Ok, before you read any further, I need to warn you, this is not going to be a witty or humorous post.  Sorry, I just don’t have any excitement left in my little fingers….I put it all into my crochet hook.

About three weeks ago, I started crocheting blankets for my kids.  I found a great deal on yarn while out Black Friday shopping and decided to snatch it up.  I hadn’t made them blankets since they were babies, so I figured it was time.  After getting all my Christmas shopping, wrapping, and baking done, I decided on a pattern and got started.

I mentioned before that I was working on both blankets at the same time, so as not to be accused of favoritism.  I blame the “I don’t have a favorite” condition on my Mom.  I think she wrote the book on how to raise two kids as evenly as possible.  I’ve inherited the gene.  It’s a sickness really.

By the end of the blankets, I was switching back and forth a stitch at a time.  I just couldn’t bring myself to finish one blanket before the other.  (I will take to my grave which one was technically done first.  My official story is I grew two extra arms and the last stitch of each was done at exactly the same time.)

Without further ado, here are the finished projects.


Now please, don’t anyone get knocked up so that my crochet hook and fingers can have a well needed break!

She didn’t stand a chance

Three days and six hours.  That’s how long we made it before we had a Christmas gift casualty.

We all knew it was bound to happen.  Every parent out there knows that, despite all the saving and planning that goes into Christmas, one of your little darlings is going to break one of their brand new presents before the week is over.  The Soby family clock stopped at 3 days and 6 hours.

Now, why am I handling this so well you ask?  Well, because the culprit here is my furry four-legged child, and I’m only out about eight dollars.

This is Lampchop.  She is a cute little dog toy I found for our Yorkie-Poo, Maddie, as a Christmas present.

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Maddie was so excited to open Lampchop.  She ripped her out of the box and drug her directly to the living room.  We laughed and smiled at her enthusiasm.  It’s always nice to see that your gift was a hit!

Well today, as I was in the middle of a Downton Abbey marathon (I started watching the other day and I’m HOOKED.  I’m knee-deep in Season 2 as I type.), I looked up and found this.

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Just look at the guilty look on her adorable little face!

Bad News:  The stuffing did not survive her destructive ways.  I used to wonder why they sold stuffing-less dogs toys.  I now have my answer.

Good News:  Lampchop will not need to join a gym this year, she is starting 2013 as a new, slimmed down version of herself!

A Gift for You

On this eve before Christmas, I wanted to share one of my guilty pleasures with you.

I have a small, yet still annoying, collection of tacking, singing Christmas decorations.  Every year, I unpack them from their boxes and set them out.  I yell at the kids when they turn them on, trying to express with my voice how much I dislike those decorations and their jingles.  Truth be told, them make me smile and are the holders of special memories.  I truly love them and I love watching them get their Christmas groove on.

As a special Christmas gift to you, I will share their joy with all of you.

This is Hip Shaking Santa, ala Ricky Martin‘s Livin’ La Vida Loca.  My grandparents bought them for all of the grandkids one Christmas.  He used to twist his hips as he went up and down, but when the kids where little, they broke him.  I still love him.

The is Hip-Hop Reindeer.  My husband gave him to me.  I appreciate his rapping talent and his coordinated light display.  The snowflake bling is a nice touch.

I saved the best for last.  This is Low Rider Santa and his Reindeer Posse.  My mom found him on clearance one year after Christmas and bought the lot.  I’ve given out a few in White Elephant Gift Exchanges, but made sure I kept one for myself.  He’s my favorite!

I hope that you all have a wonderful, relaxing, crazy, chaotic, stressful, blissful, peaceful, and joyous Christmas.  If it wasn’t all of those things, it wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful or memorable!


Did she really just say that?!?!

I had no choice but to be a crafty person.  It was in my gene pool.  My mom sews and quilts.  She used to make clothes for us when we were little.  These days her creative juices are spent on Halloween costumes and the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen.  She truly has a talent.

Now I may not have received the quilting gene.  (In all honesty, I don’t know if I have or haven’t.  I’ve never tried.)  But I did receive the mutation for cross-stitch and crochet.

I enjoy doing counted cross-stitch.  I love watching the picture come together one X at a time.  But my true heart lies in crochet.

I love to crochet.  I find it relaxing.  I enjoy making blankets for people.  I like the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a blanket.  I love giving someone I love something directly from my heart.

Recently, I started making new blankets for my kids.  I made them baby blankets when they were little, itty-bitty things, but I decided to make them new bigger ones they could wrap themselves in while hunkered down on the couch.  In an attempt to keep the peace as much as possible, I am working on both blankets at the same time.  The last thing I wanted to hear was kid #2 complain that kid #1’s blanket was done already or was done faster or I like them better so I did theirs first.  So everywhere I go that I might have a few minutes to spare, I drag my crochet bag with me so I can whip out a few stitches.

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Not too bad for starting just a few weeks ago.

Today, I had two basketball games to go to plus drive time to and from, otherwise known as prime crochet time.  As I was sitting in the stands, watching the game and stitching away, (Yes, I can crochet without looking.  It’s a sick talent.) a lady sat down next to me.  I didn’t pay much attention to her a first.  I noticed she was cheering for my daughter’s team, so she must be a friend, not a foe.

At half time, she leaned over and asked me what I was knitting.

~ Sidebar ~ This is a pet peeve of mine.  Knitting involved needles and some techniques I do not possess.  Crochet involves a hook.  I am crocheting.  Despite my being annoyed, I’ve stopped correcting people years ago.  It saves me having to explain each craft to random people.

I told her I was making blankets and showed them to her.  She then turned back to talking to the man she was sitting with.

This is the conversation I heard next.

Man – “Do you knit?”

Woman – “No, I’ll learn to knit when I’m old!”

I then turned and looked at the woman sitting next to me.  This is what I saw.

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Wow!  I was rendered speechless and that’s truly hard to accomplish!  Anyone seen my walker???


Best Day EVER!!!

Today was one of the days those of us who work in the world of education live for.  It was a SNOW DAY!!!

Snow Day.  Those are two of the best words in the English language.  Now some of you may think that I am over emphasizing the beauty of these glorious days.  You couldn’t be more wrong.

First of all, you have to have a perfect storm of conditions in order to get those school districts to start canceling classes.

First of all, you have to have the snow fall on a weekday.  Last year was a real downer.  The only really measurable snow fall we had occur happened on a Saturday.  What a waste.  I mean, it was pretty, but schools aren’t open on Saturdays!

Secondly, you have to have it snow enough inches to make it start to pile up.  Usually 6 inches or more.  (There’s an inappropriate joke in there, but I’ll leave it alone for now.)  But in addition to the necessary inches, you also need to have the snow spread out over a period of time, say 8 to 10 hours.  It needs to be stretched out so that the snow plows will have to keep going over the main roads, making it impossible to get to those neighborhoods.

Next, and this is the real kicker to the whole equation, you have to have the snow fall during the correct time of day.  Eight hours of snow from 9 am to 5 pm might look pretty, but it won’t keep you home in your jammies.  Ideally, you need the snow to start in earnest around 6 pm and keep going into the wee hours.

Now all of these items combined will most likely get you a ticket to a turned off alarm clock.  For an extra insurance policy, throw in some high winds to keeps those snow accumulations blowing back onto the roads!

In Kerry‘s world, the conditions all came into perfect alignment last night.  It started with rain that turned to freezing rain in the afternoon.  By 5 pm, the snow flakes were big and heavy.  Around 8 pm, the winds were picking up and snow was piling up.  Our present came early with the cancellation notifications coming out before bedtime.  Woot!  Woot!

Now this type of snow day might be the best of all.  I’m sure that you are all in crunch mode, trying to get all your Christmas preparations done.  The same is true in my house.  After I received the call that I would be granted a day at home today, I got online and created my Christmas cards, sending them to print at the store done the street from my house.  I might not be going in to work in the morning, but I knew my wonderful husband would dig us out and could get the 4 wheel drive sleigh down the hill to pick them up. Then I turned off my alarm and crashed!

After sleeping in and getting my run on, the well rested Soby crew ate an unrushed breakfast while watching our first Christmas movie of the day.  The boys set out to dig us out while the girls made some dipped pretzels….and vegged a little on the couch!




Thanks boys!

Once the vehicles were freed, we set out to see the fat man himself…SANTA!  Yes, that’s right, we went out on the snowy, icy roads to see Santa.  Why you ask?  Well the Santa will like to see is usually packed with a long line.  (He’s good, but he’s free and you get a free picture, so the line is always horribly long.)  You know what happens when you get 10 inches of snow?  No waiting to see Santa, that’s what!

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After that Santa visit was done, we swung by the store to pick up the Christmas cards. Back at home, I hunkered with my pen and stamps.  While I wrote, I started what I always have wanted to do.  I had a Santa Clause movie marathon.  I addressed envelopes during #1, stuffed, licked, and stamped envelopes during #2, and made a fresh batch of cookies during #3!  Pull out that Christmas To-Do list and put a bunch of checks all over it!

On top of all of that, the kids got to get some snow play time and sledding in.

It’s days like this that make all the stressful days at school worth it….kind of!


What were they thinking?

I’m a pretty lucky lady.  I have a group of friends from high school that I still get together with every month.  At Christmas time, we have a Christmas Party, complete with an ornament exchange.  To spice things up a little, it’s an ornament exchange with the ability to steal!

Year after year, we’d all go out and buy these beautiful, thoughtful ornaments, vying to find that one special ornament everyone would take a liking to, that would get stolen repeatedly.

Then one year, a few of us decided to throw a wrench into the plan.  We still bought a very nice ornament to give to a friend, but we also decided to buy the ugliest ornament we could find and wrap it up as our real ornament.  When the first ugly ornament was opened and the fake excitement was displayed by our dismayed friend, a new tradition was born.

Now everyone searches high and low, hoping they have struck ornament gold, with the tackiest, gaudiest, ugliest expression of holiday joy.  After the endless fights and rounds of steals, the owners of the ugly ornaments are rewarded with their beautiful consolation prizes, and a side ache from all the laughing.

After many years of ugly ornaments, the hunt to find the ugliest gets tougher each passing year.  Here are some of the contenders from this year’s hunt.

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Happy hunting!

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Who doesn’t need a Luau Gorilla?

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Everyone’s Cool in the Pool!

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This one I just don’t get.  Who puts mustard on a tree?

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Namaste…  To answer your question, yoga hippo was my purchase this year and  a real winner.  I loved it so much I almost bought one for myself!

In case you were wondering, this is the BEST ugly ornament I have ever received.  I think it’s supposed to be an owl, but I think it looks like a deranged C3PO.  I LOVE IT!!!

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May the force be with you.


She better be a patient woman

My son, Trystan, is a warm, loving, smart boy.  He also is under the misconception that the world is here to wait on him.


You can ususally find him wherever his is, as he has left a trail of discarded items in his wake that he, wrongly, believes others will just pick up for him.  I asked him once, after he finished a snack, set down the plate, and began to walk away, who he thought was going to put that in the sink for him.  He promptly said, “You.”  The fact that he’s still alive today, I believe, is a testament to my patience.  The day of this event is when I began to have pity for my future daughter-in-law, the woman whose house him and his ill-guided ideas will move into one day.

The other day, I took my high maintenance boy in for a hair cut.  I didn’t think his hair was needed, but he insisted it was waayyy too long.  After flipping through the books to find his next style, he showed it to the stylist and they walked away to begin.  I waited and waited and waited.  Why was it taking so long to cut a kid’s head of hair?  I peeked around the corner.  He was leaning back in the chair, his face wrapped in towels.  Hun?!?!  Then the towels came off and a massager came out.  My ten-year-old son was relaxing in the chair as a grown woman massaged his neck and shoulders!  My son stretched a simple hair cut into a mini-salon day, draining my evening couch time and my check book in the process.  It’s a good thing I really like this kid!

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“She better be a patient woman!”  ~ It’s become a standard response around here.  I don’t even know this lady, but I love her for being able to put up with him.  Whoever she is, she’ll have her hands full with his constant trail of trash and weird grooming habits, but the trade off is, she’ll be landing one hell of a great guy….if he can just make it to adulthood before I strangle him!