Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb....

People, I am losing my mind.  Seriously.

Today, we had a lazy morning and I finally got my backside in gear and made it to the shower about 10:30.  I had booby-trapped the door with the kids' stool so that my husband couldn't sneak in and make me feel like I live in a slasher movie (because he does that), got in the shower and was about to shampoo up when .... darkness.  Pure and utter darkness.  The bathroom is in the dead center of the house, no windows.  I stood there listening to the shrieks of the little people and Bill asking Isabelle if she played with the breaker box (which she discovered yesterday - God help us), and suddenly realized that I had forgotten to pay the electric bill.  Like totally forgot that the bill even existed. 

In my defense, which I admit there isn't much of, it's the one bill that isn't automatically deducted from our account or sent to my email.  I don't have a daily reminder whenever I open my email that the bill is still waiting to be paid.  So, this month, I just totally forgot about it.  Until I was standing in the pitch black bathroom, soaking wet.


I managed to make it out of the bathroom clothed, yet unwashed, told Bill what an idiot I am, and dashed off to pay the bill.  It was back on before it got hot inside the house due to the lack of AC, but still...

And what's even crazier is that later, I checked my budget for the next month that I made up to make sure we aren't over-extending ourselves with our Florida trip and I hadn't even planned on paying the electric bill next month.  You would think if I was going to forget a bill, it would be for something we don't deal with on a daily basis, like the Best Buy credit card.  Not the electric bill.

What is the herb that you take to improve your memory?  I think I need to make a trip to the heath food store and ask the hippie lady there to hook me up before I forget to put my shirt on before I go to work or something.  Lord... senile before I turn 40.  Great.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

See, I'm not a snob!

Nothing really crafty to report.  I did try to work on Zoe's afghan at the park today, but it was too hot and humid.  I don't know if you've ever tried to crochet under those conditions, but it's kind of impossible.  The yarn just kind of stuck to me and I gave up and took out a book instead (Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde....  I try not to recommend books until I've finished them in case the ending stinks, but it's Jasper Fforde and I don't think he's capable of writing a bad book.).  I didn't really get to read much either... the girls decided to swing and I had to run between three swings pushing them.  It was fun.


This morning, a friend of mine posted an article about introverts.  I loved it.  I'm very introverted and I've been accused of all 10 of the myths in the article.  I was surprised that it said that only 25% of people are introverts... I hadn't realized we were that much of a minority. 

I often describe myself as "socially awkward."  It's just very difficult for me to interact with people sometimes.  For example, if you were to walk by me and say "Hey! How are you?", I generally say "Good." and walk on.  Afterwards I'm slapping myself in the forehead for not asking the same back, because I know it seems rude of me, but in the situation, I just never think of it.  I can't do small talk.  At work, I either leave for lunch or eat at my desk because I can't handle trying to make conversation with people in the lounge.  And trust me, it doesn't go unnoticed.  People think I am either stuck up or don't like them, which isn't true (for most of them, some of them I do not like, admittedly).  It's hard for me to make friends because they really have to be the one making the effort and they have to get past all that other stuff.  But once we are friends, I'd like to think I'm just as much fun as the next person.  Just so long as you don't want me to talk to you on the phone.  I don't like talking on the phone... I've had anxiety attacks over calling my best friend to chat.  I had to quit a job once because it involved making collection calls.  There are parts of my own job now that I have to pass off because it involves calling people.  I'm lucky my boss is very flexible with me.

I especially liked the #9 myth where he explains that our brains are too sensitive to dopamine and we tend to shut down with too much stimulation.  And #5 where he says it's crucial for an introvert to have time to recharge.  A lot of people I know couldn't handle the schedules we are on at my house, but to be honest, it's perfect for me.  Sure, I miss my husband on the days where we literally only see each other in passing, but having the evenings after the girls to go bed completely to myself is perfect for me.  It takes a lot of mental energy to deal with 3 little girls, even on the nights that they are angels.  I'm also not a very touchy-feely person... I treasure my personal space.  But my girls are very affectionate and I don't want to say I have to tolerate it, because it sounds like I'd rather they never touch me, but when you have three little girls literally sitting on top of you, sometimes it is kind of a situation where I'm just tolerating.  Just to be clear, I'm glad that they're affectionate and it takes a lot for me to ask them to back off.  But I need time to myself to recover from being a mom, being at work, just everything.  I actually don't understand people who hate to be alone.  I guess it's like where being around people sucks the life out of me, to those people, they need to feed off of other people's energy to feel right with the world (which is A-OK as long as you're not feeding off someone like me LOL)

Anyway.  I'm just blabbering now.  My introversion obviously does not apply to blogging.  =) 

I'm enjoying being on vacation this week, spending time with my girlies.  I've been having a lot of fun playing with their hair.  If you don't already know, we went through an agonizingly long period where anytime their hair got to a decent length, Isabelle would find scissors and play barber shop.  Seriously, there for a while, it looked like I was putting my little boys in dresses.  They finally have shoulder length hair... long enough for a real ponytail!  I put waterfall braids in their hair yesterday, which lasted about half an hour before their slippery-baby-fine hair fell out of the braid.  Tonight we're trying to curl their hair with a sock bun while they sleep  and if it works, I'll show it off because it is kind of neat and a good method for little ones who might not be able to handle sleeping in rollers.  I'm not quite sure their hair is long enough, but we'll see.

OK, enough babbling for now....  =)

Monday, June 27, 2011

All Gnomed Out

Today is my little sister's birthday!  I've had her birthday present planned for months.  I found this pattern  one day on one of my favorite blogs, Tangled Happy, and knew I had to make some of these cute little gnomes for her.  She collects gnomes.  I don't want to inundate her with them, though, so I decided to wait for her birthday to make them. 

I finished one before we left for our trip, so he got to do a photo shoot in my very weedy flower bed.


The other one I mostly made during our camping trip, but I didn't bring any stuffing.  So he's just a shell of a gnome.  =)


They work up super quick.  As I made the second one, I was thinking of ways to modify the pattern to change the size and shape of them a little, for variety.  After the girls caught sight of the gnomes, they insisted on gnomes of their own, so for their gnomes, I experimented so they each had a unique


For the tall gnome, I just added an extra round in between increase rows. 


For the short gnome, I took out some of the rounds in between the increase rows, except for the face... I didn't want to lose any room for a face.  The girls agreed he looked too cute without a beard, so he became the baby.


For the all pink gnome, I tried working it from the bottom up, as one piece, instead of making the cone and bottom separate.  I am not sure I'd do it that way again... working the pointy hat is easier from the top down and the bottom isn't as defined.  I also ran out of eyes, so I had to embroider a face on it.  I made her the Momma-gnome, seeing as how Zoe insisted that she be all pink.  She was actually angry that it's not totally pink, but I explained to her that she needed a face, so she relented.


They are mostly filled with fiberfill, but to make sure they would stand up, I put some beans in the bottom of them.  Zoe saw me adding the black beans to the baby gnome and said, "Momma, are you putting his poops in?"  Crazy kid.

Anyway, this afternoon, we had a top secret mission to sneak over to my sister's house (she just lives down the road from us) and left her gnomes and a mushroom birthday card on her front step for her to find when she got home from work.  Somehow I didn't notice that her car was already there, she had gone home sick from work, so she didn't discover them - my brother-in-law did.  So my surprise didn't work out quite as planned, but she loved them and that's all that matters.


I think I'm about done with gnomes for a while.  I like gnomes and all... we even have one that roams around our front yard.  Seriously, the girls move him every time they go out there.  But 5 gnomes in less than a week is enough for now.  =)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Crowley's Ridge State Park

My husband and I have always been a huge fan of the Arkansas State Park system.  We actually got engaged at Devil's Den State Park on a Thankgiving weekend camping trip.  Awww.  Arkansas is a gorgeous state.  It's not called "The Natural State" for nothing.  We've tried to visit a different park on each of our little camping adventures.  Normally we stay in cabins.  I know that's the wimpy way to camp, but with 3 little ones, I don't really think tent camping is a good option.  We did attempt it once, but we got rained out and ended up in a cabin anyway.

There are a few parks that have cabins that we haven't been to because we just can't swing the rental fee.  $200/night is kind of steep.  But those are generally brand new and we're kind of hoping in a few years that the rates will drop.  Our latest adventure, and the last in our list of "affordable" cabins, was Crowley's Ridge up in the northeast corner of the state. 


We set off after I got off of work on Friday and I realized that I had forgotten the directions.  Bill decided it couldn't be that hard to find, but I was nervous.  I knew it wasn't straight highway.  Once we left the highway behind and got to rural country, I was even more nervous.  At one point, even Bill was doubting that we were going to be able to find it without stopping for directions.  But, miraculously, we did find it without getting lost.  *Phew!*

The back of our cabin... it was a duplex.  Not our favorite - we prefer to not annoy neighbors with our noisiness.  The cabin was nice, though.

After settling in and eating some hot dogs that I cooked on the stove, because the burgers and chicken were still frozen (my idea to freeze the meat... not the best idea), we decided to take a hike.

1.25 miles.  All the trails had the red signs, but they had been pretty well cleared.

It was the perfect day for hiking.  It wasn't too hot and it had rained earlier in the day, so it was actually almost cool in the shade of all the trees.  You might think that we picked an awfully long trail to take kids on, but they did very well, not really complaining until near the end.  Plus, I found out that a trip over the Big Dam Bridge, which I've been walking the girls across on Mondays, is 1.5 miles round trip, so they're used to it.

The red mushrooms and the sun hitting them was so gorgeous to me.

Black raspberries or blackberries?  Bill says blackberries are bigger.  I say he's nuts.

The highlight of the trail (sadly, not dancing rabbits - the girls were disappointed), was suspension bridge.  I hate bridges.  From the bottom of my heart.  I'm not a fan of driving over them.  I'm surely not a fan of walking over them.  And if it wobbles and shakes, I want to just fall on my face and belly-crawl across.  I can't stand it.

My husband, however, thinks it's hilarious.  

Which way do we go, girls?

Is it strange that I find fungus so beautiful?

We finished up the trail and Bill played hide and seek tag with the girls until it was time to put them to bed.  Bill watched some stupid movie on TV (we rough it, I'm telling you) and I worked on crocheting my sister's birthday present until I was so tired I couldn't count.  We played musical beds, with me ending up on the couch, which was more comfy than the bed.  I like sleeping on the couch, though.  Always have.

The next day started with us realizing that I did a really bad job packing for the trip.  Bill and Isabelle had to run to town to get some things so we could cook and the other two collected rocks while I sat and enjoyed the morning.

I did not, however, forget anything needed for coffee.

Morning Sunshine

We decided to explore another trail until the swimming area opened up.

We told the girls that there were probably no spiders, just like there were no dancing rabbits

We lied.

The girls didn't do quite as well on this trail.  Zoe didn't sleep well, so she was very whiny and it ended up being contagious.  Bill remembered seeing a sign for a wishing well, so we thought that would perk the girls up.

Not really what they were looking for, but they still made wishes for princesses and unicorns.

We followed the path around the lake a bit to the playground.


I sat here while they played and watched dragonflies.  It was finally time for the swimming area to open, so we went back to get changed into swimsuits.  I have no pictures from swimming, my camera and water didn't seem like a good mix.  We were swimming in part of the lake, and this would surprise a lot of people.  I don't like swimming in lakes.  I kind of prefer chlorinated water where I can see all the way to the bottom.  But I made myself deal with it, even if our hair did smell like swamp water the rest of the day.  Gross.

We had to run to the huge (sarcasm) metropolis of Paragould to get a spatula for the grill and picked up some fruit and veggies, because, as I said, my planning was lacking.  Then, when we got back, we finally fired up the grill for dinner. 

Grilled peaches, awesome.  Grilled watermellon?  Don't ask.

The Dodo needed a nap before dinner.  That's a tired child.

After dinner, we decided to go on another walk.  Because the last one went so well...  We're crazy like that.  This one was easy...just a walk around the bigger of the two lakes.

I don't remember seeing the bat condo....

It was a gorgeous walk, though

We hung out on the fishing pier for a while

Probably my favorite picture of the weekend.  My children are so beautiful.


Then we finished up the night with a campfire.  Pyros in the making.

We had to leave first thing Sunday morning, because Bill had to work.  Bummer. 

I figure since our dirty clothes reeked of sweat, smoke, and swamp water, we must have had a blast.  Based on the drive up and back, I am kind of dreading our trip to Florida at the end of July.  I'll have to come up with a lot of things to distract the girls or they'll be strapped to the top of the van before we make it out of Arkansas.


Awesome weekend.

First of all, thank you for the sweet comments on my last post about getting up before the crack of dawn to go to the gym.  I'm so flattered that I inspire people and I hope it keeps me honest and on track.  I have some awesome people who inspire me, too, so I know how important it is to have someone to look at that has done the hard work and is proof that it can be done.

I just got home from the most amazing weekend.  We jumped in the van after I got off of work on Friday and drove 2 hours to Crowley's Ridge State Park for a few nights camping.  And in Jennifer-speak, that means we stayed in a cabin.  I'm a horrible tent camper.  Plus, with three little kids, I just don't think my sanity would hold out the entire weekend. 

One of my favorite things about summer is dragonflies.  I think dragonflies are just the coolest things ever.   Butterflies are cool and all, but dragonflies win hands down.  When we were leaving, we stopped at the gas station to get ice and gas and a dragonfly zoomed into the van through the open door, buzzed around my head and zoomed back out.  I knew it was going to be a great weekend after that.  =)  It totally was.  Filled with many, many more dragonflies, too.  Sun, green nature, blue skies and water, and dragonflies.  Pure awesome.

Our family trips usually consist of 50% fun and 50% frustration.  Especially in the heat, because I tend to get really cranky when I'm hot.  But I'd say that this weekend was more 80/20.  I took over 450 pictures - another good sign, because I don't take pictures when I'm miserable.  It'll take me a while to upload them, but I'll share some of the fun we had in a little while.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I get up at 4am

My alarm goes off at 3:50am Tuesday through Friday.  That just sounds painful.  I allow myself one snooze, which amazingly I don't always use, and get up out of my cozy bed to brush my teeth, throw on my gym clothes and walk out the door.  I'm usually on the elliptical by 4:30am.  It's only Tuesday through Friday because the gym doesn't open until 5am on Monday and I have to be at work at 5:30am.  Why on earth would I do that to myself?  I mean, it's bad enough getting up in time to be at work at that ungodly hour of the morning, why force my eyelids open even earlier?

Let me just say that I am not a fitness freak, although I would love to be.  There are days I argue with myself over the multitude of reasons I shouldn't go to the gym....  and that's why I'm making this list.  To remind myself of why I should in the event that I slack off.  Not to be all preachy or "hey, look at how good I am."  Because I've started and stopped just as many times as the next person.  And chances are I will again.  I know me.

There's the obvious - I need to lose weight.  For my health, for my self-esteem, to be a better example to my children.  Unfortunately, sometimes the obvious reasons aren't motivation enough.  Sad, but true.  But now that I've been going steady for the past 4 weeks, I am reminded of other reasons that I need to go. 

  • I go to bed earlier at night.  I'm only waking up half an hour earlier than normal, but I usually find myself going to bed a good hour earlier than I do when I get to sleep in that half hour.  So I'm actually getting more sleep, and considering that I still don't get enough, every little bit helps.
  • It's ME time.  I'm the type of person who needs time to be alone.  People drain me.  I get a little time alone at night after the girls go to bed, but I spend it focusing on cleaning or doing other things, usually for other people.  So this is pure ME time.  
  • My mind is clearer after I work out.  I went through a few weeks before I went to the gym of having horrible brain fog.  I'd space out at work, go on auto-pilot while driving and end up places I didn't mean to go, all kinds of "am I losing my mind?" kind of things.  Granted, I'm still a bit of a space brain, but it's vastly better this past month.
  • I am more likely to drink water and eat better.  I mean, I didn't just kill myself on the elliptical for nothing.  I drink an entire 32 oz bottle of water before I ever make it to work.  I still need to tame my sweet tooth more, but I am far more conscious of it.
  • Music.  A lot of the music I like isn't particularly child-friendly.  It's great workout music, though and music makes me happy.
  • I can turn my frustration into something productive.  I've discovered that if I am in a foul mood, I own that machine and I am in a much better mood when I'm done.  And at 4:30am, I can come up with a multitude of reasons to be in a foul mood.  I'm not a morning person.
  • Cold showers.  I love taking a cold shower when I'm hot.  Love it.  I thought I would hate having to shower at the gym, but I actually like their shower better than mine at home.  The water pressure is nice, someone else has to clean it, and there are no toys to fish out of the drain.
  • It really helps my PMS.  For example, last month - the week before my period, I was a sobbing, angry, miserable, exhausted person.  For a whole week.  This month - my period kind of snuck up on me (is "snuck" really a word or am I showing my Southern roots?).  I knew it was coming up, but I wasn't dying for it to get here already so I could feel like a human being again. 
  • I like to sweat.  When I work out.... I don't want to be sweaty any other time. 
  • My kids think I'm a rockstar.  They think going to the gym is something awesome, so I am super cool for going.  And if I don't go and they mention it, I feel guilty. 
I could probably come up with more, but that's enough.  I don't expect to ever look like this or be able to do this:

Although that *would* be cool...

But I want to feel good.  And I do feel good right now.  =)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Circle of life...

My heart is going out tonight to my boss and coworker who lost a close family member over the weekend.  I have been trying this week to juggle as many of their work duties as I can along with mine so they don't have to worry about what's going on at work.  I feel a bit helpless as to how to help them otherwise.  I can't fathom what they are going through.  It's difficult to lose anyone you love, but I think it has to be much harder when they are young and it's sudden.  My nephew is about the same age and my brain just won't even go there.  So tragic.

On the flip side of the coin, I found out today that my cousin is becoming a grandmother again soon, which means my wish that someone - anyone around me would have a baby has come true!  I'm crossing my fingers for a girl... they have a very boy-dominant family.  And I want to make pretty baby girl things.  My girls are not babies anymore =(  Zoe's 3 now.  And I can't have anymore and I know that's a good thing (a very good thing - at the rate I was reproducing we'd have 5 kids by now and probably another on the way), but I still want to cuddle a baby now and then.   And make teeny-tiny things. 

Like this....

And these...

Little girls are so much fun.  Not that boys aren't.  They just don't look so cute in peep-toed shoes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This and that

First of all, I have to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers I'm blessed to have in my life... 

My Daddy
(I look like someone squished my head, but he and my sister look gorgeous)

My Grandpa 'Let

My Pawpaw up in heaven

My hero
And, last but certainly not least, the father of my children.  I love this man.  My hero.


I made really good progress on Zoe's Daisy afghan this week.  2 rows out of the 12 I have to make.  I have to say I think it's just about the cutest afghan ever.

2 down 10 to go.  Good progress for a week.


My sister's mother-in-law loved to sew and when she passed away, she left behind a fabric stash like you wouldn't believe.  My sister brought over a huge bag of fabric for me and my little sister (the quilter) to go through yesterday.  


That's just what I brought home.  It's not even all of what Olivia tried to pick out.  Some of it was just pretty, some I actually could see what I wanted to do with it.  We will see what becomes of it all.


I ran across this this morning:

We made plans just yesterday to go to visit some of Bill's friends in Florida at the end of July and I have to make some of those for the girls' first trip to the beach.  I'm trying to decide if I need to buy the pattern ($8) or if I can figure it out on my own.  And as luck would have it, I found these at the store on sale:


Looks like a lot of work ahead for me! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I'm totally showing my age on this one.  My sister told me she mentioned this to a 26 year old coworker and they had no idea what she was talking about. 

I have to tell you what my husband found on TV  yesterday and that my oldest child is now obsessed with.

I walked in the door and Olivia just about knocked me over, so excited to show me what she was watching.  "Look, Momma!  It's your favorite show from when you were a little girl!"

I do have to admit that I'm a little giddy over it.  She's right, it was my favorite show.  You might be able to say that I had a slight obsession.  I remember winning a prize at church once and being asked what I wanted.  This is what I got:

Forget Barbie.  The Jem doll was totally cooler.  I just showed that to Olivia and she's begging me for one.  I wonder if I could find one on ebay.... hmmm.

I got up before the rest of the chickens today and curled up on the couch for one of my absolutely favorite activities - dozing under a blankie.  Olivia got up, claimed a spot next to me under the blanket and located the Jem episode Bill DVR'd.  So we got to sit and watch Jem together all cuddled up.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  =)  And, as far as retro cartoons go (my childhood is "retro"?  boo), I thought it was far less annoying as other cartoons I used to watch.  I mean, it's still a big ball of cheese, but I didn't cringe once. 

I told Olivia that her Daddy had set the TV to record more Jem shows for her and she literally did a happy dance.  That's my girl.  =)  Oh, and we may have found our Halloween costumes.  How cute would some little tiny Jem and the Holograms be?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Broken Mailbox

The girls and I had some errands to run this afternoon, so after I got Bill off to work, we started rounding up shoes and getting ready to go when I heard an awful noise.  At first I thought maybe the shelf had collapsed in the coat closet or something, but I knew there wasn't anything up there to cause that to happen.  Isabelle and Zoe were right by me and Olivia was on the computer, so I knew they hadn't done anything.  I opened the front door to see a mailbox in the middle of my front yard.  I looked down the road and saw another mailbox - ours - and a car in the yard two houses down.  Someone had hit our mailboxes.  There were two teenagers outside of the car, a boy and a girl. 

The remains...

I ran inside to grab my phone and call my husband to tell him what just happened.  After I got off the phone, I looked back outside and the car was gone, the kids were gone, and the mailboxes and all our mail were still there, scattered across the other neighbor's yard.  I was so angry.  How do you just hit a mailbox and take off?  Stupid teenagers.  I went and picked it all up and gave our neighbor their battered mailbox and make sure they were aware of what just happened.   I called and left a message on our landlady's cell phone and then there was a knock at the door.  It was the teenage boy who hit the mailbox, apologizing profusely and letting me know he intended to pay for the damage.  It restored a tiny bit of my faith in teenagers.

The neighbors had called the police and the sheriff showed up.  Then a lady showed up, who I found out was the girl's mother.  They live down the road and I guess he had taken her home and then came back to apologize.  The girl's mother was not a happy camper.  I think she suspected her daughter was driving, but I really didn't see them get out of the car, so I couldn't say.  The boy was just a nervous wreck.  We are the second house on the street, the mailboxes were in between mine and the neighbor's houses.... he had to have turned onto the road going crazy fast to take out the mailboxes and not stop for two more houses.  I rarely let the girls wander in the front yard and never even remotely close to the road because people drive so crazy around here, but it still freaked me out.  Mailboxes are replaceable, my children are not. 

My landlady just happened to be driving by the house (Why?  That's so weird...) and saw the police car in front of the house and she stopped.  She hadn't gotten my message yet.  So for almost an hour, we dealt with all the business of filing a police report and my kids asking me who was getting arrested (no one).  It was insane.  Before he left, the kid came back and apologized again.  I was starting to feel a little bad for him, even though what he did was so irresponsible and dangerous and I shouldn't have felt bad one bit.

Later tonight, there was another knock at the door.  By this time, I was getting more than a little tired of people knocking on my door.  It was the kid again, this time with his father.  He wanted to know if he could get the landlord's phone number so they could offer to put up a new mailbox.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it all.  I mean, you see so many examples of people who just don't parent their children.  At first I thought that the kid had hit and run and it didn't surprise me one bit.  But he came back and owned up to his mistake.  And here was his father was taking responsibility, also, but still making sure his child was still taking responsibility.  I would bet that he makes that kid work his booty off to pay for the mailboxes.  I just didn't expect that and it gives me a little hope that despite all the parents who would just ignore the situation or who would shelter and protect their kid from any consequence, that there are enough good parents out there to make sure that today's teenagers become decent adults. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting to go to sleep...

I love my children.  But they can drive me bonkers.  About once every two weeks or so, Isabelle wakes up right about the time I want to go to bed.  And she can't say why she is awake, she just has this high-pitched squealing cry she does that kind of sounds like a belt loose in an engine.  It sets my nerves off, which makes it a hard task to be comforting.  But I do my best.  Hopefully now that she has been hugged, kissed, and tucked in with a bear, she will be asleep again soon.  I try not to sound too aggravated - sometimes it's growing pains (she's the only one of my children who have them), sometimes it's her eczema flaring up and she's itchy (luckily it's not that tonight since we're out of cream), but tonight I think it was just a bad dream. 

So you know what?  I'm going to babble for a bit until I know it's safe to go pass out.

I opened my email this morning to see today's Living Social deal and got so excited.  It was a $30 coupon for $15 to the only true yarn shop in my area.  Yeah, I snatched that up.  I've never been there.  I normally shop at Hobby Lobby.  I'm not really into fancy yarn.  I'll pay for designer fabric sometimes, but I haven't felt the need to pay for designer yarn yet.  But I have a shawl I want to make and I need some lace weight yarn, which Hobby Lobby doesn't really carry.  The pattern actually calls for cotton thread, but I don't like how it feels or how it was working up and I checked on Ravelry to see what other people used and decided on lace weight instead.  So when I am on vacation the last week of this month, I'm going to take a trip across the river and check it out. 

I'm so ready for my vacation.  Or rather "staycation."  I don't like that word.  We are going to stay in a cabin at Crowley's Ridge over the first weekend, but that's the extent of our vacation plans.  I am mentally planning the week out though.  I'll have a Mommy/daughter date with each of the girls, hopefully a ME date, and, if I can get someone to watch the kids, a date with my honey.  Our 10 year anniversary of our first date is June 30th.  I think that deserves a celebration.

Want to hear how we met?  It's one of those things that if my kids ever, EVER do anything this stupid, I'll lock them up until they're gray-headed.  I was up one night, alone and bored while my roommates slept, and playing online.  I started chatting with this incredibly goofy guy and decided that we'd meet at Waffle House for coffee.  At like 2am.  By myself.  With a stranger I just met online.  With absolutely no one knowing I was doing it.  That's just about the definition of stupid right there.  But it was the best stupid idea I ever had.  I'm not quite sure why or how he's put up with me for 10 years and vice versa.  We are a good example of opposites attracting.  He likes country music, I like hard rock.  He's a farm boy, and I like having civilization outside my door.  He was a pot-smoking punk in high school, I was the straight-laced Valedictorian.  But we've found enough common ground to get by and we are both insane, so it works.  And we make gorgeous kids.  =)

I have finally gotten my groove back at the gym.  It's hard to get into going in the morning.  And by morning I'm talking 4am.  I have to be at work by 5:30am, and I have to go straight home to take care of the kids, so it's my only option.  But I've gone pretty steadily for the past 3 weeks and I feel better.  I've only dropped about 2 lbs so far, but the fact that I don't feel so sluggish makes up for it.  Gotta take care of Momma.  And get ready to go on a cruise in January.  ;) 

I'm trying to work more physical activity into my evenings with the girls.  It's kind of on hold for a few days while Mr. Bill fixes his truck, but Monday we went for a walk on the Big Dam Bridge (that's it's actual name - isn't it great?)  It kind of rained a bit, not enough to send us home, but enough for me to get this cute picture of my bugaboos...


I think it's safe to go to bed now.   I have a date with an elliptical machine in a few hours.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Monday!

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  Mine was nothing all that special.  We did explore one of our local parks Friday, but I'm still adjusting to the heat (which takes until Fall for me) so that was about the extent of our excursions for the weekend. 

Last week was super nutty at work for me, so I'm hoping for a much better week this week.  And.... I have 10 workdays until vacation, so I'm pretty stoked.  We have nothing planned, except a weekend trip to Crowley's Ridge.  I think I'm going to plan some Mommy/Daughter dates with the girls - I never get much one-on-one time with them.  I seriously cannot wait for time off of work.  I think we all should get a summer break.  =)

I started working on Zoe's afghan this weekend.  Want to see a sneak peek? 

Zoe's daisy afghan

I could do the whole afghan in that green color.  Wouldn't that be adorable, like daisies in a field?  Alas, my Dodo was not having that at all.  Pink!  We must have pink!  

It will be 8 squares across, so that's half of the first row.  I haven't allowed myself to do the mental math to say how many rows I need...  no need to stress over that just yet.  It will be just big enough to cover her twin bed.  Not truly twin-sized, but close enough for her tiny self.  She still insists on sleeping with her baby blanket - she's my Linus.  I've been piecing the squares together as I go, to avoid days of joining and to avoid losing any squares, and Zoe will pick up my work in progress and just dance around with it.  I think she's excited.  Maybe it will keep me on task so that it doesn't take me 5 months this time.

My cousin asked if I was interested in making a queen sized version.  I told her I'd have to get back to her on that one.  Queen sized?  Goodness.

I had a very difficult time choosing between crocheting and reading this weekend.  It's been a while since I've really gotten into a book.  The last two books I checked out of the library had to be renewed so I could finish - so they each took me over a month.  That's really slow for me.  But I got Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry on Friday and I've been hooked.  I've actually considered getting the audio version of it.  It's set in London and I would love to hear the accents (assuming it's recorded that way - I've actually never listened to an audio book to know what they are like).  Normally, I can't stand to be read to, but I'm really thinking of trying it.  And then I could crochet at the same time.  I mean, seriously.  Since they refuse to extend the day by several hours to accommodate everything I need to get done in a day, this would save me some serious time.  =)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sock Monkey hat tutorial - Basic Sock Monkey Beanie

Welcome to my little celebration of Sock Monkey hats!  The first installment will be the Basic Sock Monkey Beanie.  This is just a beanie.  If you would like ear flaps, please go here for my tutorial on ear flaps!

So, on with the show!

Basic Sock Monkey beanie

You can use whatever yarn you please, of course, but my personal suggestion is Vanna's Choice in Taupe Mist and Linen.  I think they look closest to an actual brown Rockford Red Heel sock.  I buy mine at Hobby Lobby, but I have seen it at one of our local Walmarts (I live in AR, so there is one on just about every street corner) that has a large craft section.  My usual Walmart does not carry it, so chances are, if your Walmart doesn't carry fabric, they probably won't have it.

A few notes:

I would like to suggest that you learn how to make a magic ring, if you don't know how already.  It's tricky at first, but you will be able to tighten up the holes much better this way.  There are tons of videos on youtube to help you.

I'm giving you a pattern to make a child-sized beanie.  At the end, I'll give some suggestions for sizing it up or down, and if you ask me really nicely with a pretty please, maybe I'll write up a different size for you.  The pattern is how I make a beanie - if you already have a tried and true basic beanie pattern you love, by all means, use it.  Just make the first half of the rows in Linen and the second half in Taupe Mist.  Then you can skip to the Parts section.  For the rest of you....


Vanna's Choice in Linen (or another worsted weight yarn in a beige shade)
Vanna's Choice in Taupe Mist (or another worsted weight yarn in brown)
Small amounts of worsted weight yarn in black and red
H hook
Yarn needle
Polyester fiberfill (very small amount)
Safety pins (optional)
Pompom maker (optional)

R1:  With Linen, make a magic ring and hdc 10 times into the ring OR ch4, 10 hdc in 4th chain from hook.  Sl st to join (10)
R2:  ch1, 2 hdc in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join (20)
R3:  ch1, *hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, repeat from * around, sl st in first hdc to join (30)
R4:  ch1, *hdc in next 2 hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, repeat from * around, sl st in first hdc to join (40)
R5:  ch1, *hdc in next 3 hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, repeat from * around, sl st in first hdc to join (50)
R6:  ch1, *hdc in next 4 hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, repeat from * around, sl st in first hdc to join (60)
R7-10:  ch1. hdc in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join (60)
R11:  ch1.  hcd in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join, fasten off (60)

R12:  Join with Taupe Mist, ch1, then hdc in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join (60)
R13-21:  ch1, then hdc in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join (60)
R22:  ch1, then hcd in each hdc around, sl st in first hdc to join, fasten off (60)


Beanie is complete.  Weave in your ends.  I like my beanies to cover the forehead, but if you feel that this beanie has too many rows for your liking, I would reduce the number of rows you make in Linen.  You need at least 11 rows of Taupe Mist for the face to fit.

Time to make the monkey parts!


Eyes (make 2)
R1:  In black, make a magic ring and sc 6 times into the ring OR ch4, 6 sc in 4th ch from hook.  sl st to join (6)
R2:  2 sc in each sc around.  sl st to join.  Fasten off, leaving a long tail for stitching (12)


Ears (make 2)
R1:  In Taupe Mist, make a magic ring and sc 8 times into the ring OR ch 4, 8 sc in 4th ch from hook.  sl st to join (8)
R2:  2 sc in each sc around.  sl st to join. (16)
R3:  *sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc.  Repeat from * around.  sl st to join.  (24)
R4:  *sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc.  Repeat from * around.  sl st to join (32)
R5:  *sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc.  Repeat from * around.  sl st to join.  Fasten off, leaving a long tail for stitching (40)


The first row of the mouth is worked on both sides of the chain - when you get to the end, you will work on the bottom loops of the chain to work back towards the beginning.  It's hard for me to explain, so if this isn't clear, let me know so I can try to clarify!
In red, ch 16
R1:  Starting with 2nd ch from hook - sc, sc, hdc, hdc, dc, dc, tc, tc, tc, dc, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, 3sc (beginning to work on the bottom from here) sc, hdc, hdc, dc, dc, tc, tc, tc, dc, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, sc.  join with first sc with a sl st and finish off

Can you see what I'm doing here?  You just work in the loops at the bottom of the chain.

R2:  Join with Linen  - sc, sc, sc, hdc, hdc, dc, dc, tc, tc, tc, dc, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, sc, 3sc, sc, sc, hdc, hdc, dc, dc, tc, tc, tc, dc, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, sc, sc, sc, join with sl st to first sc, finish off, leaving a long tail for stitching.

Pom Pom
If you have a pom pom maker, use it!  I think they make the most  uniform-looking pom poms, but if you don't have one, don't fear!  Here is a quick run down on how to make one with just yarn, scissors and your hands, if you have nothing else.

Take your red yarn and wrap it around the fingers of your hand, not too tightly, about 80-100 times.  The more times you wrap, the fuller the pom pom.   Cut about a 10-12 inch length of yarn.  Slip it between your hand and the yarn and tie it tight.

(Kind of tricky one-handed, so you might need some help)  

Pull the yarn off of your fingers and then wrap the tying piece around the middle of the whole


Cut the loops and shape.


Fold the hat in half, with the joining seam running up the back. (Do you know how to make your seam almost invisible?  If you need me to give a tip, let me know!)

Take an ear, line up the diameter of the circle and the side of the hat and safety pin it in place.  Stitch to the beanie up the middle of the ear.  Fold the ear in half and whip stitch around the edge to close it up.  Fasten off and repeat for the other ear.

Line up the ear
Stitch up the middle (where the yarn is laying)
Fold ears and sew closed

Line up the bottom of the mouth close to the brim of the hat.  Pin the sides of the mouth in place with safety pins to keep it from traveling while you stitch it to the beanie.  Begin at one corner of the mouth and stitch the bottom on.  Stuff the mouth - lightly.... if you overstuff, it will show through the stitches - and finish stitching the mouth on.

Pin mouth in place
Don't overstuff!

Eyes - pin them in place and just stitch them on!


Sew the pompom on top and you are done!  Slip it on a cute little head and giggle at the cuteness!

Sorry, no picture of this monkey on a cute little head.  They are in bed.  =)

Next up will be the Punk Monkey.  Hopefully I'll get that up tomorrow night.

Pattern is for personal use only.  Please contact me if you have any questions!

Shamelessly self-promoting here:


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