Sunday, January 23, 2011


I started a new knitting project for Eva- the kids' club skirt from Greetings From the Knit Cafe. (Here's an example. And another.) We went through some of the yarn in my stash and found some fun colors and textures and then took a trip to the yarn store and bought some *really* fancy yarns, complete with sequins and pink feathery textures. I'm also trying out a popcorn yarn with pinks and greens. Should be fun to knit up, although I was reminded last night how quickly the different skeins can become tangled. The sequin yarn in particular was trying my patience and I ended up having to cut it because the tangle seemed irreversible. Now that I'm onto those fancy yarns, I have them better organized while knitting. It is not, unfortunately, going to be a good traveling project. I'll have to find something else for that.

Sample of some of the yarns I'm using in the skirt. The sequins are knit with another "regular" yarn, in this case, the purple worsted weight by Malabrigo. {And check out the popcorn yarn in the upper right hand corner. It was the last skein. I feel lucky to have found it.}

Close-up so you can see the sequins. Can you tell we are very excited about the sequins?

I also recently finished mittens for myself. Rather than buying another skein to finish up the last little bit, I used some purple that Eva chose for her fingerless gloves. That purple is, by the way, going to be the main color in her skirt as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Gorgeous day spent outside pruning roses and checking out the bulbs poking out here and there. It has been such a relief to spend some time over the last couple of days outside- both out in the yard and on the patio reading. Eva and I took a walk around the neighborhood and saw an incredible amount of moss and heather in bloom. In our own backyard, behind the part of the yard most flooded by our recent deluge, we even found snowdrops in bloom! And wood violets blooming near the house...

I had some fun with the hipstamatic app. on my itouch out and about in the yard-

First growth on rose bushes and a big pile of pruned stems.

If you look very, very closely through the swampy growth, there are actual snowdrops beginning to bloom. I couldn't go much further in because there was at least six inches of water on the ground out there. My socks were soggy after I finished checking out the flowers and Eva's boots are still on the heater waiting to dry out.

Carrots in the garden with their tops nibbled off. The guinea pigs and I have been enjoying these carrots over the last week or so.

Eva and I found no less than five different types of bulbs already poking out of the ground. And yes! These are some of the wood violets blooming. The smell while I pruned the roses was amazing. I can never get enough of their fresh sweet scent.

Friday, January 14, 2011

magic tree house revisited

Eva had the idea a few months ago to read *all* of the Magic Tree House books {by Mary Pope Osborne} in order. I groaned inwardly at this suggestion- not because I dislike those books. Because I don't. I wouldn't say, though, that they are my favorite books. Plus. I've already read them- some of them many times over. First to Samuel. Then to Eva. Other times, again. And again. But! We've never actually read them in order, at least not beyond the first few books.

So, I let the suggestion go for a little while and then it came back up and I decided to rush headlong into it and just get started- yesterday. And so we've read through the first one and then we checked for which ones we already own {again}. And then, when we went to the library today, we checked out some more.

Here's my plan. We read 1/2 a book (in order) each day. Right now we have enough to last us 20 days. Half a book (rather than a whole book) ensures that I am able to keep at it. Those books are definitely readable in one sitting- true- but I find when I try that too often, their charm decreases considerably. And we'll just keep on like that, doggedly {and yet enthusiastically!} until we're done. So there you go.

And while these are not my favorite books to read, I am enjoying Eva's enthusiasm at the prospects of actually-reading-them-in-order! I let myself be carried by her enthusiasm and also allowed myself to bask in the positive thoughts associated with starting a project! (And used it as an opportunity to practice a little mindfulness.) It can't- after all- be the worst thing in the world to sit down with my daughter and read the Magic Tree House books. And so it wasn't. And most probably won't be.

Here's what I'm looking forward to. There were several books we skipped {for various reasons} that we will read through this time. There is a thin plot that connects the books that we have all gleaned, but which {upon rereading} we will be able to fully piece together. And, there are several books that were written much later (after we had stopped reading them the first time) that I know very little to nothing about.

Samuel's involvement is undetermined at this point. He groaned outwardly when he heard of our plan, but was intrigued when he thought about actually-reading-them-in-order. He joined us last night, but skipped today, and he knows he is welcome to pop in and out as his interest is piqued.

My only disclaimer about my plan is that I can see getting a little burnt out about reading every day and scaling it back to every few days. I am going to try to stay on task, though, because Eva is so intent on this project and I want to support that, even if it means skipping a few days here and there to keep the momentum moving forward. And then- also- I imagine being able to say we've read them all. In order. And that helps to keep me going, too.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

more reading

We're sick here. I have such a crazy cold that Samuel was laughing the other night at my voice and my sneezing and saying I had a cartoon cold. He also said he didn't realize they were real and that he'd never had one. I had to think about that a minute, but I think he's right about that. He's had plenty of other viruses, but not the common cold. And it looks like he isn't going to get it this time, either. His body seems to be going with another virus variety that has been floating around lately.

So today I have to go over and pick up our groceries- thank goodness for grocery pick up! And then the kids and I will most likely be watching a few of the Christmas shows I had on hold both at the library and on Netflix before Christmas, but which are only now just coming in. I wish we were finished with Little Women because I would love to watch that movie again today. We watched Gone With the Wind a few nights ago and Samuel and Eva both really enjoyed it. Samuel was stunned, actually, that it wasn't a happy ending. The sadness of the ending is fairly pronounced in the movie- all except for Scarlet's resolve, which remains strong. He said he liked it even if it was a tragedy, though he wasn't sure he'd be watching anything like it any time soon. And Eva really liked Scarlet. She was quite taken with all of the fancy gowns and hats and such in the movie as well.

We are all a little nervous about any sad scenes that might be approaching in Little Women. Samuel is really loving the story and the characters and the writing and has had quite a few realizations about the lives of women in the past (and present), which I find very interesting and thought-provoking. We are planning on watching both the modern version and the older, black and white version of the movie when we finish the book. And I am not sure what to follow Little Women with. I have a few ideas- a stack of ideas, actually, but nothing firm. We were given a copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and while Samuel and I have read an abridged version several years ago, several times (he was *very* into it), neither of us has read the full version. I guess I will decide once we actually finish Little Women. It's a good excuse to peruse the books lists to get some more ideas. I'm actually really wanting to read the Yearling to them, but honestly- and maybe I've said this here before- I don't know if I can take the sad scenes right now!

Friday, January 7, 2011

recent eva

Recent photos of Eva at 7 3/4.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Still life with Star Wars. (So yeah. There are a lot of Star Wars guys around these days...)


I was lucky enough to see this garden spider (we call them big ladies.) outside our front window. I've never seen one with her egg sac before and this was a special treat. This was the closest I could get without {completely} upsetting her. As it was, she guarded her eggs the entire time I was around and only relaxed her vigilance once I took the step stool and my camera away. I saw her looking more relaxed when I resumed watching her from inside the house. We've had quite a bit of cold weather recently and I haven't seen her through the window since the cold weather. It seems she got her egg sac finished just in time. I look forward to seeing her babies hatch and pour out of their egg sac this spring.


(OK- I'm totally off track for the blog every day thing {not going to add *already*. That seems implied. Sort of.} Things came up and blogging didn't happen. Oh well. I'm making the best of it now and adding extra today. It won't count for the official blogging counters, but I'll go ahead and count it for myself and try for the official counters next month {again}.)

We've been having fun with my new ipod touch that I was given for my birthday. The kids have also been playing quite a bit with the Star Wars figures. Samuel was given several new guys for Christmas and bought two more just the other day at Toys R Us with a gift card he was also given. Toys R Us, by the way, is much more palatable on January 3rd than it was on December 27th. Samuel noticed right away and will hopefully remember this fact next year as well so that we can forego what has turned into a yearly trip right after Christmas. Obviously, this is something I would skip anyway, but I try and be supportive at Christmas with this sort of thing. And really, if I'm at all honest with myself, I also know that it will be more restful if I just go ahead and make the trip than if I try and put it off. That is- unless he decides to wait on his own. Which- as i mentioned above- he may very well choose to do next year. We shall see.

The other thing the kids and I have been spending time doing is playing the game Carcassonne. It was introduced to me at Powells a few days before Christmas by a dad who very kindly explained to me all of the games on this large table of games they had featured at the store. He had played them all- plays most of them still- and Carcassonne was one that he highly recommended- both in general and for Samuel's age. And he was right. It is an excellent game and all three of us keep suggesting we play it. The length is just right for Eva {and me} and there is enough strategy to keep Samuel enthusiastic. Plus, you get to say you are a knight if you put your little wooden guy in a castle, and who doesn't like that. We all like being thieves. And today, the monasteries turned into zen monasteries, which I had to laugh at. A fine mixing of East and West in the Middle Ages.

Plus, Eva likes to play with and build with the little Carcassonne guys.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hey, it's my birthday...

I started out with a walk at the Arboretum. It's been cold here and it was even colder up there.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011

(Going to do National Blog Posting Month again {aka NaBloPoMo} because it was so much fun when I tried it before. (Of course, when I did it before, it was more of a stealth NaBloPoMo. I registered on the site but didn't acknowledge it here. Sometimes I am interested in stealth, sometimes I am not.) Plus it feels like it is better for me when I post vs when I don't post. Somehow, when I am committed to posting, my attitude about being able to find something to post about is much more on the positive side, as in- anything that comes up can be made into something at least remotely interesting enough to post about. When I am not committed to posting everyday, I definitely have some good posts and I am more selective. But- I can also fall prey to thinking that there is nothing interesting to post about, and that thinking can be debilitating. If I am in the right state of mind, it can even spiral into me not posting anything for long stretches. Longer stretches than I sometimes like.

So. Coming out of what has turned out to be an especially hectic holiday season {for me}, I thought posting daily might be good therapy. And a good transition to the cool, clear, wide open month of January. {Or so it often seems after the lights and chaos and action of December.} This month's theme is January. We'll see what- if anything- I make of that.)


Magoo- unsure of the incense and candle smoke. {Brightening things up and clearing out the space for the New Year.}

This setup further inspired Eva to get out the rest of the candles. I love it when that happens. It reminds me to keep things moving.