Monday, March 31, 2008

Knit Bit: Clapotis

I've decided to knit Clapotis. This is a big deal to me. First off, Clapotis is an extremely popular internet pattern. How popular? Well, there are several patterns that people like to knit, and there are hundreds and hundreds of projects on Ravelry in those patterns. But Clapotis, she's special. Currently there are 5,166 projects listed on Ravelry. That's a lot. The only pattern that I could find that has more projects is Fetching fingerless gloves (5653 projects) and I've done those. Even the classic Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket has less at 2,506 projects, and the Ball Band Dishcloth has only 1,944 projects.

Second, I changed my knitting style so that I would be able to knit Clapotis. There are dropped stitches and before and after them you have to knit through the back loop, so the rest of the time you have to knit through the front loop. I was knitting combination (those are all through the back loops) so I have re-taught myself to knit in the English style. It works better for projects in the round, too.

So, here I go. Wish me luck.
I'm using Berroco Comfort yarn. It's my new favorite. It's the softest synthetic blend that I've ever knit with, and it's machine washable and dryable. This color is called Sachet Mix.
For you wordies out there, clapotis (clap-o-tee) is a french word that means "little splash" or "lapping of water." (I knew you'd be asking me, or telling me, in the comments.)

Weeding

So Samuel and I spent Saturday morning weeding the garden and getting ready to make a new planter box and plant our summer garden. I had to remove a very large weed/tree that took a really long time and tired me out.

The best thing was that as I was pulling out weeds left and right, guess what I found?
A CARROT! We managed to grow one carrot! So funny :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kitchen Photos

For Jon, and anyone else who is interested, the kitchen as it looks today:
Notice the excited faces of my models.

Notice they are not in this picture.
I like how the different colors of the wood are all working together. (The old table was a lighter wood color) I also LOVE that the height of this island is almost exactly the height of my counters.
Here's the lovely shelves that hold all the pots with their matching lids and they are not stacked and shoved into the abyss of the corner cupboard that had me muttering curses everytime I lost a lid and had to send one of the kids for a flashlight:

Shiny pots, all in a row. I'm so happy.

As to the other table that used to be in my kitchen, it's lovely and has four matching chairs and if you'd like it, I'm trying to sell the set for $100. Email me if you are interested. For today, though, it's being used:

as a fort. Spring break rocks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh, IKEA

Yesterday I set the boxes on the floor of my family room and carefully cut the tape and opened them. I found the instructions and packet of screws and dowels (love that) and sadly, found out that I was missing two pieces. As in THE TOP and A WHOLE SHELF. Very sad.

Luckily, I invited a friend over to talk to me and watch me assemble IKEA stuff, so she arrived with Starbucks and commiserated with me. We talked and she watched me knit. It was good, too.

Today I went back to the store, dragged in the box, and announced that I was missing parts. I totally forgive the nice man who helped me for insulting me so cruelly (he thought I didn't know what "1 of 2" meant, and thought I just needed box "2 of 2". No dear, box 2 of 2 is in the car already! I'm missing stuff out of THIS DARN BOX RIGHT HERE) . . . . .where was I? Oh, yes, forgiving the nice man because he was very quick and efficient and had me my new box all full of the right parts in under ten minutes.

It's almost done. My hands are a little sore from all the screwdriving, so I'm taking a break. Here's the one I got:It's called STENSTORP. I've always wanted a kitchen island. This is so great.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's for a movie

So I was out running errands yesterday (the garden got postponed because my kitchen island arrived at IKEA and I had to go grab one - today it's assemble IKEA furniture time, and am I one happy camper!) and I passed by this billboard that said, "My mother always hated you Sarah Marshall!" and I wondered what that was all about. So today I googled it and found this blog, which is pretty funny, and then I found out that it's all for a movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. All that for a movie. Pretty creative, or pretty sad? I'm not sure yet.

Other crazy things that I wonder about and must find the answers? The song La Bamba. Really, how many people sing that song and have no idea what the lyrics are all about? It drives me crazy. So I looked that one up in Wikipedia last week. Go here to read all about it. It's basically about dancing.

Also, if I see someone in a movie and can't place where I've seen them before, I have to look up all the things they have been in and figure out which show or movie I've seen them in. Otherwise, it will bother me.

I read a whole book yesterday. I always do this in spring, read like there is no tomorrow. This year it's really bad because of all the lost time in November and December (and January) where I couldn't see well enough to read and I was too strung out on painkillers to care. I'm making up for lost time.

Also, I love public libraries. Our library has some crazy high checkout limit, too - 25 items on one card. Yesterday Samuel insisted on getting a Star Wars book for Daddy to see - he was so excited about it that I couldn't say no. He has an I Spy book out, too. Sally has one book that she's reading for research and two more that looked interesting to her. I found three for Stuart (not counting the StarWars book) and four or five for me. I love the library.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Conversations with Samuel

(On Easter Sunday in the car, driving to church)

Samuel: "What age do you have to be to get bat-tized?"

Me: "You mean baptized?"

Samuel: "Yeah, that. What age do you have to be?"

(Stuart and I exchange a look of wonder and amazement at the heart of one so young)

Me: "There's no age limit, you just have to believe in Jesus. Do you want to get baptized, Samuel?"

Samuel: "No." (there is a long pause as we all wonder why he brought it up) "But I could totally do it if I wanted to. I can hold my breath a real long time."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

What a great Easter Sunday we had! Here's a few pics to start off the day:
Me and the kids. Hey Dad - that's the new minivan. Nice, huh? We like it. (Notice Sally's sweater - that's the one I knit for her. I was so glad she wanted to wear it.)

Here's the wacky pose that the kids insisted on:

And one with Stuart (Samuel is still in wacky pose mode):
The kids had a visit from the Easter Bunny during the night, and they were up early and were very happy. I let them do the egg search while I slept in (until 7:30 - not late enough) since Samuel had a bloody nose in the middle of the night. This isn't such a big deal (both his dad and I had frequent nosebleeds as children), but he doesn't wake up at first so there is always a mess to clean up. Once I was finally almost asleep, he announced that he needed to go potty and would I please come wipe him? It was a long night. (Forgot to mention - I was up late too, as I had to do the easter bunny shopping after the kids were asleep because Sally is starting to not believe. I want her to have a few more years of the magic.)
After breakfast (and candy) we were off to church. We have been visiting a new church this past month, and today it was an incredible service. It was so life-giving and joyous and exciting. I came out of there encouraged and so very blessed.
We spend the afternoon with some friends, and then came home to do a few projects and to rest. I'm knitting up a pink hat for the newest baby girl (congrats to J & L and a shout out to baby Z) and got caught up on some blog reading. This week is the kids spring break. We are going to work on the back yard - mainly the garden. So, in farewell, some inspiration photos for you (and for me - I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to sleep in the morning and NOT work in the yard with two kids who are only partially convinced that this will be fun).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday To You

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Matthew 27:45-54

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

We had a great discussion this week with our Bible Study group about the origins of the term "Maundy Thursday". Since I'm all about educating my readers on all sorts of interesting things, here's what I found out:

In the Christian liturgical calendar, Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. On this day four events are commemorated: the washing of the Disciples' feet by Jesus Christ, the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.

The word Maundy is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. (from Wikipedia)

Take some time to commemorate the day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Few Notes

~ Spent all day with Sally's class at the LA Science Museum. Great museum. Bus with sixty third graders, not so great. Need quiet.

~ Finally decided on and purchased a new car. Yes, it's another minivan. No, it's NOT white. It's silver and pretty and I love it. (For those of you who didn't know, the old minivan had a long list of things that didn't work anymore, including both the driver and passenger door locks, the radiator had a leak, the engine light stayed on (and occasionally blinked, which I am told is VERY BAD), and a number of other things that were starting to be a problem. It may have lasted a few more months, but it was beginning to seriously worry us.)

~ Must go out and find a dozen plastic eggs and fill them up by tomorrow morning. This could be tricky since I have dinner to make and a Bible study to host tonight.

~ Next week is spring break. (yikes)

~ Easter is five days away and our easter bunny has no supplies whatsoever. Samuel has no school on Friday, so shopping opportunities are slipping by me.

~ Currently knitting a hat, two pairs of socks (yes, I have problems), a bathmat, and a scarf. Oh, and a pillow cover. Was thinking of knitting something to wear to a wedding next month, but recognized insanity and decided to go shopping next week instead.

~ Making corned beef and cabbage tonight for the husband. Came home and the boy said, "Yum - the whole house smells like sausage." (It's in the crockpot - I've been on a field trip all day. Thought a crockpot dinner was a wise move. Can't thank myself enough.)

~ Crockpot dinner still counts as "making dinner" (I can hear you thoughts you know) since I have to put in the cabbage at the right time, and then make some other stuff for the kids to eat since I'm pretty sure they won't eat that.

~ Going to the store NOW for plastic eggs and stuff to put in them. Must take both kids. Deep breath, calm thoughts. OK. I can do this.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Uncle Jon

Last week Uncle Jon came over for a visit. (For those of you who arent' familiar with our family, Jon is Stuart's cousin. We've been married for so long that I refer to him as "my cousin" or "our cousin". The kids call Stu's cousins Uncle or Aunt as a sign of respect.) The kids always love it when he comes to our house as he has become their teacher of Chinese culture. He teaches them words in Chinese, how to count in Chinese, and this time he taught them to make wonton soup. We have made wontons before with Sally, but Samuel was too young to remember it, so this was his first time. (Samuel loves cooking - he told me he wants to be a chef when he grows up.)

Here they are chopping vegetables for the filling:
And here they are folding the wontons - Uncle Jon taught Sally, and then Sally taught Samuel.

Thanks Uncle Jon!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Recent Photos

Today in my backyard: Please don't hate me for living in southern California (and you know who you are!), where it is a beautiful day and our pool is currently sixty-seven degrees. The water is a good mix of chlorine, acid, and salt, according to the nice people at the pool supply store, so we're good to go. Needs to be quite a bit warmer for me to swim, though.

Last week:
Sally modeling her sweater. This is the best I got. She was not very patient with the modeling photo session, so I let her off the hook.
Finally, a close up for Jen:
The single button that Sally picked out. It's quite big and sparkly, and really finishes the sweater nicely. My friend gave me a great compliment: she said that it didn't have that "homemade, my mom made this and made me wear it" look. Aw, thanks!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Conversations with Samuel

(in the car, discussing the show Ni Hao, Kai-lan)

Samuel: "You know what's HoHo's favorite instrument? It's those fings that you put on your ears and then there are two disk-kes and he moves them and they make music. He loves that."

Me: (having no idea what he is talking about) "OK"

Samuel: "You know what's Kai-lan's favorite instrument? It's a tambourine. Not the kind that grow on trees, either, but the kind that you shake it and pound it with your hand."

Me: (this one takes me a minute) "Those are two different words. Tambourine is the instrument - a tanGERine grows on trees. Hear the difference?"

Samuel: "OOhh! . . . . I like fire hydrants."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Conversations with the kids

Samuel: "Sally, Sally, watch this!" (he turns to me) "Mom, what's one hundred plus one hundred?"

Me: "Two hundred."

Samuel: "What's two hundred plus one hundred?"

Me: "Three hundred"

Samuel: (turning to Sally, visibly impressed with my mad adding skills) "She used to be a math teacher!"

Sally: (very UNimpressed) "That's great, Samuel."

Week Review

Stuart has been gone this week, traveling for business. This is something new for us, and the kids and I have missed him so much. Even the dog is acting sad and mopey - he'll wander around our bedroom looking confused, then he'll finally lie down in front of one of the kids, paws in the air, as if to say OK, I can't find the dad, so one of you will have to scratch my belly. It's cute.

He's coming home today. His flights have been delayed, so he's having a really long day. I'm going to go put some dinner in the crockpot and then clean up the house a bit.

Yesterday, the kids went swimming for the first time this year. I heated up the spa to 86 degrees, and the big pool was a cool 60 degrees. Sally was the only one brave enough to dare such cold temperatures, and only to get in to say that she did. They had fun splashing around in the water, and both fell asleep pretty quickly last night. (I forget that excellent part of having a pool - it makes kids really really tired.)

I've started a couple of new knitting projects. I'm knitting a bathmat out of that cotton dishcloth yarn - this is something I've been thinking about for awhile now, and decided to just give it a shot. It's a great texture. I'm still knitting little hats and booties for gifts. I also decided to make some pillow covers for our family room - also something I've been kicking around in my mind for a few months. They are shades of grey and black. It's going to be a soccer practice project, I think, because it's a lot of plain knitting. I need plain knitting at soccer practice, you know, because it's dark there.

Anyways, that's the scoop here. Hope you are getting ready for a great weekend wherever you are!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Good Day

Do you ever have a day where everything comes together? These are rare in my life, but I had one this morning. I had a pretty good night's sleep, and woke up feeling refreshed. I got some new coffee flavors yesterday, so had a great cup of coffee. Then, while I was getting ready, I heard Sally and Samuel working together to make their own lunches. (Yes, I was stunned too. Someone somewhere is praying hard for me today!) I picked out some clothes that I haven't worn together and it looks the way I wanted it to, and even my hair is doing some good things all by itself. I keep looking at the bottom of my shoes and checking to see if I have my keys, expecting my luck to change. But it's all coming together today.

I remember a day like this when I was working at the high school. It was my third or fourth year teaching, and I had such a great day. I taught my lessons with grace and wit. I was eloquent. I got everything done that I planned to get done. Then after school, I was helping this boy with algebra and it was at the moment that the lights came on for him and everything made sense in his brain, and I could see it on his face and in his eyes that the math "clicked" into place. It was a privilege to witness that moment. I drove home with my soul floating about ten feet above my car, thrilled with the fact that I was doing exactly what God put me on this earth to do.

I'm so thankful for days like these. It makes days like Monday, when it seemed that everything I was trying to do was doomed to failure, bearable. There are good days and there are bad days. If you are having a bad day today, hang in there and be encouraged - your good day will be here soon!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Conversations with Samuel and Sally

(A few months ago, we watched the movie Transformers. Samuel and I particularly liked it, and the two of us have watched it together a few more times (I edit out the scene where Sam and his parents discuss "alone time"). This weekend, Charlie's Angels II was on TV. Since it was edited for language, I taped it and then edited out a couple of scenes that were a bit, um, questionable. Shia LaBeouf is in both of these movies - and by the by, I can't wait to see him in the new Indiana Jones movie.)

Me: "I know - let's finish watching Charlie's Angels. We had to stop it in the middle yesterday."
Sally: "Oh yeah! Let's watch that! Remember, Samuel, it has the guy you like from Transformers in it."
Samuel: "Actually, there are two people from Transformers in it."
Me: "No there isn't. Just Sam."
Samuel: "No Mom, there's two. There's the other guy."
Sally: "What other guy?"
Samuel: "The other guy. (Now we are watching the movie.) Not that guy. No, not that guy. THAT guy. Right there." (He points to Bernie Mac.)
Me: (shocked) "You're right! He's the car salesman in Transformers!" (I look at Samuel, totally stunned) "I can't believe you made that connection." (Now I look at Sally) "He is one of us after all!"
(We all hug)
Samuel: (beaming proudly) "Are you going to write about me in your blog?"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Conversations with Samuel

(at the Del Taco drive thru)

Samuel: "Oh, I wish we could go inside. They have those circles that when you chew them they turn into gum!"
Me: "I'm not buying you gumballs."

(later that day)
Me: "Are you talking about Obi Wan Kenobi?"
Samuel: "Yea - Obi Ron Kerrobi."
Me: "Say it again . . ."
Samuel: "Obi Ron Kerrobi. He gets killed by Dark Vader with his light saver."
Me: "Saber. Light saber."
Samuel: "Huh?"
Me: "Nevermind."