Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh my goodness!

I have begun knitting in the last couple of years - I've posted a couple of projects here and there. I did try knitting socks this summer, and was delighted to finish one... only to be faced with knitting the other one. It didn't do much for me, I must confess. I've knitted a couple of pairs of baby socks, and those were fun. They were quick to knit up and so cute when they were done! My Norah Jane got one pair that was too big for the Snort, and my Joshua got the other pair that were too small for him. One of these days, I will manage to knit a pair for him that will fit.

My lovely friend Melissa is addicted to knitting socks, and recently told me about a nifty pattern on Knitty called Widdershins, which is a toe-up, gusset-heel pattern that sounds like it would solve some of the inherent issues I've had with knitting socks.

And... I found THIS.

You have to go look. Really. It's so worth your time.

Harry Potter sock yarn! Yes indeedy! I love all the colors, even Draco (and I really hate him). I've been listening to the audio books again, from the beginning, and I'm up to book 6. That's probably why I feel inspired to knit HP socks. I thought about knitting them for other people, but you know, I can't think of anyone who would truly appreciate them and I want them all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I might qualify as a slacker mom this week. With Todd in San Jose, I had thought we'd do lots and lots of school, so that we'd have something to do and be distracted from missing him. Instead, I find myself hiding upstairs a lot playing Safari Scrap on Facebook. I've made them do math and handwriting, we did read a little history, and we even did spelling today. Woo hoo! Tomorrow and Friday, we will be getting out THE LISTS so we make sure we get to everything. I can't ignore school just because I miss my sweetie.

Isaac has been so funny this week. As I watched him in the bath last night, he reached for his bar of soap. I said "No, no!" because I didn't want him to eat it. He didn't pick it up though. He just rubbed it, then rubbed his hands together. He rubbed the soap again, and rubbed his tummy. He was washing himself! It was adorable.

Also, when I unpacked the big box o' diapers and put the extra packages under his crib, he dragged the box over and proceeded to pull them out and put them back into the box for me. Wasn't that nice of him? He's so helpful.

He also likes to play with the dishwasher. If one doesn't pay attention while one has the door open, one might find him standing on said door. He loves to get his little spoons from the silverware basket, and lately has taken to pulling the entire basket out so he has better access to it. He loves to put things into and out of it.

And, wonder of wonders, he's started saying "Mama" all the time! He has been able to say it for a while, just wasn't terribly interested. He is so not a show-off yet. He *can* say lots of things and has several cute tricks - he just won't do them on demand. It's no fun to be able to tell people that he can High 5 when he won't play!

Last week and the week before, the girls took a creative writing class with author Carol Crane. She is such a neat lady! First of all, she is from Michigan, which makes her fabulous from the get-go. Also, she has an amazing way with children. She helps them see how much fun it is to put their words in writing, and really encourages them and makes them feel so good about their work. She spent a lot of time with each of them, and gave them each a book she'd chosen out for them at the end of the class.

I'd wanted Emma to take the class, particularly, because she is my perfectionist who doesn't want to write anything down ever in case she makes a mistake. I hoped that working with Carol would help build her confidence. It really did! She got to write about the things she loves - horses and ballet - and found it to be fun, too. She's been willing to write in her "journal" - one good thing each day. I have to remember to remind them to do that, come to think of it...

Abbie took the class too. Originally I didn't think she would, because it was supposed to be for ages 8 and up, but really, she's the one who loves to write. She's already written a book about a snooty butterfly who got turned back into a caterpillar for being snarky. She *loved* the class, wrote copiously, and was so proud when I typed out her story and poem that she was to read at the presentation. Interestingly, she was quite sad after the readings. She felt that she didn't write as much as some of the others and didn't think Mrs. Crane called on her to read as much as the other kids. I tried to explain that she was one of the youngest in the group, and of course the older kids wrote more! She did excellently for a 7 year old and I'm so proud of her! I am not sure what the sadness was about. Maybe just letdown from the class ending? She did tell me she wished it could be all the time.

We're looking forward to Halloween. Emma's costume is finished and I need to get Abbie's cloak sewn in case it's cold. Isaac's costume is snuggy and warm so he should be good, if Daddy is brave enough to take him out for a bit. We'll see.

All right - I am DETERMINED to make it to bed on the early side tonight so I'm going to sign off. May the force be with you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Audrey gave my blog an award!

Isn't she the sweetest? Not only did she fix it up all pretty-like with sunflowers, she gave it a prize.

Here are the details of the award: “This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy] "They are all charming blogs, and the majority of them aim to show the marvels of friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate?" Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to eight bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.”

So, here are my nominees:
1. Susan - because she and William are making the world a smaller place by bringing Benaiah home from Ethiopia.
2. Leslie-Jean - because she is nifty cool, and also has brought two girlies home from China.
3. Anj - because she's so much fun.
4. Melissa - because I heart her! And she knits the coolest socks.
5. Sarah - because she can knit anything, work on her doctorate, and STILL homeschool.
6. Jessica - because her blog is an inspiration to homeschoolers.
7. Remudamom - because I love her horses (and my girls do too). And she's FUNNY. And fun.
8. Jill - because she's a hoot!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Creative Writing Class

The girls had a wonderful opportunity over the last two weeks to take a creative writing class with Mrs. Carol Crane, an author for Sleeping Bear Press. She is a lovely woman. She's from Michigan, so that wins her some cool points right off the bat. She also writes wonderful children's books. She was so good with the kids - very encouraging, and knew just how to critique their writing so that they would want to fix it instead of feeling hurt. Anyone who can accomplish that with my girls is a miracle worker in my book!

Carol had each child write a story about themselves, and a poem. If I have time and I remember, I will come back and put them in here for you. They were so cute.

On the last day of class, the girls got to give their presentations. They cracked me up with their choices in outfits for the occasion - pants, athletic socks and their church shoes. Bless them, they are so cute!

Here is Abbie showcasing her unique sense of style:

Emma had a good time reading her stories, too:

And here is a picture of my girlies with Carol. She did a fabulous job with the class.

Abbie was quite disappointed when the class ended. She told me she wished it could be every day. Both girls are looking forward to taking the next round of their creative writing class with Carol in January.

And, just for fun, here is a gratuitous Schmooey picture. He was so funny. Everyone looked forward to seeing him when he came to class!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

El Greco To Velasquez - Or, Fun at the Art Museum with a Toddler

We went on a field trip today to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, to see the El Greco to Velasquez exhibit. The art is from the 1600's in Spain, during the reign of Philip III. It was during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, so the art is very Catholic and mystical. El Greco was known for painting his people tall and thin, almost ethereal.

But I digress. When we got there, I learned that I would not be able to take the stroller in for the baby, nor would they allow me to put him in the backpack. That discovery was a bit disconcerting. It had not occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to contain him in some fashion. (For the record, the museum does have this information posted on their website, and my friend Betsy who organized the trip also told us in her email. I did not read either of these pieces of information. The situation was entirely my fault and I do accept responsibility.) Oh well, I thought, I will just hold his hand, or pick him up when we stop to look at a painting.

When we got to the door, the very nice docent told us that there were lines on the floor that told us how far away we should be from the painting. Lines on the floor? Um - okay. We went in and sure enough, there were lines approximately 18 inches from the paintings. Some of them did have low, stretchy wire barriers around them to enforce the distance rule. Most of the paintings were not covered in glass. I had visions of priceless artwork covered in toddler slobber.

It quickly became apparent that Isaac was not interested in holding my hand. When I would try to grab his, he would flap his hands in the air and move away from me as fast as his little legs would go. When I tried to hold him, he said "NA NA NA NA NA NA!" in a loud, so-not-interested-in-quiet-perusal-of-fine-art tone of voice. He seemed to view the galleries as large, fairly open obstacle courses and took delight in careening around the other patrons, most of whom were older, child-free, and attempting to listen to the audio guide for the exhibit. When I noticed a (very kind) security guard following us, I decided it was probably time for Isaac and I to find something else to do.

Betsy, bless her, took her 2 boys (and her baby who still fits in a sling), my 2 girls, and our friend Neve's 3 boys through the exhibit. Neve and I took Isaac and her 2 little girls out to play in the grass and sunshine in front of the museum. I was delighted to have paid $15 for my ticket to play in the grass. Heh. Actually, I think it worked out to be a good thing. Betsy had done a lot of research about the exbhibit, because she'd presented on it to our co-op the previous week. And, I am not really a museum kinda gal (as you could probably gather from my cluelessness regarding the stroller situation). I did purchase the "book" - which has pictures of the art I missed plus a lot of history. We've enjoyed looking at it and discussing what we learned. Or, what they learned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changing Tradition, and Not for the Better

My girls surprised me today by singing some alternative lyrics to "Jingle Bells." You remember the ones we used to sing, right? The version I learned went like this:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost its wheel
And the Joker got away!

For some reason, Jingle Bells was in my head this morning so I sang the regular words, jingling all the way in a sleigh and all that. The girls serenaded me with this verse:

Jingle bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
Shot a tree and made it pee
In 1983

Now, those words are clearly just wrong. I told them they are not allowed to sing it that way.

I made them change it to 1988 so the rhyme felt right. So there.

Check this out!

Someone on the Well-Trained Mind board posted about this very cool tie chair. Here is a blog post where you can enter to win one - drawing is tomorrow, October 23! I think everyone with small, wiggly children should have one of these. It would make going out to lunch, dinner, etc. so much easier, wouldn't it? And Schmooey would love to use it at home, because it would allow him to sit in a big chair like his sisters. He thinks he's just all that when he gets to sit at the table with them. What a fabulous invention!

Just in case you live locally, and you don't happen to be the lucky winner of the drawing, The Green Pea Nursery in Apex sells them.