Friday, January 31, 2014

Frenchie McKnitsalot's knitting resolutions

I am doing so well. 1 month into the new year, and my resolution to knit in a more challenging way is going quite well, so far. I still have one project that I started this year that I have yet to finish because it's gotten a bit boring, but the rest go on and off the needles quickly, mostly because I've been so challenged by the patterns that they are keeping my interest.

This is Little Honey for Mia. It is a really nice pattern for a top-down sweater, and while I was doing the neck and sleeve shaping, it really did keep my interest. But now, I'm just doing the sleeves and the endless stripes and knit stitch makes it a bit boring. Hopefully, the next time we pop in a complicated movie, it'll get finished. Once I finished the body, I tried it on Mia and it runs REALLY big, so that might be one of the reasons I am not motivated to finish up.

 A quick little distraction for me while I was in the middle of the body of the above Little Honey was this little turban headband. It was intended for my niece, Danielle, but this too, turned out huge so it is just on Mia's head. I made another, significantly smaller one, for Danielle. It is all ready to ship out as a little Valentine's day present!

 This is an infinity scarf that I finished up before the end of the year, not technically a 2014 project, but I've been wearing it almost every day that I can hardly let it go unmentioned. It's very loosely knit, and I just sort of winged the different stitches. It loops twice around, and is really handy to wear over a sweater during this very mild Las Vegas winter.

This is my Block of the Month blanket project. The idea is, you knit one block every month, and by the end of the year, you've got 12, enough for a blanket. I decided to try doing 2 per month, to double the size of the blanket. I've done 1, and am at 1/2 of the second block. It takes so little time, that I could honestly sit down and finish that second block tonight if I REALLY cared about staying on track for 2 blocks per month. Hmm... maybe I will.

Lastly, and most triumphantly, here is a triangular lace edged shawl that I am giving my grandmother for her 90th birthday. (The one we are taking the trip to France for?) It is really beautiful, and I hope she loves it. It took me less than a week, because, again, I was so captivated by the pattern that I couldn't put it down. It's a merino wool yarn, and it's hand-dyed, which is why the color is a bit varied. What you can't see in the pictures is that there's a bit of silver thread woven into the yarn, so it has a bit of a shimmer to it. Really beautiful.

So that's it! One month, 5 projects on needles, and only 2 remain to be finished! I'm doing well. Yesterday, I just casted on a scarf for my French uncle using the most scrumtious yarn I've ever bought. It's not far along enough to deserve any pictures. Any knitters out there? Friend me on Ravelry! My name is AttyAnais.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daycare Woes

mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Mia's main daycare teacher was retiring. Well, she did, and she was replaced by a new teacher. This teacher is only there during "school hours", and leaves at 3:30, when the kids stop their scheduled portion of the day, and... just play? Who knows how much you can really schedule a group of 2 year olds, but that seems to be how it works and Mia knows her letters and numbers, so what more can we really ask for. Anyway, on her first day, I came down during "school hours" in order to meet her. She seemed nice, a bit overwhelmed, but nice.

I keep asking Mia whether she likes her new teacher. She hasn't acknowledged that she has a new teacher yet, and it's been about two weeks. She hasn't repeated her name, but, I'm giving it more time. So far, we haven't been getting the same kind of feedback from this teacher that we used to get from Miss S. She may still be adjusting - figuring out what she wants to do, etc. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm not quite sure when to draw the line.

We got notice a few weeks ago that our daycare was changing locations. They're moving a substantial distance from their current location, much further than you would expect for this kind of move. To be totally honest, the move makes my life easier. Right now, to pick Mia up, I have to take the long way home. With the new location, I take the short way home, while getting off at a different exit. But, for B, it's significantly less convenient, and he's really going to have to go out of his way to drop her off in the mornings - putting our morning ETD about 20 minutes earlier than it has been. I mean... not the end of the world, but overall kind of a pain.

Again... I'm trying not to make any quick judgments. The new location starts February 1st. I'm hoping that once the move is done, (and we get used to the new-ish routine) the new teacher will get into a groove in her new classroom. But, on Monday, I found out that Mia's best friend at school is switching day care centers because of the move. And that's a real bummer. If in a few weeks things don't seem to be getting better, I might start taking some tours.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bullet Catch Up

2 weeks? Really? I'm never sure how that ends up happening. I swear that I've composed a couple of blog posts in my head since then, I guess they just never made it down in writing. Anyway, in the interest of getting me writing again, let's see what I can get down.

1) Pink Eyes and Ear Infections - they're at our house. On the same person. On Sunday, when Mia woke up from her feverish nap, I saw the gunk around her eyes and declared that she had pink eye. She looked at me, and asked: My eyes pink? Yes, child. Your eyes pink. I kept her home, got her to the pediatrician at 8:45 am, where she was also declared to have an ear infection. This is too many in a row, so the pediatrician is recommending an allergy test, which we will do next week. She's at home for a second day in a row, with B. Daily allergy medicine has got to be better than constant ear infections, right?

2) The Bachelor. I am frustrated with it. You guys know how much I love this stupid show. I never fail to get caught up in the fabricated drama. I always fall for the editing - this person is crazy, this person is nice, the lead is always fantastic. This time? No. I am not falling for it. Maybe it has something to do with his anti-gay comments, but I am totally turned off by Juan Pablo. He seems completely insincere and not at all into anyone. They are editing one of the girls to be "the mean one", but I think she's actually great. I will still watch, because... well, because. But I am NOT enjoying it.

3) Mia and I are officially headed to France for my Grandmother's 90th birthday. We leave March 21st, with one night in Chicago to break things up. Then, one week in France! It should be fun. Oh, and Mia's French lessons? I am failing at them. I keep coming up with excuses - there is always something to do on a Saturday morning that I can use, but I'll be sorry when we show up in France and I have to translate everything. I will be sorry.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January Birchbox

This is my third Birchbox! I continue to be incredibly excited when I see that my monthly box is in my mailbox, and I was particularly excited when I opened this one up. The packaging and presentation was adorable! I am not regretting this subscription one bit, and at $10, it is such a nice little treat.

What I got:

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser: I tried this one last night, and I followed the directions wrong. It says you are supposed to put the product onto a dry face, but I moistened mine first, assuming you used it like a regular facewash. Still, it took all my makeup off and my face didn't feel dry, so, I'll try it again (properly) for the next couple of weeks and see whether it makes any notable difference in my skin.

Under Armour Braided Headband (not pictured): This one is not pictured because Mia ran off with it as soon as I took it out of the box. It's cute, and it's really tight on my head, which I guess is a good thing? I have never been able to wear one of these stretchy headbands without it slipping off my ponytail, and this one is no exception. But, I think it will work just fine for washing my face. Not something I am likely to buy.

Omnipotent Duosity Hair Treatment: There was only enough sample for me to do this hair treatment once. I did it this morning, following my shampoo and I'll admit that I was initially really impressed. The package comes in two parts that you mix together, and once they get mixed, the product foams up. Once I saw the foam though, I was kind off... worried about putting that kind of chemical on my hair, but I did it anyway. It didn't feel like a conditioner, and after styling, my hair feels like it wasn't conditioned, but it is really shiny and strong. It does smell a bit chemically, though. As if I had just colored my hair. I won't buy this - I would have been much more interested in a deep conditioner or a dry shampoo.

Camille Beckman Monarch Body Butter: I didn't like this one. The lotion part may have been good, but the scent was so strong that I had to wash it off my hands!

Coastal Scents Revealed Palette: How adorable is this tiny little eyeshadow quad? I haven't used it, but I did sample a tiny bit on my finger and it felt good - like a nice quality shadow. The colors are really nice, exactly what would use. I don't wear eyeshadow during the week (usually just a bit of eyeliner that I smudge with a highlighter cream), but when the next time I do, this is what I'll reach for. Honestly, I probably won't buy this but I love that I got the sample. This sample size is really generous for someone who rarely wears shadow, and this will last me months!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Date Night and the Daycare Kid

This Saturday, B and I went out on a proper date. A full movie (We intended to see Saving Mr. Banks, but it was sold out and we ended up seeing Lone Survivor. It was a great movie, but decidedly not the sweet story about Mary Poppins that I set out to see) AND dinner. It was glorious, and we had a great time. We didn't worry about what Mia would eat, whether I had crayons in my purse or whether she would knock anything over on the table. It was great, but that's not exactly the point of my story.

Mia, at 2 and 1/2 is at a great age. Saturday morning, I told her that tonight, you are going to [B's coworker]'s house! She has four dogs! You are going to have so much fun. Mama and Papa are going to go, but we'll come back to get you later. She looked at me, processed what I said for just a second and replied: "1, 2, 3, 4 doggies!?" Great, the dogs will distract her enough for us to make a quick exit.

In the car, on our way to Coworker's house, I told her again. "Mia, you are going to [coworker]'s house. You are going to stay there and play with her and her doggies, and Mama and Papa will come get you later, OK?" She replies: "1, 2, 3, 4 doggies." Excellent.

Once we got there, Mia and I played with the dogs, B gave his coworker our little spiel. I reminded Mia to ask [coworker] if she needed to go potty. She looked at me and said: "You're going to work? But you'll come back and get me later." Yes, Mia. That explanation works for me! B and I left, no quick exits necessary. Mia excitedly told us to "Have fun! See you later! I play with the doggies!"

Mia and Popeye, doggie #4.

It's nice to know, that despite the guilt I routinely feel at dropping her every single day, for 8 hours a day at daycare, she feels completely secure. When she was really little, I feared that she would get confused, that she would think her daycare teacher was her parent, that the daycare center was her house. But, that has never been the case. Yes, she loves her daycare teachers, and is probably completely comfortable at the nice, bright, noisy daycare that she has been going to for nearly two years, but she knows. She knows we are her parents, her family, and that we may go away sometimes, and has no anxiety about us leaving her in the care of others. Needless to say, she had a great time with B's coworker, and when we came back to pick her up at 9pm, she was wide away and showed us everything she had done, and everything she had played with while we were away.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy Retirement

When Mia came home from daycare last Friday evening, I found a little note in her backpack while clearing out her lunch bag. It was from the main teacher in Mia's classroom of 2 year olds - she wanted to let us know that she was retiring on January 10th.

I checked the calendar - January 10th was the end of the week. 7 days notice? At first, I got kind of mad. How can you only be giving me 7 days notice?? Then I realized, what exactly would I have done with more notice? Found a different daycare? Of course not. We love our daycare. We chose it because it was close to B's branch, but he has since been reassigned. It is certainly not the most conveniently located daycare relative to both our house and both of our work places. But, Mia has become so comfortable there since starting at 10 months old, that I have absolutely no intention of taking her out until she starts kindergarten. She has a best friend, she (and we) finally knows all the different teacher's names. We aren't moving. Whoever they are replacing Miss S. with, it'll be someone Mia is already familiar with, and I'm sure that person will show as much dedication and love in her new students.

But to Miss S, we will always be grateful. Mia is about 98% potty trained, thanks in great part to her. I can't imagine potty training a room of eight two year olds simultaneously, but she did it. We noticed a few months ago that Mia knows all of her letters - she'll identify letters as she spots them, while we're in the car, walking around, wherever. She knows them all -- and I'm certainly not the one who spent time teaching her that. I'd like to think that I would, if I didn't spend all of my time with Mia also juggling housework. If I didn't spend 8 hours a day away from her, 5 days a week. But, thankfully, we have a place that we can trust with her, a place where she is flourishing, comfortable and loved.

So to Miss S, and the other wonderful people who care for our kids while we can't: Thank you. And Happy Retirement.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Guilty Pleasure: New Shoes

Indulge me while I devote an entire blog post to my new pair of shoes.

Photo Credit, Sole Society
I have been coveting Sole Society for months. Months. I like about 90% of the shoes on the website, and I have had several pairs (and one bag) in my cart for as long as I can remember. They're not expensive, for shoes, but they are expensive for my current shoe budget of zero. I got my booties in the fall, and those are adorable and I love them, but when this pair popped up in my cart at $29 with free shipping and my Xmas shopping was complete with a bit left over in my Etsy bank account, I did it.

And let me tell you something about how much I love these shoes. They are really comfortable - a tiny bit tight in my toes (I'll probably order a 1/2 size up from my normal size when I order another Sole Society pair). I wore them for New Year's Eve at a sit/stand party, and the balls of my feet started only started getting tired after midnight. One hiccup, though: halfway through my evening, I noticed that the finish on the toe cap was slightly different. One is highly polished and the other is slightly duller, sort of like when you buy the display pair of shoes and one is slightly duller from being out in the light and the other is brand new because it was safely in the box? This kind of thing would normally bother me enough to return them, but I love these shoes so much that I don't care! To be fair, I did call the customer service, and they were perfectly willing to exchange them without any cost, but I just... didn't want to wait the mailing time to get a new pair. I figure that as I wear them, the finish will even out.

Anyway, I can't say enough about how much I love these shoes, how beautiful they are in person and what a nice quality the leather and materials are. Sole Society rocks.

PS: this is not sponsored or solicited - I just really like my shoes!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014, officially.

On the Today show this morning, they said that today, the first Monday of 2014 is the most depressing day of the year. I was super bummed about this day coming - the first Monday without a mid-week holiday interruption in, what? 3 weeks? That sounds right.

But, this morning wasn't depressing. Right now, I am not unhappy about starting this new year. Usually, I start off the year  with the resolution to drop pounds. This is it! This is the year that I will be 30 lbs lighter! Well, not this year, folks. I am 12 pounds lighter this January than I was on January 1, 2013. While that is significantly less than my goal was, I'm not unhappy about it. So this year, that is NOT my resolution. In fact, I resolve not to go on a diet in 2014 at all. I'm not giving myself free reign here, just the freedom not to follow a meal plan, not to adhere to set list of foods, or certain calorie restrictions. I will exercise and eat mindfully. But that's it, folks. No diet 2014!

My main resolution for 2014 has to do with Knitting. I love knitting. I usually knit at least 1-2 hours every night, and it is almost always the reason I stay up later than I should. I've been seriously knitting for 3 years, since my pregnancy, but 2014 is the year that I become an accomplished knitter. I resolve to follow patterns, to learn new things with every pattern that I undertake. I resolve to finish that I start. I resolve to swatch. I resolve buy yarn only with a project in mind, and not to buy yarn simply because I like how squooshy it is. I will post all my projects on Ravelry. I resolve not to pick up some needles and yarn, and cast on with nothing in mind. I have too many cowls/scarves that are boring. I resolve to make a piece of adult size clothing that fits. I resolve to make at least one blanket. I resolve to participate in my local yarn shop's community, to make more connections with others who love this craft as much as I do. I resolve to knit from my extensive yarn stash! Knitting 2014!

Also, 2014 means a new season of the Bachelor. I resolve... to watch it as usual. Juan Pablo may very well be a disaster, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it! Who's watching?