Saturday, December 31, 2011

And In Conclusion

Forgive the blog silence - I have misplaced my camera. I had it on Christmas morning, but then haven't seen it since. Willow graciously lent me her camera so I would be able to finish out the blog for the year.

The year ends with some finished objects - some of these were Christmas presents, others just stuff I managed to finished between baking and not cleaning my house.

I wanted to give Andrew a hand-made gift for Christmas, and I even bought the yarn to make him a hat way back at the beginning of November... but with everything else going on, I didn't manage to cast on for the hat until two days before Christmas. I made a valiant effort, but the hat didn't get finished until Boxing Day.

Andrew's Ribbed Beanie:


The Particulars:
Pattern: Ribbed Beanie by Wooly Wormhead
Yarn: Knottiegirl Superwash Bulky Merino in Spruce
Needles: Size 9 bamboo 16" circulars and dpns
Would I make this pattern again? Sure - it was easy enough. I'm not terribly keen on the rippling edge - I think if I had knit the cast on rather than doing long tail, it would have been firmer. I also changed the decreases - I didn't like how the decreases ate up the purl columns on the first decrease, so I decreased on the last two knit stitches and left the purls intact until I had a 2x2 rib.


I also finished the first pair of socks of my own design - and as much as I like these socks, you can't see the lace pattern in the yarn. I might try knitting these up again in a solid or semi-solid and then I might publish it. These will be a gift for someone.


The Particulars:
Pattern: My own - unpublished.
Yarn: Unique Sheep Footprints in 'Chocolate Kiss.' I'm not sure where I got this yarn - it has been in my stash for a while.
Needles: Size 3 Harmony dpns. I rarely knit socks entirely on dpns, but my size 3 circulars were otherwise occupied.
Would I knit this pattern again? Yes - with some tweaks.

Incidentally - these are Willow's feet - at age 9 she has women's size 6 feet!

My second attempt at a cowl - I am still not sold on them for myself - this is the second one I have tried, and the second one that was meh on me. I like knitting them, however - round and round - makes lace easy.


The Particulars:
Pattern: Diamond Leaf Cowl by Mosaic Yarn Studio
Yarn: Loops and Threads Sante Fe Roving in Scarlet Stripes (discontinued yarn) - acrylic
Needles: Size 7 Knitpicks 16" Circular
Would I make this pattern again: Yes, but definitely in a less bloomy/fuzzy yarn next time. I was a little short - the pattern called for 4 repeats, but I ended up with 3.5 and then had to start the purl rounds to cast off. I am not sure who this is for - it doesn't look fabulous on me. Right now Willow and Piper just play with it. Any takers?


Some closing shots -

I know it looks like Piper doesn't have any hair in most of the pictures I post on this blog:


But I assure you, she does:


It all just resides at the back of her head. So far, her hair is stick straight - doesn't even curl when wet. This picture doesn't give a great idea of colour, but I think she may end up being a fair apricot/strawberry blonde when it finally comes in.

We were at the zoo today, and oddly enough, there was a melting ice sculpture in the middle of the picnic area:


There must have been a function the night before at the zoo - and as warm as it was today - in the mid-50s, there was still a lot of definition and sharp lines on the statue.

That's all, folks - 2011 has been an exciting, stressful, game-changer of a trip. Let's hope things calm down in 2012 - I have enough plans of my own I want to accomplish.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cinderella Intermission

Willow and Piper were putting on a performance of Cinderella - Willow, of course, was Cinderella (in her Pocahontas costume), and Piper was the Fairy Godbaby. Willow's dolls played the Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters. See how the cat has the best seat in the house from the playard? And I would like to say that I didn't 'drop' Piper. I was supposed to hold her until it was her scene... but the squirmy baby had other ideas.

Piper and The Ill-fated Bacon

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Finished Object: Simple Yet Effective Cowl

I've managed to finish up a few small projects recently - but hadn't had a chance to take pictures of them (and some of them are intended as Christmas presents, so you won't see them until Christmas!) until today.

Here is Willow modeling my Simple Yet Effective Cowl:


Which easily transforms into a ponytail hat:


The Particulars:

Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Cowl
Yarn: Lion Brand Amazing (lost tag with colour/lot number) - less than 1 skein
Needles: Size 5 bamboo circulars (16")
Would I knit this pattern again? Absolutely - it's very easy, and after the first few rounds I didn't even worry about toting around the pattern anymore. And while I am pleased with how the stripes worked up, I wouldn't use this yarn again for this project. The cowl itself is a little stiff (although it did benefit from a trip through the washer and dryer).

And can I say I love the top picture of Willow? We got around her natural squinty/eyes closed propensity with the sunglasses, but I have to say I am a little disconcerted at how grown up she looks. It is even more startling when I look at my Ravelry projects page and see the progression of Willow from about age 3 until now. Where has the time gone?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And, Scene!

The last day of November. Truthfully, it wasn't hard to blog every day in November. No, Dad, that doesn't mean I will be keeping it up. My life is just not that interesting for that! I really didn't get into a Thanksgiving post this year since that was the day of my 1000th Blogpost Contest, but I wanted to leave you with a few things I am thankful for.

1. My two beautiful girls. They make me laugh every day and I truly feel blessed to be their mother.

2. My husband. I don't know if it comes across in the blog, but I can be an awful bitch at times. Andrew loves me, warts and all.

3. My family. Everyone from my family far away to my inlaws close by. I know I have your support and I feel I can talk to you about anything.

4. My job. I don't talk much about my work here, but suffice to say, my job is fun and intellectually challenging and it is a place I enjoy going to each weekday.

5. Knitting. It's calming, interesting, soft, colorful - I just need to find a way to keep Piper out if it now that she is mobile!

6. My Nook Color. I didn't know it would be so much fun - I probably play on it more right now than read - but I love it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sleepy Piper Courtesy of Willow


I gave Willow my old digital camera when I received my new one three years ago, and I am amazed at some of the shots she comes up with. Then there is the volume. Willow and Andrew went to the Brandywine Zoo on Sunday, and she managed to take 66 photos in the 45 minutes they were there. Thank heavens for digital cameras! This would be an expensive hobby if she had a 35mm like I did growing up.

Monday, November 28, 2011

On the Floor

Piper loves it when someone gets down on the floor while she is playing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And We Have A Winner!

When all was said and done, we had nine people enter my 1000th Blogpost Contest, and the random number generator chose:

Number 5, my friend Megan! Check out Megan's blog - she just had a baby girl herself, and in the last two years she has moved from the Northwest Territories in Canada to Australia.

This is Megan's comment:

Here is the link to the post Megan liked best. I can't get over how young Willow looks in those photos!

Megan - email me at jochibi AT yahoo dot com and we can discuss how we will do your gift card - since you are in Australia you may want to do this a little differently. Congratulations!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feeding Piper

Spaghetti Piper

Piper eating dinner tonight

Feeding Piper is an interesting experience.  She's not quite 10 months old, but has categorically refused any baby purees for the last month.  She wants what you are eating, plain and simple.  And don't even think about coming near her with a spoon - she will knock it out of your hands lickety-split.  She doesn't care if you are eating spicy food - I've had her screaming at me as I quickly scraped the sauce off our salsa chicken, and then watched in amazement as she stuffed it in her mouth with two hands.  It gets to be a bit of a challenge at times because not everything we eat is baby-friendly.  Not counting Piper nursing or having a bottle, this is Piper's menu today:

* Apple Strawberry Puffs
* Pancake (with butter and a tiny bit of syrup)
* Teething Biscuit

* Cheddar Cheese Cubes
* Ritz Crackers
* Banana Slices
* Cooked Baby Carrots
* Leftover Turkey

* Mini Penne with Meat Sauce
* Cooked Broccoli

Add in the fact that she has been eating Cheerios all day - oh my - at this point I think we should buy stock in General Mills!  She positively bounces as soon as she sees the yellow box.  It's funny because I think Cheerios are awfully blah - Andrew thinks it is the texture she likes.  Willow was just eating a 100 calorie snack bag of Doritos and Piper just freaked out because we wouldn't give her any.

Some foods Piper likes: salmon, barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, stuffing, cheese, beets, asparagus, broccoli, butternut squash, Gerber Baby Cheesies, Cheerios, scrambled  eggs, yogurt, bananas, shredded meats (i.e., salsa chicken, pork chops from crockpot, pot roast, etc.)

Some foods Piper does not like: green beans, cauliflower, sugar cookies (not sure what was up with that - she wanted nothing to do with the sugar cookie)

Does anyone have any ideas of more foods I can introduce to Piper?  When we went to her 9 month appointment a few weeks ago, I was cautioned against giving her fish, shellfish, peanut butter, eggs, etc. until she hit 2 years old.  Well, scratch that - she has already had salmon and scrambled eggs multiple times, so I am not going to stop now.  I don't think she has a nut allergy because we eat peanut butter and nuts in this house all the time and she hasn't shown any reaction.  I would love suggestions for family meals so I don't have to prepare something separate for Piper.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy 1000th Blogpost To Me!

(and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone else!)


Lucky and Piper *not* getting in trouble - although it looks like something is brewing.

Okay, here are the details of my 1000th blogpost contest:

In the Comments section, give the URL of your favourite blog entry of mine, and tell me why you liked it. But there is a catch - you can't list an URL that someone else has already provided.  Please leave all contest entries here and not on Facebook.  So, your contest entry should look something like this:

I liked this blogpost because of the beautiful yarn I dyed. I wish I had time to do that again.

Easy enough, right? Now onto the prize - once all the entries are in, I will have a random drawing, and the winner will get a $20 gift certificate. I will close the contest on Sunday, November 27th at 12 noon EST. Good luck - and I can't wait to see the entries!

ETA: I have to approve all blog comments, so if someone claims an entry first and you haven't seen it in the comments section, I will let you know (if I know how to contact you) that you need to pick another entry.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WiP It Wednesday

Here it is, people - my 999th post. Are you ready for the contest tomorrow?

I've had a few days off prior to Thanksgiving, so I have been watching lots of television I missed the first time around on Netflix and knitting up a storm. People were curious why I sent my girls to daycare when I had the time off... Well, mostly people who don't have kids ask that question. I love my girls terribly - but I really needed some quiet time. I went to coffee shops, had lattes, tried on some pants in the department store (bah humbug), and hung out at my LYS. In any case, here is what I have been working on this week:


Rosy Diamond Leaf Cowl (Rav Link). I'm almost done this one - only about 1.25 more repeats to go.


My own pattern socks. I think I am going to try these again with a solid or semi-solid and then write up the pattern. There is some openwork involved, but the stripes in the yarn disguise the lace. These two very much fraternal twins, aren't they?

I have to tell you - this photoshoot took much longer than anticipated because my assistant was a little too helpful:


And Cristi - I bet your Dad never thought he was creating baby toys when he was making sock forms, did he?


Piper was pushing them around as if they were toy cars - and even know as I look over at her she is carrying one of the feet around.

And Tara - I have the yarn for your slouchy hat:


Now to get started!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just For Bezzie

I make no claims that my children are picture-perfect. This is the cheeky grin that usually pops out when I whip out the camera:


And you all know about my tribulations with Willow closing her eyes for photos... which is why I was so amazed with the portrait. The photographer offered to take some extra shots of Willow - but I had turned him down because Willow had already had her pictures taken at her school a few weeks prior. I wish I had taken him up on it now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh My Lord

I have beautiful children.

Willow and Piper 001

For the first time ever, I think I might end up buying more photos rather than ending up with scads of leftovers. I really didn't know how well this sibling photo at Piper's daycare was going to work out, so I just ordered a small test package. I'm so pleased with the result!


Coincedentally enough, my 1000th post will happen on Thanksgiving Day. Stay tuned for the contest - some research will be required!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ever Have Those Days Where You Feel Like You Have Hit A Brick Wall



How about a brick wall in a tree? I saw this tree in Old New Castle last week when I was a chaperone for Willow's field trip.

Back to the brick wall. I seem to have so many days of two steps forward, one step back of late. Sometimes it seems more like two steps forward, three steps back. The combination of uneven sleep patterns, an unpredictable baby, uncertainty in my daily life, the holidays, and other things. I want to get excited about Christmas but the feeling just isn't there yet.  Last night I had a dream that I found two empty rooms in my house that I didn't previously know about - a living room and bedroom - and I was so excited to have two empty rooms all to myself.  Perhaps it was just my subconscious expressing its need for quiet and solitude and order - all things in short order of late.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Love My Kitty

Piper and Lucky shared a snack this afternoon. Well, the sharing wasn't intentional - it was more like the cat cleaning up after Piper didn't eat all of her cheese. I just wanted to show you how tolerant Lucky is of Piper (and forgive the living room - this is after a few hours of playing):

We really lucked out (no pun intended) with this cat. When we adopted him, he had no backstory - we had no idea where he was found, how he would react to other animals or children. He does have his faults - he sleeps in the basement at night for good reason - he thinks everyone should wake up and love him at 3am. Wait a second, Piper does that, too...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tara, I Tried!

Some days the kids cooperate with the picture-taking...






Not so much.


I even tried taking a video, but Piper wasn't interested in playing along with that, either.

Thank you for Piper's stocking - we love it! I think Willow is a bit envious - but then I reminded her that she normally has so much stocking overflow at Christmas that there ends up being two stockings anyway. Now I need to think of some cool things to put in a to-be 11 month old's stocking!

(And if anyone has any clues as to how I can put my videos right side up, I'd love to hear it. I can do it with Willow's camera (my old 5MP digital camera), but not with my digital camera. The rotate buttons are greyed out for videos.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zombies Freak Me Out

I love my Color Nook. I received a Nook 1st Edition from my work last year, and to be honest, I didn't know what to do with it. I *like* paper books. I started actively using the Nook 1st Edition after Piper was born - it was amazing to be able to read when I had to be up 3-4 times in the middle of the night and buy new books with just one hand - one thumb, even!

But then I started to play with the Nook Color in Barnes and Noble, and fell in love with the apps and Touchy Books and Pandora radio, and the sheer mini-tabletness of it all! I have a netbook, but I have to go through the motions of turning that on, connecting to the internet, etc... but with my Nook Color, it is always on - there is no need to turn it off. And one of my favourite things to do, especially in the middle of the night, is to browse the Barnes and Noble Nook Bookstore. I love that you can look at one book, which will recommend another book, etc., etc., etc.

But that is where the zombies come in. One of my favourite escapist genres to read is urban fantasy - you know, tough chicks, vampires, witches, werewolves. I'm skipping from one book recommendation to another, and it takes me to a zombie book.

Zombies freak me out.

I don't get it. I love reading paranormal stuff, but this shit freaks me out... especially this one. Hell, there are even zombie romance novels, zombie comedic novels, and zombie teen novels. Make them go away!

Andrew tried to get me to watch The Walking Dead with him when the show first appeared on AMC, but even the screenshots of that gave me the heebie-jeebies. I think it all comes from being peer-pressured into watching Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things at at sleepover as a child... zombies freak me out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paging Stephanie!


Last month we flew up to New Hampshire to visit our friends, Peter, Charlotte, and Walter. The second day we were there we went to a Fall Festival in a nearby town, and we bought some cupcakes from a local bakery - and they had their own cupcake truck! I love how the cupcakes are on display in the window. I had to take a picture for my friend, Stephanie, who - in my humble opinion - bakes and decorates some damn fine cupcakes. We have ordered them for Willow's birthday for the last two years, and I would have ordered them for my birthday as well had I been thinking straight. My birthday kind of snuck up on me this year. I bought a salted caramel cupcake from the Cupcake Queen, and it was very tasty!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

39 Things About Me On My 39th Birthday

1. My favourite pizza has bacon, pineapple, mushrooms, onions, and extra cheese.

2. I have been knitting for 10 years now.

3. The older I get, the more ambivalent I get about cooking.

4. I would rather bake.

5. I fear we will never get a dog because Andrew and I will never agree on the size of the dog.

6. For a Canadian who has only lived in the US for 13 years, I've been to 30 states.

7. I make a mean mojito - I've even had a Cuban tell me so.

8. My eyes are changing colour as I get older - lighter and a greener/hazel.


People used to say my eyes matched the red-brown of my hair.

9. I have better than perfect vision - 20/10, but if I'm tired, I can't focus my eyes and then have to wear glasses.

10. There are only 3 authors I buy in hardcover right now: Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, and S.M. Stirling.

11. My feet have grown a half size with each child.

12. I would rather watch documentaries than network television.

13. I believe in ghosts.

14. The only thing I can successfully grow in the garden are little tomatoes - cherry and grape.

15. I'm a pen whore.

16. I don't wear make up unless my picture will be taken.

17. I have subscriptions to many magazines (National Geographic, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, Creative Knitting, Canadian Living, Taste of Home...) and most of them were gifts to me.

18. I read magazines while I exercise because I can't just walk/run/cycle with only my MP3 player.

19. A few years ago I read more than 100 books in that year... and yet I have more unread books than read ones in my house.

20. I love riding my bicycle, but seldom have the opportunity to do so.

21. I never thought I would love knitting socks as much as I do.

22. I love listening to covers - sometimes an interpretation is much better than the original.

23. I like wearing aprons when I am preparing food.

24. I put peanut butter and brown sugar in my steel cut oatmeal.

25. My kids crack me up.

26. I'm not a pleasant person in the morning before my first cup of coffee.

27. I drink Starbucks' Yukon Blend every morning.

28. I have more stitches on my head than anywhere else on my body.

29. I'm allergic to real Christmas trees, so we have a pre-lit artificial one.

30. I wish I played a musical instrument - I took piano and violin lessons as a child, but none of them took.

31. I love mint-scented bath products.

32. I love road trips.

33. I'm horrible at Monopoly - I lose interest very quickly.

34. I want to go rock-hunting for semi-precious stones.

35. I love being snowed in (as long as I'm prepared for it!).

36. I want to live near the shore - but only in the off-season.

37. I could eat grilled cheese sandwiches every day.

38. My hair looks like the Bride of Frankenstein's in the morning.

39. I like odd-numbered years better than even, so I'm happy to turn 39.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Willow Cleopatra


Willow has a thing for Cleopatra - I'm not even really sure where this began, but she has been fascinated with Egyptian history and mythology since she was 3 or 4 years old. When she was that little, I just couldn't stand watching children's programming ad nauseum, so I made her a deal. We could watch one of her shows, then we would switch to one of mine, then back to her - so she definitely had her fair share of documentaries in her formative years. Earlier this year she wrote her Grade 3 biography book report on Cleopatra, she watched the Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra movie, and she had even intended to be Cleopatra for Halloween until the whole Renn Faire thing came along. I was in Target the day after Halloween, and I found one last Cleopatra costume (half-price!) in the next size up (or so I thought). I had intended for her to be able to use it next year, but at the rate she is growing, it might just end up being playclothes. Sigh... a scant 6 inches separates us now and she is closing in fast.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiber Friday


Short and sweet - Andrew bought me this sock yarn at the Pennsylvania Renn Faire - they have a daily sheep to shawl and do demonstrations on how to dye yarn, spin, etc. I'm curious what they would do if I showed up in costume with knitting in hand...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Random Moment With Willow


Willow eating steak on a stake at the Renn Faire.

Willow: What's a psychic medium, Mom?

Me: It's somebody who thinks that they can talk to ghosts and do supernatural things.

Willow: They're flodds, right?

Me: (Huh?!!?) Not sure what you mean.

Willow: Flodds.

Me: (Flaweds?) Um..

Willow: You know, they scam people.

Me: Oh! Frauds! I guess some of them are, but I do think some people are sensitive to stuff like that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Serenade for Carrie

Back when Willow was little - maybe two years old, my friend Carrie gave us a little toy electric organ that her son had outgrown. Willow was enamoured of it and would play it all the time. Last weekend I found it in the basement along with some of Willow's old toys, so I cleaned it up, put new batteries in it, and brought it back upstairs. I swear that Willow thought I had brought it up for her! Piper loves it - she's a regular little Elton John with her hammering and singing. She has even figured out how to make the organ play by itself and she bounces along with it.

Carrie - thank you for entertaining both of my girls!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sleep, Or Lack Of It

Piper2 001

Sadly, this is the normal state of affairs in our house. Piper doesn't sleep well - and as you can see from the book I am reading on the right, we have resorted to reading a book to learn how to get Piper to sleep through the night. In many ways we were spoiled with Willow - she slept through the night from 4 months on. Piper. Well. For example, Saturday night we had a Guy Fawkes party, and I ended up putting Piper to bed around 8pm. She was up at 10pm, 11:15pm, 12:00am, 2:30am, and then 4:30am. So much for grabbing that extra hour of sleep. Then she will switch it up and give us a good night - like last night when she went to bed at 8:30pm and slept until nearly 4am. Our bodies feel a bit haywire right now because you just never know what you are going to get from night to night.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Wasn't Prepared For This


I clearly didn't think this out terribly well when Andrew and I decided to have another child. Of course, we never intended for there to be a nearly 9 year age gap between the two - but at times that has served us very well - Willow is a great short-term babysitter if I need a shower, am cooking dinner, or am down in the basement doing laundry. Other times, like tonight, not so much. I guess what I never took into consideration was how these two children's needs could be going in complete opposite directions at one time. Willow's biography book report is due tomorrow, and she did a fabulous job and learned quite a bit about Amelia Earhart. Last night as I was putting stuff away, I read through the rubric, and noticed that the instructions say that the project must be handwritten in cursive or typed. What had Willow done? Printed the entire project out by hand. Gah! So, she had to painstakingly erase (it was a poster where you had to populate in bits about the person's life) then re-write bits in cursive, and then type the rest. Which meant I had to help her by proofreading the typing and help with the spelling. Piper had a problem with all of this. Piper is teething hardcore, sleeping scant amounts of time, doesn't want to eat - is a big crankypants in general right now. I'm trying to help Willow, but Piper is being a little clingy monkey who capped it off by vomiting. Great...

So, I left Willow to her devices, took Piper upstairs and bathed her. I came downstairs and Piper and I played for a bit while Willow finished up. Andrew got home and was able to take over Piper while I helped Willow with her formatting. Her project is done - and all's well that ends well. And I am exhausted.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fantasy House at French Creek Beach


It doesn't look real, does it? Andrew snapped this picture during the summer when we were up on Vancouver Island. We took a day trip to the west coast of the Island to French Creek beach. It's a little blurry because Andrew had the camera on extreme zoom. I would love to live in this house and be able to see the ocean like this every day. I bet it is a spectacular place to be in a storm. I would love a house with a turret one day.

The ocean itself was misty, and Andrew really liked the idea that you couldn't see anything in the distance - that if you kept going, you would eventually hit Japan.


The mist eventually cleared up, and the sky was crystal clear until some fighter jets started doing manueuvers above us. They were pretty high up and I couldn't figure out just what was making the circle in the sky at first.


I've often thought that I would like to live in an isolated place like this. The idea of living in a lighthouse appeals to me - I watched a program a while back about lighthouses in the U.K. - how so many of them are automated and no longer need human caretakers - of if they do, just a person who comes in once a week to check on the computers and clean things up. That depresses me a bit, but it was also heartening to see that many of these lighthouses had been converted into small hotels and B&Bs. I think in this time of being able to order virtually anything off the internet that living in an isolated place would not be nearly as stressful or desolate as it once may have been.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Unfinished Business

Do you ever have that dream - that anxiety-ridden dream - where you have a test to take and you know you haven't studied, or gone to any of the classes.  Or another variation where it is the first day of school but you don't have your schedule and you don't know where any of your classes are?

I don't have those dreams so much anymore.  Perhaps I have come to the 'I really don't care' part, or perhaps my subconscious trusts that I wouldn't do anything like that (anymore).  But I do frequently dream about things left undone in Japan.

Cosmo 001

Me, circa Autumn 1997 in a cosmos field in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Andrew and I lived in Japan for three years.  It was a heady time for us - newly adult, I suppose. We met in Japan, both having just graduated from university on the (ahem) five-year plan.  We were teaching English at an eikawa (English Conversation School), and we had a blast.  This was pre-law school, pre-children, pre-mortgage... We traveled, we learned the customs and language, and made wonderful life-long friends. We drank a lot of Japanese beer from vending machines. So, I am not sure why I have this recurring dream that something is unfinished.  In my dreams I have to go back to Japan for some reason, but it never is clear what that reason is.  I'm fretting because we have to bring the kids there as well and I am not sure how we are going to have them go to school.  I go back to my school in Katsutadai, but no one knows who I am.  It's all very curious.  I would love to travel back there one day to visit friends and see more of the country - there may have to be a lottery win at some point for that to happen

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why Yes, That Is A Piece Of Salmon

... behind my baby's ear.


Piper had an interesting response to the salmon. She shoved it in her mouth, made a face, then spat it out. I thought to myself that she will be like Andrew, who absolutely abhors salmon (in contrast to Willow and me, who would eat it three nights a week if we could). But she kept going for it and eating more - so I wonder if the spitting was more about the new and different texture rather than any dislike for the taste. In any case, the cat was more than happy to clean up after her once she was done, and ohmylord she needed a bath. How did she get salmon in her eyebrows, down her shirt, and behind her ear?

I was wondering if anyone had any foods that it took them a while to like. I never really bought into the idea of a 'learned taste,' but I do think that there can be foods that you don't like prepared a certain way, and if that was the only way you ever had them you would think you didn't like it. Then one day the food is prepared a different way and all of a sudden you think this is delicious and why didn't I like this before? Andrew, for example, though fish sticks were disgusting - and so like salmon - was a dish that Willow and I would have when we knew he wouldn't be home for dinner. Then one night I made fish tacos for dinner using fish sticks, and he gobbled it down and then had another. Yay fish tacos! They are easy to make and everyone in the house likes them. As for me, it was bell peppers. I only ever remember having cooked peppers as a child, and have horrid memories of being made to eat them when they were the only thing left in my bowl. It wasn't until I was an adult that I had them raw in a salad, and I couldn't believe how sweet and crunchy they were.

For this reason, I have a rule with Willow - and will enforce with Piper when she is older - you have to try something prepared three different ways before you can say you don't like it and don't have to eat it anymore. Willow is up to two with beets (cold and sliced, and roasted). I'm struggling to find a third option that may sway her - but I'm willing to wait it out.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

WiP It Wednesday

Welcome to the Land of Unfinished Objects... Er, I mean Works-in-Progress.

Jo's Simple Yet Effective Cowl:


Christmas Clapo-ktus (Rav Link) Yeah, try saying that 10x fast!


Another Little Sister Dress for Piper:


Piper's Confection Shrug (Rav link):


Jo's socks (my own design - don't get excited - it's nothing fancy)


Willow's Langston (Rav link) sweater:


Maybe at this point someone needs to tell me to stop starting things and damn well finish something...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

An Extra Blogpost!

Come on, you know you are excited.  When I wrote my blogpost this morning, the 11/1 prompt had not been posted on the NABloPoMo website, and just now when I was checking on the blogroll, I noticed it was up.

What is your favourite part about writing?

The words!  Okay, I don't mean to be facetious here, but I have a degree in Linguistics for good reason.  I was one of those little kids who read dictionaries and encyclopedias for the fun of it.  I love stringing words together, creating turn of phrases - just the sheer rhythm and musicality of it all.  This runs into my love of reading as well - one of the best things about having children is being able to read aloud to them.  I defy anyone not to have have fun reading something like Skippyjon Jones aloud - Willow and I still love finding these books and reading them.

It's That Time Again - NaBloPoMo

I know my blogging has been scant and piss-poor of late. I am not sure what to say - two kids is more work than I ever thought it would be, especially when their needs are at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. However, it is that time again - NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, where you try to complete a blogpost every day. I can tell right now that this will be more of a struggle for me this year than in previous years, but I am game. The added incentive for me is that if I can accomplish this, I will hit 1000 blogposts by the end of the month. There may even be a prize in there somewhere if I hit 1000... In the meantime, here is a picture of Piper destroying her Kraft dinner:


The kid is pretty much refusing to eat baby purees now - she wants what you are eating, period. We had salsa chicken last week - it's a crockpot dish made with chicken breasts, salsa, cream of chicken soup, taco seasoning - with a dollop of sour cream added in at the end. Not terribly spicy for an adult, but it would have a bit of a bite for a child. She was relentless - she wanted some NOW. So, I scraped off as much sauce as I could, shredded the chicken - and she had it down her gullet and was screaming for more before I had another bite in my own mouth. Do you have any idea how long it took for me to not have Willow whining every time we had something remotely spicy - she even objected to simple salt and pepper!! I'm taking no chances with this Piper - we're going to try a mild curry next week and see what happens...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Renn Faire Ramblings (or how we accidentally went to Harrisburg)

We had to go back to the PA Renn Faire one last time before it closed for the season. We had enjoyed ourselves so much on our first trip that we bought cheap return tickets to use at a later point in the season. And this time, Willow dressed up!


Costume courtesy of her Grandmother. Willow is seriously one lucky girl - out of the nine Halloween costumes she has had in her life, seven of them were handmade by Grandmother. This time she was a Renaissance girl, complete with a purple velvet cloak - no doubt influenced by our last trip here, because prior to that, Willow had intended to be Cleopatra for Halloween.

This time we decided to take in more of the shows and activities at the Renn Faire (as opposed to all the window shopping we did last time), and this resulted in an active day for Willow. Not only did she ride an elephant for the first time in her life:


I don't think Andrew believed me when I said I have done this before. We used to go to the Vancouver Game Farm (apparently now called the Greater Vancouver Zoo) almost every year as a field trip as kids, and I rode an elephant there as a child.

Willow also got to be a circus performer with Tribal Circus:


They had her hold the spinning plate on a pole, which was very cool... and then they started juggling bowling pins around her:


You should have seen Willow's face - she went from being so chuffed to being on stage to absolutely terrified that these pins are spinning around her! This circus performance was my favourite part of the day - these two were great performers, and they even pulled Andrew up on stage, to his mortification. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that because he had the camera in his pocket when he went up there.


He had to help Shelly up to her ring in the air by boosting her up. he went to lift her from the waist and she took his hands and put them on her bottom to lift her better. Poor Andrew - he was so red!

Willow even got to meet the queen after the children's costume contest:


My poor, competitive, child - she was upset that no one actually 'won' the contest - all the children who participated received a medallion from the queen. We can't wait until next year to go back.  Maybe next year I will be able to whip up a costume of my own. I could so rock the corset...

(Oh - and the Harrisburg part?  We are driving on the PA Turnpike.  The Renn Faire is on exit 266.  I give Andrew the 2 mile notice.  Then the 1 mile notice.  I start digging in my purse for the toll, and look up and Andrew is passing exit 266...  Words were said.  Maybe angry words.  We had to drive to the next turnpike exit - 20 miles away - at Harrisburg to get off and turn around to come back.  It's a good thing there is good beer at the Renn Faire.)