Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yarn Along

For this week's Yarn Along, I started a new knitting project and started (and finished) a new book. The knitting project is another Christmas (or birthday, I haven't decided) knit for Elizabeth. The pattern is Hermione's Everyday Socks in Knit Picks Felici in High Tide, which I bought on the cheap when it was discontinued. Both the pattern and colorway are perfect for Elizabeth. 

Finn and I just started reading the first Bobbsey Twins book this weekend. A beloved series from my childhood, he's actually heard it before, but at just under 2, he didn't really remember. He enjoyed the book so much that even though we were slated to start another book after the Bobbsey Twins book, he wants to read another book in this series before we move on. I still have hope that one of my kids might enjoy this series as much as I did!

I finished both of the projects I was working on last week.  Finn was eager to model Paulie's Viking hat for me. The horns are a little wonky, probably due to the thick and thin yarn I used, because I was too cheap to buy an entire skein for the 30 yards I needed for this project, and I just used what I had on hand. I doubt Paulie will notice though.

"Hey mom, take a photo of me wearing this hat with my Legos in the background!"

"Hey! I want to model the hat too!"

(That's kind of how photo shoots go around here!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

::right now::

::watching the leaves transition::

::piecing a Christmas present quilt::

::smiling at his Halloween creations::

::shivering through the first frost::

::freshening Elizabeth's bedroom walls::

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yarn Along

I just started a couple of new knitting projects after a week of almost no knitting at all. (eek!) Paulie requested a knitted viking helmet for Christmas, and lo and behold, there's a free one on Ravelry. I've only had a couple of hours to knit on it so far, but with bulky yarn and size 10 needles, it is moving along quickly. I anticipate having it finished by next Yarn Along (maybe).

I also just received this vintage copy of The Folk of the Faraway Tree in the mail a couple of days ago, and the kids are beside themselves with excitement in anticipation of starting it. (What is it about this crazy imaginative series by Enid Blyton that they love so much anyway?!)

I'm still plugging along on Finn's socks. I guess I should get busy though as the Halloween Fairy will be coming in just a week!

I also cast on this Lotus Hat for a benefit for a very sweet old friend, and young mother of 3 smalls, who is currently battling breast cancer. I finished it quickly as it has to be delivered later today. I hope it will help her in her brave battle in some small way. I think it will certainly bring cheer to whoever decides to purchase it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

celebrating Philip!

This weekend brought another round of celebrations at our house. Philip turned 11 this weekend! He and Paul had a special weekend for his actual birthday: Paul whisked him off to Atlanta on Friday afternoon for a weekend of one-on-one time and a trip to Legoland Discovery Center.

Their special trip meant that Philip had to wait until yesterday, the day following his birthday, for our family birthday celebrations and the remainder of his gifts.

Following his birthday meal, we ate an autumnal birthday treat of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Whoopie Pies.

We sang; he blew out candles; and then it was gifting time.

His main gift this year was the trip to Atlanta with his dad, but we had a few small tokens for him to open at the celebration. Elizabeth spent her own money to buy him a Lego plush minifigure.

He also received a few books and, of course, the Star Wars pillow that I made for him.

In all, I think he had a special celebration, and really the whole weekend was celebration! Welcome to 11, Philip!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finn's first race

Finn has been asking for about 6 months to run a race. He's been on the sidelines watching his big brother, Paulie, race since he was about 2 years old, and he's been chasing him around in the backyard about as long. He finally felt like his time had come to run in a race of his own.

We signed him up for a Fun Run in the local Race Against Hunger, and he proudly wore his tattoo, t-shirt, and carried his newly acquired race loot bag.

We arrived very early as we hadn't been to this race event before. We got the packet and acclimated ourselves to the event layout.

When the sun finally came completely up, well, as much as it ever did on this rainy autumn morning, we headed out to the starting line area.

Finn did all of his stretches. (Paulie spent some time teaching him how to stretch before the race.)

And they were off!

Finn was so thrilled to be able to join his big brother on this adventure that he'd only been able to spectate before.

They both came through with good time and smiles. A sign of a race well run.

And then they were handsomely rewarded with arm paintings and a huge inflatable slide. All the makings of a good first race, I think.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a Claymore vest

I finished the Claymore vest that I began a few weeks ago just in time for an early autumn heat wave to hit our area. Fortunately, it didn't last long. Now that the weather is cooler, I've worn this vest every day for nearly a week.

After letting this Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino sit in my stash for nearly a year, I think this was the perfect vest for the soft, squishy, earthy-toned yarn. I love that it matches a great deal of my wardrobe.

The perfect toggle to accent this vest came from Favour Valley on etsy. And of course, it came in a two-pack. Now I just need to find a great use for the second toggle button.

Now I just hope the cool weather is here to stay because I definitely see this vest being a well-loved part of my autumn wardrobe.

PS. Finn and Elizabeth were my photographers. I just discovered it's actually quite difficult to direct a photo shoot of yourself. :) 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yarn Along

For Yarn Along this week, I have 2 works-in-progress. A pair of socks for Finn, using the Easy Toddler Socks pattern, one I have used several times. He still fits in the toddler socks if I use sport weight, which makes the socks nice and thick, and if I adjust the length to match his foot. I can't believe how long this pair is! My littlest baby has such big feet now!

I'm nearly finished with the Tuscan Leaves Neckwarmer. I just need to finish the ribbing on the edge then add buttons. And block, to get rid of the curling on the edge. I really love this pattern. So elegant, yet practical. The lighting was wonky so early this morning. The color is Currant and really looks more burgandy than the pinkish red shown here. Very autumnal, I think.

As for the book I'm reading, I recently began reading Pie to the kids in the evenings. We've made 2 of the pies from the book now. (Recipes are included at the beginning of each chapter.) The most recent one, last evening, was the chocolate cream pie. The read is fun, set in the 1940s and largely a mystery, but the pie recipes take the to speak.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


This past weekend was chock full of celebration. In addition to Paulie's birthday, Paul and I celebrated our eighth anniversary. Eight years. Sometimes I can hardly believe it's been that long since we decided to blend our families, already full with 3 little ones. In other ways, it feels like Paul has been part of my life forever, and eight seems like such a small number compared with the experiences we've shared.

Piazza Navona, Rome, 2005

As an ode to our eighth anniversary, Paul posted this fitting tribute on my Facebook wall:

I wanted to ferret out one of my favorite stanzas about deep, abiding love in honor of our august milestone. But all these children are so loud! I can't think straight. Perhaps sadly, perhaps appropriately, the only stanza I can conjure with any lucidity in this foggy-minded kinder-chaos is this, from Eliot's Burnt Norton.
Words strain,Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them.

As I think about it, further down the stanza we do get this, which might work better initially, but ultimately ends up interrupted again by children. 

Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves 
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always -
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.
There you go...eight years in a nutshell.

our simple little courthouse wedding, 10/06/2005

I rarely post photos of the adults in this family here on the blog, much less photos of us together. Here we are at the beginning, and, well...a few years ago. Because we're actually bad at even getting our photos taken at all.

2011, photo credit: my brother

Monday, October 7, 2013

celebrating Paulie!

On Friday we celebrated Paulie's 14th trip around the sun. (How is that possible?!) He retains much of his sunny disposition, despite his foray deeper into teenagerhood, and we are thankful for another year to spend with him and watch him grow into a fabulous young person. He often has the hardest time making decisions about what he wants for his birthday meal, or even his birthday presents. I sometimes just end up making those decisions myself. Since he had friends joining us for his birthday dinner (Friday birthdays can be handy for that.), I opted to make a variety of pizzas to help us celebrate.

We keep our birthday celebrations relatively low-key. A birthday ring with seasonal decorations and a couple special ornaments, celebratory food, and a few presents.

And of course, a special dessert. Paulie couldn't decide on which special dessert he wanted this year. I opted to make him some homemade vanilla ice cream and homemade oreos to accompany. His oreo was a triple decker!

After the singing, candle blowing, and dessert eating, he moved on to his gifts. He always has the best expressions when opening presents. This expression looks like he won a million dollars; actually, it's the latest book in a series he enjoys.

He was suitably thrilled about his Totoro pillow, although I couldn't quite tell if he was a mite embarrassed to be receiving it in front of friends. ;)

His big gift this year was a new 7-speed bike. He refused to ride his old 20-inch kids bike this summer claiming he was too big for it. He had an inaugural run around local lake trail yesterday, with Finn and Philip in tow. He was still smiling 7 miles later. The bike must be a winner!

Happiest of birthdays, Paulie! We can't wait to see what 14 brings.