Monday, June 25, 2012

What's on Your Needles/Hooks

What are you working on this summer? I've been knitting away on a secret test knit that you guys will love when it comes out, so I can't share those pictures just yet. I've also been knitting away on my Central Park Hoodie and crocheting a flower wreath, a Unique Sheep block blanket, and my forever project of the Babette blanket. With any luck, I'll have pictures to show you within a week or two of finished versions of the CPH and block blanket. SO close on those projects!

For the time being, I thought I'd share my Babette progress. I took it out from hibernation the other day and decided that I WILL get it done by end of this summer. It is just too pretty not to have it done and in use. Kennedy agreed with me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy 11 & 2 Years!

Today is our 11 year wedding anniversary. It is also nephew R's 2nd birthday. Two special guys in my life!

Holding my blogging tradition for our anniversary, here are 11 things that I love about PK from the last year...

1. Every time I felt discouraged about designing he would tell me some encouraging words. Almost without fail, after a pep talk from him I would receive an acceptance letter or get a feature online. He is ALWAYS supportive of everything I do...and he's a good luck charm!

2. He loves both of our dogs, but he is a real sucker for our girl dog. I cannot count the number of times in the last 12 months that I've gone in to find her curled up in his lap while he curves his arms around her to keep typing on the computer. He turns from a grown man into a softie when she goes over to him. It is such a display of his kind heart.

3. There are lots of memories in the last year of Patrick with our nephews and niece. In honor of R's bday, I'll go with an example of Uncle Patrick with R. R has his own babble language and usually just chats to himself as he plays along. But when Uncle P is around, they will have full on conversations. They both will then toss their heads back in laughter like the best joke in the world was told. I love how he puts smiles on all of the kids faces.

4. I've been exposed to lots of guys who don't help around the house, follow traditional gender roles, complain about spending time with their wife/family. This is 100% NOT what PK is about. He is always there to help out with anything. I'm thankful every day for finding such a great guy. I mean THANK GOD!!!! I don't have the patience for the other attitudes!

5. Speaking of patience...Patrick is one of the most caring people I've ever known. He'll do anything for a friend. When I wanted to go be with a friend during her hubby's surgery, Patrick took the day off work and went to sit with us. And, it doesn't end with friends/family. He constantly helps strangers with a door or if they dropped something or helping an elderly lady stand up during a church service. She said it best, "You are a treasure." I couldn't agree more!

6. PK is a hard worker. He works a full time job with long hours, teaches a class at a university, and is a published author. In the last year he has written 2.5 books. More importantly than being a hard worker, the thing I've noticed in the last year is that he enjoys what he is doing right now. He's happy and I see the difference it makes in the lives of those with whom he works/teaches/communicates with. On top of making a difference at work, he knows how to leave work "at work" and have fun. I'm so proud of the accomplishments he has achieved over the past year, but I'm most proud that he is happy.

7. We laugh every single day. Bad days and good days...we laugh. One of my favorite memories of laughing in the last year was the crawfish party. He stopped on the way back from the remote office to Meg's house and bought all the decorations and eats. It was such a fun night.

8. This past year, Patrick has re-connected with his love of comics and science fiction...even writing a novel that is REALLY good. He is so incredibly dedicated to his passion of writing. Up early in the morning to write before work. Sticking to a rigorous schedule to achieve his writing dreams. I love his dedication and know that some day lots of people will fall in love with his fiction work. I enjoy reading his novels and seeing how our life influences surface in his characters.

9. Okay, this one isn't an event for just the 11th year, but oh your eyes!

10. We enjoy the fall weather of carving pumpkins and all that joy. I love how PK can play around like a kid. I hope that we always stay feeling and acting young...and taking silly self portraits.


And finally, a VERY happy birthday to nephew R. We love you more than words can say!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

J & E Visit: Part II

As I was downloading some pictures of knitting/crochet projects, I found another round of photos from J & E's visit. These include the action shots of the Soap Mud project and a few other snapshots, so I thought I'd share.

I found this shot that Uncle Patrick caught while they were baking cookies. J was curious about Patrick's Star Wars cup. I can only imagine that conversation!

I used a cheese grater to turn three bars of soap into shredded soap. Then I let J pull apart the tp. He was a little confused by being told it was okay to rip it apart. (I hope Meg doesn't find rolls of tp torn up around the house now!) We only used about 20 squares for our give you an idea if you plan to whip this up.

J poured in the warm water using the watering can so that we avoided spills a bit better.

E really got into it. She played for about 25 minutes in the soap mud.

J decided that we needed to make Frosty out of it. 
Here is Soap Frosty with raisin eyes and a tomato for a hat. 

Her hair cracked me up! She looks like she is in total shock here. Love it!

Being a ham for the camera...

Napping with giraffe now that she was all fixed up...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Visit from Nephew J and Niece E

Last weekend into the early part of the week, we had two little visitors at our house (and the dogs were "on vacation" at the kennel). J and E came to stay from Saturday noon until Tuesday morning. We both had lots of fun with the kids and I hope they enjoyed it, too. I realized well into the visit that it had been since high school when I watched two kids this young at one time. (Of course, some of those times were watching my many many many many cousins while the parents went wherever. As one of the oldest cousins I was in charge of basically making sure no one died. That wasn't as easy as you think, either. One of them almost flew off a carnival ride and I held her in with my foot until I got the guy to stop!)

Anyway, back to J and E. We did all kinds of things (thanks to the Target $1 bin, Michaels kids activities, and Pinterest).  It is a long post, but it was also a long fun visit!

He played in the little kid pool and used the butterfly sprinklers to water the plants!

We cute an orange in half, cleaned it out, put some string through it, and filled it with bird seed, cheerios, and a cracker. Then we hung it in the pear tree and checked it every day to see what they ate. We took a tour of the bird houses in the back yard and read some books that J picked out with Uncle Patrick on his trip to the library. He was very amazed by the eggs and nests since he got to see them up close first. On his last day here, while Ella was asleep, we were out back making a Welcome Home sign for momma and pappa. A red-winged black bird flew up very near us and started eating. J pointed and said very quietly "look at the red-winged black bird!" He was very excited to see the cracker 100% gone from his bird feeder.

Of course, we had to eat some Cheerios along the way...

While we made the bird feeder, E enjoyed some milk and crackers with her doll. Thank the high heaven for that doll and cup. It got us through the first day. She had a rough day adjusting to the change from home, to grandma's house, to our house. Very confusing for her, but she pulled through it all. She was SUPER attached to me (and was to Grandma and Aunt Katie during her visits with them). I think my left arm can probably lift more weight at the gym now!

When we read the bird book, we looked at a hummingbird and talked about how Grandma has these in her yard. We talked about how fast the move their wings. You can see J's interpretation and E's reaction. So cute!

On their last day here, J turned to me and said, "I just love my sister." So sweet!

We made (what I termed) leprechaun grapes. This was a Pinterest recipe of sugar free 10 calorie lime jello poured over grapes. Shake and serve. He thought they were magic and had fun putting it together and eating them. He even shared them with Aunt Katie when she came for a visit.

My favorite E photo from her visit. I dressed her in a little outfit I picked up along the way and she gave me a snuggle. So glad Uncle Patrick caught this one.

J rode his bike, Patrick and I walked, and E rode in the stroller to the park on Sunday morning. I thought we would go in the morning when it was supposed to be cooler. was hot as blazes! Being terrified that they would get sun burned and Meg would kill me, I kept lathering them up. They were caked in it! But, we made it to the park with only one slight melt down about a leg cramp and one freak out moment when a rodent ran in front of me on the nature path to the park. I managed, for the first time in my life, not to scream so that E wasn't freaked out, but I did book it up to where J and Patrick were.

Uncle Patrick demonstrating how to go across the bars and that a 41-year-old can still play, too. E just kicked back and watched it all in the shade. We started off fully dressed with a hat, two socks, and two shoes. Ummmm....1 mile later she had pulled them all off!

J goes across the bars and gets a refreshing drink before the mile back home.

My favorite picture of J...So cute watching them go along the path...told you it was nature filled!!!

At the park we had to first board the "ship" to the "north pole" according to J. Then, we could head home. He was such a trooper. They are from such an active family that I didn't think about it tiring him out until we got back and he complained of his legs hurting. I made the poor kid bike two miles in high heat. Bad aunt! On the positive side, they both slept great that night!

Here we are the last day making soap mud. I found this on Pinterest, too. She used glitter in her recipe, but I opted for just the grated soap and torn up toilet paper. (I'll post a special post just about this at some point as I got some great action shots not shown here.) I have to say that E (who is 14 months) REALLY enjoyed this activity. I let her pull apart some tp, play with the spoon, and stir the mud. It only took one instance of "tasting" and she understood it wasn't food! AND, they smelled great after this fun time.

Okay, these are super blurry, I know. But, I had to share because some of my favorite moments with the kids involved music. I rocked E to sleep for naps and each night. I don't really remember many kid songs. So after about 50 rounds of a song I made us using her name, I switched to Sweet Child of Mine. She LOVED it. I was thinking to myself that it works really well as a lullaby if you skip the where do we go now lines. I'm sure GnR would be thrilled! The next day, while E was napping in the morning, J wanted to play music, instruments, and dance. Here he is playing a "guitar" to some Mellencamp, I'm Yours, and Bruno Mars. (He loved Bruno, btw.) I was carefully selecting each song on the iPod to avoid all my Explicit Lyric songs. He wanted Row Row Row Your Boat and when I said I didn't have kid music because I don't have kids, he looked at me and said, "Yes you do. You have me!" I almost cried it was so sweet. When they were preparing to leave and Meg told him all the great kid music they could listen to in the car, he divulged that he liked Aunt Gina's music better. A little rock star in the making. Maybe when I can barely walk, he will cart me along to hear some bands.

Well, that's all for today. I am sure there are other pictures and stories I missed from their visit. OH...J did ask how the yarn and needles worked (his "room" was my yarn studio). I showed him how and the kid knitted a row of 10 stitches! He's 3.5!