Archive - April 2006

Catching Up on the Weekend
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Rose the Crab
Golden Moments

Catching Up on the Weekend

Whew, busy weekend. Bip hasn’t been sleeping well since we changed the clocks.  Could it be teeth?  Hunger?  Approaching a new milestone? Whatever it is, he’s not telling.  But we’re beat.


Saturday was a rainy day.  We haven’t had a good all day rain in a while.  We needed it. Phil took the kids out while Bip napped so I could get some work done.  They went exploring and found a mama goose sitting on a nest of eggs while the daddy goose, I guess that would be the gander, floated in the Potomac, chasing off other geese.  I got my guest/craft room closet cleared out again and ready for guests.  I also cleared off the bed and a good portion of the floor.  When the Phil and the children came home, we all headed out to go bowling.  We had lunch there, too, making for a good "adventure."  The kids meal now have  new french fries which are shaped like happy faces.  Boo brought one home because he couldn’t finish it but didn’t want to throw it out.  "I like it.  It’s smiling at me!," he said.  Back home for some rest and then to church. Bip and I got to go this time since he was awake.  He flirted with the lady behind him and took off his sock which he chewed on happily.  After church was the annual parish Seder meal which was a new experience for us. Pumpkin Girl started falling apart when it was 7 o’clock and we still hadn’t eaten.  They’d provided bread and butter for those who couldn’t wait and so we let her have some. Bip fell asleep in the sling, which then energized him for the rest of the evening at home.  He sat happily playing with his toys while Phil and I watched "The Two Towers."


Sunday afternoon we went shopping at Andrews AFB.  Picked up dress shirts for Boo and then hit the garden center.  I bought two tomato plants for Pumpkin Girl who loves tomatoes, some basil, a geranium and some petunias for the front yard.  We planted the tomatoes and basil in the back in the full sun.  Charlotte didn’t believe me that the tomatoes weren’t going to be ready for a while.  She said she would have to ask grandpa about it.  She talked to him on the phone today and he explained to her that she had to wait for the plant to get flowers which would then turn into tomatoes.


Then as a fun end to the day, we decided to give Bip his first solid food.  I mashed up a banana for him.  I gave him his first taste and he looked at Phil, who was manning the camera, as if to say, "Daddy?  What’s Mama doing?"  Then he started moving the banana around in his mouth and he got a good taste. I loaded up the spoon again and as I moved it towards his mouth, he grabbed the handle to help me.  He is our first baby not to spit back out his first food!  He was so happy about it.  He kept leaning forward for more bites and even grabbed the bowl from my hands to see if there was anymore left in there.  He ate about an inch of banana.


As I was unpacking and rearranging my crafting room/guest room I came across some things that I tatted when we first moved to Korea. Yes, I tat and no, it’s not a dying art. I remember an episode of the show “Homefront” called “the Lacemakers” and being intrigued by the thought of actually making lace. Lace can be made my knitting, crocheting, using bobbins or by tatting. Tatting uses a shuttle and a ball of thread to make knots. Years and years after the “Homefront” episdoe, I learned to tat. I am completely self taught and have never met another tatter in person. Right before moving to Korea, I wanted to make a baby bonnet for the baby I was expecting . The problem was, all the patterns I could find called for a very fine size thread. The finer the thread, the harder it is to tat and I was a beginner. So I systematically set out making projects, each one using a progressively finer thread. I started with this doily:


I couldn’t fit the whole thing on my scanner.


I also made a hanky:



Then I went to work on a bunch of snowflakes. The one with the strings hanging out gave me such trouble that I never finished it.





Then I was ready for the baby bonnet. I used a varigated thread with mostly yellows, some blues and pinks because I didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl. Working on the bonnet was very satisfying at a very emotional time. The rythmic, repetitive motion was calming and being able to do some crafting helped me feel more at home in a strange place. I remember sitting in our living room in Korea, filled with functional government furniture, longing for all my stuff. I had tried to bring with us the things that made our house a home, but we had a weight limit to adhere to and many things stayed behind. A lot of what I gave up was my crafting supplies. But the sum total of all my tatting supplies fits into one medium basket and any currant project will fit entirely into a makeup bag. So the tatting came along. I remember sitting in a camp chair, watching Boo and Pumpkin Girl play, happily working on the bonnet.


Then Rebecca arrived. I had promised to knit Boo a hat, so the bonnet was put aside and then the tasks of everyday life with 2 small children and a baby just got in the way. I picked the bonnet back up in the Spring of 2004 when Becca was about 4 or 5 months old. Now I happen to tat even slower than I knit and this bonnet was supposed to fit a 6 month old. I had visions of Rebecca wearing it to church during the summer. I worked on it during the older children’s nap time while Becca sat and played with her toys. The only problem was that she preferred to play WITH me, not just near me. I realized then that I was not going to finish the bonnet while she was still small enough to wear it, so I put it aside. I figured I would finish it another time and give it to her first baby. I would tell her how I was making it for her, but knew she needed me more than she needed it so I put it aside – but now here it is, all ready for her baby to wear. I felt no regret about it. (This isn’t a sad story, by the way.) Well, now our sweet Becca is hanging out with Jesus in heaven, just waiting for the rest of us to join her in our own time. I am glad I chose to spend my time with her.



I brought the bonnet with me during our move back to the States. I was pregnant again (because it’s no fun to move if I’m not pregnant!) and needed something small to bring on the plane and keep my mind off how uncomfortable I was getting. I worked on it all summer until fatigue and stress took over and I chose to nap during my free time. You know, that bonnet is still not finished! I’m not sure which child will get it now, but that’s a decision for another time. I have every intention of finishing it someday. I’ve been trying very hard not to have more than one work in progress (per craft!!!) at a time. But it has to get in line behind Pumpkin Girl’s poncho, Boo’s sweater and Bip’s sweater. And I’d like to learn to knit socks. Plus there are the 22 Easter cards and 4 birthday cards I’m making this week for 2 different exchanges I’m in.


I do need to take a picture of the bonnet on our lifesize doll. I’d put it on Bip, but he’d pull it right off.


So there is the story of the bonnet and how I taught myself to tat. By the way, this is actually not the work in progress that I mentioned in my earlier entry called “Knitting.” That’s something else entirely, which I finished last night. I’m washing and blocking it tonight then sending it off as a gift. When it is received, I’ll post pictures and the story here. Some of the people who read this blog know the person it’s going to and I want her to see it first.

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Yesterday in the Clean Heart Clean House challenge, we were supposed to be working on the front yard.  Well, it was cold and rainy, so I put it off til today.  I’ll be heading out there to weed the flower bed, change the garden flag and see what else needs doing.  Boo and Pumpkin Girl discovered that our mystery bulbs were indeed tulips, like I thought.  I once read a poem about the life of a military wife and it said, "we plant flowers that we will never see bloom."  I fondly remember thedaffodils I planted in Kentucky and the one grape hyacinth that someone planted in Korea.  I am thankful that one Fall, some other military wife planted pink tulips in her flower bed and now my family can enjoy them.  Next fall, I will add daffodils, irises and hyacinths.


The Flylady Zone this week is the kitchen, but mine is so tiny that it is not cluttered at all.  It has to have clean counters out of sheer necessity.  So I’m doing my 15 minutes a day in the dining room instead.  But it’s almost done, too, so I’ll move on to the living room for the rest of the week, which is where we are in CHCH challenge anyway.


I’m not sure when I got so domestic.


Speaking of which, I have discovered the wonders of microfiber cleaning cloths!  I order the 12 pack from Don Aslett at  Boo has the polishing cloth for glass and chrome in his cleaning bucket along with a duster and his spray bottle full of club soda.  That boy can shine him some sinks!  He also likes dusting his trophies. Pumpkin has a microfiber cleaning cloth and a spray bottle of Sal Suds and water to wash the marker, crayon and pencil marks off the school table.  She does a great job, too.  I’ve been keeping a cleaning cloth in the kitchen and it does wonders for our dining room table.  Our table is very glossy and in the 7 years we’ve had it, I have never been able to wipe it down with a sponge without leaving spots.  I’m too lazy to go back and actually dry the table, so alas, the spots stayed.  But no more!  A damp microfiber cloth not only gets off those spots of dried on food you missed from like last week, but leaves my shiny table spot free!  As my friend Maggie would say, "it’s a beautiful thing!"  I also have a polishing cloth in the kitchen to shine up my sink.  Our master bathroom has a sink that collects water behind the faucet and along the flat part of the bowl, so I keep another cleaning cloth up there.  I wipe up the water twice a day and shine that faucet and wipe up the mirror.  The magic of the microfiber is that is actually aids in removing gunk that you would normally need to attack with a lot of chemicals.  And with young children in the house, that’s not cool.


I really don’t know when I got so domestic.


The nice thing is, with a shiny, uncluttered kitchen and bathrooms, my whole house feels a lot cleaner than it really is.  But the whole thing is getting there.  And most importantly, I think, is that my children are learning to take care of a home.


Amy has asked all us knitters and crocheters out there to share their Works In Progress, so I’ll share my current knitting project.

This is my WIP in blue and cream.


This is a sweater out of Debbie Bliss’ book, Baby Cashmerino. I love Debbie Bliss! The sweater still needs sleeves, but the hood is already there, hanging down the back. I did a totally amateurish job finishing up the shoulder seams, but hopefully anyone who actually looks at them will not comment or even better, offer to show me how to do a better job. My friend Shanti made Nicholas the same sweater, in green and cream, which he has been wearing all winter. I just love it and I knew I needed to make him one, too! She did a great job on the seams! She is in the Navy, about to take command of some sort of ship (I know she’s just rolling her eyes at me), but maybe she’ll have some time to come up to DC and show me how to do the edge around the hood. I have read the instructions and I understand the words, just not too sure about how to actually accomplish it.

This is the sweater Shanti made for Nicholas. Didn’t she do a great job?


Shanti and I go w-a-y back to 1987, I think. We were Civil Air Patrol cadets together, perhaps the 2 shortest full grown cadets ever. She’s the only person I know who is as into crafting as I am. One summer when I lived in San Francisco and had a car, we were able to spend a lot of time together and be crafting buddies. Even though she’s in the Navy and we’re Army, we have been attempting to follow her around the country and live near her. She was actually at Annapolis while we were in the DC area the last time. Then she moved. Then she was at the Pentagon until like 2 weeks after we moved to DC. Maybe she’s avoiding us. Hmm.

I do have one other Work In Project, but I’m not prepared to share it right now. It has a story to go with it which will need telling. First I have to finish the project. It should be done by the end of the week and then I’ll share.

Rose the Crab

Pumpkin Girl has a hermit crab named Rose. Before she came to live with us, Rose was named Larry and belonged to my cousin Mallory. Mallory is stationed in Norfolk and so were we last summer. We got to see her quite a bit which was a lot of fun. She took me to get a pedicure on my poor preggo toes and I let her do laundry at our house. She brought Rose, then called Larry, over one day for the kids to see and Larry, now Rose, stayed. Pumpkin Girl loves him, uh, her so much! Rose is the perfect pet because she is so low maintenance. Since we have been working on chores with the children, Pumpkin’s weekly Sunday chore is to take care of Rose. With my help, Rose gets a bath, fresh food and water and her cage rearranged. While we work on her cage, Rose soaks in a baking dish full of water. We found that she prefers something you can’t see through. I think she feels safer that way, and then she will come out of her shell. Today I could see that she was attempting to climb out of the dish, but I was in a hurry, having lost an hour to Daylight Saving Time and had to go bathe the children. I left Rose to soak as usual. Forty minutes later, I am changing the baby and seeing if he’s sleepy yet (hah!) and I remembered Rose. I just prayed that if she did get out, that she wouldn’t fall off the counter or into the sink and down the drain. As soon as I was able, I went to check on her. This is what I found:


Silly crab. The children thought this was tremendously funny. So now as I type, she is back in her bath and I can hear her shell hitting the dish. I’ll put her back in her cage soon.

As you can see, Rose is a very big hermit crab, so is probably very old. And she is quite the crabby crab. She gets a burst of energy after her bath and cruises around her cage, rearranging things to her liking. She does this until about Wednesday then curls herself back into her shell and sleeps until the next Sunday.


Golden Moments

Last summer Boo starting putting his new-found skills to use by writing me notes. He would slide them under his closed door during quiet time, since he was supposed to stay in his room. They would say things like, “Is it raining,” “can we go to the pool” and “is it snack time yet?” Sometimes during the day he would come up to me and hand me one of those magnetic doodler things and say, “Here, Mama, I wrote you a math problem.” He’d say it so casually, like doesn’t everyone write each other math problems during the day? He’d check back with me, too, to see if I had come up with the answer. One day, his quiet-time note came shooting out from under the door and it read, “Is it snack time? Is Daddy home? 2+5=____” I sent it back to him with all the answers and an additional math problem. We went back and forth a couple of times until a new note came out saying, “No more math problems!” Who can blame a mother for trying?

Yesterday morning, before I had gotten ready for the day, a note came under my door:



It says “Brectfist on the othr sid” (breakfast on the other side) and Eegs (Eggs). This one really made me laugh. He’d been wanting eggs for breakfast for a couple of days. I particularly like the rubber stamps he added for emphasis.

Seeing him learn and using what he learns is such a pleasure . He reads road signs, which he thinks makes him a good driver, and sometimes tries to read the computer over my shoulder. OK, that’s not such a pleasure. But the little notes he writes really make me smile. He writes so many that I can’t keep them all, just the best ones.

Watching both of my older children learn these fundamental skills of reading and math is greatly satisfying. That moment when all the hard work pays off and a whole page is read without struggle or math facts have finally sunken in- those moments are golden! And they belong to me! We share a hug and maybe a whoop (or quiet whoop, a whoop-ette, if the baby is asleep) and then a sigh of relief. The sibling who was also in the room offers congratulations and shares in the victory. We may even stop and call Daddy at work and share with him. I’m glad I don’t have to wait until the end of a long school day to hear about it. These golden moments, they are blessings not to taken lightly. I am grateful for each one of them.

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