Monday, October 2, 2017

The Accolade, Part 13

Already time for another cross stitch update!  I'm still plugging away at The Accolade, and by the end of the year I should hit 100,000 stitches done on it.  Wooo!


So in September, I did 4,354 stitches, which doesn't seem like much in a piece that will eventually be 150,000, but every little bit helps right?  Plus I was working on the shield and the kid's legs on the far right, and lots of confetti stitching.


All told I'm 91,983 stitches into this project, which is 61.32% (I'm the nerd who has an Excel spreadsheet to calculate things like that).  And to answer Maria's questions from last time, this project is on 18-count fabric; mostly I use 18 for the bigger projects and if it's a little smaller, 16-count.  I did the grid with extra floss I have on hand (though I think they make some stuff especially for gridding, why buy that when I have enough floss to circle the globe multiple times over?!).  I used light blue for the regular 10x10 grids--since cross stitch charts generally have those marked off as well, that really helps me keep my place in a huge project like this and it means I don't usually have to count very high ever ; )  The purple threads are where the page breaks are, and there's a yellow thread going vertical, that's the midpoint of the design.  There used to be one going horizontally as well but I've stitched the entire top half plus some.  It seems to take FOREVER to do the gridding at the start, but it's definitely worth the time with huge projects like this.


There's a closeup of where I've been working.  Didn't quite finish the page off in September, but I for sure will in October.  The floor will be my favorite kind of stitching--enough color changes to be interesting, but not confetti crazy that takes forever.  So the floor will probably go pretty fast as long as I have a bit of time to work on this in the evenings.

Kid is roaming around on the floor and playing with the infant bathtub, so I'm going to go supervise.  And if he's unlucky, he might get a bath this afternoon too...

Cheers!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Niagara Falls

Slowly I turned, and step by step.  INCH by INCH!


 So yep, Niagara Falls!


We got out there around 9 in the morning or so, and bought tickets to go out on a boat and get a close-up look at the Falls.  I didn't know this before we got there, but there are actually three waterfalls (I guess that's why it's Niagara FallS and not just Niagara Fall?)  And then I wondered where waterfall #3 was, because I only remember two falls...well, after a quick perusal of Wikipedia, the above picture shows American Falls on the left and Bridal Veil Falls on the right.  I didn't realize that counted as two different waterfalls.


Yeah, Ryan looks thrilled, doesn't he?  I think he inherited my RBF.


Misty misty mist.


We discovered that the mist makes it difficult to get good pictures of the falls...we went into the welcome center in the afternoon and they had a little place where you could buy some really SPECTACULAR Niagara Falls pictures.  Really amazing photos.  (Ours are not that great.)


So boat ride!  Lee had the camera and camera bag; I had the diaper bag backpack and Ryan was in his stroller with a handy-dandy rain cover on it.  He didn't see much of the falls but he also didn't care.


Spoiler alert:  the closer you get to the falls, the more it just looks like a whiteout.  Like, you can't really see anything.


The diaper bag backpack made my poncho (they give you ponchos as you board the boat) ride up so high that by the time we docked again, I was soaked from the hips down and got a new hairdo to boot.


This photo looks like I put some weird kind of filter on it or something, but all I did was convert it from raw format to a jpeg.  Weird, right?


Okay, these are from when we came back in the afternoon.  The sun was at a more cooperative spot in the sky.


Yep, that's the boat we were on.  Or its twin sister, anyway.  Fun fact:  the Canadian boat tours give you red ponchos, and the American ones do blue ponchos.


So we're walking around and I'm all like "Look, a rainbow!" and Lee's like "Where?" because he wears polarized sunglasses and they filter out rainbows.  (Which seems kinda sad to me.)


So this is the top of Horseshoe Falls, which is the biggest one, and also the one featured in Superman II.  And yes, as soon as we got home we totally put that on and watched the Niagara Falls part where Lois figures out that Clark is Superman.


Somewheeeeeeeeeere ooooover the raaaaainboooowwww!

(Coincidentally, I'm currently listening to Judy Garland's Live at Carnegie Hall album...the book club book this month was a memoir about Judy Garland.)


More Horseshoe Falls.  When you stand at the fence, you're only a few feet from the water, but there is a thin strip of ground between the fence and the water.  But that current is really fast and if you do fall in, you're going over.  It's actually kind of terrifying just to watch the water.


Ryan was more interested in playing with the iron curlicues on the fence when I faced him toward the waterfall.  (Fear not; there were no openings near big enough for him to wiggle through, and I held on to him the whole time too, and I did NOT set him on top of the fence or anything. #ImAMomNow)


One last pic that Lee took of Horseshoe Falls.  I love that he captured that green color as the water goes over the edge.  Both of us could have stood there for an hour just watching the water, but Ryan's opinion was let's not and say we did.  We found out that they light up the falls at night (see the second picture in the previous post), but we didn't go back out to see that.  We only had one full day in the area and then we hit the road around 8:30 on Saturday morning to go back home.  Still, I'm excited we got to see Niagara Falls and I've finally been to Canada!

ETA:  I forgot to say how Ryan turned into a tourist attraction!  So after we got off the boat, there was a big long line to get on the elevators to go back up to ground level, so we're all waiting waiting waiting...and there's an Asian tour group.  They weren't Japanese (I could at least recognize Japanese if I heard it spoken I think), but I don't know where they were from and none of them seemed to speak English.  Well, one of the Asian grannies caught a glimpse of our adorable little Ryan in his stroller and before we knew it, there was an entire pack of Asian grannies all talking to him and tweaking his feet and taking his picture.  For his part, Ryan seemed more confused by all the attention than anything, but he just decided to roll with it.  We got separated from Scott and Tiana by a good 20 feet before the pack of Asian grannies got their fill of looking at Ryan; Scott and Tiana were just laughing at us.  What can I say, Ryan is so cute he transcends the language barrier.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Coming Soon: Niagara Falls Pics!

Hey y'all!  Lee and I took Ryan on his very first road trip last week!  We drove from here to our friends' house in upstate New York, and then caravanned (my computer doesn't like that with one N or two, but I'm sure it's a word...at least in Britain!) with them up to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  We've only just flipped through the pictures really fast so I don't have any picked out for a blog post, but I do have these two:



We did one of those boat rides where they take you up close to the waterfalls and I felt like I'd taken a shower in Niagara Falls even though I was wearing a poncho.  Anyway, before you get on the boat, they take your picture and do these green screen backdrops; I was surprised when I walked out of the souvenir shop after our boat ride and Lee was buying ours.  But hey!  Fun souvenir, and we got hard copies plus the digital copies which is nice.  And look, Ryan is looking at the camera!  Sure he's not smiling, but at least he's looking in the right direction.

Ryan did GREAT on the road trip.  The first day, when we were driving up to Scott and Tiana's house, he decided he'd had enough car time when we were still about an hour out and he pretty much hollered until we got him out of the car, but that turned out to be the worst he got.  On the way back, we drove straight from Niagara Falls back home, and he only got a little fussy once or twice and spent most of the time sleeping or just hanging out and being quiet.  He was really good when we were in Niagara, too, so maybe there's more road trips in his future : )  And now he can say that he had his first international trip at seven months old!  Hey, it was my first time in Canada too.

Anyway, when Ryan goes down for his first nap today I might go through the pics and get a blog post started.  But right now I'm going to get him out of his bouncer and play with him for a bit.  Cheers!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seven Months

Y'all, I have a problem.  Because I have the absolute CUTEST KID ON THE PLANET, these monthly posts keep getting longer and longer!  Yep, problem. ; )

So anyway, Ryan hit seven months on Friday, so Lee and I did his photo shoot...but really I broke out the camera almost every day last week just to catch pictures of Ryan since he's starting to explore things.  But first, I can't remember exactly what day Lee took these first few pictures but it's sometime after the 6-month ones...


It's banana time!


Yeah, I think it's been at least a couple of weeks since Lee took these.  But he's so cute and happy.


And banana-y.


He still doesn't do the classic crawl; he seems happy to slap his hands on the floor and pull himself along that way.  Lee looked it up and apparently that's pretty standard for kids who spend most of their floor time on wood as opposed to carpet--wood is comfy to slide around on and carpet isn't, so babies on carpet tend to crawl instead of what Ryan does.


But since he's mobile, we frequently have the problem that he'll try moving closer to me as I'm trying to take his picture.  Awww, he likes me!


He also likes the handle on my hope chest, although his new favorite toy...


Is the dogs' water bowl.


He will scoot from one side of the house to the other just to get at that bowl.


And yes, he's tilted the thing and splashed water all over everywhere on more than one occasion.  Lee and I are both fine with him sticking a hand in and playing with the water, but we'd prefer he not swim in it or make a lake in the kitchen.


DAT FACE.


Look look look!  A TOOF!!!!


Ryan was on the floor, playing around in our entryway (which is three steps lower than the rest of the living area) and saw his daddy coming up the steps outside.  Big smile for dada.


And here we start the photo shoot on Friday.  My friend Melissa made the blanket for Ryan; my mom's aunt and uncle sent us the outfit.  The overalls have Mike from Monsters Inc. on the bottom though I don't think you see it in these pictures, but I love the colors.


We had a bit easier time of it this time around with getting the squirt to smile.  Maybe because Lee and I were both here?  So one of us could try to entertain Ryan and the other could take the pictures?


Or maybe we were smart and started taking pictures right after he was fed so he's all happy.


DAT FACE AGAIN!!!


Yeah, I know.  My kid is gorgeous.  I've had several people think he's a girl when we're out and about.  Is it the hair?  Not like I dress him in pink...not like I wouldn't dress him in pink if I found something I liked in pink though.  But blue brings out his eyes.


Speaking of hair, Lee gave Ryan a bath and dried his hair afterwards with the hair dryer and I don't even know what is going on with it right here.


But it looks pretty stinkin' hilarious.


Om nom nom!!!


I don't know why I like this picture so much.  Maybe it's because of the teeny baby piggies?


Last one.  I love our little monster!

Info for me because I'm going to forget things by the time I can scrap these photos:  Ryan loves scooting around all over the floor anywhere we'll let him.  Favorite things to grab are cables and cords, the handles on the hope chest (or drawer pulls on my dresser), and the dog water bowl...so why do we have a bunch of toys for him again?!  We're trying to do some solid foods (like the banana) but we did get pureed baby food...this kid will eat pretty much anything so far.  Favorite thing is the apple cinnamon baked oatmeal, I swear he'll eat half my bowl and then ask Lee for half of his oatmeal too.  He smiles at the dogs a lot, and will creep up to them...Vader will generally stay still and let Ryan crawl over his legs, and he licks Ryan's feet or arms or whatever he can get to.  Sadie is fine with Ryan if we're holding on to him, but if he's out moving himself around, she runs away.  Chicken lips.  Ryan also likes to visit Mirror Baby, who magically seems to wear the same clothes he does : D  And possibly his favorite thing in the world is hanging upside down.  Squeals and squawks and big smiles ensue.  He's also kinda ticklish!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Accolade, Part 12

I'm very excited to report that after a six-month hiatus, I'm back to cross stitching :)  I hadn't done any since Ryan was born, but about a week ago I got The Accolade out of the hope chest and started working on it again.  I've really missed stitching!  However, it seems like I've been staying up a lot later in the evenings to do this...yeah I need to go to bed earlier.  But anyway!  Here's the current progress shot:


I stopped and did a stitch count at the beginning of February, but I didn't take a picture of it then, and I did some more work on it between the beginning of February and when Ryan was born.  So counting that two weeks in February and what I did in August, I did 5,493 stitches.  I've now got 87,629 stitches done out of 150,000, so I'm roughly 58% finished.


There's a little closer.  I'm going to keep working on the shield and the people on the far right and then work my way back to the left.  I've got two more rows of full pages, and then one row of partial pages and then I'll be done with this.  Which should only take the next ten years or so :p  I ought to break The Quarry out of retirement too and just go between these two projects...but for now I'm going to keep going on The Accolade.  Because I want to.  : D

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Half a Year Already

Wheee six month pictures!  I took these a few days after Ryan officially hit six months, but that's okay.  What's even better is that this time I was able to get him to look at me while I was taking his picture, so I got some pretty good ones.  This little squirt now weighs just under 16 pounds.  He's not really crawling yet, but he can kind of scooch himself around on the floor, and we think he'll start getting his baby teeth in pretty soon.  He's been chewing on everything he can get his hands on and he tends to suck in his bottom lip a lot, so that's part of why we think he'll be getting his teefs soon.


Is it weird that I usually take Ryan's picture while he's laying on the dog bed by the window?  I put a baby blanket or an afghan on top of it but it's cushy and usually he's happy to roll around on it for a bit while I snap.  And he's so CUUUUUTE.


As soon as I set the 6 Months sign next to him, he rolled over and smudged it. :p  We took some more pictures and then he suddenly decided he'd had enough fun for one session.


I laughed pretty hard when this pic popped up as I was looking through the photos on the computer.  Good lighting and everything, and I'm definitely keeping some pictures of Ryan when he's angry.  Might come in handy later as blackmail material (mwahahahahahahaaaaa!).  So little munchkin got to go down for a nap, had a bottle when he woke up, and then he was happy to continue with some more pictures.


I love this one.  That expression on his face, like he's got a secret or he's about to start giggling.



Heyyy there's a smile!!


And there's those big blue eyes.


I think this one is funny because Ryan totally does the single eyebrow quirk like his mama.


Another one where I just thought his facial expression was so funny.  Told you he wants to chew on everything.


Who, me?  Yep.


See, he's kinda sucking on his bottom lip, which he does all. the. time now.



Smiling while he chomps on his toy.  And yep, it was *totally* intentional that his toy matches one of the colors on his onesie.  I think about these things.


Last one, I focused on his hands just because they're cute wee baby grabby hands.

Ryan is asleep now, so I'm going to split for the gym so I can get a workout in.  That's the advantage of having Lee here--I can go to the gym or run a quick errand while Ryan sleeps, but I have to get back quick because Lee isn't allowed to lift anything that weighs more than 5 pounds so I'm the one who has to get Ryan and change the diapers and all that.  But still, I get gym time.

Cheers!