Archive for the 'Vacation' Category

2 1/2 Years in the Making

Wait, longer than that.  Well, let’s just include the knitting/crocheting time, not the summer when the boys and I actually dyed the yarn.  CHRISTOPHER’S BABY BLANKET IS FINALLY FINISHED!!!!!!!!  And, the coolest part is – I finished it up in the same place I started it – Disney’s private island Castaway Cay.  We went on a DVC member’s cruise last week, just like the one back in September of 2010, and I knew I was almost done, so the blanket came with us to the beach.

Once again, Steve humored me by taking a few pictures of me finishing it up.

Disney Vacation and Cruise, January 2013 151.5

Funny thing – the ball rolled towards the water, and I was all “Steve, get a picture of that – it’s hilarious!  I bet there’s never been a ball of yarn on Castaway Cay’s beach before!”

Disney Vacation and Cruise, January 2013 152.5

Steve was all “It’s alright everyone – IT’S SUPERWASH.”

Disney Vacation and Cruise, January 2013 153.5

And here I am, blanket complete.  Then Steve went and bought me a pina colada.  Well, 2 of them actually.

Disney Vacation and Cruise, January 2013 156.5

And for those of you reminiscing, here’s the start of the blanket:

Summer 2010 pictures 072.5


Now, what am I going to do for Nathan’s baby blanket?


2011 Vacation, Days 5 and 6

I think perhaps the clue was too obscure.  Is this one maybe easier?

The first pic at the end of the last post was taken at the Bennington Monument.  The last picture and this sign are at the Bennington Battlefield.  Two different places, in two different states actually.  The Battle of Bennington was fought over a storehouse of weapons and supplies in Bennington, Vermont.   The English soldiers found out about it, and thought they had better take control of it.  The Americans thought differently, and met up with them about 10 miles west of Bennington, in New York near Walloomsac.  Our forces were mostly militia and a group you may have heard of called the Green Mountain Boys.  We won, and won hard.

The boys had quite a time running all around the battlefield.  Chris did not much like the downhill part:

Since I was still sort of recovering, that was all we did that day.  We drove back to the resort, and started getting ready for the next day.

Day 6 we mostly packed and drove to Boston.  Our original plan was to leave fairly early, and get there with enough time to see Salem, the Concord Bridge, and walk about 1/2 the Freedom Trail.  As I was moving really slowly and still not wanting to quite overdo it, we got to Boston with just a little bit of daylight left, and only really had time for the bridge.

We drove out there, parked, and discovered 2 very cool things.  First, just about the best climbing tree EVER:

And secondly, it was chilly.  Quite chilly.  Nathan got to try on the hat his Auntie made him out of leftovers from his blanket, which I still need to take pics of and post on here, but that’s another post entirely.

The Park was pretty cool.  I’m ashamed to admit at first I didn’t realize what the big deal was.   I took a chance and asked Steve what the bridge was, and hoped he wouldn’t go into one of his looooooooooooooong explanations.

I was lucky.  He briefly told me it was the site of “The Shot Heard Round the World” and where the first battle of the Revolutionary War took place.   “Oh, THAT bridge,” I replied.  I should have waited, ’cause this was right before the bridge (you can click on the pic to embiggen it):

The bridge itself was not that much to look at.

On the other side of the bridge though, is this:

Here’s a close-up (again, embiggen it to read):

And this:

I thought that was rather cool.

At that point, we were all getting rather hungry, and my appetite was finally returning, so we found someplace to eat, and headed back to our hotel in Boston, which was amazing, and got rested up for the next day.  Freedom Trail, here we come!

PS. – One quick note about the hotel we stayed at – it was quite modern and hip.  Very hip.  Dork that I am, I pretty much feel out of place almost anywhere I go, so perhaps you can imagine, if you click on the hotel link, how uphip I felt in there with all those 20-somethings.  That said, the rooms were awesome, the front desk folks were very helpful, and the stay was all in all very nice.  I’d totally stay there again.  But what happened was odd none the less.

At bedtime we realized that we had left a few things in the car, so I sent David down there with the keys (to get away from his brothers for a few minutes) to retrieve Christopher’s Scout and the toothbrushes.  He came back up with a weird look on his face.  I asked him if there was anything wrong, and he brushed it off.  Then we realized that we forgot something else, one of Christopher’s fuzzy blankets, so this time I went down to get it.

Now, click on that hotel link again and look at the pics of the night time lounge.  Imagine that filled with loud music, lots of people drinking pretty drinks, and me, carrying a fuzzy blanket through there.   Yeah, real hip.  If there’s one thing less hip than carrying a fuzzy blanket through a bar/lounge, it’d be if you were a 13 year old boy carrying a toothbrush and a stuffed animal through a bar/lounge.

I went and apologized to David.  Poor kid.

2011 Vacation Details, Day 3, 4, and part of 5

So, when I left off, I was alternating between hot sweaty flashes and shivering chills at the cabin at KOA.  Other than that, it was a nice cabin.  Could have used a slightly thicker mattress pad thing though.  But that’ s just me.

I forgot to include these pictures of the boys making their beds.

That’s David up there making Patrick’s bed for him.  And below is Russ making his own.  We had a pack and play thing for Chris and a little foldable bed for Nate.

I woke up feeling halfways alright, considering I hadn’t slept well at all.  Silly me, I thought I was through the worst of it.

Everyone else got up that next morning and ate breakfast outside at the little picnic table in the cabin’s front yard.  Christopher ended up falling through and banged one side of his head on the side of the table, then the other side of his head on the seat part as he fell through.  He was not at all pleased.

We loaded up the car and took off for the Berkshires.  Most of the rest of the day is sort of a blur.  I had remembered that it was WWKIP day, and one of the sock forums I belong to on Ravelry was doing a WWKIP Day Scavenger Hunt.  I participated last year, and it was quite fun.  The point is to knit on a sock during the day, and take pictures of your sock doing things or in certain situations, and you get points.  Steve offered to make a little detour up to Niagara Falls, since one of the big point-getters was to get a pic of your sock with a well-known internationally-recognizable landmark.  I just was feeling so icky by that point that I just wanted to get to the resort.  Steve keep saying, “Are you sure you don’t want to go to get a picture?”  I finally convinced him that I didn’t care, as I hadn’t even started a sock for that day yet.  You got points for actually starting that day as well, so I had waited.  I thought that if I felt better, we’d get some pics at the resort, and submit those.

Turns out we got to the resort just before some rain hit, and Nathan was hungry, so I went inside with him and fed him while the big boys ran back and forth unloading the entire car.  They finished up literally just before the storm came through.  We hadn’t had a chance to stop anywhere for groceries yet, so we thought it’d be best to order out some food.  At this point the boys were starving hungry, I had the chills so bad I was sitting on a chair, wearing a sweater jacket I brought, and was still shivering.  Steve brought me a blanket, and I was still shivering.

The pizza place we had a brochure for offered a little bit of everything, so he got a pizza for the boys, a lasagne for him, and I got a cheese calzone and a bowl of French onion soup, thinking that the broth would warm me up.  Steve ran out real quick to go pick it up, and it was good.  I could only eat about 1/2 the bowl of soup though.  The boys inhaled the pizza, Steve ate about 1/2 his ginormous lasagne, and my entire calzone went in the fridge for later.  And we all went to bed.

The next morning, Day 4 of the vacation, I woke up feeling like death.  I just felt awful – shivering, a fever of 102 (I took my temp at some point, using the thermometer I brought in case one of the kids got sick – ha!), sweats, chills, thirsty, but the gatorade made me throw up.  It was too sicky sweet.  Most of the day was a blur.  I didn’t leave the bed but to go to the bathroom a few times.  Steve would bring Nate in to me to feed, I’d nurse him, and Steve would take him back out again.  At some point, he got Chris down for a nap, and took the older boys out to get some groceries, leaving Nate on the bed so I could reach him if he woke up.

A while later, he came home with the groceries, and then went on to fix supper for us all.  By suppertime, I managed to eat for the first time that day: about 3 bites of chicken, 1/2 of  a new red potato, and 1 baby carrot.  Then I went back to bed.

Turns out the boys had pretty much spent the day watching a Cake Boss marathon.  This information will explain what happened on day 10.  What a fun way to start your summer vacation, right?

By Monday, day 5, I started to feel human again, except for a little case of cabin fever.  I wanted to go somewhere, but no where that would involve me seeing anyone, cause I wasn’t in the mood to put any make up on.  And I’m one of those girls who takes about 2 1/2 minutes to do my makeup too.  Steve suggested we go to this yarn shop he found.  I said no.

Read that again.  I said no to yarn shopping.  I think that’s perhaps when how sick I was really hit him.  Not that he thought I was faking or anything, but dang, how sick do I have to be to not want to go yarn shopping?

Here’s 2 pictures of where we ended up going.  See if you can figure out where we went.  No cheating by looking back at the itinerary either.

The next post will give you the answer…

2011 Vacation Details, Days 1 and 2

So, per what is now the norm for this family, and it drives me nuts, but I can’t seem to get it under control either, we left late.  Waaaaaaaaaaaay late.  Steve had been trying to leave work early, but also didn’t want to leave the new guy hung out in the wind.  He got home around 5 maybe, and since the boys and I had everything waiting by the door, Steve super-quickly attached the car-top carrier, threw his clothes in a bag, and started loading up the car.  We left by about 6 pm.

No worries though – we only needed to make it to the outskirts of Chicago.  That’s 8 hours, folks.  I had asked my dad if he could take the older 3 boys for the night so that we could only get 1 hotel room, and he said sure.  I called him to let him know that we’d be getting in at crap o’clock so that he could go to bed early and sleep for a little while before they came, but he said he’d wait up.

We got to Dad’s about 2 am, and bless his heart, he walked right out to meet us.  I had a small overnight bag packed with a change of clothes and swim trunks for the boys, so they took that in and we were off.  Our hotel was only 15 or 20 minutes away, so we were checked in my 2:30 and we both passed out.  Thankfully, our hotel already had the crib in the room and it was set up so we just stuck Christopher right in there with his fuzzy blankets and Scout and he was gone.  Nathan slept fairly well, and I ended up waking up in a puddle of leaked milk because of it.  Good times.

Chris woke up around 7 maybe, and I had just fed Nathan, so I took Chris down to the lobby area where the free breakfast stuff was so that Steve could sleep a little longer.  We stayed down there for quite a while, me thinking he could use all the sleep he could get, and I came back up to the room to find Nate screaming in Steve’s arms.  So much for sleep.  I took Nate and Steve ran down to get breakfast for himself, then we checked out and ran over to Woodman’s for some provisions.

We wanted to grab some of this Kettlemania stuff we can’t get in our stores anymore, and some Aerobars, and of course I forgot to pack my shampoo, conditioner, and toothbrush.  I packed toothpaste, but no toothbrush.  We got over to my dad’s about 11, and stayed until about 2.

My sister and her hubs came over as well.  A couple days before, they had to have one of their cats put to sleep.  The cats had been part of their family for 16+ years, and my sister was taking it really hard.  So, through a non-discussed mutually agreed upon sister telepathy thing, I didn’t mention a thing.  She looked like if I said anything, she’d burst into tears.  So I just gave her Nathan and let her bathe in the baby snuggles.  It helped I think.

By the time we were getting ready to leave, I developed a raging headache.  I thought it was just not getting very much sleep the night before, possibly not drinking enough water, something that I would be able to fix easily.   By the time we got to the KOA in Ohio, it was so way worse.  And I was coughing.

I got the sheets out and had the boys make up their beds, and David starts freaking out cause there’s a WASP.  It was all I could do not to completely break down.  Russ is allergic to bee stings, but this one was nothing to be feared.  It was barely flying, like someone had sprayed bug killer in the cabin already.  Chris ended up stepping on it and killing it.  That’s my boy.

At some point Steve went out to a store to get me some Zicam stuff and some other provisions for breakfast, and by the time he got back, the boys were all in bed.  I tossed and turned all night and kept waking up either soaked in sweat or shivering like mad.  And that was just the beginning of the vacation.


To be continued…

Shute Colonial America Tour of 2011 Itinerary

I thought I’d start the vacation entries with the itinerary.  As I get time, I plan on actually writing more detailed blog posts about some of the days, at which point I’ll put in links to that post as well as links to some of the historical sites.  At the time of posting, I have very few links up, so I apologize for that now.  Check back in a few days and I may have something up.

So then, here goes.  The original plan is in normal type, what we actually did on that day if different is in bold.  Feel free to laugh at what we thought we’d do.

Day 1 – Thursday the 9th– Driving day to IL.   Got into Montgomery about 2AM – dropped off the kids at PoPo’s and arrived at our hotel in Naperville about 2:30.

Day 2 – Friday the 10th– AM – hang out at Dad’s.  PM – drive to KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio.

Day 3 – Saturday the 11th – Driving day to Vacation Villas at the Berkshires resort in W. Massachusetts.

Day 4 – Sunday the 12th– Rest day (laundry?)  My sick day

Day 5 – Monday the 13th – short trip to Vermont/Bennington Battlefield.

Day 6 – Tuesday the 14th – drive up to Boston, see Salem and walk 1/2 of the Freedom Trail.  I was still feeling slightly icky and didn’t want to over-do it, so we left later than planned and only got a chance to go to Concord Bridge.

Day 7 – Wednesday the 15th – still in Boston, other half of the Freedom Trail, Plymouth, and return to Berkshires for the night.  Walked the entire Freedom Trail.  I was feeling way better this day.

Day 8 – Thursday the 16th – at the villas, rest/laundry day.   Stayed around the resort – Steve took the kids to the swimming pool for a while so that I could get some rest after the exhausting day yesterday.

Day 9 – Friday the 17th – at villas, short trip to Albany.   Went to the top of Mount Greylock (highest point in Mass), then took a trip into Vermont to go yarn hunting at a local yarn shop.

Day 10 – Saturday the 18th – drive to Valley Forge via Morristown National Historical Park and Philly.   At Patrick’s passionate request, stopped at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (of “Cake Boss” fame) on the way!

Day 11 – Sunday the 19th – Valley Forge, Philly, travel to Williamsburg / Greensprings Vacation Resort.

Day 12 – Monday the 20th – at resort, laundry, tour of colonial settlement? Stayed at resort.

Day 13 – Tuesday the 21st – Drive to DC, Smithsonian museums, spend the night in DC.

Day 14 – Wednesday the 22nd – DC monuments/memorials, Capitol, Nat’l Archives, Library of Congress?

Day 15 – Thursday the 23rd – Our 20th Anniversary!  Mt Vernon or Monticello?   Went to Jamestown Settlement instead – made the decision to hold off on Monticello until Sunday.

Day 16 – Friday the 24th – Jamestown/Yorktown?   Neither – we went to Colonial Williamsburg for our first day there.

Day 17 – Saturday the 25th – rest day/laundry.   Yorktown, plus Day 2 at Williamsburg (and a stop to pick up some soap and a William & Mary T-Shirt) – we were all about ready for the vacation to end at this point.

Day 18 – Sunday the 26th – Check out of Greensprings, drive to KOA Natural Bridge, VA.  And a pretty awesome stop at Monticello in between.

Day 19 – Monday the 27th – Leave VA, drive home.   16 straight hours.  Oh joy.

2010 State Fair and vacation highlights

Ok, I lost a month in here somewhere.  We went on a Disney Cruise, among other things.  While we were gone, the Kansas State Fair happened.  I didn’t get to go at all, but a kind kind friend took my fair entries over there, entered them all for me, drove back a couple weeks later to pick them all up, and gave them back to me at knit night.  Here’s some highlights.

This was my entry into the Benefit Toy for under 3 years old.  I even stuck a jingle bell inside the stuffing, so it’s sort of a rattle.  It won 3rd place!  Public Rav link right here.

This was my entry in the Benefit Toy for over 3.  Can you guess what it is?

A picture of the back might help.

It’s a tooth fairy pillow!  It didn’t win a ribbon, but I know there’s some kid out there who’s gonna love it.  Public Rav link right here.

I started this eons ago and managed to finish it up in time too.

Here’s the ribbed collar close-up.

And this part I’m rather proud of.  Here’s the border close-up.  I did this one here, and I absolutely love how it turned out.

Here’s a pair of red socks I’d had on my queue almost forever.

The heel was very weird, and I don’t think I’ll do it again, but it does fit very well.

As for the cruise, the boys all had a fantastic time.  Castaway Cay is still the most awesome beach I’ve ever visited.  I let Christopher eat some Disney sand.  We went on a bike ride, and took some pictures that I’ll have to put up at some point.   It was there that I actually started Christopher’s baby blanket, and Steve, bless his heart, humored me by taking several pictures of me actually casting on and knitting the first stitch.

We stayed at the Treehouse Villa’s at Saratoga Springs resort afterwards, and wow is that amazing.   Our bathroom was so awesome that we took pictures of it.  Behind that partition there is a seat.  The shower and the tub are both enclosed in that area there, and it’s simply lovely.

I had brought with me a stupid amount of yarn and projects.  I honestly don’t know what sort of reality I think I live in when I’m packing up yarn and projects for a vacation.  I somehow think that vacations are going to be magical and I’m just amazingly going to have all this free time in which to knit or crochet or read or whatever.  I brought so much stuff that I’m even ashamed to admit how much I brought, but here’s a small sampling, along with notes on if I even looked at it or not:

  • Yarn purchased on my birthday for a very special person for a Christmas present.  I can’t go into more detail than that cause she might see it on here.  Let’s just say that the yarn never even came out of the package.
  • Tons of my cotton scraps to make some more bibs for Christopher.  Never happened.
  • Tons of acrylic scraps to make hamsterbeans for 2 of my nieces.  These not only happened, but both were huge hits.  This pattern was amazingly awesome, and I’ll will use it again and again.  My boys all want one too, as well as the niece I made the Minion for.

  • The socks I started for Christopher.  I remember working on them a little bit in the car, but the cruise and FL was so hot I was afraid the yarn was going to felt in my hands if I worked on it down there.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • More yarn for socks for Christopher, for when I finished the other ones.  Cause I just knew I was going to finish the other ones.  Yeah.
  • Maureen’s shrug.  Never touched it.
  • Dulcie’s suede vest thing.  Never touched it.
  • Christopher’s baby blanket yarn.  Started it on Castaway Cay.

And that’s all I’m willing to admit to at this point.  Know how they have Friends of Bill?  I’m wondering if there’s something yarn related out there.  Not that I have a problem or anything.

Dyeing with my sister

I think she’s hooked.

Or I suppose you could also argue that I’ve created a monster.

She decided to try her hand at painting as well…

See these three colors up there?  Remember those for a later picture.

We even did the sock blanks.

That’s the one we forgot to take any pictures of the during.  We took royal blue, teal, and some pink/rose color (all Wilton’s), and first striped it, then did some diagonal stripes, then we got tired of all the pushing down of the dye for the striping, so we started sort of flecking.  We dipped the brushes in the dye, and sort of threw the dye off the brush onto the yarn.  It’s hard to describe, but I sure could show you.

The sock blanks are 462 yards, and since I only need about 200 or so for a pair of anklets, I knew that I could get 2 pairs of socks out of each sock blank.  I had planned on one pair for each of us.

With the way we had just dyed that blank, if I just went and knit up 2 pairs, one would be from one half, the striped half, and the other pair would be from the speckled half.  The 2 pairs of socks wouldn’t match.  Then we realized that since we used the same colors for the stripes and the speckling, we could each take one sock from one half of the blank!  We’d each get a striped one and a speckled one!

This next one, we did something totally different.  Can you read what it says?

My name is in green (of course) and my sister’s is in purple (of course).  We then speckled it some more. Russell helped.

Ok, remember those dyes I told you to remember from up there?  My sister had some leftover.  There were 3 colors, so I sort of divided my hank into thirds, and tried to dunk each third into the bowls of dye.  It took me a minute to figure out why they wouldn’t sink  into the water like the other ones we did.  I never pre-soaked it.  I stuck the yarn in there bone dry.   It sucked up that dye like a nursing baby, let me tell you.  And after nuking, I got the most brilliant vibrant colors!  My oops is fantastic!

If I remember right (why don’t we take notes or anything when we do this?), this was done with burgundy Wilton’s.

And then the best one of all was this.  I had gone yarning with my sister the day before or so, and bought 2 big things of Cascade Eco-wool.  I wanted about 700-800 yards of chunky to make myself a Shalom cardigan like the one I made my sister.  All the chunky in the yarn store we went too was either out of my budget or had not the colors I wanted.  Then the light bulb went off.

Duh, we were going to be dyeing yarn!  Why not just get something plain, natural or whatever, and then I could dye it myself?   I had plans of using various shades of green, but when I mixed them up, I changed my mind and went with purple, teal, green, and royal blue, and one other green we made up by mixing some other colors.

Here’s what the yarn looked like before we got busy.  It’s one of those twist ones, where one ply is natural and the other ply is a darker color.

Here is it after we poured on some of the dyes.  I poured and my sister tried to separate out the yarn so that it could get all the way through into the bottom part.

Uh, sorry about the towels, Dad.  I think your saran wrap is leaky.

Here is the yarn on the drying rack.  I can’t wait to see how it knits up!

And a picture of the birthday boy with his newest grandson.  My dad’s birthday was the 4th of July, and I wanted to thank him for letting me and my sister mess up the driveway for 2 days with all this.  And thanks for letting us make your microwave smell like vinegar too.  I hope it doesn’t mess up your popcorn too much.


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