It’s Hard Out There for a Toddler

On a typical day, my husband has already picked up Henry from daycare well before I get home. So when I walk in the door, the dog comes running and I can hear a “mama!!!” from somewhere inside the house. I get about 20 seconds to lose the work bag and winter coat before Henry rams into me at full speed for a big hug.

He’s a good hugger. Not a cuddler. But his hugs are pretty top notch. 

Henry is not at all impressed with his mother’s talents. Nor does he care I was working hard to get this done for a new best friend he hasn’t met yet.

However, the other night was a little different. The same exclamation of “mama!” happened and I walked around the corner to see him climbing the stairs to get to me. He got to the top. Stood up. Looked at me. And started to cry. And then proceeded to slowly cry walk toward me until he just collapsed into my arms. 
It’s amazing how much that can hurt one’s heart.
My husband said he had been having fun literally until that exact moment. This has happened a few times, in various ways, so I tried not to overthink it. And I had obviously googled it in the past. #helicoptermom
From what various discussion boards and mommy sites, it seems kids sometimes do the same things adults do. After working hard to keep himself together all day, following rules and being surrounded by other kids, coming home and being exhausted and within an hour of bedtime… we were all finally there and Henry felt like it was as safe time to just let loose. 

Done! I’ve become obsessed with less traditional colors being used for baby blankets.

I feel ya, bro. 
I really do. I wish I could say it gets easier. But that seems like a lie. Because I definitely have those days where I come home upset or exhausted from a deadline that has made me physically sick. Even though I love my job, it’s fair to still require a place where I feel comfortable enough to decompress and not get judged for it. 
It’s also one of the reasons why my husband can tell the difference between my normal resting knit face and my “OMG do not even think of coming near me or looking in my general direction” knit face. He gets me. 
Henry clearly doesn’t knit/crochet due to the lack of required dexterity at this point in his life, but he and I still share a few things that make us feel better after a long day: 
1. a good hug
2. a long bath
3. a good story
4. snacks on snacks on snacks
And when he turns 21, perhaps he can add wine to that list. 

I know I have.
What’s your go-to after a long day? 

-Amy

Wisconsin Weekend

As previously mentioned, my family was planning for a weekend getaway. 

In Wisconsin, actually. Sheboygan, to be more specific. 

Sheboygan is fun to say.

Shu-boy-gun. 

See? Fun. 

Anyway, it was a trip for the grand kids and mostly revolved around an indoor water park. Because there are not many desirable outdoor activities during winter months in Wisconsin. 

I think you can ski. But unlike my counterpart on this blog, I refuse to even entertain the idea of a hobby like that. 

My feet are better on solid ground. And if not on solid ground, they much prefer floating around a lazy river about 20x in a row with an excited but overwhelmed child chilling in my lap. 

He probably peed in the pool/on me. We’re not going to think about it. 

Anyway, when traveling, it’s always important to have packed correctly. And that includes the right amount of yarn and a good project to keep busy, even if there are only a few opportunities to work on it. That includes time spent in the car. 

My husband is the superior driver, there’s no argument about that, and so I happily keep myself busy and take very seriously my one job of turning on Google maps when we’re close to getting off the highway. 

Important stuff. 

It’s also great to have around for when my child chooses to forgo sleep because he’s not comfortable in a new environment and ends up in bed with us (kicking me in the back throughout the night) and then refuses to sleep past 5:30 am. 

It’d also be nice to have during middle of the day naps, but If we’re being honest, I ended up taking a nap at that time. Because 5:30 am. And tired crochet can be extremely consequential. I’ve yanked out rows upon rows before for simple oversights and it’s always a sad occurrence. 

Anyway, I started a blanket for friends due with their second in June, but probably won’t finish it anytime soon because it’s still a good size to take on the next road trip we have planned in April. 

My focus this month has been mostly on keeping up with my NICU blankets goal for the year. However, my son woke up calling for (i.e. demanding) someone to come wipe his boogers last night. So I suspect I’ll also have to put that away until we have a virus-free household again (rules are rules when it comes to charity guidelines, right?). 

Wisconsin has the best souvenirs!

All this means I’ll be focusing on getting a few other “almost done” projects completed and out the door because my collection of works in progress is starting to get a little overwhelming. And I still haven’t convinced my husband that a craft room is a valid reason for needing to move into a bigger house. 

Sigh. 

– Amy

Punctuality is a Virtue

I like to be punctual.

Screw that. I like to be ridiculously early to things.

And if it requires driving somewhere with traffic being a factor? I will knock on your door 10 minutes early and exclaim, “I’m so sorry I’m early!” when I’ve already spent 10 minutes sitting in my car in front of your house like a creep.

Being late causes extremely large amount of discomfort. It’s always been that way. It’s a thing with me.

This chevron blanket gave me huge anxiety because it’s for some very close friends and I’ve never done chevron before and wanted it to be perfect. That did not happen because I seem to have issues counting. Math is hard.

I jokingly blame my dad. A regular staple in my childhood was being told we were going to leave for something at, say, 4:30. My parents would be sitting in the car, already backed out of our garage and impatiently waiting at 4:15. Honking.

As you can imagine, this has affected many aspects of everyday life. Remember the movie “Superbad”? It was hilarious, right?

NO. I HATED that movie because the majority of the plot was based around getting to a party and they kept getting more and more delayed. They were soooo late for that stupid party.

I could not handle it.

Easily the worst part of making any blanket with more than one color. I’ve started weaving in and securing with a tiny knot because I live in constant fear of being judged if my blanket starts to unravel.

There’s also a Friends episode where they’re all supposed to go to a dinner and the only person ready and trying to get everyone out the door was Ross. No one else seemed to be bothered that they were never going to get there on time. It was terribly rude.

I simply cannot.

But I recognize my problem and am actively trying to overcome it. My husband, for example, will only leave then house at the exact time needed to get us there within a minute of when we’re supposed to arrive. What caused me to have an unnecessary heart attack every time we would leave the house is now starting to dwindle to maybe only a few chest pains here and there.

Baby steps.

And if anything, if we end up late, I can always blame my husband.

The scape goat makes me feel better.

And it’s finished! I have to say, thisis one of my favorite blankets I’ve done. I also have to say, I won’t be doing another one like this any time soon.

So what about the rest of you? Any weird ticks that have just become a part of who you are?

I also can only open the microwave after it’s done, or on a number that ends in 0 or 5. Oh, the oatmeal is going to explode out of the bowl if I don’t open it with 13 seconds left? Too bad. Let’s watch it tidal wave over the top and I’ll open it when the timer gets to 10 seconds when it’s clearly too late.

I’m a mess.

-Amy

Link to pattern used is here.

Chiberia

It’s here.

That time of year. You know… when the temps dip below 0 throughout the entire week. When you question every decision you’ve made about living in this frozen tundra you call home…. or is that just me?

Barf.

My husband, of course, spent the earlier part of the week in Colorado on a ski trip- playing in the snow. The rest of us stayed here. Suffering through all the snow. And cold air.

I’m not bitter. Just freakin’ cold.

My mom came to visit until Tuesday, which was great because I never turn down a set of extra hands. Two-year-olds are exhausting. But it was just me and the kiddo up against the record-setting lows coming our way Tuesday night.

What do I do if the water pipes freeze? What if the heat goes out? At what point do I worry because there is ice INSIDE of the windows? Can our dog even pee in temps this low? Or does it just freeze as it comes out?

All questions I didn’t have the answer to. Everything is seemingly fine (fingers crossed), but I’ll still stand by the decision to double up my child’s pajamas these last two nights when it dipped down to -22 and -24.

Helicopter mom strikes again.

Luckily, working from home is an option. But if we’re being honest, that just makes me even more stir crazy.

Stuck inside for over 36 hours and I’m stuck weaving in ends. My sanity is about to crack.

Anyway, we’re at Thursday morning and have been told by this afternoon things will just be “normal Chicago cold”. So that’s something to look forward to, I guess?

How’s everyone doing out there? Frozen? Sleeping through the whole thing? Scheduling trips to warmer climates at this very moment?

If you have a strategy to keep kids not from going crazy being inside for so long, HIT ME UP. Please and thank you.

-Amy

Escape Artist

It was a few weeks ago, during that weird time between Christmas and New Years, where all the random vacation days sort of blur together into one weird point in time. Henry had a play date in the morning, which is always ideal on days off because play dates typically guarantee a two-hour nap on days when daycare isn’t open.

Per usual, I put Henry down in his crib, backed out of the room, grabbed the monitor and flipped on Netflix for a bit of me time.

Sure, there was laundry to be folded and dishes to be cleaned. There almost always is. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I had just barely started flipping through my queue when I started hearing Henry kicking up a storm. It’s not unusual, but I took a peek anyway. I’m that mom. That noise you hear is just my helicopter blades.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I saw my child balancing ever so gracefully on the top of his crib bars. Then he fell back into the crib. Stood up. Grabbed the front of his crib again, took a big jump, and teetered that much more over the side, not quite getting the momentum to make it completely over.

I’ve never ran up a flight of stairs so quickly in my life, opening the door to his room just in time to grab him just as he made another strong attempt to hurdle himself over the guard rail, head first.

He napped on his mattress on the floor that day. I had my husband help me convert the crib to his toddler bed that night.

And now I’m also making him a new “big boy” blanket.

baby boy blanket

I started this the exact day we converted his crib into a toddler bed. Pulled out the navy yarn that evening and went to work. This is why it is critical to keep a solid stash of yarn.

We were gifted one when he was born, but he’s starting to outgrow it and it doesn’t keep up with him during all of his nightly rolling around. I’m also a bit loony (I call it mama bear syndrome) and only really feel comfortable with him having some extremely breathable.

And matchy.

Obviously.

Before he was born, I knitted squares and sewed them together into one large blanket. Which also could have been used here, but it’s safe to say that blanket has not survived the test of time and is about one wash away from completely falling apart.

So here’s to new milestones and hopefully not a bunch of nights of him wandering into our room because he’s awake and bored…

img_9968

Fingers crossed.

Charity Crochet: Baby Blankets

We spent 10 days in the NICU when my son was born. He had a temporary hole in one of his lungs and some breathing issues he needed to work on before we could go home.

It was scary to my husband and I, as newbies in the parenting field. In all reality, our little guy’s issues were minor compared to the majority of problems being addressed in the NICU.

We got to know some of the other parents. Why they were there. How long they had been told to anticipate being there. There were certain machine alerts you became accustomed to and associated little worry with their beeps. Others you knew were bad news. You looked the other way as a politeness when emergencies happened at someone else’s station.

Days were long. Relatively melancholy.

That said, the nurses were always fantastic. They did their best to brighten the mood. Make you feel comfortable. Provide acts of kindness where they could.

On the first day where Henry started to show significant improvement, he happened to be wearing a specific outfit provided by the hospital. It came with a little blue cap, covered with airplanes. We asked to keep the hat on him an additional day as a little good luck charm. The following day, one of more significant improvement, one of our favorite nurses stuck it in my purse and said it was Henry’s to have as she changed his crib sheets. She gave us a wink and said he earned it.

We still have that hat saved with all his newborn things, and it serves as a reminder of how lucky we are.

Fast forward six months and I found myself looking into knitted and crocheted donation options with that children’s hospital. I was sent a list of guidelines to follow. The rules are super strict, but I definitely understand why. For example, I wash my hands every time I get the blankets out to work on. I keep the yarn and finished blankets stored in a room my dog isn’t allowed in- nor is my dog allowed near me when I’m working on them. Whenever there’s a sickness in the house, work on the blankets stop until it’s passed. I don’t work on these particular blankets when I travel. There are specific rules around the kind of yarn used and laundering instructions. Things I sign to confirm I followed the rules each time.

But I love doing it. And I hope that some of my blankets are also looked at as a good luck charm, and that they go home with babies when they’re released from a long stay, eventually to be packed away with the newborn things as a reminder of the family’s longer than anticipated fight to go home.

This is the second year we’ll be dropping blankets off around the time of Henry’s birthday and just before the holidays really start to pick up. My goal was 25 this year but November was a month where there always seemed to be someone under the weather, so no progress was made and the goal was missed by just one. 🙁

Each blanket gets individually packaged and then sealed in a larger package after being washed with gentle detergent with a double rinse- no germs are getting to these bad boys!!!

I know it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something. And it’s crazy how many charities out there are specifically for the crochet and knit crowd. So if you have some extra yarn hanging around, and you’re not sure what to do with it… consider doing a quick search on the interwebz. I promise it will end with you doing some good and having all the good feels that come along with it!

– Amy

Black & Gold

It’s funny to think I met most of my college friends over 15 years ago at the University of Missouri. A bunch of us, just thrown into an extremely awkward living/social experiment in the dorms.

As a 33-year-old, I see now that maybe we all could have used another year or two of parental supervision.

But I digress.

We didn’t necessarily choose to be friends. I would think everyone involved would call that a fair statement. We just sort of ended up in the same place and found it convenient to travel places in packs- the bigger the crowd, the better.

But after the first year, it WAS up to us on what happened next. Most of us chose to continue being friends. And that’s what actually matters, right?

So after four years of complete and utter nonsense, we all graduated and moved away, with some of us landing in the same cities.

And wouldn’t you know it, we still found reasons to hang out?

champagne brunch

We still hung out to watch Mizzou sports, and still brought beverages in abundance, but matured enough to start doing things like organizing full brunch menus. Not pictured: brunch.

Slowly, though, the flow of champagne tapered off. We got busy. Got married. Started having kids. Talk about the best bar in town became talk about what level of Costco membership to obtain. The definition of sleeping in on a Saturday went from 10:30am to 6:30am.

We’ve all become lame together. But what do you expect after 15 years? I’m closer to 40 than I am to 21. Something was bound to give.

But after my friend announced they were expecting baby #2, I decided to take him and his wife on a quick walk back to memory lane, where it all began.

Mizzou baby gift

The kid has to learn where his parents came from (and more importantly, where they met). And while Mizzou sports may be lacking this year, at least he’ll still be prepared for game day.

It’s like Daisy Farm Crafts can read my mind when it comes to what makes a good baby blanket- I’ve bookmarked the majority of her blanket patterns for future use. I’ve already used this particular one twice.

black and gold baby blanket
I can’t wait to visit my friends again once the lil’ guy arrives. I have so much to tell him. He needs to know that Auntie Amy has a WHOLE lot of stories about his old man to use as leverage when he’s older. 😉
Because friends don’t let those kind of stories become forgotten.