The Toy

I took Elodie to McDonald's today, which is something we do a few afternoons a week. She's in kindergarten now, but is only on half days, so is home with me in the afternoons. We often get bored or tired or frustrated being cooped up in the house, so we pack up the knitting and walk a few blocks to McDonald's. I get a diet coke and knit while Elodie plays with the many kids that are always in the play place.

Today, we both saw something that made us both a little sad. There was a little boy that E was playing with. He seemed to be really sweet, and they were having a great time. When his mom said it was time to go, the boy was upset that they were leaving. She hauled him into the bathroom. Several minutes later, the boy came out very red faced, like he'd been crying very hard. As they were leaving, she told him to "shut up", and then threw his toy into the garbage.

Now, I do not, by any means, have a clean mouth. In fact, it's usually quite filthy. But there's one thing that I cannot abide, and that's the words "shut up" uttered at another human being. I'll drop the eff word without the slightest hesitation. But telling another person to shut up is demeaning. And a mother telling her child that, her five-year-old child, is absolutely, unquestionably wrong in my books. To me, it's beyond rude. And to tell your child to shut up and then throw away one of their possessions is awful.

I am totally scarred by that interaction I witnessed today, and will take this opportunity to remind myself that abuse comes in all sorts of forms. Whenever a person makes another feel bad about themselves, it's abuse. It is our jobs as parents to guide our children, but to also empower them so they make proper choices, not to berate them and make them feel worthless.

Parents, take note, your words stick with your children. And they mean something.


Wheat Free

Our family has decided to eliminate wheat from our diet.

Background: Last year, I decided enough was enough and started seeing a nutritionist. In six months, I lost 30 pounds. I stopped going in May of this past year, and while I haven't gained much at all (five pounds maybe?), I've noticed that our whole family eats A LOT of wheat. Look in your supermarket, and you'll see that there's wheat in probably 75% of the food there. I've also noticed that if I eat bread or something with quite a bit of wheat in it, I feel awful. My tummy hurts, I get a headache, I have difficulty breathing, sometimes I experience chest pain. And now my daughter has been complaining of a sore tummy every time she has a bowl of KD(macaroni and cheese), or if she has a sandwich. We switched to rye bread well over a year ago, but even that has whole wheat flour in it.

Also, wheat consumption has been tied to infertility, so hey, maybe it'll do something if I cut it out.

So we're going to try this little experiment and see if it does anything to improve how we feel. I'm going a bit more extreme and cutting out all grains except for rice, gluten-free oats and quinoa. This is day two for me, and I'm already feeling pretty decent. Please note that today is Thanksgiving up here in Canada, though, so that meant that I didn't get any bun with my turkey dinner, or stuffing (not that I like stuffing anyway), and no pie crust on my apple pie. And boy, did I ever want that bun!!

Wish me luck. I'll keep you all posted on how this goes.


Bring on the Baby Knits!

Sorry for the extended radio silence. It's been a really, really busy few months.

My best friend, who has been my best friend for nearly 20 years, is expecting her first baby in February. Not only do I get to be her doula, and watch her make the amazing transformation from woman into mother, but I also get to be an auntie!! YAY! I love her very much, and am so, so excited to meet her little one. She's going to be one heck of an awesome mama.

So anyway, she found out she's having a boy, and I broke out the knitting needles. You should see my Ravelry queue.

After seeing the beautiful Puerperium Cardigan that the Yarn Harlot did, I decided to cast one on myself. Of course, I got a little loopy right in the beginning and put my darn markers on in the wrong order (meaning backward, if you can believe it), and so the cardigan closes on the opposite side, and the buttons are on the front, not the back. *sigh*. You would think after half a decade of very dedicated knitting, I would have learned to count??


But you know what, the baby isn't going to mind. Next up, Demne. Also, I found a new use for my Touchpad.



Update and Omorika

I know, I know, I skipped a whole month. In my defense, Elodie had her birthday, and it was spectacular. She had a tea party.


Like a crazy person, I worked all damn day the day before making cake pops in the shape of wee teapots.




The kids enjoyed them.


I also performed at the Jubilee Auditorium in front of a whole bunch of people. I'm in the professional division of the Youth Singers of Calgary, in OnCue. We're an a cappella group of nine that performs in and around Calgary. The last month has been riddled with performances.


(I'm the one to the right of the person holding the microphone.)

I finished designing a shawl.


I love it. It turned out super beautiful.


And a seriously quick knit.

Page one copy


Let The Anger Out!

Well, I'm on Clomid now. This is the second cycle of those beastly little pills, and I'm ready to pitch them out the window. You only take them for five days a cycle, and then your body goes into overdrive for the rest of the month. PMS becomes SUPER PMS, and sore bewbs become SUPER sore bewbs, and a little hormonal acne becomes a complete crater face! The doctor's theory is that while I am ovulating, I'm popping immature follicles, thereby making them extremely hard to fertilize. So the hope is that this drug will increase the maturity of those follicles and make them easier for the little tadpoles to penetrate.

Seriously, how did anyone ever get pregnant?!

I was seriously sad when the first cycle didn't work. I mean, I suppose it's to be expected, but I'm not a very patient person. Despite my years of knitting and spinning, when I want things, I want them NOW.

One thing that is seriously concerning me, though, about this drug is the increased risk of multiples. Twins. In a normal pregnancy, a person has about a 1-3% chance of conceiving twins. In a Clomid pregnancy, that risk increases to at least 10%. At least. If twins run in your family (which they do) or your husband's family (which they do), your chance goes up even past that, sometimes breaching 30%. While I would love to get pregnant, a twin pregnancy would freak me right the frack out.

I mean, I was a neanderthal with just ONE in there! What would happen with two?! I'll tell you what would happen. I'd be a house.

My mom has been having dreams and inklings that when I get pregnant again, I'll have twin boys. And every psychic she's gone to (if you prescribe to that sort of thing) has said that I'd have a girl and two boys.

Anyway, here's hoping this is the last cycle I need this little wee crazy pills and that life in my house can go back to normal. As an example of how damn crazy this pills make me: On Saturday night, Elodie picked "The Giving Tree" as her bedtime story. It is such a beautiful story. And I have read it to her dozens of times.

Well, I had to call Robbie in to finish it. Every time the damn tree gave the boy another piece of herself because she loved him so much, I would start crying. I couldn't finish it! And for the last three of my births, I've been a blubbering mess when baby is born. There's something about watching a two-minute old baby staring at her mom like, Oh, so this is what your face looks like, that just makes me break down. And when the mama looks at me next and says thank you, like I did something to create this beautiful moment? Forget it! I'm incoherent.

Anyway. I have been knitting, and crocheting, but I just haven't had time to snap pictures. Next time I post, I'll get a few pictures of the WIPs I have going on (two sweaters) and some of the hats I've crocheted recently. Gotta love baby hats.


Completing the Circle

When Robbie's mom passed away, there were five people in the room. Vera (Robbie's mom), Jack (Robbie's stepdad), Toby (Robbie's brother), Robbie and me. It was something I found myself oddly suited for, being the odd man out, the one who hadn't known Vera for that long and supporting the ones around me as she passed on. I rubbed her feet, gave her wet sponges to suck on, brushed her hair, and told her it was okay to go. And she did.

After she passed, I straightened her legs, closed her eyes, and placed her hands in a peaceful position. I made Robbie and his brother eat something. Hugged and cried with those around me. I made the calls to let people know she was gone. It was a sacred role, and one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Last night, I stepped into the role of support again, but this time in a very different situation. My first doula client was in labour, and I got to be there to support her and her husband through the birth of their first baby. It was a fast labour. She was eight centimetres by the time we got to the hospital, and the baby was born only two hours later, a beautiful boy.

Again, I find myself oddly suited to this job, and I saw some striking parallels. I held mom's hand, rubbed her back and gave her sips of water and ice chips. I let her know what was going on, when baby was *almost* there. I let her know it was okay to be scared, and okay to make the jump into motherhood. And she did.

After the birth, I took pictures, hugged the new parents, admired the new arrival and stayed to talk them through their first few minutes as parents, how to hold baby, try and decide who he looks most like. The entire way home, I kept thinking to myself, "I watched his first gasp of air and heard his first cry." I thought it over and over, because it was such a huge honor to be there to see and hear it.

It was a sacred role. I will not forget it.


Elodie's Sweater

While I (im)patiently await the labour of my first client (I have three for this month), I knit my daughter a sweater. This is only the third thing I've ever knit the poor kid. You'd never guess she was the daughter of a knitter.

Elodie sweater

I knit this without a real pattern, just loosely based on the Snug that I knit for my cousin's baby. I cast on 64 stitches, used 20 for the arm holes, and nixed the hood, opting for a little scoop neck instead. It's quite cute, if I do say so myself. Of course she's thrilled.

The one thing she specifically asked for was thumb holes. I put those in for her on the sleeves to keep the sweater from exposing little wrists in the cool spring and falls. It fulfills my requirements for a sweater in that it's easy enough to make it bigger. The sleeves have plenty of length, and I can easily unpick the button edge and expand the front. Depending on how big she gets and how quickly I can even cut the back, pick up the exposed stitches, extend the back and kitchener together.

Elodie sweater 2

There's nothing quite so nice as a cuddly sweater on a cold day, and we've had plenty of cold days here lately. I've already cast on the next sweater, despite having not finished my Royale yet (damn you, second sleeve!). My grandfather was in the hospital this past week with an infection in his spine due to an epidural they gave him for back pain (he's had chronic back pain for 40 years). I decided the man needs a warm sweater. He's seriously one of the kindest people ever, but he never complains. Ever. Despite not having slept more than four hours a night for the last 20 years because of his pain, despite needing frequent baths each day to help combat it, he never complains.

I called him this past week and asked how he was feeling. "Terrible," he said. "I'm really hurting right now." That's when you know it's awful. It was rather shocking to hear him admitting to not being okay. So the man deserves miles of stockinette, hours and hours of work, and a continual woolly hug from me, his first grandchild.


Sort of Snuggly

My cousin and his wife welcomed a baby boy, Trysten, into the world in January. While trying to decide what to get the kid, I decided (the night before heading up to see him) that I'd knit him something. I'd recently helped my friend, Terra, finish her Snug sweater for her baby-to-be, and I knew it was a reasonably easy pattern, being all in garter stitch.

So off to Ravelry I went to download the pattern. I cast on in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in a really lovely mossy variegated green and started knitting. At 9:00 at night. What on earth was the matter with me.

I knit until 3:00 a.m. modifications were in order (running out of yarn). Hood was nixed. Robbie had picked up wee wooden buttons for me from the store. Sleep was in order.

The next morning, I finished the sweater, sewed on the buttons and headed up to my cousin's town two hours away on rather treacherous roads. I would have turned around if I hadn't been worried about the fit. See, while the pattern says it will fit a 0-6 month old, due to stretchy fit, it did not look like anything a six month old boy would fit. In fact, Trysten's two months was looking iffy.

The two-hour drive took me three hours. There were flipped cars in the ditch. I nearly went off the road at least three times. Visibility was low to none at points.

But you know what?


It's a good thing I went. That sweater barely fit. But it sure did. YAY!



I'm officially a doula! Not yet certified, but fully trained! Very exciting.

I had an excellent, crazy-busy weekend of learning. I took my course through Elmont Birth Services, taught by Elaine from Elmont and Jennifer from Hip Mamas. Both were incredibly knowledgeable and sweet. Between the two of them, they had so much experience that I was in awe every time they opened their mouths.

The group of girls was excellent as well. Each was passionate about birth for their own reasons, and each was a pleasure to hang around with. Our class of 15 laughed all weekend. I feel far more prepared for my chosen profession and ready to tackle the upcoming births that I'm possibly attending. This week, I have four interviews with various possible clients to discuss if I'm the doula for them. Another two are in the wings, and it's all-in-all very exciting.

As for knitting news, things are chugging along. Despite only having one sleeve left on Royale, I'm being lazy and not finishing it just yet. I have a pattern that NEEDS releasing, but that means I have to finish testing it. So far, so good. Then I have to write the pattern itself, of course. That's the worst part of designing!

So I think I'll finish up the edging tomorrow (maybe tomorrow and Wednesday) and then write the pattern up on Thursday. Release on Friday. Ish. Then back to Royale. Stay tuned for finished pictures!



Dear Jillian

DUDE. You make me hurt and sweat and pant and cry. You kicked my ass AGAIN today.

I love you.

Day two of 30 Day Shred.

Love Kayla


To Do.

I have a big list of stuff I would like to accomplish this year. I thought it might be productive to write them all down.

1. Lose the last 25 pounds. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
2. Become a doula
3. Finish the fracking floor.
4. Teach a knitting class
5. Drink less wine, more water.
6. Finish Elodie's dollhouse so that it will be something for her to cherish (otherwise known as don't let it look like crap)
7. Knit for every baby that comes along this year.
8. Exercise more
9. Enjoy my last summer at home with Elodie before she starts school in the fall.
10. Knit more for me.
11. (This is a big one) Increase my income by 50%.
13. Design and publish four patterns.
14. Spend my time more wisely.
15. Call my grandparents every week, and write a letter to my Bedstefar every week in Danish.

I'll be able to cross number four off my list fairly shortly. I'll be teaching a beginner's lace class at The Knitting Room starting in March. Spots are limited, so please call Annie to sign up if you're interested. It will be FUN!

I'm also well on my way to accomplishing number 11. I intend to be a certified doula by July or August (preferably July), and then I'll be accepting four births a month while still doing my transcription business. Robbie and I are on track to be debt-free (besides mortgage) in two years, and I intend to keep it that way!

You can "like" my Facebook group for my doula business here. I am currently offering my services to clients in June, July and August (four spots in each) for free in order to increase my experience. If you know of anyone in the Calgary area (including Airdrie, Crossfield, Carstairs, Cochrane, Strathmore, Chestermere, Beiseker, Okotoks and High River) who may benefit from such services, please pass along my name and Facebook address. It would be much appreciated!

Anyway, so hopefully 2011 turns out good. I'm hoping to cross every, single one of those goals off my list, although I understand that some of them are beyond my control. I will be revisiting these goals on the last day of each month. Stay tuned to see just how many I finish!


Yar, Matey

Elodie has been learning about pirates. This leads to lots of pirate talk around our house lately. Yar Matey seems to be her new fave saying, along with "booty" and "scurvy".

There's nothing scurvy about this, though, maties!


Almost. finished.

In other news, Elodie is now registered for kindergarten starting in the fall. OMG. The time has flown.


Pan Dieter Von SpaceCat.

We have a new furry running around the house.

It all started when, on a whim, we went to the Humane Society after picking Elodie up from a weekend with Robbie's dad. We looked at the dogs and the bunnies. I saw an angora that I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tempted by. But then we went to Elodie's favourite part, the kitties.

They CHS has been overrun for years. Despite having a fairly new facility, the cat population is huge, and there's not enough room for all the cats. Our old cat, Ciaty, was a rescue from CHS, and I've always said our next cat would be a rescue, as well.

We had no intention of getting a kitty, but as we were walking up the aisle, one kitty saw Elodie and started frantically rubbing up against his glass, kneading the window and mewing at Elodie. I just couldn't help myself. I asked to meet that kitty.

We went into a little room with this cat, named Dieter, a tiny black-and-white stray. He and Elodie were like automatic best friends. They'd anticipate each others' movements. She'd run, and he'd run with her. He wouldn't take his eyes off her.

We put Dieter back and headed home. Elodie kept reminding us how much she loved that kitty and how she's give him food and clean his litter box every day. Later that night, Robbie and I decided to do it. We would adopt that kitty.

The next day, we drove to pick Elodie up from daycare, and then told her we were going for a drive and just headed into Calgary. She soon fell asleep, and 40 minutes later, we were in front of the Humane Society. Elodie was groggy and didn't figure out where we were until we were in the building. Then she asked if she could go see that kitty again. We said sure, and off she trotted, dragging us behind her.

I sat down at the adoption table to start the process, and Elodie was happily oblivious for ten minutes. Then she asked why he had a cut on his bum. We explained what neutering was, and that Dieter had been neutered that day. She asked why they don't want cats to have kittens because kittens are just so cute. We explained that there are so many cats in the world that there aren't enough homes for them, and some kitties have to spend their whole lives in places like this, without a family. She asked if Dieter would have to do that. We said, no, because we're taking Dieter home with us.

She was SO excited! Pretty soon, we packed him in the little cardboard box thing, paid our fee, and left for home with our new pet. He's really Elodie's cat. We spent the entire ride home trying to pick a new name for him. I went to school with a very strange boy named Dieter, and had no desire to be reminded of him every time I called the cat's name. We finally picked Pan, of the Greek persuasion, and Elodie decided his name is Pan Dieter Von SpaceCat. Don't ask me where she gets these things from.

Here's a picture of the little guy, settling in nicely.

We think he maybe was originally someone's pet, who ran away. He's certainly very affectionate for being a stray. He comes running if a shake the Temptations. He slept between Robbie and I last night and is holding his own against our very curious small dog. The big one doesn't really care. But most important, he and Elodie are like best friends. They romp around the house. She's spent all this evening playing with him, not once turning on the TV. Right now, in fact, she's playing with his mouse and him, tossing and tossing it over and over.

As for myself, I must say, since we put Ciaty down last December, I've been wanting another kitty. I missed the lap snuggles and the purring around our house. Pan has fulfilled both those things just today alone. He snuggled up and fell promptly asleep while I was reading a text book. And he purrs constantly. All in all, it's been a great choice.


Weekend Update

Robbie and I had a great weekend. We hung out with friends, went dancing at a night club (when does that ever happen?!) and enjoyed alone time. Why? Because Elodie went for a weekend with her Pop, Robbie's dad.

Yesterday, my best friend called late in the afternoon to ask if I was around tonight because she came into town unexpectedly. Her brother, who is on the national Judo team, was in from Montreal and she came down to visit. I've known Amanda for almost 20 years, and we've been best friends since the day we met (maybe since the moment). She knows everything about me, and I know everything about her, and if she were a man, I'd probably be married to her. ;) In fact, I often joke that I married the male version of her. Robbie and Amanda are so similar that it's scary sometimes.

We went to my friend, Cat's, birthday, and then out to the local night club to dance for a bit. It's something I've always loved to do, and although Robbie's a terrible dancer, he tries really hard. Some music cira 1997 came on, and we had lots of fun singing along, and then laughing when all the young kids in the bar asked, "What is this song?" I did appreciate getting ID'ed as well.

Today, I read some of my textbooks for the doula course and stained one of the floors in Elodie's dollhouse.


I like the color of the floor, and the gel stain was easy to apply.

As for the book...I'm not as impressed. It's full of interesting information, but it's extremely one-sided. While I'm a strong advocate for a natural birth experience, there are many reasons that women choose not to participate in that process. This book seems to hint or assume that any woman with an uncomplicated labor who does not opt for a natural birth experience is either uncaring, uneducated or unreasonable.

I guess this just goes to remind me that while I'm a doula, I need to remember to respect the choices of my clients and help them have the birth that's most beneficial to them, whether it's what I would choose or not.

My plan for the months of June and July is to offer my services for free to as many women as I possibly can to gain experience and knowledge. If anybody knows of anyone who may be interested in this, please let me know.

In knitting matters, I've been working hard on my Royale. It's pretty.


I did find some instructions kind of confusing, like the neck shaping, for example, but I've worked it out. It is rather low, but I'm assuming that the hemline will bring it up to a less slutastic cut. When you have a front porch like mine, there's a very thin line between sexy and trashy.

All in all, at this very moment in time, life is wonderful. I love my family. I love my friends. My a capella group is an amazing bunch of people who I treasure spending time with. My bills are paid. My house is warm. I am grateful.


Career Change

After much deliberation, I've decided to change careers. I'm currently a legal transcriptionist. I take audio files and turn them into hard copies. My work can be anything from insurance claims to police interviews to legal proceedings, and it's a job I can do in my home, in my jammies, usually without a bra. It's allowed me to have sanity, and I do treasure that aspect of my life.

However. It is not something I want to do for the rest of my life. I enjoy aspects of it, but the hours and hours of typing, the need to be self-motivating, it's all rather difficult for me, especially with all the yarn rather close at hand. My husband and I discussed this in depth over the holidays, and together, we've decided it's time for me to change careers. So I've signed up to become a doula.

The word Doula derives from a Greek word meaning servant. She was the head servant in a wealthy Greek family, the one who would help the lady of the house deliver her baby. Now, it's a woman (or man) who supports women in their labour and delivery, advocates for them, helps them through it, and bears witness to their journey. It is not a medical position. A doula does not make medical decisions, but they do offer their support and experience.

Birth is something I'm incredibly passionate about. I was lucky enough to experience an unmedicated labor and delivery of my daughter (although I did have to fight for it). It's my belief that a woman is going to be changed by her delivery, for better or worse, no matter what. I want to be able to help that change be a positive one by being the woman's advocate and support during an incredibly overwhelming time.

I've started the preliminary steps. I've ordered the books I have to read from the library (the ladies are going to think I'm pregnant! Eight books about the physiology of pregnancy, birth, babies and breastfeeding!), started the online breast feeding course, and been in discussions with local doulas about their practices. I've signed up to take the weekend course in May, and then after that, I get to start attending births. I have, maybe, two lined up right now.

After a few years of being a doula, it's my intention to move into midwifery, still offering my services to clients while I go through the four-year midwifery course. It feels so good to be on a path that, while I may not be able to have more children of my own, can help women bring babies into this world in the most optimal conditions, meaning in a way that she chooses and is best for her and her family, and not the way the system dictates.



Elodie's Dollhouse

For Christmas this year, Santa brought Elodie a dollhouse kit. The kit is for the Glencroft, a Tudor-style cottage. Here's what it will hopefully look like when we're finished:

For now, though, the house looks like this:


I have been at it for probably three hours, and I have more scrapes and burns and splinters than a woodworker, but it's coming along nicely. I have to finish putting it together, mud the joints, sand down the joints, prime the whole thing, paint it, add the roof and shingles, and then, and only then will Elodie and I head to the local craft store to search for felt suitable for carpets, scrapbooking paper suitable for wallpaper, and furniture for her little family.

I think I'm more excited about the finished prospect than Elodie. ;)



On December 31, I cast on a pretty sweater, the first of my cables and colourwork challenge.


The goal of my challenge is to purchase four patterns in the year of 2011 that are either cables or colourwork, buy pretty yarn and make 'em. My usual way of doing things is checking for free patterns and using them with discount yarn (or at least small projects with expensive yarn). And while the Cascade 220 Heathers that I cast this sucker on with is not exactly expensive, seven skeins does pinch my budget a wee bit. I'm a rather frugal person, and even though I know this $70 sweater is not going to break my bank by any means, I still think of other uses for it. I mean, you're looking at the woman who gives her husband an allowance and is on track for the whole family to be debt free (save for the mortgage) by 2012. Just in time for the end of the world. ;)


But it does look so pretty, and the yarn is lovely. The heather bit is hard to pick up in the photo, but it's a very vibrant green running throughout the blue. And while the twisted stitches in the pattern (like, all of the knit stitches...) were something that concerned me, it's really not bad at all. It makes the whole thing look very crisp. So far, I'm enjoying it, although I did knit a few dishcloths to reassure myself that I would be able to knit normally after this.

That bowl in the back is my yarn bowl, by the way. Love them.

In other news, I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time since my birthday on the 28th. On the 28th, it read at 165. Today? 160. Awesome.