How Few Is Too Few? and Knitting

How Few Is Too Few?

Some days my body complains a bit about the eating.  I suppose it’s possible that my recent calorie reduction has pushed my body a bit too far.  And I suppose losing just shy of 4lbs since Thursday might be a bit aggressive…At least, so says my body.

I am hoping after breakfast (which I will eat at about 6) I will feel a bit less shaky, tachycardic and weak and a bit more perky.  I am a little bit worried about that long flight of stairs at the AT’s office, at the moment, it seems like a mountain.  But again, I haven’t had breakfast yet, or my B vitamins and I haven’t kicked myself into high gear…Ummm….of course, I am not sure I have a high gear this morning.  <sigh>

This sucks. Everything about it sucks.  My body, my mind, my justifications, my skewed thinking, my denial….It is all a bit too much.

Okay….Next topic. (this is gonna be a short and sweet blog today…I have no energy for thinking or typing.)

Knitting

The green kimono sweater is finished. Buttons are on!  I did some 2 stitch I-cord and made loops to go over the buttons to fasten the sweater.  It is an experiment, as I am worried a wiggling baby might wiggle the loops off the buttons, but it’s worth a shot, right?

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And I have started my second blanket square and I have started a new sweater. However, I am not in love with the new sweater pattern…I am trying to decide if I will just frog it (rip it all out, “rip-it, rip-it”) and start over.

Just About The Knitting (And Sewing) Today

Just About The Knitting (And Sewing) Today

I had thought about writing another Heidi-history post today, or an anorexia post, or some sort of deep meaningful post today…But then I decided to just let that all rest…I’ve got therapy tomorrow, there will be enough deep meaning then…Today is a light day.  Today is a knitting (and sewing) post kind of day!

I got my first full square done for the blanket.  I am so, so, so happy with the grey and blue!  They look better together than I imagined they would.

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Now, I need to cast on for an identical square and then after that, I have to knit two squares with the grey and the darker blue.

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The crazy thing is that at the moment, my needles are empty! <gasp>  I will have to remedy that ASAP! 🙂

Last night, I made a trip to get some buttons for the green sweater.  I found buttons that are absolutely perfect.  The purple flower will be for the outside of the sweater and the green will be for the inside.  The flower looks amazing on the green.  I am really pleased I found nice buttons.  And I only need one of each button…So I will have to think of a project to go with the other two buttons!

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And while at the button store, I perused fleece.  We brought our little dog home from the greyhound rescue a year ago the 27th.  As an anniversary present for her, I am going to make her a new coat.  After hemming and hawing over fleece choices for half an hour, I finally spied this fleece.  Perfect!

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The little dog will love it, I am sure!

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Yup…nothing like a spoiled  well taken care of dog!

And lastly, as I was cranking out stripes last night, I had a friend “helping” me.  The big dog is particularly attached to me and any time I am sitting on the couch, he curls up beside me and either puts his head on my lap or tucks it behind my back.  Yesterday, his devotion even surpassed having yarn tickling his ears and my blanket square flip-flopping on his face.

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Nope, no spoiled dogs here!

 

Confused and Ignoring Reality and Knitting

Confused

I am still trying to figure out what is abuse/not abuse.  I have been told unequivocally by the AT and by my friend, L, that what I experienced growing up was abuse.  I just can’t wrap my head around it. The AT says that how my parents treated me was about them and their issues and not about me…Which completely defies the construct that I have in my head and I just don’t know how to reconcile it.  I kind of like the AT’s version…It is a lot nicer than my version (well…sort of anyway).

You know, I am afraid of latching onto the AT’s versions of things because if he is wrong, I will have a pretty hard fall.  But…he is an outside observer, his opinion is unbiased in that respect.  And I trust his experience and ability to see things that I don’t….Ugh. I just don’t know.  Therapy has been very confusing lately.

Ignoring Reality

This is a huge topic shift!

My friend, A, is very near and dear to my heart.  I have known her for 29 years (!) and she is one of those friends who knows everything about me.  And I mean everything.  We text daily and usually for at least an hour.  We get together about once a month…She lives about an hour away and coordinating schedules can be tricky, but we do the best we can.  Her friendship means the world to me and her support through all my mental illness has been strong and steady.

And at the end of July, she is moving away, across the country.  I have known about this since last May.  My first instinct was to withdraw from the relationship to wean myself off and save myself heartache.  Instead, I decided to make the most of it while she is still here.  Honestly, I am kind of devastated that she is moving, so I have been choosing to ignore it.  But as the months fly by, I realize that if I don’t face reality, I will be setting myself up for a huge crash.

Anyway, I just wanted to write this all down as sort of a first step in forcing myself to accept the inevitable.  Honestly, what I will do is ignore the fact that I wrote this out and keep ignoring the fact that she is moving.  It is just easier that way (at the moment). Have I ever mentioned I hate feelings/feeling?  I don’t want to feel the sadness about this.

Knitting

Huge progress on the kimono sweater yesterday.  It is done, seamed, I crocheted contrasting edging all around it…All it needs now is fasteners to close it.  The pattern calls for ties, I am pondering buttons.  Not sure what I will do.

Here’s one I made ages ago…it has ties on the side and inside.  They kind of look sloppy.

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And here’s the green one.  Adding a button to the front would still keep this clean look.  Hmmmm……I am leaning towards buttons, but the knitting is too tight to push a button through and I didn’t allow for button holes when I knit it.  I do have a solution in mind.  I guess I just need to commit, buttons or ties?

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And I will be casting on for a second one of this sweater pretty much immediately.  I like the pattern and I have another baby in mind to knit one for.  (A yet-to-be-born baby!) Although….I am somewhat tempted to start at 5HBS for that baby…So many choices.

5HBS is a 5 Hour Baby Sweater (or in my case, a 10-12 hour baby sweater. LOL)  I have knit zillions, I actually probably have 5 already knit and set aside.  Here’s one I knit ages ago.

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Of course, there is no rule as to how many projects I can have going at one time.  I could cast on for both sweaters! 😉

Mood and Triple Decker Appointments and Knitting

Mood

For some reason, my mood dropped yesterday afternoon/evening.  I was kind of struggling with it and with the darker thoughts…But the interesting thing is that dh noticed and asked me a couple of times if I was okay.  I guess it never really occurred to me that I have an outward expression of the inward blackness.  I mean…I wasn’t really doing much at that point, just working on my knitting and listening to the tv.  How could I have been exuding depressed mood?  Well…I suppose it doesn’t matter, because evidently I was!

I still feel kind of flat this morning…and even a bit teary.  And though I can’t recall them this morning, I am aware of having angsty kinds of dreams last night. <sigh> I hope this is not a significant mood dip…I hope it is just a bit of a blip on my mood progress.

Triple-decker Day

Somehow, I ended up with a triple-decker appointment day today.  It’s mostly okay…I haven’t had one in a while.  But…I somehow managed to schedule my appointments with very inconvenient intervals between them.  The times are too long to comfortably wait and too short to comfortably do much between.  My solution to this is…Knitting.  I will just be toting my knitting along and keeping busy knitting (and not thinking or feeling).  I might fit in one quick errand between my second and third appointments as I need sewing machine needles…And the store is more or less on the way to appointment #3.

First up today is the AT.  Tuesday night I started missing the AT…It was just feeling like time to get back on track. Yesterday was just a waiting day…Knowing that today and my AT appointment were coming.  I am trying to decide if I want to broach the “What is abuse?” question with him….I’m still not sure if I want to go there, especially with the current mood dip.

After the AT is my PNP.  That should be uneventful.  Her appointments are generally pretty easy.  I want to remember to talk to her about my vitamin D level today.  It has done an amazing increase, which is fantastic.  I want to check in with her as to why she thinks it is better and share with her the Nutritionist’s thoughts on it.

Speaking of the Nutritionist, that is appointment #3.  I made it successfully through my “No goals” week.  But honestly, the fact that I don’t have to feel ashamed and like a failure because I didn’t meet my goals will be nice.  Overall, I have felt much more relaxed about my food and eating.  It has been interesting for me to observe, because even with my food anxiety dialed down several notches, the eating disorder is still in charge.  I have not eaten any more calories this week…And honestly, I have shaved calories off.  I’m not sure what makes me eat fewer calories…Well, other than the usual issues.  Oh wait…there is that sinking feeling of failure and then shame because I am eating fewer calories.  I guess it hadn’t gone too far. <sigh>

Knitting

Yes, I have still been knitting.

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My Family Of Origin And Food

My Family of Origin and Food

I have been a bit reluctant to blog about this because I am aware that it will highlight some of the dysfunction in my family of origin…But I am guessing that I am sort of a walking symptom of that dysfunction and it isn’t really any surprise that my upbringing was sort of fucked up.  And since I tend to lay it all here on the blog…Why not add more?

I am not sure how old I was when I became aware of food as an issue in my family.  You know, you grow up a certain way and you think that it’s normal…You don’t even question it.  So…I don’t know when my awareness slid from “this is normal” to “this isn’t normal.”

My dad was a clearly dysfunctional eater.  He was/is extremely obese and had very odd eating behaviors.  He ate excessively and drank sugared soda like it was water.  That was kind of normal.  Odd things were like mixing brown sugar and water into a sort of slurry and drinking it.  Or drinking salad dressing.  Weird.  Not normal.  I easily understood that!  I don’t know what drove him to his eating habits…he wasn’t heavy when my parents married.  Clearly something changed dramatically for him.

My mom was also obese when I was growing up.  She wasn’t heavy either when they got married…Her eating habits and soda drinking  were excessive, but did not appear to be dysfunctional in the same way as my dad’s.  Except of course her dieting.  She tried all sorts of diets.  She lost weight here and there, but never kept it off.  Not until the early 2000’s when she had a gastric bypass.  She lost lots of weight then…And while the amount she ate changed, what she ate never actually changed.  She kept eating the same old crap.  Subsequently, she has very slowly, but steadily gained weight.  And so she talks about dieting again.

Ever since I remember, my mom has tried to micromanage my dad’s eating habits and weight. She still does it now. It is kind of ironic as she both micromanages him and enables him…She buys crap for food, which they both eat…But then she tries to keep my dad from eating too much of it.  We will have dinner at their house and she will scold him about what he is eating or about him having a second or third helping…She will even slap his hand away as he will pick at the food on the table non-stop.  As soon as her back is turned, my dad will wolf down food…Which my mom will then notice and chide him for.  It is awkward to watch.  It also does no good…She has only driven him to be worse and it has become a sort of game/power struggle to them.

I remember when I was young that my mom even wanted to chain and padlock the fridge shut to keep my dad from eating.  I can’t remember if she actually ever did it, but I feel like when I saw my dad drinking the brown sugar it was because he didn’t have access to other food.  But my memory is hazy on some details.

Now…that was the tone and dynamic in my home.  But there were other really bizarre things too.  There were “special foods” that children were not allowed to eat, basically, only my mom was allowed to eat them.  This ranged from junk food like Pepperidge Farms cookies to actual healthy foods like fresh fruit.

One of the “special foods” injustices that I clearly remember was foods my mom would eat in the car.  My mom would stop at farm stands and get fresh peas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries….Yummy, delicious, drool-worthy items.  My sister and I would sit in the back seat and beg and beg for some…If she bought a pint of raspberries, we might get 2 or 3 berries each (to shut us up) and my dad would get a handful and my mom would eat the rest. It was never fair.  And my sister and I knew it.  Talk about feeling like a second-class citizen.  We weren’t worthy of having good food.  And how hard would it have been to buy two pints of berries, one for the front seat, one for the back seat? But I don’t think my mom did a good job of looking past her own wants.  (Clearly!)

And as a slight topic shift….The day I went strawberry picking with SS (The event that earned her the Social Strawberries pseudonym) she had Pixie with her.  When we went to the farm stand to pay and SS and Pixie spotted some raspberries and bought them.  And then SS did the most “normal” thing.  Of course, Pixie wanted some raspberries and wanted them right away, so SS found a little container, poured some raspberries in it and gave them to Pixie to eat.  I admit, I felt a little pang when I watched it.  That interaction highlighted how normal people would do it.  I felt a little…I don’t know…That pang was sort of a wistfulness for what I didn’t have.  If I recall correctly, SS even offered me some raspberries…Normal behavior again and even courteous!

K…back to my family dysfunction….So my mom’s dieting…Mostly, I ignored it.  But when I was about 14, I got sucked into it.  My parents decided to go to Nutrisystem.  It’s a diet place that supplies food for you to eat and weekly “support” meetings.  I got dragged along.  I don’t remember if I wanted to go or not…Or if I had a choice or not…But I feel like maybe it wasn’t really my choice.

The program actually had teen meetings for the “support” meetings…But my parents were never big on accommodating/putting effort into meeting my needs (my sister was not part of this diet…I don’t remember why not).  So…I had to go to the adult meeting with my parents.  Not only was it totally awkward and I was totally out of place and not age-appropriately supported, but….I had to be at the same meeting as my parents. (Not a good set-up for being honest and processing eating issues.) I basically remember about three things from that diet. 1. The food was crap (and it frightens me now to think of what kind of fake sugar and processed crap were in those little foil pouches of “food”), 2. I was ashamed, ashamed, ashamed at being part of the “support” meetings and with all those grown-ups, and 3. I knew my dad was going to fail at the diet because he may have changed what he ate, but he didn’t change his eating habits…So, instead of eating a whole bag of chips, he ate a whole bag of baby carrots…Meaning that when the diet fizzled out, he went right back to eating his whole bag of chips.

Did I lose weight? Probably, but it wasn’t enough of an impact that I actually remember it. Did I learn anything? Just more body shame/self-loathing.  Oh yes…and I learned that I was a failure at self-control and dieting. And…by not being accommodated for the teen meetings, it also reinforced that I wasn’t important.

As a kid who had developed emotional eating as a survival skill, basically I spent most of my middle school and high school years feeling guilty and ashamed for what I ate.  Heck…I didn’t even need to produce the shame myself as my parents did a good job of shaming me for it.   Food/eating and being fat was yet another example of how I was not good enough, didn’t do anything right and….Failed at “Pretty is as Pretty does.”

Do you think I could have ever been good enough for my mom? That I could ever be the child she wanted me to be?  The bar was so high.  And every time I tried to reach it…I just got kicked down. I was never ever good enough. Never.

Is it a wonder that I think that my parents hate me?

It’s good thing I was plucky kind of girl…because when I write all these history posts and actually see the stuff I grew up with…I just have no idea how I made it out of my family of origin as an actual functional human being.  But I can clearly see how I ended up with my self-esteem issues and perfectionism and self-loathing and eating dysfunctions, etc.

And then I always think…All of this was on top of the sexual abuse that I experienced when I was little girl.  How did I even survive at all?

Knitting

Since it was so cold yesterday (today is balmy in comparison at -10) and since I am processing the history blog posts, I spent a lot of time knitting.  I got a couple rows done on the striped square.  But…I got tons done on the kimono sweater. I have to finish the second sleeve and then knit the second front panel and the knitting will be done!

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Cold and About The Knitting

Cold

I would be remiss if I did not mention the cold weather we are having this weekend.  A few weeks ago, on a chilly therapy morning, the AT commented that it was “explicative cold outside.” I think it was in the single digits that morning…maybe 9ish? (Fahrenheit scale here )  BTW, he did not actually use an explicative.  I cautioned him that if we started using explicatives to describe the cold at that temp, what would we do if it was really, really cold?

Well folks, it is fucking cold this morning.  -23.  Nasty, painful, dangerous cold.  Last night it was snot-freeze-in-your-nose cold…this morning it is it-hurts-to-inhale cold.  Gotta love life in the snowy and ultra-cold hinterlands.

The furnace is running like crazy, the woodstove in the basement is fired up, the dogs are in pajamas and I have multiple layers on…We will stay warm today. I cannot imagine what nights and days like this are like for the homeless people in the City.  <brrrr>

And I just googled it….-23F is -30.5C.  Again, I say….fucking cold!

About The Knitting

I recently told the Art Therapist that I think my parents hated me.  He commented, “You have said that before.”  I let his comment slide…I didn’t want to go there and I had another thing I was talking about…Knitting.

I realize that all my history stories have featured my mother interacting with me.  There is a reason for this.  My father was pretty much totally emotionally absent from my world.  It’s not to say he didn’t participate at all…I don’t want to be unfair…And he did do things that were kind.  But I always felt like I was a burden to him.  Anyway, he had a volatile temper and scared the crap out of me, so I usually tried to stay out of his way.  And he wasn’t warm and fuzzy and he would say mean things that would just stick to my heart and eat away at me.  Basically, I learned his anger cues pretty quickly (and even now as an adult when I see him start to get mad, I get a feeling of dread in my stomach) so that I would avoid the wrath.  I was always on edge around him and carry some of that edginess still today…My dad used to hit us with his belt and to this day, when dh takes of his belt, the sound of it slipping through the loops sends me right into terror/freeze mode.

But I digress…This post is about my mom and knitting.

My mom is a prolific knitter. She loves to knit, has always loved to knit and she knits quickly and nicely.  When I was a kid and teen, I always wanted her to teach me to knit.  But she wouldn’t.  She always seemed put out by the idea.  It was yet another disappointment for me, though you would think at some point I would have learned to expect that.

When ds was a baby, we cloth diapered.

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We were so poor, we couldn’t afford disposables…When you have to choose disposable diapers vs. groceries….Well….you find another way to diaper your baby.  Back then, prefold diapers, pins and pants, were still the traditional method of diapering.  The new-fangled covers and all-in-one diapers were pretty much brand-new on the market and sooo, sooo expensive.  Wool soakers (an older, more traditional diaper cover) were all hand knit and super expensive too…Way beyond my budget. And of course, I didn’t know how to knit.

I had a book with a super simple knitted soaker pattern. It was straight knitting, nothing fancy, to produce a simple piece of knitting which would then be folded and seamed into little pants.  Ultra-basic. Heck…I could have even done the sewing part.  I asked my mom to make me some for ds.  And she wouldn’t.  She said she didn’t know how (Look, mom…I have a pattern!) which was BS because she could knit all sorts of complicated things.  She just didn’t want to.  I was never able to convince her to make me wool soakers.  But we would go visit and I could watch her knit sweaters and vests for herself.

My only conclusion at the time was that my mother didn’t care enough about me or ds to knit some soakers.  Kind of like my conclusion about her not teaching me to knit was that she hated me.  I suppose the second one is sort of a dire conclusion, but I was a kid and pretty sensitive and pretty black and white with my thinking.  And the knitting was just one thing on a continuum of reasons that I figured she didn’t like me.

So, about ten years ago, I bought a skein of yarn, some “candy cane” knitting needles and a little booklet on how to knit…And I sat and I taught myself to knit.  I stuck with it, I am stubborn like that, until I could make things.  Here is one of my first projects, a gift for a friend.

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As I kept knitting, I kept upping the challenge and learning new and different techniques.  I loved it.  I also taught ds to knit.  (Sometime, I will blog about how I did not repeat the parenting patterns that I grew up with.)  Ds is not really a knitter…At some point, I also taught him crochet and he prefers crocheting to knitting. I don’t care, I am just glad he has something he enjoys.

Since learning to knit, I have knit a zillion baby sweaters and booties and hats.  I used to donate them to a woman who gave them to immigrants just coming to the City from Africa…not prepared for the cold that we have here. (I can only image the climate shock for these immigrants!)  I have also knit blankets and soakers and mittens and ornaments and scarves and slippers and, and, and….You get the idea.

I stopped knitting when I stopped doing anything that I cared about, when my depression was so bad that I had no initiative and other than going to work and coming home, was not able to be very productive.  Ugh…that was such a dark and painful time for me.  I am sooo glad to have moved past that part of my depression.  (Though I worry it could happen again.)

As you know,  now I am knitting again.  And it I like it.  And I have decided that even if my initiative wavers, I will still knit, even if it is just a little bit.  Because I think knitting is good for me.

And though they are not my preferred needles, I still have my “candy cane” knitting needles…I will keep them forever as they symbolize an important beginning in my life….A moment when I chose to empower myself, to say “fuck you” to my mom and her self-absorption (at least in terms of the knitting) and teach myself what she would not teach me.

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And here’s my progress on the first knit-along (KAL) blanket square. It is about halfway to being a square now.

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And…here’s the ultra-simple soaker pattern. I just needed her to knit that Z shape for me. I don’t know why she couldn’t be bothered to just knit me up a few. (And I don’t know why it still hurts my feelings.)

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BTW, the pattern is from an awesome book called, The Children’s Year by S. Cooper, C. Fynes-Clinton and M, Rowling.  It is full of simple crafts and old-timey toys and games and knitting and sewing patterns…I love the book!

Regretting Choosing From Fear and Friends and Knitting

Regretting Choosing From Fear

It was cold here yesterday. Super cold.  I had yoga scheduled and I could not wait to go because the yoga room is always toasty warm.  And since it was sunny, I knew the sun would be pouring in making it warmer…And I knew the floor would be warm because the room has radiant floor heating.  Since, I am always cold these days, I was excited to go to yoga. Of course, I wanted to go for all the usual reasons too…But I really wanted the warmth yesterday.

And yoga was deliciously warm and my Instructor was her usual supportive and kind self and I was actually pretty relaxed and still feeling pretty present (leftover from Thursday).   It was all good.

And then we got to the end of our session…And I made a choice based on fear and ended up feeling a bit disappointed.  It was time for our Savasanah and ever since the flashback, my Instructor lets me find whatever place/position I want to be in to do Savasanah. And I have been choosing to sit on the floor with my back against the wall.  Which I did yesterday.  But it was not what I wanted to do.  What I really wanted to do was to lay on the hardwood floor (not even on my mat) and feel the warmth coming from below it.  And I briefly considered it as I slid my hands across the smooth, warm wood as I made my way towards the wall.  But…I was afraid.  I was afraid to lay on my back and open myself up to the possibility to another flashback.  While my body hungered for the comforting warmth of the floor, my mind just couldn’t allow the possibility.  <sigh>  It wasn’t until later (like a few hours later) that I felt the disappointment…That I really wished I had just let myself follow my  instincts and relax on the floor.

Ah well…regrets are regrets.  I will have the opportunity to make a different choice another time.

Friends

I spent the afternoon at J’s house with her and her baby.  I enjoy J’s company, she is very sweet and it was nice to see her.  When I was driving there, I realized the last time I saw her was when I had the tachycardia at work and had to go via ambulance to the ER.

Of course, J wanted to know how I am doing.  And I didn’t know what to say. I sort of answered vaguely and broadly.  She asked if my symptoms were improving any…How do you say to someone, “Well…not really.  I am kind of doing it to myself since my symptoms are caused by my eating disorder, which I have been unable to curb.  Until I get the calorie restriction under control, I won’t see an improvement in my symptoms.”? It seems kind of heavy for general conversation.  Although, I am guessing J would be a safe person to actually share that with, I feel very self-conscious about all my psych stuff and chose not to share.

We just hung out and chatted and admired her baby.  I love J, as she likes to share her baby, every time I go, right after I take my shoes off, she asks, “Do you want to hold him?”  Of course, I always say, “Yes.”  So, I held him and walked him to sleep and then held him in my lap while he was sleeping.  We talked about cloth diapers and when her baby was awake again, I showed her how to diaper him with a cloth diaper and then we tested the soaker.

And we spent a long time sitting on the floor while baby climbed on us and over us and around us, while dribbling drool and occasionally gurping spit-up on us.  It was heavenly! (I love, love, love babies!)

Here is Mr. Cutie Pie in his soaker.  Of the three different sizes I ended up sewing for him, the largest fit the best. (Sorry the picture is blurry, cell phone camera+moving target does not lend itself to the best pictures!)

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I told his mom that I would happily make him some more covers and she invited me back to her house to make some there and then she could help me make them.  It sounds like a plan to me!

Knitting

Since I spent most of the day out of the house, I didn’t get a ton of knitting done, but I did get two and a half or so more stripes done on the blanket square.  I am not a super fast knitter to start and since I started back up again, I seem a little bit slower and my hands get tired pretty fast.  I imagine in a couple of weeks, that will improve…For now, it means the knitting is somewhat slow going. It feels like it will take me forever to get four squares done! That’s okay though…I am a process knitter, not a product knitter (it is the same with most other handcrafting I do) so I don’t mind the time spent.

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