Monday, November 05, 2012

People Watching . . . Farm Style

"Hey ya'll, gather around.  Look what the humans are doing!"

"Silly man, doncha know we would love to do that job for you!"

"Why is she taking our picture again? Crazy humans!"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo Shoot Out Takes

Getting just the right photo to show off
a knit is next to impossible for an amateur like me.
I suppose I could learn, but that would
take time away from knitting, and
we can't have that, can we? {grin}

So, as a result, I usually delete a bunch,
and keep a couple.
This time however, I kept them all.
My model was so entertaining.
And having so much fun, that 
when it came to it,
I just couldn't hit that red X.
I hope you enjoy my silly, sunny, funny little man.
{And his new sweater too!}

Queen:  Show mama your sleeves.
Prince:  I a big tiger!!

Queen:  Show mama your sleeves.
Prince:  I your cheeseburger!!

Queen:  Show mama your sleeves.
Prince:  I gonna show you one sleeve, mama, okay?
[Queen's side note: and apparently his tongue, too.]

Queen:  How about you lie down as still as a statue?
Prince:  Nope. I gonna lay like a big tiger!!

The Queen has an inspiration.
Queen:  Stand like you did for your preschool photo.
Prince:  Cheese!
The Queen really hopes his preschool photo
does not resemble the above.
It just doesn't get cheesier than this, my friends.

Queen:  Okay, last time, show mama your sleeves.
Prince:  Arrrrrrr!!
Queen collapses to the floor in a fit of
giggles and waves the white flag!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Lots of Knits

.
Lots of "stuff" going on these days.
New windows going in the Castle.
New stray dog at the Castle.
New home for stray dog.
Same stray dog comes back to the Castle.
Skunks.
Soccer.
School.
Playing.
Making friends with the neighbor kids.
Hay baling.
Hay hauling.
Weeding.
State Fair attending.
Harvesting.
Hot Air Balloon admiring.

Each of the above could have it's own post.
And maybe someday.
We'll see how motivated I get!

But for now, let's get the important stuff.
The knitting.

Wild Vanilla for Princess #3

A wonderfully unique sleeveless sweater with
cables and fun shaping.
Yarn:  Knit Picks Andean Silk (sadly discontinued)
Pattern:  Wild Vanilla by Elena Nodel

Another lace shawl mystery knit.
I am addicted to these KAL's.
This one was knit from Dye For Yarn's Tussah silk.
Love, love, LOVE their yarn.
I used size 5 Muyuki glass triangular beads in a mix of blues.

Out of Darkness Shawl by Bev Gardiner

Her shawl patterns are excellent for beginning lace knitters.
Great, easy to understand instructions, with
gorgeous, end results.
The picot border took "for-esser" (as the Prince would say)
but was oh, so worth the day of binding off that it took!


Saturday, September 01, 2012

A Week At the Castle Farm

It has been a busy week at the Castle Farm.  Lots of playing, weeding, fruit preserving, schooling, soccer ball dribbling and so on.  Fall must be on her way . . . Here is our week by the numbers.

One nectarine tree picked.

Two soccer practices.

Three batches of nectarine freezer jam.

Four front yard garden beds weeded.

Five days of schooling.

Six rows done on my mystery shawl. *sniff*
(Curse you, weeding!!)

Seven stints of mopping.
(Curse you, muddy dogs!!)

Eight (at least) loads of weeds hauled down to the "edge".

Nine wedges knit for my Spectra shawl.
(Love you soccer practice knitting!!)

Ten dehydrator trays of nectarine fruit leather. 

And now it is time to rest, and look forward to the fun next week will bring.  More soccer.  Applesauce making.  Friends to visit from far away.  Friends to visit from close by.  More school.  More knitting.  More weeding, ugh.  More knitting (a girl can dream right??).

Random picture from this summer.
I know when *I* think of SD,
camels always come to mind!!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mmmm . . . Cake


Four little cakes
of scrumptiousness!


My favorite flavors too:
wool and silk

Fall just can't get here soon enough.
The sweet treats
pictured above are for a 
shawl (that cake of dark blue Tussah silk)
and a scarf (the medium blue and the multi-colored cakes).

Friday, August 03, 2012

A Knit A Week: Eye Candy Addition

Eye Candy you ask??
And I reply,
Is there better eye candy out there than
. . . .
my adorable boy buttoned into
the lovely, wooly goodness that
is Malabrigo Rios yarn.

I didn't think so!!

This knit is a test knit I did for Terri Kruse.
It is from her just released e-book
of knitting patterns:  "The Vintage Ice Cream Truck".
This is "Sammie".

Those cheeks, those widdle chubby hands!!

He's your cheeseburger.


I used the distraction of:
Where is Papa's Massey Ferguson?
to keep him still!

Adorable "dragon slayer" buttons from etsy seller:
TessaAnn.
Buy some of her amazing buttons, you
will not be disappointed!!


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Overheard At Dinner

Queen:  Okay, how about you eat half of your chicken and we will call it good?

Princess #3:  I can't.

Queen:  quizzical pause

Princess #3: (in all non-sarcastic seriousness) There are three and you can't divide three in half, Mama.

Queen: (between giggles) That is correct . . . glad someone is paying attention during math!!  Now eat these pieces, my dear Miss Literal!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Castle Randomness

We here at the Castle, just enjoyed a wonderful visit with my next youngest sister and her family! What a treat! Now, however, I am tired, a good, happy tired, so here are so random bits for you from the Castle Farm:

1. The wild blackberries are ripe. Super yum!

2. Four pies, one cobbler, one custard, and 5 gallon ziplocs worth of yumminess.

3. Lots of beautiful webs were seen in the bushes, the spiders on said webs, not so much.

4. Princess #1 and I did the best we could, but after a while we were pretty sure, that every rustle we heard was going to be Shelob (a little LOTR reference for you), so we hightailed it out of there with our berries.

5. The rustling was most likely the cows, but who could rightly say? {grin}

6. Speaking of the cows, we had our first fence go down today because of the bovines.

7. Fixing fence=not fun. I plan to reward the fixers with one of the previously mentioned blackberry pies and fresh whipped cream.

8. I am in the midst of another mystery knit. So far, the jury is out, but I will say this, super interesting knit! Pictures to come.

9. I am working on a giveaway here on the blog, it will of course, be knitting related, so stay tuned.

10. I ate a lot of mama humble pie this past week.

11. I despise that bitter taste it leaves in my mouth.

12. However, through the servings, I was reminded of an important parenting lesson. One that I was failing at, which is, simply, when you give instructions to your wee ones, it is important to explain how to do the task. For instance, if I tell my daughter to clean up her room, it may not get completed, because I didn't explain what my definition of a clean room is: put your clothes away, put your toys in the box, etc.

13. Laundry is calling my name.

14. Why does he have to be so blinking insistent?

15. Yes, my laundry is a he.

16. The goldfinches love the feeder on the deck, so do the house finches and the sparrows. And one little hummingbird keeps trying.

17. Guess, we need to make her some food too, and find a feeder.

18. Looks like the fencing crew is making their way home, better quick fold some laundry and slice the berry goodness. Thanks for putting up with the random, dear readers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happiness Can Be . . .

. . . having a friend say that they can't relate to what you are going through.

Let me explain.  I think that sometimes when I listen to a friend pour out her heart about whatever is going on in her life (kids, marriage, just plain life sucking), that I can have this tendency to be to quick to run a quick comparison of my own life (while listening, of course (ha!)), and as a result, too easily relate to the problems that she may be dealing with my own life experiences.

Granted as women, we tend to be helpers, it is how God wired us to be.  We want our friends to know that we have been there and that we "get" what they are going through, which don't get me wrong, is much needed, most of the time.  That being said, I have had friends share things that I don't get.  Horrible life experiences, that I have been spared thus far in my journey, things like miscarriage, marriages on the rocks, children with severe handicaps, and so on.  To them, I think beyond a listening ear, the best words I can give them are,

"I cannot relate to
what is going on in your life right now.
Tell me how to better understand." 

I heard those words last night from a friend, and it was a balm to my soul.  I am so glad that she can't relate, because I wouldn't wish what was discussed on anyone!!  But to hear those words was like a warm blanket of reassurance.  Even though she couldn't relate, she was invested enough in me, to want to hear about my journey.  And that was such a blessing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lots of Knits this Week

The Royals have returned home.
Home to the Farm.
A bit weird to have a new home to return to.
But oh so nice to be home.
Close to 4,000 miles of journey gives a knitter
lots of time to get projects done!

Specifically these two:
Langston, in Grace silk and wool yarn by Louisa Harding.
For Princess #2's 10th birthday.
{{Whew, got light-headed there a moment,
I just typed 10, as in two children in the double digits.}}
Pretty cables down the front, lots of pretty ruffles
at the cuffs and hem, perfect for my Princess.
Fun unicorn buttons from etsy seller, TessaAnn.
Her buttons are amazing pieces of art!

A plain old vanilla sock pattern from my head, using
afterthought heels so I could control the color pooling
  with the gusset and heel, in some wild,
crazy, super fun, self-striping yarn from
String Theory Colorworks.  Her yarns
are so cool.  This colorway is Cassiopeia dyed
on her Inertia sock base.

We have these two huge retaining walls in our back yard
on the way down to the garden, corrals, and river.
They were made for sock modeling!!
Here is another pair that I knit up for Princess #1,
modeled on our new fab sock modeling location!
So glad the oldest Princess scouted out this spot.

Don't you just love the little hearts on the heel!
Adorable-ness!

Princess #1 loves to mis-match her socks,
so mama obliged!!
These are called LoveSocks and were knit up in
Spud and Chloe fine sock yarn in the tutu and sassafras
color ways.  Very fun pair to knit up!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happiness Is . . .

. . . living in denial.

I am making pie when I should be packing and organizing for this road trip.  And yesterday we made homemade ice cream from strawberries freshly picked from the garden.  I wonder what food creation I can come up with for tomorrow. {grin}

Don't worry, the knitting has begun to be thoughtfully packed, I have a sweater I'm knitting for car knitting, a pair of socks to finish for when I need a little easy something, and a fun hat or two that I am bringing along, just in case.

Mmmm . . . pie . . .

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Knit A Week

I know you have all been wondering,
so I will keep you in suspense no longer.
Yes! The Queen has been knitting.
Just not photographing very efficiently.

Here is Princess #1's Birthday sweater.
Yes, she turned 12.
No, I didn't document it on the blog.
Moving, apparently, is a time suck.
Who knew?! {grin}

She chose the Diana Cardigan, a pattern
from an Interweave Knits magazine.

This gorgeous young lady can't possibly be my baby!!
I swear I had her only yesterday . . .

The Details:

Pattern:  Diana Cardigan by Amy Miller

Yarns:  Three Irish Girls Cotton Rayon Sport
in the sweetmint color way for the main color.
And from the stash no less!!
I wish my photography skills could show off the 
beautiful sheen this yarn has--stunning.
in the sterling color way for the ruffles down the front
and on the sleeves

Verdict:  Gorgeous fit.  Fussy knit.  She loves the feel and shape.
We found some great vintage buttons on etsy
that really finish it off!!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vindication is Mine!!

Verb1.vindicate - show to be right by providing justification or proof



Less than 24 hours after our Castle listing
went "live", we got an offer.
Crazy!

Dear friends, I feel vindicated for all that painting
completed this past month.

Even if this offer doesn't pan out,
boy did it feel good to get one
so quickly!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happiness Is . . .

. . . a quiet morning with time to set up the spinning wheel. My first bit of handspun yarn looks like crapola, but I am having so much fun trying to figure it all out that I don't mind!

Today I chose peace instead of productivity.  
It was an excellent choice.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The One Where I Go On and On About Painting

My first post from the Castle's new digs!
So we moved.
About 20 miles away.
To a 10 acre hobby farm.

Life has been hectic and crazy.
I think that I painted at least 1500 square feet 
of our old 2000 square foot Castle.
Apparently, potential buyers don't appreciate
personality color.
And boy did we have color.
A turquoise office/Princess #1's room.
A bubble gum pink princess room.
A checkerboard yellow/white bathroom.
A bright yellow kitchen.
Thankfully my red family room got the thumbs up!!

We also had the unexpected painting
in our sedate rooms.
You know, the one where you take off the curtains 
only to find, unsightly settling cracks,
and cat scratches,
so you have to repaint.
And since you can't get the color to match exactly.
You have to do the.entire.room.

Here's my personal favorite surprise paint job:
After you finish painstakingly painting the pink room, 
you look up only to see the vaulted,
oh yes, I said vaulted,
bedroom ceiling had been
painted by a drunken queen, I mean sailor. {grin}
Now it's time to do yoga on a ladder while
wielding a paint roller and dodging a ceiling fan.
Good times, my friends, good times.

However, it is done.
The realtor's sign is in the front yard.
He told me that my work was done,
and now it was his turn.
Music to my ears.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Surefire Answer to Stress

Stress makes me do funny things.
Like obsess about learning to spin.
Spin yarn, that is.
General spinning around and getting nothing done, 
I already do quite well, thankyouverymuch.

So instead of doing all those little pesky
or maybe not so little pesky chores
associated with moving, 
I browse spinning wheels online.

I confer with friends who spin.
Asking lots of questions.
Which wheel is best?
What is a good price?

I borrow books from the library.
I think this looks like fun.

I find a listing for a used wheel.
Just the right one.
Just the right price.
I bite.

And now it sits.
Watching me patiently as I paint yet another wall.
Waiting to be set up at the Farm.

Will owning sheep be the next level of crazy?
No.
But I would like to make friends with someone who does.

More to come, dear readers, more to come.

Not *my* wheel, but one just like it!
It's a Lendrum, double treadle.
So pretty, and folds up nice and tidy.


Monday, May 21, 2012

A Quick Breath Before I Succumb to Paint Fumes

What has the Queen been up to you ask?
Tons of fun!

Painting trim.
Painting walls.
Painting doors.
Oooh, I get to prime now.
Yay!

So long cheerful kitchen.
Your bright yellow walls have lifted my spirits.
Daily.

Here is my kitchen circa 2007 during the remodel.




Thursday, May 03, 2012

Success!!

My goal as a Mama! {grin}
Speaking of which, I should probably
add some $$ to the Royals' therapy jars.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

In A Word

Several years ago, I was given a word.
Unbeknownst to the giver, 
this word changed my perspective on certain
aspects of my life that I had just
chalked up to "sometimes life sucks".

What word, you ask?
grief.

Grief has always meant to me sadness,
like over the loss of a loved one.
However, through the words of this wise woman,
I came to see it as a bigger word.
A more encompassing word.
It became my word.

She was talking about her son and his battle with cancer.
He was victorious, but she was grieving.
This caught my attention.
She said she mourned the loss of those years
of his young life that he spent getting well.
Instead of having a "normal" life,
they lived in and out of hospitals, waiting with bated breath
as to what the latest test results would bring.
And it broke her heart.

When she gave me these words I had
just begun feeding the Prince the supplemental bottles.

And I was angry. Well, heartbroken, really.

She told me that it was grief talking.
Grief that things didn't go as planned or pictured.

When she gave me these words I was just
entering the worst stretch of time
that I have ever had with my spirited child.

And I was frustrated and exhausted.
Already.
Little did I know . . .

This time, I knew it was grief talking.
Grief that this child has such huge hang-ups,
that I am still not sure will be overcome,
about such seemingly simple things, like getting dressed.
Grief that her siblings and I had to figure out how to graciously
deal with the temperament that God had given to this child,
rather than just sit back and enjoy the ride passively.

Her wise words gave me the understanding that I needed to be free to mourn.
And with that freedom has eventually come joy!

Psalm 30:11
You have turned my griefs into joy; you took off my sackcloth
and you clothed me with joy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Wee Bit of a Rant

I have a thing about parenting advice.
Unsolicited, that is.
I can usually handle it pretty well.
However, I do love to rant about it later.
{grin}

Today at the dentist's office,
the young dentist that is checking
Princess #3's teeth, tells me that
she is ready to have some
permanent teeth sealed as well as
a filling that is needed to fill a
"dimple" in one of her permanent teeth.

I ask him if she will need to be
numbed up for the procedure.
He says no, she shouldn't need to be.
It is purely preventative.
I say, okay, great, I like to prepare
her ahead of time for what is to come.

He replies with this little gem:
It is better to *not* tell your kids anything
and just let us handle it.
[Queen's side note:  Boy would I pay big money to see him handle 
a baby fit.  Big money, dear friends.]

Really??
Excuse me, but  that is *not* how I parent.

If any of my kids ask if something (like a shot) is gonna hurt.
I tell them yes, but you can handle it.
Not in a mean way, like, suck it up sister, 
but in an honest way, so they know what to expect.
I don't shrug and feign like I don't know.
This honesty is especially important for my spirited child.
She needs to know every single detail in order
to have success during her day.
I try to comply. {grin}

I am willing to admit that maybe my parenting style
could perhaps, maybe be, an oddity, but
I do feel strongly that giving my kids a "head's up"
about what to expect at a doctor or dentist appointment
gives them a chance to process and prepare
for what may be.

So, super sorry, Dr.
I'm telling.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Moving Random--Facebook Style

The Queen

--is desperately trying to decide what should be packed.  In other words what does our family of 6 *not* need for the next 6 months!

--had no idea that picture books could weigh so much.  Sorry honey, should have packed them in a smaller box.

--found a purveyor of used moving boxes.  She is my new bff.

--so glad to be moving to a bigger house. Not so sure, however, about upsizing the amount of property.

--whew!  For every hefty bag of goodwill/garage sale/plain old crap, I seem to pack two more boxes to keep.  Something is wrong with this picture!

--trying to explain moving to a three year old is beyond my level of expertise.

--attic is emptied!

--packed up the stash.  See you soon my lovelies.

--have only opened the yarn box twice to get more yarn out since packing it.  You never know when your knitting time and speed will increase exponentially and unexpectedly. {grin} I am now prepared for every contingency!

--is wishing that we could justify hiring a moving company.  Sigh. At least this way, I will be sure that nothing is packed (like garbage cans with garbage in them) that shouldn't be.

So, dear readers, the Castle is relocating, hopefully in about a month.  Not far mind you, just a few miles away, but it sure feels like a continent away at this point.  Lots of sorting, hauling, packing, repacking, goodwill runs, home repairs, painting, and other nonsense going on.  This move has been a long time coming.  We have been debating the merits of moving vs. remodeling for years quite some time now.  More details will come as I have them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reading Styles--Royal Style

My girls each have their own way of reading. 
 I find it fascinating.  
Hence this post. {grin}

Princess #1 is a gulper.
Like her mama.
Quick big juicy bites of book.
Must find out what happens next!
She loves to read an author dry.
Like her mama.

Princess #2 is an absorb-er.
Soaking up every last drop of emotion.
Then she personalizes it!
Which usually means lots of righteous anger.
You know, on the hero/heroine's behalf.
And tears. Lots of tears.
Both sad and happy.

Princess #3 is an editor.
Skimming ahead in order to change up any flaw.
Then she spices it up and re-reads.
She checks for clarity.
Why use boring old "talking before bedtime"?
It is much more concise to use the word "stalling".{grin}

And while my sweet Prince doesn't read yet,
don't let that fool you into thinking
he doesn't notice when you skip a few pages
of the "goldbug" book.
He knows.
And he will set you straight.





Monday, April 09, 2012

A (lot of) Knit(s) A Week

Easter!
He is RISEN!

Knitting up little critters for the royal Easter
baskets has become a bit of a tradition.
I just can't help myself.
They are so quick and great stash user-uppers!
All of the patterns are from Susan B. Anderson's fab
book:  Itty Bitty Toys.
I highly recommend her books/patterns.
They are well-written,
and oh! so! cute!

Without further ado here are the 2012 editions:

Mama and baby koala for Princess #1.
Although, secretly, I was tempted to send them to
her auntie, who loved anything koala when she
was younger. :)

It's a stripey kitty!!
It matches Princess #3's pinwheel sweater. :)
Wait . . .

. . . no, it's cute blue mousey!
I love these reversible stuffed animals
so, so much!!

Timmy, it's Timmy!
He's a handful of trouble at every turn,
the sheep that is . . .
 er, um, ahem. {grin}

A little puppy wrapped in blankie for Princess #2.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Know You Live . . .

. . . in the desert when your son comes in from outside with this gift for you . . . a tiny tumbleweed (in case you have never seen one)!!

"I picked it just for you mama!"

"Careful, mama, it has pokey parts."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Few Myths I Have Busted

There is an ongoing, ugly war in some mommy circles over breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding.  It makes me sad, because no one will ever be a winner.  Everyone has a different journey with each one of their children and thank the Lord, the freedom to choose their path.

Before my own journey with the Prince, depending on *my* perception, I would make my own judgments over other mama's choices as far as feeding her kids.  And I was pretty sure that a lot of what I believed to be true, was truth.

It wasn't.

Shocker.

I know.

Here are some things I had proved wrong!

Myth #1:  Bottle fed babies get sick more often.

Queen's experience:  Nope.  The Prince was only sick once his first year!
--------------------
Myth #2:  Bottle fed babies don't have that bonding time with their mamas.

Queen's experience:  Not true.  However, I did take this (possibly) to the extreme.  In my mind, if I had had *my* way, I would have been nursing my little one, so I fed him each bottle (as much as was possible**).  I switched sides that I held him to feed on.  And I held him up (thank you boppy) where I would have held him if nursing.

**More for another post!!
--------------------
Myth #3:  You can make your baby nurse, if you take away all the other option and distractions.

Queen's experience:  Good luck with that. Enough said.
True story:  I did have a well-meaning (I hope) person tell me that if I just locked myself up in a room with the boy and refused to *let* him have the "easy" way out with a bottle, then I would be able to nurse him. Say what??!??
--------------------
Myth #4:  Mama's that bottle feed are taking the easy way out.

Queen's experience:  Nursing is way easier in terms of convenience compared to bottle feeding, in my opinion.  Just whip it out, after loads of practice.{grin} Bottle feeding takes preparation and thinking ahead in terms of:  enough formula for the outing and possible contingencies on said outing, and source of water, possibly heat to warm up the milk.  I can remember being so thankful for Princess #1.  She could hold the Prince while I juggled getting a bottle together for him, some moms are not as spoiled lucky as I was.

That being said, bottles are great for keeping one modest while feeding in public.{grin}  Two of the princesses refused to stay covered when I nursed them while out and about, which led to several embarrassing situations--for the witnesses.

As for the other way to look at this, try this out, when you see a mama feeding her sweet wee one with a bottle, please DON'T jump to the conclusion that that is her preference or even her choice.  Some of us, didn't have a say in how our journey went.  And even if you do find out that it was by choice--so what?!  We, as mamas, know what is best for our babes and for us, and do our best to provide every little thing our child needs!

Okay, stepping off of the soapbox, for this post anyway!!

--------------

Monday, March 26, 2012

Homeschooling Today

So, lest you think that I adore homeschooling on a daily basis, and think that it is the best thing for everyone, let me correct you right now.  I don't.

For the most part, I do enjoy homeschooling our kids, but then there are days.  And days.  And entire weeks where I loathe and resent teaching my children. That, my friends, is the ugly, honest truth.

My life would be so much easier if I just had the boy around, I think.
Or would it?

Hmm.

Then there are days like today, where I am so grateful to have the freedom and resources to teach my children.  Like when one is physically unable write**, so I do her lessons out loud, one on one, and we have so much fun!

It was a good day at the Castle school.



**Princess #3 cut her hand severely on a broken china dish and had to have 8 stitches put in this weekend.  Gah!!  For those of you who know me, you know that the combination of blood and needles are my least favorite maladies put together.  Got vomit, I'm your gal.  Fever, coughing, snotty noses, poopy diapers, sign me up.  Blood, needles, wounds needing stitches, not so much.  Especially not on my sweet little girl.  But we made it through together, she was such a brave girl, much braver than her mama, who needed to put her head between her knees once the stitching needle came out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The One Where I Had to Let It Go

Part Two . . .

The main reason for the Prince's lack of weight gain in the beginning was laziness on his part.  My milk was fine and had been checked, (oh yes, I was asked at the time, so nice) and there was more than enough for him, he just didn't want to do the work to get it.  So, when he nursed, he ate enough to satisfy the hunger and the sucking reflex, but never enough to promote growth!  An interesting conundrum.

So, for March and April, we continued on.  I would nurse the Prince and then follow with 2 ounces of preemie formula.  Finally mid-March, he was back up and past birth weight.  The bi and tri-weekly weight checks turned into every couple of weeks and then (at long last) ended!!  The Prince was on his way.

Then May came.  The Prince decided on some feedings that nursing wasn't for him, and would instead gulp down 4 ounces of formula.  I felt helpless to prevent it. I worked hard to keep my milk supply up, but little by little he began to refuse multiple feedings during the day.  Each time, a piece of my heart broke, as I went to mix up more formula.  Nursing my babies, was quite honestly, a guilty pleasure.  A guilty pleasure in the sense that it was something only I could provide for my babe, and let's be honest it was the ultimate excuse to put my feet up and just enjoy my baby.

Then came the day, when he refused the breast entirely.  I was devastated.

I called a friend who knew what was going on and had been praying for me.  When she answered, I couldn't even talk, I just burst into great gulping tears and choked out the words, "He stopped nursing."  I listened to her encouragement through my tears and somehow made it through the day.

I resented every bottle those first few days.

Especially those middle of the night ones.

However, I couldn't deny that seeing my little guy grow chubby and smiley and so healthy, was making it okay.

It is hard to give up on something when it is out of your control.  It is hard to have something you enjoy and treasure, wrenched out of your clenched fists.  It is hard to stop feeling guilty once you start.  It is hard to watch others "succeed" where you feel you've failed.

Part three to come . . .

Monday, March 19, 2012

The One Where I Disappoint the Boy

Queen:  Do you want to come with me to the yarn shop?

The Prince:  Yes please, sure!

Queen:  Okay, it will be just a quick trip okay.  There and back.

The Prince:  I want to see the horses, sheep, cows and pigs.

Queen:  See what??

The Prince:  At the BARN store, Mama.  I want to see the animals.

Queen:  We aren't going the barn store, we're going to the YARN store, where mama gets knitting needles and new yarn.

The Prince:  (bursts into tears)  I no wanna go!!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The One Where I Cried At Target

A few months back, before Christmas, I was in the baby aisles at Target getting pull-ups for the boy, when I overheard a conversation that still makes me cringe.

Lady #1:  I can't believe she has bottles and formula on her registry.  Seriously. Is she even going to try to breast feed him??

Lady #2:  Oh, I know.  I was able to breast feed all of my kids without any trouble at all.  Maybe it's too hard (laughs sarcastically) for her.

Lady #1:  All I know is that breast feeding is best, so why even touch formula?

I cried.  I sat there holding a bag of pull-ups and wept.  I wept for that poor new mama they were ungraciously buying a gift for and I wept for myself.

This is not an easy post for me to write.  In fact, I am tearing up right now, thinking of my story.

Here is part one:
The Prince was a great little nurser, in the hospital.  Latched right on, made me look like I knew what I was doing. It was great!

Then we got home, and it wasn't going so well.  He would latch on, but not suck hard enough and then get frustrated. Instead of crying, he would just give up.  So I pumped before each feeding to make it easier for him.  I visited the lovely, wonderful ladies at the La Leche League and got advice and help.  They thought it had something to do with the shape of his chin that made it hard for him to get a good latch.  So we tried using a breast shield and that seemed to help.  His first week of life was complicated with jaundice, and his mama trying to recover from a c-section, but I persevered.

I took him in for a check-up and he had lost weight.  Our doctor wasn't concerned.  The Prince was such a big baby, some of his weight was bound to be water weight, and since he was peeing, pooing, and alert when he wasn't sleeping we didn't need to worry.

Second week, I was concerned.  He wasn't unhappy or acting hungry, he just felt "light" to me.  I don't know how else to explain it.  I took him back in to the doctor and he had lost more weight.  This time the doctor was a bit concerned.  We decided that I would come back in later in the week for another weight check and have the nurse sit in on a feeding.  When I did, he had continued to lose weight, despite eating well for me, and acting contented.  The nurse watched (such an uncomfortable memory!!) and could see nothing amiss.  We set up another weight check.

By the third week, we were going to the doctor at least twice a week for weight checks.  Now I had a system:  I would feed him right before we drove to the appointment and prayed the whole way that he wouldn't pee or poo til after the weigh in!!  Despite my efforts, I was told that if the Prince lost any more weight, he would be considered "failure to thrive" and would have to be hospitalized.  Thankfully, our doctor was committed to helping us avoid that at all costs, she was so wonderful!!  We decided that I would begin supplementing with high calorie preemie formula after each nursing.

Next weight check, two days later.  Weight gain!! The first since his birth!! I was so relieved.  I remember sitting there in the doctor's office with all four kids (you didn't think I went to all these appointments alone did you??), just crying with relief.  We were finally onto something that was working . . . part two to come.

Maybe you are wondering, why post this stuff now, when the kid is three.  I guess, in part, because my grieving process has finally gotten to the place where I feel I can share a bit of what I went through publicly.  And through my grief has come compassion and a bit of understanding that wasn't there before . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Real Castle Life: Rest Time Today

So, the Prince is slowly growing out of needing a daily nap, but as you know, the Queen strictly observes a daily rest time here at the Castle.  Today was one of those non-napping days.  I tucked him into bed with lots of books, his tag reader, a magnet board to play with, well, you get the picture.  Boredom would be his choice.

Forty-five minutes later, he was released when his special clock turned yellow.

This is what the Queen spies:

One naked Prince.

One disheveled bed.

One empty dresser.

This is what the Queen smells:

Butt powder.

Vicks baby rub.

Missing from view:

The books.

The tag reader.

The magnet board.

When asked the eternal question WHY, for the love of Pete, WHY???

The Prince answered:  You can't put butt powder on your clothes mama. 
 Just on your butt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Knit A Week: Stashdown Edition

Knitting, knitting, oh, how I love thee.
Especially when I end up with creations like this one!

Another from-the-stash project!!

Lace with beads, yes! please!

Another mystery shawl from Susanna IC.
I love her shawls!!

Blocked in time to wear to church! Yay me!

The Details:


Yarn:  Cascade Alpaca Lace
purchased April 2011 (I think)

Verdict:  Love.  Love the pattern.  I hope to make
this in a different weight yarn at some point.
The pattern included versions in fingering weight and worsted
weight, as well as the lace, like I did this time around.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Princess #3 is 7!!

And she got to celebrate on crutches!
Woot!
This was a year of a lot of growing up for
our spirited miss.
This was a year with a lot of learning for
her parents.
She is a blessing.
She has been used by God in my life to point out a lot of areas 
I didn't know I needed (and still need) to work on.
I should probably be more thankful for that. {grin}
Yay for Barbies!!

Here are some things that you should know about our precious girl,
our youngest daughter.
She is a/an:

*fast and furious bicycle rider.  No training wheels for this one!

*fabulous reader.

*aspiring seamstress.

*giver of neck-popping hugs.

*brave trier of new things.

*lover of all things Barbie.

*wonderful brother watcher.

*aspiring chef.

*quick witted teaser.

*infectious giggler.

We are so proud of her accomplishments this year.
A lot of things we take for granted, are struggles for her,
and she is learning to handle them with grace.

Cuddling her sweet Frosty Rudolph!
Happy 7th, my dear, my darling!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Prince Turns 3!

Three, three, glorious three.
One of my least favorite of the child-rearing years, 
in the interest of full disclosure. {grin}
This boy of mine can be a challenge, 
most days I am up for it.{grin}
His heart is full of love for his family to be sure.
He is already becoming a fierce protector
of his big sisters . . . love that.
I am excited (andateenybitfearful) to see what his third year will bring
to light about who he has been created to be.

Mama gave up trying to catch a smile photo and settled for this.


Here are some things that we love about our Prince:

He is a/an:

*fast and furious tricycle rider.

*aspiring horseback rider (read: no fear of heights or equines).

*quick kitten-catcher.

*imaginative player with his "guys".

* connoisseur of any moving vehicle. {grin}

*fascinated by airplanes, helicopters, and Harley's.

*avid listener of books.

*fabulous singer of songs.

*deep digger of dirt.

*just an all around fun guy to have around.

Tractor birthday cake, missing it's exhaust pipe and wipers, hmm.
Funny face boy.

There are several posts brewing in my mind and heart 
that concern the Prince's life that I aspire to get 
written in the coming weeks.

I hope you stay tuned.



Sunday, February 05, 2012

Overheard At Dinner

Another dinner prayer by our Prince:

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the food. Thank You not chicken, thank You it's Papa's* meat.

In Jesus' Name,

AMEN!


*Just to clarify, my parents' raise beef cattle, we were not eating Papa. {grin}

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Knit A Week: Stashdown Edition

I have been knitting.
A lot.
Just not posting.
That pesky sun,
he hasn't been around much.
Winter decided to come to the Castle.
For about a week, maybe two.
That's enough for me and mine.
Just a taste of the white stuff.
Then a lovely chinook took it away.
The chinook's evil twin Mr. Nasty-Wind stayed.
He huffed and puffed and blew a bunch of shingles down.
Grr.
Having to find someone to repair shingles 
takes away from knitting time, don't ya know?!

Here are my first two stashdowns for 2012.

A beautiful little shawl for Princess #2.
Ruffles and stripes, oh yes please!!

Confession time:  This yarn was purchased with birthday money
in (gulp) 2009. Yes, I'm blushing.
The Details:

Yarn:  Noro Sock Yarn 
(which in my opinion, would make horrible, itchy socks, 
but does make fabulous little shawls)

Verdict:  I love how it turned out.  The Noro yarns have very long color
repeats which lend themselves well to a pattern designed this way.

My knock-off Airquote Mittens.
Mine did *not* cost $65 in materials.
Kate Spade's did.

Cute little quotes!
Instead of intarsia, I using a little thing called
duplicate knitting. Handy little skill that is!
The Details:

I charted and added quotes by duplicate stitching.

Yarn:  Cascade 220 Wool in black and white
(No confession needed, I love to keep Cascade in my stash
always.  It is such a versatile, workhorse of a yarn. 
This yarn was leftover from some felted bags I made last year.)

Verdict:  I made these for a dear friend from college,
and she loves them.  Yay!!  More importantly she is 
using them!! Hope she wears them out at some point, 
so I can make her more.  It is joy to knit for
people who appreciate your work by putting it to use!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The One Where I Get Shot

After a rough morning, involving, a tangled skein of yarn, an uncooperative yarn swift, and a little boy trying to help by turning the yarn winder unbeknownst to the untangler of the yarn (that would be me), tempers flared.  I took the Prince over to the family room, coerced lovingly convinced Princess #3 to occupy him with Little People and finished untangling the mess that the "helper" had made.  Once tidied up, I made the rounds apologizing to the helper and those who had to witness the "flare".  I went on to make lunch, when the Prince crept up behind me and shot me with his little laser gun.  After I pretended to be mortally wounded, I hear this little gem.

Princess #1:  Hey! Come and get me!

Prince:  I not bad guy. I just shoot mama!!

There you have it.

He wasn't a bad guy shooting an innocent lady.

He was protecting mankind from his evil mama.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yep, That's My Boy v.2

So here's the other side of my boy.  As I lay on the couch this afternoon, fighting off a nasty headache, he came over to check on me.

Prince:  Okay Mama?

Queen:  No, my head is hurting.

Prince:  Oh.  Here. (hands me his special blankie)

Queen:  Thanks sweetie.

Prince:  Wait. (fiddles around with blankie) Here's the good corner Mama.

Queen:  That will make me feel better.

Prince:  Yes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yep, That's My Boy

Prince:  Mama, I made a picture for you.

Queen:  Oh, thank you.  Please tell me all about it (trying hard to decipher the chaos in crayon).

Prince:  It's a litter box.

Queen:  A litter box???

Prince:  Yes, where Buzzy and Frosty go big poo-poos.  And pee.

Queen: (thinking)  I had to clarify.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The One Where I Should Have Known Better

Silence.

Bliss.

Heaven for a mama's soul.

Right??

Good grief.

I have four kids.

I know better.

Silence.

Evil plans are being made, perhaps carried out.

Naughtiness is being reveled in.

Thick, eczema-fighting lotion, is being spread over a little boy's naked body.

Darn* you silence, you sweet talking, trickster you!!



*You know that is not really the word I want to type, right???

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happiness Is . . .

. . . not usually having your husband considered to be a "non-essential" employee at work, but if it means a freebie day off, we'll take the label!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Void,

It has been a while dear Void, since I've had to bother you, but it is time.

I would like to know, why, dear Void, why my nap boycotting son refuses to sleep in.  I'm all for dropping a nap or two, if that time gets tacked on to the following day's wake up call.  Surely, he is missing that extra hour and a half of rest he used to get (I know I am).  So why won't he just take an extra few minutes in the morning and hit snooze on his infernal, internal, alarm clock.  It sure would go a long ways to making the castle a happier place to be these days.

Get back to me quick, will you!

Signed,

The nap-deprived Queen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Great Stash Bust of 2012

So, I have a lot of yarn, by some standards.  I am not apologizing or asking you to understand my obsession with string.  It just is what it is.  Last week, I took some time to clean out my yarn cupboard.  My cupboard is three shelves high, just about 3 feet tall, so it's not like wardrobe size or anything. All of my non-sock yarn is grouped by weight or by project, if I know the yarn's destiny. My sock yarn is kept in a different location, because in my world, sock yarn does not count as stash, sock yarn is special and set apart, lovingly handled as the need arises.

One of my biggest peeves with knitting is leftovers.  I try desperately to use every last inch of yarn and when I have a smidge left behind it annoys me.  It annoys me because I have a hard time throwing it away.  I might need it someday or it was expensive good quality.  I have gotten better and each time I clean out the stash, more of the littlest bits leave the nest.  However, there are a few stray balls of yarn.  Not big enough to make something on their own, but too much yarn and too good of quality to just trash or Goodwill.  (I do donate yarn to various charities, but most charities prefer machine washable yarn, and I just don't have much stashed.)

So, why tell you all of this dear readers, well, it is because this year I have determined to knit from the stash as much as is humanly possible (for me).  I have two shelves in my little cupboard of yarn that is for potential projects, and by George, I am going to knit them up.  I'll keep you posted (yah, you saw that one coming didn't you) on my progress, and may possibly have a give away or two this year.  I'm working out the logistics of that.

Here's to stash-busting!!  My needles are loaded with three projects right now, all of which are from the stash!  It is on!!