My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Madness

Whew - I'm so glad March is just about over! Hopefully things will settle down & I'll be able to post with better regularity! I've felt so bad about my lack of blogging & worse yet - lack of knitting content.

Hopefully this post will make up for it. May I present to you a FO! Finally! I thought I'd finish these socks long ago w/time to knit perhaps another. Yeah - right. With the end of 3rd quarter, a spring break trip to San Diego for fun & a wedding, the beginning of soccer season (I'm coaching the JV girls team), my son's 8th birthday, and parent-teacher conferences, there just hasn't been time to knit. Geez - where are my priorities?

May I present to you my socks for March? They are my submission for March credit for Socks-of-the-Month 5.


Pattern: Penllyn Socks by Wildhorse Farm Designs

Yarn: Socks That Rock, lightweight "Footzey Foo"

Needles: Addi Turbo, Size 1 (2.50mm)

A super easy, super quick knit. (If you actually knit them & not set them down to take care of other responsibilities in your life). I love how the pattern gives the illusion of cables. Yet - no cable needle - just strategically placed yo and psso.

I fell in love with short row heels when I knit the Serendipity Socks by Adrienne Fong. The pattern called for a standard heel flap, but I've fallen head over heels with the short row heel. No gusset, no stitch markers, no stitches to pick up. Pretty slick, fast, and I love the way they fit. I knit the short rows until there are 12 stitches left un-worked. Leaves just the right enough room for my heel - not too deep, not too shallow.

I don't know what it is with me and STR yarn. No matter what I knit, I always end up with a fraternal pair of socks. Remember the 'Funky Monkeys'? Wow! This pair of socks produced a sock w/a swirl & a sock w/lots of pooling. I checked my gauge - and obtained 8 stitches/inch on the stockinette. What is this yarn supposed to do? Stripe? Hmm? The yarn is so fabulous to knit with, that I think I'm also beginning to enjoy the mystery the finished object will present. Will the stripes match? Will there be pooling? Who knows. I think I'm getting the correct gauge, but I'm still stumped.

I ran across the Sock Knitters Pentathlon the other day in blogland. So sorry - I wish I could give the proper credit. It sounded pretty cool, so I joined the yahoo group. The premise is sock knitters knit 5 different pairs of socks throughout the year to challenge their sock knitting skills. I'm always up for a challenge & SKP2008 spoke to my competitive nature. I joined late, so I'm sure I'm out of the competition, but it sounded like a fun KAL. The first pattern is the Jacobean pattern - a pattern I was contemplating knitting even before I found this KAL! So - I think it was meant to be. So - I'm going to try to work these in while I'm knitting the March Rockin' Sock Club kit.

Other knitting news: This week is state testing. Since students test all morning, our alternative school uses the afternoon time to provide different workshops for students to explore new hobbies, skills, and interests. I'm teaching a beginning knitting class, just like last year. For students who arrive without supplies, I've purchased some materials so they can make their own knitting needles. The wooden dowels I bought should make a pair of needles close to a size 7 US. I'll report later on how this all works out.

Well - off to send of the weekly email to my JV team - our first game is in one week! Eek!

Happy Knitting!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Getting Lucky in Anchorage!

I knew that would get your attention! Sorry - totally knitting related as "Lucky" refers to this month's Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club sock kit. I love coming home to yarn goodies waiting on the doorstep. I've been dancing around the house singing "I Got Lucky! I Got Lucky!" - poor DH, totally disappointed.

The colorway is called "Lucky" and is ab-fab one of my favorite colors - just right for the month of March. Of course, I've already cast on & have almost completed a pair of green socks for March, so these may have to wait a smidge.

Are you anxious to see what is actually inside the package? Come on, I know you wanna see! If not - shield your eyes or quickly click elsewhere- don't say you haven't been fairly warned.

Ain't it purdy?

Ready for my close-up.

I haven't knit with the STR mediumweight yet and am anxious to try. As soon as I finish the Penillyn socks (hopefully by the end of next weekend - I'm shooting for March credit in SAM5),
I'll be casting on with gusto!

Okay - off to read bedtime stories & do some serious back-blogging.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Temporarily Insane

What was I thinking when I agreed to letting my son invite 9 other 8-year olds to our home for a sleep over in honor of his 8th birthday? Egads! Ever have those moments when something seems like a good idea at the time? Yeah - this was one of those moments. To try to steer my child away from a Chuck E. Cheese fiasco or a reenactment of the 80's at a local skating rink, I thought (I must stop doing that) having a sleep over might be more fun. Sure - if there were perhaps only a couple of other children, not 9! What was I thinking?

Orion is fabulous - such a sweet kid and a friend to everyone. He didn't want anyone to feel left out. I think if he had his druthers, he would have invited every kid from school and his soccer team. I told him he had to narrow it down, so he narrowed it down to 9. Being the great mom I try to be, I agreed. What was I thinking?

What's a party without a few party favors? After all, a sleep-over should be fairly low-key and low budget. When I spied the whoopee cushions at buy 2 - get 1 free, I thought (there I go again) perfect - just what every 8-year old boy needs. I threw some super balls in for good measure, hackey-sacks, plastic bubbles, and soccer stickers rounded out the loot. Then something happened on my way to aisle 8. I think I dropped my brain and other shoppers didn't quite know how to respond. (It's like when you've just met someone and they have a great big gob of green spinach stuck between their two front teeth - how do you politely point it out?) What happened while my brain took leave of my body? I picked up 12 party horns. What was I thinking?

Imagine how much noise 9 8-year olds can make. Now imagine 9 of them blowing with all of their 8-year old might into party horns simultaneously. If any of you were startled from a peaceful sleep - I wholeheartedly apologize. I swear those were the party horns that could be heard around the world.

After cake, ice-cream and the 5-minutes of ear piercing horns, we adjourned outside for the party poppers. At least I had the common sense to have the boys do these outside. The kids loved pulling the cords & watching the confetti burst out with a bang.

Poor Orion - he's so short, you can barely see him behind the railing. The orange behind the white lattice is his shirt.

The fabulous thing about inviting a gaggle of boys for a party is that they pretty much entertain themselves. Wade took them to the park before sundown to play soccer, football, and capture the flag. The weather was nice - a balmy 35°F (spring is here!) and the sun was shining. Keeping boys happy is pretty easy - feed them! We ate homemade pizza, cake, chips, and homemade milkshakes. In the morning they scarfed down homemade Belgian waffles. The boys were happy building legos, playing Wii sports, and then settling down in their sleeping bags for movies (Pokemon & Chicken Little). Finally sleep overtook them around midnight.

What was I thinking? Well - that I love Orion & wanted him to have a happy 8th birthday. Mission accomplished!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Student of the Week

One of the highlights of being a 2nd grader at my son's school is the opportunity to be Student of the Week. All elders (2nd graders in the mixed-grade classes) have the opportunity to share mementos representing who they are. The items are displayed throughout the week and then on Friday, there is a Q&A session with the student and their family. Families get to choose the week they prefer and normally choose a week close to the student's birthday. During the Q&A, the teacher writes down the 'facts' about the student and uses them as a writing assignment. The drawings and writings completed by the class are then compiled into a lovely book for the Student of the Week to keep. Pretty darned cool.

Today (okay - last week, I'm doing some serious back-posting) was the end of Orion's Student of the Week and our family Q&A. Some items he chose to display were his medals for soccer, ski 4 kids, and running club. He hung up a poster of a Triceratops because it's his favorite dinosaur (his bedroom has a dino theme). We put out his baby book & a scrap book, photos of our family, his first Halloween costume (a lion), his favorite books (Calvin & Hobbes, Asterix, and Geronimo Stilton) and some Pokemon cards.

His classmates asked all sorts of questions. "What was a funny incident?" was the most popular question - I was only prepared for one answer, so when the question arose several times, we were a bit stumped. Orion never crawled - his preferred mode of transportation was the "Butt Scoot". He'd sit up and use his heels to pull himself around the room. It was quite entertaining & he actually wore holes into his little soft baby shoes. We showed a clip of him scooting around - his class loved that! I'll have to find a way to post that video, it's too darned cute.

What a great way to honor kids! I know we'll always look through Orion's memory book and have fond memories.

Here's a quick peek of what's on the needles. I hope to have a finished object to show soon:

I'll leave you guessing as to the details for now.

Ciao ~

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just Checking In...

Short & Sweet: Life has been a bit hectic, so no time to blog, knit, etc. Spring Break in San Diego has come & gone - great week; will post pics, etc. later. I decided my life isn't crazy enough, so I jumped back into coaching our girls JV soccer team. Yup - like I don't have enough to do. It seriously has cut into the knitting time, but it will be worth it. Today was my 1st official practice w/just the JV girls & they are a hoot. I forgot how much I enjoyed coaching JV. ( I last coached JV back in 2001 - gave it up for a bit when the boys were itty bitty.)

Today is Orion's 8th birthday - wow! Time certainly flies by. Well - not only am I busy, but I feel a cold coming on. So - just checking in to say - "I'm here" & will hopefully return soon with more entertaining & knitting content.

Until then...Let's hope I can get the pair of socks done soon so I can have something to show. Sock #1 has just the toe to finish - let's see, that was 3 days ago....


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy Read Across America Day!

This post is dedicated to Theodore Giesel, aka, Dr. Seuss. In case you aren't aware, today, March 2nd, is his birthday & nationally known as Read Across America Day. The ability to read is such a strong indicator of academic success; plus it's FUN!! So I present to you some recommendations:

Family Recommendation: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. You and your kids will love this book! It's a quick, yet interactive read. The premise is a bus driver needs a break & asks you - the readers, to keep an eye on the bus & not let the pigeon drive it. The pigeon tries his darnedest to convince you to let him drive the bus. Other books by this author: The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, & Knuffle Bunny. All are family favorites.

Iain's Recommendation:

Any Curious George book. He likes these books because "Curious George is funny and curious. That's why." He also recommends Pokemon books - I don't find them to be the best bedtime reading, but he's fallen into the Pokemon craze.

Orion's Recommendation:

Any Geronimo Stilton book. There are a ton in this series. If you want more information, visit this wikipedia site. Geronimo Stilton is a mouse who is also a journalist. He always winds up in some fun and silly adventure. I think this series is geared toward 2nd graders, but if your child is a good reader, 1st grade would be fine. Orion usually plows through these books in an afternoon, so I highly recommend getting a library card, or setting up a credit account at your local used books store. Orion loves visiting Title Wave just to keep up with the antics of Geronimo Stilton.

Arctic Knitter's Recommendation:

Wow - so many! I don't know if I can narrow it down - but here a a few favorites:

Knitting Related: Any Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book. I'm sure all you knitters already know this.

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. If you are looking for a little fluff & fun - this series is it. The series (3 books, the 4th due out in August) isn't your typical teenage angst & romance novel. Vampires and Werewolves are thrown in for good measure. Great escapism. Perhaps I enjoyed them so much because I get to witness this sort of thing everyday w/my students. Ms. Meyer is also releasing an adult novel later this year, I'll be interested to see how that turns out.

Pillars of the Earth & World Without End by Ken Follet. Pillars is one of my all-time favorites. I really enjoy historical fiction. Both are rather long, so settle in & enjoy. I think I'll re-read them again this summer on our road trip.

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Another historical fiction / love story. History, action, adventure, political intrigue. Oh yes - I must mention romance & Jamie - a Scottish Highlander who I imagine is a 'hunka burnin' love'. I warn you now - this series is a commitment. Six books have already been released w/more planned for the future.

Non-Fiction: I don't read too much of these. As I see it, my life & job are non-fiction, so when I read, I'm looking to escape a bit from reality. So I recommend: Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny LeCouteur & Jay Burreson and & Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks. Both deal with chemistry; go figure. :0)

Wade's Recommendation:

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and anything by Iain Banks (the namesake of our youngest son...) Wade is a science fiction fan - so if you're into sci-fi, these might be right up your alley.

Wow - that should be plenty to keep everyone literate. I'm always looking for more good books to read. Leave a comment as to you and your family's favorite book(s) & I'll link it in the side bar. I'm always looking for a good read.

Make it a point to sit down this evening as a family & read together. Enjoy! Read On!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Super Saturday in Anchorage

The 1st Saturday of March in Anchorage is a big deal. It marks the beginning of the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race. It's billed as a 1049 mile endurance run, when really the mileage is closer to 1100. The 49 celebrates Alaska as the 49th state. Saturday marks the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage. This allows thousands of people to come out & cheer the musher as they embark on their journey to Nome. On Saturday the mushers & their dogs go 11 miles before loading up & driving out to the official start in Willow, AK. The official start is tomorrow, Sunday, March 2nd. I'll try to keep an update on the progress of the mushers.

Usually we meet up with friends for an annual Iditarod Breakfast & walk to a nearby trail to watch the mushers go by. It's a regular party atmosphere & lots of fun for children & adults alike. However, this year, there was no breakfast due to the Ski 4 Kids. The Ski 4 Kids event is a fundraiser put on by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage to help provide gear and coaches to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the joys of cross country skiing.

The weather was bitterly cold (10°F + heavy winds) - I figure w/the wind the temps were below zero. Fortunately once skiers entered the trees, it was a lot warmer (relatively speaking). Both boys skied the longer race - about 3 Km. Orion entered the medium wave & finished 55th out of 119 skiers with a time of 19:10. Pretty good! He really had a fun time even though he wiped out before the race & banged his knee on the ice. Tough kid!

Whew! I'm Tired!

Iain had an equally great race. I skied behind him since this was his first time doing the "big kid" race. He finished 41st out of 91 skiers with a time of 28:08. It was fun watching him book up the hills and then "tuck his bum" for the downhills. He and another boy kept the competitive spirit alive - the other boy would pass Iain, then Iain wouldn't have any of that, so he'd turn on the gas & pass him. Then, the other boy (I wish I knew his name - 'the other boy' is quite awkward) would not like that and ski past Iain. They kept this up for the entire course. Iain poured it on at the end & finished in front. Gee, I wonder where he gets that competitive drive from?