Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday

I opened my birthday presents from my parents this morning. My folks always send my birthday presents home with me at Christmas time when I visit so I can open the packages later. I like to spread out my birthday from Christmas. Both kids helped me open my presents this morning.

There was a knitting theme to the birthday presents from Mom and Dad. How wonderful is that!? I got a new sheep from Mr. Twitter's purple shop in Rutland, Vermont. Lucas and Elleigh absolutely love the sheep too, so it must live up on a high shelf. I am officially a sheep collector now since it takes at least two to make a collection and now this is my second sheep on the book shelf.

I also got a Knit Picks gift certificate to order more yarn. I got the new Harmony cable needles from Knit Picks. The wood is so pretty and I can't wait to use them on my reversible cable scarf project. And I got the Knit Picks chart keeper to help keep me on track with my next Fair Isle knitting project. And a bottle of Vermont pear wine from the North River Winery to keep me relaxed during the tougher knitting projects. (Also good for wedding planning.)

I'm going to have a very happily knitted birthday! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Own Christmas

We finally had our own Christmas at home tonight. We were so tired on Christmas night from having driven to Vermont on Christmas Eve, and then spending Christmas Day at Michael's parents'. We ended up going to bed early Christmas night rather than having the dogs open their gifts, or us open our gifts to each other. Lucas and Elleigh got a whole jar of Smoke House chicken poppers. Both dogs go nuts over those and Michael and I can feel good about treating them since the main ingredient is real chicken. Lucas is wearing one of his new shirts that says "Cold Nose Warm Heart." Elleigh is posing with the kids' new bottle of doggy shampoo. They just love Buddy Wash, and Mom and Dad really enjoy the Lavender & Mint scent. They got new Schnoodleware fleece tugs so they can pull each other around the house. And naughty and nice red man shapes, which Elleigh repeatedly picked the naughty man over and over again when we gave her the choice of men. They got a mint flavored Planet Dog snowball that's suppose to keep their breath minty fresh, but neither dog seems to be a fan of the ball yet. And finally, a variety of new collars from Furry Baby Fashions to wear in the new year. Elleigh got a purple paisley and other feminine collars. Lucas got a red stars, a green stars, and blue camouflage collars.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Holiday Tradition

We tried to come up with a new tradition this Christmas Eve since this was the first year that we were without Grandma Johnson. Mom came up with the idea to place milk jugs with votive candles inside them at the grave stone at dusk. One for Grandpa and one for Grandma. In years past, people have left out lighted milk jugs along Main Street and walkways in town and it looked really pretty to see driving around on Christmas Eve. Angus, Dan, Mom and I forced our way into the cemetery. The road was not plowed and was icy, but my new CR-V managed to get us up the road anyway. It made me feel better to know that Grammy would have a candle burning for her most of the night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hustle and Bustle

I've had to curtail my blog posts this holiday due to the hustle and bustle upon our household, and I am sure your home as well. We also have a teething puppy that requires extra supervision. And because Daddy and Elleigh are still sleeping, Lucas is insisting upon helping me blog because he's so bored. Typing with puppy on your shoulder snuffling your hair isn't easy. Lucas doesn't know yet that he can walk up the stairs by himself, so he won't go up and wake Elleigh up to play.

We are preparing to drive to Vermont tomorrow to spend Christmas Eve with the Doaner side of the family. I hope that the rain coming in tonight doesn't freeze too badly in the morning and cause an icing situation. Since we have either Brandon Gap or Killington mountain to drive over tomorrow morning, we have to be extra careful when the temperatures are in the 30's and 40's. Some where in the altitude change we will hit different weather along our travels.

Tomorrow will be the first Christmas Eve of my life not with Grandma and at her Christmas Eve gathering.

On Christmas Day, we are gathering with the Abberton/LaPierre side of the family in New Hampshire.

We put up our outdoor lights up this year, but we only used our smaller artificial tree in the living room. We weren't sure what Lucas was going to do with the Christmas tree and decorations. We also know that once Christmas has passed we will be in full force wedding planning. So it will be nice to not have much Christmas stuff to put away.

I have to finish the wrapping and get ready to take Lucas to his puppy class this morning, and call Mom to finalize arrangements for Christmas Eve.

Last Minute Knitted Gifting

I've felt bad this year because I have not been able to make all the handmade gifts that I would have liked to for the holidays. But my fellow knitting blogger Caroline has posted a lovely entry called Spreading the Cheeze. The blog entry includes a web link to a site so now I can do a ton of last minute handknit gifting before Christmas day arrives. If you still need to get in last minute knitted gifts, you better check out this website to finish off your list as well. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

more SNOW!

I have no idea how much snow we actually have. Living up on the hill, everything blows all around. Sometimes we can't open the side door even with 6 inches of snow because the wind blows the snow right up onto the door. It seemed to snow again all day today. Michael dug a walking area out for the dogs when he got home from work. He's made a little area where the dogs almost have their own "fenced" in yard with snow walls to run around in and do their business. I was just out there with Lucas and the "walls" are at least as high as my knees. Unfortunately, I heard possible rain and ice for Christmas Eve weekend. That's just not acceptable since our plan is to be in Vermont for Christmas Eve day.

Have I mentioned how happy I am about having my new CR-V? This was definitely the winter to buy a vehicle with 4WD and I am very glad I didn't wait until spring.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I ordered my passport from the Concord post office at the very end of the business day on 11/28/07. I was nervous that I was going to be worrying just before the honeymoon, waiting for the passport to show up so I could travel somewhere warm and tropical. I had seen on the news not that long ago that people were waiting months for their passports to show up. I am happy to report that I got my passport on December 13th, just two weeks. And everything even looks correct. Apparently, the government has figured out a way to process the passport requests promptly now.

Snow Day!!!

I actually haven't been outdoors in hours, so I am not sure if we are still getting snow or if it turned to sleet and ice as predicted. It was actually nice to be shut in today. With all that Michael and I have going with the new puppy, the wedding and the holidays, I think we really needed a day to just hang out. Puppy Obedience class was cancelled and I didn't brave the drive in to knitting group. I suspect none of the knitters went. Michael and I played with the dogs, clipped their nails, wrote out a bunch of Christmas cards, watched the Patriots continue their winning streak, napped, and of course ate. I even spoke to my Mother and my Mother-in-law-to-be on the phone. Apparently the dogs needed a "day off" too as they napped hard themselves.
Unfortunately, Lucas has outgrown his Santa Suit, and doesn't have many more days he will be able to fit in the "Nice" T-shirt. But luckily, I found a new outfit for him in the cheap bins at the front of the Hooksett Target a week or two ago. So he still has something that demonstrates his holiday cheer. I had fun dressing him up in his reindeer costume and just laughing at him this afternoon. He's such a trooper. We definitely got our $2 worth of laugh out of this little costume.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Michael and I went Tuxedo shopping today. We ended up going to Mr. Tux in Concord, after a very unpleasant experience at a shop in Meredith that supposedly sells attire for "special moments." I wanted to use the Lakes Region store because of the Laconia location proximity to Lake Opechee Inn. And my bridesmaid Nancy had ordered her dress through that same Laconia shop and had reported no problems. I will spare you the details of Saturday's experience, but everything works out for the best, I guess. I need to do some follow up calling on Monday though, as I am a bit concerned about whether they really did order Nancy's bridesmaid dress and try to get a delivery confirmation date for her.

Mr. Tux is being purchased by Men's Warehouse. As of January 1st, the two companies will merge and the tuxedo rental part will be known as MW Tux. The Mr. Tux website is being changed now to reflect the change in ownership, so you can't get on the currently. And the new products that Men's Warehouse will be offering through the old Mr. Tux locations won't be available to look at until after January 1st. So, Michael found a 2 button Calvin Klein black tuxedo that will definitely be available in 2008 that he liked. He looked very handsome in it too, I might add. And it is visible on the Men's Warehouse website right now. It is the lighter wool, so not as stiff and scratchy as the winter weight tuxedo. And then we found a brown vest and tie set that has the dark chocolate color of Kim's, Shaelyn's and Nancy's dresses, but also a lighter brown in it so that the brown and the black together in the tuxedo actually look a lot nicer than I had originally pictured. (I think maybe Gram had instilled in me that brown and black don't go together in fashion, so I was feeling weird putting them together in a suit.) I am thinking matching bow ties instead of the ties for the boys, Angus and Ryan. There is a really pretty pink vest and tie option that matched Jacinda's dress swatch that I am still trying to talk Michael into for himself to keep him a bit separate from the other guys, but he's not sure why he can't look the same as all the other guys. I think he will do the pink if I insist, but it won't be his first pick. I originally wanted the tuxedos to be rented out of a shop in Laconia, so it would be right near Lake Opechee Inn and I thought easier for the out of state guys to collect the day before the wedding. But using MW Tux may work out better in the end. I have double checked the Men's Warehouse website store locater and it appears that by zip code that there is a Men's Warehouse rental location 2 miles from Brian in Tennessee and 8 miles from Bill in Pennsylvania. There is a location in Williston, Vermont, that's not too far for Ryan. I think my folks will have the longest drive to a store location from Brandon to Williston. The tuxedos can be picked up from any MW Tux location and dropped off at any MW tuxedo location. So the guys can get measured and pick up the tuxedos at a location near their homes and bring the suits with them, or use the Concord location. And then all can be dropped off together after the wedding in Concord no matter where the tuxedos were picked up. Michael and I plan to go back right after the new year and finalize the style and the vest color, etc., and make sure that MW Tux will still be carrying all of the components we picked out today. I also want to see what Men's Warehouse adds to the rental line in the pink and chocolate brown color scheme too after the merger. The Concord Manager said there should be plenty of time still to order all of the tuxedos for the wedding if the measurements are all received by the beginning of February.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Naughty or Nice

We've decided to try to make things as simple as possible for Santa this year. So we have been labeling the children so Santa can easily tell which one has been naughty and which one has been nice. I found these matching T-shirts at Old Navy. How Cute!? Unfortunately, Lucas is getting big so fast that he won't be able to squeeze into his shirt much longer. Luckily, I have already found him something else festive to wear as he grows to the next size.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh my God, it's almost Christmas knitting marathon!!!

Alison had the whole knitting gang over to her new condo on Saturday the 8th for a knitting marathon. (I'm a bit late in getting the photos downloaded from the camera and then uploaded to the blog.) This is knitting Alison, not Allison the bridesmaid, or Alison the non-knitter who just had a birthday.

The idea was to set aside a whole day for us to knit on all of the Christmas gift projects that might not be quite done yet. There's nothing worse than knitting on a deadline.

Our honorary knitting manservant, Fred, attended to keep us adequately hydrated and fed. He was pretty jolly in his Santa hat and apron. He even took out the trash! He's such a great cook and spoils us something rotten... holiday pound cake, baked and stuffed cheese in puff pastry, chex mix, spinach stuffed phyllo dough triangles, homemade liver pate, wine, champagne, and I'm sure he whipped something else up that I am forgetting.

Meanwhile, as if there wasn't already enough food, everyone brought at least one food or drink item to share. And since we are compulsive knitting people, most actually brought more than one food item. So in addition to Fred's feast, we had Jacque's bakery desserts and decorated cookies, stuffed mushrooms, fried ravioli, cream puffs, eclairs, chocolate nut fudge, white chicken chili, red chili, macaroons, veggie platter, fruit platter, soda, apple brandied egg nog, chips and salsa, cheese from Butters, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, Swedish Fish and Christmas candy, and I know I am forgetting something. We ate, and ate, and ate until we started complaining because our stomachs hurt.

I brought each of the girls (and Anthony) a little magnet from Cafepress that proclaimed them all Yarnoholics. Here's Nancy showing off her new magnet. I'm sure Nancy is just pleased I have blogged her photo.

I didn't do any Christmas knitting myself. I am committed to finish Brandi's white cabled wedding afghan. Brandi was married last spring and knows she is getting this afghan, but she'd probably like to have it this winter to use to keep herself and her puppies warm in the evening when they snuggle.

We all brought Alison ornaments. This is her first tree in her own place, and we were afraid she wouldn't have enough ornaments, or even a tree for that matter. But one of Alison's neighbors gave her this cute little tree, so she ended up being all set with ornaments and Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa Claus Came To Town

Michael's company, SHA, had their family holiday party at the Concord Country Club tonight. After a lovely buffet dinner, a special guest arrived. Santa stopped in to visit all of the girls and boys on both the naughty and nice lists, get an update on what the kids wanted for Christmas, and to give each of the kids a book on recycling. SHA is an environmental engineering firm, thus the recycling books. Santa even checked in with both Michael and I to see how we were coming on the wedding plans. I took over 200 photos of the kids as they spoke to Santa and the plan is to burn them to a CD tonight so that the photos can be distributed to the parents tomorrow at work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shaelyn, Lucas & Elleigh

Michael, Lucas, Elleigh and I drove south last night to see our friends Shaelyn and Karen. We brought Shaelyn her belated birthday present and her Christmas present. It was fun to watch Elleigh and Lucas run around Karen's house and stick their nose in all the corners. Shaelyn was like one big squeaky toy as far as Elleigh and Lucas were concerned. Here's a cute photo that Karen snapped that made the three all look angelic. Both Michael and I think Shaelyn makes Lucas look big because Shaelyn is a pip squeek herself. I have never seen a Christmas tree with the girth on it that Karen's tree has! Shaelyn made us a Christmas tree ornament which we have already proudly displayed on our tree.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

6 pounds and 6 ounces

Michael took Lucas to the puppy pediatrician on Saturday for his follow up series of vaccinations. He is still doing great, but getting big quickly. Michael reports he took his shots with no problem and the medical staff weighed him in at 6 lbs and 6 ounces. We think he is going to be a little bigger than Elleigh at this rate. He's already grown too big for his Naughty black down vest. And his ears are starting to stand up, but right now they are not consistently staying up. Sometimes one of them is flopped over while the other is up straight, but it makes for great puppy photos. After playing much of the day with Daddy and Elleigh, Lucas passed out on the couch. So Daddy got the camera out this time and snapped photos of Lucas.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Secret Santa

We had our Human Resources annual Holiday party on Friday night. We got Italian take out and went to our co-worker Iris' house in Concord. We've gone to Iris' house for the past several years and she makes our party so homey and comfortable.

This year, my Secret Santa was Sue N. from the front office, and she did an incredible job surprising me. I received Sox Stix in size 2 for knitting socks, and a skein of Lang Lawoll sock yarn. And how wonderful is a skein of sock yarn that comes with matching reinforcing thread for the heels and toes stuffed up inside!? I also got a primitive snowman ornament and some Christmas scented candles. I must have been really, really good this year!

I did cast on a sock Friday night, and did about 3 inches of the sock. The pattern of the Jawoll is really nice, but the size 2 is a bit too big for this specific sock yarn. But the size 2 will be perfect for my J. Knits, Mountain colors, or Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. The Sox Stix are so smooth that I felt like I was able to cruise through my sock stitches.

The part of the Secret Santa that was the biggest surprise was that Sue spent the better part of the last week or so telling me that my Secret Santa was (sorry to stereotype) but one of the guys and that I shouldn't expect much effort or creativity. She had me completely thrown off on who my real Secret Santa was.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

If Santa Was Looking...

If Santa was looking in on our little family this week, he would have seen a whole lot of nice going on. Lucas and Elleigh enjoy snuggling with each other.

They also share one bone occasionally, taking turns chewing on it and other times both chewing at the same time. And they keep each other warm while sleeping on the couch. So, okay, it's just a lot harder to catch the naughty stuff on the camera because they run so fast from one end of the house to other. It's much easier to snap their photos once they have passed out. Lucas is getting big so fast! And he's so pretty with all of his brindle. And Elleigh has far exceeded our expectations as a good big sister. There's going to be plenty under the tree for this good little boy and girl.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

my new car

I loved my Honda Civic, but it wasn't the best car in the snow. It slid around in the slush and my tires spun trying to go up hills, and worse yet, trying to stop at the bottom of hills. So on Monday night, after the first big snow storm of the season, I went and bought myself a new silver CR-V from Grappone Honda. I had been thinking about getting a CR-V since last summer, and watching my Civic's blue book value, and checking out the Honda commercials for any specials on the CR-V. So it wasn't really a compulsive purchase. Ideally, I was going to wait until after the wedding. But finally decided that I don't want to suffer through another long winter without 4WD. And now I don't have to worry about inspecting my car this month, as the new car comes with an inspection. I have thoroughly enjoyed driving around on Tuesday and Wednesday with my 4 WD in the snow remnants with no fear at all about sliding around. I will never get stuck in the driveway again! The only thing I am not impressed with is the gas mileage. I filled my Civic up once, maybe twice, a month. So I am a bit in shock in how fast the gas gauge goes down with the CR-V. Though, it still has one of the best gas mileages of all the small SUV's. Can't wait to give you a ride!

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Snow

It was our first snow of the season today, which is always a little magical for the first minute or two before the cold sets in. But more importantly, today was Lucas' first introduction to snow. He got up just after 6 am while it was still dark out. I dressed him in his jacket and he went out for his first potty in the snow. We're pretty sure he is not impressed. He didn't have much clearance this morning between the top of the snow and his belly, and the snow was deeper than his back by this evening. Lucas rushes through his business and then heads back to the door to get inside as quickly as possible. He did follow me through the snow when I made a path for him, but he was more trying to jump on the back of my legs trying to get me to pick him up than he was strolling through the snow. The snow ended up all over Lucas' head and body just from his movements in the snow and the wind. Elleigh was a bit more excited with the first snow as she ran around and acted sassy for a while. I think Lucas would like a pair of big yellow boots like Daddy has.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Alison's Birthday

I can't believe it is December 1st, but it was so cold tonight walking down the streets of Manchester to get to the Piccola Italia Ristorante that it felt like bitter cold January. And the weather forecast is indicating there is a potential for significant snow starting Sunday night into Monday.

Michael and I met up with Jacinda, Matt, Nancy, Dale, Alison and Glenn for a little dinner celebration for Alison's recent birthday. I'm not a big fan of restaurant Italian food. I don't think I have the discriminating pallet needed to fully appreciate it. I liked the sourdough bread and the olive oil for dipping. Michael enjoyed his tortellini. My eggplant parmigiana was okay. Glenn brought in a beautiful, red velvet cake from Jacques for dessert. Alison seemed to enjoy her gifts and to be having a good time. You'll have to ask her directly what was in the pretty black and white bag.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Photos

I dressed the puppies up tonight in their Christmas photo outfits. Lucas is growing so fast that his barely fit, and won't be wearable by next week. Mid photo shoot, we took a dinner break before trying session two of photos. Elleigh's button velcro closure wouldn't close anymore from her kibble bulge after she ate. Michael was the assistant puppy positioner. It was worth it though! Out of the one or two hundred photos snapped, we have the one photo we needed for our Christmas card. Thought I might share a photo of the kids at about the time they were saying they'd had enough. What troopers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Lucas is a handsome little guy and he is growing so fast. If he really puts his mind to it, he can now jump onto the couch himself. However, he is not even attempting the stairs to go up to the second floor, so we carry him to bed like a baby. He's sleeping through the night, mostly because he is exhausting himself by running around and playing so hard with Elleigh May all evening. He's been a trooper with the start of the cold weather and still going outside to do his potty. He wasn't too impressed when the light rain we got at home tonight, just after the sun wentdown, that froze suddenly to the deck. So he ran out to pee and slid across the deck and off the stairs. Poor little guy! He and Elleigh are fun to watch when they are snuggling and having quiet time. Elleigh is very patient with him and sometimes it even seems like they are whispering things back and forth to one another.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

fleece stuffed mitten in progress

I am participating in my fellow knitter Gina's Month of Mittens event. There is a link on my side bar this month to her blog's webpage with the details on it. And of course, I always have the Sleepy Eyes Knits link on my page. The goal was to make as many mittens in the month of November as possible, but I have only started one mitten project so far. I may not have it finished by the end of the month either. But wanted to post a photo to show off how much of the fleece stuffed mitten I have done so far. They are intended for myself so I can wear them walking from the parking garage all the way into my office at work. They will be thick and warm. I think most people use a contrasting yarn and fleece color so there are flecks in the stockinette stitching from the insertd fleece, but I chose to use the same color for each. You can read more about the details on this project on its project page on

Saturday, November 24, 2007

sock needle basket

I went to Robin's today, and sat beside Nancy, and weaved another basket. It's a small one that I think it going to be a new sock needle basket for me. I used a solid wood bottom so that there are no small holes for the needles to slip through. I had a good time catching up with Nancy and Robin, and I always enjoy how relatively quickly a basket project finishes up in a few hours. On some warmer afternoon, I will go outside and stain the basket. I put a tea light next to the basket for scale.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lemon Grass

Michael and I took a break from wedding planning today for lunch at the Lemon Grass Restaurant in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. It's Asian cuisine complete with a sake bar and sushi, and we are very glad we stumbled upon it. There was a brochure for Mike Love's Lemon Grass Restaurant and Sake Bar at the bakery where we were picking out our wedding cake today, Love Bites. They make most of the desserts for the restaurant. Michael and I shared Crispy Lemon Grass Calamari for an appetizer with Saigon Slaw. We seem to be fried calamari connoisseurs since we try it most places where we go out to dinner. This calamari was served with three sauces: sweet & sour, wasabi mayo, and a citrus soy sauce. I had the Phat Thai for my entree, which was the best I have ever had and full of peanut flavor. And Michael had the Sesame Crusted Rare Ahi Tuna. He got some interesting pickled veggies with his tuna: beets, cucumbers and cabbage. Very enjoyable and a nice atmosphere. I particularly liked the assortment of small bowls, plates and cups they had for all of the different entrees. And the kitchen is open to view from all of the tables so there's something to watch. It seems like the restaurant is newly set-up or renovated. I can't wait to try it again. Maybe when we head back to the area for our wedding weekend in March, we can plan to stop in again. Check out the restaurant's website.

Love Bites!!

Michael and I went to Love Bites, a bakery in Moultonboro, New Hampshire this morning. It was a beautiful ride up route 109. Love Bites was once owned by Donna Love, who is a well known pastry chef in the area, but she sold the bakery to Darcy Remillard. Darcy now continues the Love Bites business out of the commercial bakery in the basement of her home. They had just finished up on the Thanksgiving pie rush. I had sent Darcy a few photos and an e-mail description of my vision of the perfect wedding cake to which she responded that it was very doable. After tasting fondant and a hazelnut cookie, we decided this was the place to order our wedding cake from. And most impressive, Michael made a key decision on cake filling and was very concerned over depth of flavor and whether one filling would be strong enough to stand up to the others. Darcy was impressed also with his level of participation. And Darcy and Mike discussed songs by Def Leppard and Judas Priest that have Love Bites in the lyrics. We left a deposit and took away a tasty cranberry square, a bacon flavored dog bone for the kids, hazelnut cookies, and a sample of the cake we ordered. I won't give too many details here, as many of my blog readers will end up at the wedding and I don't want to spoil the surprise. But I will divulge that it is not a Diabetic-friendly cake and it will be very decadent.

3 months and 2 weeks left to get everything else in order for the wedding...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

The past several years, Michael and I spent the actual Thanksgiving Day with his family. But this year, we packed up Lucas and Elleigh and drove to Vermont. Vermont trips are always whirlwind trips because I try to do so much in the little time that I have. I don't get back home often enough it seems.

Lucas and Elleigh slept entwined with each other on both the ride over and back. This was the first time Lucas got to meet his Grandparents on the Doaner side, and his cousins: Brandi and Angus.

I took a tour of Grandma's house, and the work my brother and an electrician have done on getting the house in shape to be rented. My brother is hoping to be able to move in before Christmas with his family.

Brandi's birthday is in early December, so I usually bring up her birthday gifts around Thanksgiving time. This year, she got a new assortment of books and a little cash.

Angus was in high energy mode on Thursday, so it was hard to get him to sit still long enough to photograph his new missing front teeth.

We had turkey and all the fixings: potato, gravy, coleslaw, deviled eggs, stuffing, squash, and rolls. This year's forgotten item was the yams. There's always something that never makes the table in every house.

Brandi, Angus, Mom and I sat down with the felted ball kit I got on my Grand View Knitting Retreat weekend. We wrapped yarn and used roving to make fluffy balls, and then stuffed them inside old nylons and put them in the washer for one cycle. It was quick and fun, and now we have four felted Christmas ball ornaments. I think next time, I would use more traditional Christmas colors. The fancy ornament hangers came from Target.

Michael helped my Dad open their new computer up and get it hitched up to the printer. Mom and Dad were working on my old hand-me-down Gateway that must be 10 years old at the very least. They were getting to the point where they could run errands between mouse clicks because the computer was so slow. They are now running on Windows Vista and Dad can't believe how fast his fantasy football website loads up.

Mom and I had little pieces of mince meat pie and maple pecan pie before it was time to pack up the dogs and drive back to New Hampshire in the pouring rain.

Lucas and Elleigh shared a small can of Thanksgiving Dinner dog food made by Merrick when we got them back home. Mmmm!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our First Snow

It began snowing this morning right around the time we were leaving for work. This took me totally by surprise. I don't remember hearing that it was going to snow in southern NH on the news. I was in good company because none of my coworkers seemed to be expecting snow either. I haven't even put my winter car kit in my car yet and I left for work today without a hat and gloves. Looks like we ended up with 2 inches of settled wet snow.

As shocked as I was about the snow, the puppies were not pleased to go out and go potty in the snow this evening. It was Lucas' first snow. He was a trooper and did his business, but it was clear his feet were cold and he didn't want to linger too long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exhausted Puppies

It has been a long weekend for the furry babies. Elleigh has been a good big sister and played with her new baby brother. She isn't interested in sharing her food, and I don't blame her. So we strongly encourage each baby to eat out of their own bowls. But Elleigh is sharing her toys and seems to like playing tug with Lucas. She also has been trying to sneak the tiny puppy toys of Lucas and we have to stop her from chewing through them. Elleigh is also a trooper about going outside for potty every time Lucas goes out. Lucas and Mommy enjoy the company even if she doesn't have to go to the bathroom herself. Lucas attended his first puppy obedience class today. He as the smallest kid in his class, which was disappointing because we hoped that there would be another small dog puppy he could play with. Instead, there was Calvin (springer spaniel), Bubba (Bulldog) and Rosa (a curly water spaniel.) Lucas sat most of the class patiently beside me and looked as if he was already a well behaved pooch while his classmates barked, jumped around, and tripped over their big puppy feet. I think Lucas may have been tired in class today so I don't expect he will be so perfect next class session. Lucas is still able to make it through the night with just one potty break somewhere between 3-5:30 am. He seems to be going through a growth spurt right now. It's amazing how much he has grown in just the week that we've had him. While watching the NASCAR final race of the season tonight, Elleigh and Lucas tried to share the same exact space right in the corner of the sofa beside Daddy while he played on the computer. It wasn't that long ago that Elleigh use to lay on top of Austin and they'd sleep together. Elleigh has definitely taken on the big dog role now that she is on the bottom of the dog pile.

Friday, November 16, 2007

wedding dress

My wedding dress has arrived and is now being stored in the house! My experiment in ordering a dress direct from China seems to be working out for me so far. I found a tiny package on the deck this afternoon, and originally thought it was the T-shirt I had ordered from But, it turned out to be my wedding dress. It took me by surprise since it was about a week earlier than I expected. I ordered the dress on October 24th and thought it would actually arrive after Thanksgiving. Imagine me trying to put this dress on while keeping two puppies away from it. All the fabric and fluff was very exciting for Elleigh and Lucas. It will obviously need to be steamed since it was packed in such a small bundle, but otherwise, I am impressed at how close the dress comes to the right size and length just by sending my measurements via an e-mail half way around the world. I also asked for the sleeves to be altered a bit from the photo I saw on-line and even that request was accommodated. I guess I can stop worrying about some big wedding dress issue for the big day. I can't go into too much detail on the dress at this point since I think Michael does actually read my blog occasionally.

Lucas' First Puppy Pediatrician Appointment

Lucas had his first well puppy appointment at Russell Animal Hospital this afternoon. All of the staff at the hospital ogled over Lucas and came out of the other patient care rooms just to see him. Lucas seemed to be tired from his ride into Concord, so he just hung out in my arms and sucked up all of the attention. Dr. Clark thought that Lucas looked healthy and was just fine. She used extra tiny needles for Lucas' vaccinations. But he hated most of all the kennel cough vaccination that was dripped into his nose. He weighed 5 pounds and 2.5 ounces. They looked up Elleigh's records and she weighed 3 pounds and 9 ounces at the same age. Lucas got a trip to PetSmart for a new sweater, a tag for his collar, and a trio of puppy bones to chew since he was such a good boy at the vet's office. Again, he was so tired he let me just carry him around the store. Unfortunately, the spot between Lucas' shoulder blades where they gave him his shots has gotten sore this evening, so we have to be really careful when picking him up or touching him so he doesn't cry. He's sleeping on the couch right now with Michael. This seems to make him feel better.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, 2 Dogs in a Tub

Every parent has the naked kids in the tub photos, so here is our photo of Lucas and Elleigh naked (they have their collars off) and in the tub. I'd like to say that they were enjoying their tub, but they really aren't that happy about it. They tolerate the necessary evil. I love the Lavender and Mint Buddy Wash soap that I have been using on Elleigh since she was a baby. It's great dog shampoo, rinses out easily, and leaves the puppies soft and smelling nice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Growing So Fast

Lucas is growing so fast! When I got home tonight, it seemed like he had gotten bigger just during the work day. And as of tonight, Lucas can now get himself up the two steps at the side of the house when he goes out to potty. He's definitely getting more coordination when playing with Elleigh and seems to be giving her more of a run for her money already. And he is gaining speed when he runs through the house, mostly chasing Elleigh. And the baby sleeps through most of the night; we can get a good 6 hour stretch of sleep out of him without a potty break. Lucas worked on sitting on command on Tuesday night, and did very well with that. He seems to like standing up on his back legs, so we've been labeling this as "up" and trying to make that a command for him as well. He doesn't like the sausage doggy treats I have, but I broke up some tiny pieces of chicken breast and Lucas was very happy to work on tricks for that treat. I offered him a tiny piece Triscuit tonight, but he apparently doesn't like fiber. He's still bouncing and bounding across the floor with puppy exuberance. Elleigh is more inclined now to let him snuggle up right next to her. But he still can't make it up on the couch by himself, so that is Elleigh's safe haven when she's had enough of the puppy. Luke is still a snuggler, especially at bedtime. And he is starting a puppy training and socialization class on Sunday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Elleigh Loves Lucas

We knew Elleigh wouldn't be able to keep up with the cold shoulder act for very long. She was "caught" snuggling with the puppy on the couch tonight. They fell asleep after exhausting themselves running from one end of the house to the other playing tag, keep away and tug.

Prepare Yourself For Cuteness Overload

I had to stop at Target on the way home from work tonight to run an errand. And in the cheap bins near the front of the store, I found this x-small black down vest made for doggies for $2.50. And on the back of the jacket, it has a skull in a Santa hat with the work "naughty." How cute is that? And Lucas seems to like it. He gets cold quickly, so I am sure he likes the warmth. He liked the vest so much that he even seemed a little sassy in that jacket running around tonight and rolling around on the couch. I have no idea if he will even be able to wear it at Christmas time. But he can fit in it right now, though it is a little big. But for $2.50, it was worth just the laugh this one night. I probably should have tried to crop out his hoohoo from that photo.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More on Lukeigh...

We have been calling Lucas several names, so he hasn't quite figured out whether he should be responding to Luke, Lucas, or Lukeigh. We will work on being more consistent. But today, Lucas and Elleigh played tug and keep away. Elleigh is taking advantage of the fact that Lucas can't get himself up on the couch yet, or up and down the stairs either. Michael showed his boy how to use the remote as they lounged on the couch today. Lucas continues to be snuggly and we are hopeful he will sleep through most of the night again tonight.

Late last night, we gave Lucas his first tubby and his first nail clipping. He also got a brand new brown and turquoise collar, and he's borrowing his sister's puppy leash until we can find him something a little more masculine.

Introducing Lucas Austin....

Michael and I got up in the wee hours of the morning and took a road trip to Pennsylvania to pick up our new baby boy yesterday, Lucas Austin. Lucas was born September 2nd, 2007, so he is 10 weeks old. Lucas came right up to introduce himself to Michael and he seems to like to stand on his back legs. Lucas did a really good job on the drive home, in fact, he slept most of the 9 hours. And so far, we have had potty only in the appropriate potty places. Yippee! He's affectionate and curious. Oh, and he is a Boston Terrier, but he is more of a brindle than Elleigh's more traditional black and white. He seems to like Elleigh, but Elleigh has mixed feelings. Elleigh enjoys playing with him, but she has had to be clear with him that she is not interested in nursing him no matter how hungry he thinks he is. And we have to be careful about spreading the love equally to both Elleigh and Lucas. There's definitely a pathetic look on Elleigh's face when Lucas is being handled and she is not. Luckily, Elleigh is not beyond inserting herself. You can be assured that there will be a ton of baby photos to come.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Laceigh Hat

I finished my Laceigh Hat tonight at the Bricchi's house! I started this project at Grand view. It's been a while since I have actually completed a project, though, I always seem to be starting a project. This hat is done just in time for the cold weather coming. I used Knit Picks Andean Treasure baby alpaca yarn. I need to write down what I actually did. Once on paper, I think that will make me an official knitware designer. You can read more about this hat project on my ravelry page by clicking on the ravelry link on my sidebar to the right. Did I mention that ravelry is the greatest new knitting website!?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Grand View

I finally got to go to Grand View for what has turned out to be the last annual ManchVegas at Grand View knitting retreat. Unfortunately, the Grand View accommodations and yarn shop did not meet my expectations. Donna and I had technical difficulties with the bed and the toilet in our room. And the yarn shop didn't have anything new and exciting that I just couldn't resist. In fact, I ended up buying a felting project kit more out of obligation than anything else. Let me mention some of my favorite highlights, or possibly they were low lights. I really enjoyed the tequila balls that Lora whipped up and brought on the retreat. (That's Lora and I in the photo above.) The balls spent quite a bit of time on our end of the table and I frequented the container a lot on Friday night, and I think for breakfast/brunch on Saturday. Check out Caroline's blog for a great photo of Lora in a cotton knit hat. Lora shared the recipe with me, so I can reproduce them again some time. Yahoo! It will be a long time before I lose the image of the free-spirited Amanda hanging out in her undies and boots for most of Saturday night. And I learned way more about some people than I probably ever really wanted to know via some drinking games. Though, I think I had an unfair advantage since I was drinking water while others were not. I did have a nice wine assortment on Friday night. I worked on my reversible green cabled scarf that I started last winter for myself, the infamous laptop sleeve, and I started a heathered purple lace hat that will probably be for me this winter. I didn't finish any projects though. And what about Bob!?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beloved Austin

Michael and I took Austin to be put to sleep late this afternoon. Since being diagnosed with his brain tumor in August, Austin had done pretty well with medication. He had a few seizures and had a slow decline in coordination and sight, but seemed to be enjoying life right up until this last week. He had one 24 hour period where he had two seizures earlier in the week, and by the end of the week Austin had very poor coordination and could no longer be left alone. He needed assistance walking around, going up and down the stairs, and it became clear that he may no longer be enjoying his life. It was a very sad thing to do, but we feel a little relieved that Austin isn't suffering now. We are hoping that Austin is already racing around doggy heaven with little Bradeigh.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Grand View Knitting Retreat

This whole season is out of control at work, more than the normal out of control. So if I can just finish up a few things this morning at work, I will be off to Grand View with Donna this afternoon. Though I am having trouble disengaging from work and all things wedding this morning, I know I will have a great time just knitting a whole weekend away with a wild bunch of women. I need to pack some knitting projects to work on, but also leave time to start new projects. We will be staying in an inn with a knitting store, so I will buy more knitting projects inevitably. And oh, I need to contact Donna to find out where we are actually going to rendezvous.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Invitations Have Arrived

You may have heard my squeals of delight all the way at your house when I opened the box that was delivered at the house today by FedEx. The wedding invitation kit from Paper Source has arrived! Paper Source gets an A+ for presentation too. Not only is the invitation kit just as pretty as expected, but the company wraps all of the shipments up like they are gold. The invitation components were wrapped in tissue paper and tied up with ribbon. And even my invoice copy came in its own bright blue envelop. Very nice touches! I can't wait to put these invitations together now. I have to figure out if the cherry blossom response cards from the other company actually match the Paper Source invitations.

Jacinda's dress shopping

Nancy, Jacinda and I went to Marry & Tux in Nashua tonight after work. Marry & Tux has later hours on some evenings so working girls can actually make it on a week night to do some shopping. And they also seem to have some larger sized dresses in stock so girls with assets can actually get a good idea of how certain dresses will fit. Kudos to Marry & Tux! Jacinda took several dresses into the dressing room, but once she tried on the second style, she knew that was the one she wanted and didn't bother to try any more on. It's a beautiful dress and it looks beautiful on Jacinda. And it is from the DaVinci bridal collection, which offered more pinks than some other lines. The pink Jacinda is getting is called fuchsia, but it is much more of a real pink color than actual purple toned fuchsia. It will match well with the color scheme I have in mind. I am excited about this gown. Jacinda ordered her dress and it should arrive in February.

We celebrated our shopping success with dinner at CR Sparks in Bedford.

And Nancy is ordering her dress tomorrow from a bridal shop in Laconia.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I had what was left of the four bags of candy that I bought last week in a small white bowl waiting for Trick or Treaters to come. I go into a panic every year that we will get more Treaters than the normal dozen or less, and then I over buy candy. Supposedly, the town of Pittsfield observes Trick or Treating from 5-7 pm this year. In my opinion, it wasn't sufficiently dark enough to Trick or Treat until 6 pm. But as of 6 pm, we still had not had any costumed children stop by. I have my buckets with Jack o' Lantern faces cut out of them all lined up by the front door with candles inside them. I am having a hard time keeping the tea lights lighted in the wind tonight, but I am putting up a good effort. And Elleigh is dressed in her Hawaiian shirt and her candy corn dog collar. Austin isn't feeling too great, but he's still sporting a Halloween bandanna.

First Treater came at 6:35 pm. A little She-Devil who actually was much more interested in Elleigh than the candy. She obviously has great taste in dogs.

At 7 pm, up pulled a 4 wheeler hauling a wagon complete with orange lights, a lighted Jack o' Lantern head, and Halloween music playing. How cool is that?! A brother and sister vampire got out of the wagon and came to the door. My brother and I just use to walk the whole neighborhood by ourselves. I guess things have changed.

At 7:45 pm, three teenage girls came. Two of the girls were dressed as french maids with thigh high fishnet stockings and tiny little skirts that bared all. I would have had to cover Michael's eyes if he went to the door. One poor thing was shivering because she had so little clothes on. The third one had a slinky dress on too, but she wore clothes underneath her costume.

And since it is now almost 8 pm, it seems safe to assume that we got the least amount of Treaters this year that I can ever remember... 6. Well, that was anticlimactic. I guess it is safe to eat the white Reese's Peanut Butter Cups now. And the Ghost Dots.

paper lanterns & response cards

The box of paper lanterns arrived today via the postal carrier. The lanterns are bright and I like them, but the LED lights don't seem to be bright enough to actually make a nice enough glow inside the lanterns. Maybe I will try another kind of LED light to see if it works any better.

Also in the mail, the sample response card that I ordered came as well. It has cherry blossoms on it, so now I have to see how it matches with the cherry blossom invitations when those arrive from Paper Source.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just Sweep Already!!

We all are hoping that the Sox just sweep and get this World Series over with tonight. Staying up to see these games is just exhausting. Poor Elleigh tries so hard to keep her eyes open and watch every play, but sometimes sleep just gets the best of her. We try not to get too exuberant over the good plays so we don't jostle her awake. The Princess needs her beauty sleep.

laptop sleeve progress

I managed to get another inch and a half on the felted laptop sleeve project tonight. You can compare my progress to the beach knitting photo in my October 4th post. There were all kinds of sports to watch tonight on television: NASCAR, the Patriots, and I am still watching the Red Sox. Sports are perfect to knit while watching. I think I have about 10 more inches to go on the laptop sleeve before I will need to sew it up, make a strap and then felt the project. Maybe this is a project I will need to pack for this coming weekend trip to Grand View for the knitting retreat.

Go Sox!!

paper lanterns

I found some beautiful pink pagoda shaped paper lanterns on-line a few weeks ago. I was going to order some for wedding reception decorations, but when I went to order them last weekend they were out of stock. When I just checked tonight, they were available again, so a half dozen are on the way to the house. They make LED faux tea lights now, so I also ordered a pack of those to go inside of the paper lanterns. That way the whole reception hall won't burn down because we put open flame inside a paper lantern. I bet Lake Opechee Inn will appreciate that.