Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally, some Finished Objects!

I've been doing a lot of knitting/crocheting these days, but been lazy about blocking, weaving in ends, taking photos, etc. The biggest project, the baby cardigan I've been knitting for a friend, is still in progress, so you'll have to be satisfied with this preview. I really like the hem on this cardigan. It's a little extra knitting and then sewing, but it's worth it for the finished look. I hope to be done this sweater very soon. Seed stitch scarf. Very big and comfy. Will be wearing a lot next winter.
Crocus scarf. What a nice surprise. I was undecided about what to do with this cotton I bought on a whim. I think it came out quite nice. I had to block the heck out of it (wash and use pins to shape), but it was worth it. A perfect spring scarf. I will make more for sure.I leave you with a funny photo. Grace doesn't like zucchini.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I'll miss most about Korea

Dongdaemun. Love the place.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I'll miss/won't miss about Korea when we leave. This is because I finally got out the Canadian immigration information package yesterday. I read the section on family class visas for those with spouses from Korea on the bus to work yesterday. I don't think the paperwork will be too bad. And I have some friends who have gone through the process already, so I have people to call when I have questions.

I'm more concerned about the long shopping list of things I have to get before I leave this country. It's going to be nuts. More on that later.

Please, slow down

It seems that Grace shows me something new every day now. I am constantly amazed when she shows me something she couldn't do just yesterday. Some more stuff for the baby book here. :D

She shakes her head to say 'NO.' This is both good and bad. Expession is good, but I hope she doesn't start to throw her weight around too much! Tonight after she had eaten 3/4 of a banana and turned away to look at something else, I said, "Do you want more banana?" and she shook her head wildly. It was just about time to go to bed and the lights were dim. She did the sign for sleep and shook her head and crawled away. I was amazed.

She's been doing a lot of imaginative play. I got her a set of Night Garden blocks for her birthday. Before, she just looked at them, threw them around, maybe tried to stack a few, but these days she sets the characters up in the gazebo, sitting up, and sometimes she'll look them in the face and talk to them, or tap two of them together, like kissing. She's also doing the back and forth thing with cars while making a vroom noise. I think she might have picked this up from daycare.

Jumping and yelling are big these days. She makes all of her dolls hop, and she does little hops herself. Yelling...yeah. Just to hear her own voice most of the time. It was especially nice on the train this morning...

Yes, we took a long train ride this morning and returned home after naptime, something I rarely do. I may or may not post about what we were doing later, but let's just say, she's definitely a kid who needs to get a proper nap at the proper time, or the rest of the day is challenging. She finds it hard to fall asleep at night when she hasn't gotten a good rest during the day. Sometimes it's good to get a little reminder like that. Won't do that again for a while! Now I'm going to enjoy a well deserved break.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Haircut

Well, I gave Grace her first haircut tonight. It is kind of rough, but she had quite a serious mullet happening. I just cut the back along her neck so that that top can catch up . I think she looks cute.

Just writing it down here so that I can look at the post date and add it to the baby book later.

Baby books...they start out so exciting, and eventually the empty pages build and build. Luckily, I've been writing a lot on this blog, so I plan to look back through my posts and take quotes out to pair with pictures for the book. I really want to do that soon, so time does not keep slipping by.

I finished the plain old seed stitch scarf and it's happily blocking right now. I'm pretty impressed with it. For being made with a yarn I did not like, it looks great! I think the key with variegated yarns to use a simple stitch pattern. If you do something like lace or cables, it just gets lost in the colours, and it looks all jumbled and strange. I will post pictures after it's dry.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let the games begin

Before this weekend, Grace could walk, but not consistently. She could take up to 10 steps if she really put her mind to it, but she would usually do the drop-and-crawl if she wanted to get from A to B. It seems today, she made up her mind to start walking with a purpose. She was all over the place, and loving it. She's also trying to climb. I think this is from daycare. On Friday, one of the ladies said that she climbed all the way up the jungle gym stairs by herself. Then they helped her slide down. Wow, she's on the move now!

And communication is really picking up. I had to laugh this morning as she was taking her soft toys out of the box. She fed one of the bears some milk and then very purposefully laid him down, looked at me, and did the sign language for sleep. I acknowledged that she had put him to sleep and she smiled. Communication success! I'm pretty sure she tried to tell me twice this weekend to change her diaper. Yesterday she was playing as I was hanging clothes, when she stopped and pointed to her diaper. I didn't think much of it, as I had just changed her, but when I checked, it was actually soiled. This morning while walking up a storm, she toddled over to her daddy. After he instinctively picked her up, she reached behind him and grabbed the stack of diapers and threw them down. Then, she grabbed the wet wipes and looked at me. Sure, enough, she needed a change. This has made me think it may be time to get a potty/small toilet seat, at least to get her thinking about things.

The poor thing has a bad diaper rash today. As a matter of fact, it's her first diaper rash. I'm a frequent changer and have been pretty lucky in the diaper rash department. Today, though...ouch. We're going to the doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll get this sorted out. Since starting daycare, she's had two colds, a high fever (103), a rash on her stomach, an intestinal bug, and now this poop/diaper rash problem. My friends with kids in daycare assure me that this is normal and after a few months she will be sick a bit less often. I am really looking forward to this!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mom Jeans

It's true: I've been wearing mom jeans. Actually, it's worse than that, because the mom jeans I'm wearing were actually my mom's (no offense, mom). When I was visiting my parents in Canada, I didn't want to buy too many clothes, since I knew I was going to try to lose weight. So my mom gave me some of her stuff that she wasn't wearing. So, yeah, that was me in central Seoul today wearing mom jeans amongst all the trendy young Korean ladies in skinny jeans and miniskirts. I've never been one to pay attention to trends anyway, but I did feel a little self conscious.

Most importantly here is that, I am, in fact, finally losing weight! While at my parents', I was up to 145lbs thanks to my dad's daily fried egg sandwiches and snacking at night. I enjoyed eating my fill and then some. I did not even try to diet because I knew it would be useless. I was extremely tired at the time from getting up 5+ times a night, and food kept me going. Plus, it was delicious. But these days, work and Grace keep me busy enough that I don't feel like snacking all the time. Also, since weaning Grace, I feel like I have more control over my appetite. I am able to make healthier choices. Yesterday, the scale showed me 135lbs, which I was very happy to see. I have not been exercising. Just eating less and not snacking too much at night. So, the mom jeans are getting baggier, and that makes me feel good. I'm getting closer and closer to being able to wear my old clothes. I can't wait.

The next step is exercise. I think that if I could work that into my day, the pounds would melt off. I got this video call the 30 day Shred. It gets very good reviews on Amazon. Jillian Michaels claims that she can help you lose 20 pounds in 30 days. Sounds gimmicky, yes, but I'm not interested in losing weight that fast anyway. I have had the video for some time now, but have not tried it yet. I wanted to wait until I was sure I could commit, so I would not be let down. I think next week might be the time, since Grace is in daycare during the day . I wouldn't even try it with her around.

Speaking of my mom, I have this vague memory of my mom trying to do an aerobics video when we were quite small. My brother, sister, and I were running around the house like lunatics, and I seem to remember her getting angry at us because she could not complete the video. Interesting how I can look back and now understand her frustrations whenever we kids would not allow her to do something...and I only have one!

Edited to add: Finally found the original mom jeans SNL skit I was looking for.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crafting Itch

Lately I've been feeling the need to craft. It's a pretty intense urge, so something has to be done. I realized while lying in bed very late last night that I could be doing a lot of knitting/crocheting/maedeup in the time I spend online every night. The internet has got to be the biggest time sucker ever invented. But I still love it.

I also realized that you cannot call yourself a serious crafter unless you own a sewing machine and know how to use it. Even if you're not a great seamstress, a basic sewing machine can help you do so many things, like sewing linings into knit bags or sewing a zipper into a knit hoodie. I told myself I wouldn't do it, and maybe I really shouldn't, as we may be returning to Canada soon and I would have to leave it behind.

One thing I probably am going to splurge on is a Denise interchangeable circular knitting needle set. I was considering the knitpicks version, but a friendly fellow Raveler showed me the Denise set and it looks more like what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of choice in knitting needles in Korea. There are a few brands of circulars available, but for some reason, they only stock the 80cm length. That's way too long for something like a hat or a toy knitted in the round.

I believe I just recently called the internet a time sucker. Time to log off and do something in the real world.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Once again...

Once again, I have worried over nothing. Grace is having a fantastic time at daycare this week. She had a great day yesterday according to her caretakers. I was worried about today, since I could not pick her up until 7pm. When I arrived, she was the last one there, but was playing happily. The lady said she ate A LOT (that's no surprise) and she was busy walking, climbing, and playing all day. I brought her home to observe her in one of the best moods I've ever seen her in. She was showing me her new tricks, including some skillful walking and yelling. She quickly gave me the sign for "eat" and just about exploded with joy as I brought out the bread and cheese (her favourite). She was so happy and energetic I was worried she would not go to sleep, but was wrong again. She seems to be good at adapting to new situations and environments.

Grace seems to love her new friends at daycare. When I bring her in the morning, they all gather around her to say hello to the 'baby.' Grace cannot help smiling at them. It's pretty cute to see these 2 and 3 year olds petting her hair saying "Annyeong, Young!" I've gotta get some pictures some time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Help unwed moms in Korea

Being a single mom has got to be tough, but being a Korean single mom has got to be even tougher. I caught wind of this. I've got some useless baby stuff sitting around at this very moment. It's a spring donation drive for unwed moms in Korea.

Spring is just around the corner! Therefore it’s time to empty out closets, dressers, cupboards etc! ^.^ This sunday from 1-5 Miss Mamma Mia an unwed mother’s organization, is having a clothing, things/necessity type of drive. They are looking for pretty much anything that would be helpful! Kitchen supplies, Baby clothes, women’s clothes, books, bags, etc. So if you would like to donate to their organization please let me know as soon as possible. Please email shinjooae@gmail.com the item that you would like to donate. As I will then ask the moms if there is anyone who needs/or wants that item. If it is needed, this Sunday March 14 between 1-5 you will need to drop it off at the Single Parent Support Center near Daelim Station line 2 and 7. However if you absolutely cannot make it at that time we can try to arrange another way to get the item to the mother in need. Thank you for your generousity and supporting the mothers of Miss Mamma Mia!!! And again please don’t forget to email me the item(s) that you want to donate as the donations are accepted on a “need basis” as they do not have a space to keep any unwanted/uneeded items.
Joo Ae

More Maedeup

I did these knots some time last week. I have not been able to practice maedeup at all recently while taking care of a sick baby. Looks like I may have to put it on hold a while longer, as a friend has asked me to knit a gift for her sister who is expecting. I'm really flattered that she asked me. It'll be my first commissioned piece(s). I wish I was talented enough to make up my own design, but for now I'll just use a pattern. I already have one in mind. All I have to do now is go to Dongdaemun and get the yarn -- oh darn!

Thought I'd add, Grace did wonderful at daycare today. When I picked her up she seemed to be having fun, but of course she was thrilled to see me. She was in a good mood for the rest of the day, dancing and lots of walking. I think she was carefully observing her little friends, as she was a bit more expressive today than usual. Only thing is the poor thing was drooling up a storm due to her first molars coming in. I took a peek and there are actually small spots of blood where the molars are coming through. Other than the drool, you could never guess, as she was pretty happy.
Oh yes, the maedeup...
Garakji (these are so cute!): Saengjjok (This gave me loads of trouble. It's not as innocent as it looks):
Two cord saengjjok:
Sanjeongja (My sangjeongja is very poor. As you can see, one side is tighter than the other and it looks so sad.)
Maedeup is fun, but it's definitely not easy. It takes a lot of practice. My method so far has been to try each knot and see if I can get it, and then move on to the next. I'm not sure why I'm doing this. I think I just want to know that I can, in fact, do them all (well, at least the ones that are in this book). Then I will go back to the beginning, buckle down, and practice each knot until I'm pretty familiar with it. Come to think of it, this is exactly what I did with knitting and crochet.

Another note: you can buy maedeup cord on gmarket. All of this cord came to less than 20,000 won. Maedeup is a very inexpensive hobby to start.


Grace has started daycare...sort of. She started last week, but quickly came down sick. I wasn't prepared for how quickly that would happen! She spent most of Wednesday there and had a fever that night. She seemed better in the morning, so I took her back, only to get a call from them a few hours later that she had a fever again.

I brought her to the doctor the next day. Just as expected, she had daycare-itis. He said it's very normal for kids to come down sick like that after starting daycare. She will get sick a lot more often, but it will help make her stronger. I ended up keeping her home Friday, the weekend, and Monday, and took her back today. I wasn't sure if I should bring her back today or not, but I thought I should not keep delaying the inevitable. She needs time to adjust.

I'm sure she'll be fine. She's a pretty adaptable kid. She was not distressed when I brought her there today. She smiled at a little girl who came in and played with some toys. She started to cry when I left. That's hard. I had Sejin call a while ago to see how she was doing, and her caretaker said that she only cried a minute or two and kept playing. At that moment, she was eating lunch, on her second helping of rice and soup. Seems she has a huge appetite everywhere.

I do not have to work some days, and could keep Grace home, but I need some time to myself to get some things done. I should have another book project starting soon. Plus, I have the daunting task of doing Sejin's Canada immigration forms. I've printed the information booklet, which is more of a novel than a booklet. It will take some time and concentration to fill out all those forms and gather the bazillion documents needed, and then finally send in the application. Then there is all the research, thinking, and decision making about what we will do when we get to Canada. I highly doubt we can just show up and land fantastic jobs.

There is a lot on this mommy's plate. I'm really hoping Grace gets used to daycare so I can work on getting these things done without worrying about her all the time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seed Stitch Scarf

Just a simple scarf on the go. It's good "in bed" knitting, as you don't have to follow a pattern at all. I like seed stitch because of the interesting texture it makes.
I've had this yarn in my stash for around five years. I bought it right after I started knitting. I soon found out that I don't like variagated yarns very much. I much prefer solid colours. I finally decided to get rid of these two balls of yarn and a plain old scarf seemed like the best way. It should be finished just in time for spring. ;)BTW, knitting around a 14-month-old is pretty counterproductive.