home at dinner time. During Tim's last class, Andrew, Nicholas and I went to the Children's Museum since they are open late Friday nights and we finally didn't have swimming lessons at 4pm anymore. Actually, we went again last Friday too (with Tim) since Andrew had so much fun and wanted to show Tim the Raceways exhibit. We use our membership a lot!

We did some work in the yard recently. Tim got some great pictures of the kids outside. Andrew even helped me with some weeding.

He even has his own gloves.

They were actually happy to be outside - you just wouldn't know it

examining some grass

Are you sure there isn't anything in here?

Here's looking at you kid.

Aren't those chubby cheeks so adorable?

You can click on any of the pictures and go to the album, there are a few more pictures there.

Today we made snow cones. I found a Snoopy Snow Cone Maker at a garage sale last Friday. I remembered using mine when I was a kid, so I thought Andrew would like it. We used raspberry juice as flavoring and Andrew thought it was pretty neat.

I need to take some pictures of the scarf and Ted, as well as the baby blanket I have a few more rows left on. Unfortunately, the batteries in the camera are dead and I would rather work on the blanket than replace them.

One more thing before I go. The other day Tim sent me a link to you tube for a clip of cookie monster eating a computer. That started a couple days of watching Sesame Street on youtube. Andrew thought it was pretty fun too. Here are the two watched the most.

Ok, this is the Muppets, but there is a Sesame Street one too if you watch it on youtube.com

This always goes through my head when we happen across words that end in an so it was fun to find this. I don't know if I have just watched too much That 70's Show, but when he says "My name's Stan, I'm the man" I just cracked up.

Lots of Stuff (or the first half of the month of April)

Nicholas just popped his 5th and 6th teeth through today. I know what you are thinking, what about the first four teeth. The first two were on April 8th and 14th and the second two were on the 22nd and 23rd. We were joking that he was trying to pop as many through as he could before he was seven months. He was so much happier today after those teeth came through.

Beginning of April-

Pinewood Derby

Andrew's car ready to race - His car this year was a yellow Hummer.

Lots of cheering fans

Yarn Harlot

O Canada

On Stage with the sock

Sitting and knitting with other bloggers while Steph was talking- I ran into Knittymama, Mama Grouch, Catherine, and Gwyneth

Soakers - the endangered species (mine is the waterlilly soaker previously unseen on the blog)

Knittymama and I with Stephanie

I had so much fun that night - spending time with other knitters and having a break from the kids

Visiting my grandparents the day before Easter - Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures with my dad's parents, but we have some good pictures with my mom's mom.

I finally gave my grandma the angel I cross stitched. She loved it.

I will try to get more of the month and some FOs soon but before I go....

Here was an exchange between Tim, Rita and me last night (sorry Liberty, you already heard this)

Me: Rita - Why are you always in my chair?
Tim: She is like Visa
Me: confused look on my face
Tim: She's everywhere you want to be

Here she is again tonight

I don't think this will replace her current nickname of P.I.T.A - pain in the _ _ _ -(borrowed from a cat at a clinic I used to work at) since she always seems to be into something or making a lot of noise. And who can blame us, it does rhyme with her name.

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