Han Solo Mittens (Works in Progress)

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014

Are you my brother-in-law? If so, I can’t imagine how you found yourself on my blog. However, if you have somehow ended up here inadvertently, please stop reading so you don’t see your Christmas gift. Seriously. I’ll give them to someone else.

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“You love him. He knows.”

Confession time: that line means nothing to me. I’m not a Star Wars fan. That’s not to say that I don’t love science fiction – it’s just that my heart belongs to Star Trek TNG. That’s right, I’d share a cup of “tea, earl grey, hot” with Captain Picard any time, even though earl grey tea tastes like nasty cologne heated up. Or how about BSG? If my heart belongs to Star Trek, my soul belongs to Battlestar Galactica. Best. Show. EVER. The theme music still gives me the shivers.

I digress.

My husband assured me that my brother-in-law loves Star Wars and will totally get the “You Love Him” reference on these Han Solo mittens, so with Christmas a couple months away, I cast on these mittens last week in the hopes that I’d have them finished in time. It shouldn’t be too hard – I just need to do three rows a day to be done in time, and while I may not love Star Wars,  I LOVE stranded (fair isle) knitting. I can’t put it down – I always want to knit just “one more row” to see how it looks. I’d rather knit another row than shower or sleep. You know, like watching Battlestar Galactica episodes.

That clip always makes me laugh (you can see the full clip here). I remember doing the “one more episode” at 4:00 am with my husband. Oh, life before kids…

Anyway, here are my mittens so far. Star Wars or not, they’re pretty stinking awesome.

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In addition to the mittens, I’ve also been working away on my cardigan because, well, it’s getting colder out and I want to wear it. I’m not certain how much yarn I have left so I decided to stop working on the length and start the sleeves instead.

Keen knitters will notice that I prefer to knit in the round with two sets of circular needles rather than magic loop or double pointed needles. I just find it so much easier – the needles don’t fall out as easily, they don’t leave loose stitches or ladders when I switch from needle to needle, and they keep the stitches securely in place when I stash the project in my bag. But good gravy – I’ve now got two circulars and three balls of yarn (two that I’m alternating on the body plus one for the sleeve) attached to this sweater and it’s quite the monstrousity to tote around.

I’m a bit concerned that the cardigan will be too small, but I have to keep reminding myself that I just had a baby three and a half weeks ago and will probably end up a bit smaller – eventually. I hope. I suspect the sweater will grow a bit too when I block it. I can’t wait to be done.

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The sweater has become a bit tedious, but I feel like the end is in site. It’s really the perfect project for mindless knitting in front of the TV. Like during a marathon viewing session of Battlestar Galactica.

Huh. I wonder if there are any cylon-themed mittens. Now those would be cool…

Find more works in progress at the Yarn Along with Ginny at Small Things and Keep Calm Craft On with Frontier Dreams.

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25 Things I Am Thankful For. Like Stretchy Pants.

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014

It’s been a hard year. At times, it’s been a lonely year. A year full of challenges, surprises and raging pregnancy hormones. Despite that, I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. And yes, some days it takes me longer than others to count my blessings, but I’m always able to think of at least something. And for that itself, I am thankful.

So here is a list of 25 totally random things I am thankful for – in no particular order:

1. I am thankful … that the apple crisp I made yesterday was stinkbug-free.

2. I am thankful … for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, who does’t have a blog nickname yet. Or a middle name, in real life.

3. I am thankful … that our baby’s birth was so much shorter and easier than either of the girls’ births.

4. I am thankful … for effective natural deodorant. Because post-preggo hormones make me smelly.

5. I am thankful … for lots and lots of tea, because I don’t have to worry about over-caffeinating my unborn baby any more. (Yes, I know there is caffeine in breastmilk. I’m not thankful for that though, so we don’t need to discuss it.)

6. I am thankful … that I’m able to breastfeed without any trouble. Breastfeeding is the only parenting technique I know – I’d be lost without it.

7. I am thankful … for babywearing. Because I have about a dozen baby carriers that would be useless otherwise.

8. I am thankful … for fitting three car seats in my Mazda 3 so that we aren’t forced to buy a minivan. … though I really, really wish we had a minivan.

9. I am thankful … for all the cool days this past summer. Our hydro bill was high enough as it was.

10. I am thankful … for my Blendtec blender. It’s awesome. So are the cherry-mango smoothies that I am currently addicted to.

11. I am thankful … for The Princess, who will watch the baby every chance she gets and has made these past few weeks immeasurably easier.

12. I am thankful … for The Magic Treehouse books, which have turned my daughter into a bona fide bookworm.

13. I am thankful … for The Pixie, who spends half the day lost in a world of princesses, witches, and pirates.

14. I am thankful … for my blog. I had one post get 1.6K likes. That was just such a treat during an otherwise lousy week.

15. I am thankful … the band Grungor. I can’t remember the last time I found a Christian band that I liked so much – I think we’re looking back to the 90s with Five Iron Frenzy and Craig’s Brother. New music is especially welcome since, like many of my favourite foods, my favourite bands made me feel physically nauseated throughout my pregnancy. That’s right – The Lumineers gave me morning sickness. That was unexpected.

16. I am thankful … that a church community near my house brought us food for two weeks after our baby was born, even though we’ve only been to their service a handful of times. After a summer of church hopping, I feel like we’ve found a resting place. I cannot tell you how much relief that brings me.

17. I am thankful … for my new kitchen. Because it’s gorgeous.

18. I am thankful … for really beautiful yarn. And that for once, I was able to focus enough to enjoy knitting through pregnancy.

19. I am thankful … for my chiropractor. I’m certain that she’s the reason I had such an easy, pain-free pregnancy. I still suspect that she uses magic somehow.

20. I am thankful … for our parents, who still take my girls for afternoon visits even though I’m not working at the store any more. These regular visits are the highlights of my girls’ weeks. The nap I take on Wednesday afternoon has become a highlight of my own week.

21. I am thankful … for Dora the Explorer, because she teaches my 3 year old random Spanish phrases and entertains her long enough that I can take a shower, which makes everyone happier (see point #4).

22. I am thankful … for homeschooling. Because now I know the stories of Theodora and Justinian, the name of the white dot in an egg yoke, and the music of Hildegard von Bingen. I love learning with my daughter.

23. I am thankful … for the homeschooling community and the potential for friendships within it.

24. I am thankful … for stretchy pants with elastic waistbands, because after nine months of maternity pants, I keep forgetting about the zipper fly on my jeans.

25. I am thankful … for my husband, who is the best gluten-free baker in the city. And I am thankful that the pumpkin cheesecake he made for tonight’s Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t gluten-free so that I don’t have to share the leftovers with my daughter. Because I’m selfish when it comes to cheesecake.

I had planned to end off with a Bible verse or some profound quote, but there’s a sweet little baby and a tasty dessert competing for my attention right now. I’ll just end by saying that I feel truly blessed. Happy Thanskgiving.

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The Truth About These Pictures

Posted by on Oct 5, 2014


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I took these photos for an upcoming blog redesign. I wanted some pictures with my girls in a field, enjoying nature and each other and life in general. You know, to show how we’re the quintessential carefree homeschooling family, frolicking through meadows on warm October mornings. In fancy dresses, naturally.

The truth is that we were having just about the worst morning ever.

From the moment The Pixie woke up, she started yelling her every thought at me: “I’m not tired! The sun is up! I don’t want to sleep! I’m hungry!” I’m not even sure if she wanted me to do anything – she just woke up filled with emotion and didn’t know what to do about it.

Her yelling woke up The Princess, who stomped off angrily into another room. And so before I even got out of bed, I knew it was going to be one of those days. Sigh.

We made it through the first hour or so without much incident, mostly because The Princess hid from us in her bed with a book and I hid from them in the kitchen with the radio and The Princess got so involved in her playing that she probably forgot that anyone else were even home.

Everything was going okay until I heard The Pixie close the door to the bedroom, which is the sign that she’s once again forgotten that her closet is not a washroom stall. I asked her if she needed to poop in the toilet and she sweetly replied no, that she was just playing – and then five minutes later she came out of the room and asked me to change her because she had “an accident”.

We’ve played out a similar scene 3-5 times a day for the last year and a half. Once, on a particularly bad day, I sat down with a calculator and figured out how many times I had changed her since she “toilet-trained” and stopped wearing diapers. Then I had three bowls of ice cream to make myself feel better.

I’m normally able to clean her up quickly and gently remind her that we poop in the toilet, not in our underwear, but every so often I snap. Friday morning was one of those time. I yelled that she had lied to me. I yelled that she has to at least try to use the toilet. Then I put her in the bathtub which never works out well because the kid is deathly afraid of water and she screamed and cried and I yelled that she better figure this out because I will not be changing her underwear when she goes off to university.

The commotion woke up my husband who came over and held The Pixie on his lap as she tearfully relived the trauma of bubbles and soap. Then she had a cuddle with me and I told her that I’d love her no matter what she did and that there was nothing she could do to make me stop loving her. She replied with a quiet “okay” and sat with me for another tearful moment before she jumped up to go punch her sister for awhile.

I knew that I wouldn’t survive the rest of the morning if we didn’t get out of the house, so I asked the girls to get dressed and we all piled into the car. Like I wrote above, I wanted to take some pictures so I decided to take them to Eramosa Karst, a local conservation area full of fields, forests and caves.

On the way, we stopped off at a flower shop to buy some daisies to match their dresses. Each girl got a large Gerbera and then I bought a few mini ones, just in case. Knowing that the flowers would be destroyed in a matter of minutes, I refused to let The Pixie hold them for me in the car. She protested this injustice by screaming the entire way to the conservation area, and The Princess did her best to help quiet her by kicking her repeatedly. Luckily, tightly fastened seat belts and car seat harnesses make it pretty much impossible to kick that hard – these are the helpful lessons I’m learning now that the girls are side by side in the back seat of my Mazda.

Once we arrived at the park, I gave the flowers to The Pixie who immediately popped the tops off of the two biggest daisies. I gave the rest of the flowers to The Princess and started snapping pictures. My camera displayed that annoying message that let’s you know that your memory card is back at home on your dresser, so I switched to my iPhone and took pictures of my kids, one crying bitterly because I wouldn’t let her throw stones at the baby’s head.

Thankfully my mother decided that she would join us for her lunch hour, which was a good thing because at this point I was seriously thinking about lowering both the girls into a cave and then heading back to the car for a peaceful nap. My mom was able to cheer up the girls and even give me a functioning camera to use with a memory card and everything, and in the end we were able to get a few nice photos for my blog.

Then, just as it was time to leave, it started to rain and so we headed home for an afternoon of well-deserved TV. Which was a nice break before we headed out for our first dance class of the year, an experience that had me burst into tears in front of a crowd of total strangers. But you’ll have to wait for another post to hear about that.

It was just one of those days.

And I suppose all this is to say that pretty pictures are worth a thousand words, but real life needs a whole lot more than that.

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