The Sweater in Use.

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I love it love it.  And the best part of all, she does too!  Of course, now the other girls want one.  Oh my poor hands.

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I've got another sweater in the works for my sweet peach.  Photos soon (fingers crossed).  And the name of the yarn color?  Pop rocks!  Is that perfect or what?


Too Soon Seven

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Really.  Wasn't it just yesterday I wrote about her sixth birthday?  Sometimes I'm just sick about how fast time goes by.  I wish, sometimes, that I could convey this somehow to all the new parents out there that can't wait for their baby to crawl, can't wait for their baby to sleep through the night, can't wait for their baby to walk, talk, use the potty!  It'll all happen soon enough, I wan't to tell them.  Soon enough, they will be these independent little people that, sometimes, barely need you at all.  I look at this little person and am amazed at all of her personality I see in that face that's already in there.  You have so much less control over who your children become than you think.  There's so much of who they are that's already decided. Doesn't this baby face already look at you like, "Don't think I'm a push-over, lady, I can hold my ground!"  That's my peach.  Wary, cautious, sceptical of people's motivations, but strong-willed with a firey temper, and generous to a fault, eager to help, loving, and thoughtful.  I can see all of that just looking at that sweet baby face.

I hope I haven't made too many mistakes.  My middle child.  Always feeling too big or too small.  Aware of every small slight no matter how unintentioned.  The score keeper.  I hope as time goes on that you realize you are the glue that keeps things together.  You pull your big sister out of her shell and make her be social, you tease your baby sister to let her know she's not the bees knees.  You love color and design and your Mommy loves to take you shopping because you notice all the details and want to stay and look just as long as I do.  You feel things so big and deep and remind us all to be more sensitive to the injustices in the world.  You add the spice to our lives.  I love you, Peach. 

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New Technology

There are some things that I resist by digging my feet in and yelling at the top of my lungs, "No! No! No!" Just like a two year old. Technology, for the most part, is one of them. I have resisted the whole "smart phone" thing for quite awhile now. I've seen how it can take over people's lives and I didn't want to become someone that always has their face in a phone. Recently, though, curiosity has gotten the better of me. So here I am, updating my blog on a phone. I honestly never thought it would come to this. The apps., though, the apps. got me in the end. I mean, come on, isn't this photo so cool!

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Like mother like daughter, right!


Note to Self

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Note to Self:  You would really be happier if you would organize this shelving unit in the playroom better.  You know, make it nicer to look at. . . tidy it up a bit. . . throw some things away.  You stare at it all day long and it makes you want to gouge your eyeballs out.   The fabric strips have been sitting up on top there for a year.  Either make the darn quilt or hire someone that will.   Deal with it and life will look brighter.  In fact, this whole room could use some help.  Idea:  Ask Lizzie to come over and leave her alone in the room for, oh, a few hours.  Tell her you have to run to the store for some milk.  It might work.

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Your dining table is not a permanent storage solution!  (Yes, we eat dinner in the playroom.  Don't ask.  It's a small house.)  Consider these before photos.  I'm in a serious decluttering mood.  I'm drowning in kid "stuff" (polite term) and need to dig my way out before it's just a lost cause and I need to call the POD people.  Stay tuned.


New Fav.

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Totally store bought, but hey it's awesome.  And it would take me like six hundred years to knit this myself.  So sometimes, it's money well spent.  My Mother wanted a photo.  So, here it is in all it's glory.  My new favorite thing that I promise to try not to wear everyday.  Even though I have it on right this minute and wore it like. . .  oh. . .  yesterday.


Winter in Minnesota

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Inspired to knit this sweater by my favorite blogger Alicia Paulson.  So close to being done . . . my fingers are just itching to finish it.  Alas, so little knitting time in my day, and, frankly, too many projects on the needles at once.  Although, I did finish my brother's hat.  Even if I didn't manage to get it in the mail yet.  Sorry Josh!  If I could just get my kiddos to pretend I'm on vacation. . . hmmm. . .  there's got to be a way to make that happen.  It makes me think of that minivan commercial where the mom has "time-outs" in the driveway in her bathrobe with her coffee and fuzzy slippers.  I can't tell you how many times I've thought of that!


The Hairy Knit

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I was just asking myself yesterday why my knitting ends up so hairy.  I'm constantly pulling dog hair out of my yarn.  It's not like I leave my knitting laying about on the floor (where the dog should be sleeping), I don't knit with her sitting in my lap.  How could this keep happening?  And then I walked in and found this!  Hmmm. . . I get it now.


Finished!

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My slouchy hat.  And let me tell you. . .  it's realllly slouchy.  In fact, if I make another one, which is highly likely, I will definitely do some alterations.  I have to say, though, that I'm finding it nice to have a slightly too big hat.  This has never happened to me before, that I can recall, because my head is enormous and most store bought hats barely fit at all.  Having a slightly too big hat allows you to still have nice hair!  And in Minnesota, in the middle of January, that is a big deal.

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My mother's shawl is done and waiting to be mailed.  My issue with this was that it called for two skeins and I chose this gorgeous variegated yarn.  However, the skeins were ever so slightly different in saturation, and if you streatch the whole thing out, you can really tell.  But really, when it's on your actual bod, no one notices.  I know this because I tried it out.  Um.  Several times.  So Mom, just make sure to wear it lots.  Also, the ruffle . . . took longer to knit than the whole shawl itself!  I am forever wary of ruffles.  Now to finish my brother's hat.  Knit.  Knit.  Knit.


Nesting

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When the weather outside is frightful, I want to put on my Smartwool socks and brew a fresh pot of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and curl up with my blankee for a good knit.  This is my desire today as I gaze out at our snow filled backyard.  My dog doesn't even want to go out there.

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So, I'll pretend with this blog post that that is exactly what I am able to do today.  My reality, though, is often quite different.  On a typical day, I am caring for a two year old, a 20 month old (mine), and a 6 month old, until three o'clock when my ten year old and 6 year old arrive home from school.  The knitting shot looks so nice and tidy, doesn't it?  It makes you think the rest of the room looks exactly like this.  However, if you knew what I moved off the couch to get this photo!

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Let's just keep on pretending, shall we, it makes me feel good.  More details on the knitted items to follow.  I'm going back to my steaming cup of coffee and my wool sock daydream.


Things to Knit in 2011

So.  I have big knitting plans for 2011.  And before I let my imagination get away from me, I thought it might be helpful to set some knitting goals.  So, without further ado, ahem:

1.  Ida's Kitchen Hat (For Me)

2.  Dr. G's Memory Vest (For Hubby)

3.  Hobby Horse (Pippa)

4. Sugar and Spice Blanket (Nephew)

5.  Baby Bootah (Nephew)

6.  Tiny Leaves Cardigan (Little Bird and Sweet Peach)

7.  Tea Leaves Cardigan (For Me)

8.  Harry Potter Scarf  (Little Bird)

9.  Chickadee Hat (Undecided)

10.  Double-Breasted Car Coat (Sophia)    

11.  Discovery Cap (Sweet Peach)

12.  Flyingdales Cardigan (For Me) 

Click on the names for a photo of the item.  This is just a little taste of everything, but the big ones are there.


Our Christmas Craziness!

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We managed to have a great Christmas.  We did this, even though things did not go so smoothly for us this year.  A few days before Christmas, due to the lovely snow storm of 2010, our ceiling in multiple rooms started to leak.

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The brown section above is where the plaster fell off.  I think the low point of the whole event was when I discovered that the leak had gone into a closet where a lot of "special" gifts were stashed.  Needless to say, it was the first time in my life when I thanked God for extensive packaging.  We 
were up on our roof on Christmas Day shoveling.  Uuuugh.  We tried, as much as possible, to keep the girls oblivious to the stress.  I don't think we were very successful at this, but we tried.

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We still managed a typical crazy Christmas morning.  And we made it to all of the necessary relatives.

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The girls really loved sledding with Opa and Debbie and again with Uncle Josh.

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I managed to finish some of my knitting projects.  Heavy emphasis on the "some".  "Some" are still being finished up to this day.

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Sophia's Tiny Leaves Cardigan.  It fits her perfectly.  So, of course, I'm planning to knit one for each daughter.  We'll see.Christmas 2010 157 
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Another big highlight of our trip was the special tea party that Grandma Annie had for the big girls.  They thought this was soooo special.  And you know what?  It really was.  So, really, a great Christmas even with all the leaks.


The Weather Outside . . .

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Well, in case you hadn't heard, it snowed here.  We got kind of a lot of it.  Like really a lot.

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The children, of course, were in heaven.

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Pippa had her first sleigh ride.  She thought the snow was pretty cool.

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This is definitely a storm that the kids will remember.  Now, I really need to kick it in gear to get ready in time for Christmas.  That was a whole weekend shopping day knocked out of the water (or should I say snow?)

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Oh, and let's not forget, my now toothless peach!  How adorable is that?  Christmas concert photos soon to follow.


Thank you, God.

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There are moments in life when all you can do is sit back and say, "Thank you, God." 

See this burn mark?  If you drill a hole through the wall of our house right there, you are looking at my little bird's bed.  In fact, you are sitting on it, reading her a bedtime story, like every other night of her life.  Last night, around 8:45 pm, due to crazy strong winds, the electric wires on our house that are attached to it via a "mast" were partially blown off, with the wires being partially severed.  It was enough to take out part of our power but not all of it.  It left us wandering around our house turning things on and off in a very perplexed fashion trying to figure out why some things worked while others didn't.  In the mean time, as the wires were still "live", our house was trying to burn itself down, and we didn't know it.  In fact, the only thing that kept it from spreading was the fact that the shingles stayed wet from the continuous drizzling rain.

The electrician that came out to do the repair, showed me this huge nut that was used to secure the "mast" to the house and it was a melted blob.  They had to cut it off.  I'm talking about a nut that's a couple of inches in diameter reduced to a blob.

I have been slightly weepy about this all day.  There are alot of things that happen in a family's life as the years go by that lead one to moan and complain.  "Oh, the blasted sink is broken again." or "The basement is wet again."  "When are we going to have the money to replace this. . .  any number of things that, when it comes right down to it, don't matter all that much."

Today, I am grateful for my ancient, peeling porcelain tub, my cracked concete steps and my damp moldy basement, because I have all my children healthy and happy, fighting right now in their bedroom upstairs.

Thank you, God.

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Dressing Up

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My little bird is going to a living history museum for a school field trip and is required to dress in costume.  She couldn't look cuter.  Really, do you think I could get away with having her dress like this all the time?  Probably not without a lot of odd looks from the neighbors and my hubby wondering if I've gone off the religious deep end.  It sure beats the Hannah Montana look though doesn't it?

And sweet Pippa is all about the hats these days.  And really, with those funky ears, I love her in a good hat.  I could smooch that face all day long.

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I know enough, now, as a mother of three girls, that I fully live up these sweet dressing phases.  Where they let you dress them in pretty much whatever your heart desires.  Although, Pippa is definitely getting opinionated about her head and foot wear.

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So far she's got pretty good taste, though, don't you think?


Ten

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See this girl.  She's ten now.  She had just turned five in this photo.  That was yesterday.  A blink of an eye.  Seemingly so close to me I feel like I can just reach out and touch it.  I remember that, until the preschool halloween party, she wanted to be an astronaut.  Then she found out all the girls were going to be fairies and princesses.  Even here she looks slightly resigned, a little reluctant.  If you knew her now, you'd know she's no fairy.  She likes rocks and animals and the color blue.  I love this photo of her because I feel like she's baring her soul.  She's asking me.  Is it okay that I gave in this one time and went with the crowd.  I gave in and did the fairy thing, are you disappointed? 

I want to tell her, that it's hard to stand up and be who you're really meant to be and it takes all of us a long time to figure it all out.  Don't worry, five years from now you'll be a little closer to finding yourself.  You'll be strong and graceful and funny and beautiful and brilliant and loving and everything I'd ever hoped you would be.  I look at this photo and feel how blindingly fast it went and wonder at what five years from now will hold for her and for me as her mother. 

At fifteen I had fallen in love for the first time and had my heart broken.  I spent far too much time in the bathroom in front of the mirror and on the phone talking to boys or talking to friends about boys.  I was quite emotional and melodramatic.  I was nasty to my mother.  Oooohhhh. . . I'm so not ready for that.  

I'll take ten. 

Ten is still little. . .  in a way. . . right? 

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The teenager is in there.  Can't you just see her?  Waiting for just the right moment to show herself.


Nana's House

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About a week ago, little Pippa and I went to visit Nana in Michigan, just the two of us.  The Bigs stayed with Daddy.  It was nice to have a little one on one time with her.  It doesn't happen often.  During the school day, she shares her Mommy with two little daycare kids and after school she shares her Mommy with her big sisters, as a result, I fear she's turning into something of a toughie.  We had so much fun just hanging out with Nana.

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No visit to Nana's is really complete without a stop at Hennes Park on Lake Michigan.

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Really, now, how can you resist that?  Miss you, already, Nana!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

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Back to her old tricks.  Hi, Mommy, let me give you a mischievous grin since I'm sitting on top of the dining table.


Rockin' My New Hat

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She picked this hat out at the store and wore it all day.  She thought she was pretty cool, let me tell you!  My poor Pippa is now on her third antibiotic for a double ear infection that will just not go away.  What with all the sickness going on around here, I swear I'm turning into Howie Mandel with all my germ aversion.  The sweet peach is also home from school with a fever of 101.  This is almost exactly ten days after little Pippa got over her 103 degree fever.  Maybe we all need to start taking some vitamins.  I'm now carrying a personal sized Lysol spray can in my purse just in case a particular urge to decontaminate comes over me.  Some one call the looney bin if you see me sporting some rubber gloves!

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Glenwood Springs

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We stayed here.  The first time I was here, something like twelve or thirteen year ago, my husband and I were just engaged.  Now, here we are with our three kids.  It was amazing.  Just as I remembered it.  My little bird swam and swam and swam.  It was all I could do to get her to take a break and have some ice cream.  She very nicely played some cards with the peach.

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That's the little bird there in the middle with her Grandma in blue.  I think she swam something like eight hours that day.

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Great grandma lounged.  Doesn't she look great?  I hope I can be like her when I'm in my eighties.  She went everywhere and did everything.  It was so great to see her.

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After eight hours in the water and allowing her to apply her own sunscreen (mistake!) ("Mom! I'm not a baby!") She got her first sunburn.Colorado Trip 2010 228
Our last dinner in Glenwood Springs.

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We'll miss you, but we'll be back.  My little bird says, "So, when I get my driver's license then I can just drive out here myself."  Yeah, I don't think so.  Nice try.

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The pool tired everyone out, but especially sweet Pippa.  She was a trooper, though, and was in a great mood most of the trip.Colorado Trip 2010 242 Colorado Trip 2010 241

Waiting for the train to start us on our journey home.  Do the girls look like they're tired of waiting?  All in all. . . a trip for the memory book.  I felt so lucky to have such a beautiful family.  Now. . . the first day of school preparations must commence.


On the train

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We took the California Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs.  I'm telling you, this is an amazing train ride.  I'm sort of addicted and can't wait to take another trip.  The national parks guy on the train said if I like this ride I should take the one through Alaska because the wild life you can see from the train is amazing.  I'm tempted, although, I'm not quite sure what one does in Alaska when one gets there.  I'll be honest, I was a little leary of having a sixteen month old on a train for 5-6 hours, but she did remarkably well.

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It was a long wait for the train.  And I mean a loooonnnnggg wait.  The train was running behind. . . like seven hours behind (it's a long boring story so I'll save you the details)!  But we did have a very nice morning in Denver we wouldn't have had otherwise so that was a plus.

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Lunch from the hot dog man near the baseball field for the Rockies.  (At least, I think that's what that building was, right honey?)

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My sweet husband was so great with little Pippa.  I couldn't have done it without him.

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The view was amazing.  There really aren't words to describe it well enough, so I leave you with a few of my favorite images.

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Amazing.  More later.  When my child isn't pulling on my arm screaming "UUUUPPPPPPP!!!"


Denver Zoo

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The Denver Zoo was amazing.  We spent, practically, an entire day there.  My elephant obsessed oldest was so excited to see these beauties.  Apparently, the lady on the right has a dysfunctional trunk!  She can't swing it very well and as a result it's quite a bit skinnier than her friend on the left.  Huh. . . interesting tidbit via the zoo keeper.  They are in the process of building a huge Asian addition and we were informed that if we return in four year or so they plan on having little elephant babies!  Well, we'll have to put that on our list.  Maybe on our trip out to see the Grand Canyon we can stop in again.

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Gorgeous animals.  I'm telling you, the habitats they have set up are truly beautiful to look at and you feel like it's as close to their natural home as you can get without actually being out in the bush.

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It always makes me sad to see the apes in a zoo.  I think any animal that has the intelligence of a three year old child should be left in its natural habitat.  You can't tell me this guy doesn't know he's in jail.

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Uh 0h.  Who let these monkeys out?  We had so much fun.  If you get a chance, you should go.
  


Wyoming

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Hello.  This is Wyoming.  This was Wyoming for hours and hours.  The top two photos were the most interesting photos I could manage.  There is actually stuff to look at in the distance!  And honestly, I think that middle one may still be South Dakota.  Mostly, though, eastern Wyoming is the bottom photo.  Lots and lots of the bottom photo.  Hours and hours.  You can't really get lost in Wyoming because if you aren't finding exactly what you're looking for there isn't anything else there to confuse you.  We stopped in Cheyenne for dinner and weren't impressed with our dining options, so we said to ourselves, "Maybe there's something better just over that hill." 

Off we went, in search of better dining choices.

Over the hill? 

Bottom photo.
 


Our Trip: Part One

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This was a trip that I'll remember forever.  There's just something special about a family road trip.  Perhaps it's not the hours on end of wanting to pull your hair out because your children are in the back of the minivan gouging each other's eyes out. Really, there was a point there somewhere in Wyoming where I thought, "LET ME OUT!"  I don't care if I haven't seen so much as a tree in three hours, just let me out.  But, seriously, there's something special about it, I'm telling you.  There's a sort of, we're in this together and we're going to make it great, darn it, kind of attitude that takes hold even in 103 degree heat at the Corn Palace in the middle of South Dakota!  I only took polaroids there, because, really, it's a building with corn on it.  

One of our first stops, of digital photo worthiness, was Mount Rushmore.  Amazing.  Really, I had no idea it would be this great.  You can just stand there and stare at it forever trying to imagine how such an amazing thing was accomplished.

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We also saw Crazy Horse.  We paid a bazillion dollars to take this picture.

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Again, very cool.  I hope they use the bazillion dollars to finish him.  More on our trip later, after I gather my photos in some sort of organized fashion.