Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Holiday Knits

I realized that December is fast approaching, and I have a few presents that need to be mailed. Since I finished Eamon's holiday sweater, I figured I had time to spend on other knits before tackling Benton's sweater (I will post some pictures of Eamon's sweater tomorrow with my thoughts). Nothing like a postal deadline to shake things up a bit.

For my nieces and nephews, I am knitting mostly hats this year. Fortunately hats are cute, funky and, most importantly, quick. Today I cast on for the Bimple hat by Woolly Wormhead. I love her designs, and her book Bambeanies does not disappoint. She often incorporates creative construction in her designs and tries to keep the look fresh. In keeping with my stash busting, I am using a skein leftover from Aine's stocking. It is Wool of the Andes bulky from Knitpicks in the wine colorway. I love the depth of this red and think it will work well for this hat. I am planning on adding a baseball when I am done either in crochet or knit as an embellishment if it fits. After this one I think I will knit Queenie or Ruskin or maybe Aurora or perhaps Tipper or Moochie or truly I really love all the possibilities.

I started reading The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey this week. I am only 50 pages into it, but I like it thus far. The kids and I finished Travels of Thelonious (Fog Mound), which we all really enjoyed. We are now reading from two books, one of the Boxcar Children series and Sugar Plum Ballerinas #1: Plum Fantastic. I have a few more titles on our reading list that are due back to the library soon, so we have been reading a lot during the day.

What is on your needles this week and on your bedside reading pile?
Knitting and Reading with Ginny as part of her Yarn Along

Friday, November 25, 2011

{this moment}

Joining Amanda at Soulemama for this moment.
{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents, father in law, brothers, sisters in law and many nieces and nephews. Much food was consumed, balls were tossed, football was watched and dishes washed. It was a full day and one which reminds us to express our gratitude.

Here are a few things for which we are thankful:
* a healthy family
* LEGO Universe
* a new Barbie and matching movie
* gifts from friends to pass the time healing
* hospital room service
* Aine's presence at home where she belongs
* amazing out of this world friendships both close and afar
* Minecraft
* family
* beautiful weather
* full bellies
* time with grandma
* cousins
* new babies expected in the family (my brother and SIL)
* a home
* quick healing
* the internet
* yarn
* technology
* each other

Hope everyone regardless of what you celebrate had a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Calming


While waiting for Aine to return from surgery, I knit. I knit and I knit and I knit. In preparation for our stay in the hospital, I cast-on for Eamon's pullover Sunday night. I wanted to be ready for the waiting that would ensue with some rhythmically, calming stockinette stitch. It worked.

This sweater is my first Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. I am following her basic recipe for a seamless raglan. It is easy going thus far; I am almost to the sleeve split. I could be further, but in the darkness of Aine's room last night, I accidently split my yarn and knit two stitches where one should be. I didn't notice until I finished that 10 row stripe. Oh well! A bit of frogging back to that point, and I was off again.

I am using a "new to me" yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods. It is the 90/10 worsted, and I really love it. This love is compounded by the fact that Leanne, the owner of Beaverslide, is super nice and helpful. I had some colorway questions, and she took the time to talk to me about what I was making while offering some suggestions. The yarn feels really nice too!

Eamon favorite color is black with red as a very close second, so stripes seemed like the perfect solution. While we were sitting and talking in the waiting area, Dave queried why I was making a Freddy Krueger sweater. It briefly sullied the experience. For a little while I couldn't stop thinking of his association. After a few more stripes, I forgot about it. Truly my son has no idea who that horror character is, and he will love his sweater. That is all that matters!

Not much reading this week. I have flipped through a few magazines while here. My very dear friends brought us a care package. It is a huge bag jam packed with goodies and more magazines than I could read in a month. Again we are so lucky to have so many amazing people in our lives.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Waiting

Today has been a very long day. My little girl was admitted to the hospital for a scheduled surgery. I have been so nervous and scared about this day.  It has occupied most of my thoughts for the past 2 weeks. Dave and I sat with very dear friends for three hours waiting to hear about our child. It was quite possibly the longest wait of my life. It is so hard to see your seemingly healthy child leave your side to be put under anesthesia and endure a major surgery. I cried. Dave made me laugh. We waited. Finally the surgeon told us all went well, and we could see Aine.

While we waited to be taken back to see her, the fire alarms went off. We had to seek shelter while hospital staff ascertained the problem and determined if evacuation was needed. As we waited all I could think of was our little girl. Finally, the alarms subsided, and we were able to see her. We both stroked her hair and whispered to her as she awoke from sedation.

Many friends have visited, sent flowers/balloons/goodie bags and texted words of comfort. The boys came to check on their sister and were relieved to see her.  We are fortunate to have such support from the our friends, family and the hospital staff.

Aine is tired and so very sore. Her tummy hurts. She is nauseous. We will linger in the hospital a few more days waiting to go home. There will be even more waiting as her body heals. Fortunately as we wait, we are comforted with the knowledge that our little girl will be fine. And for that I am grateful.
(Disregard her purple lips - she had just had a grape popsicle)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for my community

Tonight we bowled with our friends. These are friends young and old that we have met over the past year. The friendships feel as though these people have been around much longer. This group of kindred spirits has grown very close in the past six months. We are a community.

I am very thankful for these people. We share the homeschooling journey. We have children in the same age range. We meet regularly to support one another and provide an enriching environment for our kiddos.  We help, support, encourage and cherish each other. My children are so happy with the friends they have in this group, and so am I.
Spinning balls on the rack
Dads and kiddos bowling this game. 
Resting after the 10th frame.





Thursday, November 17, 2011

Burning the Midnight Oil

Yesterday we visited the library after a fun and exhausting time at our homeschool bounce day. Everyone selected a pile of books. Eamon picked up his usual comic books as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He read the first three books a few months ago, and we decided to wait for the remaining books. I was concerned about my sensitive guy and the heavier subject matter in the later books. I am not sure why he decided to read it now, but he was insistent. I figured we could read it together.

When we arrived home, Eamon began reading. He read non-stop for the rest of the afternoon and evening. He crawled into bed with me when I went to sleep still reading. When Dave was ready for bed, Eamon wanted to stay up and read. Moving to his bed with a reading light, he read until 2am. He then sat in the master bathroom with the door shut until 3:18am. At that time, Eamon finished the book. As he crawled into bed, he exclaimed that it was the best book ever.
Sorry for the bad photo- it was 1:30 in the morning!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mail

I love mail. I enjoy getting postcards, letters, magazines and especially packages. This simple pleasure is nothing new. I remember asking my mom as a child if the mail had arrived, and if I received anything. My children are the same. They love checking the mailbox for treasures and enjoy when their magazine subscriptions arrive (Ask and Spider are their favorites). We read letters together and try to reply to the sender. Often these missives don't reach the intended recipient, but the original thoughts are there.

I remember loving fluffy mail when I was a new mom. I was a stay at home mom wondering trying to make a safe little home for my son. Of course that fluffy mail was cloth diapers! I no longer receive any of those packages, as my youngest has been out of diapers for a couple years now, but I now have a new fluffy mail to appreciate - yarn!

This week has been a good mail week. I received two separate fluffy packages in the mail for the boys' sweaters. I also received the buttons for Aine's sweater as well as coordinating barrettes for her. I have been busy winding the skeins into yarn cakes and preparing myself mentally for the task of their sweaters. Perhaps I need to stop planning, researching and stewing and just start knitting.
Beaverslide Dry Goods 90/10 (Please disregard the dust, I have been busy)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saying Yes

As a parent I have found that saying "yes" is important. Most days I really do strive to say yes to my children. Some days are a bit harder than others. I don't want the mess, the hassle or the bother. Today was not one of those days. Today we all said "YES."

* a big yes to playing in the morning rain with an emphasis on puddle jumping
* Yes to pancakes with maple syrup, eggs and sausage and mandarin oranges for breakfast.

* Another yes to electric trains including the large wooden platform, which has to be dragged into the house from the garage. Eamon requested this, but everyone played. Aine built "City of Aine" complete with landscaping and people. Benton built a block park. Eamon played engineer.
Toot Toot (someone loves the whistle)
"Engineer Eamon, come in, Engineer Eamon..."
Arranging the river and waterways
Planning out the livestock and the block cities
* Yes to reading and lounging on the couch
* Of course I said yes to an owl hat to match his vest. It required a bit of brushing up on my crochet skills, but it turned out super cute. Benton was pleased.
Yes, I did wear my polar bears pjs for a long time today

 * Yes to watching the creation of a new LEGO game complete with dynamic rules that change each time you play and are truly only known by one person

 * Yes to a sad little boy who wanted to play the LEGO game with his older siblings but was told it was only for ages 7+

We had a lot more yeses today that weren't photographed. Yes to popcorn for dinner, bath for no reason, another book for bedtime, using mama's "good" sharpies and lots more. Everyone should really try saying yes instead of an automatic no and see what fun you have. As Aine said this morning, "Mama, this is the life."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Is Dat for Me?

Everyone wonders how I can knit for my kiddos and keep it secret. Since I am often knitting during down times, they are used to always seeing something on my needles. I was able to complete Aine's sweater and a matching one for her doll baby without any questions. I even took photos of the doll wearing the sweater! I admit to being a bit surprised myself.

While waiting for the yarn to arrive for the boys' official holiday sweaters, I decided to make a vest for Benton. I have had this yarn in my stash for quite a few years. I cannot remember the colorway, but it is 100purewool. I originally bought it to make something for him when he was a baby, perhaps a sweater or longies. My memory is a bit fuzzy. I knew he would like whatever I made now since he loves green. For him, I chose the Milo vest pattern. I really like the pattern as it has several cable pattern from which to choose and it covers quite a few sizes. Oh, and I could use stash yarn.

As I knit I considered making it his holiday sweater. I was warming to the idea when I saw how cute it was turning out. I had almost convinced myself when Benton crawled up into my lap while knitting, and quipped, "Is dat for me?" Why, of course, baby. It is for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering

Today Aine and I walked with her Girl Scout troop to remember past sacrifices and promote the ideal of peace.

Today...


Today was a delightfully lazy day. Today we

* jumped on mattresses and off beds
* tickled and laughed
* let Daddy take a much needed nap
* built LEGO creations
* read books
* shared the last ceramics class together
* picked out library books
* knit
* finished up a banner for the parade tomorrow

After such a lazy day, we look forward to the excitement of a parade tomorrow and the hot dogs that follow.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Zoo Season

With our temperatures dropping, our outdoors activities are soaring. We suffer from hibernation mode during the summer. By the time fall arrives we are itching to get back outdoors. Recently our homeschool group visited the zoo. 

The kiddos were eager to run around the treehouse and explore the small creek that runs under it. As they played, excavators worked on the surrounding area. It seems our zoo is continually trying to improve and upgrade the environment. A new orangutan exhibit just opened in the past few months and the kiddos were excited to check it out again with their friends. We stopped for a few snacks while watching a video about the apes and reading the signs. The new enclosure is such an improvement over the previous cement exhibit. The four apes have a bigger area as well as several interior rooms. They even have grass now! 

Benton and Eamon were surprised when the baby orangutan swung down to the inside viewing window to watch them eat carrots. Baby Kasih just watched them eat and appeared to want to nibble the offered food despite the glass separating her from Benton. It was heartbreaking and fascinating at the same time.
More monkeys were the plan as we then visited monkey village and the squirrel monkeys. Everyone enjoyed watching the small run along the ropes and explore.
This was the end of most of our animal viewing. The children started stroller and wagon rides along the walkway outside the exhibit. They hooked together a couple wagons to form and train and enjoyed themselves immensely. They also played at the adjacent rock cave.
With tired bodies and short fuses, we decided to take a trip on the train since one of the moms had a free pass for the group. It was just what we needed to refuel. The same mom offered carousel rides as the grand finale. All three kiddos climbed onto the carousel animals. Aine stuck close to the other mom and her young son, while I stayed near the boys. We even attempted a photo in the carousel mirror. It didn't work so well.



After our carousel rides, we were sad to find out the zoo was closed. Heading out to the car, I discovered the new exit requires that you walk through the gift shop. This did not please me, but we all did well. Eamon even told those in the group that it is marketing by the zoo to get you to buy more stuff. It was truly a wonderful day with friends, and I think we all had a pretty good time!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A third of the way there

Aine's sweater is complete. I admit that I was nervous after reading everyone's comments last week. I began to think I was crazy for even thinking about three sweaters by the end of December. Fortunately my needles were on fire. The sweater pattern was very straight-forward. I only adjusted the body length, garter borders and sleeve length. I made the sleeves full length instead of three quarters in the hopes that she can wear it a bit longer. It was a very quick knit, although I did question my decision for full sleeves several times. The yarn was quite nice. I had used the same brand in my February Lady Sweater. It is Dream in Color Classy, and I really love the colorway. Initially I wasn't sure she would like, but I think now that she will love it.
I ordered buttons for the sweater from a store mentioned by Amanda. I selected a floral that should be jazzy enough for her six year old tastes yet still meet my need for matching. I also requested matching hair clips.

I hesitated ordering the yarn for the boys' sweaters until last week, because I was sure this formidable task of a sweater would take a bit more time. Since the yarn hasn't arrived, I cast-on a tiny doll sweater for Aine, which will match her own sweater. It doesn't have the same yoke, but it is similar and has garter edges. I know she will love having a sweater that matches her doll and cute accessories.

Even with all the knitting, I am back reading this week. My television jag is over for the moment. I finished Vinegar Hill in between knitting seasons. It was a sad book. The central family was haunted by the abuse and mistakes of previous generations. I was particularly struck with how horrific the grandfather was and how his actions affected those in each generation. I enjoyed it, but I needed a different read next. I am not sure I found it, but I started The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. In this story the young protagonist can taste the feelings and emotions of the person who made her food in the actual meal. Thus far, the feelings are her mother's and are "empty."

A better read are the books I am reading with the kiddos. We are enjoying Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees as well as Travels of Thelonious (Fog Mound). Tonight Eamon and I read half of the Thelonious book. He had not intended to read it when I selected it at the library. It has been sitting in our library book bin for a week. I mentioned he may like it, but he wasn't convinced until I opened it and began to read. Once we started he didn't want to stop. I found about this book from Amanda as well. She has a son a few months older than Eamon. He seems to share Eamon's love of comics, so I figured the book would be well received. It definitely has been.

Hopefully next week, I have a bit more to show of my knitting trifecta. I will have new yarn to show off and a finished object or two. Enjoy your knitting and thanks for stopping by Ginny's Yarn Along.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Survival of the fittest

Our garden is beginning to show signs of life now that our weather has begun to cool. The seedlings are reaching for the sky growing taller each day. I decided it was time to thin the seedlings. As you can see from the top photo, the kale was quite crowded. My spinach is not nearly so clustered, and I wonder where all those seeds landed for both spinach and chard ended up.
Truly I hate thinning my plants, trying to decide which will remain and throwing away the rest. The whole process seems so wasteful. I decided to try to salvage whatever seedlings I could thin and plant them elsewhere. It seems to have worked. I now have kale seedlings in this little garden plot and two more pots. Hopefully I can remember to water all of them. Fortunately there is rain in our forecast. Did I mention we had temperatures in the 60's? I am afraid my husband will want the heat on soon!