Friday, January 28, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

One (Big) Step Closer

Look what appeared over the weekend.

Like magic. Chicken Magic!

My wonderful blog-reading sister and her wonderful cabinet building boyfriend stopped by with a project. Look at the little hearts! She painted it with some extra paint she had, and screened it, and all it needs is a little ramp for our future ladies, and some shingles for the roof.

Seriously could it be more adorable? I think Chase may be fully on board at this point.

My sister has a history of giving people gifts that are alive. She called on Friday and asked if she could bring something by for us. A present, she said. And I said of course because I never turn down presents, but I did mention to Chase that Anne had something to give us. We were sort of speculating on what it could be- a puppy? a goat? a dozen fertilized Americuana eggs?

So a chicken coop is both a marvelous surprise for me and a happy relief for Chase.

Anne would probably like me to mention that she hasn't actually gotten someone a live present in years and years, and actually the last live gift in our family was my mom's mother's day gift two years ago...

This guy. Which I gave to her.

I learned my lesson. As Alvin/Pete has taught us, if you can't be a good example, at least you can be a horrible warning.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm not NEARLY done with the Christmas Recap and 2010 Backlog, but I can't keep ignoring this glorious new year.

It seems like 2010 sucked for a lot of people. Haiti for instance. To a much lesser extent, people at my church. My mom. And of course, miners everywhere.

My family actually had a relatively good year. I started it throwing up and I ended it covered in someone else's throw up, but I'm content because I got this guy out of it.

He's pretty awesome. And handsome. Those eyelashes are kind of insane. Even if my mom does refer to him as "The spitting-up-est baby I've ever known." Nana tells it like it is.

But a new day has dawned! Honestly I've never been that into the new year stuff. I mean, we ate collard greens and black eyed peas when I was a kid, but it wasn't a big deal. It's probably a good idea to embrace any chance to start fresh though, so I made some resolutions. Here goes...In 2011 I'm going to:

1. Learn to knit socks. For real. I've crashed and burned so many times, and now it's this super intimidating thing. But I can do it! This is MY YEAR, SOCKS. For the 2012 apocalypse, I'm going to be wearing a pair of hand knit socks.

Pretty, right?

2. Get chickens. If this sucks, oh well. We can surely find some people who will take them off our hands. But I've wanted to do it for so long, and at this point it's mostly just fear that's stopping me. And also my husband. He is stopping me. But we can work around that! Right, hon?!

Anyway, chickens. It's happening.

3. Be more present and engaged with my children. And since I am the kind of person who slips out of intangible resolutions like they are so many spit up encrusted t-shirts, let's make this specific.

At meal times in 2011, the only thing I bring to the table is my food (and my sparkling personality). No phone, no computer, no book/catalog/newspaper etc. I will converse with my children. No matter how many poop conversations and knock knock "jokes" this involves.

Do any of these guys look capable of telling a decent joke? No. The answer is No.

We are going to hopefully jump into some of my long held dreams in 2011- things like gardening and (maybe!) chickens, and other homesteady (on a budget) type stuff. In the midst of these experiences, I will surrender control whenever possible to my kids. Even if it means plants get overwatered, eggs get dropped, and clothes get permanently stained.

Can you imagine getting the dirt out of those dresses? Praise God for washing machines. Seriously. I do.

Usually, when I'm rushing through preparing dinner, because I didn't plan ahead of time and the kids are grumpy and hungry and under foot, I shoo them out of the kitchen. Not because pots are hot and knives are sharp and all the stuff I tell them, but because they are ANNOYING and I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, and other awesome thoughts. I would like to change that this year. Plan better, move slower, have time for the most important people in my life to ask my questions and in Jane's case, sneak bites of whatever stomach turning raw ingredients are on the counters. I have seen her shove the following in the her mouth --

- flour (lots of this- it's her favorite)
- butter
- any kind of dough or batter
- brown suger
- white sugar
- cinnamon (that one was fun to watch)
- coffee grounds
- uncooked potato
- entire strawberry with stem attached (swallowed before I could even tell her)
- block of parmesan

and innumerable other improbable substances that I just hadn't even considered she'd want to eat.

"Mmmmm.... coffee grounds....are you going to eat those?"

Anyway, I'm not saying I want that to happen more. I just want it to be less annoying to me when it does happen. I want, basically, to live with joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. Some goodness, gentleness, and self-control would be helpful as well.

So that's it for now. There's lots of other stuff I'd like to do this year - lose baby weight, have a cleanish house, keep up with the laundry, other generally good ideas. But those are the main ones. The big deals. Socks, chickens, and kids. In that order, of course.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the Christmas knitting

A slouchy hat, from a Jane Richmond pattern I bought last year.

In Lion Brand chunky, Spice. For my cousin Nell.

Pair of mitts number one, also for the Pacific Northwest dwelling Nell. These are a wool blend, and I've lost the tag with the info on it. I sort of improvised the pattern, basically by reading a bunch of patterns and taking out all the interesting/challenging parts.

Mitts number two, the same non-pattern, the same worsted weight yarn. These were a pair for my sister, on her way to Lander WY this February, and I made them bright red, to help the rescue party find her when they're digging out the collapsed snow bank.

A watchcap for Anne, from the Marsan pattern in a brown and white speckled Fisherman's yarn. It looks like the gray yarn for the mitts in these pictures, but it's actually a very different color. The yarn is 100% super itchy warm wool, for the wilds of Wyoming. Anne has enough hair that no hat will ever come close to touching her skin, so I wasn't worried about the itch factor bothering her.

She also has a smallish (but lovely) head, hence Wren the hat model.

popcorn strings and other misc.

Wren made popcorn strings. Jane ate them, and my mom's dog Pete lurked under the tree, waiting for them to dangle low enough for him to get a bite.

I made a felt bunny, for the cousins.

Using this book. Their present was the book, some felting needles, and a bag of wool roving in adorable animal colors. I hope their mom doesn't hate me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

teacher and class presents

For teacher presents this year we made the gingerbread pancake mix from Magnolia, and tiny little jars of pumpkin butter.

Wren had fun making the cards and I hope her teachers had fun eating the pancakes. I love few things more than a gingerbread pancake as big as my head.

And I was out of town for the making of Wren's class presents. I left poor Chase a to-do list that included "Make 20 tiny Christmas soaps, with jingle bells inside." Super wife I am not.

He came through though. And I think the finished product is pretty awesome. If Wren's friend's moms feel the way I do, then anything that makes five year olds want to wash their hands is definitely better than another bag of Christmas candy. That's right, I'm the bummer mom.

Jane's friends, on the other hand, got gingerbread men. Inconsistent parenting FTW!

The Angel

Jane's three year old class celebrates Christmas with a 'pick-up' pageant.

The kids choose their outfits and characters on the morning of the pageant, thereby ensuring that there will almost always be four or five Marys, a varying number of donkeys, and no innkeeper, because that's just boring.

Janey was an angel, of course, and enjoyed holding up her star. Her participation overall was really nominal at best, but she's definitely adorable, right?

Look at that angelic face. Can you believe she immediately broke from my hold and ran into the parking lot, stopping only to pull her dress up around her armpits so she could bend over, butt facing the church, and hoist her sagging tights back up?

Really? Have you met her?

The Wise Woman

Wren's Christmas pageant was a couple weeks ago. She was one of the three kings. Frankincense to be precise.

She did a wonderful job, and miraculously did not trip on her super long robe.

The Kindergarteners are the oldest kids at Wren's school and the Christmas pageant is a REALLY BIG DEAL. The teachers sent out emails asking parents not to reserve seats 3 hours ahead of time, so as not to infringe on the earlier Pre-K pageant. Um... don't worry.

They had been practicing for weeks, and sang absolutely beautifully. My favorite song every year is "The Friendly Beasts," and this year I cried, overwhelmed by the sweetness of these kids who worked so hard and did such an incredible job, singing in Christmas with such earnest excitement.

Christmas Retrospective

I'm going to be catching up on all our Christmas posts, the making presents, the decorating, the cookies, all that stuff. Why not start 2011 like I mean to go on? With an enormous backlog I can never catch up on. Laundry, I'm looking at you.