Thursday, May 31, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) Samuel has three days left of school.

(2) Sally has ten days left of school.

(3) Summer vacation is twelve weeks long.

Knit Bit: Baby Knits

Here is the baby blanket I was working on - all done! I used a free pattern from Lion Brand, and of course changed the colors and stripe pattern a bit. I used Microspun in white and red, and Babysoft in bubblegum and pastel pink. I made the stripes in even rows - six rows for each combo. For Amber (smiles), I started with two colors - one microspun and one babysoft. I knit six rows. Then I changed to the different babysoft color and knit six rows. Then I changed to a different microspun color and knit six rows. This worked for me. Another way to make the color changes easier is to knit more rows in each combo. I like using the random way to change colors - roll a die and multiply by two. I also like six, ten, and sixteen row stripes, because then there are three, five, and eight garter stripes on each side, and those are Fibonacci numbers. (Yes, I am a math geek. Don't you all know that by now?)



Here's the new sweater I'm knitting. I have two pregnant mommies close to me, and if either of them have a baby boy, it's theirs. (If they are both girls, well, I'll have to make friends with a mom of a newborn baby boy!) This is the cotton-ease yarn. I love it. The colors are Stone and Lake. (And for the knitters out there, that is a crochet cast-on on the bottom. Nice, eh?)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miscellany

May is almost over. I don't know where the last two months have gone. They have flown by so quickly. I remember, being a kid, and these last months of school - Easter to the last day in June - used to go by so slowly. Now it seems I turn around and they are gone.

We have been swimming every weekend. The pool is almost to a great temperature, and the weather has been nice and warm. It's been cool at night, which I really love.

I finished a baby blanket and a one year old blanket this week, and started another baby sweater. I'm using a yarn called Cotton-Ease (it's a Lion brand yarn) and I love it. I think it's my new favorite yarn. My next sweater for me will be with this yarn. I tried the new Vanna's Favorite yarn and, although I like the color (a silver-blue), I'm not liking the yarn all that much.

I put up some new posts over at The Bookshelf. Spring is always a big reading time for me. I'm already having trouble being faithful to Anna Karenina (does anyone else think that is too funny?), but I really want to finish it this summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "Mom, guess what? I'm going to have a secret agent car!"
Me: "Really? What color will it be?"
Samuel: "Red."
Me: "Cool. Will it have super powers?"
Samuel: "No. It will go into outer space!"
Me: "Wow!"
Samuel: "Yeah, and guess what? I'll parachute back down. That will be sweet."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day. Most people go to a parade or put flowers on a soldier's grave.

We went out for donuts.

On Friday, I went with Sally on a school field trip to an aquarium. It was really fun! Most of the pictures I took were with a large group of kids, so I don't feel like I should post them, but this one is of Sally asleep on the way back to school. About a dozen kids fell asleep. It was so cute!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Three Things Thursday

I went to a meeting last night about Christianity and public schools. It was very interesting and encouraging. Here's three things I learned:

(1) California and Massachusetts are the top states when it comes to the amount of Biblical stories that are in the state curriculum standards.

(2) January 16 is Religious Freedom Day in our country. When the speaker was discussing what types of activities would be appropriate to observe this day, someone asked if this would be encouraging people of other religions to bring their religious (non-Biblical) literature to school. He said, "Yes, that IS what freedom is all about." (I just liked him so much for that.)

(3) There is an excellent article about tolerance here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

While watching TV:

Samuel: "Mama, can you buy me some insta-mints?"

Me: "You want mints?"

Samuel: "No, insta-mints. You know, like drums, and fings to blow with your mouth . . ."

Me: "OH - insTRUments!"

Samuel: "That's what I've been saying . . . . "



To Auntie Tami while in Target:
Samuel: "Hey Auntie, can you buy that big bag of meat* for me and my dad?"


*beef jerky

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If I Stand

There are certain tastes, smells, and sounds that have specific memories attached to them for me. Vinegar reminds me of dying Easter eggs with my mom. Playdough reminds me of my uncle. And who doesn't have a reaction to opening up a brand new box of crayola crayons? We all do.

There are several songs that remind me of college. I went to a small Christian university, and it was a very significant time for me. I think college is a significant time for almost everyone. My faith became my own there, and this more than anything made those four years seem like everything was important and a big deal. Listening to the songs from that time takes me right back. I've been listening to a Rich Mullins cd. (And while I was looking for the lyrics to this song, I found out that he died in a car accident in 1997 - how did I not know that?) This is the song of the week for me. (Big shouts out to SD for the "bucket" and lifegroup for the helping hands last night)

If I Stand

There's more that rises in the morning
Than the sun
More that shines in the night
Than just the moon
There's more than just this fire here
That keeps me warm
And a shelter that is larger
Than this room
There's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the giver
Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
But if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

There's more that dances on the prairies
Than the wind
And more that pulses in the ocean
Than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer
Than the love between friends
And more gentle than a mother's
When her baby's at her side
There's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the giver
Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
But if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home
If I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
But if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sleeping With Bread Monday

Stale Bread ~ Once again, it's the un-bloggable things that are breaking my heart. Also, Samuel is kicking it up a notch with more frequent defiance and fighting with his sister. He doesn't appreciate the consequences we hand out (this is a great understatement) and has been spending time alone in his room, crying and yelling. It puts a fair amount of tension into the home.

Fresh Bread ~ On the other hand, it is mainly other people's situations that are breaking my heart. I had a very excellent Sunday at church, and God spoke to my heart there as He often does. I felt very strongly His hand on me, telling me that things would be ok and that I did not need to worry or despair. That I can stand and sing with joy and it is not because I can forget about the junk for an hour or two, but that the junk does not need to take away from singing with joy. There can be both, and it makes sense. Things can be hard, and they can also be good.

Last night, we had dinner with Uncle Jon (Stu's cousin), Auntie Stephanie (Stu's cousin), and her boyfriend Chet. It was such a nice evening. Stephanie always brings us goodies (really, you can come with nothing and that would be fantastic too!) and she brought these little divine cakes that we ate with gusto. Everyone sat and watched Samuel, because he is at such a fun age where he talks alot, and heaven only knows what will come out of his mouth next. We had dinner, then dessert and coffee, and then Stuart and Jon and the kids got in the spa for a swim (Sally went into the pool, and then promptly went back into the spa) so Samuel could show off his new spiderman goggles and fins. They change color in the water. They are his pride and joy. He is also fun to watch because most of the time, he doesn't care that you are watching him. Sally is old enough to be self-conscious; Samuel is delightfully oblivious. He'll say things and do things and not stop to see what your reaction is, not caring if you approve of him or not. It's something most of us lose quickly when we grow up, and then spend lots of time trying to find it again. Watching it just makes a person happy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New post over at The Bookshelf.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shameless

I am on the email list for a few different knitting updates (yes, don't look so surprised). Today I got an email about this book:Oh goodness. Someone, please hide my credit cards!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday




Conversations with Samuel

At 6:52 am:
Samuel: "Good morning, Grandma! Wow - you sure look older!"
(The best part about this comment is that I am sure that he meant it as a compliment!)

At Target:
Samuel: "Mom, let's play rock paper scissors."
Me: "Ok"
Samuel: "Rock, paper, scissors. No no no. Mom, I'm the scissors and you are the paper. Let's play again."
Me: "But what if I don't want to be the paper?"
Samuel: (long blank stare followed by a frown) "I'm the scissors, and you are the paper. Ready? Rock, paper, scissors. I win! Let's play again!"
Me: "I think Grandpa really loves to play games . . . ."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Seven Things Thursday

My cousin Amy is now a blogger (yea!) and tagged me with a meme called Seven Things.
Here you go!
(1) Brown is my new black.
(2) I am starting to prefer coffee flavors over chocolate.
(3) I need to eat more vegetables.
(4) Wheat Thins always remind me of road trips (my mom always travels with a box of Wheat Thins).
(5) I got my driver's license renewed last week. Thumbs up for the DMV! I made an appointment on-line, arrived ten minutes early, and was finished in under twenty minutes.
(6) I talk in my sleep. (According to my mom, last week I also made horrible moaning noises like I was in pain.) I also have very vivid dreams.
(7) A few weeks ago, I drove through our old neighborhood (it is just in the city next to us) and I saw our old postal delivery carrier (yes, the postman), Cecil. He not only waved me down to chat, but he remembered my first and last name AND the names of both of my kids! He looked in the back seat and said, "Oh no, that isn't your Samuel is it?" I was happy for two full days that there are people like Cecil still around in the world. Shout out to you, Cecil!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

GenMe


I am reading this book, Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, and it is such an excellent book. If you are in your twenties or thirties, you should read this book. It is about the generation of people born in the 70's, 80's and 90's. This is especially interesting for me because I am at the beginning of the GenMe group, and my daughter is at the end. It is a "group of people who grew up in an era when focusing on yourself was not just tolerated but actively encouraged." This generations's sense of entitlement and narcissism ("overly focused on themselves and lacking empathy for others") has always bothered me, and the interesting thing about this book is that Dr. Twenge's research shows why these things should bother all of us. Consider the following quotes:

On the self-esteem movement (Everyone is special!):
"Self-esteem is an outcome, not a cause. In other words, it doesn't do much good to encourage a child to feel good about himself just to feel good; this doesn't mean anything. Children develop true self-esteem from behaving well and accomplishing things."

"Self-control predicts all of those things" (like doing well at school, staying off of drugs, becoming sexually active too young) "researchers has hoped self-esteem would, but hasn't." (In other words, the research shows that the "self-esteem" movement did not accomplish any of its goals, but a "self-control" movement would have been more successful.)

"Grade inflation has also reached record highs. In 2004, 48% of American college freshmen - almost half - reported earning an A average in high school, compared to only 18% in 1968, even though SAT scores decreased over this time period." (Yikes.)

On love and marriage and needing to love yourself FIRST:
"But the truth is that human beings do need other people to be happy - this is just the way we are built. Yet say this at a cocktail party, and someone will probably say yes, sure, but it's better not to need someone. That's co-dependent, the resident psychotherapy expert will say, and will repeat the modern aphorism 'You can't expect someone else to make you happy - you have to make yourself happy.' Actually, you can expect this: having a stable marriage is one of the most robust predictors of happiness. We gain self-esteem from our relationships with others, not from focusing on ourselves." (italix are the author's, not mine)

Sometimes, I feel very old-fashioned because I have traditional values and beliefs when it comes to marriage, parenting, common sense, and faith. This book is really explaining to me why GenMe (or my favorite label, iGen) thinks and acts in a way that is very self-destructive but it talked about as "fixing myself first". Dr. Twenge's research is not surprising, really, but seeing the numbers and finding out how very significant the changes have been over the past thirty years is astonishing.

I'll leave you with one last thought: The Baby Boomers wanted to change the world, and the GenMe's want to follow their dreams. Think about it. (And if you think they sound like the same thing, you are definately a member of GenMe.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And Now For The "Real" Work

Hi kids!
I was a fourth grade teacher today, and it was fun, but I am so tired. Thirty-six (!!!) fourth graders have lots of energy. But we did read chapter 17 of Island of the Blue Dolphins, they took a test and I was a test nazi and they behaved like angel children. Now my two own angel children are tearing each other apart because they both can't be good guys (SOMEBODY has to be the bad guy!) and now they are yelling I DON'T LIKE YOU (only because yesterday, I told them they were not allowed to use the word "hate" in this house - I tried so hard not to laugh when Samuel came stomping down the hallway, gritting his teeth and snarling at his sister, but I totally failed) and they are begging me to get my suit on so they can swim. So this must be brief: great visit with my parents this weekend (superb kid quotes coming up later this week), pool finally fixed and working great, Sally swimming just like there was never a winter and she's already taught Samuel how to get the dive sticks from the bottom of the spa, and I had a great mother's day and my lovely husband got me a beautiful and huge bouquet of roses and sweet handmade gifts from the kids. Oh yeah, and a knock-off barbie from the 99-cents store.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) We went swimming yesterday - first swim of the season. Sally swam in the big pool - 79 degrees. Samuel and I went in up to our waist (knees for me) and decided it was too cold and went in the spa, where we set the temp to 88.

(2) Lost last night - fanTAStic! Expect more Lost posts in the future.

(3) My driver's license expires next month.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "You know, snow can melt. I saw that on a show."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

TV talk

SPOILERS ALERT! If you haven't watched last week's episodes, and you care, then don't read this post!

So I'm still a big fan of Grey's Anatomy, and after last week, I'm looking forward to their spin-off show. First off, I love-love-loved Judging Amy, and the fact that Amy Brenneman is part of the cast makes me so happy. Also, it's good to see Tim Daly doing a show - Wings was what I watched whenever I stayed home sick before I had kids. (Hours and hours of Wings and The Cosby Show.) But what really got me was when those three women sat on the couch waiting for 1:00, when the young male receptionist came out with his surfboard. That scene was VERY Ally McBeal to me - very funny. So I may dump Grey's for the spin-off.

Americal Idol - can they just let Melinda win and be done with it already?

Lost - LOVING this season of Lost. Anyone out there think the island is some version of Hell? No, me neither. Although I can't understand how they found the plane and all the people dead in the middle of the ocean - that's strange. The thing is, if the island is Hell, then Ben and some of his people must be demons. That one guy certainly looks like a devil (oh, that's really mean. I should delete that last comment. But I won't.).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Knit Bit: Brown Sweater

Here it is! All finished. Thanks to Tito Juanito for the good advice - I got one (out of four) pics that I like (photos by the girl). True to form, it was only cold enoough for this photo, and then the temperature went up over 80 degrees and I had to regretfully leave Brown Sweater at home. Final verdict: for the first sweater, I'm pretty happy with myself. It fits mostly, and the sleeves are the same length. The border is just what I wanted and I can't find any glaring mistakes. (Big thanks to CosmicPluto for her inspiration and instructions.) That said, if I did it again, I'd start with less stitches on the cast on, since it is pretty low on my shoulders and tends to slip off if the buttons are undone. The yarn (KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Amber Heather) is lovely and this will keep me quite warm. Also, I ordered way too much yarn (oh what a pity!) so I'll probably be doing some scarves and maybe a matching pair of fetching fingerless gloves (love the matching accessories).

Want to see the buttons?
I knew you did.

Here's the most clever thing I did while I was knitting: I took Jen's advice and, once I started the sleeves, I put them on the same set of needles before I started the decreases so that they would be decreased at exactly the same spot. I used Sally's old plastic ponytail holders as stitch markers, and knitted them right into the decreases. Since I knit the sleeves flat, when it was time to sew up the seam, those colored stitch markers helped me line up the sides - but exactly. Seriously, the sleeves are almost perfection. (sorry about the crappy unfocused picture) After I did the seams, I cut the bands and pulled them out. Since these little bands are like bunnies and are everywhere in my house, cutting a dozen of them and throwing them away was really no hardship.
Next projects: I'm doing some scarves for Christmas gifts (yes, aren't you so impressed? You should be. I'm usually a December internet shopper.) and I cast on for a knitted lace curtain for the window that is by our front door. Also I'm still working on that second sock (no sense in rushing since it's summer and I won't need a new pair of socks anytime soon). I have a baby blanket about half way done, but I have a few more months until the baby is due. I also bought some more yarn for another cute baby sweater, but I need someone to have a baby boy. I'm on the quest for my next pattern - I'm thinking another sweater-type garmet, but in a cotton or linen yarn. Something lighter. Maybe with a zipper. Maybe this. Probably something more like this, though, in this yarn in Lake. Or this jacket, with this yarn in Willow. Any votes?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Knit Bit: Just A Peek

Guess who finished her first sweater yesterday?Check out that nice double stranded double crochet edging.
(And that from a girl who only has crochet hooks
to weave in the ends of a knitting project!)
And to Jen (and Jon) - I already got the buttons BEFORE I finished
AND I sewed them on tonight
AND I took my mom's advice and reinforced the button holes.
Hopefully tomorrow morning will be slightly cold
with beautiful sunlight
and I'll be able to find a photographer
who is over five feet tall.

Favorite Fotos Friday

This is my favorite picture that I took of my niece last week. I love the look on her face (she was watching Sally) and I love that her mom is in the background. I love the sun on her cute face, too.

What's this? Would that be painted walls? Oh yes, it is. Next step: carpet!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) I only write in my journal when I am angry or sad.

(2) I am a really bad liar.

(3) I love frosting. Cake with really thick lard-based frosting (none of that whipped cream fluff) is so yummy. Whenever any of the kids at school have a birthday, I always kid around with them and ask them if they saved me a cupcake. Usually they look at me like I am crazy and then I tell them, "I just love frosting," and it always makes them laugh. I love kids. There is this one girl at Sally's school who now comes up to me and tells me random interesting details from her day. I don't know her. That doesn't slow her down one bit. I just love that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Me: "When Sally is done with her bath, we'll have some milk and cookies."
Samuel: "OK, but I want the rectangle cookies, not the oreos."
Me: "I only have the oreos."
Samuel: "I want the rectangle cookies."
Me: "Huh?"
Samuel: "Watch my finger, Mom. Watch. They are like this: pssh, pssh, pssh, pssh (he makes a rectangle shape in the air with his finger) and they are the color of oreos, but they are not oreos."
Me: "I have no idea what you are talking about. Do we buy them or do I make them?"
Samuel: "Uuummm, both."
Me: "Both?"
Samuel: "Yeah, I fink so."

After about five minutes of this, I decide to get Sally involved.

Me: "Sally, do you know what he is talking about?"
Samuel: "Sally, watch my finger. It's a cookie and it's a rectangle and it goes like this - watch my finger - pssh, pssh, pssh, pssh - and it's the color of an oreo but it's not an oreo. I want one of those."
Sally: "What is it called?"
Samuel: "I don't know. It's a rectangle."
Sally: "Yeah, you said that. Does it have the cream filling?"
Samuel: "Yeah, but you can't see it. It's inside but you can't see it. It goes like this - pssh, pssh, pssh"
Sally: "I get it - it's a rectangle. Do you buy it at the store?"
Samuel: "Yeah."
Sally: "Samuel, we have no idea what you are talking about. Just eat the oreos."
Me: "Tell you what - the next time we are at the store, you can show me what you mean, ok?"
Samuel: "OK, cause we had them a few days ago, but I can't remember the week. I don't remember what week that was."
Me: (the light bulb went on over my head) "Hey, do you mean a HoHo?"
Samuel: "Yeah! I want one of those!"
Sally: "Those aren't rectangles - it's a circle."

Four minutes later: (seriously - I'm not even kidding)
Samuel: "Mommy, can I have the chocolate where you bite it, but you can't use these teef (points to the ones in front) but you have to use these back teef (points to the molars) cause the chocolate is real real hard? Can I have that?"
Me: "No."

The Real Moms Meme

Mary over at LifeTheUniverseAndEverything tagged me, so here goes:

Finish this sentence:
Real moms . . . . .
compromise. That probably sounds negative, and maybe it is, but here's what I mean: when you start this mothering thing, you have high hopes for yourself and your lovely offspring. You will be a perfect mom and you will love those kids and teach them well and they, in turn, will learn from your wise instruction and will be lovely and add joy to everyone's life. And then they are born, and all your good intentions are out the door as soon as the intense tiredness kicks in. To survive, you compromise. Sometimes it is the condition of your house. Sometimes it is the condition of your hair. Sometimes, it is even the way you treat your kids that gets compromised. Because life is hard and our expectations are usually way too high. (As illustrated very clearly to me last week when Sally told me that she was sad because she thinks I expect her to not fight with her brother and that, since she is only seven, this is totally not possible. I explained to her that I did not expect her to never fight with her brother, but I do expect her to apologize when she is wrong and to make up when the fight is over. She said that was acceptable to her.)

Then those little bundles of joy get bigger and learn to talk, and then you are compromising verbally - "Eat all your vegetables and you can have dessert"; "Do your poops in the potty and Mommy will give you candy!"; "Please lie down until the sun comes up and then you can watch a cartoon during breakfast."

I don't even want to think about the compromises that are coming in the teen years.

My handy on-line dictionary defines compromise as "a settlement of differences . . reached by mutual concessions". Yes, this is what real moms do. Sometimes we have to hold the line and hand down consequences, because some things we decide will not be compromised. (In our house, that is things like disrespect, defiance, and hitting your sister.) But for all of the other stuff, real moms (and dads) compromise.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blog This

Some random thoughts on blogging:

I still like it. I have fallen into a Monday through Friday poster, and that feels about right to me. The Three Things Thursday may be played out. I'm having trouble thinking of new things. I may change the rules soon.

I'm still conflicted about the discrepency between who I am on the blog and who I am in real life (yes, I know I could use the abbreviation IRL, but I don't like it. it makes me feel like a scary junior higher who uses text messaging too much.) I know that you, dear reader, know that this discrepency is there and is necessary, but it still bothers me.

I have a few friends that stopped posting on their blogs, but I still check from time to time. I know that one of them will be deleting her blog soon, but I don't think that will stop me from occasionally checking.

I have deleted a blog this past month. I had five blogs, but now I have four. I may delete another one. I don't use them anymore. The one I deleted was just for pictures for me and a few friends. I hadn't posted anything in a year and a half. I am a member of one secret blog and I have a secret identity. I haven't used it in a long while.

I have people comment on this blog that I have never met. I have people emailing me for permission to use my pumpkin muffin recipe for non-profit cookbooks. I don't know them, either. It makes me happy, though.

Most of my comments are from family members, which is exactly why I started this blog - to have more communication with family, to share stories and pictures of the kiddos. Thanks, family, for your comments and support. I may go off on strange tangents, but really, this blog is for you.