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Archive for June, 2011

Softee Baby Jacket

I’ll continue with my finished projects next week, but for this week I thought I’d share what I’m working on now. This is another pattern that came with the learning to knit kit. It calls for Bernat softee baby yarn, but I’m using Bernat Baby Sport yarn(which I think are at least similar). I’m making it for Nathaniel in the 18 month size, so that it should fit him when the weather cools off enough for it. So far, I just have the back and one side of the front finished, as well as the other front side started. I have to finish that side, do the sleeves and the hood and then sew everything together. I haven’t done much with sewing pieces together, so I hope it will still turn out good.

(NOTE: I took these photos with my phone, so I know they are not the greatest quality. Next time I’ll have to remember to use the actual camera.)

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The back.

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Left front(on it’s side)

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The start of the Right Front

Setting & Meeting Goals

As I said last week, I thrive on routine. I have also learned that I get so much more accomplished when I set goals for myself. Vague goals don’t help of course. Saying “I’m going to write something today”, usually means I might write 100 words if I’m lucky. But, If I say “I want to write at least 1000 words today”, I’m much more likely to get at least that much written.

This applies to every area of my life too. If I don’t put something down on my to do list, it is very unlikely to get done. But, if I can see what needs done right in front of me, I can do down the list checking things off as I finish them. Even with the list, I have a tendency to put some things of, especially phone calls(which I may get into that another day).

Of course, I have a tendency to take this too far. Back when I was in college, during my freshman and sophomore years, I would go to the gym just about every day, either to run or lift weights. I remember my mom always telling me not to push myself too hard. My response was always, “But, if I don’t push myself, how am I going to make any progress?” The problem was, I would take that too far. When I felt it getting too easy, instead of only adding one block of weight to the machine and increasing it slowly, I’d add several. And even though I never injured myself, it’s easy to get burned out on anything when you do too much too soon.

When I started writing again at the beginning of the year after doing nanowrimo last year(which kicked me back into writing after too much time away), I decided I should take it slow. So, I started out with a daily goal of 100 words. But, I knew I could do more than that, so it was like lifting five pound weight when you know you can lift fifty. But, instead of warming up my writing muscles, I bumped my writing goal right up to 750 words, and shortly after that 1000, without really giving myself time to catch up. And a few weeks in, I had stopped writing again. And when I stop writing, I become a miserable person. I’m impatient, irritable, and just miserable.

In March, I knew I needed to start writing again. I didn’t want to do too little or too much, so I started with a goal of 750 words. Then, every week or two, I would add 100 words to my goal(although I evened it out to get to 1000). Sometimes I write more than that, and some days less, but I try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t meet my goal everyday. Which is the reason I also set a weekly goal. That way if I don’t meet my goal every day, I can make it up on another day of the week, or write on the weekend if I get a chance(I usually take the weekends off though, because those are for family and are usually busy, particularly in the summer).

To keep me honest to my goals, I will be posting the week’s goals here every Monday along with how I did the week before. Last week’s goal was to write 1800 every day on my current work in progress and a total of 9000 for the week. I met that goal on Monday and Tuesday, but fell short the rest of the week and had less than 8000 by Friday night. I managed to write 639 on Saturday(even with a birthday party and bbq with friends later in the day) and another 480 on Sunday for a t0tal of 9073 for the week. This week, I’m raising my goal to 1900 a day and 9500 for the week. With the holiday this weekend, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of picnics, so hopefully I can meet that goal during the week.

What about you? Do you set goals for yourself? Or are you happy with getting whatever you can done? How do you get yourself to stick to your goals? Do you reward yourself when you meet a goal?

Growing Up

Nathaniel will be 10 months on July 3, but he just had his nine month well visit on Wednesday. He is growing very well. When he was born, he weighed 8 lbs, 9 oz. At 9.5 months, he weighs just a little less than 21 pounds. In comparison, his sister did not weigh 20 pounds until she turned 1. And now she’s still only weighing in at 30 pounds. He is 29 inches long(she was still 28.5 at 1 year). So apparently I’m going to have a little peanut and a bruiser. He’s developing right on track: crawling, pulling up on everything, babbling, and everything else that’s expected of an infant his age. He had to get three shots, and as it was nap time and he was already cranky, this did not go over too well. He did sleep on the way home and didn’t seem to be any crankier than normal although he did not nap as well as normal yesterday. He did rip off his own Band-aid after we got home though. We have to get some blood work closer to his first birthday to check his iron and lead levels then he’ll have his next appointment after he turns one.

Some background on Hayleigh(for those who don’t know): When she was two, she was only saying maybe a dozen words. Since we were concerned, we called Early Intervention. After doing an evaluation, she was found to be eligible for services through the birth to three program. A speech therapist came out to the house once a week to work with her until she turned three. At that time, she was saying about 4 dozen words and a few phrases, but was still behind where she should be. So we were able to get her into a preschool type program that focused on language/communication skills. It was only one day a week, but in the last nine months, she has made so much progress. She’ll be going to the pre-k program at the elementary school next year, and we just had a meeting yesterday with one of her teachers from this past year to go over her IEP(Individualized Educational Program ) for next year.

Her teacher also had some concerns because she was showing some difficulty with certain fine and gross motor skills. So, she was evaluated by physical and occupational therapists and was found to have delays in both areas as well. Her development in these areas was put at between 20 months and 39 months(and she’ll be 4, or 48 months, in less than seven weeks). So, she’ll be seen by both physical and occupational therapists during the rest of the summer session(she goes twice a week once a month during the summer) and during the next school year.

This is something I say all the time, but it is very true: they are just growing up too fast. I just made their 1 year and 4 year appointments yesterday. And I almost got choked up thinking how she can’t be almost 4 because sometimes it feels like she was just born. How does the time fly by so fast?

Knitting Wednesday: Previous Projects pt 1

Basket Weave Coaster

Last year I decided I wanted to learn to knit. I found a teach yourself to knit kit, and my mom ended up getting it for me for Christmas. After going through the lessons in the book, I decided to start on some projects. The first one I found was a simple basket weave coaster. I finished that one in about a day. And within 24 hours had spilled coffee on it(if anyone’s wondering, I’m a total klutz so this is not surprising).

Simple Ridge Dishcloth

My second project was a pattern I found in the book that came with the knitting kit. There were two patterns for dishcloths. I attempted the dishcloth with eyeless, but kept messing it up. So, I tried the simple ridge dishcloth pattern instead and had much better luck with that.

One Row Handspun Scarf

After finishing the dishcloth, I decided to make something for my daughter. I found a pattern for a scarf and cut the width of it just about in half to make a smaller one. It was a simple pattern, just repeating the same row over and over until it was the desired length.

My Grandmother’s Slippers

I found a picture of these slippers, and they looked just like the ones my great-grandma used to make. The slippers I had were falling apart, so I knitted a pair of these. I didn’t sew the toe together tight enough on the one and did not make the poms for the top of them, but I do not think they turned out too bad. I might try to make a new pair for next winter.

Writing Routine & Rituals

Since becoming a parent, I have learned that both my children and I thrive on routine. It cannot be a strict schedule or we would go insane when a wrench gets thrown in ours plans, which will of course happen from time to time. But, everyone is happier when the day follows our flexible routine.

The same goes for my writing. When I follow my routine and get my writing in, I am a much happier person. If something happens to keep me from writing one day, I find that I am much more impatient and irritable than on a good writing day. Another thing I’ve learned is that I’m very much a morning person. Well, really I’ve always known but recently realized it pertains to my writing as well. If I do not write first thing in the morning, I have a hard time getting anything written. This also affects everything else, meaning I don’t have the motivation to do anything around the house either. But, I am actually more productive around the house when I get the chance to write first thing. A problem comes in with the fact that like me, my kids are also early risers.

So, I had to find a way to work in that writing time before they get up in the morning. I figured that if I am up and out at the computer by five, I can write for at least an hour. Once my son is up, I cannot write anymore until he goes back down for a nap now that he is crawling and into everything. during his naps, I try to get as much writing done as I can as long as my daughter does not need me as well. If I don’t meet my goal for the day during his second nap, I will usually try to put in some writing time after both kids are in bed. But, the words do not flow for me quite as easily at night as they do in the morning, so more often I use that time to knit or read and relax.

As for writing rituals, those things one needs to do to write, I don’t know that I really have any. I do like to listen to music, something that puts me into the mood of the story, but I do not need it. In fact, I have even written on an app on my phone in the car before. I also like to have a caffeinated drink, coffee in the morning and Dr. Pepper in the afternoon, but I can write without it. All I really need is my computer or notebook and an idea.

Do you have obstacles to schedule around in your writing life? Or are you able to write during a large block of time? Any rituals that help get you in the right mood to write?

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