Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time Marches On

Amidst all the preparing for new life we've been doing around here, there's been another sort of preparation quietly penetrating our lives, spinning circles around our sweet little hats, and booties, and nursery rhymes; aging has been rearing it's ugly head. And ugly, it is.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I never saw myself as a dog person. Of course I have loved pets as a child, felt attached to them, longed for them to sleep in my bed. But the woman I am today would shock the daylights out of the woman I thought I was becoming (in oh so many ways). Nevertheless, Jezzy is my girl. She is my Paris girl, the perfect companion for my fantasy life in Paris: slim and lovely, head held high, strutting her stuff because she belongs there. She's blended in perfectly with our family, behaved better than any other dog we've owned, converted my son into being a dog lover, convinced my niece she need not be frightened (at least of Jezzy), and comforted both Grandmothers who've known her. And now, she's aging.

I feel a bit like the old woman at the cosmetic counter believing desperately that Ponce De Leon did in fact find the fountain of youth and it has been bottled in that newest expensive night cream. I am constantly reading books, searching the Web, consulting our breeder (thanks a million Mary!) for the next thing to help our girl feel better. We've been to the vet more times than I ever anticipated, first removing some teeth, then to check on thyroid levels, and then again, and again, and finally to confirm that she does have arthritis in her hips. And I am giving my dog medication, a probiotic, changing her food, purchasing her a new bed, lifting her onto mine on the days she's reluctant to jump up there on her own. All with the deep, dark, nagging feeling that this is just the beginning of losing her.

I keep a hawkish eye on her watching as she climbs the stairs (did she trip?), monitoring that she's actually eating enough (did Luna bully her or is she not hungry?), counting her medications (did she get then all?), discouraging her constant licking. And just when I think we've finally addressed everything, something else creeps in and I start worrying about that too. But what alternative do I have, really? I love her fiercely and she deserves the best we can give her to make her comfortable and happy. I realize the inevitable end to this story. I'm not that much in denial. But I wonder how much longer I have with her. I can only hope she and I can both be as comfortable as possible until then.

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Original Hat Pattern

I have to admit, I am rather proud of myself for figuring this out! I created this hat pattern using a master pattern and a bobble cable pattern from The Knitting Stitch Bible. figuring out those cabled decreased was not the easiest thing I've ever done! As I mentioned in a previous post, I am trying to knit up several hats for little Jack, as he will be needing them this blustery winter. And I am currently in love with these cabled stocking caps. They are just so sweet!

Being so self satisfied, I thought I'd share the pattern with you. This is the Ravelry link, or if you are just interested in the PDF, you can find it here. And if you do decide to knit it up, please, please, please, tell me how it goes. I'd love to see what you do!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The last time we had a little one, we were living in a one bedroom apartment. This meant that Hayes's space (with all the paraphernalia a little one accumulates) was limited to a corner of our living room and the tiny little coat closet. Getting it ready wasn't really as satisfying as it has been for Jack. This time, we have an entire room for our little bug. Deciding what to do with it has been a lot of fun, and finally, I have some photos of the just-about-finished project:

I used Photoshop to merge several photos, I think you get the idea here. I found a wonderful vendor on Etsy who was willing to comb through her supply of books and send me all the pages she had with "Jack" rhymes on them. I had no idea there would be so many! I originally thought I'd do a collage of some sort, but when she announced she had over 70 pages, I knew I wanted to make a bigger statement. I mean, how many kids have so much written about them already?

So after consulting with many a friend, I settled on this wall treatment. I used pre-mixed wallpaper paste to adhere the pages with very good effect.

There is not a peeling edge, nor any visible sign of the paste on the walls. Exactly what I was hoping for. The older pages required much more paste than I anticipated, but once I figured out the quantity needed, I was off and running. Here's a closer look at the pages:

I couldn't be happier with my decision. Yesterday the electrician came and installed an overhead light for the room. We're ready to welcome our Jack to the world.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Little Newsie Cap

It occurs to me that unlike my first child, who was born in the blistering heat of an Indiana summer, this baby will have the opportunity to wear lots of cute little baby caps. I thought I might want to address that issue while I still have a wee bit of time. Fortunately, a wee little hat needs very little time indeed! When I saw this pattern, I just couldn't resist. And it took all of an hour from start to finish. I used stash yarn from Grandmom, and the buttons are hers as well (of course). I can't wait to see it on little Jack's head!

Monday, January 03, 2011

To Hover or Not To Hover, That Is The Question

Lately, it seems that there have been a number of instances in my "mama" life that have pointed directly to the question of how much freedom to allow my child; my answer to that question, it seems, is a bit out of the neighborhood norm. It's not all that unusual for me to be in this category, as my parenting philosophy tends to border on the more liberal side (i.e. I should be living somewhere on the west coast) and I live in a rather conservative (read, midwestern) community. That being said, it's still tough to be the family that does it differently.

Recently we've had a parent come to the door tattling on my child, that he was wrestling with another kid (NOT HER CHILD) after the bus stop dropped them off, and she felt it was out of hand. And by the way, her kid was being pushed around by my kid too, just not today when she was there to observe. (I have my doubts, as her child tends to want to dominate my kid, and then seems to lie to his folks to get his way. There's history there.) I think it's reasonable to expect my kid to walk home from the bus stop on his own. He's 9, for heaven's sake.

Then, there is the boy scout policy that insisting we discuss "good touch, bad touch" with our children so they can earn a badge, as well as the safety lesson led by the den mother who told them (4th graders, mind you) to never, never, never open the door when your parents aren't home. Really? In the burbs? At 10 years old? I mean, the odds of someone coming to the door to take them away or politely rob the place are less than them being struck by lightening twice. Seems a bit extreme to me. And really, if you haven't talked to your kid about sex and touching by now, it's a bit late. They are already experimenting. Trust me.

And then there is our policy of not doing much monitoring of our child's screen time. He plays lots of games on line and watches myriad YouTube videos. Don't get me wrong, we have rules about what is and is not allowed, and if discovered breaking the rules, the computer is mine. But we don't use any "computer nanny" software to prevent him from going/doing/seeing on line. Instead, we've discussed what to do if . . . if you wind up somewhere you weren't expecting to be, if someone tries to solicit information from you, etc. I don't want him to think there's something evil lurking just behind that next link.

Recently, all of this seems to be on the "disapproved of" list. And it makes me wonder, what are we trying to do for our kids anyway? Are we trying to teach them to be responsible and make good decisions? Or are we trying to hide them under a rock and hope for the best (a very tempting choice, believe me)? As hard as it is, I'm going for responsibility. And I appreciate those who are trying to hoe the same row. Lisa Greville wrote a great article in the latest issue of my favorite publication, Brain, Child, dealing with this very topic. I highly recommend reading it. It's so much easier to be a helicopter parent, do all the defending and thinking for our kids, but in the end, it just doesn't seem to serve them as well as helping them make good decisions for themselves. So no matter how hard it is for me, I'm choosing to teach responsibility and respect, send my kid out into the big wide world, and be here for him when he needs me.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Knitting Wrap Up

According to my KnitMeter I knit 104 yards of knitted goods in 2010. Sounds about right. There was much to be done in the baby department, as well as some goodies here and there for myself. It feels good to see them all in one place. I'm pretty sure I missed a couple pair of socks, but nonetheless, here's my 2010 Knitting Projects Photo Collage: