Tuesday, February 21, 2012

christmasy whatnot on fat tuesday

Cowls for the nieces - a fluffy cream one with just a little ribbing and a more drapey green one in a stitch I found on Ravelry and of course now can't remember. Meh. 

At least now I'll remember that I actually made them, and what color they were, and hopefully I can try to slowly move away from "Weird Aunt Kate" status over the course of the next several years. Doubtful, but you know, we all have dreams. 

Knit wear for tweens is more in the line of garnish, sort of like a bow on the -actual- present. And I can respect that. My mom is the queen of gift giving and her philosophy is 'Give people what THEY want, not what you think they should want.'

It seems simple, but it's really not. And I don't really follow it- gifts, especially gifts for kids, are a responsibility to make them understand that there's music out there beyond LMFAO, and (in the case of my own) if you want them to love Little House you've got to get in on the ground floor, before they find Junie B Jones on their own. I'm just saying. I'll never be a master of disinterested giving like my mom - graciously handing over the zillion dollar high tech rafting paddle to your daughter who has no pants that fit. That's like some Zen shit.

BUT I am on her wavelength enough to believe that giving a couple of pretty awesome tweens WOOL COWLS and nothing else for Christmas would land me so far over the "Weird Aunt Kate" line there would be no coming back.

Another trick to gift giving is to... you know... actually GIVE something. Other than a ball of yarn attached to a work in progress. To my deep shame but absolutely no one's surprise I have STILL not finished said tween's mom's Christmas scarf. In my defense it's lacework. In silk. I don't know what I was thinking.

Friday, February 17, 2012

big and little

Wren's birthday is coming up soon - I can't believe she's going to be 7. I'm still not totally over mourning the loss of her big fat baby cheeks, and the dimples in her knees. She can't be so long and lanky - so full of comic book ideas and puns. So bad-breathed in the morning and grouchy when her alarm (Jane) goes off. When did this KID appear? Luckily she still falls asleep in the car often enough that I get a regular dose of 45 lb reality, hoisting her up to the bunk bed.

 She reads Grimm's Fairy Tales, the bible, and Junie B Jones. She practices piano. At least an hour a day, she's reading, if she's not out in the yard wrangling chickens. She plays so sweetly with Ben, so patiently with Jane (most of the time) and miraculously remains oblivious to all the weird first grade girl drama swirling around her. If someone is "not kind" she decides she'd rather play with somebody else.

Her teacher told me the other day that Wren is "an incredibly honest kid" and it's true. We have our problems... most recently straddling that delicate line between -honest- and -kind- and learning to prioritize in various situations. Understanding something that your friend doesn't understand is a chance to be kind, before it's a chance to express your -honest- surprise that they don't get it.

But she'll get it, because she's gentle-hearted. She's so dear, and I'm so proud of her. I think 7 is going to be a really fun age with Wrennel.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

angel jane

At the Jane's school, the pre-k are the angel chorus for the Christmas Pageant. Friendly Beasts was her favorite song this year. She did an amazing job, of course. 

And I cried of course. 

Like I always do

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

christmas pictures

We didn't take that many pictures this Christmas, but looking back over my life as a parent, I realize that the things I document are things I am obviously much much more likely to remember. 

So I'm going to dig some of those paltry few pictures out of iphoto and stick them up here. And I'll do the same for the gifts I made. So I don't forget and give you the same thing next year.

These were little ornaments the girls made and decorated- a pack of clay from the craft store and the christmas cookie cutters. They stamped their names on one side, and painted (and glittered) the other. We punched a hole through the top and tied them to the presents. It was perfect because Wren could be all precise and exact and Jane could stamp whatever the hell she wanted and spray glitter in a 10 foot radius, and we ended up with a sack full of these. Cheap, engaging for both of them, good Advent calendar activity.  #woulddoagain.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentines day

I am feeling grateful for flowers and yarn and mud and enough sunshine to get the hens laying again. And I am also especially thankful hot running water and (once we get these sugared up mosters to bed), bourbon, and good pho places that deliver. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


Most of the information on broody hens out there is telling you how to get a hen to STOP being broody. We want some more chickens though, and we want to outsource the whole chicken multiplying operation to the chickens we currently have. Which means we need at least one of them to get broody.

Friends are happy to provide a short term rooster, but that won't help if we don't have a hen who wants to be a mama hen. I HAVE found a few suggestions- one said you should stick your hen on a stack of eggs, in a five gallon bucket, with wire on top, for 12 hours a day. This seems.. kind of mean? What kind of mother hen is that going to make?

Anyway, if anyone has any tips on convincing some freewheeling single ladies that they should allow the attentions of a fellow, be wooed, and subsequently embrace motherhood without pecking to death and eating their young... just... pass those on. We could use them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

rainy day crafting

Things have been a dark and low and overcast here - so gloomy and cool they're even selling ranunculus at Lowes. It's like torture for me, of course, since I desperately want a little English cottage garden, and I manage to resist temptation most of the year because that kind of flower can't get within 100 miles of central Texas with a bloom still intact. Except in February, apparently. When it looks so adorable and delicate and perfect and not like a single beam of mid June sunshine would kill it dead. 

Anyway, since I can't have my cute little cool weather flowers, I've decided I need some thrummed mittens. Bizarrely I've grown up to be the kind of person who 1. - wakes up wanting something like that? and 2. - has everything in the house to make them. What's that? Some raw wool roving? Yeah I think I saw some in the back of the hall closet. 16 year old Kate doesn't know whether to be impressed or disgusted. Mostly disgusted I guess. With everything. Except Goldeneye and Kid A. And cheetos. We both still love cheetos.

Also consoling me for the lack of a delicate cutting garden in my future is my flannel quilt. I finished this a week or so ago, and it's 1000 times warmer and cozier than your average blanket. I backed it in an old worn-soft flannel sheet, and tied it with wool (which fuzzed down to little blue pom-poms in the wash). The fabric is Anna Maria Horner, from my birthday two years ago, and I can see a line of gray Februaries stretching out before me, when I grab my gorgeous bright warm quilt off the stack of blankets and feel somewhat better.

So. Mittens and blankets are my current strategy. Also paying the library $40 (FORTY DOLLARS) for the missing read-a-long CD from Sheep in a Jeep and being able to check out hip high stacks of books again. How are you coping? I've heard good things about meth- anyone trying that? My teeth are already pretty bad.