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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Poor

Do you need advice on how to handle the feral side of your children?  

Want to discover the definition of the word schottische?  

Is Jon Klassen a favorite illustrator of yours? 

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, do I have the book for you!




 I read the first two books in this series over the summer, and strongly encouraged Z to try them.  They're right up her alley: funny, mysterious, and well-written.  As with many things Mama suggests, she didn't look at the books twice.  I sighed and bided my time.

Last Monday, when she wasn't feeling well enough to make a trip to the library with the rest of us, she asked me to pick up something for her.  I knew this and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery would be the perfect pick-me-up.  

They were.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Finished Friday



Ok, so I lied.  B's cousin is having a boy, not a girl.  That beautiful emerald sweater for another girl baby.  As soon as I discovered my error, and would have to rethink the gift for B's cousin, I remembered a quick crochet project that I've been eager to attempt. The tags don't exaggerate.  This was a quick and easy hat to make.  I didn't have the exact gauge, so I used the largest size of the pattern.  The results fit T, so I would put it at a size 2.  Of course T has an enormous head, so the hat also fits Z and M.  Maybe it's a size child?  Anyway, I digress.

This hat was knit from 1 1/2 skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Maple Syrup and a few yards of an unnamed red Wool of the Andes.  I placed the ears in the "bear" position, rather than the "monkey" position because I liked them better that way.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lent is Upon Us! (Book Poor)

Ok, so I'm a few days behind schedule.  Clean Monday has come and gone, and we are trying to catch up to it.  This year is strange because I have a little, little baby, and nursing mums aren't supposed to be fasting strictly.  Strange, too, is the timing.  Western Easter is in a week and a half, and we're just beginning the journey.  It doesn't feel like Lent.  At least, it doesn't feel like Lent yet.


Last year, when my sister was visiting us in Athens, she brought this.  It's one of the best children's books about Lent that I've found, but I'll be honest: I haven't looked far.


I think it's time to re-read it, don't you?


Friday, March 15, 2013

Finished Friday





Bridey Vest

yarn: Knit Picks Palette in 
camel heather
pimento
navy
marble heather

size: 44" chest

gauge: 9 stitches/inch


This beast of a vest was a monkey on my back.  I love my husband dearly, but two years of on-and-off knitting on the same project was a challenge.  The reason for the two year knitting journey?  I am a perfectionist when it comes to my knitting.  I wish I could remember how many times I ripped out rows and rows of stitches because of a small mistake.  I am pleased with the result, though.  Not elated, but pleased.  I've already put the next project for B in my queue.  It's out of sport-weight yarn, so 6.75 stitches per inch rather than the 9 per inch in this one.  Does this mean it will take a year and a half instead of two?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Poor

I read A Wrinkle in Time for the first time when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  It was for a book report, and I don't think I really got it until I reread it freshman year of high school.  Yes, the plot was thrilling for my fourth grade self, but the words didn't really sink in.  I went on to read the rest of the books by Madeline L'Engle freshman year, and every year or so afterward.  I'm a fan, right?  (In fact, the copy I read in fourth grade is sitting on the shelf across the room as I write.)

So it will come as no surprise that when my mother sent this graphic version of the book to Z for Christmas, I had to take a peek before I wrapped it.


It really is fabulous, and makes the book more accessible to the younger crowd.  I still don't think that the overarching meaning really sunk in for Z, but I hope it planted a seed for the future.




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Little Words of Encouragement...

...Fall not on Deaf Ears.

Today I was with all four kids in Costco, stocking up on supplies for the reception for G's baptism.  They were behaving well: M and Z were walking next to the cart, T was happily sitting in the basket, and G was strapped to me, as always.  A woman passed me with her small son in tow and said, "Oh, I remember those days.  You're just starting out, aren't you?  It gets better."  She went on to tell me that the child with her was the youngest of her six.  She homeschools, and had left the older five (aged 8 to 16) at home working.  We chatted a bit about umbrella groups and character development.  She looked so calm.


I'll be honest.  This week has been challenging.  I don't know if the woman saw the dark circles under my eyes, or there is just a vibe that mothers with many children give off in Costco.  Whatever prompted her to say what she did, I will be eternally thankful.  I took it as a sign from God to persevere in this endeavor.

Just this morning, I was praying for guidance about whether homeschooling is worth it and working for us.  Some days all five of our schedules click, and I think, "Yes!  This is why we're living this life."  Other days, and they seem to be in the majority lately, everyone has a different schedule: G needs a nap right when T needs to use the toilet right when Z needs me to explain something complicated right when M has finished everything and is looking for someone to pester.  On these days, I wonder if anyone is learning anything and if I'm doing well as a mother.  When it comes down to it, I do believe that homeschooling is the best option for our family.  Sometimes it just helps to hear words of encouragement.

So thank you, random woman in Costco.  To any other mothers reading this who are a little further along on the journey of parenthood than I am, please, please encourage a mother you see today or tomorrow.  Especially if she is in Costco with all of her young children, and is "just starting out."




Friday, March 8, 2013

Finished Friday

The title for this week is a bit of a misnomer, because these items were "finished" quite a while back.  They simply needed things like buttons or a little appliqué.

First up is a sweater that I meant for G had he been a girl.  It's loosely based upon the Lucille cardigan that I knit for a friend's daughter last year.


 I enjoyed making it so much that I tried to shake things up a bit with worsted weight yarn.  The color was actually a light green over-dyed with blue. 




  I love the emerald green result, which is much lovelier in person.  Despite my tinkering with the color in iPhoto, the uploaded pictures don't really do the yarn justice.


I added the buttons last night, and will gift this to one of B's cousins, who is expecting her first baby soon.


And G was such a lovely model, wasn't he?


And, at long last, a mother-daughter collaboration.



The pattern is the medium skirt from Sewing School.  Believe it or not, this skirt was completed way back in September.  Z worked to iron the fabric, cut out the pattern, and help me use the machine to sew it together.  We thought a bit of embellishment was in order, and Z labored for months over a flower.  

When she was halfway finished, she decided that she didn't like the flower.  Sadly the embroidery and then the ripping out left a couple of holes.  Mama to the rescue!  I covered the holes with the kite, and added the tail.  Z deemed it wearable, and has worn little else this week.  We're both so proud of her work!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Poor


Alfie was a favorite around here when Z was a little one, and Santa Claus thought T might like Alfie as well.  He's still a bit little to listen to all of the stories in a row, but Shirley Hughes has truly captured the spirit of the preschool crowd.

The scene below is played out frequently at our breakfast table.


And we love the poems, too.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Month 3: Already?


This month has been busier than ever, and I can scarcely believe that it's over!  The time crawled when Z was an infant, but these days I am wishing the clock would go slower.  Not only is G's babyhood passing before my eyes, but there are too many things to accomplish in a 24 hour day.  I go to bed willing myself not to do anymore.  It's a good feeling on most days.

I have also been learning much about my own parenting this month.  Like how I need to compare myself only to myself, and how to give so much over to prayer.  Yes, these are lessons that bear re-learning.

B...has some hope on the job front and on the dissertation-completing one.  Glory be to God!

Z...is reading and reading and reading.  She's completed some standardized tests lately, for which I am immensely proud.  Not because of her score(we don't even have that yet), but because of her bravery.  She, my timid, quiet child, has gone into an unknown school and done something new:  taken a test.

M...just earned his Tiger Cub patch, and has become a big help with the littles.  He's hoping that we get a big snow tomorrow. (And, to my amazement, we skipped our February ER visit. )

T...is doing so well with potty-training!  He's still not 100% there, but we've definitely reduced our diaper footprint.  Wohoo!  He loves, loves, loves G.

G...is growing and growing.  I've already pulled out the 6-9 month clothing, which puts him in good stead with his brothers.  He's super, super ticklish, which delights the rest of us to no end.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Finished Friday

My Grandma Betty, had she lived to her 89th birthday, would have had 12 great-grandchildren, and eleven of those under the age of 10.  Two of my cousins are due in the next few months, one with a boy and one with a girl.  I am thrilled to have an excuse to use some girly fabric to make a gift for the girl.  (I'm excited to be using some new fabric for the boy, too.  More about that later.)

I made these pants again, but this time I used three fabrics: floral lawn, geometric blue and white, and a lovely solid lavender/grey.


I was especially geeked to make bias tape to bind the hems of the pants.  I love the color it adds.


As with learning to knit, I am trying to master a new skill with each project.  For these pants, I was very careful to match the blue squares.  They're not perfect, but that's part of the process, I suppose.


The size is 18 mos., although generous enough to fit a 35-lb. two-and-a-half year old.
(T was kind enough to model for me.)


The tag, as a final touch.  Sorry.  I adore making tags, and can't resist including pictures.




And I'm really, really almost finished with B's vest.