Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry And Bright

From Our Family To Yours,
May All Of Your Christmas Dreams Come True!
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Magic Words

Yesterday afternoon my Gram called. During the course of our conversation, I fessed up that our Christmas gift for her this year was 'rather funny.' Instead of stressing out about a gift for a woman who doesn't really need anything, we had decided to give her a selection of pictures from the girls' Christmas portraits. Yep, this was cheating a bit as we technically didn't order any for her, but gave her the extra prints from our own order, BUT we knew she would like them. Gram was actually quite pleased to hear that she was receiving the pictures, and agreed that there was really nothing she needed.

"But," she said, "There is something I want...."

I pounced on that little phrase with an excitement not to be contained. Gram NEVER asks for ANYTHING! I would move heaven and earth to give her something she actually asked for!

Last weekend my parents decided to take the girls and my Gram out to see the new Disney princess movie. Afterwords they all went over to Grammy-great's house for some popcorn and treats. During that visit, my Gram fell head over heels in love with the Sunflower Tams that my girls were wearing.

And so, she had decided that she wanted a hat of her own. In red, please.

As soon as my husband arrived home after work, I dashed out the door to Hillcreek so that I could pick out red yarn to make my Gram's hat. True reds are apparently not so popular right now, and so unfortunately I didn't have that many yarns from which to pick. No matter, I think she'll like the Debbie Bliss Chunky Cashmerino I found!

The funny thing is that I had to go back this morning to get a size 9 in a 16 inch and in DPN's. I almost never use anything above an 8, and as I have a huge supply of needles it hadn't occurred to me that I wouldn't have what I needed. The ladies in the store just laughed.

I'm getting ready to sit down and cast on, and will have plenty of time this evening to knit the entire hat. It's looking like we won't be able to go see my family tomorrow because of the weather, but if we do, I'll be ready with a new hat for Gram.

PS. In other knitting news - I've decided the monkeys will be a Valentine's Day gift. Promise I'll explain more next week. Also, my husband talked me off the knitting ledge yesterday and I've decided not to immediately get started on cardigans for both girls for this winter. (I know, I know....silly knitter.) I'll order the yarn and start that this summer for next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Two-Day Shawl

This is my one special handmade gift this year - something that truly comes from the heart. Yes, it's probably a bit much to make a shawl for someone with whom my friendship is based upon a business relationship, but.

Meghan has proven to be the perfect partner for me in my quest to build a better, healthier lifestyle - pushing when I need to be pushed, challenging when I'm ready to be challenged, providing sympathy and understanding when I need the extra help and always, always believing in me - even when I'm not so sure myself. There's truly a lot more to a good personal trainer than I ever thought there was...or maybe I'm just lucky to have been paired with Meghan.
Plus, Meghan has gone above and beyond by providing multiple free sessions so that my training would be uninterrupted.
So you see, of course she deserved something nice!
I tried really hard to figure out whether or not Meghan has any favorite colors, but she proved to be a really tough nut to crack. (I never see her in anything but her gym uniform of black.) As the gym staff proved to be no help either, I decided to go with something from my stash which I thought would suit her. Likewise, I selected the pattern because I felt that it's simplicity would go well with the handpainted yarn. It's also a good patten for someone who might not be a 'lace' sort of person.
Project Details:
Ene's Shawl by Nancy Bush in Scarf Style
Yarn: The Unique Sheep Leili, Gems of Turquoise, 4 skeins (with lots of leftover in the last!), purchased when the company was Liisu Yarns.
Needle: US 6, Addi Turbo, 24 inch
Time to knit: Cast on Dec 15th, but the bulk knit on December 19th and 20th.
Gifted too: Meghan, the world's most fabulous personal trainer!
PS. When I dropped it off at the gym this morning, I discovered that Meghan had left a gift for me, too. What does a trainer give her client? A pack of new running socks and a microfiber ear band for running outdoors in the weather! PERFECT!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Monday List....Christmas Edition!

We had some visitors this weekend, and I was utterly charmed by the quiet evidence of their presence.
My apologies for the spotty posting over the last couple of weeks. December is a crazy month for us - as I'm sure it is for all of you as well. I'll share with you this week a few more pictures of all of the things which have been keeping us busy, promise!
In the meantime, here's a super-special Christmas Edition of the Monday List. What, exactly, is different this week? Well, in honor of the holidays I only have a to-do list of the things that must be done. All else will be left to opportunity and chance.
  1. Finish the monkeys! The bodies are done, but need heads, ears, tails, embroidered faces a rather unforeseen circumstance...clothes. (More on that later this week.)
  2. Block the shawl, take pictures of it for posterity's sake and then gift it on Wed. I'll explain the two-day shawl when I post it.
  3. Two sessions with my trainer and three sessions on my own. I'm being good to myself, and am not requiring perfection through the next week. Success in December will be maintenance and a more relaxed less-stressful holiday season than last year.
  4. Christmas cards - which I'm quite looking forward to!
  5. I must go and fetch the children home at some point this week - probably on Tuesday. My parents came to visit on Friday for the Pixie's preschool Christmas program, and they took both girls home with them for a much-anticipated visit. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the few days alone that affords me to work on Christmas projects, but I quite simply must get them back before my parents decide to keep them forever!
  6. Finish up the Christmas shopping...which will only take an hour or so tomorrow morning. Easy-peasy.
  7. Wrap gifts...recruit husband.
  8. Make a decision - by tomorrow AM - as to where exactly we're going to be for Christmas. It's a long, long story, and one that caused a bit of an argument this evening - albeit one that is minor compared to past disagreements in the family. Sigh. It's no wonder that part of me dreads December.
  9. In the event that we end up with Christmas here, the kitchen will need to be cleaned thoroughly, and food will need to be prepared.
  10. Put together the photo pages for my Dad's little scrapbook. It's the only thing he wanted for Christmas.
  11. Try to relax and enjoy the spaces both small and expansive.
And just because it was so pretty, I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of our backyard this morning. The snow melted off today, but was beautiful while it lasted!
Have a great week everyone!

In Case You Were Wondering...

It is possible to knit an entire shawl in just a few days!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cookies

I fully admit that the Christmas Cookie tradition is just not my thing. This is one holiday event that belongs entirely to my husband. In fact, he uses his paternal grandmother's cookie recipe. You should hear the raptures which he and his father go into when discussing this recipe! They are both rather distressed that I don't like them. (Sorry!)

At any rate, the girls LOVE making cookies with their daddy, and I LOVE the fact that they all have a fun activity to do together.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Christmas Candle

Several years ago, a real gem showed up amongst our Christmas decorations. We're not entirely sure where the gingerbread house Christmas Candle came from, and we've never put it out because it really is rather tacky. I think, perhaps, it was a white elephant gift from a Christmas party.

Anyway, for the last several years when it's turned up as we've done our holiday decorating, we've wrinkled our noses at it and put it right back into the boxes. Now who knows why we didn't just get rid of it. Some things just seem to hang on longer than they should. This year, however, my husband decided that the Christmas Candle needed to have its day in the sun. In fact, he's determined to burn the entire thing before Christmas...just to make sure the thing gets used up for once and for all.
Every evening my sweet husband lights the candle as we sit down to eat, leaving it burning until we all leave the kitchen for the night.
He won't admit to it, but he's enjoying the candle more than is reasonable. He's even got the kids excited about it, and they examine the silly thing every day to see how much progress they've made.
I think he's going to miss his special candle when it's gone!
Seriously, though, he's so cute with the beard that I'd let him do anything right now...even buy a new candle for next year.
I'll let you know if he succeeds in burning the entire thing!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever....Or At Least The Most Amusing

Yesterday our entire family gathered together at church to enjoy the annual Christmas pageant. The Princess has been participating for three years now, and this was the Pixie's very first year. The story centered around the angels' experiences at Christmas as the angel in charge led a group of rag-tag angels to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ.

I ran the camcorder, and so unfortunately this is the only picture I got. The small one in the front with the wavy hair and green tutu is the Pixie....about 10 minutes before she decided that she was NOT wearing a costume for the performance. (Kid throwing fit v. only angel without wings....not even a close call.)

So how did it go?

Well, the best word I can use to describe the performance is "Chaotic." With five (5!) angels under the age of 4 who absolutely refused to conform, and thus spent the entire time running around like crazy.....I'm sure you can imagine what it was like. Add on top of that the fact that Sunday morning was the first time - in two and a half months of rehearsal - that all of the children performed together, and you have one hot mess. The pageant director was stressed out of her mind, we Moms were pretty darn tired, and the kids were so bouncing off the walls because they were thrilled to finally have an audience.

The Princess received many compliments afterwords for her great showmanship. She took her part and her lines very, VERY seriously, and delivered each one to the best of her ability - stepping up to the nearest mike to make SURE she was heard. She absolutely loves the pageant, and I'm so glad that she had such a great experience.

As to my little one, everyone loved watching the Pixie try to boss the other wee angels into submission. In fact, many, many people told me that the joy and enthusiasm of the wee angels was one of the best parts of the play. After all, someone has to be in charge of creating joy and happiness in heaven! I would also like to point out that of all of the baby angels, she was the only one who actually stepped up to dance and sing during many of the numbers.

As to me, well I still can't get the words of my favorite song out of my mind.

"I said, HEY!!!! Don't be Afraid! I've got some Great News!"

Christmas Miracle

Dad got a hearing aid today!

For those of you who don't know our family in person, you will not understand what a very big deal this is. Dad's been losing his hearing for the last 15 years - helped along significantly by his career as a vet. He tried this once before....about 10 years ago....but pronounced the whole thing a failure after about two minutes. (or so it felt to the rest of us...) He's a stubborn man, and has just refused to do anything about it while the rest of us have grown more and more frustrated.

I just had a conversation on the phone with my Dad, who is happily testing his new hearing aid out in as many circumstances as he can. It's the first time in years and years that I've been able to have a phone conversation with the man in a normal voice - without having to yell or repeat myself multiple times.

A Christmas miracle indeed!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At Long Last

It's really just a glorified dusting...but it counts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Mystery of the Missing Minis....or, My Big, Fat Christmas Annoyance

As you all know, I like to knit mini socks. In general, I like to knit one for each pair of regular socks that I knit. Here, you see my latest batch. Often people ask me what I do with my minis. This whole thing started as a bit of a lark and has, after all, turned into quite the obsession. I LOVE my minis, and so OF COURSE they need to be displayed in a way befitting their specialness.

And so, every year for the holidays I set up my 5-foot artificial pencil tree and completely cover it with all things handmade. (My husband has a matching tree in the basement. It's decorated in Star Wars. To each his own.) My handwork tree has become near and dear to my heart, and I love being able to add to it each year.

The problem is that mini socks tend to attract a lot of unwanted attention from the small creatures in this house that call themselves "children." Said beasts have caused lots of problems in the past by playing with the mini socks...moving them around at will and sometimes making them disappear for a time. This causes the Green Woman and I no end of irritation as we then have to constantly count and recount the minis to make sure they all return safely to the tree.

My solution to the problem was apparently to bundle up the socks after last Christmas and put them away somewhere safe. (As opposed to putting them in my bedroom where the wee beasties can get to them throughout the year.) Quite naturally, this deviation from the norm means that the mini socks are now missing.

Tomorrow....we tear the house apart.


Goodness Bless Ravelry!

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by a fellow Ravelry knitter who was interested in a trade. Long story short, I got rid of 1,400 yards of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool in a 'what the heck was I thinking' colorway (purchased at a sale, which most likely had something to do with it) and now have 5 beautiful skeins of Koigu!

Oh the possibilities....

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Monday List

A wee portion of our Christmas decorations, for your enjoyment!

As promised, we're back to regular posting today...which means a Monday List! So let's take a look at what was accomplished last week, shall we?

For starters, my husband and I now have our Christmas plans well in order. I spent an entire afternoon on the computer last week, selecting and ordering much or what we needed - including the girls' Christmas clothes and their main presents. I have one thing left to order, but then we're pretty much done! There are small things left to get for various family members, but that's the fun stuff that I actually enjoy shopping for. As to the Christmas cards, well we're still a bit on the fence.

Let's see....I also bought a sports bra, but then decided not to run the 5K on Saturday because it was just too darn cold for me. (YES, Meghan agreed with that was in the lowish 20's when the race started.) I did a bit of reading about options for my cardigan, but pretty much decided to set it aside until after Christmas. Finally, I did a very, very small amount of sample spinning this weekend to see what the fiber wanted to become. It's a start!

And now, for the list du jour:

  1. Carmen Banana. Drat it, I just didn't get either one done. I'm almost there with the first, and hope to have it done for my guild meeting on Tuesday.
  2. Ditto with the photo shoot for my new shawl. We'll blame in part the grey weather..which makes photos with my camera really tough.
  3. Make an appointment for the girls' Christmas photos.
  4. Start mittens for the Pixie. She needs them!
  5. Finish decorating for Christmas.
  1. Start a spinning project on each spindle. It's a bit nutty, I know, but it could be fun!
  2. I want to bake something. Anything. It's not a good idea, but it's definitely something I want to do.
  3. Get Dad's present underway. He's requested new pages for the photo album I created for him two years ago. (Made him cry!) It'll be an easy-enough gift to create, and shouldn't take a real long time.
  4. Shopping for everyone else...doesn't technically need to get started this week, but it would be nice to finish early.
  1. acupuncture appointment would be nice.
  2. So would a massage.
  3. And a nice, long afternoon to myself in a coffee shop.
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Contemplations

My goodness, I took a deep breath and an entire week slipped by!

I don't actually have a wonderfully creative post to share with you today, so instead I thought I would share a few things that are on my mind. After all, I do have some wonderful relatives who tend to get a little bit worried when they don't see regular posts!

  • I will be really, really happy when the Christmas pageant is over. It will - quite naturally - be a wonderful event, but I am very, very tired of the rehearsal sessions. It's been over two months of near non-stop chaos, and it's been a huge time commitment. This family needs a break! (And the pageant director needs a big, fat gold star for her patience, creativity and energy.)

  • To be quite honest, I'm feeling a bit grinchy this year. I'm just not ready for the holidays, and I can't quite get excited about them.

  • The reasons behind that last point are probably tied to a bit of a medical issue I'm having. Long story short, I discovered this summer that I have a Vitamin D deficiency, and I'm having trouble getting my levels up. The most recent high-dosage pills made me sick for two weeks, and so if they didn't manage to boost my levels I'm not sure what we're going to do. The more research I do, the more I believe that this could possibly be part of what's been wrong with me for the last 20 years. I'm not one to blame any one specific thing...that's too simplistic of an idea when our bodies are so very complex and individualistic....but wow, the evidence is pretty strong.

  • Case in point, I felt my annual case of S.A.D. kick in this last week. I'm unreasonably tired and depressed, and feel in desperate need of some sunshine to feed on. And what does sunshine give us? That's right! Vitamin D.

  • And yes, for years and years I've felt that I 'fed' on sunshine. It was a need that I identified at the end of my freshman year in college - after living for a year with absolutely no natural light in my room. Funny, I'm not a huge fan of summer...but I know that I need the sun.

  • While thinking about all of this, I'm extremely grateful that this year I am in considerably better shape than I've ever been because I have both the support system and the healthy lifestyle in place to alleviate much of the problem.

  • The other problem with my holiday cheer is that last year was a bit of a disaster for me. I gained 15 lbs. over the holidays - part of what pushed me into finally finding the help I needed - and have to admit that I'm very worried going into this holiday season that the same thing will happen despite my best efforts. I love Christmas, but if I'm honest it's not been a happy time of year for me since childhood. (Christmas of '91 is when the trouble started.) I need to make a plan so that this year is different.

  • Told you I was grinchy.

  • On to other, happier topics.

  • I have a really squishy skein of hanspun shetland/alpaca yarn on my desk. I thought it was overspun when I made it, and have admittedly been abusing it. However, I keep touching it and it keeps calling my name. Too bad I only have one skein of it. Is it bad to keep a skein of yarn just so that you can squish it once in a while?

  • Speaking of handspun, I'm in a bit of a quandary. I need to be knitting, but all I want to do is practice with my spindles. That's right....spindles. I have a wonderful wheel, but all I want to use are my spindles. I'm reading a couple of spindle books right now, and I also keep looking at spindles online. I don't want any more, but they sure are fun to look at! Too say that I'm obsessed might be a tad of an understatement. I always was more of a spinner than a knitter (even if my project list doesn't reflect that) and I feel like this is the next great adventure in spinning.

  • I do want more fiber. Part of my spinning issue is that I'm totally bored with the colors I have right now, and want something completely different to work with. I feel my paypal account calling. I knew I was saving that money for a rainy day!

  • In the last week, my littlest daughter lost her handknit mittens and my eldest lost her hat. Both are completely distraught. Guess what I'm going to be doing as soon as I finish up the monkeys!

  • I spent all day yesterday in my pajamas. Everyone should do that once in a while. I also slept in late, took a nap and went to bed early. Can't say enough good things about this plan.

  • I also read another de Lint novel this week...could be part of why I didn't post! Drat the man! Just kidding. I learn something new about myself every time I read those books. AND, this particular book was (I believe) my introduction to the Crow Girls, who are favorite characters of mine.

  • I got to spend some time with my BKB this week. I've really missed her! We don't get to see each other so much anymore because of my gym commitments and our children's routines. It totally stinks.

  • My husband loves my friends. The most recent reason? When I asked my BKB if she could potentially babysit for my husband's employee appreciation party at the end of January, her response was, "Yes, but only if you let me go shopping with you to find a hot new dress."

  • Peppermint mochas - much to my trainer's dismay - are about the world's most perfect drink.

  • We have a local radio station that's been playing Christmas music 24/7 since shortly after Halloween. Too bad they only know about 15 songs - including Wham's "Last Christmas" the perennially distasteful "Santa Baby" and "Feliz Navidad" which my husband transformed into "Really Stinky Dogs" for the kids. Sigh.

  • The kids are happy and occupied, so I'm going to go put up Grampa's nativity set!

We'll be back to regular posting tomorrow!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Monday List

Starting Fresh Today!

and without preamble...

  1. Carmen would be fantastic if I could finish both of them this week.
  2. Take 'glamour shots' of my new shawl and post about it. I can't wait to share it fully with you because I'm sooooo very in love with it!
  3. Get a new sports bra. Seriously....I had to replace the others last week because of the weight I've lost, and as of today mine is so big that it's causing chafing. It's a good problem to have!
  4. Finalize Christmas gift plans.
  5. Make a decision about Christmas cards.
  6. Get the girls Christmas dresses.....which will require a decision. (Are you getting the Christmas theme?)
  1. I really want to do some spinning this week. I started prepping fiber yesterday, and have several possibilities. Yep, I'm stuck at the 'too many options, none being exactly what I want' stage.
  2. I've done enough work on my big cardigan that I now need to make some decisions about how I'm going to proceed with the arms. Why? I'm rewriting the pattern to ditch the seams. I have several options....and so we'll see!
  3. Possibly run a 5K this weekend. I'm going to talk to my trainer about it tomorrow...and it might depend on the weather as well.
  1. Work on the repair basket.
  2. Get to work on the quilt.
  3. Embroidery.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where Did My Afternoon Go?

I had good intentions.

The call of my spinning wheel and spindles has been growing strong....fed by posts from blogging friends as well as an influx of fantastic new books.

There are a few Christmas gifts still to knit... not to mention a huge stash of lovely things.

Under my desk lives a basket of repair work, my embroidery materials and a quilt that needs to be pieced.

So what did I do today?

I read.

When I was young, my nose was always in a book. I'm probably the only kid in America who got into trouble on a regular basis for reading too much. (And by the way, I'm being paid back in spades for that one....) That love of books carried on through my college years - paving the way for a degree in English - and into my early married life.

Then I had kids.....and the reader in me had to be set aside for more important things. Once in a while I indulge, but for the most part my love of books has been sadly denied. I would be lying if I didn't fess up that I really, really miss my books...and that it hurts to have them all set aside - even if they are being set aside for people and things that I love with all of my heart.

Earlier this summer I decided to reread the books of my favorite author, Charles De Lint. My husband perhaps thought I was a tad nuts when I spent an afternoon searching all of my boxes downstairs for each and every De Lint treasure that I own....a total of 36 books. The only question was how to go about rereading them? In the end I settled on a plan of first going through the Newford books in order of their publication. After all, in some ways the Newford books can be seen as one giant story that becomes deeper and more beautiful with each book set in that fictional city. Once I'm finished, I'll go back and read the others....also in order of publication.

Earlier this week I began rereading Trader, which just so happens to be the first De Lint book I bought in hardback. As of today, I officially hit the point where I couldn't escape the book if I tried.

That's a good place to be.

The hard part? Waiting before I begin the next book....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wee Preview

I hope to have finished photos ready tomorrow. Until then, here are the blocking pics of my most recent piece of lace!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Little Weaving Expert

It occured to me today that I have neglected to share with you the results of our Princess's weaving classes. Bad Mom! (Actually, the Green Woman is the one who pointed out my error...granted she pointed it out while dancing around the house waving the finished pieces like flags.....)

And so, with my apologies to the Princess for taking so long, I give you her weaving! Her first project was a beautiful pink table runner, with purple and sage accents. It now lives on the mantle most of the time in a place of honor.

Pink being her favorite color, she carried it over to her second piece - a beautiful rug.
This is my personal favorite, and right now it graces the top of a little nightstand that greets people when they enter our home. From there she moved on to a project which made her father VERY happy - a Halloween table runner!
The Halloween piece was also her first foray into the world of patterns...a beautiful twill.
Her most recent completed project came home with her this evening. She made these pieces on an inkle loom - a loom which I admit attracts even me. The two items on the left are little bean bags, and on the right you see a bookmark. Apparently there are also cat toys from this project as well.
I believe that right now she's working on a treasure bag in blue and pink. From there, who knows!

A big thanks to Jenny, the most wonderful weaving teacher in the world and to Access Arts, which is now one of our favorite places in town!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because sometimes we just need a little bit of silliness!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Kniting

Do you have any ideas about what this could be?
Does this help? (And yes...I know a few of you have already made this particular item!)
Here's my last hint!

That's right, I'm knitting sock monkeys! Carmen Banana, to be exact. When Knit Picks debuted this adorable kit this summer, I fell head over heels in love.
The problem? I have two girls...and I didn't really want to knit two complete sets, nor did I want to shell out the money for two kits.
The solution? Mom got the same email that I did, and she fell in love too. She proposed that we each buy a kit and split up the knitting. Perfect! When they arrived, we decided that I would knit the monkeys and she would make the clothes.
I have to admit that I'm enjoying this project more than I expected to. I started last Thursday night, and am about half way through the first monkey, with the arms of the second already finished. I'm working as fast as I can because Mom and I are planning to test the fit of the clothes on Thanksgiving.
Which means...back to work!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Quickie

I just found a very profound little article while reading through the blogs I subscribe to, and I wanted to share it with you all in light of the holiday we celebrate this week.


Remember When I Used To Knit?

Oh yeah! That's still happening here!
Next week we'll be getting back to our regularly scheduled blogging. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you this week a few of the things that have been happening over the last few weeks. Believe it or not, it's not all been crazy! (Although it has been crazy a lot....perils of family living.)
First up - more mini-socks! As you know, I make one to match each pair of socks I knit. This is my latest crop...knit during my tummy bug a couple of weeks ago. Cute, n'est pas? Not much to say about them, other than I can't wait to see what my handwork Christmas tree looks like this year with two new groups!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fiber Dreams

This is what I've been thinking about.

Rather than indulging, though, I've been working on Christmas Knits....which are satisfying in their own way.

I've had a rather odd day. It's been one of those days where I have felt ever so slightly off-kilter. I've cried a bit, I've laughed a bit, I've wanted to curl up and sleep and I've wanted some quiet time. Tomorrow I'm sure I shall be fine once again. It happens.

In the meantime, I feel I must answer the burning question of the day.

So where was Tigger?

All along, the facts in the case of the missing Tigger just didn't match up. We were convinced he wasn't in the home because we had searched so thoroughly in vain (and I can't stress enough how thorough we were...nor how many times I searched!). However, the ONLY place we had gone was the Health Department, and they distinctly remembered us leaving with him. (By the way, Kudos to them for both taking me so seriously and also taking the time to search the office for me.) We had decided that the only thing that could have happened was that the Pixie had dropped him either on the way to the car - or from the car as the automatic door was shutting. Neither one of those made a lot of sense because A. Tigger has a rattle inside and I would have heard it and/or B. the child who had just received a shot would surely have kicked up a fuss.

After more than a week, I had given up all hope.

I was also growing increasingly more worried about Pixie's attempts to adjust to life without her beloved Tigger. She was definitely not sleeping well - having accidents and waking repeatedly in the night - which is highly unlike her usual peaceful self. She had taken to sleeping with my old Panda bear, but in the night I knew he just wasn't what she needed. Surprisingly, she only mentioned Tigger twice in the entire week....but she was definitely a subdued child.

With all of that in mind, I went to put her to bed Friday night. She wanted to find a book, so I sat down on the floor next to her bed for what promised to be a long process. While she was going through her options, my gaze fell to the old wooden chest in her corner that is the home to the rest of her stuffed animals. I rather absently took in the pile of fluff, wondering at the mess that the pile was.

That's when something registered in my mind. There was a bit of dirty, faded orange under the chest. Hardly daring to hope, I reached over....and pulled Tigger out from under the chest.

Now, I have no idea why I hadn't found him before...when I know I searched that pile of stuffed animals and that chest along with the rest of the room. I had even crawled around on my hands and knees, looking under every piece of furniture multiple times. It's a mystery to me...although it does prove once again the old adage that you find something only when you stop looking for it.

Life with Tigger is now back to normal, although he's no longer allowed outside of the house under any circumstances. We're going to give Pixie a few weeks to enjoy him, and then we are going to try to wean her away...perhaps luring her to a new that I can carefully tuck Tigger away. Some things are just too precious to let slip away again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

10 Blessings...No Wait, 15!

Thank you to you all for such warm wishes! I really appreciate your support after all of the craziness last week, and I hope you know it meant the world to me.

I thought I would take a moment today to count some blessings. It seems appropriate, don't you think?
  1. I'm quite happy to report that the effects of Kiera's stroke have mostly worn off. She's left with a bit of a balance problem, but in light of the fact that she was bounding after squirrels this morning we're just not going to worry about it. (She's also resumed counter surfing, as evidenced by a spoon and a clean yogurt container found in the living room....)
  2. Also, while the meds are still messing with my tummy I have discovered that my regular dose of cardio in the morning generally clears it up. Go gym!
  3. My girls both attend wonderful schools and have very talented, loving teachers.
  4. I finished another shawl on Sunday! Pictures to come, promise.
  5. As of yesterday morning, I've dropped under a significant number on the scales. I hadn't seen this number since half way through my first pregnancy. So far....26 lbs gone!
  6. Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane tea is back in the stores.
  7. I have a rice bag, which I use to warm my feet at night. We keep the house chilly (65-70), and it makes all the difference in the world.
  8. Mom let my sister-in-law and I hijack the Thanksgiving menu.
  9. My husband grew a beard to please me. I think he's devastatingly handsome with a beard, and I love it when he indulges me!
  10. We have a wonderful church family, and I'm very glad to be a part of that community.
  11. I've totally managed to hook my kids onto the Glee soundtrack, which makes life a lot easier for me. There's only so many times I can hear the practice CD from the Christmas Pageant before I go stark raving mad. Even better, they are now developing choreographed routines.
  12. My husband complimented me Sunday as the girls and I got ready to leave for church. For the first time in my life, not only did I believe him when he told me that I looked good, but I also felt that I deserved the compliment. (Although, I'm not sure "hot" was what I was going for!)
  13. My library has downloadable audiobooks. Soooo cool!
  14. I've been eating Brussels Sprouts almost every day for the last week. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Brussels Sprouts!
  15. My trainer gave me a couple of challenges relating to My Daily Plate, and rewarded me with two free sessions for succeeding.

I could go on and on and on and on....but we'll leave it for that for now. Life really is good!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Been A Rough Week

Apparently I've been worried about the wrong pet.

Last night my dog, Kiera, had what appeared to be a minor seizure. This is really nothing to worry about as she has a history of them going back over the last 6 or 7 years. They've always been very mild - as in she retains awareness and isn't thrashing on the floor - and they've always disappeared after a few minutes. I stay with her to make sure that she's calm, rush her outdoors right afterwords so that she can go to the bathroom, and then I call my parents so that they can put the event in her medical records.

But last night she went into what I thought was a second seizure less than 30 minutes after the first. When it hadn't stopped at 10 minutes I got worried and called my Dad. We were on the phone for about ten minutes - during which time the symptoms didn't stop. Dad gave me the diagnosis when I described the fact that her eyebrows and eyes were twitching...which was something I hadn't seen before in her seizures.

Long story short, my dog had a "cerebrovascular accident" of some sort last night. That's a big, fancy word that means one of three things. She either had a stroke, has a leaking aneurysm or has a brain tumor. Yes, I could take her to a fancy vet clinic and have an MRI done to determine what the problem is. However, as much as I love my dog I am a realist. There's very little that can be done to help her with any of those would only serve to run up a huge vet bill. (Someday, I'll give you my rant about the ridiculous lengths people go to these days to help their pets because they have forgotten that they are not people.) What this all boils down to is that she's old...and you can't cure old.

As of this morning, Kiera is still fighting her symptoms. Her personality and general mood haven't altered at all - she's still the same sweet, loving dog that she's always been - but if you didn't know any better you'd think she was drunk because of the way that she's moving around. She is, perhaps, sticking closer to me than normal....but that's too be expected. We'll start her on a daily aspirin protocol, and we've blocked off the stairs so that she can't accidentally fall down them. For the time being we're taking her out to the front yard or are carrying her to the back so that she can do her business. It's possible that in a day or two this could all clear up. It's also possible that she could go downhill quickly. You just never know.

Sorry this blog has been such a downer this week. My stress levels are much higher than they've been in a very long while. On top of Tigger, a tummy bug that I had earlier this week, a trip to the doc and subsequent antibiotic madness in my already-abused tummy, and my dog we also have connections to a horrific news story this week that has left us all shaken. I'm going to take some time today to regroup and then hopefully we can move on and things will get better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Tigger,

(Picture taken in July....the most recent we have.)

Dear Tigger,

I wish I knew where you were.

The last time I remember seeing you was Wednesday morning at the Health Department. I made the mistake of allowing the Pixie to take you in - figuring she would need the extra comfort for her vaccination - and I remember talking to the nurse about you. In fact, she gave my daughter Tigger and Pooh stickers because of you. I'm not sure what happened next. We realized you were missing at bedtime, and for some reason I just knew that this time you were really gone...that Toots hadn't just set you down in an odd place in the house. I was up all night worrying about both you and my daughter. When I did sleep I had bad dreams. You're awefully special to us all, and this is a terrible thing to have happened.

Tigger, you've been a part of our family for three years. You were a Christmas present from my husband's father to my wee celebration of her very first Christmas. None of us had any idea at the time of how important you would become. There was no indication that you were anything but another stuffed animal that would be loved intensely for a while and then set aside. I'm still not sure of how the magic happened.

What I do know is that a few months later the magic did happen. The girls and I had gone for a weekend with my parents, and Pixie and I were having a rough night. My sweet baby who never had sleep problems was struggling in an unfamiliar crib. I was exhausted, and more than a bit perplexed. The child who never needed comforting was hard to help because even she didn't know what she needed! Out of desperation, I took you and snuggled you up next to her. I remember watching with deep amazement as she pulled you close and then calmed down and went right to sleep. For the rest of our visit, every time she fussed in the night I just scooched you closer and you instantly helped her relax.

From then on, the two of you were inseparable. Being the smart parents we were, as soon as we figured out how attached our baby was we bought a second Tigger. For a long while we were able to trade you back and forth....although attempts to add another two Tiggers into the mix failed. At a year old, Toots was too wise for that. We were amused when we figured out that what she really wanted of you was to rub your ear and smell you. You were always being held right to her face, and she refused to go anywhere without you. When she started talking you became 'Tig Tig'. I'll fess was a hard thing to take when she started to call you by your full name because it was a sign that my baby was growing up. Then - about a year and a half ago - she rejected the second Tigger as being, "The Other," while you became, "My Real." I don't think there's ever been a bigger love affair between a child and her favorite toy before. We always knew that she would be ok so long as you were there for her.

Your stripes were long gone, your ear was shredded through much love, there was a hole in your neck and you had no more stuffing in your head. Yet, you were one of the most beautiful creatures in our home and in her heart.

I suspect that you quietly slipped away because Pixie just doesn't need you so much anymore. I'd noticed that since school started she rarely carried you around the house anymore, and while she did still insist on taking you with her around town it was becoming increasingly more rare of an occurrence. Perhaps you knew that it was time for her to move on, or perhaps you didn't want to stick around until you felt rejection. I have to hope that you knew what you were doing.

In all honesty, I think your disappearance has hurt me more than it's hurt my child. After all, I am the woman who slept with the same stuffed Snoopy from the age of 3 until I traded him in for a husband. Just as he was (and is) real to me, so are you. It upsets me to think of you as being cold and alone. Yes, I'm being a very silly grown up, but that's just the way it is. I know we were going to have to wean the Pixie from you soon, but I had wanted to gently tuck you away for her so that she would always have you around. We adults are awfully attached to our childhood loves.

So here we are, two days later, and I've done everything in my power to find you. I called the health department and went by to check in person. They remember you clearly, and were sure that you hadn't been left behind. We tore apart the house and car, and I was out in the backyard with a flashlight at 11 pm the night you went missing. You're just gone, and I'm going to have to accept that.

So far the Pixie hasn't been too upset. We let the girls go to sleep together in our room on the first night, which was a huge distraction for her. Last night I let her take my Snoopy to bed, which was also a big treat. I can tell that she's upset, though, and she does ask about you. The first thing she said to me yesterday morning was that she was sad because she lost you. She gets quiet and wants to be held, and I wonder what's going on in her head and her heart.

In my heart of hearts I believe you've gone to that special place where beloved toys go to become real. I'm a great believer in the Velveteen Rabbit's story, and just know that somewhere you are bouncing and happy...with fresh stripes and a newly plush coat. Or perhaps you were found by a child who needed you more. Either way, I wish you well. Thank you so much for everything that you did for us, and please know that you will always be loved.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back To The Crafty Stuff

Rest assured, creative stuff has been happening here at Chez Green Woman. Here you see the things that have been amusing me for most of the last new Prairy Rose Shawl and more mini-socks! The mini-socks are just plain fun, and I do need to catch up so that I have a bunch of new ones for my HandWork Christmas Tree this year. The shawl...well there's a story involved that I will tell when I debut the finished object.
Senior Big Stuff was unimpressed with the knitting today. He did, however, like the fact that he had a warm body to cozy up to for most of the afternoon.
FYI - I am NOT one of those bloggers who feels a need to discuss her pets normally. HOWEVER, Tynan is approximately 17 years old and has been on insulin for about 5 1/2 years. He's doing really well, but the average for cats who've been diagnosed with diabetes is only 2 years, so you may see him crop up more and more as he's really on borrowed time. (Watch him make it for another 5 years now that I've said that....) I'm not a cat person....except for in the case of this one particular, personality - filled, larger-than-life cat, who has been with me longer than any one else in this household. So there.