Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All by myseeelf..... again.

My husband was out of town all last week. Then he had to work Sunday, which is supposed to be a day off. Yesterday (Tuesday) he was up for work at 2 am, didn't get home last night until after 12 midnight, and now he's leaving again and won't be back until Saturday. I tell ya, I'm just about sick of these hours! I love that he's so willing to work hard, but I hate having him gone so much.

Next week is his last week off before hunting season starts, so the last week we can really do anything until winter. We'd planned on one more camping trip, but I'm not sure we should really go. There's so much to do around the house, and with him gone after that until winter, I'm afraid none of it will get done. But then, we all love camping, and it would be nice to enjoy one more trip. I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, I better find a good way to entertain myself this week - weeks with him gone just drag by so slowly!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black Beauty

Every night (and sometimes during the day) Chloe listens to a book on CD version of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. She absolutely loves it. I practically have it memorized.

Yarn: Paton's Chunky Tweed in color "Sea Ice", 4 balls; random acrylic leftovers of black and white

Needles: size 10

Pattern: None! I designed it, with Chloe's help, and all the little things she likes like ruffles and an intarsia picture of Black Beauty. It's not perfect, but I'm satisfied with the result for the most part. This was my first intarsia (picture knitting) project. I learned plenty.

This is her Christmas sweater. Not a surprise at all, but I wanted it to be something she'd like wearing so I let her help with picking out the style and yarn and such. It's going into the Christmas closet now.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That was enough of that.

With Chloe's recent interest in opera, I decided to take her to see one last night. There is only one live opera in our town each year, put on by a small local company. Last night we saw an updated version of Puccini's Tosca. We went out earlier in the day and bought her a fancy new dress and some cute little 'high heel' shoes (all for less than $10 at a kid's consignment store, yay!) It was a big deal for her, she was so excited.

Andrew's sister came to stay with Cora, and actually Andrew was home, but was in bed so he could go to work at two this morning. So Chloe and I went on our own. The story was good, but honestly, I was pretty much bored to tears. Opera is just not my thing. I can do Phantom of the Opera, but that's not really an opera at all, it's just a musical. Chloe seems fairly pleased with it, though she fell asleep through the whole third act. The only time she woke up was when the main guy got shot. She startled, looked up, then started snoring again. She slept the whole way home so I haven't been able to ask her yet what she thought of it. I like that she showed in an interest in something so intellectual and cultural, but I hope if there are any other operas she wants to see that she decides to have Andrew go with her instead. LOL


I feel sort of bad, I was asking Andrew how to start the lawn mower last night, thinking maybe I'd try and mow the lawn today. It's gotten pretty long, and he's been working so much - and out of town - that he hasn't had a chance to do it. So he mowed last night before going to bed. Poor guy, he's so over worked. I get a little frustrated sometimes because when he's off work he just wants to sit around and relax, even though there are things to be done around the house. But then I just have to remind myself that most people don't possess the obscene amount of energy that I do, and that other people like taking breaks. He works more hours than any normal man ought to, he deserves to have a break once in awhile.


Okay, I have about a million things to do around this house, I better not sit here and ramble any more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mesa County Fair 2008

I took the girls, plus Chloe's friend Allysa to the fair yesterday afternoon. We stopped in to see some of the exhibits, but they weren't very patient so I didn't get to look around much. My pickled asparagus got second. Hopefully I'll be able to go back and enjoy it more when I don't have the big girls. :o) We also got to see the goats, sheep, llamas and some pigs -in fact, we saw an escape pig, which is always funny to watch (and a rather common occurrence.) I showed Chloe some of the 4-H exhibits, trying to get her interested for starting it in January.

After that, we paid an exorbitant amount of money for the girls to ride the fair rides. I can't believe what it costs to do that these days! But whatever, it's once a year and it's fun.

Here are the pics.

Sno-cones! We ran into Andrew's sisters while we were all eating sno-cones with red syrup - even Cora had some red all over her face as evidence. Oops.

Lucky Duck - they each won a pirate sword.

This was their favorite game. They had guns and got to pretend to shoot. There were several parents who wouldn't allow this one. I guess I'm not a good mom. LOL

So Chloe was actually pretty much terrified to go on anything at first. She got into the Fun House, got about half way up, and started bawling. She's "scared of high climates", she says. The guy that worked there had to go rescue her and bring her down.

The she saw the Bees and the Rockets. She didn't want to go on them. "They go too fast. They look to bumpy." I had to BEG the child to get on the honeybee ride. And of course, then she had fun.

Unfortunately, it didn't always work out so well. Allysa convinced her to climb up the enormous ladder and go down the bumpy slide. Chloe got up there, sat down on her mat, and then froze. And then started screaming. The poor guy at the top of the slide spoke not a word of English and didn't know what to do. So I had to ask some random lady to please watch my baby to be sure no one stole her while I raced up the stairs to get my poor kid. She wouldn't even go down with me. We had to stop all the other kids from going up the stairs while we made our way alllll the way back down. Silly girl. Mind you, she's been on all of these rides every year since she was two, and has always loved them. She's just going through a phase, I guess... I hope.

But she did love the "Miracle Round" and they went on it five times or more.

Cora was especially good, just hung out in her stroller the whole time with a bottle of juice and some crackers. One guy asked if I'd like to take her on the merry-go-round, so I did. She thought that was the neatest thing. She was adorable - her little lips pursed into a perfect "o" of excitement, and she kept singing "oooooooooo" along with the music. She held on to the bar like a big girl for a minute, then would let go and start clapping and giggling. Sadly, I have no picture, because I had to hold her and no one else was with us.

I finally had to put gas in my van in order to get to the Fairgrounds and home. It was the second time since Father's Day. My goal is 15 in one year, so I have 13 more to go. Not bad, but cutting it close already.

It finally really rained last night. It was the first decent rain we've had since I put my garden in this spring. It was lovely - thunder and lightening all around, rain pouring down. Love that. But of course, Chloe was scared of the thunder, so she was up with me until after 10:00, until I decided just to go to bed. Ah well, at least my garden got to enjoy it.

One quick pic of Cora finger painting the other day, just cuz she's cute:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All in a day's work

Today I:

-Sewed a toddler-sized fleece capelet

-Knitted 41 rows of a sweater sleeve

-Read two chapters of More Than Petticoats

Read three chapters of James and the Giant Peach aloud

Scrapbooked 4 pictures

- Played 51 games of "Pat-a-cake"

-Sang every princess song I know... while dancing around the living room

- Assisted in making a 3-dimensional Dinosaur Diorama

- Taught math class and time-telling

- Colored two pictures

- Dusted the living room and master bedroom

- Scrubbed the kitchen sink and counters

- Steamed more veggies for the Baby with the Bottomless Stomach

- Watched two little girls finger paint

- Cleaned up said finger paints

- Helped a five year old make "ants on a log" (celery, peanut butter, and raisins. It's quite a project when you're five.)

- Blew raspberries on a baby's belly until my cheeks hurt

- Watched Brother Bear 2... again.

- Washed and folded two loads of laundry, plus sheets

And it's only four o'clock.

This n That

Andrew's gone for the week with work. I decided instead of pouting about it and feeling overwhelmed, I'd just enjoy the time with the girls. Last night, after playing outside, we went to Blockbuster to pick out some movies. Then I gave them a long bath with lots of playing and splashing, and we piled onto our bed to watch Brother Bear 2 on the laptop. Cora went to sleep, but Chloe stayed up to watch the whole darn thing - didn't go to bed til 10:00. I hope that kid sleeps late this morning!


Speaking of staying up late, I think she keeps very different hours while she's at Mark's. She was exhausted yesterday while we had her friend Alyssa over to play, and wasn't very nice to her. And as soon as they left, Chloe took a nap for three hours. Poor kid.

And on the subject of Mark... he lost his job again, last week. He told me he put in his two weeks because his job was too stressful. Someone from his workplace said he got fired for harassment. Awesome. So he's unemployed again. I'm not sure how he'll survive, it's not like he has savings or anything. But whatever, I guess that's not my problem. I just don't want him living with his mother, because I don't like her around Chloe any more than necessary. But he may already be, from what Chloe's said. Argh. I wish she was Andrew's.


I turned some stuff in at the fair for open class. I completely missed the deadline, realized it the day after. So when I was with my mom on Sunday, I had her stop by our house so I could grab some things and go and beg them to take them. I did a hat, sweater and scarf. I ended up getting one blue ribbon and two reds. I could've pulled off three blue (or more, if I'd been more prepared) but my stuff was all wadded up and not all freshly blocked and such, and didn't look spectacular. Ah well. I tried. I turned in some pickled asparagus too, but don't know the result on that one yet. I'm hoping we'll be able to pick up Alyssa tomorrow night and take both girls to the carnival rides at the fair. We did that last year and they had a wonderful time. Much better than me trying to fit my wide behind in those kiddie rides!


I harvested some green beans the other day. Five of them. ;o) One three of my original green bean plants are producing now. I have about 25 more that should be producing at the end of August through till frost. I steamed the green beans and chopped them up for Cora. My first big tomato is just about red - might be ready to pick today or tomorrow. I'm thrilled. I"ve tossed a dozen now to blossom end rot, but this one hasn't rotted yet. Hopefully I can get it picked before it does! There are a good 3 dozen smaller tomatoes still growing and waiting to turn. I could have a pretty good crop this year. The corn looks pitiful, it's all yellowing and falling. Not sure what happened, and can't tell if we'll get any corn from it this year. The beans growing around it look great though. I have some baby bell peppers finally, and my grape tomatoes are going crazy, taking over my whole garden and about a foot taller than me now. I get 10 or so grape tomatoes each day. And that's the garden news.

I ordered 40 pounds of peaches yesterday from a local orchard. They'll let me know when they're ready for pick up, probably in a couple of weeks. I intend to can 20 pounds to use in cobblers and pies, make a batch of peach salsa, freeze 10 pounds, and eat some too. It'll be a lot of work, but I really love that kind of work, and I'll love eating peach cobbler with tree-ripe, home canned peaches all winter long.


And I can't think of anything else to ramble incessantly about, so I suppose I'll close this now and go work on a little sewing project I started before my kids wake up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm not too proud to admit it...

I use bribery. :o) Like when we went camping last week, I told Chloe that if she could refrain from using such phrases as "I'm bored", "What is there to do?", "There's no one to play with me" or any similar phrase, I'd take her to Chuck E Cheese when we got back home. It worked like a charm - she had a couple of slip-ups but corrected herself immediately. And so, I took the girls to Chuck E Cheese. That place is, in general, the bane of my existence. Hot, crowded, with dozens of poorly behaved children everywhere, running around screaming, and their cranky parents snapping at them and yelling at them.

But honestly, we had a pretty good time. We just went before lunch time on a week day, and it wasn't overly crowded. Cora was amazingly good, and enjoyed it as much as Chloe did!

Concentrating so hard....

Momma getting a little skee-ball action. I love skee-ball in an unnatural sort of way. I could play for hours.

And a quick shot of Chloe at Farmer's Market, sitting down to eat her cotton candy and watch one of the percussion bands.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Baby Sweater From Hell

Whee! It's done. Okay, so it wasn't really that bad. But any sane person would have knitted about 10 rows of that pattern with that yarn, and they would have nixed the project without going any further. Sanity is not a trait that I claim, however, and I decided to wage war with the most God-awful yarn ever created.

I'm happy to report that I won the war. And honestly, the result is pretty great.

Pattern: Beachcomber sweater from Rainbow Knits for Kids by Cheryl Potter, size 18 months
Yarn: Southwest Trading Company's Chenille (the yarn is discontinued. It's no flipping wonder why. It's wormy, it sheds like there's no tomorrow, it can not be ripped back. Never, ever again.)
Needles: size 6 straights and dpn's

And some pretty little faux mother of pearl buttons from Joann's.

It's already stashed in the Christmas Closet. Now, on to Chloe's sweater. She picked out the style, she okayed the yarn (blue, her new favorite color). Her only stipulations? It has to have a picture of Black Beauty knitted into it, and ruffles on the sleeves and hem. It's gonna be a project, that's for sure. My greatest fear is that I'll finish the darn thing and she'll decide by Christmas that she suddenly likes green and no longer likes horses. She changes her mind more often than she changes her underwear, I swear!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon

We drove to St. Elmo, Colorado on Monday morning for a two night camping trip. It's about four hours away, through some really pretty areas. The drive went quickly, except for the small stretch where Cora cried. :o)

St. Elmo is Colorado's largest and most well-preserved ghost town. It was an old mining town with a population of about 2,000 back in the late 1800's. Most of the buildings were built at that time. Some of the buildings had original wallpaper and curtains. It was neat to see everything that was there, and it was a wonderful homeschool field trip for Chloe.

Across from the general store in St. Elmo is "Chipmunk Crossing", where chipmunks hang out and wait for tourists to come with little bags of seed from the store, and sit and feed them. These were brave little chipmunks! They crawled all over you if you let them. They ate out of our hands, sat on our laps. Cora liked watching them, until one of the chipmunks crawled on her head. She was done after that.

We hiked to Agnes Vaille Falls, a mile round-trip through forest, with a bit of a rocky end. It was gorgeous. Chloe is such a good hiker - she wasn't ready to be done!

Cora and I spent the afternoon at the campsite while Andrew and Chloe went fishing. It was nice and relaxing, actually, even though Cora was in a bit of a spazz mood. :o) Actually though, for the whole trip, she did amazingly well. People always tell us we're crazy to take a baby camping, but they just don't know our baby. She is perfectly happy when she is outside. She wasn't able to get down and crawl around at all the whole time because there were so many ants on the ground. She was limited to either sitting in her stroller or sitting in her table highchair. And she hardly fussed. We managed to be driving when she needed her naps, so she went right to sleep (even on crazy bumpy roads!) and she slept great at night. Both of our girls are totally campers.

We took a drive down a dirt road where there were lots of wildflowers to look at and some neat old mines. This one looked like it was ready to topple over onto the road!

I actually had a really good time looking at all the wildflowers. They were everywhere. Bushes of blue penstemon, purple fringe, arnica, blue flax, wild daisies and sunflowers. There were columbines in all different shades, some wild irises and geraniums, with giant paintbrush and wild rose bushes. And there were tons of strawberry plants all along the road. I was so tempted to stop and dig some up to bring home and plant!

Our campsite left a lot to be desired - St. Elmo is a rather busy place and we weren't expecting that. We got the last camp site available, with no shade, right at the campground entrance. There wasn't any grass or anything, just dirt and rocks. The surrounding area was dangerous - Chloe got her first cactus stuck to her pants at her ankle. Pulling it out produced an incredible scream and lots of tears. Izzy stepped on cacti twice too. The campground prompted Andrew to say that he is done with campgrounds. We'll get ourselves a camp table and fire pan and then we can camp away from other people, RV's and pavement. I like the sound of that. :o) Except that lots of people are more likely to scare off wild beasts. The camp host stopped by the first night to let us know someone had spotted a bear across the creek. I didn't sleep so well that night! It rained both nights too - not much, just some sprinkles really. Andrew and the girls just hid under a blanket until it stopped.

Nothing beats a breakfast of cinnamon French toast when you're out camping!

All in all the trip was a good one. It was relaxing, which I needed. And I'm glad I finally got to see St. Elmo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I lead a boring life...

I sure haven't done anything exciting lately! It's been so quiet around here. We've been staying home a lot, mostly because we really have nowhere to go. It's been good for working toward my goal to use no more than 15 tanks of gas in a year though - I've filled up once since Father's Day and still have 3/4 of a tank left.


Had my first filling at the dentist on Friday. Amazingly, I went 25 years without a cavity. Now, after almost 9 years of not going to the dentist, I have two. It wasn't as bad as I expected. I was terrified. I was almost in tears. I was certain the pain would be unbearable. (This from a girl who has a baby in her living room....) Anyhow, it wasn't nearly so bad, and I survived. Ran into my father in law while I was there, though didn't talk to him much. The hygienists are funny - they are so desperate to gossip about my in laws! They ask some funny questions. This time they said they were glad I married Andrew, he needed it. What is that supposed to mean? LOL But it was sweet.


I taught my friend Jessica how to knit. She loves it, and I'm so glad. I teach people regularly, but most realize they just don't enjoy it much. I've been waiting for someone to get sucked in like I have, and I'm glad it's Jess. She was over for four hours yesterday with her two kids and we just knitted the day away and let them play. Her little girl plays SO good with Chloe - they go outside, and we don't hear from them again unless one of them needs to go potty or they get hungry. I love it. With other kids, it seems one or the other is always tattling or pouting or arguing. So having Allysa over to play is a breath of fresh air.


I'm already making Christmas knitting plans. The turquoise chenille "Beachcomber" sweater is coming along, the back is finished and the front half-done. That will be Cora's Christmas sweater. Chloe picked a pattern out of the same book, a simple pullover with ruffles on the sleeves, to be made out of a soft blue chenille yarn I have yet to purchase. That will be her Christmas sweater. Have I mentioned her new love of the color blue? A month ago, "blue is for boys". Now? It's all she wants in everything. Blue popsicles, blue clothes, blue toys, blue markers. Which is a problem considering everything she owns is pink, her last favorite color.

In addition to the girls' Christmas sweaters, and a sweater I'm working on for myself in the meantime, I have plans for Andrew's gift, my mom, and three friends. I'm going to be busy knitting Christmas gifts until December, more than likely! Can you believe it's already half-way here? Where on earth does the time go?


Speaking of, Cora will be 11 months old on Tuesday. We need to get started planning her first birthday party. The other day she stood up in the middle of the room without holding on to anything. She stood there, looked around, realized what she was doing, and promptly sat right back down. I can't believe how fast she's doing all this stuff! Chloe didn't walk until she was 18 or 19 months, and I rather liked it that way. :oP


I suppose that's all I have to write about for now. Honestly, we're pretty boring around here lately. We're getting ready to go camping, leaving tomorrow and coming back Wednesday. Hopefully I'll have some good pictures to post after that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kiddo Bits

"Chloe, what are you doing?"

"I'm not torturing Milo, Mom."

"He's just being a parade cat."

He was thrilled with this, I assure you.

That child torments the poor cat. I mean, she really tortures him sometimes - doll clothes, heck, rides in the doll carriage, wrapped in blankets... trapped under laundry baskets... endless games of chase. It's never ending.

And ya know what? I really think he does love it. He ALWAYS comes back for more. First thing in the morning, he's trying to wake her up, and he is pretty much always with her from then on. We really lucked out. He's a great cat.


So, my five year old runs faster on four legs than she does on two. Seriously.

If she's racing one of her friends, she gets about halfway and then drops to her hands and feet and continues, and nearly always wins. She is perpetually playing "horse" or "tiger" or "gazelle" or whatever, and is always running around that way.

And of course, monkey see, monkey do. Cora's always following her sister.

Most of the time, Chloe loves it. One day a week or so ago though, when Cora just wouldn't leave her alone, she came and sat next to me and sighed "It's hard having a baby." ;o) And there was the once that she told her "Cora, you are so agritating!" Mostly though, she loves having a playmate.

Chloe's favorite game to play with Cora is "Baby Godzilla". Except that she says "Gonzilla". She screeches "Oh no! It's Baby Gonzilla! Runnnn!!!!" And goes tearing through the house. Cora squeals and crawls after her as fast as her chubby little legs will take her, giggling and drooling all the way.

She does look rather terrifying, doesn't she?


And just because I can, a couple of pictures of my big girl.

Some days I look at her and just can't believe how fast she's grown. Especially now, with a baby. It seems like just yesterday it was Chloe that was doing all this stuff for the first time, and now she's reading and writing, using words like agritating and getting herself out of the bath tub without help.

And each time I think about that, I think about how the doctors told us she'd likely never walk, would have learning disabilities, behavioral disorders... Doctors sure don't know much, do they? :o) I'm pretty convinced she's normal. Well, except for that whole running around on all fours thing... but I think she'll survive.

Easily entertained

We have toys. Lots of them, in fact. But my children are so much happier with other things. A basket of laundry, for instance:

Who knew a basket of clean diapers could provide such entertainment? (Please pardon the cat tail in the picture. LOL)

Or two sticks, with a few ribbons tied onto each - a full hour of dancing, leaping, spinning and twirling came from this.

It's so funny to me what really makes kids happy. Mine are proof that no child needs hundreds of dollars' worth of toys to pass the time. I think it's us as parents that want all that stuff!


I started knitting again. I'm knitting a sweater called "Beachcomber" from _Rainbow Knits for Kids_. I'm using some chenille yarn I got at that yard sale. The sweater is cute. The actual knitting of it is about as much fun as a trip to the dentist... to have several teeth pulled. I got about 10" into it and realized I was only supposed to go 7, and tried to rip it back three inches. With the miserable stitch pattern (m1 12 times in one row, it's not easy!) there's no way to pick your stitches back up after you rip. So I tore the whole thing out and started over. Now, it's a challenge, and I WILL finish this thing. I don't even really want to now, but the yarn is taunting me and tormenting me and I must prove to it and to myself that I WILL WIN. ;o)

It's going to be one of Cora's Christmas presents. It's going to take an obscene amount of patience, but I will prevail.


Not much to report in the gardening arena. I'm already losing my big tomatoes to blossom end rot, the same problem I had last year. Someone in the organic gardening forum suggested giving my plants a good dose of powdered milk, so I did. Let's hope it clears the problem up. I hate losing good fruits and veggies. :-( The grape tomatoes are doing wonderfully though, and I had some in my salads at lunch and dinner yesterday. Yum! I've still been planting seeds - the beans are coming up, every single one of them this time. The swiss chard is sprouted too, and should be followed closely by the lettuce and spinach. I planted carrots a couple of days ago, but they take a couple weeks to sprout, and I'm worried I won't be able to keep the soil damp enough for them. Sowing seed in the dead of summer is hard work! I'm out there three or four times a day just watering them. It pays off though, when you see those happy little leaves first pop through the soil.

I ordered a few packets of seed from, the Baker Creek Heirloom seed company, and I'm looking forward to seeing yellow beets and purple radishes.


Chloe's started first grade now.... How on earth did that happen? I had some Kindergarten workbooks, and we were taking a break from them because they were getting difficult toward the end, and she was frustrated. That was a couple of months ago. When I cleaned out her school supplies box, she grabbed them and started working on them again. She finished them all this time. So we went down to the school book store and picked up some first grade stuff. She got through about the first 10 pages in each book without needing help, so it looks like this is the right level for her. Technically, she should be starting kindergarten in the fall. Crazy.

I only use workbooks and such for language arts and math, and we do plenty of non-workbook stuff too. For science, history, social studies and whatnot, I'm not even really doing any teaching. She's well ahead of what kindergarten requires, just from living an interesting life and asking questions about it. Part of me feels like I ought to slow her down, but really, what am I going to say? "You're not allowed to learn anything new for awhile, you're too far ahead of other kids your age." Heh. right. So, first grade it is, I suppose.


One last shot of my cutie-patooties and then I'm out of here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence Day pics & such

I hope everyone had an excellent Fourth of July. :o) Ours was low-key, but nice.

We went to the parade downtown after dinner. Chloe HATES fireworks, so I thought maybe she'd like the parade instead.

After the parade, Chloe went to her dad's house. Andrew, Cora and I walked to a nearby park to set out a blanket and watch the city's fireworks show. Cora thought crawling around in the dark on the grass was great fun. She wasn't in bed until after 11:00 last night, and was perfectly happy about it. Silly girl. She just loves being outside.