Thursday, August 30, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) Six days until school starts.

(2) 104 pages left to read in Anna Karenina.

(3) I still get my best ideas in the shower.

The Garden

The beans and the pumpkins

at the beginning of August:
today:















Here are our first little pumpkins starting to grow!
Samuel's tomatoes

Earlier this month:


Today:















Here's the gardener himself, busy watering.

And one more, for Stephenee ~ cucumber curlicues :)

Flowers



For Tina

At SeaWorld the kids and I went up the SkyTower ride. Here's a picture from the ground:

and here's one from the top:

It was about 7:00 pm and the sunset was beautiful.

SeaWorld

We took the kids to SeaWorld on Tuesday for an end-of-summer family mini-vacation. As always we had fun there. Samuel and Sally check out the Arctic animals. They have a wall of ice in there. We were all impressed by that. They also had some caves to crawl around in:
This was so funny - there are growling bear noises inside those caves, and Samuel just about jumped out of his skin!

The dolphin show, where Sally and Stuart got soaked

and Samuel hid behind his daddy and still got wet.


Oh yeah, his face. He fell off the slide/climbing thing we have in the backyard and landed on his face. Nothing broke - just a bloody nose (he's prone to those anyway), several scratches, and a mouthful of dirt. Poor kid.

This is my favorite picture of the day. They are looking at the map, considering what to do next. I think they had a fun day.

Finally!

Yes, look what I got this week:



You'll notice I took a picture of my camera. It's actually the second camera I got, taken by the third camera. See, the first one broke, so I decided to replace it with a refurbished one - the same kind - because I have all the accessories for it and really, it was the least expensive option. However, the second camera did not work properly. So, after several hours on HP online chat (I had to prove to them that, yes, the second camera did not work right), I got sent the third camera, which I am happy to report works like a dream. I wasted no time in taking loads of pictures (92, to be exact) over the last two days. Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ten Years Ago

I've been watching Lifetime TV and the TV Guide channel because they are all running Princess Diana specials all month. It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since she died in a car crash in Paris. (You notice that I didn't say "car accident" - consipracy theories abound.) I've seen the movie about her last days, I've seen the fictional it-could-be-real-but-probably-isn't movie about how she was murdered, and I've seen one of the shows about her legacy. I have two more lined up on the TiVo. Why is she still so interesting to all of us? What was it about her that drew people in and made us want to know her? I think, for me, it is the contradictions that surround her that interest me so much. She was beautiful, wealthy, incredibly popular, and still had such low self-confidence, was unhappy, and depressed. All the clothes, the jewels, and the comforts of her life didn't satisfy her - in the end, she is most remembered for her mothering and her humanitarian work. People were always most important to her. It seems to me that she always tried to use her position for good.

I stayed up to watch her wedding, way back in 1981. I stayed up to watch her funeral sixteen years after that. Now, I'm older than she was when she died. It makes me sad to know that she was the most photographed, the most hunted, person in history. But still, every time her photo is on the cover of a magazine, I am compelled to pick it up and read about her. Perhaps in the next ten years, instead of trying to blame her death on yet another secret conspiracy or find the box that contained her secrets, perhaps we will focus on her work with people and actually do some good in the world. Like she did.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yep, That's Me

Oh, Mary-LUE, you have smitten me with your latest on-line personality test. (I'm not complaining - I love it!) Here's what I got:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Try it for yourself here.

Knit Bit: Cutest Sweater Ever

Well, today I got to buy the buttons for the cutest sweater ever.

Sally picked out pink bunny buttons.

I reinforced the collar because some of the stitches weren't tight enough.

I'm weak with the cuteness.


Info for the knitters:
Pattern: One Stitch Baby Sweater (free online)
Yarn: Crystal Palace's Bunny Hop in Misty Green
Needles: US8
I really love this pattern. It's easy and there are only two seams.

Favorite Foto Friday

(has anyone noticed I'm a day behind?)

Look people! Fresh from the garden, tomato and basil goodness.
This is a picture of wishful thinking. I am hoping that the lure of new books from the library will entice me to finish Anna quickly. We all know what's going to happen. I'll be reading three books at the same time in a few days.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Three Things Thursday

Yeah, I haven't been playing my own game, I know. So here's one for July:

Three Things: Harry Potter Edition

(1) My favorite book is still #3. I love all the back story about Harry's parents.

(2) My second favorite book is the last one. Unrequited love is always a good theme for a book.

(3) My husband's favorite book is the first one, because you are instantly immersed into a fictional world that is totally believable and fully formed. He's right, of course. (It's my third favorite of the series.)

By the way, the LA Natural History Museum was great. We all loved it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gold Star

Sending out a MusingsOfAMommy Gold Star to Alison for the post of the week. This may be the post of the month - seriously great blogging. Go - read it. It's called "Grace Like Rain". When she finally publishes her book, I'm buying several copies and passing them around. Excellent job Alison!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Harvest

Here's the first batch of cucumbers from our garden.
That yellow one was left on the vine too long. I wonder what it will taste like. My resident Martha Stewart told me it will probably pickle up just fine. The kids love the u-shaped cucumber. We haven't eaten it yet.

Here's the first jar of pickles.
(I like the colors and the light)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two Weeks

There are two weeks left of summer. Two weeks. I can't explain how I can be estatic and sad at the same time that there are only two weeks left, but I am. At the core of who I am, I love back to school. I love the going to bed early and the getting up early. I love new school supplies. I love the promise of a new school year. I love the school year schedule that shapes our days and weeks.

What's left to do in two weeks? A short list:
  • Go to the Natural History Museum in L.A.
  • Clean out the kid's rooms
  • Pick out the first day of school outfits
  • Fill out Samuel's paperwork for preschool
  • Finish up the reading club at the library
  • Play Monopoly with Sally
I'm sure I'll squeeze in more than that, but I'll stop for now. We have to go to the pet store - one of Sally's new fish (the orange one) didn't make it through the night last night. Even though we tried to prepare her for the fact that fish sometimes don't live very long, she's upset. The other fish, Starme (the black one), seems to be doing fine. Hopefully he'll hang in there for a few more weeks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Perfect Morning

Coffee, homemade muffins, and casting on a new knitting project. And getting up before the kids so that the house is quiet. I may have to start going to bed at 9:00 to get more of this!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Boy in the Backyard

Samuel is having quite a love affair with our backyard. Actually, I think it is the watering of the garden that has charmed him. He's always asking me if he can go water the trees, check to see if the tomoatoes are red yet, any excuse to get out there. Here he is with our first cucumber.
I think we may have picked it too early, but he was so jazzed that I couldn't make him wait any longer. I'm planning on making my grandmother's pickles with it (a cup of vinegar, a cup of sugar, and as many slices of cucumber that you can get your hands on - let it sit in the fridge overnight and enjoy).
PS (added later) ~ We made the pickles and they were tasty. I offered some to a friend during a potluck that we hosted at our house, and then I left the jar out with the other food. At the end of the night there was ONE LEFT! Everyone loved our homemade pickles! :)

This week we moved the tables to the grass area for a luncheon, and Sally likes it so much that I'm going to keep them there for a few more days.I took a picture for her because she thinks an artist should come over and do a painting of the view because she loves it so much. Samuel is over there by the tomatoes, because he found this:
He loves it. He told me they look like stairs. I love that boy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Knit Bit: Sweater Progress & A New Project

Here's the baby boy sweater:
I'm almost done. Although, after I'm "done", I need to do a crochet edging on the whole thing because of the yarn carries on the edges, so I'm not really almost done. But close :) (Yarn carries happen because of the stripe pattern - I carry the yarn that I'm not knitting with along the sides. FYI.)

Since soccer season is upon us, I need a project that is portable & easy. I decided to try out a Log Cabin blanket. After all, Kay and Ann and all their fans can't be wrong, right? So I'm working on a Moderne Baby Blanket in Bernat's cotton tots yarn. Here's my progress so far:
(The colors look better than this picture shows. I'm still using the old camera becasue the new camera that I got, well, it's not working right either. Soooo, I'm going to have to send that one back and wait for another one. Grrrr.) Of course, I changed the numbers in the pattern, starting a little smaller because I wanted my first one to go fast. Loving it so far, though. Already have colors picked out for a Baby Boy Moderne! (Interested in more log cabin blanket pics? Check out the KAL blog.)

In other knitting news, I'm on the wait list for Ravelry. That's going to be a fun day when the site is up and running. I can't wait! Unfortunately, about 15,000 people are in line ahead of me. (Yes, doesn't it scare you that there are that many knitters and crocheters out there? Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

New Muffins

I tried a new muffin recipe today - Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins. They not only include applesauce and oatmeal, but whole wheat flour and dried cranberries. They are really good. I may have to omit the cranberries to get my kids to eat them, but I love the cranberries.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's All Good

First, a little garden update. Everything is growing really great - probably because the boy loves to water. Here's the pumpkins and the beans:
And here's the crazy cucumbers:
And the terrific tomatoes:
Second, a little reflection to start out the week right. We have had a very crazy year around here, what with one thing and another. I actually said to one of my prayer partners that I felt like a drama princess because every week I had something new and significant to pray about, and I used to be very boring. In fact, I used to have to really think to come up with a prayer request. Now I have to stop and think which one should I lead with! For a few months, I complained about this. Last week, though, I had an epiphany. I don't think this is a phase anymore. In fact, I think that learning to function, no - thrive! - at this level of drama is what I should be putting my energy and mind to. I have to believe that it is entirely possible to be in the midst of stuff malfunctioning, and be fine. I have to believe that I can have peace in my heart even though there is turmoil in my life. I have to start living like this is true, even before it proves to be true. So, next time you see me, and ask how things are, I may reply with the trite answer: "Things are fine." In fact, "things" may not be fine at all, but hopefully it will be fine with my soul.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "Mom, you know what's going to happen when you get older and older and older and older and older?"

Me: "No, what son?"

Samuel: "Then you're gonna die."

Me: "Ah, yes, that is true."

Samuel: "Hey Mom?"

Me: "Yes?"

Samuel: "How do really really old ladies get into the car?"

Me: (thinking) How did we get started on this topic?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sally

My sweet baby girl turned 8 yesterday.
It just seems like yesterday that she was four
and her brother was a newborn.
Yes, that is Sally holding Samuel.
Sally pretended to be asleep because she
thought it would be a funnier picture.
She was right.

Best eight years of my life.
Happy Birthday, daughter.

Friday, August 10, 2007

No Place Like Home

The kids and I drove up the coast to hang out with my parents and my sister and her boys for a few days. It was beautiful - I love the beach when it is cold! - and we had fun together. Random thoughts:

Are there a thousand oaks in Thousand Oaks?

How does God make sand dollars? (that one from Sally)

Are there any pirates out there on that ship? (from Samuel)

Are we there yet?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "Do you know why I like the weaves of broccoli?"

Me: "No, son. Why?"

Samuel: "Because the weaves are soft and I can eat them. I can't eat the trees of broccoli because they're too hard."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Knit Bit: This & That

It occurs to me that my posting is pretty sporadic these past few weeks. I blame the kids, of course. Summer is a wreck on my schedule, which means I really have no schedule. Soccer practice starts this week, and next week begins the backing up of the bedtime - preparation for back to school. Yeah, I know - great plan, but I'll let you know how it actually turns out.

It also occurs to me that I'm not showing very much of the knitting. Two reasons - first, the broken camera. I've been using the old camera, so that is more of just a lame excuse than anything. The other reason is that I'm knitting Christmas gifts (only for a select few this year, so don't get your hopes up out there - my knit gifting follows a plan that is neither logical nor fair) but I guess I can show you a few things.

This is a gift for my mom. Since she already knows that I'm making them for her, I can show you the progress:

They are like long fingerless gloves, made to keep her arms and elbows warm. She has trouble with her joints in the winter, so these are lovely and warm. I just need to sew up the sides and they're done.
This is a baby girl blanket. I wanted to knit a blanket in the car, and started this thing. I have no idea who it is for yet, but since I have three pregnant friends, one of them may have a baby girl.
Here is the progress on the baby boy sweater. The baby that I thought was going to be a boy turned out to be a girl. Got to finish this anyway - someone is sure to have a baby boy in the next few years.I'm knitting the left front (that's the sweater's left, your right) now - that pink yarn is holding the stitches for the right front. The sweater pattern is really cool - you knit the left side, mark where you want the buttons, and then knit the right side, knitting in the buttonholes as you go. So clever. (I'm such a sucker for cleverness.)

Finally, the cashmerino mistake rib scarf:Ah, it's beautiful (much like the friend that I am knitting it for) and it's a delight to knit with. If I only knit for the process and not the product, I would only buy this yarn. I would knit a huge blanket and curl up in it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Favorite Foto Friday

This is a cucumber flower in my garden. I just like the picture.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Knit Bit: LYS*

Yesterday I went on a little field trip to a local yarn store that I heard about. I have some birthday money from my mom with instructions to use it to buy yarn. (Must obey your mother, you know.) I was going to check out two, but Trudi's is closed for a summer vacation, so I headed straight to Ursula's Yarn Boutique. I met Ursula herself - she runs the shop and doesn't have any other employees, except for the ladies she pays to knit up scarves, hats, sweaters, blankets, shurgs, and all sorts of other lovely things. I heard her explain to a yarn dealer that she only sells a few of the knitted projects, but those projects help her sell lots and lots of yarn. I got it when I picked up this lovely green scarf, which turned out to be more of a wrap than a scarf, and as soon as I touched it I knew I needed to have some of the yarn. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. It feels like silken wool. I got three balls in "07 magenta."

And then dear Ursula was showing another knitter some bamboo yarn, and since I've wanted to try some bamboo yarn, and I know lots of people who are pregnant and I'm sure at least one of them will have a baby girl, I got one in "134 babe." Good thing Trudi is on vacation!

Here is a project I have been working on that is almost finished - a bag to to with my yoga mat bag. It's made with Bernat Handicrafter Cotton and Lion Microspun. I like the green and purple together. I reinforced the handles with some craft rope, so they should be super strong. I just have to attach the handles and finish the purple crochet edging. (Yes, crochet edging. I'm learning.)

*LYS = Local Yarn Store

Our Little Garden

Today is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow I'm off to fetch the kiddos from Cousin's Camp. I took a quiet morning in the backyard today, cleaning the pool and checking out the garden. A few years ago, I got it into my head to have a little garden in planter boxes. (I must have seen a home and garden show about it, or maybe it was an article in a magazine. I forgot.) I made two large boxes and filled them with quality soil and planted several things, but all we got were several small squash. This year, we decided to go for the garden late in the season, so we bought plants instead of seeds. Look at our tomatoes!Aren't they lovely? We got three different kinds of tomato plants - a roma, a cherry, and a hybrid kind that I have never heard of before. We also have basil (to go with the tomatoes, of course)


and cucumbers and the kids and I just planted these pumpkin seeds last week (those are green beans in the front by the tomato cage).
Here's a view of the backyard - we took out the large grapefruit tree and it opens up the space quite a bit.

Well, I'm off. Lots to do and only one day to do it in. The last month of summer - bittersweet to me. I can't decide if I want it to last and last, or fly by to the first day of school.