cocoa purl

Chocolate Covered Misadventures (knitting, childrearing, surviving) of a Passable Mind

Now I really mean it and FO’s July 13, 2009

Filed under: adventures,blog,kid's stuff,LG — cocoapurl @ 3:33 pm

Clearly, I wasn’t being completely honest in my last post. Three months and one baby later, now I’m RILLY, RILLY back.

Introducing my latest FO: Evelynn Faye (after her grandmas). Born April 10, 2009 (five weeks early) at 5lb 6 oz. Another C-section on account of my water breaking AND her being sideways. Sorry to those with sensitive sensibilities for the TMI. That’s as bad as it gets.

Evie at 3 months

Evie at 3 months

Oh. My.

Oh. My.

Can you stand it?

Can you stand it?

Oh. So. Cute.

And I’m not just saying that. She’s cute from a completely aesthetic, non-Mom-bias perspective. So cute that I like to nibble on her from time to time. And now that she’s smiling – oh, help me.

She is now 3 months and nearly 13 pounds, thanks in large part to constant nursing. Apparently, I’m good at growing babies and feeding babies – just not so hot at actually birthing them.

Given the round the clock nursing of the last few months, I haven’t been doing much knitting. Or spinning. Or sleeping. But I have been surfing Ravelry and reading knitting blogs voraciously via my iTouch. I have spun and knit thousands of projects, virtually, in my head.

I’ve actually STARTED a pair of booties, Magic Slippers, by SockPixie, in the real world. Well, I started them twice. Apparently I can screw up even the “super easy” “mindless” project that its supposed to be – my February Lady Sweater is being put aside until I’m getting five hours, solid, a night. Until then, I’m knitting remedial.

On the topic of the iTouch, one handed computing is the best thing ever for a nursing mom. There’s even an app called “Blogger” (Baby and Logger together, I’m figuring) that allows you to record every feeding, sleep, pee and poop of your baby. Sounds dumb to non-parents, I know. But the pediatrician likes to know these things, and I’m too out of it to remember to apply deodorant, much less remember how many times the baby pooped today. Oh, and as a bonus, I can even upload my Blogger log to Twitter! (Not that I do, but I could. I don’t tweet. I certainly don’t tweet when my baby last pooped.)

There are a couple downsides to the iTouch for a sleep-deprived new mom.  Namely, you can search anything anytime thanks to your handy WiFi-enabled browsing. This is a problem at three in the morning when the baby won’t sleep and you Google the little rash you found on her bum and come back with all the horrible things it could be, but probably isn’t. At 3 AM, though, its panic time. One Google later, I’m shaking the hubby awake, convinced she has leprosy.

Evie is tolerant, even amused by her folks. Her comedy de jour is Daddy doing raspberries. She smiles so hard that she’s teetering on the edge of a giggle. Now that we know it will happen any day, its a bit of a competition to see who gets her to giggle first. I think I have an ace up my sleeve, but the subtlety of a one-eye cross may be lost on my darling 3 month old.

In addition to her sense of humor, she has also found her thumb. Right now, this is GREAT news because it means she can “self-soothe” (Been reading a few too many baby books, have we?). A few years down the road when our 8 year old is still sucking her thumb, maybe not so much. But I have the willpower to completely ignore THAT possibility, because with thumb-sucking brings the potential for MORE SLEEP. And right now, sleep is my drug of choice.

Oh sweet thumb

Oh sweet thumb

Ive got you now

I've got you now

Snort, zzzzzzzzz

'Snort', zzzzzzzzz

Evie’s big brother LG is adjusting pretty well – it was a bit of a shock for everyone when she came early, and we were working up to preparing him for the big day. (We did the abridged version on the way to the hospital from the OB’s office). But he’s adjusting well to his new role, and even gives her kisses from time to time. And he likes putting her toes in his ear. Don’t ask.

Oh, and Little Guy is now officially a Big Guy. Thankfully, he’s a somewhat benevolent dictator. He decreed just today that Sunday is His Day to Complain. I inquired, and it is His Day only. FYI.



Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy, Days… July 29, 2008

Filed under: adventures,crafts,knitting,LG — cocoapurl @ 8:06 pm

Emphasis on LAZY. Not that we haven’t done a lot, but apparently, blogging isn’t part of what I call our newfound “lifestyle productivity”. You know -knitting, spinning, swimming, watching fireflies and hummingbirds, going ’round the house naked (LG, who quite enjoys it). Nothing productive in the true sense – we haven’t been fretting over the state of the economy, doing much housework, or even much real cooking (unless baking counts). We may be kicked out of the adult club for this summer, truly. Especially if there are any surprise house inspections.

Let me ‘splain. ….No, no – there is too much – let me sum up. (We just watched the Princess Bride again for the zilliionth time. Love that movie.)

  • I got a wheel.
My new Lovely Lendrum

My new Lovely Lendrum

And many ibuprofen later, I’m coming up for air. Seriously. I’m not sure I even showered those first few days. What sort of fiber freak gets so sore from spinning she actually ices her wrist?

YO! That would be me.

I’m figuring things out, little by little (namely, DON’T buy felted merino, no matter how pretty it is, and DON’T spin for two days straight unless you’ve trained for it) and am actually making something that looks like yarn – how about that?

This is a Lendrum DT (stands for double treadle) – its an upright wheel, as opposed to the Cinderella-style saxony wheel that most people think of. And not only does it fold, but it fits just nicely in this little corner next to the window. And the air conditioner (hey, if I’m crazy enough to work with wool in July, then I plan accordingly).

After much hemming and hawing and driving all over to try every flavor of wheel I could think of, I bought this one from the lovely Louise from the Marion Sheep and Wool shop (not ten minutes away from my house, I kid you not).

I’ve spun a LOT. At least, to me…

  • LG went to his first 4th of July Parade/fireworks.

He didn’t much care for the parade at first.

And then…the folks on the floats started to throw candy.



Instant convert.

  • LG got a big boy bed.

And since we’ve been talking a lot about how big boys also go on the potty, and have heard this is the best way to get them to learn:

The Pants-less days of Summer

The Pants-less days of Summer

It hasn’t worked yet, but we’ll keep on trying until A) He’s potty-trained, B) it gets too cold, or C) the neighbors start to complain.

  • We went to the Air Show.

BG was VERY excited. LG was game to go along, as long as he had earplugs. (We also may or may not have bribed him with a toy plane.)

And this was the helicopter used in the series Airwolf...

"And this was the helicopter used in the series "Airwolf"..."

Oooh, look! A tiny sliver of plane!

Oooh, look! A tiny sliver of plane!

Commiserating on who can make the best plane noises

Commiserating on who can make the best plane noises

My boys on the big plane - my photomerge experiment

My boys on the big plane - my photomerge experiment

Stick a fork in him...

Stick a fork in him

  • We’ve also been learning all about expressing our emotions.

  • I’ve been doing some knitting.

The hat is the Republic Hat (free pattern on Ravelry), made with my first ever handspun. Spindle spun, no less. I can’t quite decide if I love it or if it looks like a Redskin’s mascot threw up. On my head.

The dinosaur is Norbert from – I made this for my dinosaur-lovin’ nephew for his birthday. Knit up two weeks in advance, check. Assembled, check. Double-check on his birthdate…


Sorry DW – this one’s going to be late. Your Aunt C has a mental deficit when it comes to dates.

The end.



C’mon Baby, Do the Locomotion June 20, 2008

Filed under: adventures,BG,knitting,Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 10:39 pm

Racecars, boats, trains, trucks, motorcycles, even dirigibles. All boys LOVE locomotion.

This father’s day weekend was all about locomotion. We went to the Poconos this weekend to redeem BG’s raincheck for his stockcar driving lesson (warning – very annoying web site) that we (me and pretty much our entire extended family) got him for our anniversary/his birthday. The weather held out, though we were a bit nervous given the little lightning bolt icon that came up when we checked local weather Saturday morning.

This time around it was a little different atmosphere – being the day before Dad’s day, there were lots of families that treated their respective “Dad’s”, mostly to rides. Slightly less testosterone than the last time, but I had my Koigu sock with me – as good an estrogen shield as any. A purple, green and yellow handmade sock is a fine antidote for sitting in the pit of Pocono International Speedway. Which, by the way, matched the purple car that BG drove just so, though I kept that to myself at the time.

If you look closely, you can see the whites of his teeth.

And while I didn’t make it to my local WWKIP in Rochester, I represented at the speedway. I’m pretty sure I was the only one there. But who knows – maybe the tough-guy drivers, instructors and pit guys were sitting in the trailer in their badass fireproof jumpsuits, knitting away on some socks and debating the pros and cons of dpn’s and circulars. Not likely. But the mental image amuses me to no end.

Not too many men can pull of a bright red, white and blue jumpsuit. But even dudes are checking him out.

As for how he liked it, I give you exhibit A:

Clearly he didn’t have any fun. At ALL.

I asked him as we were leaving how his back dealt with it all (I was afraid to even mention how he was going to twist his three herniated disks into that car, Dukes of Hazzard style. You’d think for $120,000 they could afford door handles. Or even DOORS.) His answer: “My back?”

On Sunday, we went out on the Colonial Belle, a local canal boat that does tours down the Erie Canal. It was a great day – they had a guitarist on board, who, in addition to lovely canal-touring ditties, also did a fab rendition of the Gilligan’s Island theme (which is still in my head, unfortunately) and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”. (He had some ghost karaoke-style backup singers doing the ba-ba-ba‘s, but I couldn’t seem to locate them. Did I mention they had a full bar on the boat?)

The captain was a great guide, and pointed out all sorts of areas of interest and points of history. BG and LG had hot dogs, BG got a beer, mom-in-law had a margarita – good times. LG wasn’t completely enthralled, but tolerated the 1.5 hours of relative inactivity fairly well. His high points included going under the bridges (he has a bit of a thing for bridges – and ones that raise up? Forget it. He loses his mind.) and spotting the high tension wires.

And, dutiful historian of family activities that I am, I FORGOT THE CAMERA. Dumbass.

Over the course of the weekend, I finished one Jaywalker, out of previously mentioned purple Koigu, literally by a nose. Or a toe. I was getting very nervous as my remaining yarn ball got smaller and smaller. I kept holding it up to BG in an effort to use his spatial soothsaying abilities to give me some sense of things – will I finish the sock? Should I put in a contrasting toe? And where can I find Koigu in northeastern Pennsylvania? He was no help, but I managed to finish the sock. I think it was because I knitted faster and faster as I got to the toe – I hear that helps.

Will I make it?

Must knit faster…Hey! Are those caution cones ahead? Oh, wait, that’s just my toes.

I’m feeling the urge to cast on another big(ger) project still – I have a slew of Debbie Bliss Silk Aran burning a hole in my stash that I got on sale at Knit n’ Purl’s going out of business sale. I’ve been thinking (still) about Something Red, but I may go with Sprout instead. I’m not completely sure about the cables, though – they strike me as a little out of place. So basically, I’m still deciding to make a decision. I’m feeling a little flush with victory from the CPH – a pretty dangerous thing, as I’m even thinking of trying Lace Ribbon. Again.

Lace Ribbon

Lace Ribbon – so pretty, but I don’t know that my attention span and lace are compatible.

Happy Father’s Day to my BG, and to my Dad. Thank goodness for Dads. Who better to teach about how that liftbridge actually raises up, or why you probably shouldn’t somersault off the couch (they speak from experience). BG is a combination of good cop, explainer of all things, kisser of booboo’s (the bumps, not the dog. At least, not very often – BooBoo’s oral hygiene is questionable), giver of bear hugs, and builder of the best train tracks. Not to mention that he plays endless rounds of CandyLand, changes poopy diapers (level 4 toxicity), cleans the litter box and even the dogs’ late night gastric emissions from ill-conceived “snacks”, and watches the Do the Alphabet video AGAIN even though This Old House is on. All without complaint. (OK, maybe the diapers evokes a fairly dramatic grimace and a shudder.) Thanks, sweetie – you’re the best.

And while I’m sure my sister and I were such angels that discussions of gravity vs. us were not required, I thought I’d say: Thanks, Dad – not only for keeping the number of visits to the emergency room down, but for helping to make us into decent, law-abiding citizens. Who also know the merits of carburetors vs. throttle body injection – an important life skill.

And to my Mom and stepmom and mom-in-law – it goes without saying you rock! I neglected to give you a blog shout-out on Mom’s day. Sorry about that. So much for the “decent citizen” part – you did what you could with what you had to work with. On the upside, I comb my hair regularly, floss, and eat all of my broccoli. I even take a vitamin. Usually. And I’m doing my very best to make the world a nicer place, and raise my boy to do the same. But I just can’t bring myself to wear pantyhose/knee-highs. Or eat beets. They’re just gross.

You all have a pair of pretty hand-knit socks with your names on them. See, you DID raise me right.



File Under: What Was I Thinking? June 9, 2008

Filed under: adventures,crafts,knitting,LG — cocoapurl @ 9:21 pm

Ever get caught up in the moment? Your heart pounds with anticipation, excitement, and a touch of fear, and that inner voice tells you, “Go for it! What have you got to lose?”

I’m old enough that I ought to take this voice as a warning. Otherwise, I end up with this:

What Was I Thinking?

Maybe it was a reaction to the giddiness of the summer’s first pedicure. Maybe it was the acetone fumes. It seemed so cute and summery in the bottle, and yet somehow, on me, it’s like I have caution cones on my feet. The photo doesn’t do it justice. They glow in the dark, or it sure seems that way.

Other than my personal fashion setbacks, I’ve had a fabulous week in knitting news. I FINALLY finished the Central Park Hoodie for Tori:

Central Park Hoodie

Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool
How much? 2.5 skeins = 1195.0 yards (1092.7m)
Colorway = 8063 (“Latte”)

I was pretty darn proud of myself. My first REAL sweater (not counting Green Gables, or the Baby Kimono Sweater, or Dean’s Sweater that Shall not Be Named. Okay, maybe not my FIRST FIRST sweater, but first fully successful sweater), with set-in sleeves (not fun), picked up button band (not fun until I found out the whole 3 out of 4 rule, then it was a snap!), and its not gimoungous. Its a little small for me, but that’s okay, because its for Tori, who is about half my size. I sure hope it fits her, or maybe it could be a cozy, lounge-about sweater. How’s that for rationalization?

A bit part of the CPH’s success was the pattern itself – it was so well-written, even I could follow it. The only modifications I made were to make it a couple of inches longer in both the body and the sleeves, and no buttonholes – I’ll add loops if she wants some, but am just praying she doesn’t want a zipper. I don’t want to push my luck.

Central Park Hoodie

In other knitting/fiber news, I took my first spinning class last Saturday, at Village Yarn and Fiber Shop in East Rochester. I was ridiculously excited to go, so much so that I was EARLY (and I’m NEVER early. Ask anyone). I’ve been thinking about it ever since going to my first Finger Lakes Fiber Festival last fall and seeing all that glorious roving and the resulting handspun. It wasn’t so much that I was interested in the process, in all honestly, as the product – sooo pretty. Not only that, but its an economical way to feed a yarn habit – you can get a pound of gorgeous handpainted roving for 30 bucks. That’s nearly a sweater!

There is a catch, though – I’ve never been one known for my coordination. I can hardly carry on a conversation and drive a car, much less treadle with my feet while my hands are supposed to be doing something different. And if I’m expected to talk and behave like a normal social creature all the while – invitation to disaster.

So it was a mix of excitement and trepidation that I went to my first class, and sure enough, my hands and feet steadfastly refused to listen to instruction (Deb’s or mine) for the first hour or so. The Louet wheel I was using was cooperative enough, but I couldn’t seem to avoid the mega-twisties (for lack of a better description), in which the yarn formed little twists that stuck out like dreadlocks all over the bobbin. So while most everyone else had lovely, delicately twisted yarn with just enough variation to look organic and homey, and I had dread yarn. NOT the goal.

I’ve come to terms with my lack of coordination many many moons ago (somewhere about the time when, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t hit the damn baseball even though it was sitting motionless on top of the T) but this was upsetting, as I started to get the feeling that I could REALLY like spinning. I LIKED feeling the wool in my fingers, treadling barefoot (Deb assured me that it counted as aerobic exercise, and politely ignored my garish toenails) and watching it literally and magically transform into yarn.

Just about the point where I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to take me a LOT longer than my classmates to get it (“Do you have a remedial spinning class?”), Deb told me to adjust my tension a bit (the little doojiggy in front of the orifice).

{Cue Hallelujah chorus}

Suddenly, wonderful, thin, even yarn started coming out of my hands. I can’t describe how cool it was – clearly, I’m easily amused, but it was just so ….COOL. I had a few hiccups whenever I stopped to get more roving, and had to remind myself to breathe, but I DID it. The downside is that when I went to ply, it meant I had to ply my Bob Marley single with my heavenly, even single, but that’s okay. I like to think its organic.

My first handspun!

So I’m now thinking about a wheel of my own. Ahh, but money is always the issue – these things are NOT cheap, unfortunately (how do I always DO this? Why can’t I come up with cheap hobbies?). Since bake sales or a “Buy Christye a Wheel” walk-a-thon are probably out of the question, I started to eyeball the giant kitty litter bucket full of change we have in our closet. I was thinking MAYBE fifty bucks out of it, and that would be a great start, like found money, right? Nick and I took two coffee cans worth to Wegmans this morning (they have one of those Coinstar machines that you just dump it into) and we walked out with $150. Dollars. I guess its a good thing I never tried to guess the M&Ms in the jar or anything, because I’m apparently lousy at it. But free money! Its a sign – the wheel will be mine.

The Louet is okay, but I’ve read that you should try as many wheels as you can before you buy. I’ve been scouting eBay and craigslist too, just in case I can score a bargain.

I’ve also been threatening to have a yard sale for awhile – this seems as worthy a goal to clean out my clutter, and our Scoop Away bucket of change, as any.

Cursed Koigu

My precious Koigu yarn, so pretty and yet so cursed, has finally agreed to be knitted into a sock pattern. One that fits my foot. I must have started and ripped and started again 6 times. First with one pattern – didn’t like it with the yarn. Then with another, and another. Then finally a good pattern (Jaywalker)- but I got all the way to the heel flap before I realized it was TOO SMALL – I couldn’t even get it over my foot. Finally the right pattern/needle combo: There’s a reason why Jaywalker is such a hit. It really shows the colors to their advantage, but is simple enough to warrant not-too-much concentration. Good for watching “Lost” or to distract from “War“.

In Nick news, he finally worked up the courage to go through the sprinkler.

Nick and the Sprinkler

Nick and the Sprinkler

Wet Boy

I miss the elbow dimples, but what a little man he is. A cheeky monkey, too.



Could It Be? April 14, 2008

Filed under: adventures,knitting — cocoapurl @ 3:34 pm

I try not to get my hopes up. This is Rochester, and I’ve been burned before. And yet, I can’t help it. All you have to do is look at my face to know that I haven’t seen the sun in awhile (to be fair, I pretty much always look this way, but by the end of winter, I’m translucent).

The sun is out, and by George, it feels like it could be creeping up to 60 degrees. The seasonal summits of snow in the plazas are disappearing, and I think I saw something green on our back hill. It could be an empty Mountain Dew can, but I’m not using the binoculars to burst my bubble.

Local weathermen are even starting to sound optimistic. They’re a hearty bunch – easily the most reviled members of the local news, they are the cheerful harbingers of doom (and cold. and snow) 8 months out of the year. Its sort of a game of ours to guess how long the new guy (usually freshly minted from meteorology school in an ill-fitting suit) lasts – not much past January, though the persistent ones can last until February.

GASP! Shadows!

Anyhoo, the forecast this week called for THREE DAYS in the big 6-0.

And an even better antidote than a SAD machine for a long, cold, winter is: RED SOCKS (or as they say down south, REY-ed. And they sure are REY-ed).

Alas, they’re not for me. But that won’t stop me from caressing them, trying them on (the recipient has daintier feet, so I’m hoping for a better fit) or just pulling them out to stare at their lovely redness (yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet – how fitting!). The pattern is Monkey, from Knitty – my first fingering weight, and my first patterning (and only my third lace experience) sock design.

In other words, they took an embarrassingly long time.

Rey-yed Monkey In Law Socks

The up side is that the self striping stockinette sock I’m doing now (Felici, in Dakota, from KnitPicks ) is whizzing by. I cast-on yesterday and am already doing the heel flap. Don’t be too impressed, though – I haven’t done much else. Like cleaning (later). Or laundry (later). Or feeding my family (takeout).

However, I did accomplish one other thing yesterday that doesn’t happen very often, and left me feeling adult enough as to fritter away the rest of my day knitting a sock. We washed our dogs. BOTH of them. Collectively, that’s 162 lbs. of dirty, hairy, cranky canine – one of which howls like we’re removing his toenails pretty much the entire time. I spent the next couple of hours brushing and drying and brushing some more – somehow, that ad I saw about spinning your dog’s hair doesn’t seem quite so silly – until, miraculously, they were CLEAN. I was filthy, but it was something.

We go to this great place to get them clean – its a self-service dog grooming place where they have raised tubs complete with collars and hooks, shampoo, treats, towels, and aprons (hah!). They even have these great high-powered hair dryers, if the dog will actually put up with it (Boo-Boo kind of liked it, Yogi felt it was a violation of the Geneva convention.)

The best part is leaving the mess behind, and hoo-boy, you better believe their was one. At one point, Yogi somehow twisted his 78 lb self onto the 4 inch ledge where the tub attaches to the wall, and took the sprayer with him. There weren’t just a few drops here and there – “puddles” is not quite an adequate word either. Think much, MUCH bigger.

Ironically, Yogi is the dog that people are most afraid of. He’s big, nearly all black, and a little jumpy, but you could never find a bigger coward. He loves to swim, but somehow, baths are simply torture. Even the seasoned dog groomers kept looking over to be sure we weren’t secretly tazing him or something. Nope – just conditioning.

The tally: 8 towels, 10-15 treats (including the ones given to the house Boston Terrier to keep him from terrorizing Boo-Boo, who really could have swallowed him whole), 1/2 bottle of Oatmeal Shampoo, 4 ear wipes, two bandannas, one extremely wet me (except where the apron was – that was dry), $40 dollars for services.

Two clean but still somehow stinky wet dogs sleeping for the rest of they day: priceless.

Clean BooBooClean Yogi

Oh, yeah. And we got our taxes done. Well, BG went to the accountant and HE did them. But it was still an adult accomplishment. In celebration of getting back some of our own money, we got takeout.

And I made 1/2 a sock.



Off the Sugar Wagon November 9, 2007

Filed under: adventures,crafts,kid's stuff,LG — cocoapurl @ 10:38 pm

Or is it on? I can never remember.

Even though there was a distinct possibility of refusal, I was determined to make LG’s Halloween costume again this year. There was a tiny snag, in that every time I asked him what he wanted to be, he replied, firmly, “A pumpkin”. Not that I have anything against pumpkins, but part of me was hoping for something, well, a little more fun. Besides, I had no illusions that he would keep a pumpkin costume (you know, the ones that basically turn you into a giant beanbag) on for more than 30 seconds.

So LG and I were off to the fabric store to buy supplies. After browsing through pattern catalogs, I became aware of the fact that only two sets of people are apparently supposed to wear pumpkin costumes: toddlers and adults. This presented a problem for my guy – as he is currently wearing a 5/6, there were no sizes for KIDS. What’s a parent of a monster-sized toddler to do? All the kids costumes were all wrong – he doesn’t care about Superman or Spiderman – his interests range more along the lines of Elmo and Thomas the Train. But those don’t come in 5/6.

As I began to resign myself to a “Bob the Builder” plan B (overalls, plaid shirt, a hard hat and we’re done!) that I knew he wouldn’t really be into, we came across costumes for dogs. Specifically, a hot dog. Eureka!

A few yards of yellow, red and tan polartec later:

Hot Dog Bite

Mmm, hot dog boy.
In typical fashion, I completely winged the entire thing – I made a tube for the body, basically like a hot dog tube dress. To this, I attached a stuffed “mustard” section through a whole bunch of hook and eye’s (turns out iron on velcro – or iron on anything – and polartec is not a good idea. It returns to its plastic origins from whence it came.) Then I made two buns that attached to his back with velcro (this I could actually sew on). The flaw in my plan is evidenced by the oh so subtle string that’s tied around his waist – the “buns” were too big and too heavy and flopped around enough to actually throw him off balance. This is what I get for putting the thing together without my structural engineer/consultant (BG).

Suprisingly, he not only wore it, he kept it on for the whole block – the string self-destructed, and one bun, then another, eventually came off (actually, I took off the second one as he was decidedly off balance – a big problem with the steep neighborhood driveways). Turns out, he really likes trick-or-treating; I had thought we would visit our closest neighbors, say hi, and then head back home to hand out candy, as we did last year. Instead, after each house, he would say, “a couple more houses” – we even went to the resident scary house, complete with music, black lights, skeletons, and various spectres peeking out from the bushes and windows. LG was not fazed in his quest for candy.

We eventually arrived home, at which point he could have one piece of candy. Of course, his choices were sort of limited, being lactose intolerant (though we did give him one tiny candy bar earlier in the evening, and paid for it later). The lollipops, luckily, were the most fascinating, so we let him have one. Being his first, he didn’t really get the idea of sucking on it – he’s more of an instant gratification eater. Before we knew it, he had sucked on it hard enough and long enough that the whole thing ended up in his mouth, soggy stick end and all. BG did some extraction before it got out of hand.

First Lollipop Lolly Consult

First lollipop…Daddy gives a needed lollipop consultation.

Suprisingly (given his family history), he didn’t ask for his basket of candy again – maybe he will get the “I’ll eat it if its there, but otherwise no thanks” approach to sugar that his father has, rather than the “Give me the sugar NOW before you get hurt” problem that I seem to have. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years – I try desperately to avoid refined sugar, but definitely partake of pretty much all other kinds. Luckily, candy has never really been my thing, but it helps to not be able to eat 90% of it.

I know, I’m a mean mother, depriving my son of the sugar legacy he is entitled to. Maybe at least I can postpone it for a little while longer – at least, until next Halloween.



Planes, Trains and Automobiles July 20, 2007

Filed under: adventures,BG,LG — cocoapurl @ 12:28 am

It comes as a surprise to no one that our kid is pretty obsessed with all things mechanical. After all, it could be said that I am mildly mechanically inclined (if I do say so m’self – after all, I know “lefty-loosey, righty tighty”), and BG…Well, lets just say that’s his main superpower. Whenever I make the mistake of asking him how a repair is going, I usually get something like, “Well, there’s a flyrod that’s attached to a flange, which allows the piston…” At this point, I mostly hear a loud buzzing noise, but the point is, BG can instantly and easily visualize how something works, down to the last nut, so to speak. Its like having X-RAY vision, without the Peeping-Tom part. We’re still trying to figure out a way to exploit this power of his – sort of like having a numbers-blessed savant with you in a casino. If only there was a way to win a million dollars by being able to diagram something (TO SCALE!) in your head.

Anyhoo, LG is obsessed with trains, excited by cars/trucks, and pretty interested in airplanes. In fact, its a point of pride with my husband that LG can identify if a plane has a propeller or a jet engine by its sound. So it seemed a logical thing to go to the Annual Big Airshow. Armed with naught but a Radio Flyer wagon, Bunny Grahams, and about an inch-thick layer of sunscreen, off we went.

This air show is no ordinary show, I’m told – its “a big one”. This would account for us losing our car…but more on that later. Its held at a historic aircraft museum – which in these parts, means a small hanger with lots of pictures and a few airplanes attached to a cleared field airstrip. A REALLY big one.

Sidenote: This is the same airshow I took my Dad to years ago, during which he almost was carried away by hurricane force winds while trying to “save” a 2,000 lb. airplane from turning over. That’s my Dad, the engineer – had I asked, I’m sure I would have had a perfectly logical, physics-backed explanation as to why he would NOT have been flipped into the air like a pancake if the wind had decided to take the plane with it. But I didn’t ask. Besides, I’m pretty sure Dad loved every second of it, and because the wind ended up deciding against going all Dorothy on us, he was the ONLY thing that saved that plane that day, by gosh.

Getting back to our day at the airshow:

So much to see!

Who looks more excited? Tough call…

LG was pretty amused by it all – not sputtering with excitement, but most certainly entertained. BG, on the other hand, was pulling us (literally) from plane to plane, excitedly pointing out to LG all the design differences, introducing him to the pilots, putting him up on his shoulders for a better look. From that, LG mostly just remembers the plane with the teeth.

Highway to the Dangerzone
Can’t you almost hear “Highway to the Dangerzone”?

LG, for his part, was very into the one lonely helicopter there; the pilot offered the driver’s seat (wrong term, I know, but clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about) to all the little boys that wanted a look. A bigger kid, maybe 6 or 7, balked; but my normally stranger-shy boy immediately lifted his arms up to the guy, clearly giving the order “I go IN there!”

(I’m not being sexist about offering the seat to little boys, just stating the obvious. Girls were scarce, especially asking to sit in the driver’s seat. Maybe because we call it the driver’s seat. OK, THAT was probably sexist.)

I go IN there!
Leave it to my boy to find the dangerous red button.

After an ugly, low-blood sugar induced episode, (both me AND LG, quickly rectified by awful but so timely airshow burgers), we pressed on. The giant cargo plane was getting ready to take off…or do something….

(One of the annoying features of airshows for me is there’s so much PREPARATION. I mean, we watched this thing get ready for 3o minutes before it even started its engines, and then another 30 before it even moved. Oh, wait! They’re moving the chucks! Maybe…no. Wait! I think I see the pilot! Um….No. But wait! Guys in flight suits are telling us to move back – they must REALLY be ready now! OK, Buddy, watch this! Oh….no.

Maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad, maybe I was getting a little tired by then, maybe it was the jet fuel. I know its a thorough process, etc etc. All I knew by then is both LG and I were getting pretty gosh darn impatient.)

This thing was big and it was loud…the sort of loud that you know you probably shouldn’t be listening to. LG was having none of that, and administered safety procedures accordingly.

Safety first!

After we finally saw the thing lumber down the field runway, and we could hear each other, LG proclaimed, “TIME TO GO”.

I’ve never heard these words out of my boy’s mouth. Ever. Especially in light of the diversions in store. But he was pooped. All morning in the sun + running to every destination + sheer, stuttering awe + hamburgers + an hour or so after naptime = TIME TO GO.

TIME TO GO, Daddy.

But there was a problem. The F-14 (or F-16, F-18 – honesty, I didn’t really care at that point) was supposed to do its thing in 30 minutes. BG was trying to stall, and even suggested we shop(!) for a t-shirt for the little guy. You know he had to be desperate to kill some time to suggest such blasphemy. But alas, LG was firm – WE GO.

As we made our way to where the “parking lot” was, I began to get kind of a sinking feeling – the kind you get when you knew you should have been paying attention to something important. To wit: we had no idea, not one iota, or even an inkling, where our car was. The three or four rows of cars had become 10 +, two or three deep. (We weren’t that early – really.)

Worse still, we noticed there were people, tribes of families, wandering around like desert nomads in search of water. Family after family clambered by us, craning their necks in search of that familiar glimpse of roof rack, sticker, Mickey Mouse antenna cover. We joined in, convinced that we were in no such position – we were right over there. Yes, I’m sure of it – there’s the white RV we passed where the people were laying on top getting hammered….you know, next to the black Ford…

A half hour and several white RV’s later, I may have been getting a little testy, possibly directly in proportion to LG’s lack of amusement. I remember muttering something about BG’s special spatial superpower; where was it now – its ALWAYS his job to remember where we park…

And then, there it was…the sea of cars parted, and a single shaft of sunlight beamed down on our dusty green subaru. I heard the Hallelujah chorus in my head (another benefit of growing up with bad 70s-80s sitcoms – built in sound effects and laugh tracks at just the right moments). No sooner was LG strapped in when BG casually glanced at the clock – why, there’s only 7 minutes until the super-cool jet arrives! Whaddya know!

(While I don’t think he lost our car on purpose, it was just a little too pat in retrospect. My BG isn’t that underhanded, and my passive aggressive radar didn’t sound. STILL…)

The jet screamed overhead, dipped and looped and did its thing for about 15 minutes. BG stood outside the car, craning his neck to see what would happen next. Needless to say, LG and I sat in the car. In the air-conditioning. And quite happily, I might add.

A few mintues later, we pulled out, and BG dabbed the drool from the corners of his mouth and let out a satisfied sigh, as if he’d just eaten a large meal. Moments later, LG’s head bobbed and weaved, his pacifier fell out, and he was out cold.

My boys were tired, a little sunburned, and satisfied. Life is good.