Monday, November 16, 2009

Accidental day out

So Thomas the Tank Engine was visiting Essex Steam Train this past weekend. Brian and I thought that James especially would love to see Thomas, so we decided to drive down on Sunday.

Now when we left we didn't realize you wouldn't be allowed into the train yard without a ticket, our plan had been to let the kids see Thomas and do some of the activities but skip the actual train ride.

Part of this was financial -- Day out with Thomas tickets are $18 a piece -- and part of it was practical. The last time I stopped at Essex Steam Train, just the sight of the steam engine freaked Nikki out. Once you added the noise of it to the equation, she was crying and I was carrying her (and on that stop I just wanted to see if the gift shop had something for James' first birthday). In the past she's also had issues with being in large crowds and costumed characters. So we try to avoid paying for something we might have to bail out of in 20 minutes or less and stick to free events and increase her exposure that way.

Well we got to the gate and learned to enter you needed a ticket. By that time the kids had already seen Thomas and there was no going back. I have to say it was worth every penny that we spent (James was free so yay a price break there).  The kids went on the little midway rides, they got their faces painted, their picture taken with Thomas and we even rode the train without incident.

Nikki even got within 3 feet of Sir Topham Hatt -- she wouldn't get closer but it's probably the closest she's ever been to a costumed character and there was no crying or freaking out over it. I think she got closer than JD did (in his defense it was well past nap time).

The kids had a fantastic day, JD keeps asking when he can go visit Thomas again and if Thomas can come live at our house.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Putting my unemployed time to good use

So other than looking for a job I've spent a fair amount of time working on two other things. I think I can say I've been mostly successful with both.

James is well on the path to being potty trained. I just bit the bullet and put him in underwear and he's done great. He doesn't always tell me when he has to go, but if I tell him it's time to sit on the potty he'll sit, do his thing and goes on his merry way.

The other project was teaching myself to crochet. My great-grandmother tried to teach me several times when I was a pre-teen. But I'm left-handed and it just didn't work. I learned to knit instead. But lately I keep having to bypass knitting patterns that I love -- because they call for crocheted edging.

So I took a book out from the library and sat down to teach myself. First thing I did was give up trying to crochet left handed. Over the years I've become slightly ambidextrous out of necessity, so I figured I'd give right-handed a try.

I'm still struggling a bit, crocheting the first row on the foundation chain is a bit of bitch, but once I get past that row I've been doing pretty well. I'm slow, but if I ever gain speed they'll be certain things that crochet would be great for -- dishtowels and washclothes among them. They make great gifts and I have a feeling I'd be able to crochet them in a fraction of the time it would take me to knit them.