"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If you wish to be happy, think not of what is to come nor of that which you have no control over but rather of the now and of that which you can change."
Oromis, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Gotta love my new look!

DD2 drew this a couple of days ago and proclaimed it to be a picture of me. I'm not sure how I feel about the size of my nose, but I love the smile she's given me.

The storms all came in as forecast at the end of last week and over the weekend, so I felt a bit better about not camping. We ended up with about 6 inches of new snow from the last storm. It has been sunny and warm this week, so it's mostly melted. I'm looking forward to some spring weather (and some camping).

First thing on Saturday morning I took a huge step and joined Weight Watchers. While I'm not obese, I am definitely overweight, and on Friday I came to the conclusion that I needed to get some help. DD2 is almost 3, and here I was at the same weight as when she was 6 weeks old. I seem to be able to lose the first 5 pounds without problem, but after that I get discouraged and end up gaining it back again.

The meeting was actually quite fun, and it's been a good week. I feel great, am enjoying my food, and don't feel deprived or "on a diet." I bought a WW cookbook, and have been enjoying trying some new recipes. Yesterday I went to my second meeting, and had already lost 5.6lbs. Not bad, although I've lost those 5 before!

Later on Saturday morning we went to an open house for Coral Academy of Science, the charter school we're hoping to send DS and DD1 to next school year. DH and I met with the principal for a couple of hours last October, but this was a chance for the kids to see things and for us to spend a bit of time speaking with teachers. DS and DD1 are very excited about the idea of going there in the fall. Here's hoping they get in!

DH is friends with a piano teacher he met at Walden's Coffee House. On Monday morning we took DS to his studio for an "interview." Everything went great, so he'll be starting lessons next Monday. DS is absolutely thrilled. (Check out Monday's English assignment!) I'm a little nervous about getting him into the habit of practicing. I can only hope he gets as much pleasure from the piano as I have.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I wanna go camping!

I run into this problem every February, it seems. Grey January snails by, and in mid-February I burst out of my winter funk with grand plans.

DH worked late last Friday and was on call on Monday, so we couldn't really go anywhere for the President's Day long weekend. We had some fun together over the weekend: family swim at the swim school the kids attend, a large-format film ("The Alps") at the planetarium, and lots of board games (including a new chinese checkers set).

On Monday the kids and I spent most of the day at our neighbourhood park. DH somehow managed to get some free time around noon, and met us there with a pizza lunch. (He doesn't usually get a lunch-hour; perhaps a couple of minutes to gulp down some food, if he's lucky.) It was a beautiful sunny day. I read a book, the kids played imaginatively and with great gusto, the snow melted and turned the park to mud. The filthy clothes were totally worth it.

I came home ready to plan some spring camping. It looks like DH will be restricted to two weeks of vacation this summer, and we've already planned a trip to Norway and England for that time, so we'll probably be camping mostly on weekends this year. I logged in to PUX and caught up on the conversation. I perused Forest Camping and Reserve America. Of course (who was I kidding?) nothing appealing for a weekend trip is open until mid-May.

Last April we spent a fun, but cold weekend at Davis Creek, a county park campground less than half an hour from home. It's nestled against the base of the mountains, has much the same weather as here, and is open year-round. This picture was taken there. Washoe Lake State Park, nearby, also has a campground open all year. We've only camped there during the summer, and it seems a mite exposed for camping this early in the season.

I was getting excited about the possibility of de-winterizing the PUP and camping close to home this weekend, until DH pointed out a severe weather alert. The worst of a series of storms is supposed to hit on Saturday night. Yesterday morning we got a couple of inches of new snow, and it looks like something's moving in this afternoon. I think the forecast is right, and it's probably a good weekend to stay at home and knit. I just really want to go camping!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finished Objects and Works in Progress

Here are my first two FOs for 2008, Gryffindor hats based on the house hats in Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel. DS has a Sorcerer's Stone hat. DD1's started out as a Prisoner of Azkaban hat, but she wanted "zigzags and polka dots" as well. I think it's actually pretty cute. These are knit from Cascade 220 superwash, purchased from my lys, Jimmy Bean's Wool, on #5 needles.

I started the hat for DS in December, but was stopped cold by hand pain. Once that was under control, I finished his hat in a couple of days. DD1's took a single day. It was very straighforward knitting, and they love to wear them!

On to a house hat for myself, also knit in Cascade 220 superwash on #5 needles. This is a knit interpretation of Xenophilius Lovegood's Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, based on Toque pattern 5 from 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit. (Several years ago I knit hats from this pattern for the girls with 2 strands of Dale Baby Ull held together. DD2 is wearing the larger one here.)

Try on the Sorting Hat to find out in which Hogwarts house you belong.

I love to knit socks, really enjoy handpainted yarns, and am a confirmed Harry Potter geek. Here are three future projects; Cornish Pixies, Hedwig and Phoenix from Sunshine Yarns. I am signed up for the Harry Potter sock yarn club, but also succumb regularly to Dani's other Harry Potter yarns. Yum!

This is the poor lonely Jaywalker I knit last fall. As you can see, it still needs it's toe grafted. I'm sure I'll give it some much-needed attention once the Ravenclaw hat is finished. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Funky Stripe 902, purchased on vacation at Mendocino Yarn Shop in Mendocino, CA. We spent a week camping at Manchester Beach in August 2006.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let me count the ways...

Here are a few things, in no particular order, that come to mind today:

1. I love your thoughtfulness. It's the way you came home between cases late last night to drop off Valentine's Day flowers for me and cookies for the kids. It's the way you bought me the (AWD) car I wanted before my old car really needed to be replaced, just because it kept getting stuck in the snow. It's the way you let me linger in bed on Saturday mornings while you prepare a breakfast feast.
2. I love your integrity. You are never afraid to speak up for what you know is right, or to stand behind what you believe in.
3. I love your commitment. You are invested in everything you do. It's all or nothing.
4. I love your spontaneity. Your spur-of-the-moment ideas free me. Why shouldn't we go to Iceland/drive 4 hours roundtrip to a zoo/buy a Warhol? I just wouldn't think of it.
5. I love your sense of humor. You light up my days. It may be childish, crass, or just plain silly, but you always come up with something to make me laugh.

1. You challenge me. Mothering you is one of the most difficult, but most rewarding things I have ever done. The lack of sleep, personal space, personal time and autonomy are completely worth it as I watch you grow. I'll have plenty of time for those things when the too-short years of your childhoods are over.
2. You challenge me. As I strive to be the best mother I can be, you bring out the best in me. I find more love, more patience, more strength, and more courage than I ever thought I was capable of.
3. You challenge me. The depth of my commitment to you means that sometimes you bring out the worst in me. I experience more sadness, frustration, fatigue and anger than I ever expected.
4. You challenge me. Each with your own agenda and unique perspective, you often force me to operate outside my own comfort zone.
5. You challenge me. Board games, hide-and-seek, races, games galore; what fun we have!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where did 2007 go?!?

This must be the lamest blog on the web, with over a year between posts. Perhaps I've been too busy living life to write about it. In order to document my continued existence over the last 12 months, here is an update based in part on our 2007 Christmas letter:

2007 was another eventful year. We spent a lot of time in our popup camper, traveling all over northern California and up to Chimacum, WA to visit my parents. We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in June with a family camping trip to Mt. Lassen National Park. Camping is such a wonderful way for us to spend time together away from external demands and pressures!

In July we spent two weeks in Australia. It was DD2’s first visit to Australia, DH and the kids’ first wintertime visit, and everyone’s first time seeing a koala joey still in its mother’s pouch. We spent some time in the Sydney area sightseeing and visiting relatives, and then traveled north to Port Macquarie to spend time with my parents and grandparents. The kids especially enjoyed the animals and a children’s production at the Sydney Opera House.

DS is 7, and is home schooled again this year. His favorite subjects are art and science. He is a voracious reader, and has recently enjoyed Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona” books, the “Book of Three” series, and “George’s Secret Key to the Universe.” DS devotes much time to playing with his Bionicles, and is a budding dragonologist. He loves to swim. DS celebrated his first Reconciliation on January 26th, and will be making his first Holy Communion sometime this spring.

DD1 is 5 and is in kindergarten. She loves school, especially math and playing with her friends, and is enjoying learning to read. In September she began the Royal Academy of Dance Pre-Primary ballet curriculum. She will take her first ballet exam in May. DD1 wants to be the Sugar Plum Fairy and a vet when she grows up.

DD2 is 2 1/2. She has become an avid fan of giant pandas after watching a documentary about them on TV. In March we visited the pandas at the San Diego Zoo. She absolutely loved them, and cried when we had to leave. DD2 started ballet in October. She is the youngest in her class by at least 6 months, but keeps up with the other girls without a problem. We are looking forward to her first recital in June!

In October we moved out of the house for several weeks while we had hardwood floors installed throughout. We are very pleased with the result, but are still not quite organized. It always seems to take us several months to get properly unpacked after a move, and this time is no exception. We did move back into the same house, but it was still a move. The picture above shows "school" for DS in the tiny condo we stayed in during the floor install.

My days are rather full homeschooling DS and driving the kids to their various activities. I am an accredited LLL leader, helping breastfeeding mothers. In order to provide telephone help and lead monthly support group meetings, leaders need to stay up to date on lactation topics. To that end, in October I attended a wonderful conference in Sacramento, CA. These events are a great way to recharge with both information and enthusiasm!

The knitting has been rather sparse in the last 12 months. In 2007 I finished "Sigvaldi" for DH, and five socks. Five socks, as in two pairs plus the first of another pair: two pairs of Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Socks (one pair in Opal Dreamcatcher, another in Lana Grossa Safari 2070), and the first sock of a pair of Jaywalker socks in Lorna's Laces Funky Stripe 902.

In December my winter knitting came to a screeching halt due to joint pain in my hands. I had cast on a Gryffindor house hat for DS, but couldn't finish it. The problem with my hands turned out to be a dairy sensitivity, and after cutting way back on dairy and taking my supplements religiously, I'm back at it. I'll update on 2008 knitting projects in another post.

We spent Christmas week in Jamaica, at Beaches Sandy Bay. It was wonderfully relaxing. We've already booked next Christmas there too. Ho ho ho, mon!