Friday, March 9, 2018

A Slow Return to Normalcy

The last two weeks have been so much better than Hell Week. We are slowly returning back to some semblance of normalcy and the Smidget is starting to stretch out his sleep segments again.  Some nights are better than others but on whole everything is looking up. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes. 

I've started going back to bed during his first long nap of the day. This unfortunately means that on most days, I do not have a chance to do anything crafty. The trade off is that I'm no longer a over-sensitive sleep-deprived cranky-faced mommy-monster so I suppose its worth it. Mostly. I'm still holding out hope that he'll eventually go to bed before midnight and leave me with a couple of quiet hours in the evening to relax.

I have managed to do a few thing here and there in February. I finished the black and purple scarf set.

I came REALLY close to completing the top half of Tiger Chilling Out. I haven't touched it in two weeks - its possible that I now associate it with Hell Week so I'm going to put it away for a bit.

My Craftsy class on JAYGo is also making slow progress. I've finished triangles and have started setting up the motifs for joining circles.

So what's next? Not sure yet, but I'll share it when I figure it out.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hell Week

I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to publish this, as its not particularly relevant to my blog's topic and it is also extremely personal. I generally attempt to keep extremely personal revelations out of the public forum, but the truth is that one of the major factors that allowed me to survive what I have unaffectionately come to term as Hell Week was reading other women's stories. i'm not putting this out there as a plea for sympathy but rather in the hopes that I can encourage someone else.

Not so long ago, the Smidget stopped sleeping in two to three hour blocks and instead woke every hour to hour and a half to eat. It seemed that the instant I put him down and dozed off, he was awake and crying again. Our evenings started following this pattern: he would happily splash his way though his bath, often flooding the bathroom in the process, get his pajamas on, say goodnight to Daddy, and nurse for 2-3 hours while in a light sleep. Around midnight I would put him in the bassinet, brush my teeth, go to bed, wake up twenty minutes later to feed him, and then 6-7 other times between 1 am and 9 am.

The first two nights of this were rough but I told myself it was a short term thing. Another growth spurt, even though it felt like it had only been a few days since the last one ended. During the day, the feeding frenzy continued. It felt like if he was awake, he wanted to eat. I stopped crafting during Smidget's first nap of the day and instead went back to bed when he did. We dragged ourselves to church on Sunday morning and I spent all of church service in the opposite end of the building nursing him, because there was a one-year old in the nursery that had the flu.

By night three I was desperate for sleep and spent every nursing session reading about sleep training and how I was teaching my kiddo bad habits by letting him nurse as frequently as he wanted to at night but I couldn't reconcile the fact that I KNEW he could go longer without eating because he HAS gone longer, with the idea that this was all my fault for teaching him bad habits. And yet in my sleep-deprived state I couldn't help but wonder if this was a disaster of my own creation, so I attempted to soothe him back to sleep without nursing, only to inspire a full on baby-apocalypse when he didn't get fed. I could only conclude that if he's waking up its because he needs something and so we continue on.

On day four the laundry and dishes are piling up and the grocery shopping hadn't been done in a week. We're living off of takeout. I'm eating crackers and cream cheese for lunch. I don't want to take Smidget anywhere because he still wants to eat every hour or so during the day.  My computer died a few weeks ago so I don't even have my video games to distract me while he's nursing.  My husband is being a trooper but I'm starting to snark at him constantly. He tries to take the baby off my hands more often but it doesn't work. I spend my time nursing the baby and trying to prepare our financial documents for our tax guy.  I read an article with the best line ever - "This too shall pass; it may pass like a kidney stone but it will pass." It becomes my mantra.

Its day five and I'm so tired I can't sleep when I lay down to nap. The taxes still need to be done.  I realize I haven't showered in three days. I put Planet Earth II on Netflix and plop the baby in front of the TV for 15 minutes just so I can take a shower. Mom guilt abounds. I'm falling asleep during our middle of the night nursing sessions. More mom guilt. I thank God for boppy pillows and recliners.

On day six I have to go keep my appointment with my tax preparer. I'm dreading it but I load the baby up anyway, fill the car up with gas, and head out to my Mother-In-Law's house, who is going to watch the kiddo while I go to my appointment. My car breaks down on the way. This is the third major repair on our vehicles in two months. I'm grateful we made it off the freeway in one piece but my nerves are frayed.  Jack leaves work early to have it towed, my mother in law picks me and the baby up at the gas station I managed to limp my car to.  She asks me what the plan is and all I can come up with is "cry." I feed the baby, rush to my appointment, rush back to feed the baby who has now been without nutrition for two hours and its the end of the world, Jack has the car towed, and a trip that was supposed to take 3-4 hours takes 7 hours.

During all of this, Smidget's teething gets bad, so he's even fussier and crankier than I am. He also has dry scaly red and bumpy cheeks and I've spent two weeks trying to figure out whats causing it. They're itchy and he keeps clawing at them, occasionally scratching them open. I've changed his laundry detergent and his bath soap, rewashed all his clothes and bedding, coated his cheeks with lanolin, coconut oil with lavender, and rose ointment, and nothing helps. I make him wear socks on his hands, which he hates, and make him sleep swaddled to keep him from scratching his face in his sleep, which he hates.

Day seven rolls around and its now been an entire week since I had more than one consecutive hour of sleep. Smidget and I are both feeling the sleep deprivation. I pass him off to Jack, cancel my chiropractic appointment, send them off to keep theirs, and attempt to take a nap. The baby screams all the way there and all the way back. I have my niece and my teenage cousin coming over the next day to celebrate the Olympics, something I scheduled weeks ago, and I have nothing to feed them and no activities for them to do. I haven't cleaned up the house. I'm going to give up on breastfeeding, convert him to formula, start the baby on solids earlier than planned. I'm tired of spending 8-10 hours a day with an infant attached to my chest.

Then the baby sleeps for five hours straight that night.

All is not right with the world but my outlook is suddenly much brighter. He's still eating constantly during the day. I still haven't done housework or laundry. The car is still in the shop undergoing repairs.He's still only sleeping 2-3 hours before waking to eat. He's still trying to get the first tooth to pop through his gums and drooling like his life depends on it. He still doesn't want to be put down for any reason. But we both survived. And once in a while he smiles and giggles at me and I remember why I'm putting myself through this.

Ours days are still up and down. Some better, some worse. But if you are going through something similar, remember - This Too Shall Pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hello February

We usually have more snow a little earlier in the season, so I've been grateful that the weather has been taking it easy on us. Starting at about 3 am this morning we welcomed the first major snowstorm of the season. All the schools and a lot of the businesses in the area shut down preemptively in anticipation. I don't think it was as bad as they expected - I estimate we got about 6 inches total where live. However according to those that had to go out today, the roads were terrible because the plow trucks just weren't doing anything. Please, if you must drive in weather like this, be careful, go slow, and arrive safely.

I had gone to the grocery store yesterday (along with, apparently, every other living soul in the area,) so Smidget and I hunkered down while Jack had to brave the roads for work.

Crafting is slow going as the Smidget takes up most of my time and any time not spent interacting with him finds me doing things like dishes (ugh) or laundry (meh), but I have learned to carve out just a little time every morning for me during his first nap of the day.

This month I've been working on Tiger Chilling Out for my cross stitch project. I'm hoping to finish the top half by the end of the month. I'm trying to decide whether to do the backstitching and couching now or later. I would prefer to do it now but I'm worried that the q-snap will damage the couching as I move the frame to the bottom half.

 I also finished the purple and black hat and started on the matching scarf. We're playing yarn chicken with this one, as I'm trying to use up leftovers and I'm not sure I have enough for a decent scarf. I might unravel it and try a different pattern.
Ever buy a skein yarn that you thought was pretty cool and then have it stitch up totally ugly and hideous-like? Well I have - see below -  and so when I was able to start my JAYGo Craftsy class this week, I used the hated Herschnerr's Worsted 8 in Spice for my practice squares. This is for the first set of lessons, which teach a flat join on squares. It's really a nice way to join squares and I wish I'd known how to do it before starting my Shall-In-A-Ball afghan.

So here's a question - I can continue with this JAYGo square project and turn it into a tote bag OR recognize that I've mastered this type of flat join and move on. Which should I do? I don't really like "wasting" things but is it really wasted if I learned something new? Does everything I do need to have an end use? Will I actually use it for anything as I hate the colors? Is there anything inherently wrong with scrapping practice pieces? I've gotten around this in the past by pawning off my incomplete projects on my niece who has a knack for reimagining and repurposing items but I wouldn't wish this yarn on anyone I liked. If this was your project, what would you do with it?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Apocalypse Continues

2018 has continued to impress me with the sheer number of disasters that have struck. The most recent is that my trusty desktop computer, which has been my solid companion for seven years and several repairs (most recently replacing the RAM a couple of months ago) has finally died. It took a few days but we've managed to rig up my laptop to a monitor and keyboard for use until we are able to replace my desktop. I am clinging to the hope that with the changing of the months - HELLLOOOOOO FEBRUARY! - that things may settle down. 

Alright, thank you for listening to me whine yet again. Enough of that and onto the happy things. 

This month I went on my annual Painting With a Twist trip with my favorite cousin. We went on a Saturday and she choose this picture. It was SO MUCH FUN! We'd done a couple other previously but they were a bit on the little kid side. This time around we were able to schedule a really cool painting called A New Day.


I also finally got my grubby paws on a copy of Beetles, Bugs, and Butterflies. It took almost a month after ordering to arrive but it was worth the wait. If you are thinking about getting this book, don't get the Kindle version - wait for the hardcopy, its totally worth it. I never liked amigurumi but this book had me sold from the first time I stumbled across it. What you do is create a little caterpillar, and then the egg sack, and pupae, and the wings to go with him, so he goes through the entire life cycle in a crochet toy. Its modular and very cool. I've loaned the book to someone but I should have it back this weekend and I'll share more about it then. Also, if anyone knows of anything similar please let me know, I'd love to look into it.

In the world of crochet, I started this bulky hat. No pattern, just winging it. I used a double strand of yarn - one a variegated purple and the other solid black RHSS. I like how the black kind of mellows the yarn out a bit.

What I have affectionately come to think of as my Ravenclaw scarf has grown slightly. This project will definitely need to be blocked when completed. I'm not sure if its the yarn choice or the chevron pattern, but the whole scarf has a ripple to it.

Finally, this is as far as I was able to get on my cross stitch project for January, not meeting my goal of four rows on the first page. I've since put it away and resurrected Tiger Chilling Out.

In other news, I finally got fed up with trying to piecemeal the baby's room into a baby room rather than a storage room and I pushed everything not baby related out into the hallway and living room. Now there is some serious sorting and hopefully a fair amount of trashing and donating to do with the all that stuff.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Settling In

The last of the major disasters has been dealt with as far as I can do so. Its now up to the grace of God (amen) and good will of the IRS (haha.) Now its time to settle in to my new full time mom role and take care of a few projects around the house that I've been dying to do - like cleaning, sorting, and dejunking.

Having finished all of that emergency chaotic nonsense up last night, I took a little time to try something new and try to destress. I started the first octagon tile of the Persian Tiles blanket.

 The next step is to do the fans and the outer border. Its been interesting so far and I think I'll have to increase my tension to make everything lay pretty.  I'm making up the colorway as I go.

I also did the first block of the afghan I showed in my last post. However, since taking this photo I noticed that two of the stitches are in the wrong place and I've frogged and stitched it correctly. I do want to do this as a JAYGo, so I'm stuck here until I practice the join I want to do using some scrap yarn.

The Red Heart Super Saver Latte set is completed. It only took a few more rows to finish the hat.

I finally found somewhere to donate all these hats and scarves I keep making. My church works with a food pantry/charity closet called God's Helping Hands. They ran out of cold weather gear in December, so I'm excited to find somewhere that I know can use the hats and scarves.

I have a bin full of yarns waiting to become hats and scarves and right now they are the easiest thing to pick up for just a couple of minutes so I imagine they'll be a lot of them in the near future.