Monday, September 26, 2011

The Pit, missing snapshots, and the kid hats....

If you're looking for sparkly, glittery, unicorny posts, you're not going to find it here.  Not today anyway.  Apparently the women in the DOC have synced up and we're all experiencing "Shark Week" (thanks to Reyna for the phrase) at the same time.  Unfortunately, that's not the biggest of my problems.  I'm not quite sure where it all started or when.  I'm not sure if it was a gradual slide or a falling off a cliff type of move.  But somehow, I've found myself at the bottom of the pit once again.  You know the one.  The pit where all you want to do is lie down on the couch, curl up with a fuzzy blanket, and forget the world exists.  I hate that pit.  It feels like it's impossible to get out of.  I'm at the bottom of the pit right now and trying to figure out a way to crawl up and out, but so far, I'm not figuring it out.  And there are some complications.  You see, while I'm dealing with my mind- and body-numbing depression, my husband is dealing with his high-drive-anxiety.  His is in full-force right now.  And it's like adding boulders on top of my pit.  I spend my days struggling, churning my way through the cement around my feet, trying to hold my temper and keep a happy face for my kids.  And then my husband comes home, stressed and crabby and short with me.  I feel like he's upset with me for not doing the dishes, not cleaning the house, not getting all the things done that I should be doing.  He gets frustrated with me because I stay up late and he thinks getting more sleep would help.  It might, if I could manage to get it.  But most nights, I lie there and don't get any rest.  I spend all day wanting nothing more than sleep and then all night, I can't sleep.  It drives me nuts.  And when I see him frustrated with me, it knocks the bottom out of my pit and I fall down a few more feet, another boulder on top to weigh me down.  I'm trying my hardest to fight my way out, but I just can't seem to get there.  I force myself to go to the gym and it makes me feel a teensy bit better, but there's just no magic fix for this.  No matter what I do, I'm knocked by down into the bottom of the pit and trying to fight my way out every morning.  My snapshots demonstrate the struggle just a bit:

I'm trying.  But they're not looking as full as I would like them to be.  Just need to keep on going and hope that the pit starts to fill in soon.  In happier news, I have some more hat pictures to share!  I've made a couple of hats for the benefit auction for my nephew, who is battling chronic renal fatigue and will need a kidney transplant soon.  They are super-adorable!  And...if anyone wants one, I can make up some more!  They're fun to make too!

Seriously cute, right?  I'm thinking of adding a couple little tufts to the top of the duck for a feathered look and to add just a bit more of interest.  Reyna, I have a photo for you too!  A quick warning though....the yarn you picked...for some reason, when I photograph it, the pinks always seem to show up as tans!  The parts that are showing up as tan are actually a pale, mossy green and a rose-pink.  If you still want it, let me know!

As for paying and how it's going to work...Etsy has a Custom listing option.  I'm thinking, if people are okay with paying on Etsy (using paypal), I can list the ordered hats as "custom" and you can pay through Etsy.  For those who aren't comfortable with paypal and Etsy, just let me know and we can do the old way, by having you donate through our Step Out website.  Either way works for me.

Confession for the night....I have a serious sweet-tooth!  I blame my mom.  All those years of going trick-or-treating just to have her confiscate my candy as soon as I walked in the know, the more you tell someone they can't have something, the more they want it!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gallery of Hats...they're not just for cold weather!

I've been hooking hard!  Crochet-hooking, that is.  I'm trying to get a few things done so I can start listing things on Etsy.  Unfortunately, there's just never enough hours in the day!  I should have been in bed at least an hour again, but I've failed on that again.  Oh well...sleep is over-rated, right?  Or maybe not, cause I really do enjoy it.  Wish my kids loved it as much as I do! 

Anyway, per Reyna's request, I'm putting up pictures here of some of the hats I've finished.  Some of them are obviously meant for cold winters, such as those we get in Minnesota and anywhere in the northern half of the USA.  But, there are a couple (one of them is my very favorite hat I've done so far!) that are more appropriate for just slightly cooler weather.  They won't keep you warm enough for a January in Minnesota, but a January in Florida or Arizona or California or pretty much anywhere else that never gets the pleasure of experiencing a less-than-30F-day.  I've been playing around a lot with ombre yarns.  I used to hate them.  The way the yarn changes from one color to just kind of looked cheesy to me.  But, maybe my tastes have changed.  Or maybe their techniques for dying have gotten more advanced.  I'm liking them a lot more now though.  In fact, I've stocked up on a bunch of colors and varieties.  They just have such a way of showing off textures and stitches!  I still need to figure out pricing for the hats.  I'm thinking most of them will be about $20 or so, unless I've used a specialty/luxury yarn for them.  I'm still debating on adding matching scarves or fingerless mittens to some of them.  Any input, ideas, suggestions, etc., that anyone wants to leave in the comments would be greatly appreciated!  For now, here are the pics:

Shell-stitch Cloche

Textured Cloche

Basic Ribbed Hat

Cool-weather Cloche


I'm not a big fan of berets, so I'm not sure yet whether I like that one.  I think maybe it needs a small flower or fancy button on the brim to liven it up a bit.  I'm loving the pink/brown and pink/gray color combinations right now.  And blue/brown too.  And just to show you some of the variety in yarn colors that I'm dealing with right now, I've got a couple bonus pictures:

Lots of blues and greens and pinks and purples and some gorgeous color combinations!  I need to learn to control myself in the craft stores though.  I intended to buy just the silver ribbon you see in the cloche above.  But yarn was on sale!  My poor husband thinks we're going to drown in yarn, I think.  Or debt from all the yarn that I spend our money on!  Gotta love him for putting up with me and loving me in spite of all my flaws.  I think I'll have that serve as my confession for the night...I spend way too much money on yarn!  It's like an addiction and after I go overboard, I always feel horrible. 

Bonus pictures for the night!  I'm debating finding frames and using these to decorate our new bathroom once it's finished.  Just not sure yet if it would be just plain cute or if guests to our home would find it tacky....

And one last bonus one because I couldn't resist the other night when I found this waiting for me in bed:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Observations from the gym: What I held back

I have a couple more people-descriptions that I can share with all of you.  I held them back because they're not nearly as flattering and they're a demonstration of just how snarky I can be sometimes.  If they offend you, I'm so sorry!  If you laugh...great!  If you can't laugh at things, you're doomed to be miserable in this life.  So, for your enjoyment, my snarky descriptions of The Matched Pair....

These two people are not married to each other.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that if they met, they wouldn't be anything near compatible!  But, they are the opposite-gender-equivalent to each other!  The first is one of the very first people I noticed at the gym.  She was running on a treadmill at a speed that made her cling to the front for her very life.  She kept on going though and kept hanging on!  That's an admirable thing.  Unfortunately, I immediately dubbed her The Hot Dog Lady.  You know when you go to a gas station and they have one of those things that cook hot dogs, constantly turning them?  Have you ever seen one that's been left on the grill way too long?  That's this woman.  She tans.  Obsessively.  She has long, dark hair, wears a lot of makeup (even when working out), and her skin has the color and texture of an over-cooked hot dog.  She does workout hard though! 

Perhaps it's too unkind to call the second person her male equivalent?  To be honest, I don't think the Hot Dog Lady is quite as far gone as this guy is.  Maybe if she were a perpetual bar fly?  Anyway, when I first saw this guy, the kids and I were outside in the pool and he was greasing up his rounded belly with some Hawaiian Tropics oil.  The first name I thought of to describe him was Lothario.  But that didn't quite encompass the desperation and extreme cheesy-ness of this guy.  I think you'd have to eat an entire bag of Cheetos before you'd even come close to building up this kind of cheese!  So, his name has become Dark Fabio.  Picture this...buzzed hair on the sides above his ears, hair about an inch or two long on the top, and then long, long, long hair all the way down his back.  Heavy gold chains around his neck.  Speedo in many bright colors, not covering nearly enough.  A rounded belly and man-boobs to which he continually applied the oil.  Greased up and that same overcooked-hot-dog texture.  It wasn't pretty.  And never any luck with the ladies.  He did keep a constant watch on the teenage girls at the pool.  It's a bit of a relief that none of them ever returned the interest!

Okay, enough being mean for the night.  It doesn't sit very well with me.  I've been busy working on a bunch of crochet projects and I'm hoping to share them on here soon.  Our Step Out for the Cure event is coming up at the end of October and I'm trying to get an Etsy account set up with a few items in it in order to raise some of our set goal for the event.  I want to do a good job this year!  I'm finishing up a couple of baby afghans for a friend who recently had twins (boy and girl!).  I'm tucking the ends in on a sugar-cane scarf, which would make a great accessory to go with a little black dress.  And I have more ends to tuck in on a cloche hat and fingerless hand-warmers in gorgeous pinks and browns.  Fun, fun stuff! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Back at it

I'm keeping this one short and to the point tonight.  It's been a bit of a long day.  I've done pretty well with the exercise this week and am feeling much better now that I'm back to the gym and getting my exercise.  I started using a Philips Direct Life activity monitor just over a week ago and it's been incredible!  It does an 8-day assessment of your current level of activity, meaning you wear the device for 8-days and it keeps track of how much it bounces around throughout the day.  Not the most accurate at times, but helpful.  The point is to see where you can increase your activiy and get more exercise during the day.  It's kind of a neat little thing.  And, I'm happy to report, it says I burn roughly 1086 calories on an average day, just through activity!  That's even more awesome.  The handy little program also comes up with goals for me and moves me through phases.  The first phase, my goal is to move enough to burn 1300 calories each day.  Phase 1 starts tomorrow and I'm really hoping to reach the goal.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the program, just click HERE.

Okay, on to the "snapshot".  I was hoping to get one last workout in today, but it's been a bit rough.  We had a bad night with blood sugars, managed to make it out to church and Sunday School this morning, and on the way to church, got the call from my mom letting me know that my grandma has finally lost her battle with Alzheimer's.  Rest of the day was spent figuring out funeral details and planning a quick trip up north for the funeral.  It's hard sometimes to lose someone, but right now, I think I'm more relieved that she's not suffering anymore.  And the sure knowledge that she's been welcomed into Heaven with open arms is definitely comforting as well.  Anyway, here's the pic:

And with that, I'm heading off to bed!  Hope you're all getting some great rest tonight!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Observations from the gym: For your enjoyment

I've mentioned the Boob Lady (who is totally awesome and incredibly sweet) and the Stork Lady (not so sweet), but so far, I don't think I've mentioned many of the "men of the gym".  I thought I'd entertain you tonight with a few of my favorite guys to see at the gym.  Please understand that none of these descriptions is meant to be hurtful or to make fun of them.  I've just come up with a few random names for some of these guys based on what I've observed of them.

The Lion:  Picture a lion in human form and you would most likely have a good idea of what this guy looks like.  Dark blonde, wavy hair down to his shoulders.  Big and powerful on top, not nearly as developed on bottom.  He works out on the inclined ellipticals several times a week.  I've only ever seen him from behind, that I can recall.  He's got great hair though!  I'm a bit jealous of the waves...

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  He's not actually hunchbacked, but he does wear Notre Dame t-shirts, along with a variety of other college shirts.  He works out on the same ass-kicker ellipticals that I work on.  And he works out hard!  Only problem is, he hunches over as he works out.  I'm dying to correct his posture!

The Rooster:  This guy is awesome!  Seriously.  He's in his mid-50s and I see him running, running, running around the track.  I'm jealous of his running ability!  I watch him run nearly everyday that I'm at the gym.  And as he runs, his comb-over slowly comes undone.  He's got this one little lock of hair that bobs along behind him, kind of like the tail of a rooster.

The Gingerbread Man:  Oh, how to explain this one?  This young guy works in the child-care center of the gym.  He's awesome with the kids!  He'd also be an example of a perfectly-proportioned, well-muscled male body.  There's just one problem.  He's lucky if his height even reaches my not-so-towering height of 5'4" (which my husband says I stretch to get to).  He's a bit sensitive about it, from what I can tell.  Which is really just too bad because it's not something he can do anything about and he seems like a really sweet guy.  He reminds me a bit of a reddish-haired Seth Green.

Those are just a few.  There are, of course, a plethora of grunters (the ones who grunt as they lift just so everyone will look at them) and runners, and lots of other people.  I'm tempted to pick up my drawing pencils and paper again just so I can capture some of them!  The gym is so much fun!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: The gift that keeps on giving....

Yup, it's another missing snapshot this week.  There really is no point of taking a picture of my journal.  I got in one cardio workout on Monday.  I took the kids to the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday, I loaded up the kids and dragged them into the Target Minute Clinic down the road.  I don't know if it was already coming on or if all of the dust from the animals at the fair sent me over the age, but by Wednesday morning, I had a raging sinus infection.  In fact, it was so bad that it actually felt like every single tooth on the upper left side of my mouth needed a root canal!  Oy, the pressure!  I spent an hour at the clinic with the doctor, $15 on prescriptions at the pharmacy, and 24-hours on the couch at home.  It was like magic!  Within 24 hours, I was feeling so much better!  I felt pretty good until I hit about the 3-hour mark after having woken up.  I needed a nap!  And another nap.  And another.  Sleep is fantastic when you're sick.  Trying to get it when you have two healthy, active children is not so easy though!

Anyway, enough complaints.  I'm recovering.  My wonderful husband took Friday off from work and let me sleep in before we dragged the kids off to the state fair again.  My husband only goes for the food.  I like to look at everything!  The Minnesota State Fair is an incredible experience.  I've heard people who move into Minnesota complain about the true meaning of "Minnesota Nice".  It's not a pretty picture they paint of it.  But....if you want to know what "Minnesota Nice" really means, you should come to our state fair.  It's amazing.  People are friendly.  The second time I went to the fair, we had a three-month-old baby.  We used the park-n-ride services where you park your car in a free lot and ride a free bus to the fairgrounds.  The buses get packed!  But, strangers were perfectly willing to give up their seats for me and baby Lily.  The next year, Lily was just over a year.  The same thing, strangers hopped up from their seats and shooed us into them.  People can be so incredible sometimes!  And an added bonus to going to the fair this year....we happened to run into our old pastor-he was leaving as we were coming in.  For those of you who remember my post about feeling lost without a church-home, this would be the pastor who inspired us to join the church where we got married and then he left for a new church.  Random meeting, but he chatted with us for a few minutes and talked up the Sunday School program and a few other things his new church is doing.  My husband is on-board with switching over to the new church and we've already registered Lily for Sunday School, which starts next week! 

So...two days spent at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, snacking on cheese curds, corn dogs, and lots of sugary, greasy, deep-fried and battered foods.  Saturday, I actually manged to make it to the gym!  I decided to scrap the rest of my intended cardio-focused week and just hit the weight machines.  I did a lower-body workout and upped all my weights.  My legs are a bit sore today!  I meant to return to the gym for an upper-body workout today, but we made a last-minute decision to haul the kids down to the Mall of America for some fun at Nickelodeon Universe and some fall-clothes shopping.  And that is the extent of my activities this week.  I wish I could report that I'd had a whole lot more activity than that, but I'm having to accept that recovering from this cold is kicking my butt.  It just keeps on going!  I think if I can just start getting a bit more rest each night, that would help a ton.'s kind of like wishing for the moon though!  They're each about as easy to get!  No matter though.  Whether I'm up to working out or not, I'm going to have to.  We're heading into a busy week.  Lily starts swimming lessons again tomorrow evening.  And then on Tuesday, she'll have her first dance lesson!  I'm so excited for her and she's incredibly excited about it too.  She's supposed to be starting pre-school as well, but we've made the decision to hold that off for a month so we can get her used to the new activities first and then get the school stuff going.

One last quick note before I go...Sarah, you might be on to something!  I'm going to have to see if keeping the tv off in the morning will help get us moving quicker!  I've been meaning to start having us actually sit down at the dining room table for breakfasts and spend the time waking up together.  This just gives me one more reason to get moving on it!  Fantastic suggestion and I thank you for it! more thing!  Pictures and a confession!  My confession....I ADORE cheese curds!  I'm picky about them, but the ones at the state fair are, gooey, yummy, thinly-breaded (none of that chunky-icky stuff).  Yum, yum, yum!  Pictures are from the Butterfly House at the state fair...the kids love that place!