cocoa purl

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

A Burst of…Something August 17, 2009

Filed under: crafts,Eco-friendly,kid's stuff — cocoapurl @ 3:07 am

So I had started out writing a long post about how ECSTATIC I was about how my baby girl is suddenly, inexplicably, sleeping through the night. I am not unaware of my extreme good fortune in this matter, nor do I wish to draw the ire of all those parents who are, at this moment, subsisting on three hours of sweet sleep at a time for months and months. So to those folks, I say, Sorry, Thanks, and Hang in There. And please don’t hate me, though I totally understand if you do.

Anyhoo, with this newfound sleep time I find my brain is working ever so much better. I’m experiencing sort of a craft renaissance with all my rediscovered energy. Strangely, though, I seem to be more attracted to my sewing machine than my knitting needles at the moment. (Or the laundry.)

I had been wanting to try to make the n0-pattern kid pants as described by soulemama in her book The Creative Family. I love this book – she makes it all look and sound so easy. And by it,  I mean be a wonderful and natural mama to her gorgeous brood, all while creating and sewing and cooking and looking beautiful in skirts she made herself. Meanwhile, I’m still wearing my PJs (its late enough to be drinking, let’s just leave it at that), my shirt has spit-up on it that I can smell but not find, and the TV is most assuredly on. Oh well.

In the case of the pants, it was remarkably easy – I’ve made four pairs of pants for Evie (mostly from my old pajama pants and maternity tees) and they are flipping adorable on her, if I do say so myself. Of course, she’d be flipping adorable in a flour sack. Besides the point.

It turns out that I like sewing a lot, certainly a lot more than I used to. I think I’ve only recently (like, yesterday) realized why – I like sewing without a pattern. More specifically, I hate sewing with a pattern. This would be fine, except I don’t really know how to sew without one – I’m not gifted with a spatial superpower of how things should be put together (unlike my hubby, who uses this talent on things like automobiles.Pfff. What a waste.) So I’m stumbling through, and practicing on sacrificial material (i.e. maternity tees, old ripped PJ pants) as I fly, quite literally, by the seat of my pants.

Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

I also made the felt toy cube from the book. I used regular craft felt (labeled as recycled from soda bottles – even polyester is ECO) and put a bell inside. I also used bamboo fiber to stuff – it has a bit more heft to it than the regular poly stuff, and makes me feel even more virtuously ECO. However, I do realize that the likelihood of this thing breaking down in a landfill is pretty much zero – oh, well. At least its not plastic/made in china/toxic. Evie’s not much interested yet, but I sure like it.

We went on a little road trip to Grandma’s last week, which inspired me to make a felt board for the Little Guy. I loved these when I was a kid – it was always the most fought over toy in kindergarten, and time won on it was precious. It could be my nostalgia talking, but I love this thing. LG is not as interested, but again, I like it. (I’m noticing a trend here.)

Making it was super easy – I bought an inexpensive canvas at the craft store, a yard of blue felt, and a bunch of different colors of foot square felt. I stretched the blue over the canvas and glued and stapled it in place on the back of the frame. We went about cutting out basic shapes from the felt, but there are some more fancy pieces that the hubby cut out (he’s generally talented in just about every manner artistic) like trucks, cars, and even a shark. That last one sort of eclipses my meager trapezoids and pedestrian rhombuses (rhombi?).

I was inspired by blynkenandnod on Etsy to create shapes to make letters, instead of the letters themselves – so clever. Mine aren’t nearly as pretty as hers, but they work.

I finished Evie’s Magic Slippers, just in time for her to outgrow them. Serves me right for making booties in August. They’re still adorable.

I also used my newfound sewing prowess to make my big guy a pair of pajama pants. Unfortunately, the only material I could find with sharks on it was flannel, but he loves them anyway (he’s gaga for sharks at the moment). Hopefully he won’t hulk out between now and, well a month from now (this is western NY, after all). I did manage to score some awesome universe material that was pricey, but I was sure send him over the moon. (Sorry again).  Turns out – meh – not so much. These days, if its not about, pertaining to, or related to sharks, its not on the radar. They’re still cute, and he wears them willingly – more than enough for me.

Next on the agenda: more pants for the munchkins, and perhaps a pair for myself. I also started some gift knitting on the QT, so no pictures on that. Suffice it to say, its from a CHART. Amazing what a few more hours of sleep can do for you.

Pictures to come!



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.



Happy Big Three June 5, 2008

Filed under: kid's stuff,LG,rambling — cocoapurl @ 8:23 pm

Dear Nick –

Its that time again – time for me to collate the mental files for the last year and chronicle this, your third year (technically, it was your second – but that whole 21 century thing, while logical, just never sounded right given its not 2100).

Birthday Cupcakes

You’ve officially crossed the line from toddler to preschooler/little boy.

Yesterday, you were decked out in your shorts (with new longer skinny little legs), sunglasses (Crayola, of course), red Converse all-stars, and your new airplane watch. (Nothing transforms a little kid into a bigger kid than a watch). While it is extremely difficult in these sorts of instances to not grab you up and give you about a million kisses on your not-so-chubby neck, all the while telling you how painfully cute and grown up you are, I restrained myself with no small effort Instead, I told you that I loved you, and that I was so proud of what a big boy you have become. You told me you loved me back (I figure I have another year or so until I get the eye roll as it relates to Mommy being sappy) and returned to your “Hey, Pancakes!” book. Did I mention you were sitting on your potty at the time? Sigh.

Your latest thing is to ask me how to spell everything: while I love this from a developmental/learning point of view, it always seems to be at its height before I’ve had coffee. Spelling “refrigerator” is WAY more difficult from this perspective. (Also challenging: garbage disposal, marsupial, and chalkboard, for some dumb reason. It has, however, made me spelling bee-ready. Amorphous? Bring it on.)

Your sense of humor has also seemed to come into its own – you’ve become quite the teller of jokes (except you usually crack up before getting to the punch line). But as I’ve said before, neither I or your Dad have any illusions regarding the sophistication of our own humor – if it falls or flatulates (is that a word?), its funny. And nothing makes your Dad giggle like a schoolgirl than the scene in Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, of MiniMe beating the cr*p out of Austin. Like I said, you don’t have much to work with.

But back to your favorite jokes, such as the following:

“What is a ghost’s favorite dessert? BOOO-berry pie”!

“How does the ocean say hello? It gives a WAVE!”

At which point you collapse into a riff of what can best be described as Cleatus-inspired laughter. Or Roscoe P. Coltrane, depending on your generation.

Not content to deliver your lines without your own creative twist, however, the original joke is usually then re-delivered with noun in the punchline replaced with “poop”. Or “poopy-head”. Or “tooty-head”. I know not what is this thing that attracts and amuses young boys (and let’s face it – all boys/men) to anything rear end-related. Its like a hard-wired Y-linked funny button. If you don’t believe me, walk into a room full of people, and say “FART!” at the top of your lungs. Then check to see who’s smiling. It’s not the women.

Teenager Flashforward

I do admit at being enormously and completely proud of all that you can DO now, even though you tell me all the time, “Don’t be proud of me!”. (But you dressed yourself! I can’t help grinning like an idiot!) I also know that you’re both sensitive (to the point of mind-reading, see previous sentence) AND stubborn – which are two characteristics I have mixed feelings about having passed on to you. Though the stubbornness can pay off in the form of terrier-like tenacity, and the sensitivity is already making you into a kind and generous little boy. You’re pretty giving with your affections, and are even showing Yogi (your nemesis!) a little love now every so often. You bring BooBoo his ball when you think “he looks sad”. It also, however, confuses the heck out of you when another kid yells at you, or is mean to you. And your little quivering chin breaks my heart, because I know there’s more to come. And that it will be HARD. And that there’s not a thing I can do to help, other than hug you when you need it.

The stubbornness is evidenced by the whole resistance to the potty thing, but I keep telling myself that you will be going on the potty by the time you’re twelve. I hope. All I know is that you’re already in “Goodnights” (the diapers for big kids who wet the bed sometimes) full time, because at 46 lbs and 48 inches tall, you’re a wee bit big for the Pull-ups/diapers anymore (they only go up to 5T). Pretty soon we’ll be using Depends.

You’ve become quite social lately, especially with the ladies. And I do mean ladies. The other day you asked our waitress if she liked your sneakers. And at the grocery store yesterday, you stuck your face nearly between the scanner and the cashier trying to catch her eye with a smile. Your subtle moves crack me up, mostly because you’re willing to share just about any and all information (“I’m three! I have four engines! I need a diaper change! I like boobies!”) except your name. At that point, you become “shy”. Somehow, shyness didn’t prevent you from entertaining the entire produce section at Wegmans with a spontaneous rendition of the I Love Boobies song (a Nick original, apparently). While I’m working on teaching you the meaning of the word appropriate, this lesson is not helped by the fact that I can’t really keep a straight face when trying to lecture you about time and place.

Brain Freeze be darned

Your favorite things at the moment (and have been for some time) are your books. Any books. All books. Library books, kid’s books, even Dog Training for Dummies. (The other day, you had pulled out Setting up an LLC, and were apparently riveted). Your current favorite books, in order of repetition, are Hey, Pancakes!, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar. That’s pretty much how you like to conduct your days – eat, get dirty, eat some more – preferably something sweet. Repeat.

One of my favorite things at the moment is our talks right before bed, after we’ve read at least three books, and you’re in your robot jammies. You’ve already run around and “gotten the junk out”, and are sitting, sometimes quietly, in my lap. Our nightly discussion of late has been what to dream about; last night, it was that you were going to build a rocket ship out of your crib and that giant box that your beanbag came in, you were going to Pluto, and you would make room for me and Daddy, and Tori (and even Yogi and BooBoo, but we would need to make spacesuits for them first). We discussed on how it was a really long trip, so you decided we needed plenty of snacks; a whole box of granola bars, M&M’s, and lots of juice boxes. The ones with the funny faces that they have at the grocery store (that I never let you get).

We’ll be getting you a big boy bed soon (another baby-hood relic you don’t seem too keen to let go) – that, with the giving up of the Paci (thank YOU, Paci Fairy!), sitting on the potty, the fact that you could now have a booster instead of a carseat, that REALLY you don’t need a booster in a restaurant – its all so much so fast. You are transforming so quickly into a little man that I can’t seem to easily let go of the baby that you were. But you remind me every day about how what a unique, brilliant, funny and kind little boy you are (and are growing into). And while I’m more and more nervous as you engage the world outside ours (and I’m less able to control what you see, what you hear, or what you experience), I know your good heart and sharp mind will serve you pretty well.

No caption required

I love you, big boy. Happy Three.



P.S. I’m really sorry about the potty picture. If this is uncovered during a future gubernatorial campaign, you have my permission to declare me insane and tuck me away in some beachside villa where I can subject you to no further public embarrassment. But if anyone asks, you’ll always be my cutie-patootie.


Half FULL, Da****t! January 23, 2008

Filed under: kid's stuff,knitting,LG,Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 3:49 pm

It’s tough to be an optimist. It takes dedication and hard work with a hefty helping of self-delusion. A little ignorance doesn’t hurt either. I can’t remember what movie it was, but I remember this great quote that said, “If you expect the worst, you’re never disappointed. When things go well, its always pleasant surprise.” I think it might have been a John Cusack movie. Scary to say the Eighties were ANYONE’S formative years.

I generally look forward to each New Year’s because of my determination to see the promise in starting anew. While my typical New Year’s Eve consists of watching the ball drop while knitting, I have no problem with this. In fact, I prefer it to a crowded, weird party with a bunch of people I don’t know. Plus, that sort of occasion usually requires panty hose, which is a deal breaker.

Its actually New Year’s Day I look forward to, as I’m ALL about possibilities. The possibility of losing 20 pounds. Or coming up with THE most perfect chocolate cookie recipe (I realize the contradiction here). Or sitting in a clean house, fabulous dinner in the oven, knitting on the couch, watching my husband and son bond over a game of chess or some other equally intellectual pursuit, while my dogs (also clean) sit lovingly at my feet.

Like I said, self-delusion is a requirement.

And so I woke on the first day of the year to the sun shining, which can be rare in these parts, birds chirping (at least one – most are smarter than to be hanging around here), and the day full of promise and renewal. I walked into my lovely son’s room wearing actual pajamas (thanks, Mom) instead of the requisite sweats, letting my husband sleep/relax in a burst of altruism brought on by all this promise. And so it was with good cheer that I opened his door, and said:

“Good Morning, Sweetie! Did you have…. ”


It’s hard to put a spin on that, even for a determined optimist. And so began my 2008. Happy Frickin’ New Year.

I’m not bothered by the fact that LG want’s his Dad – I’ve had my glory days. Heck, I singlehandedly sustained the little critter for the first year of his life, well into the 98th percentile, I might add. Many, many nights, when he cried out in his sleep or had a nightmare, he asked for Mommy. I knew that my days as numero uno were numbered. Its just that I didn’t plan for that sort of animosity until at least, say, 13 years from now.

In other news, I managed to finish almost all my gift knitting, except the biggies – a sweater and a felted bag. I have been granted an extension due to a postponed visit in one case, and out of the goodness of their heart for the other. As it happens, I was 96% done with the sweater when my worst fears were confirmed – I HATED it. I had suspected this all along, but deluded myself into thinking it would all be OK. The yarn is scratchy (it was “rustic”), the pattern annoying (it will be challenging! ) and the size? TOO BIG (Aren’t baggy sweaters in?).

Occasionally, my optimism can border on an alternate reality.

With this realization came another pressing issue – now what? I had pledged (to myself) that I was going to make a sweater for this person for Christmas (no longer “by”, but now “for”), and by gum, that is exactly what I’m going to do.

Stubborness helps immensely when you are determined to see the bright side.

The good news is that my obsession to get this done has resulted in one felted bag, awaiting lining, and 3/4 of one sweater, awaiting a second sleeve. I’m encouraged by the fact that I started the sweater a mere two weeks ago.

I’m gonna be optimistic about it if it kills me.



Procrastination+Desperation = Craft! November 29, 2007

Filed under: crafts,kid's stuff — cocoapurl @ 6:55 pm

I did it again. Instead of working on the three web sites I should be working on, I’m goofing off. Seriously, this has to stop. I’m on a canvas moratorium for the foreseeable future. Really.

Nick the Race Car Driver

Nick the Racecar Driver. He’s not three yet, but I thought 2.6 would look weird.

This was another test, this one with a coat of black paint on the canvas that I let dry for about 24 hours before painting over it. I was originally going to sand it after it dried to give it a neat color/texture. I still might, but only in the background. I like the way the red didn’t quite cover the black (though the blue did – I SHOULD have known that. Damn color theory.) The only bummer is that it really doesn’t “go” with the other one I did because the colors are so much more muted. The boy likes them, though. He keeps asking when we are going to hang his paintings.

Maybe we should do an opening. LG loves to serve hors’devours – he’s always bringing me “cheese” (refrigerator magnets) on “crackers” (potholders).

(Sorry about butchering the spelling of the small snack foods served before meals – apparently WordPress doesn’t know how to spell it either.)



A Great Excuse November 27, 2007

Filed under: crafts,kid's stuff — cocoapurl @ 5:19 pm

Christmas, and surrounding holidays, are a terrific excuse to justify all sorts of craft projects that ordinarily my inner voice would be all over me for:

IV: It’s yet ANOTHER project, don’t you have enough started ALREADY? Besides, isn’t there dishes/laundry/grading to be done?

Me: Quiet, you – It’s for a Christmas present.

IV: Noooooooo…..

My inner voice fades out in a Wizard of Oz “I’m melting” sort of way – gifting is my guilty concsience’s kryptonite.

I’ve had it in my head for awhile that I wanted to try and paint something for Nick’s room – originally, it was going to be a mural, but the thought of painting over it eventually was not compelling. So I decided instead to do an actual PAINTING, on canvas and everything. BG, ever the voice of reason, suggested I get some “practice” in first – a couple small canvases, a few tubes of acrylic and moi.

Five hours later:

Nick’s Construction

Once it dries, I’ll paint “Nick’s Construction” on the door. He told me once that he was going to work – when I asked what his job was, he said, “Dump Truck”.

Disclaimer: I completely ripped off the wonderful artist that does the Big/Little, Yummy/Yucky books – I haven’t really found a style of my own yet, and after all, this was just practice….Shut UP, conscience!

You know where this is going: I could make gifts with this new trick I can do! To the art store!



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.