Toddlers in Kansas City

A few weeks ago my friend Kirsten and I did something incredibly terrifying. We went on a girls weekend with 2 1/2 year olds. It ended up being a really fun vacation. We will be planning another trip soon.

Why did we travel with toddlers? We discussed doing it without any kids, but I’m the one who said we should bring the girls. It was selfish. I knew that John would be fine with both kids, but I also figured I would hear about how hard it was for the next week.

Other than not wanting to hear John complain, I was also genuinely excited to have Audrey and Sophia on our weekend.  They are close in age – only a few months apart, and I want them to grow up as friends. Kirsten is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I love that we became moms at the same time. Our boys are even closer in age, Elliot is 3 weeks older than Bryan.

So how did we enjoy ourselves with tiny people? We kept them busy, visited kid friendly places, and threw in some fun for us that they would be tolerant of.

The first place we went was Fritz’s Kansas City. After a long drive for both families we thought the girls would be hungry and tired. Fritz’s was a great place to eat, because it is for kids. Model trains run along the ceiling and deliver your food to your table. There is a lot to look at, and it is a noisy place so fussy toddlers fit right in. The food is worse than most fast food, but the kids didn’t mind.

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This is where I learned that Audrey is scared of train rides.

After lunch we headed over to Wonderscope Children’s Museum. This museum is wonderful! We could have spent all day there. The museum is an old school, and each of the rooms  has different activities. Audrey loved the farm room, and would have spent hours in that room and been perfectly happy. Sophia felt the same way about the grocery store room. The gym is still a gym, with lots of toys to run and play on. The girls burnt off a lot of energy playing. We didn’t get to all of the rooms in the time we had slotted for the museum. We will be back, and next time we will plan on spending more time playing.

After running and playing at Wonderscope we headed to Overland Park to do something for the grown ups – we went to A Yarn Shop and More. Kirsten and I are both knitters, and we both wanted to pick up some vacation yarn. The yarn shop had a good selection, but the woman working was far from friendly. I don’t understand yarn shops where the staff isn’t friendly.

The girls were well behaved and excited about the yarn. I let Audrey pick out yarn for socks and I picked up some dishcloth cotton (I’m always running out now that I’m knitting for the YMCA Supportive Housing Campus). Audrey convinced me to buy her a Zebra hat kit, which wasn’t very hard to do. If you are a 2 year old excited about yarn I’ll make you whatever you ask for.

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Can I please have this yarn?

The fourth thing we did was head back to the hotel to swim. The girls were pretty exhausted by this point, but they enjoyed their 15 minutes in the cold pool.

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Sometimes you post an unflattering photo of your child because it is a better picture of your friend.

We stayed at an Embassy Suites, and it worked out great. They have a cocktail reception, so we had a light dinner of snacks (and margaritas for Kirsten and me). In the morning we took advantage of their breakfast buffet. Our suite had a door between the bedroom and living area. That made it easy for Kirsten and I to drink wine and knit into the wee hours of the morning (OK, it was 11, but that is really late for me). It also made it possible for Kirsten and Sophia to get up and going in the morning like they are used to (at 5:30, a full 2 1/2 hours before Audrey and I got up).

Our last stop on girls weekend was the Zoo. Kansas City has a wonderful zoo, we were there for hours and didn’t see it all. Kirsten and I got in a 4 mile walk and the girls loved seeing the animals. I think we will plan on staying longer the next time we go.

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I can’t wait to convince Kirsten to do another girls weekend. Where should we go next?

WIP Wednesday: meh.

I’m in a bit of a knitting rut. I’m still knitting, but I’m not passionate about anything that I’m making. I started back with dishcloths on Saturday, and bound off my 5th today. I’m looking forward to working on other projects for a few days.

In addition to the dishcloths I actually finished the front left panel of my cardigan and started on the first sleeve! I also frogged the small sock and restarted it. I only have a few inches done, but I should make some good progress tomorrow.

I did finish a project that wasn’t a dishcloth. It felt good to get something on and off the needles in a week. When I was in Kansas City I went to a Yarn Shop and More in Overland Park. I love taking Audrey to yarn shops, because she gets as excited about yarn as me. She likes to squish it. She likes to smell it. At the shop she fell in love with a DMC Top This Zebra kit. I’m never one to turn away from a good excuse to buy yarn, so I bought it for her.

I made the puppy hat for her last year and I hate how it turned out – it is short and a little small. I made her the adult size hat so that her piggy tails will fit under the hat. She’s a fan so far.

Next week I hope to make 5 more dishcloths, turn the heel on my sock, and finish half of the panel on my cardigan. I’m ready to start thinking about what I get to cast on next.

 

WIP Wednesday: Dishcloth Vacation

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25 dishcloths done! I finished the 25th one on Friday and I have LOVED having more time to knit fun things. I made a lot of progress this week. I’m hoping I’m ready to dive back in to dishcloths when I start working on them again on Saturday. I’m going to try to knit another 25 before I take another vacation from them.

I am so close to finishing the left front panel of my cardigan. I thought it would be further along, but I was carried off in a sock fever.

I finally finished the terra cotta poop socks! I have had several people tell me they like the colors, but I can’t bring myself to gift hand knit acrylic/nylon socks. Hand knit socks should be lovely to wear, not hot and icky. I wore them today and confirmed that they to not breathe at all. They are really comfortable, so I’ll get over the sweaty feet issue and wear them around the house.

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I’m a big fan of Knit Picks Felici yarn. I love how the stripes work up. It is addictive to try to get to the next row. I started these socks on Monday, and they are flying. I’m almost done with the gusset. I’m going to have to remind myself how fast they are to knit when I restart them, because I’m about to frog this entire sock.
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Why? Because I thought I was so good at casting on I could start a sock while the kids ate lunch. I was wrong. I was distracted and cast on 60 stitches, not 65. I didn’t realize it until I was past the heel flap, so the sock is currently uneven. I can get the sock on, but it is too tight, so instead of just reworking the flap, turn, and gusset, I’m going to start over. I am going to have a nice glass of wine and tear it all out. I’m debating starting it again right away (after just one glass of wine – I don’t trust Wine Sarah to cast on socks) or just focusing on my cardigan.

Next week I hope to have completed 5 dishcloths, the never ending cardigan panel, and either restarted the striped socks or started a hat for Audrey that she picked out last weekend in Kansas City (more on that on Friday).

Have you ever made a dumb knitting mistake? How do you avoid making dumb mistakes?

 

WIP Wednesday: dishcloths galore

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I might be getting sick of dishcloths. I continue to make one a day, and every day I say I will stop when I finish that dishcloth. Then I decide I should just start the next days dishcloth. Then I just knit it for a little bit. Then I knit 1.75 dishcloths before I put down the cotton and pick up a project for me. I am close to 25 dishcloths, and when I get there I’m taking a week off from the dishcloth project to focus on knitting for myself.

I did get some work done on my Hermoine socks. I turned the second heel and started to work on the gusset. I hope to have it close to finished by next week. I’m probably going to knit a pair of self striping socks next, as I love knitting striped socks. I do not like the yarn I am using for my current socks, so I want to really love the yarn I use next. I don’t want to get so sick of socks that I burn myself out. The last time I did that I took a five year sock knitting hiatus.

I am about 1/3 of the way done with the left panel of my cardigan. It continues to be slow going, but I feel like I’m making progress. I thought it would fly because the yarn is bulky, but the moss stitch slows me down enough to counteract the huge yarn.

Next week I hope to be done with 25 dishcloths and focused on fun knitting. I would like to be close to the toe on my sock and on the first sleeve of my sweater. I would like to start having fun finished projects to share. I would also like to knit faster so I can get through my stash and buy new yarn without guilt.

Five on Friday: Giving the Pacifier Back

A few blog posts ago I mentioned that Audrey was giving up her pacifier. At her last dentist appointment they pointed out that it was changing her bite and said it would be best to give up the pacifier by 3. She’s almost 2 1/2, so we decided now was a good time.

The first few days were filled with screams and tears and pleads for a pacifier. Then she was fine. She wasn’t upset that she didn’t have a pacifier. She didn’t ask for one. There was only one problem. She didn’t sleep. She stopped napping and was not sleeping well at night. She was a wreck.

I caved. I gave it back to her even though she wasn’t asking for it. It is working for us. I’m very happy I gave it back to her, and today I’m going to share 5 reasons I’m glad I gave her the pacifier back.

NAPS – this one is huge. Audrey needs a lot of sleep, so going from a 3 hour nap to not sleeping at nap time meant that she was exhausted, confused, and constantly threw tantrums. I get it, she’s 2, she’s going to have tantrums, but this was a complete change in her personality. The first day with the pacifier back she was so tired she couldn’t sleep. The second day she slept for 90 minutes. Today she slept for 3.5 hours. She’s starting to act like herself again.

Bedtime for Audrey – without a pacifier she played and sang to herself for about two hours before she would fall asleep. With a pacifier she falls asleep quickly.

Elliot’s Sleep – Audrey not having a pacifier at bed time meant that she was making a lot of noise. That kept Elliot up (they share a room). He started crying when we put him down at night. Now that she is quiet when we put her to bed he is quiet too (OK, he always cries for about 2 minutes, and he’s back to that).

Mornings – without a pacifier Audrey woke up when Elliot woke up (about 6:30). With a pacifier she sleeps until 8 or 9. She really needs a lot of sleep, and getting up early was making it even harder for her to sleep.

My stress level – without pacifiers I had a toddler getting about six fewer hours of sleep than she needs. She became, understandably, very difficult to take anywhere. She screamed and cried. She looked like she had been on a four-day bender. I started spending every waking hour worried about her lack of sleeping. Her nap time was so stressful I had a stomach-ache every day when she should have been sleeping. I was too stressed to be a good mom and she was too tired to be a good kid. Poor Elliot and John were stuck dealing with both of us.

So I gave it back. It’s wonderful. I should not have waited over a week to give it back. So many articles I read said to stay strong and not give it back, but had I not given it back I don’t think she would have ever napped again. She’s 2. She needs naps.

I’m not sure if we will try to take it away again or if she will grow out of it. The only thing I am sure of is that giving back her pacifier was the right thing to do.

WIP Wednesday: Dishcloths, Dishcloths, Dishcloths

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How is it already Wednesday? Having a toddler that refuses to nap takes away from my knitting time, but I have managed to do a few things this week. I have done some work on the left panel of my cardigan, and completed about one repeat of the pattern on my sock. For the most part I’ve been focusing on dishcloths this week.

For a few months now I’ve been thinking about tithing my knitting. If I spent 10% of my knitting time working on projects for charity I could make a big difference. That leaves 90% of my time to make things that I want to make for fun. I wasn’t how to get started on tithing, and then I received an e-mail from a Crafternoon friend that gave me the answer. She suggested that as a group we make dishcloths for every resident at the YMCA Supportive Housing Campus.

The Supportive Housing Campus provides affordable efficiency apartments for over 140 people transitioning out of homelessness. As the residents move in they are given a basket of items to make their apartment a home. Every home needs a dishcloth, and a handmade one will hopefully let the residents know that someone cares about them and believes in their success.

There are a lot of dishcloths to make, and I have committed to making 5 a week until every resident has one. Luckily my friends are also knitting for the cause, so it is daunting task, but doable. Hopefully by summer we will be done.

This week I’m going to continue to knit dishcloths. I’m also going to work on my socks here and there. I’m hoping all of the dishcloth knitting will inspire me to pick a new project that I’m actually excited to knit.

If you want to help us knit for this cause let me know. We will happily take help to make this happen.

 

5 on Friday – Downtown Cedar Falls

I travel to Cedar Falls once a month. The kids and I (and John, if it’s a weekend) visit my parents. I love catching up with them, but also enjoy it when they babysit and I get to head downtown to enjoy the town. I don’t get a lot of time alone during the day, so handing off the kids to my parents for a few hours is really wonderful.

I love checking out the different spots downtown, but there are five places I adore.

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Vintage Iron Co. has all sorts of things for when you need to buy someone a gift but you aren’t entirely sure what they would like…fancy candles…decorative items….jewelry….this place has a lot of variety. I always go and look at their greeting cards. It’s hard to find good cards, so I stock up when I find them. I bought 10 cards the last time I was in. If I have ever given you a funny card, chances are I got it here.

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Do you find yourself watching the Pioneer Woman and thinking you wish you could dress like her without looking funny? If yes, Little Prairie Girl is the store for you. They have cute, flowing tops that don’t look dumb. Their prices are reasonable. and they have a wide (XS-3X) size selection. I have purchased a few items from the store and every time I wear one of them I get complements.20170304_135658.jpg

SingleSpeed Brewing is fun to visit if I’m hanging out downtown with John. They have decent beer, a cozy space, and bike art on the walls. I loved a poster there so much I tracked down the artist to buy a copy for John for Father’s Day.20170304_135055.jpgMontage is my favorite restaurant in Cedar Falls. Their Asian slaw is delicious and I would love to have their recipe. Ditto on their spicy whipped sweet potatoes. John and I went there for dinner the last time we were in Cedar Falls. We discussed just getting one of every side and skipping the entrees, not because they aren’t good (they are delicious), but because the sides are delectable.
image-20161108_133131-COLLAGEIf you follow me on Instagram you already know of my love of Cup of Joe. It is my #1 absolutely must visit place. It opened my senior year of high school, so it has been around for a long freaking time. I studied there in college. I caught up with friends when I visited town in my 20s and 30s. Now I visit to knit by myself for an hour or two before exploring town. I love it there. If I lived in Cedar Falls I would be there every day.

There are many more wonderful spots in downtown Cedar Falls to visit. It would be a great spot for a weekend girls trip. Start your morning at Cup of Joe, shop, have beer at Single Speed, then head to dinner at Montage in your new shirt from Prairie Girl.

What are your must visit spots in Cedar Falls?