Tag Archive | parenting

Colorado Visit

Last weekend I got to fly out to visit the girl, the first time I’d seen her since she left for college almost two months ago now. She still doesn’t have a roommate, so I got to sleep in her dorm room. It was comfier than I expected, though maybe I slept well because it was quiet and I was relaxed. Aside from seeing the girl, the absolute best thing about the trip was that I wasn’t in charge of anything or anyone. She was the one navigating and driving, and I let her pick meals, and I just kind of floated along. It was marvelous.

My first full day there was all about marching band. We showed up at 8 am for rehearsal, and the parents got to walk through campus with the band as they played. We also got to be on the field for the pregame show, and that was pretty nifty.

g2JIVS+kQImy9eHBtKwI had to stay for the entire football game. I made a lot of progress on my sock, along with getting a nice sunburn. (We weren’t expecting all the clouds to burn off.) The next day we slept in later than I’ve slept in years, and headed to Boulder for the NCAR trail. She hadn’t visited the mountains since moving to Colorado, which I thought was very sad. So I showed her an awesome free trail that goes up into the flatirons, and we had a great hike. There’s something so restorative about being up in the mountains, where it’s peaceful and silent. I think I need to do it more often!

We ate dorm food, which wasn’t great, and I took her out to eat a couple of times, which was. We spent a lot of time just relaxing in her dorm with her suitemates, and I met some of her friends. She’s created a nice community for herself there, and seems very settled and happy, and that pleases me a lot. Of course I miss her, but she’s in exactly the right place right now, and I love that. She’s growing up, getting more self-assured and confident, which is what’s supposed to happen as your kids grow up, I think. I’m in that awkward place where I can advise and suggest and recommend, but I have to cross my fingers and hope that we’ve taught her how to make good choices.

The trip wrapped up with a band concert on Tuesday. She plays flute (her primary instrument) in the symphonic band and clarinet in the concert band, so I got to see her perform several pieces, and I’m so glad I was able to stay for it. As much as I love listening to live music, it’s even more special when my kid is up there helping make it. I don’t know if/when I’ll get to hear her perform again this year, so this meant a lot to me.

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The next morning she drove me to Denver for my flight and walked me to security. We hugged, and I was crying but she was not. I don’t think it was because she wouldn’t miss me. I think it’s because she’s happy there, and I’m glad I got to see that. (And glad I got to see my mountains!!)

I’m leaving…on a jet plane

I get to go visit the girl!! I haven’t seen her in seven weeks and that is a very long time, I believe. She’s having a marvelous time and we’re doing all right without her, but still, I am excited for the visit. I’ll get to see her in the marching band tomorrow (even if I do have to sit through a football game) and I’m staying through Tuesday so I can see her first band concerts too. She’s playing the flute in the symphonic band and the clarinet in the concert band, and it’s worth every penny to get to see all of that. Music is really important to me, and I love that she gets to create music that generates those feelings and emotions for lots of people.

Of course we’ll go visit the mountains once, and maybe I can hit a yarn store, and I’ll take her shopping and out to eat, and I’m sure we’ll just hang out a lot. She still doesn’t have a roommate which means I get to share her room while I’m there. Maybe I’ll even eat dorm food and relive my college days! I’m a little sad to be leaving my boys and my puppers for five days, but honestly, it won’t suck to be on my own for a while. She’ll be in classes on Monday and Tuesday, and people keep asking me what I’ll do. Um, if I get to hang out somewhere quiet and peaceful and knit and read and eat snacks all day, that seems pretty awesome to me, you know?

I have three projects packed, plus an extra skein of yarn just in case. One project is the second sock of this pair, and I’m halfway through the foot already. Pretty sure I’ll finish that within the first day or so.

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So I’ve got my mermaid shawl for my alone-time knitting, my Hogwarts stockinette cowl for game/concert/travel home knitting, and the yarn to start my second Ravenclaw sock if I need it. I probably won’t post while I’m gone, so check back next week to see how much progress I make!

Like my father

There’s a song on the most recent Brandi Carlile album that starts out, “I haven’t seen my father in some time / But his face is always staring back at me”. Every time I hear it, it’s bittersweet. I miss my dad. After six years without him, the memories aren’t as fresh. They’re faded, like the photos we took thirty years ago. When I make the effort, I can see his face. I can see his smile, hear his voice, feel his hug. But those aren’t automatic, fresh like they were the first couple of years. I know I take after him in some ways. The small jaw that required years of orthodontia? Thanks, Dad. The crazy crooked toes that look weird and caused me to have foot surgery years ago? Yep, that’s him too. There are things I can appreciate, of course: the wave in my hair, or my smile. But what I appreciate the most is seeing my dad in my son.

I don’t talk about the boy much. He’s younger, quieter, not as outgoing as the girl. Not as active in as many extracurricular activities. But he’s just as delightful as she is, in such different ways. He is growing into such an amazing person and I love seeing the changes happen. If there’s a silver lining to the girl going to college (besides her getting to live her exciting life), it’s that it might give him a chance to shine more. I’m looking forward to some time with him, some time to focus on him. (My girl, I know you’re reading this. You, and the rest of my readers, should know that this doesn’t take away from how much I love having us all together. How much I will miss you. It’s like they are two separate things, existing on the same plane.)

Physically, the boy is very much like my dad, like my brother. They are tall, slim in a way I envy and he feels is gangly, I think. He has my hair, those crooked toes (but even worse than mine. Sorry, kid.) and that small jaw (yeah, sorry about that too). And even though some of the features aren’t all the same, there’s something about his gorgeous smile that reminds me of my dad. Most importantly, I feel my dad’s spirit in him. I don’t meanĀ a ghostly spirit. Just…character, or soul.

Like my dad was, the boy is shy, introverted, quiet in larger groups. But get him in a small group where he’s comfortable and his quick wit and delightful sense of humor come out in full force. I don’t know if anyone outside our little family group knew just how funny my dad could be. In general, like Dad, the boy is a gentle person. He is calm and patient, and does his best to avoid confrontation, though being a teenager makes it hard sometimes. It takes a lot to get him fired up. That part skipped a generation: I didn’t inherit that temperament, to my husband’s dismay. I tend to have a hot temper more often than not. It has gotten better over the years, at least.

The boy is smart, and really could do anything he decides to put his mind to, like my dad learning computers early on to support his family. I don’t think he loved what he did, so I hope my son finds something that brings him more joy, but I admire my dad for what he did for us. And I think the boy has that loyalty too, that desire to make sure that the ones he loves are happy. He’s not overly demonstrative with his emotions, not the type to give random hugs just because. But he’s open to affection, willing to accept it, and every once in a while he’ll say or write something so sweet and thoughtful that my heart melts.

He’s my boy, my son, my baby. He got many wonderful qualities from my husband, and I love those things. I see myself in him, and love that too. I love all the things that make him unique. And I love him even more for all the ways he’s like my dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Miss you.

Mother’s Day Recap

This is very belated, but that seems to be the norm for me lately: did all you moms out there have a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday? I hope so! Mine was quite nice, I have to say. The kids got up early to have breakfast with me (waffles and bacon cooked by the husband, yum!) and we hung out at the table and talked for a while after. It’s funny; when my kids were very little I just wanted alone time for Mother’s Day. Now that they’re older and don’t see me/need me very much, I do want that time with them. And then some alone time, right? Anyway, then we opened gifts (yes, I got yarn, which I’d picked out, but I also got chocolate and some fun colors of ink cartridges for my fountain pens). I even got gifts and cards from both kids! I felt very loved and appreciated and it was the perfect morning.

But the highlight of the day came in the afternoon: the girl’s graduation from high school!!! Everything went well: we got decent seats and I managed to save enough for everybody and I got good photos and I cried a little (I think the husband even teared up a bit). The girl was calm and composed and gorgeous and I’m so proud. And relieved, to be honest. Relieved to be past all the end-of-year concerts and meetings and deadlines and this and that and the other thing and ohyesdon’tforgetthat! Relieved that now we can focus on the exciting going off to college bit.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did have knitting time over the weekend, especially while waiting for graduation to start. I finished my Nebraska Roller socks and cast on a new pair of socks immediately. I know I said I was going to do some skimmer socks next but I lied. I cast on for another pair of shorties, this time with a ribbed cuff, and I pulled out some gorgeous little leftover balls that coordinate perfectly. The green is the Madtosh in Sea Glass and the blue/green variegated is Hedgehog Fibres in Medusa. Fingers crossed I have enough Medusa for two sock bodies.

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Finally, I also had a good chunk of time to devote to my Supernatural Kindness shawl. I bound it off last night, sooner than I anticipated…mostly because I ran out of yarn too soon to do the three rows of garter stitch. I thought about having a solid colored edge, since the garter would help prevent curling, but mostly was too lazy to find the right yarn. I was ready to be done! I think blocking will help immensely. With any luck I can get it washed and pinned out tonight, and then I can take pictures to share over the weekend!

Graduation Season

This week has been low on posts, I know, and I’d like to say I’m sorry but really I’m not. As you may remember, the girl is graduating high school this year and this week has been busy with ALL the things. We had the last band concert (I cried a little during the senior video but that was all). These are her BFFs (best flute friends).

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Then we had Baccalaureate…

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Last night we had the choir concert. Choir is second only to band in her life, and I love that music is her passion. She sings beautifully and had a short solo last night, which was a delightful surprise to me. (She swears she told me about it, but I really think I’d remember something like that!) I didn’t really get emotional until right before the senior video, when I looked around and spotted her across the room, and she saw me and we just made a little funny/happy face at each other and it hit me that I won’t have as many of those little moments anymore. And then the video was showing a baby picture and a senior photo of each kid and the photo of my cute little toddler popped up and bam, there went the tears. (This is her choir director. We love him.)

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Anyway, please forgive me for not having the time to blog this week. Today I’ll show the proof that I have definitely been knitting at all of these events, though! I finished my beautiful beautiful Girl Power socks.

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Yarn is Show Me Yarns Bootheel in color Girl Power and I love everything about it. I mean, I haven’t worn them yet because it’s been 85 degrees here for days upon days and I can’t stand the thought of wool socks on my feet but somehow I know that they will wear beautifully too. And I’m almost done with my Nebraska Rollers too!

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Tomorrow is Graduation (EEK!) so I fully expect to get these done by the end of the weekend. These I might actually be able to wear sooner, since they’re shortie socks. Next I want to make these skimmers to try with my flats!

 

Updates on…everything

I don’t have a FO to share today. I can share some progress on my sock, my FlexiFlip sock. It’s going well. I’m getting used to the needles and they’re not feeling as unwieldy as they did at first. They’re still not as fast as DPNs for me but I think I’ll get there pretty quick. I am loving this yarn. The colors are fun, and even though the color changes are different than I was expecting, I like it a lot. I mean, look how cool the heel turned out!

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It’s smooth and slick, almost slippery, from the polyester, and maybe you’d think acrylic/poly sock yarn, what is she thinking? But no, seriously, it feels good, kind of cool (literally). It’s a nice switch from the wool/nylon yarn, though I’m sure that’ll always be my primary sock yarn blend. And it’ll make lovely spring/fall socks, I think. So yeah, these are zipping along.

My sweater, however, is not zipping along. I’ve got most of one sleeve done and I’m trying to work on it at night, but it’s boring and I keep having to adjust it as I go around the little sleeve and I’m ready for it to be done so I can wear it. We’re taking one more short road trip on Monday for the last music school audition, so I’ll take that and only that with me and force myself to work on it.

Edward went to the shop and spent a few days there getting a new front bumper and some new shields or something, and it went through my insurance so I only had to pay the deductible. We timed it out so that they could work on it while I was out of town with the girl last weekend, and then the husband and I carpooled on Monday, so I didn’t even have to pay for a rental car. So overall that whole experience was much better than I was expecting, and they did a fantastic job and even detailed him perfectly so that he looks almost brand-new and I love him.

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Grace has adjusted wonderfully to her meds for Addison’s disease. I even gave her the injection myself last month! And we were able to lower her steroid dose so she’s not quite as thirsty and ravenous as she was at first. Her energy level is up and she’s very frisky and loves to play with Duncan again. She and Duncan are buddies; Jack kind of gets left out but also I think he feels threatened by Duncan at times. He’s usually pretty happy to hang out with his people while the other two go nuts.

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Duncan hasn’t gone into any trouble lately (knock on wood) and keeping them in the kitchen when we’re gone seems to be working well. I don’t love it, but it’ll work until Duncan gets a little older and hopefully outgrows his destructive tendencies.

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The girl has received acceptance letters from two of her four schools and I am delighted and super proud of her. We’re still waiting for a decision from one school and like I said, we have the last audition Monday, so we probably won’t have a final decision for another few weeks. We’re very lucky that she’s received automatic academic scholarship offers from all four schools, and a music scholarship from at least one, but even with those, and her college savings account, there’s still a lot of financial ground to make up. It’s scary, and it’s not even my college life! But we so want her to have a great experience, to have the education and flute professor and opportunities that she wants to have. I’m excited for everything that is ahead for her.

At the same time, though, we can’t just pay for it. It’s not feasible, and we can’t take on huge debt for it either. College is scary. If you have kids, start saving yesterday! But we’ll figure it out with a lot of little things. We’ll help a little. She’ll probably have to get a part-time job, a small student loan, and with luck, several of the private scholarships she’s applying for. I know it’ll work out, I really do. But I’m a mother, and a worrier, and those things together are rough when it’s time for college! Life is stressful in my house quite often these days, but there’s still a thread of excitement that comes out just when we need the encouragement.

Sorry this turned out so long; I didn’t mean to ramble. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your patience!

Road Trip, Part 1

I have so much to share! I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-post story, because otherwise it would be TL;DR for all of you. This past weekend, the girl had an audition for the music school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, so she and I got to take a short road trip. The audition was Saturday, so we drove down Friday morning to give us plenty of time to explore Lincoln. We were most excited about bookstores, so our first stop was Bluestem Books, and it was our favorite! It was a beautiful shop with a big knitting section right in front:

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There was also a charming children’s room with a big, squishy armchair, and a lovely literature section, with lots of collectible first editions. We both found a couple of books there. From there we went for lunch, and we were told to try Runza. I loved this table sign:

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Sadly, they call it “hand-knit” when it’s really crochet, but it’s an awesome scarf and I love that they’re doing this! Our second bookstore experience was A Novel Idea, and it was a fun store too. It was more funky, had an eclectic selection, focused on reading copies more than collectible copies, but we still found books to buy. And two shop cats to pet! I also loved that they featured knitting/crafting books in their front window.

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This was the awesome staircase between the basement and first floor. Wouldn’t you love to do this in your house? I would!

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We had our first experience with room service (loved it!), ate a lot of junk food, and walked all over downtown Lincoln. The campus is right next to the downtown area, which is super convenient. We had a delicious meal at Vincenzo’s, a locally owned Italian restaurant, and made our way to Indigo Bridge Books. It’s an independent new bookstore, so it had a small selection of new books, as well as an attached coffee shop and other fun stuff (notebooks, pins, totes etc). I was very tempted by this bag.

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We made sure to visit Hurt’s Donuts, open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It was sort of like a secret club, hidden inside a big building downtown. We had three people stop us as we left to find out where it was. They have so many wild and crazy donuts and we bought six and all six were delicious. Choosing just six was very hard. (FYI: Andes Mint, Dirt, Twix, Cookies & Cream, Cosmic Brownie, and Cookie Monster.)

Of course the real reason we were there was the university. It was cold and icy so it was hard to explore the campus too much.

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But there were good informational sessions, and a pizza lunch where we got to sit with the flute professor and ask whatever we wanted. The audition went well, at least to my untrained ear, and the girl felt good about it, so now we just have to wait for some good news. And if it’s good news we get, the girl has her Cornhusker hat ready to go!

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It was just a really fun trip, and I’m so glad I got to spend this time with her before she runs off and leaves me. Next time, I’ll tell you about all the yarny goodness, and believe me, there’s plenty of it!