Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Books

Can I just start by saying I look forward to this post all year long? I love to read, but it was one of the first hobbies that got lost after my first son was born. I realized about a year later that the only thing I'd really read in that year was a parenting book or two, and made a serious shift. Now I keep track every year, at least of my fiction reads. I tried to better track my non-fiction reads this year, but looking through the list I noticed several titles were missing (I know I read at least 5 canning books)... I'm going to do better next year!


My goal is to read 20 fiction titles every year and this year I made it to 23. I read a lot of YA titles- a lot were recommended to me by students, and some I was reading "ahead" for my kids. I really like to keep up on trendy titles so that I know exactly what we're dealing with when my kids ask to read them. Now that Ender is starting to read some chapter books on his own I know that day is just around the corner for our family.


What was the best new (to you) author you discovered this year? Suzanne Collins. I read The Hunger Games trilogy in May/June and it is definitely one of my favorte series now. In fact, I plan to read it again next month in preparation for the movie release this spring.


What was your favorite new (to you) series? The Hunger Games Trilogy, as I mentioned above. Second place goes to Gone and it's sequels by Michael Grant. Those books are *not* for everyone, with a sci-fi lean and some horror elements, but it was well written with some interesting characters. I am NOT a horror fan at all and there were places in these books that I was glad I was reading during daylight (but I know I'm a little more easily freaked out than most).


Book that made you cry? The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I think this book renewed my faith in well written non-fiction.


Book that made you laugh out loud? All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Hilarious for knitters. :)


Book that totally changed your perspective on something? Canning for a New Generation by Lianna Krissoff. I've canned a little bit in the past, but usually just freezer jam. This book opened me up to feeling like a lot of different things were not only possible but pretty darn easy... and sooooo worth it to be eating our own food through the whole year, rather than only in the summer!


Best homeschooling book? The Core by Leigh Bortins. This is such a balanced approach to what we are looking for for our family. The Well-Trained Mind was a great jumping off point in pointing us toward materials that fit us well, but it feels so strict in what *must* be accomplished each year, and that is not always true for everyone- and that kind of restriction always makes me instinctively feel like it won't work for us.

While I'm not necessarily interested in joining a Classical Conversations group with my very young kids, we will be using much of the method here. My boys already love to memorize, and the fact that it only takes 24 weeks out of our usual 40 week school year means we have 16 weeks to explore interests or really sit on one week of material if they find something they really like.


Worst book that you managed to finish? Um, I don't really read bad books any more. If I listed books that I've started but not finished my reading list would be significantly longer. I used to feel compelled to finish everything, but my TBR list is just way too long and I want to get through the good stuff, you know? I did finish The Red Pyramid, but I had to push myself through. You know, Rick Riordan's stories and characters are really interesting but the writing is just bad. I do want to know what happens next but at the same time, the writing skill makes me groan and I have to put it aside for something else for awhile.


Most disappointing Book? Matched by Ally Condie. It felt like it was written to try to fit in with the Hunger Games fans, but it just doesn't resonate the way Hunger Games does. Many of the characters are flat or seem to be there just to help the plot get to the next point.


Best book-that-was-better-than-the-movie? Hahahaha... Twilight. Not even a close race. I'm not a huge Twilight fan, but I did read them again after a discussion with a friend (who suggested that I wasn't remembering the books accurately since it was about 2 years ago that I read them through in the course of a week). Just like The Percy Jackson books, the Twilight books have a compelling story but are badly written and I'm concerned about the underlying message of Bella and Edward's relationship. But the movie? I don't know how anyone who watched the movies knew at all what was going on.


Most over-hyped book of the year? Delirium by Lauren Conrad. It was a great idea, but felt flat to me.


Best young adult book of the year? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.


Book You’ve been meaning to read for years and finally got to? The Artemis Fowl books. My husband has told me for ages that I would like them, and I finally read the first few this year.


Read aloud that the family enjoyed the most? Charlotte's Web! What a fun read.


Best non-fiction? I read a lot of really good non-fiction this year, but the one that I think is going to really affect our family is The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule.


All-around best story of the year? The Hunger Games again. I know, I know. Broken record, right? I just really liked this trilogy!


Book that you feel is so integral to your library, you’d even pay full price for it? Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss, 3 R's by Dr. Ruth Beechick, and The Core by Leigh Bortins. I pull these out every few months as I plan the next quarter's goals and book lists.



Complete List for 2011:

Goal: 20 fiction books


Fiction:

1. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (January)

2. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (January)

3. Worst Case by James Patterson (February)

4. Stolen Children by Peg Kehret (February)

5. The Magic Half by Annie Barrows (February)

6. Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix (February)

7. Redwall by Brian Jacques (March)

8. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (May)

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (May)

10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (June)

11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (June)

12. The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer (June)

13. Gone by Michael Grant (July)

14. Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey (July)

15. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (August)

16. Matched by Ally Condie (August)

17. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (September)

18. Hunger by Michael Grant (September)

19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (October)

20. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (October)

21. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (November)

22. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (November)

23. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (December)



Non-Fiction:

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (March)

2. Decision Points by George W. Bush (March)

3. Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont (April)

4. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (April)

5. Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee (April)

6. Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff (May)

7. The Core by Leigh Bortins (June)

8. The 3 R's by Ruth Beechick (July)

9.  Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss (July)

10. The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule (October)

11. All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (December)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yarn Along

{Knitting with Ginny this week...}




While I was in the middle of ripping and re-knitting mitten thumbs, I picked up a super fast project: Schmatta. Quick to memorize, quick to knit and best of all? My 6-year-old contributed a few stitches every few minutes, and at one point even did a whole row. He told me he was ready to move past finger knitting and this was the perfect opportunity for him to knit a little without feeling like he had to do a TON to finish it. It was really my project and he "just helped", which was the perfect amount of work for him.

I picked up Wendy Knits Lace yesterday but haven't had a chance to do more than glance through it. I'll be sure to share more when  I get a chance to look through projects (and probably knit one!)

I did finish All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee over the weekend. I'm already a big fan of hers, so it's probably not shocking that I really liked her latest book. How can you not like a famous knitter who very openly shares her knitting boo-boos, even when it might be a rookie mistake?


Not only do we share a birthday (June 14 FTW!), but as I was reading a few of the chapters in All Wound Up I felt like she'd been peeking in my windows stealing bits of my life... or that we're long lost twins born years apart... I too recently had the great time of no knitting due to stress and grief and as hard as it is to believe that a serious knitter would totally stop knitting for months, it really did happen. My *husband* even noticed my lack of knitting and tried to get me to knit again!


I'm making plans for baby knitting that I'll share soon, and also making a list of UFOs for the 2012 stash busting/finish your UFOs challenge. I want to be ready to go on January 1!


Do you have any knitting plans for 2012?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Postcard #4





I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day!


We spent the day playing a few new games found under the tree. The current favorite is Ruckus, but we also had great fun with Too Many Monkeys and Sleeping Queens. We also played Bananagrams and Scrambled States with Ender, and those were fun too, just not something that Ezra can quite participate in yet.


Ender learned how to keep score, and we ate way too much pie and baked ham.


And now it's back to "regular" life this week, except that I'm not working this week. Instead the work for this week is getting the house back to where it should be after several days of celebrating with family and friends.


And knitting.... lots and lots of knitting!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Postcard #3



One of my favorite things about this season is getting to re-read some of our favorite books.


Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours

and a

Happy Christmas Day tomorrow!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Postcard



The tree is up...


Each child has a new ornament for the year, a tradition my mother-in-law started with her kids...


The boys were so pleased to use Nana's ornaments this year.


When they had finished Ezra said,


"I think Nana would like this tree."


He's right.... she would have loved that they decorated it for her.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yarn Along


{Yarning Along with Ginny this week...}




Well, I didn't make my December 17th mitten deadline, but I sure gave it my best shot. So I gave one wrapped thumbless mitten and she laughed and totally understood. See, my mom is a quilter and she knows that time can get away from you or projects can just go unexpectedly.


It was just the time thing thank goodness. With a few extra rehearsals and the wedding rehearsal and wedding itself I just didn't have the time and I was a little more tired than I expected to be every night (and really shouldn't I know better by this point in the pregnancy?) The project is progressing beautifully and better than expected- especially since I'm not exactly known for my colorwork. It's my second ever colorwork piece, so I wasn't going in with high expectations. I'm just really loving the way this is turning out and I'm making sure to do it right even when it means ripping back a needle worth of stitches because I forgot to lock down a long strand.


It's hard to show what you're reading when it's on the kindle, but I'm reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's latest All Wound-Up and really enjoying it. Her blog is one of the few I read the second it shows up in my reader (and may have sent some of her latest blog posts on gifts for knitters to my husband- to the point that he told me what my Christmas gift was to get me to stop sending him knitting blogs...)  so I'm really enjoying the essays in this book so far.


How goes your Christmas knitting?

Friday, December 16, 2011

2012 Knitting Challenge

Kelly is inviting us all to participate in a Stash Busting/Finish your WIPs Challenge for 2012. Anyone here have need of that? I know I do!


I don't keep nearly as large a stash as most people- my yarn is usually bought with the intention of a certain project (except for sock yarn, which I always buy enough for at least a pair of socks, but occasionally more for baby knits). However, not all of those projects come to fruition, so I do have about 2 rubbermaid totes worth of yarn in a variety of weights, some still assigned to certain projects.


And I've recently ordered yarn for the baby that I'm going to count as stash since I have grand plans (read: not all of it will actually get knit in time and chances are likely that half will land in stash!)


Another part of the challenge is finishing WIPs.... and I have to say that I have a few of those... Please tell me I'm not the only one who finishes a project but then takes a month (or six) to weave in ends, stitch a seam or add buttons! I have a lot of projects that are in that final finishing stage but just haven't quite made it through the last hour it would take to make them truly finished.


It's a sickness really.


So are you in? The rules aren't strict (you can still buy new yarn if needed, it's just to encourage each other to work from stash!) and most everyone has some stashy build-up to take care of.... what do you say?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yarn Along

{Yarning Along with Ginny again this week...)




After 2 (too short) evenings of work on the Christmas mitten (and 1 evening of starting over 50 gajillion times because that's how it works around here) I'm about 3 rows from the decreases. I was hoping it would go this quickly on the first mitten, because my schedule completely crowds up starting today and that second mitten might be difficult to finish by the Saturday deadline.


This mitten is Rigmor's Selbu Mittens, and even though I'm carrying both colors in one hand it's going a little faster than I thought. I really will try to learn to carry one color in each hand with even tension at some point, but not on a Christmas gift. I just can't give a handknit gift with wonky tension.


I'm still in re-reading mode, finishing up Eclipse and on to Hunger Games this week. Because I'm knitting more I'm reading less since those hobbies have to share the same limited amounted of free time I have. I did just download a copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's newest book on the kindle though, so I'm sure I'll be reading that too this week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Knits

Last year I knit 7 items for Christmas, including 2 sweaters, 2 pairs of slippers, a shawl, a hat and a scarf that was the most challenging lace I'd knit up to that point.

 

 
Today is the day where I admit that I haven't made a single thing for Christmas.

 

 
That really can't come as a surprise seeing as how I haven't been knitting or sewing *anything* until about a week or so ago, but I am actually supposed to be busy making for Christmas and I've been slow to get going. I whittled the list down, and I think it mostly includes a couple of simple sewing things that can be whipped out in a few evenings.

 

 
Plus a pair of mittens, that can't just be whipped out in an evening or two.

 

 
See, my mom wants mittens for Christmas and I finally got some knitting mojo going.... so I'm going to go for it. So I guess the real question here is whether or not I'm crazy to try to knit a pair of mittens by next Saturday.

 

 
PROS:
  • Worsted weight yarn already purchased
  • A pattern ready to go
  • Who doesn't like a crazy deadline once in awhile? I can totally work under pressure.

 

 CONS:
  • My normal work schedule (aka not a lot of time) 
  • Stranded color work (which I cannot yet do 2 handed with even tension, so I do it 1 handed, therefore slower)
  • My usual need to re-start a project about 3 times before I get it off on the right foot. (Because, well, I can't just be finishing projects without some kind of obstacle right? I just like to get the frustration over with early...)


  
I started last night and have, well, not much to show you (I was busy getting that "start over 3 times" out of the way), but I'm hoping for some pretty awesome progress by tomorrow.


(I'm secure in the knowledge that my mother loves me and will totally understand if I only have half a mitten done by the 17th when we have Christmas with that side- as long as the full pair is delivered before 2012 I think we'll be okay.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

He

God is good.


He is good all the time.


Even while you tuck a sad little boy back into bed for the fifth time that night.


Even when little ones bicker from the moment they wake.


Even when the habits and activities of yesterday no longer bring peace and calm.


Even when needed quiet is nowhere to be found.


Even when the dark looks so very dark that you can't possibly hope for light.


God is good.


He is good all the time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yarn Along: More Baby Knits

{Yarning Along with Ginny again this week...}




My little Stella Pixie Hat from last week just needs a bit of sewing and then it's finished. I don't know why I put off the sewing bits, but I'll get it done in the car this weekend as we head around town to family things. I don't know why I worried that it would turn out too big, but I think it turned out perfectly for a newborn to wear home from the hospital.


Next up are some baby socks to match the hat, which I'm sure I will also start in the car this weekend if not during rehearsal on Thursday.


And my real knitting concern has been with trying to find the perfect coming home cardigan to knit for baby. We are planning to find out the gender at our next ultrasound if possible and that will help me decide greatly. I'm pretty sure it will be the Jasper Diamond Hoodie in a beautiful grey if baby is a boy, and if baby is a girl? I'm undecided. There are so many gorgeous baby girl knits that I just can't settle on anything. I'm used to knitting for my boys and having less than 10 patterns to really choose from.


I'm still reading the Autobiography of Henry VIII, but very slowly as I've been falling asleep early all week (and practically slept Saturday away...). The Hunger Games arrived this week from the library and I'm planning a re-read of that trilogy before the movie is released in the spring. So I'll either jump in and read Hunger Games over a few days (probably in the car this weekend- I can't even begin to say how many family things we have going on this weekend and next since the last of my brothers is getting married this month!) or read the Henry VIII book in a  hurry so that I can move on to the Hunger Games.


I'm sure I'll be back with more baby knits next week, though my gender-neutral list is pitifully small. Not long now 'til we find out what this little one is!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thankful

:: Our first dusting of snow arrived overnight, much to the excitement of two little boys. (Followed by disappointment that it is truly just a dusting and can't be made into forts or snowmen.)


:: Praying over our house, that the sale goes through as planned in the next few weeks so that we can move into the house we really love (and have offered on)...


:: Ezra is learning to read and *loving* it. Little by little we work together and it's the perfect amount for each of us I think. I stressed too much about this process with Ender and I refuse to stress this time around.


:: Thankful for yarn and fabric and the other textiles that bring warmth to our home. I truly love having so much handmade in our lives, and along with a giant word of THANKS that my desire to knit has finally returned. Perhaps the sewing bug will return just in time for Christmas?


:: I'm feeling movement from the baby at least once a day now. Only two weeks until we find out if this little one is a girl or a third little boy (and whether I can give away all my boxed up boy things before the move or if they will be working their way through one more babe in our family...)


:: I'm thankful for the chance to work less after baby is here and spend a lot more time with my kids.


:: I'm so thankful that we have the option to keep our boys home and educate them in the way we feel best. I love that legos are mixed in with math and reading and that we can put some "normal school" aside in December to learn about the truly important- spending our school time instead helping our church help our community.


:: I am thankful that my mother-in-law "Nana" established the importance of the Christmas season in my husband's heart when he was a young boy and that we can carry on many of the traditions she started in her absence.


:: And most of all, in the midst of all this change that would usually send me screaming, I'm thankful for just that- the change.

A house that will really fit our family and the life we live.

Boys getting bigger and finding out just how much there is to learn about the world.

Adding a new little one in what seems to be a long while but is really just one more season away...

And the thought of moving and settling into a new house just two months before baby appears?
Not even a little scary.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Casting On



{Yarning along with Ginny for the first time in awhile... }




I honestly thought I wouldn't remember how. Casting on, I mean. I thought I'd have to look it up again, but the yarn just kind of twisted around in just the right way and as long as I didn't think too hard about it it just sort of worked.


I guess three months away isn't long enough to shake the knitting knowledge out of my brain.


This little white knit is most of a Stella Pixie Hat. I've made one before for a nephew (who will be turning 2 soon!) and this went onto my baby knitting list pretty much the second I found out I was pregnant. This pattern is available for free, but the book it comes from is so very lovely- be sure to check out Vintage Baby Knits if you have any babies needing adorable knits. Once we find out the gender in a few weeks I can move forward on some of my favorite knits from that book.

I've actually read quite a lot in the last month (Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, The Core by Leigh Bortins, The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling) but my current reads are Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. I saw the newest Twilight movie, so I started to read the books again. For some reason I've been doing a TON of re-reading in the last several months and I'm not generally a re-reader. I'm kind of stuck for new titles and I'm definitely feeling the pinch, especially in the lack of good fantasy or historicals that aren't just romances dressed up as historicals.


What are you reading right now? Any suggestions for me?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flexibility and Fairy Tales

When I last posted about homeschooling I had just made a few changes to our plans and we were moving forward.


I'm so glad we did.


I didn't know at that point that I was pregnant and since I've spent much of the last three months pretty sick in the mornings, school has been different. But what is homeschooling if not flexible, right?


Oh, lessons are getting done, but not necessarily with me at the helm- it's definitely a team effort lately. I've been doing what I can in the mornings (which ranges from supervising one or two things from the couch to completely finishing our lessons for the day). Thank goodness for a husband who doesn't mind giving a math lesson or supervising a 6-year-old's copywork after getting home from work.


The big change that made this all easier? Going more literature based. Our science, history and L.A. are all literature based now and even when I'm not at my best I can still sit on the couch and read a book. We do projects related to our books as the boys think of them, or even better I send them off to do their own thing and overhear them playing "Sailing on the Mayflower" or "Charlotte's Web" or "George Washington". You know they really got it when it seeps into their play.


Fairy Tales

Over the past month or so we've been working through a little unit on fairy tales. Our goal is familiarity with the tales, but we're also taking the opportunity to work on Ender's primary habit to build right now: retelling a story.


After our first time reading through the story I ask leading questions, kind of retelling in my own words and asking him to help me fill in the gaps. We read the story again a day or two later, and I retell again, but ask him to fill in even more for me than he did the first day. A day or two later I ask him, "Tell me the story of ..." and I help him fill in if he missed anything important. We have made notebook pages for a few of the tales, but that's a project he can choose to do- it's not required.


I chose versions of the tales for rich language but also based on what was available at our local library. We are fortunate to have a fantastic library system here so I try to take advantage of that whenever possible. Many thanks to Elizabeth Foss and her fantastic book lists (Primary Cycle B) for giving me a great place to start.


Cinderella by Brown




Little Red Riding Hood by Schart Hyman


Rapunzel by Zelinsky


Rumplestiltskin by Zelinsky


The Sleeping Beauty by Schart Hyman








We're taking a little fairy tale break once December is really here so that we can focus on our Christmas favorites, but we'll pick up again in January to finish up with The Frog Prince, The Emperor's New Clothes, and a few others before we move on to Tall Tales in February.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The REAL Reason to Read

Ezra decided suddenly that he's ready to start blending and has been really loving the moveable alphabet lately. He's been having a "reading lesson" with me in the morning and practicing again at night with Brian. At first I thought his sudden interest was because he's the only one in the family that doesn't read now, or that all the literature exposure was really soaking in...


But no. It turns out that the only reason he wants to learn to read is because "Ender gets to stay up for 20 minutes with his light on because he is reading."


So the real reason to learn to read is to stay up late.


Just so you know.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Going Again

I made strides toward knitting the other day- I printed a few patterns for the baby that are gender-neutral with the full intention of casting *something* on that night. But I only have a little bit of my stash with me and the other part that had the baby yarn is at the other house still.... so no cast-on. I'm starting to worry that I don't remember how.


At first my husband rejoiced in the lack of knitting.

"The phase has finally passed!"

I don't think 3 years counts as a phase...

"No more old lady knitting jokes!"

There wouldn't have been any in the first place if you hadn't supplied them...

"No more tetanus shots due to knitting needles!"

Touche, sir.


But then he genuinely started to worry because I still wasn't knitting, plus I am pregnant which I had always warned him meant I would kick into high knitting gear before baby arrived...


He finally asked why I haven't been knitting and I told him the story I've told everyone who asks, and oh MY have they asked. I am just now realizing how often I knit in public and how most everyone I know (even casually!) thinks of me as "the girl who knits". And the public story is this: I'm just so very tired with the pregnancy and I've been going to bed pretty much the second the boys are down and when I *am* awake and have nothing to do (which happens... not that often) I pretty much only have enough energy to sit there and try to keep my eyelids open.


Brian finally said to me about two weeks ago- "You know, you're not going to bed that early any more- you definitely have time to knit again if you want to."


And while he is right, the knitting absence is really due to a whole other reason.


I was knitting this for her, and while I finished in time to gift it, she didn't make it to the Christmas it was supposed to be gifted on.


And I just haven't been able to get up the energy to go again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thoughts

:: Growing a baby is a lot more exhausting this time around. I'm older, have two active boys, working, homeschooling... I'm still getting to bed pretty much as early as possible after the boys are down (and occasionally before thanks to my husband), and when evenings are your free time to knit and write and think, well- those things just don't happen.


:: I thought I'd be knitting or sewing again by now. It's like all the creativity has leaked out of me these last few months. I know I have Christmas gifts to make and yet I haven't started a single bit. I can't seem to get the motivation going even though I know time is ticking. Calling second trimester energy in 3... 2... 1...


:: I'm starting to think ahead to next school year and looking at materials so that I'm somewhat prepared before baby gets here. I want to be mentally ready for what needs done before baby is here and have the skeleton of the plan written out, maybe a start on booklists too. Then I can work on things after baby is here a little bit at a time over the summer. The hard part is figuring out *what* to do, and that's the part that must be done before we bring baby home.

Thoughts include: continuing in Singapore math, Writing With Ease, and the elements of our day we love (like reading aloud together and art projects),

I'm also looking into All About Spelling 1, and trying to decide a direction for our history program for next year (I'm kind of leaning towards a year focused on explorers and how they explored (and probably going into ships and navigation and that sort of thing). I've also been considering doing a year of ancients, but I planned that for this past year and scrapped it at the last minute- it just didn't feel right, and I'm still thinking that it isn't for us at this age/grade level.


:: As if we don't have enough to do right now, we are getting ready to put our house on the market. We have been tight here ever since Ezra was born, but now with another baby coming we really need to look at a new place with a bit more room. So we've made our list of things to work on to get everything sale ready and now we're spending the weekends trying to make that happen.


:: I know that life moves on around us even when it seems like time stopped for us. My google reader is super full even though I'm not back to writing regularly yet, and work goes on just as it always has even when I'm not sure how to get one more day in, and little boys need to run and play and be outside while outside is an enjoyable place to be. Everything keeps going and we're still trying to get back to routine and "normal".

We are working out of that "time stop" more and more each day, and lately that means far more good days than bad days. And after getting some extra (and much needed) sleep this past weekend I think we're on a steep upswing this week. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Warm October Daybook

Because I haven't written a daybook since last February
*and*
I'm trying to get back to a more daily writing habit...



Outside my window... another day close to 80F! It just doesn't seem like fall for real with the past week full of mostly 75+ degree days.


I am listening to... Knitpurlgurl podcasts while I drive to and from work. Her laugh is so cute and I love that she includes so many bits of the fiber arts world in her podcasts. I'm primarily a knitter, but I do dabble in other fibers, so it's nice to hear about other fiber arts too.

I am wearing... a long black and pink skirt and a black tee-shirt. This is probably my last week in "regular" clothes, but I'm trying to put off moving into maternity clothes a little while longer if I can...


I am thinking... about how to re-adjust our school schedule. We took time off when my mother-in-law passed away in early September, but we've also only really done school about 3 days a week over these last few weeks because of this morning sickness. Some will be put off til January, some cut, and some just rescheduled... sorting all of that out is taking some time.

 
I am reading... Harry Potter 6 again.

I am creating... a baby. And a new school schedule. I'm thinking fondly about knitting though...

Always learning... I don't know why I'm still amazed by this, but my kids still choose to learn new things when left to their own devices for a time. While I've been sick Ender has been keeping up on his 20/20 goal for the Book It program with very little reminding from adults, they've both been building all sorts of structures after reading Amazing Buildings, and they are also working on adding artwork to their "animal notebooks". We've spent this month reading fairy tales together a la one of the lists from Real Learning, and it has been lovely to "do school" in such a way.


Around the house... We're still getting settled in, but are starting to feel more at home lately. Especially with the re-doing of the bed situation- a new mattress was exactly what we needed and suddenly sleep is that much more accessible.

Baby news... 11+ weeks, strong heartbeat and hopefully a decrease in morning sickness on the horizon. I've been told that this is the week with the craziest hormones morning sickness wise, so I'm seriously hoping that is true.


I am planning... more time to sleep. Certain things like school and work can't really move in the schedule, but pretty much everything else is out until I start feeling better.

I am praying... for my new little nephew Malachi. He was born this past Sunday at just over 36 weeks, but only 4 pounds and 9 ounces. He is healthy aside from weight, but his weight is the concern. He's doing the typical newborn "lose a little, gain a little" dance, except that he doesn't have much wiggle room in this area. We're praying for his weight to stabilize and consistently gain so that he can come home!

One of my favorite things... Frozen peaches. They seriously *always* taste good, even at my queasiest.
A few plans for the next week... have I said SLEEP enough in this post? Seriously I'm trying to be really tough on myself to be in bed, lights out by 9:30 so that I can get enough sleep

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lost Season

I wrote last week about how strange it seems that fall is here, how summer disappeared without our notice and now I have to say that I think this whole season may be lost too.


I don't think I've really taken pictures in several weeks, aside from a few clicks here and there, and while the boys are just as busy as ever I am down for the count. Thirty hours or so in the studio every week, homeschooling in the mornings, and the necessary appointments for eyes and teeth and baby add up to very little time to just be... and evenings are lost too, for as soon as I am home from the studio I am into bed to try to be ready to start again in the mornings. This pregnancy has certainly been the most tiring of the three. Thank goodness it will end with a new baby!


So thankful that...

:: Brian has taken over dinner for this season (since I am teaching every night in order to be more available in the mornings).

:: I can start a load of laundry in the morning and it is dried and folded and put away by day's end without any further work on my part.

:: Ender is reading all. the. time. Allowing him to stay up for 30 extra minutes as long as he is reading has paid off big time.

:: The second trimester isn't that far off... and hopefully this morning sickness and fatigue will ease up a little around that point.

:: Our family has been blessed with another nephew over the weekend - that makes the count 6 boys to 1 girl. We need more girls! (***hint to the baby***)


There sill isn't much new knitting, but I have been trying to be really diligent about sleep and water, which will pay off in a bigger way than new stitches.

I was sent this video by a friend, and thought I'd share here too:






My husband watched it, looked at me and said, "Why don't you knit that fast?" I thought about trying to explain to him that she knits continental and I knit English and that there are speed things that English knitters just can't do even though I'm a pretty fast knitter... but I know that would have just led to his eyes glazing over.

Anyway, I know this season will pass and while it probably won't be the most well documented, we'll still enjoy it and learn a lot and grow together through it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yarn Along


{Yarning Along with Ginny...}




I finally got a chance to block my Omelet shawl. It has been done for weeks and weeks,

but I just hadn't had time to get a good blocking in.




I have a really fancy blocking system where I spread out towels on my living room floor and then pin right into the floor. High tech, huh?




And for those of you who fear for the straight lines where my (yo k1 yo) is, I took these pics when I originally pinned it to try out different edges- I promise I blocked them straight!



And the full pic- I took several pictures during the blocking to try to decide exactly how I wanted to curve the bottom edge, and this one was really uneven... I went through several options before really settling on how I wanted those edges worked out.


It's settled now and drying... I'll get unpinned pictures up soon.


I have to say that watching lace bloom feels like magic every.single. time. I know I knit it and at the same time it seems like the lace just appears out of that blob of yarn.

And this is why I'm now a lace knitter.

Because it's MAGIC.


There hasn't been any baby knitting really yet. I'm still so nauseous and tired that I'm pretty much schooling the children in the morning, then working in the afternoon and evening and falling into bed so that I can get up and repeat it again the next day. Oh, plus having to eat a small meal every two hours to keep the nausea under control. Keeps a girl busy.


But I do have serious baby plans thanks to your contributions last time around- thank you so much!
There are so many great baby knits out there.


In reading news I've been working my way through Michael Grant's Gone series. I just finished #3 last night (Lies) and need to pick up #4 from the library. I'm sure I have a pretty impressive holds stack waiting for me there because I just ordered all of our October and November school books also... I'm also waiting on a copy of the newest biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I studied him and his writings very seriously throughout high school and I am so excited to have yet another great biography to explore.


So what are you knitting and reading?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcoming Fall



We must really be into fall now.


It's in the changing trees, that increased desire to knit warm things, the crisp air when we step outside to feed the cat and check to see if there might be one last tomato or pepper... and it came with a sneakiness we don't usually know.




I'm trying to think of where summer went. This is the first year since the boys have been part of our family that we didn't have a big celebration to welcome fall, making a big deal about that last trip to the pool and trying to squeeze out another few days wearing shorts and flip flops before jeans become a necessity.


We got it together in time to make a last camping trip over this past weekend with family and aside from one scary encounter with a rattlesnake (thank goodness for a quick-thinking uncle with a canoe paddle!) it was just what we needed for a low-key celebration to end one season and begin another. A little bit of fishing and canoeing, cooking hot dogs over the fire, little boys pretty much rolling in the dirt all day and *loving* it, and playing lots of board games into the wee hours made a perfect welcome to this new season.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yarn Along: Baby Knits

So, now that the cat is out of the bag (or the bun is in the oven or whatever you'd like to say),  I can finally talk to you about all the baby knitting I am not doing. Morning sickness all day sickness has pretty much taken over, but I'm now on day 2 with my new best friend Zofran and have begun again to think fondly of repetitive motions such as knitting.


Since it's hard to share pictures of non-knitting, there won't be pictures, but there are a lot of links to yummy baby knitting.


Let me first say that I did nothing crafty when my boys were born. I learned to sew the summer Ezra turned one, and then to knit that fall. So I'm not one of those knitters who has woolens to pull out from previous babies. This baby is going to have to be freshly woolen-ized.


Second, I have to say that gender-neutral sweaters and cardigans are kind of a joke. It is just not as easy as picking a "girl color" or a "boy color" and going for it, because the little details can scream one gender over the other.


{And as a side note on gender: My 4-year-old thinks that if the baby is a girl she'll have pink or purple hair (being a girl and all) even though all the girls he knows have normal colored hair. And no- it doesn't matter how many times we point out that he wasn't born with blue or red or green hair. He has his own little universe where bizarre genetics play a big role- like how he thinks his "blonde" cat is his long-lost twin brother.... because they're both blonde, you see.}


I've lined up a few favorites that I think can go either way in a "babies don't really care" kind of way and I have ideas for neutral colors- a soft heather gray, a creamy beige, perhaps even something white...


Sweet little Kanoko Pants
Milo (which I think breaks the afore mentioned gender neutral joke)
hats, hats, glorious hats...


And a much longed-for knit: the Hemlock Ring Blanket. I have loved that blanket for a long time and now there is finally a baby to receive it.


So two questions for you:

1. What is on you "absolutely must knit" list for babies?

2. What are your favorite baby yarns to knit with?

I'm looking at superwash for some things, but that is not a necessity- super comfy and soft is key.

{Yarning Along with Ginny even though it's been a few weeks and this is not my usual type of Yarn Along post. As long as the Zofran continues to work there WILL be knitting to show next week.}
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