The Ravelry coupon code is:
This is a good deal on some of these downloadable patterns!
In order to honor one comment, most of the photos of this post feature Sally, my pointer-mix. She came to us at around 8 months-1 year in 2005, which makes her 10 this year.
Sally has always been hard to photograph. She is a very bright, skittish, high energy and loving dog. Since my boys were born, the dogs get less time to laze about outside...because if the dogs get to barking at people beyond the fence, neighbors could complain. So, we call them in quickly most of the time. (and juggling 2 3 year olds and 2 dogs in August, by myself, has sometimes been tricky.)
Sally likes to sunbathe, and she likes to roll in the grass or snow to clean herself. She comes in smelling good, either way, and watching her relax and roll is a real pleasure for those who know her. (She's wary of ever being caught in a submissive pose.)
Most of the time, she is "on guard." When my boys were infants, she would act as a dog nanny, guarding them. She'd also rush over to their diapered bottoms and bark when they needed changing. This wasn't ideal; it sometimes woke the boys up, but mostly it alarmed anyone who was trying to help me with the babies. Sally did not really trust the nervous, non-dog people who tried to help, and she let them know she was worried about her babies.
Sally had to be taught a new command--"upstairs"--so she would have a way to be off duty and rest on my bed while others were over. This summer, both boys have been home alone with me a lot, or with one or two other people Sally trusts. As a result, she's often right near by these days, and I feel like she's back where she belongs, resting on a rug in the living room or patrolling the yard as we play.
Although I am really worn out from being on constant "mom" patrol with few breaks, I did have a couple of surprises. One is that when there is no one to help, I HAVE to sit around with the boys in the playroom or in the yard. I have to be the one who takes them to the park or the wading pool. As a result, I've had more time both outdoors and sitting down--time to "rest" as compared to rushing about behind the scenes to get things done for the household or my work. I often bring my spindle out to the yard to spin...and it can be surprising to see how much yarn gets made while they play in the sand box. (nothing sweater-worthy, but better than nothing!)
In other news, we are in the midst of transitioning to "big boy beds." These are really toddler beds, but the amount of chaos twin boys can cause when loose in their bedroom, alone, is unreal. We have created a sleep time chart (color coded for boys who don't read!) and they get stickers and prizes when they settle down to sleep quickly and quietly. That means--no yelling or sitting on or hurting your brother, no taking apart the furniture or destroying your bedding...you get the picture. Naptimes go smoothly, most of the time. We're still working on bed time. As always, sleep is still a challenge here. I am still up with somebody 1-4 times a night.
Making food in August has been hard. With no summer camp and only a mother's helper some afternoons, it is difficult to find 20 minutes to make a meal. I have developed a loving relationship with my slow cookers and Stephanie O'Dea's books...
365 Slow Cooker Suppers and
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking.
Last but not least, I succumbed to something I swore I would never do. I started baking bread as a 12 or 13 year old, and when I went to college, my mom bought a bread machine "to replace me." I really love the process of baking bread and miss it dearly. However, it is really hard to manage rising times and a hot oven between the competing needs of two very different preschoolers and two dogs while by myself. Also, flour is very cheap in Manitoba (on sale, I can get 22.5 lbs of white flour for $6.50 CAD, and whole wheat is not much more), but decent wholegrain bread with no preservatives is expensive by comparison. So, I got this bread machine on sale, and it has been churning out 2 or 3 loaves a week for us. I was lucky; my bread baking experience meant I concocted my own whole grain recipe straight away and have been innovating since. Sometime when I have more time, I will post some of those recipes.
I posted this marathon blog entry on a rainy Sunday morning while the Professor took the boys out to visit with the turtles and fish at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. This is the first time I have been alone, without twins, for any length of time, in 16 days. I shared it with you.