Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I've had a couple of crochet projects to show for about two weeks now, but have just been lazy about updating my blog. I’ve just been feeling so drained the past few weeks. My husband’s working nights is really getting to me.

On top of that, I’m dealing with a bunch of issues with my daughter. I had a meeting about two weeks ago with her teachers (regular teacher, the other 4th grade teacher, who teaches science to her class, gym teacher, and her special education teachers for her math and handwriting difficulties). Her 4th grade teachers raved about how incredibly bright she is, and that she has above-average verbal skills and vocabulary and is very creative and imaginative, and a good writer, but she is still failing math, her handwriting is nearly illegible, and she can’t stay focused on tasks for more than a few minutes at a time. I’ve noticed the same thing with her at home, with her lack of attention – she’ll go from one thing to another to another – she’ll play on the computer for a couple of minutes, then watch TV, then play with toys, and go back and forth to various things. Homework takes forever because she’ll stare off into space, or start fidgeting with things on her desk, or just generally not pay attention. Apparently it’s the same thing at school.

Bethany’s gym teacher says she appears to have problems with fine motor skills, because of her difficulties in mastering things like dribbling a basketball, etc. Now, I am concerned about her handwriting difficulties, but, and other parents would probably disagree with me, I don’t think a lack of athletic skills or abilities is the end of the world. My daughter isn’t lazy by any means – she loves to be active, she loves swimming, and she enjoys her weekly gymnastics classes at the Y, even though she isn’t great at them. As long as she is being active, then I don’t see why it matters whether she’s actually skilled at any sports. The 4th grade has been practicing bowling in the gym, and the gym teacher mentioned how Bethany can’t throw the ball straight down the “lane”. And? I told the gym teacher that I’m 34 years old, and get gutter balls every time I go bowling. Does she really expect a 10 year old, with a minimum of bowling experience not to get gutter balls?

Anyway, I’ve been feeling for sometime that my daughter may have ADD, which is causing her lack of focus in school, and I asked her teachers if they think she may have ADD. Her special ed math teacher said she can’t legally diagnose Bethany with ADD, but that in her opinion, and compared to other kids she’s seen with it, she believes that Bethany does have ADD. She suggested taking Bethany to her pediatrician for an evaluation, so we have an appointment on April 1st (appropriate, huh?) for the evaluation. She also suggested trying to get Bethany occupational therapy for her handwriting problems. Her printing is nearly illegible, and she is having great difficulty with cursive. I need to check into whether my medical insurance will cover occupational therapy, and then I’m going to ask her pediatrician for a referral to a therapist. Both of my kids already have asthma and allergies (my daughter also has eczema), so I’m already dealing with a lot of medical bills and medication expenses related to those, and now with my daughter’s school problems, it seems like it's just getting worse.

Well, on to happier things…

I hope everyone had a good Easter. I had Friday through Monday off from work. I took my kids to my mom’s house last Saturday to dye eggs with their cousins. They had a lot of fun. We went back over there on Sunday for Easter dinner with my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. My niece Rosie (my oldest brother Joe’s stepdaughter) ended up spending Sunday night at my house, after Bethany nagged me about it. Rosie is such a sweet kid, and very well behaved, so I didn’t mind having her over. My Dominic just loves her. He loves playing with his older girl cousins for some reason. I crocheted some headbands for Bethany (left) and Rosie (right), although you can’t see the headbands that great in this picture.
I also got to see my new baby niece (Rosie’s little sister), Jenna, a couple of times. Now, I know I’m naturally biased since I’m her aunt, but I still think she’s just adorable! That’s her below, on Easter, with her dad. Joe somehow got the tall, skinny gene in the family (it just skipped right over me, LOL).Joe’s oldest son, Anthony (from his first marriage) is in the photo on the wall behind Joe – Anthony is in the Air Force. He’s stationed in a tiny little town in Idaho. He says there’s not much to do there, but at least he has a girlfriend there – he’s dating a Filipino girl who’s also in the Air Force. When I hold Jenna, I can’t help but think about what my baby (if I hadn’t miscarried this last pregnancy) would look like now, and if I would have had a boy or a girl, and I feel a little twinge of sadness inside. Still, it’s nice to have another baby in the family, since my other nieces and nephews are getting older.

My husband and I took Rosie home on Monday evening, and only planned to drop her off and go, since my husband had to work Monday night, and we needed to go grocery shopping, but my sister-in-law, Gehan, talked us into staying, and with Jenna there, how could I resist? Did I mention what a cute baby she is? Dominic loves seeing Uncle Joe, because Joe is a fantastic artist (as was my dad, and as is Joe’s twin sister, Desiree), and draws Dominic pictures of his favorite Veggie Tales to color. Gehan's birthday was on Easter, but I didn't even realize it was her birthday, so I didn't even have a card for her. I feel so bad, because she's such a great person, and she's been so sweet to me and my husband and kids. I'll have to crochet up something for her.

After we finally left, we stopped at this new Wal-Mart Supercenter that just opened last year, in the nearby Steelyard Commons (built of the site of an abandoned LTV Steel plant). It’s the first Wal-Mart to be built within the city of Cleveland (not within the suburbs), and only shopping center of its size within the city. I was really impressed. I wish we had one closer to my house, on the east side (my brother lives on the west side) - everything in Cleveland is either “east side” or “west side” – east side is east of the Cuyahoga River, which runs through the outskirts of downtown, and west side is west of the river. Most people grow up on one side or the other, and rarely venture over to the other side. I’ve lived in the Cleveland area my entire life, and still only have a vague idea where things are on the west side. I was pleased to see that the new Wal-Mart has yarn, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop and look at it.

I did manage to get a couple of crochet projects down over the past few weeks. I finally finished up a granny rectangle blanket I was making for Bethany.

I started it early last fall, and got bored with it when I was about 75% done. It sat untouched for a few months until I finally pulled it out and finished it up (OK, I still need to weave in the dozens of ends, which I dread, and have been totally putting off). I planned to make it to fit Bethany’s full-size bed, but it's still large enough to cover her comfortably. I used Bernat Camouflage in “Go Girl Camo” and Bernat Super Value in “Pale Damson”. I really don’t like the colors. I’m not much of a purple person (although I do love pale lavender shades) I had ordered both yarns online, and the Camo looked a much more pink in the photo, and the Super Value looked much lighter. I didn’t feel like returning the yarn, and had spent too much money to go out and buy different colors. Bethany likes the blanket though.

I used the leftover Camo and Super Value, plus some leftover Bernat Satin and Caron Simply Soft to crochet a matching bolster pillow. I got the pattern for the blanket from the Super Value label, but the pillow was my own design. I bought the pillow form directly from the manufacturer, Airtex. I was going to order one from Joann’s, but they wanted $9.99 plus $15 shipping ($5.99 + an oversized item fee), compared to $6.99 + $5.99 shipping from the manufacturer. My Dominic saw the pillow, and wants one now too, but crocheting a cover for a round pillow was a lot more work than I anticipated, so I told him I’ll crochet him a square pillow. Poor Dominic has been neglected on the crochet front. It’s not that I don’t want to crochet anything for him, it’s just that there’s so few crochet patterns and ideas for boys. He did ask for a “pink, black, and white kitty”, so I got all the materials to make one, and need to get started on that, and I need to finish up the ripple blankie I started for him last year.

I got some crochet books over the past few weeks too!The first one, “200 Crochet Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets”, I ordered from Amazon, when my other brother Brian cashed in some coins at one of those grocery store Coinstar machines, got an Amazon gift certificate from the machine and gave it to me. This is a fantastic book – well worth the price. It has tips on solving just about any kind of crochet problem imaginable. I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. The second book, “Crochet Stitch Bible”, I bought at a Borders store downtown with a 20% off coupon. I’ve been wanting a stitch guide for awhile, and when I got the coupon, I figured I should just go ahead and buy one. Of course, as luck would have it, the day after I bought it, I got a 30% off coupon in my email. Grrrr! The last book, “100 Crochet Projects”, is one that my mom got when she signed up for a book club, and gave to me. It has a couple of cute projects, unfortunately, most of the projects in the book are either too advanced for me, or are just things I wouldn’t want to make.

Well, if you’ve stuck with me this long, thank you! I’ve got to clean up the house and get to bed soon. I had considered taking this week off from work to stay home with Bethany on her Easter vacation, but didn’t, and instead enrolled her in a spring break camp at the
Great Lakes Science Center downtown from Tuesday-Friday of this week. I had originally planned to just take her there and back on the bus with me, but my husband offered to drop us off and pick up every day. I’m glad he did, because I realized that the Science Center is a much farther walk from the bus stop than I initially thought. Bethany is enjoying the camp so far – she’s loved science since she was a toddler. There’s a different theme every day – yesterday was "LEGO Robotics", today was "Make Your Own Art Supplies", tomorrow is "Get Fishy" (they get to dissect a real Lake Erie fish – eewww!), and Friday is "Cricket Creatures".

We have to pick Bethany up by 5:30 every evening and today Rodney came to pick me up, and got downtown at 5PM and got stuck in traffic for nearly 40 minutes trying to get to my job. Downtown has been terribly congested between this
Euclid Corridor Project (a complete waste of money if you ask me, but don’t get me started, or you’ll never hear the end of it), the water main break of a couple of weeks ago, which is still being repaired, and a Cavs (basketball) game tonight. I have zero interest in sports (unless ice skating and bowling count), so I had no idea there was a game tonight. Had I known, I would have asked Rodney to pick Bethany up first, before coming to get me. As it was, we ended up not getting to the Science Center until 5:50, and Bethany was bawling when I got there – she gets so worried if my husband and I are late picking her up from things. She thought something had happened to us. The employee who was with her was really good with Bethany though, and fortunately didn’t charge us for being late.

I was just going to finish up this blog post, when I remembered one more thing – I got a very exciting piece of mail today! A jury duty summons! I know, I know, I’m probably the only person in the country who gets pumped up about jury duty, LOL!

But hey, here’s how I look at jury duty: I have to go downtown every day for work anyway, so it’s no big deal to go downtown for jury duty. I get an hour to an hour and a half for lunch every day when I’m on jury duty, and get to eat in the delicious (seriously, it’s really good food!) Justice Center cafeteria. I’ll have a lot of breaks during which I can crochet (there’s a lot of sitting around with jury duty, even when you serve on a trial), although I probably won’t be able to bring my metal hooks with me, because they would set off the metal detectors. I have a full set of Lion Brand plastic hooks though, so that’s not a problem. I’ll be done by 4-4:30 every day (I don’t get off work until 5:30-ish everyday). I love true crime stories and hearing about forensic evidence, so I don’t mind criminal trials. I’ll get paid for the time I’ll miss from work. And, best of all, I won’t have to see my boss for a whole week (possibly longer), LOL!

This will be my third time doing jury duty in the past 6 years. I served on an aggravated robbery/aggravated murder trial in 2002, a robbery/kidnapping trial in 2006. and now have to report again in April. It’s funny though how I’ve been called 3 times in 6 years, when I’ve met people in their 50’s and 60’s who have never been called, even though they’ve been registered to vote since they were 18.

Well, whew! I think I covered everything I wanted to say. Thanks for bearing with me through this long post!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring in Cleveland Brings...

Snow (taken just two weeks ago, and we got more snow today - grrh!)...

Downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade (complete with high-school aged kids drunk off $2 green beers, stumbling down the sidewalks, but not pictured here)...
Beautiful PIF gifts sent all the way from Italy from Angela (Riohnna) of "My Tangled Threads"...

Crocheted Easter eggs...

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

We Have a Winner!

OK, I used the handy Custom Random Number Generator to pick a 3 digit number for my blog contest, and I got 439.

That means Lesa, who picked the closest number, of 345 (which is her daughter's birthday!) is the winner of the "Lively Up" hat!

Congratulations Lesa! Please email me at redhairedlaura at with your address. I'll put the hat in the mail on Tuesday (I'm off from work until Tuesday, but will be going to the post office at lunchtime on Tuesday).

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest, and who reads my blog - I am much appreciative!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blog Contest!

As most of you already know, March is National Crochet Month. But, did you know that this March also happens to mark one year since I learned how to crochet? Yep, I've been crocheting for one whole year now - woohoo!

I also learned an interesting little crochet-related tidbit today while volunteering for the annual COSI science fair (this year's theme was "Blast Off Into Space") at my daughter's school: VELCRO® brand hook and loop fasteners are named for the French words "velour" and "crochet". How about that?!

In any case, in celebration of both national crochet month and my one-year crocheting anniversary, I'm having a little contest on my blog!

The prize is this lovely, "Lively Up" hat (pattern from "Get Your Crochet On! Hip Hats and Cool Caps"). It's crocheted with super soft TLC Cara Mia yarn, two strands (peach and coral) held together, and it even has a stylin' flower on the side.

You could become the proud owner of this hat if you do the following:

1) Pick any 3 digit number between 100 and 999
2) Leave a comment on this post with your number and that you want to enter the contest.
3) You have until next Friday, March 21st at 6PM (EST) to enter.

What I'll do then after I've received all the entries, is select a 3 digit number using this handy dandy Custom Random Number Generator: (couldn't get the one word link to work). The person whose number is closest to the 3 digit number generated, will win the hat.

I'll then announce the winner on my blog, and the winner can email me at redhairedlaura at hotmail dot com with their name and the address to mail the hat to.

Good luck!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seven Random Things About Me

Christina tagged me!

The tag rules are:
1. When tagged, place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite weblogs
5. Send an e-mail letting those bloggers know they have been tagged

Unfortunately, I don't really know 7 other bloggers to tag (who haven't already been tagged), but I'll answer the questions anyway. : )

So here are 7 random things about me:

1) I still have the pink baby blanket that my dad bought for me the day I was born 34 years ago. I sleep with it every night (can't fall asleep without it), take it on vacation with me, and my kids fight over it.

2) I have a phobia of bridges - I hate riding in a car over them, although I'm not particularly afraid of heights in general. I am also deathly afraid of bugs, especially centipedes, millipedes, and caterpillars.

3) I don't know how to drive, and I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was 17 and my younger sister taught me.

4) My husband and I had our first kiss in the walk-in cooler of the Burger King restaurant where we worked (and met). I think there must have been an aphrodisiac in the food, because so many of the employees (including my brother and sister who also worked there with me) ended up dating each other.

5) I'm missing a foot and a half of my colon. When I was 27, my colon became infected and ruptured, and I spent a week in an ICU, had part of my colon removed, and had a colostomy for 3 months. My husband brought my pink blanket to the hospital for me.

6) I believe in aliens and ghosts.

7) I wish time travel were possible, and that I had a time machine.

I'll have a crochet-related post soon. I have a couple of projects to show as soon as I can take pictures of them. My camera batteries are dead, and I can't find the charger.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Yarn!

No, I didn't buy any new yarn, but I went over to Knitting Warehouse -, to look at something, and noticed a bunch of new yarn listed under their "Newest Items". Caron has a line of new yarn called "Simply Soft Paints" and Lion Brand added some new colors to their Cotton-Ease line. I love me some Cotton-Ease, so I'm thrilled that they added some new colors! Go check it out!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Arrggh, it’s been a bad week!

On Monday both of my kids woke up with fevers and coughing, so I stayed home with them. I went to work on Tuesday, and then on Tuesday night, a bad snow storm blew in, so Bethany’s school and Dominic’s daycare were closed, and I had to stay home with them again. I went back to work on Thursday, and had a mountain of work waiting for me from the time I missed.

On top of that, I got a request from my daughter’s special education math teacher for a meeting on March 14th, about “concerns about Bethany’s progress”. Bethany sees her twice a week, and even with that, and me helping Bethany with her homework every night, she’s still failing math. I don’t know what more I can do, other than to hire a private tutor, which I can’t afford. I also finally got an appointment for my son for his testicle problem, and am worried about him potentially needing surgery. Too much stress all at once. At least things are going great for my husband at his job - he does maintenance work for a tool and die making plant, and just got promoted to a higher grade level, which translates to a $1 an hour raise. I was very happy to hear that, as we can definitely use the extra money.

Anyway, I got a much needed lift when I came home from work today and opened this swap package from my February Crochetoholic’s Swap Blog partner:

The whole package was truly so thoughtfully and wonderfully put together!I love, love, love everything!

This is what Joann sent:

5 skeins of Lily Sugar N' Cream yarn in beautiful pink shades (did I mention that pink is my absolute favorite color?!).

A pair of pink knitting needles and two crochet hooks.

A beautiful hand knitted dishcloth.Two packets of pink (!) hot chocolate, (which I so need to buy more of to send to my best friend in Texas, who is also crazy about pink, and whose birthday is coming up next month).

A bag of dark chocolate raspberry Hershey's Kisses, which is great, because besides loving dark chocolate, I also happen to love raspberry with chocolate (how did Joann know?!).

A great crochet book, "Hooked on Crochet" and two crochet pattern books, including one with pansy kitchen items to crochet, which is fantastic, because pansies are my all-time favorite flower!

Two patterns for cute heart crochet "fridgie" magnets.

A bag of light-up mini rubber ducks (to match my rubber duck themed bathroom!) that my kids have already claimed, and an adorable rubber duck soap.

A pack of note cards with my name printed on them!

The package just came at a really great time.

I do have some crochet projects to show too. I finished up my daughter’s “Soldier” hat last weekend:

I used Caron Simply Soft Shadows in “Mardi Grey” for the main color and Simply Soft Brites in “Watermelon” for the trim and flower. The trim and flower were my own addition. The pattern was easy to follow and worked up quickly, but it bothered me that the book doesn’t list the finished circumference for the hats. I ended up having to keep having Bethany try on the hat until I was sure it was big enough. Bethany was happy with the hat, and is going to wear it to school when they have their “Crazy Hat Day” in the spring. I found the Simply Soft Shadows on I love that website! They have a great selection of yarn, great prices, flat rate $5.99 UPS shipping on any size order, and I always get my orders within 2 business days after placing them.

These other three hats I made are donations for the Ships Project and a local cancer support center here in the Cleveland area, The Gathering Place. I used Simply Soft Shadows in “Soft Merino” for the first one, and Red Heart Soft in “Teal” and “Guacamole” for the other two.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – I got my shoes for my sister’s wedding!

Shauna said she doesn’t care what kind of shoes the bridesmaids wear, as long as they’re silver, so we got to pick out our own shoes. I love these because the heel isn’t too high (I can’t walk in anything too high), and they have an ankle strap (I have a hard time walking in backless shoes). I bought them from I ordered them on Tuesday and got them on Wednesday, and, the shipping was completely free – how awesome is that? Add that to no sales tax, and the shoes being on sale for $10 off, and woohoo! My older sister Desiree, whose 10 year old daughter Alexis is also a junior bridesmaid, and whose 3 year old daughter Kaitlyn is the flower girl, bought some silver shoes and purses for Bethany and Alexis.

Now I just need to buy a purse for myself, and figure out what kind of bra I can wear under my dress, with it being a halter top and backless. I’m probably going to have to end up buying a convertible bra, which will most likely amount to a whole day of discomfort, but well what can I do.