Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Books




I love keeping track of my reads each year, but this year has been a little slim.

New Baby, new house, back to work, learning to balance the new changes- this year was already pretty full and extras like fiction reading were pushed aside a bit.

My goal is to read 20 fiction titles every year and this year I only made it to 15. I read a lot of YA titles- a lot were recommended to me by my students, and I like to be able to talk with them about what they are reading. Ender is also reading longer and longer books on his own, so some of my reading has served as pre-reading for him.


I'll answer all the questions completely spoiler free.


What was the best new (to you) author you discovered this year? Veronica Roth. I really enjoyed Divergent and Insurgent and look forward to more books from her.


What was your favorite new (to you) series? Legend by Marie Liu. It wasn't officially a series when I read it, but the second book comes out next month and I'm eagerly awaiting it.


Book that made you cry? The Giver. Such a serious thing in such a small book- a book everyone should read. I read it in middle school for a class and I have read it a few more times since then. I have really enjoyed going back through some of my favorite childhood reads as an adult. The difference in perspective is so interesting to me.


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? Okay, this is probably a silly answer, but Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. He has written a bunch of books I will never ever read- I'm just not interested in reading a Pride and Prejudice that has been infested by zombies, you see. But after the raving review of a friend, I did read it and I *really* enjoyed this play on alternate history.


Best homeschooling book? I read shockingly little in the homeschooling genre aside from my yearly re-reads of The Core by Leigh Bortins, The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss. I think I can safely say that it's a reflection on how satisfied I am with our current learning pursuits. I don't really feel the need to explore other homeschooling methods/materials right now.


Worst book that you managed to finish? I don't really read bad books any more. I bail if I'm about 3 chapters in and I'm not interested by the main character. If I make it 4-5 chapters but the book hasn't really gone anywhere I ditch it too. 

That being said I will commit urban fantasy sacrilege and admit that I *really* didn't like City of Bones. It was just okay for me until I got to those last few chapters- I really had to force my way through. Without spoilers I'll just say I won't be seeing the movie unless I hear of a significant alteration in storyline.


Most disappointing Book? Mark of Athena. I don't know why I keep reading Percy Jackson books when I'm always so disappointed in the actual writing itself.


Best book-that-was-better-than-the-movie? Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. The movie was perfectly fine (a little gory for me, but it IS a vampire thing after all) but as is usually the case, not as good as the book.


Most over-hyped book of the year? Hands down, City of Bones.


Best young adult book of the year? The Giver. I know it's not new, but it was my best read this year.


Book you’ve been meaning to read for years and finally got to? None this year, but I mean to tackle a few books on this list this year.


Read aloud that the family enjoyed the most? Several of the Magic Treehouse books have been light reads alongside our history reading this year and I think the one that really stood out to the boys was Hour of the Olympics.


Best non-fiction? Story of Science. I had a woefully sad science education, and I asked around for a really good place to start for foundational understanding for myself and this series was suggested. I'm working my way through and I think we're going to use the books as a basis for science ed starting in the next year or two.


All-around best story of the year? The Help. I don't think I've mentioned this one yet and it deserves a mention. This is not a book I would typically pick up but I did so after the recommendations of a few trusted reader friends and I *really* liked it.


Book that you feel is so integral to your library, you’d even pay full price for it?  This year it has been my canning books. Favorites include Canning for a New Generation, The Ball Home Preserving Book, and my new favorite Food in Jars.


Complete List of Fiction: (goal- 20)


1. Legend by Marie Liu (February)


2. The Taker by Alma Katsu (March)


3. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (March)


4. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (April)


5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (April)


6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (April)


7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (May)


8. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (June)


9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (July)


10. Divergent by Veronica Roth (August)


11. The Giver by Lois Lowry (September)


12.  Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (September)


13. The Messenger by Lois Lowry (September)


14. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (October)


15. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (December)



Non-Fiction: 

1. Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way

2. Food in Jars

3. Put 'Em Up

4. Homemade Soda

5. Simple Food




Knitting and other craft books:

1. Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

2. Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger

3. Things I learned from Knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

4. Oliver + S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson

5. Vintage Modern Knits by Courtney Kelley

6. The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss

7. Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren

8. Finishing School by Deborah Newton

9. Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt






Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Yarning



{Yarning Along with Ginny this week...}




I managed to finish all but one of my planned Christmas knits, and I'll share them here over the next few days. 

The boys' hats I knit for them 2 years ago were looking pretty scruffy, so I went on the hunt for a great kid hat pattern. I didn't have to look far- the Zsa Mask fit everything my superhero-loving boys could like in a hat, and was the perfect fast knit to throw into my holiday knitting plans. They've already been dubbed "Batman Masks" and were worn so much on Christmas day that I had to issue an anti-hat ordinance lasting the length of bath time.

I've been laboring my way through The Mark of Athena and reminding myself that long ago I agreed not to read any more Rick Riordan... the books take me forever to get through (because I'm just not that interested) and the writing isn't great... but I saw that the third in the trilogy was coming out and it seemed like a good idea to finish the set. I'm almost 2 months into this little book for some crazy reason. My husband keeps telling me to just move on, but there is something in me that compels me to finish books that I start, no matter how weird/boring/badly written I find the book to be. Is it just me?





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quiet

I apologize for silence here, but there is so little I feel I can say right now. How is knitting or "holiday rush" at all important in these past few days?


This tragedy feels particularly personal in such a strange way. After hearing all this news over the weekend and striving to find the real information in the midst of all the speculation, it became so very real to know the children lost were mostly first graders, 6 and 7 years old in that safe little town.


My oldest son is 7 and if he attended school he would be a first grader too.


As I was beginning to feel just a bit of distance from this awful case, Jamie Martin (editor of Simple Homeschool, a space where I have written a few times) shared that Newtown, CT is HER town, and it all became that much more personal.


We're all so different in the way we process things and just as many of my friends processed by turning off the news and going out of their way to not hear anything, I felt it imperative to my mental state to find out what really happened. I started looking for more accurate information on Sunday; Friday and Saturday were both so full of wild speculation that it was hard to listen to anything at all. And I read in more than one place where people being interviewed said that this tragedy is more than enough to make them consider homeschooling.


Dear friends, we don't homeschool out of fear. No one should. We aren't afraid of public schools or other people or that minuscule risk of violence breaking out in a first grade classroom. We homeschool as a lifestyle choice we have made, and not one we feel anyone else should make.


Yes, I hold my kids tight today. I look at my 7-year-old and know exactly what was lost last Friday in those young ones. But the actions of this one man don't make my decisions for me. We choose to continue our educational life at home, not out of fear of what may come, but out of the joy we have found here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Annual Holiday Crafting Panic


Last week was a WEEK y'all.


I don't know what it is about this fall/winter, folks, but we have been battling one little illness after another, always staggered so there are only 1 or 2 of us sick at a time, but it always rotates through the whole family. The disease of the day always seems to hit me last (thank goodness!) but Ellie is hit worst, poor girl. It's just really hard to understand sneezing and coughing when you're such a little thing.


My camera died last week too- right in the middle of putting up our tree. It was a great family time, even if it went un-photographed. I'm hoping the camera is only minorly dead; it's with a friend who is checking it out for me. 


I had a mini- panic midweek last week about Christmas. It should really be referred to as the "Annual Panic" because it truly is in early December every year.


You know the one most creative types have before gift giving holidays- the one where you look at your crafting list and say, "HOLY SMOKES! How on Earth did I ever think I could get this all done??? I'm a crazy person and I'm not going to finish any of it and there will be NO CHRISTMAS this year all because of me, the single-handed ruiner of Christmas!!!"


Or maybe that's just me.


So I clicked on my Christmas spreadsheet (because I'm that sort of geek) and prepared to talk myself down from that place. I looked through the list for each person and thought... you know what? I'm not in bad shape. AT ALL. I'm actually super close to done as long as I stick to knitting every night.


And instead of rejoicing in that truth and feeling a burden lifted off of me, my brain went crazy trying to add even more projects to the Christmas list. Because if the pressure isn't on, maybe I missed someone to make for? Or someone already on the list needs an extra sweater or something.


REALLY?


So I did the smart thing and I'm sticking to my original list.


I have enough Holiday Crafting years in me to know that *something* will go horribly wrong with a project or two and I'll find myself ripping and re-knitting and wrapping after midnight on Christmas Eve to finish that last thing.


And if magically I find myself done early with nothing else to do?


There are MANY items waiting in the queue.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Knitting


After a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family we received news that my grandmother (who had been admitted to the hospital earlier that week) was not going to be with us very much longer. My parents had already jumped in the car very early Friday morning and were able to be there with her for a few hours before she passed away.

She has had cancer for a long while now and even made it past original predictions. But the last few weeks have seen more difficulties with treatment, and she told my grandfather she was ready to be done.

So we ran off to Indiana and Ohio last week, land of slow hotel internet connections. We spent many hours in the car, far more than our crawling/pulling up/busy, busy, BUSY little girl was interested in. But everyone did far better than we could have expected. Thank goodness for empty soda bottles and mama's bracelets and any other non-baby toy that could pass as entertainment during those many hours!

We're home now, and I realized that it's December 2 and I don't have nearly as much time for crafting Christmas gifts as I had once hoped. We haven't even put up a tree yet.




I did manage to finish another Christmas knit for Ellie on the trip: a Lacy Julian Hat in a larger size made from the leftover yarn from her cardigan. I promise an actual "completed" photo to come soon, modeled by a super cute little girl.

I also cast on mittens for one of the boys on the trip, but keeping the baby happy took a lot more attention than I had expected. The other finished Christmas knit for Ellie is the Helena Cardigan that I finished earlier this month. I'm hoping to also make her a pair or two of thumbless mitts for this winter if I get the boys' knitted gifts finished in time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

6 Months






Who knows how many warm days we have left






So we spent the weekend outside soaking up sun while we can.






Almost seven months she has been with us.


It gets harder each day to remember that there was life before her.






And now she goes all the time. Rolling, crawling, pulling up on everything. Any second now she'll be running after her brothers. She already knows how much they adore her and she knows just who to go to to get exactly what she wants.






I am so thankful for this little girl.




And these silly boys of mine who insisted that Ellie *needed* a picture with all of her favorite things- including them...


They have welcomed her so thoroughly. I think I spend most of my time reminding them to give her some space. They just adore her so.


I am so very thankful for this little family I've been given. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Summer in a Glass







It's when it gets cold that I'm so glad we put up a little bit of food over the summer months. And my favorite thing right now? 


Strawberry syrup.


When I put up strawberry jam, butter and preserves in June I decided to try a bit of syrup too. And let me tell you, my friend- best pantry addition ever! 


Mix it with a little bit of sparkling water and you have summer in a glass. It's the perfect bit of sweet to enjoy with popcorn or while I knit at night.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knitting Along as a Family



Knitting along with Ginny...


Since finishing Ellie's Christmas cardigan it seems like a lot of my knitting time has been devoted to helping this little dude with his own knitting:




Knitting has long been on his list of skills to acquire, and we have indeed tried in the past two years to start truly knitting... it just didn't click and he lost interest quickly. Each time I'd tuck everything away until he'd say "maybe I can knit now..." and we would try again.


Every try yielded the same result until this time, when everything worked just right on the first try and the little phrase he uses to remember the order of motions required for each little stitch came easily from his mouth. A row here and a row there, and a few stitches while we read together all adds up to something that actually has some mass and a definite shape. And this time he keeps coming back for a little more.




And because Ezra can't let anyone upstage him he asked to learn to crochet. I showed him how to make a chain and he quickly brushed me off to do it all on his own. This one rarely wants help and his chain showed it. But Ez is always quick to smile and take pride in his ability to work on his own, no matter the actual results.




Not sure what exactly was going on with the yarn here, but I'm sure sticking your tongue out helps a lot!


We are reading together each night through some of our older classic picture books that we haven't seen since they were packed about a year ago. It's lovely to go again through beautiful books like The Story of Ping (my favorite as a child) and The Little House. On my own I'm reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan and Gods of Night (requested reading by my husband- he's desperate for someone to read this particular Star Trek series so he can discuss with someone).



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FO: Helena Cardigan




Project: Helena for Ellie 


Pattern: Helena by Alison Green Will


Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK in Dove Heather


Needles: Size 6 for the larger needle, size 2 for the smaller needle


Size: 12 month


For: Ellie (6 months old)





Cast On to Cast Off: October 4-November 2. It's actually a very fast knit, but I was dividing my time between it and 2 other projects with gift deadlines, so this one was often neglected in favor of the gift knitting. I would estimate I had about 15 hours in it if you include the time I spent sewing up the folds for the bottom edge and sleeves.


Notes: I knit this as one of Ellie's Christmas gifts so I chose to knit up a size so she can definitely wear it January-March. The fabulous thing about knitting for babies? You can try the gift item on your baby and they won't remember it at all when Christmas comes around! With the boys I have to have them close their eyes and tell them, "It's not a sweater..." over and over in an attempt to brainwash them into believing I'm NOT knitting for them for their birthday/Christmas/whatever.


I really enjoyed working with this yarn. It's another go to for baby gift knitting, since I really dislike giving a new mom anything but superwash yarn. While I personally don't mind hand-washing wool for my baby, I don't really want to give a gift that says "Please take extra caution in handling me while you're sleep deprived and your brand new baby pukes or leaks on everything they look at for more than 5 seconds.





Things I Learned: I had never done this kind of edging before and it is a very nice finish. I'm slow at stitching by hand though, so it did take me a bit of time to stitch up the edgings.


Overall: A+ for me on this project. Well written pattern, nice yarn, and the project didn't complain or go on strike at any point. I would definitely knit this again and probably will for future baby gift knitting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back to Podcasts




I'm sure you already know this, but The Knitmore Girls rock.


See, I've been away from their podcasts pretty much since Ellie was born due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control and I've spent the last week listening at pretty much every available moment in an effort to "catch up" with them.


I'm sure you're thinking that there is absolutely no good excuse for missing their podcast for so long, but I'll make an attempt:


1} A certain son of mine decided months ago that his need for an ipod far exceeded mine and since I'm not made of money (and neither is he) we've been sharing my florescent pink ipod in an epic battle for listening time.

2} My computer died** and I had to redo everything on a new computer and I messed something up with all the podcasts I usually listen to while I knit.

3} I did that whole "move to a new house and have a new baby with 2 months" thing and generally forgot about knitting and knitting podcasts for awhile... and well everything else too. Baby Elle is a giant distraction from all things fiber.



Are those good enough reasons? 


Yeah... I didn't think so either.



But last weekend I spent much of my time making some baby food for The Girl (she's so ready for food, y'all... she growls at Brian when he eats in front of her!) and I thought about how nice it would be to have a great podcast to listen to. So I wrangled the ipod away from my 7-year-old and loaded up with eleventy-billion episodes of Knitmore Girls.


OH. MY.


I missed so much! I so enjoy listening to Gigi and Jasmin that I've spent every available listening minute with them. My house is completely spotless right now- not because of high standards or anything- but because it gave me more time with my ipod to listen to the Knitmore Girls. They choose awesome projects and actually finish them, though not at inhuman speeds that make me feel like I suck as a knitter. It doesn't hurt that they reference pretty much every geeky thing I enjoy in passing, and the way they include a variety of fiber topics along with bits of gardening, reading, reviews... it's just a beautiful and wonderful podcast.


I'm caught up to episode 193 and I'm already worrying about what I'll listen to when I get through my Knitmore binge.



What is your favorite knitting/fiber podcast?



** Brian swears I have magnets in my body that destroy the hard drives of every computer I own. I have owned a variety of brands over the years and I have decidedly killed every single one.This is why I religiously back up to 2 external hard drives every week, so that I never lose more than a week's worth of studio and design work at a time. I never know when my computer is going to kick the bucket.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finishing


 
 
Knitting along with Ginny this week...
 
 


I finished this little Helena Cardi last week, but took awhile to find an evening to weave in the ends. The more I work with this cardigan and this particular yarn (Knitpicks Swish DK) The more I like it. Great stitch definition, no felting or weird yarn behavior as I knit it up or shoved it in my purse to take along to soccer practices and music rehearsals.

I have a particular weakness for this misty gray on babies for some reason. And now that I know there is an adult version I may find myself knitting one in the near future.




My reading time has been in little bits- 2 or 3 pages here or there- but it's been spent on Insurgent by Veronica Roth these last few weeks. I've read a few duds in the YA Dystopian genre this year, but I'm glad to say that I've gotten along well with this series so far. It's a bit light compared to something like Hunger Games, but still a good read. I'm a bit lost on where to go next with Fiction. My limited evening time has been taken up with knitting and garden planning right now (I know- garden planning in November is weird, but I have to get it in when I have the time and especially since this will be brand new gardening space and needs far more advance planning.)


Now to get Baby Girl into this cardigan and see if she'll sit long enough for a photo!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yarn Along

{Yarning Along with Ginny for the first time in ages...}
 
 
 
I made a Christmas crafting list a few weeks ago and promptly felt a particular urgency to get the knitting going right away- possibly because I have about 14 handknits on the list.
 
Don't worry... I do this every year and somewhere around December 1 the list gets whittled down into something resembling "actually acheivable" (and then further whittled down around Dec. 20th...)
 
 
 
 
 
This is the first of the official Christmas knits this year: A Helena Cardi for my little girl. I've had this sweet little cardigan on my favorites list for about 3 years now, just waiting for a little girl to knit for. Alas, several nephews later I was still waiting until my own little girl showed up almost six months ago.
 
I'm using Knitpicks Swish DK in a yummy grey... I have this thing about grey cardigans over pink and white on little girls. In fact, this is Ellie's third grey cardigan. I promise to branch out a bit in the future, but for now I'm loving the grey.
 
This is my second project using swish and it is beautiful to knit with for the price. I've been trying to decide if I'm a yarn snob (said in all love and kindness) or not over the past two years, and after spending an unholy amount of money with knitpicks over the past 2 years I think I can safely say that I am, but only when it comes to projects I knit for myself. For kid knitting I love the affordability of Knit Picks so that I can use wool but not break the bank over an item they might only wear for a few months. About half of my knitting is for my kids and another chunk for my nephews, so I'm using Knit Picks yarns for a fair chunk of my knitted work.
 
 

 
 
{Apologies for dull indoors pictures, but have you seen the sun recently? We certainly haven't around here...}
 
 
I'm knitting this Helena in a 12 month size hoping we actually get to use it January through April-ish, but if Ellie keeps growing like she is this cardi may end up being a "Thanksgiving present" and I may knit something else to put under the tree for her. For now, though, I'm one good knitting night away from finished (plus blocking) and I'm calling that a great start on the Christmas knitting for now.
 
 
I am actually reading lately too, though everything is on the kindle these days, so no interesting cover for you- I'm in the middle of Insurgent by Veronica Roth at the moment for my own reading, and in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone with Ender. He's reading some of it on his own too- his first "big book" as he calls it.
 
 
{Are you Christmas knitting too? Or is just me starting early?}

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oh, Hi!

 
 
 
Oh, HI!!!
 
 
I'm just taking a little ride in the stroller.
 
 
 
 
 
Is that your camera?
 
 

 
 
 
Can it be mine?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oh... not mine.
 
 
Just kidding.
 
 



 
I'll just look extra cute so you forget about that whole "tried to steal your camera" thing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn

 
 
 

 
{The last little bits of summer before autumn really kicks off}


We're out in the warm-ish weather while it is still with us as much as possible.
 
 
Soccer practices and games for two separate teams continues to eat up our week.
(But not for much longer!)
 
 
Thank goodness for the crazy thunderstorms that canceled everything we had going on last Saturday.
 
 
I've never been so glad to have a day shut up in the house with little to do but knit and play legos and coo with the baby.
 
 
And she's not so much of a baby any more- we're definitely into "on the move". She's figured out that she can roll consecutively to get places, and she's already up on her knees "revving" up.
 


 
Mercy.
 
 
I thought I'd have another month or two at least based on what the boys did, but it looks like she'll crawl any day now.
 

So we're baby proofing a bit.
 
 
Mostly making sure that legos stay always always ALWAYS in the boys' room so that she won't get her hands on those tiny little bits.
 
 




Ender turned seven.
NO idea how that happened.


Suddenly I'm being asked if he can stay up just 15 more minutes because 15 more minutes might get him to the end of the chapter he's on.


Suddenly he's making up jokes that actually have a punchline.


He asked when he'll get glasses- we've warned him it's inevitable with the extremely poor vision going down both sides of the family- but it's not because he wants to fit in with all the aunts and uncles or even me or Brian... it's because Harry Potter has glasses.


And Ezra? My sweet Ezra is happily hanging out with everyone.




{Ender has been taking so many pictures lately... and Ellie *always* looks like this in his photos!}


He tried soccer this fall, he officially started Kindergarten, and he is *loving* co-op. I wasn't sure about that last one since he has always been the one to hang back with me at bigger gatherings, but the last few months have really seen him grow in a lovely way. He's excited to be out now, but also likes to tuck in at home, and he's the first to jump up and help whenever he's needed.

He *loves* Ellie and still wants to go in to wake her every morning. He finds such joy in finding ways to make her laugh and he is so gentle with her.


*   *   *


I am still getting back to normal myself, but the last month has been so much better thanks to finally finding some creative time again. I'm finally getting my energy back, and I think we have a good system in place now for this stage of life.


 
While I'm a big fan of summer, I'm so looking forward to the next months where we are home and quiet and maybe a little cold- but all the better to snuggle up in warm blankets in front of the fire with some hot chocolate. Right?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Learning All the Time



After getting a bit of a head start on our school year by starting during the hot days of July we've been able to take some time off from the more structured bits of learning. While I think we all enjoy the routine of our typical school mornings (or else we wouldn't school this way!) it is nice to have the option to call a week "off" and pursue life and projects around us.



In the last week we: 
 
Had three soccer practices
 
Had two soccer games
 
Took a trip to the ballpark for September baseball
 
Spent an afternoon at the local art museum to learn about portraits, self-portraits, still life, and landscapes
 
Made a math facts lapbook (Well, Ender did. I mostly just printed it out for him and offered advice when asked.)
 
Picked hundreds of pears (to can later in the week)
 
Went rollerskating
 
Watched Daddy complete his first 10K



And I started back to work last week, hence the "off" week. 
 
 
 


Today we are continuing our spontaneous learning by:


Making bookmarks (now that we have TWO little readers, we needed several more!)
 
Reading together- this is one part of our "regular" school day that isn't often skipped, even on our "off" days.
 
Quizzing math facts with the aid of that new lapbook
 
Prepping for some family art time this evening when I'm finished teaching in the studio.

Watching this video:

 
 

Loving this Monday morning!

Monday, September 10, 2012

One Year



We were supposed to be up early to greet the day... at least I was. I had a 6 AM date with my Kempo DVD followed by a shower and breakfast at 7:15. School beginning promptly at 8 AM.


But today is one year.


One year since Brian's mom passed away.


It's hard to believe it has already been a whole year when it feels like it has been just a few short weeks- maybe months, but definitely not a year. I know in my head that so much time has passed since then and life has changed significantly in that time, but the feeling is still there. It has been barely any time at all...


And we have all felt it the last few days. I don't think we knew it really. I mean, Brian and I knew the date was coming and that awareness hung over us, but even the boys seem to know something isn't quite right.


So today we took advantage of the beautiful homeschooling perk of starting a little bit later and hanging out on the couch instead of around a table. We are cuddling up instead, reading about explorers, working on some memory verses and the order of the U.S. presidents, and Ender is just about bursting as he tolerates "school work" for a short while in order to get to the reading portion of his day. He started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on his own and he's been carrying the book around just waiting for opportunities to read a page or two.


A year ago we were stuck in each day, not sure what would come next. Each day seemed to be 100 hours long as we navigated her passing and the following events of flowers and funerals and holding sad little boys.


Today we will be quiet. We will draw and talk and read and play and remember.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer Redux

Wow- where did August go?


I always seem to forget that even though it is my month off from the studio that it is our busiest month- a month full of school and vacation and camp, swimming, big projects, and lots of appointments. It is full, but so wonderfully so!


And now we're settling in for our regular schedule. I'll be back to teaching a full schedule this week and while school has been going since July for us with time off here and there, we will settle into our real schooling schedule beginning Tuesday.


This month has also taken some adjustment. We just learned that Ezra has asthma and we're adjusting to that and still figuring out meds for him. He does such a great job dealing with his health issues and it certainly helps that he loves our doctor.


Ellie is 4 months old now and rolling and cooing and already pushing up so high on her hands. It's amazing to me how quickly babies catch on to new skills. She smiles so much and is starting to really play and interact... oh how quickly this time goes!


What are you up to now that the school year is back in swing?



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lately

Summer is a beautiful but busy time...

Saturday saw the end of baseball season for the boys and this week they've been off to camp every day. When they asked me if they could go I didn't think they were old enough, but their excitement about the idea convinced me that maybe it would be alright...

And sure enough, this morning they marched right in like they owned the place. I almost thought they would forget to say goodbye.

I almost haven't known what to do with myself this week. I worked a little, but otherwise it's just me and Ellie hanging out and since she has a bit of a cold she's been sleeping more than usual. So I've been knitting on my Citron shawl for the Ravellenic Games and watching the Olympics.


Exciting and exotic, right?


Today I think the plan is to actually get some photos of the shawl and the baby (who is already too big...) and make some real progress on the shawl.


And maybe I'll continue to enjoy the quiet, since there is little of that around the house these days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peach Canning



In past years I've sort of just dabbled in canning and got a little more serious last year. But the truth at that time was that my kitchen was tiny with very little room to work or to store more than a month or so worth of food at any given time. I canned only small quantities a handful of times through the summer.

We canned a LOT of peaches this year.






First of all, our new kitchen has far more room, making working through a bigger process like canning a much easier venture.


And second? I had a lot of help this time and the process always goes faster when you have great conversation to help pass the time.






We canned about 65 pounds of peaches as peach slices in light syrup, peach sauce, peach jam and peach butter and then split the jars between the 4 of us according to how many pounds each person contributed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Making Things Again



I think it's fair to say the knitting and general craftiness has come to a stand-still around here lately. When you add a new baby to the mix priorities change for a bit, right?


But she's sleeping most of the night now (NEVER thought I'd get to say that about a babe of mine after two boys who didn't sleep through until around the 1 year mark) and I'm remarkably less foggy. I'm getting back in the swing of working in the studio again (albeit half-time still) and managing the house and baby and those big boys of mine.


And after spending the better part of the last month using pinterest and ravelry as a way to fulfill my desire to be crafty and creative without actually doing anything crafty/creative (thereby using up my limited amounts of energy) I'm ready to get back to making things.


I'm currently making plans for the Revellenic Games (July 27-August 12) and also planning to actually make some of the things that I've spent the last month pinning.


I know... it's so easy to go pin crazy and never actually do anything with those pins, right?


Most of the pins I'm interested in right now have to do with our house. We've been in the house for almost 5 months now and I still have nothing on the walls. The mantel has pictures of our kids kind of haphazardly slapped up there, but that's it. I'm ready to start putting our family sentiments into our home and to really make it speak about us and the life we are building together.


After hunting down projects, quotes and verses for our home I think I'm ready for a DIY night with the girls. Sounds like the perfect way to get back into making things, wouldn't you say?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yarn Along



{Yarning along with Ginny, sharing the current knit and the current read}




Maybe I'm strange but when I have a newborn I get a ton of reading done. I read while I'm nursing, particularly at night so that I can stay awake long enough to make sure baby gets a full feed in (which equals me having to wake up less frequently- hooray!).


With Ender I read just about every baby and parenting book out there, with Ezra it was gaming guides (I'm an eclectic mix we like to call "crunchy geek"), and with Elle it has been fiction and cookbooks. In the last several weeks since she was born I've been through about 15 cookbooks from the library and I've also read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith and I'm most of the way through The Help by Kathryn Stockett.


I frequently check cookbooks out from the library to help me decide whether or not to add them to my collection, and Homemade Soda is winging its way to me as I type. I'm a little obsessed with syrups and homemade soda right now, and there are so many recipes in this book that we will use. I think Ender is just as excited about this new venture as I am.


Now, knitting as been a little slim here lately- between the baby, baseball season, canning, finishing up homeschool plans before we start back in July and my return to the studio this week, knitting has taken the back seat. I returned to the February Lady Sweater I cast on a week or two before Ellie was born and I'm almost through the yoke now- though knitting is only happening if Ellie happens to be sleeping during a baseball game and I can sneak in 30 minutes with my needles.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last Month


 {sign by Ender, for Ellie's door}


{peaches!}


{Strawberry preserves!}


{Baby cuteness!}












Hi.


If I say the last 3+ weeks went by in a blur would you believe me?

I'll give most of the credit to the way time seems to move simultaneously fast and slow when you're getting technically enough sleep but not enough sleep in consecutive hours. Time can be a bit of a foggy and mysterious concept with a newborn.

I can't believe it, but Ellie is already smiling and holding her head up, and trying to push up in a serious way if you put her on her tummy.

She already feels bigger.

Oh my.



It's also baseball season for the boys- 2 nights a week for Brian, 2-3 nights a week for Ender and Ezra once a week.



Oh... and canning. Canning season has begun. I enlisted 3 of my sisters to come over and help (in exchange for yummy canned goods to take home of course!) and we put up a gazillion peaches and strawberries in the last few weekends.... well, they did. I mostly supervised and sat on a bar stool in front of the stove in charge of the stirring.


And don't even get me started on the new syrup obsession...


*Loving* this summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yarn Along

{Yarning Along with Ginny, sharing a current knit and a current read.}






I bound off the edge of Wingspan yesterday. I have to say- this has been the perfect knit post-baby. Easy to memorize, all garter stitch, and simple to set down mid-row when baby called. I have the two ends to weave in and it will be complete.


I have a bit of this yarn left and I'm trying to decide what to do with it. What do you do with the bits of yarn that you have left over from projects? This particular yarn is fingering weight, and not a significant amount. I was thinking maybe little booties for Ellie.






I picked up the February Lady Sweater I started back in mid-April (and only knit a few rows on before getting fully involved in another project) and I think that's the next knit to push to a finish amidst all the little finishes I'm working on.


I've actually been able to read these last few weeks. That's one of the little blessings of a nursing babe. I often read during that time to make sure I stay awake enough to get a full feed in. I just finished The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks and next up is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I've heard a lot of talk about the Mortal Instruments series, but I'm not quite far enough in to really know if this one is for me or not.
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