Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I have great kids. Really. They're smart and creative, entertaining and introspective, thoughtful and loving.


Sometimes they cause me to be speechless. Sometimes they pull a stunt that is particularly ridiculous. More than once I've called my mother-in-law to ask such things as: 'Is the child supposed to be able to scale such heights at this young age?' and 'But why does the child insist on surfing toys down the stairs...repeatedly?' and 'At what age exactly did your son stop talking without pause?' Because surely, such behaviour must be intrinsic to my In-Law's side of the family. Because otherwise, I'd be tempted to call in a professional. Mostly for my sanity as such things make absolutely no sense to me. And I had a couple of brothers and a testosterone-heavy set of older cousins.

It's been quite a while since any stunt-like implausible behaviour has happened. Sure enough, as soon as I let down my guard, R shows me the lump on his head.

A half hour after said lump was inflicted on his person. By a snow shovel. Wielded by his sister. Because they were 'play fighting' in the snow. What does a mother say to that??!

Who swings a snowshovel at anyone's head?!!?!?? No wonder he was lying down in the driveway he that he had supposedly gone out to shovel!

Anyway, as they say, 'all's well that ends well'. I found my words. K apologized and R was forgiving. It was cold enough out that any swelling had been kept to a minimum. Perhaps the bruise will be unnoticeable...there, on the middle of his forehead. <sigh>

The driveway did get shoveled and soon enough the two of them were holed up at the computer working on a project together. R dictates and organizes while K types.

So what is it? A small lapse in common sense due to burgeoning hormones? Were they stunned by the cold? Perhaps there is something to the 'violent video games = violent children' argument. Whatever it is, it's fleeting. As most of the time, it is just the two of them, holed up somewhere working on something, helping each other, putting up with the other. I think they would be lost without the other around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Motivating, Happy, Colourful Stuff

Baby, it's cold outside! As much as I want to hibernate every winter, I really was motivated today to see all the wonderful things going on around me. Even if it is 20-below (or zero degrees for you Fahrenheit people). And even if I had a headache and fell asleep during 'Geography'. (We were watching Planet Earth: Caves. It's dark and quiet in those things...not a whole lot moving around to keep you alert. I recommend the following episode: The Desert. I have to say, the squat-and-rhythmic-tail-flapping-accompanied-by-loud-honking mating dance of the wild bactrian camel will perk anyone up.)

So, happy, colourful things to get excited about:

Harry's Christmas Blend Butterscotch & Caramel Coffee. A good book. Sitting in the car watching the kids skate on freshly flooded ice. I'm reminded that even on frigid Canadian winter days, if you dress properly and keep moving, it's still a great day.

Cool, colourful knitted stuff at Twist Collective. Check out the patterns and colours. What great energy and contrast. As much as I loved my world today: white, crisp, icy and blue; you can't help getting great ideas when you click through this online magazine.

Like this sweater coat. And the socks, above. Wouldn't it be great to knit socks like that??! Don't you wonder how many little strings there are hanging out inside them and how do you get them on your feet without snagging at least one of the little piggies and messing up the pattern?

Or these mitts. Gorgeous. How insane would I get just attempting the cuff. These almost scream 'I dare you to try!' at me. I mean, they can't be impossible, can they? Think I could get a pair done in time for next winter? Or how about a pair that would match my coat! Then I'd have to plan a colour scheme on top of learning to strand colours.

Maybe I'd be safer with this little A-line sweater. I love it, but don't the fashion people say something about having horizontal stripes running the width of the widest part of your body? Hmm...might have to search Ravelry for a comparably inspiring afghan or something.

What else did I come across today...a new baby born at home to a HSing mama. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is. Planning a trip to IKEA. Our clock broke (as in shattered, destroyed, in pieces; not 'it just stopped ticking...') and it's a good excuse to go to IKEA to get a new one. I would love to get one of these for my dining room while I'm there, but I think B. might notice a box that big in the car. Blogs like this, making me laugh and reminding me that it's ok to be uncertain and questioning at times on your individual spiritual path. That we all question things from time to time and stressing about it doesn't really help. That looking at situations as learning opportunities and finding the humour in daily life makes for a pretty good day. And the day wrapped up with a nice 'coffee & chat' at the local hot spot with a few local homeschooling moms. It's nice to connect every once in a while with like-minded people. Affirming. Interesting. I always come away with list of things to look into, read, try. Tonight my list said astronomy, The Importance of Being Earnest, Jane Austen and The Rideau Canal.

So there you have it. Some colourful bits. A few things to look forward to. Warm fuzzies from enjoying the day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Little Knitting

As the holidays approached, I let go of all my knitting plans. I realized what a stressful holiday I was setting myself up for. That's silly, since the holidays are supposed to be about enjoying the time you're spending with those you've chosen to spend the time with.

I did knit up this little guy, dubbed Petty Officer. Actually, I've crocheted him. He's Lion's Brand's Amigurumi Penguin. He's a cute little thing that just sits about the house in different places. (Ravelry Link)

Last year while out of town, I picked up some Lang Mille Colori. It's been sitting, waiting patiently, for me to get over myself. I finally took the plunge and cast on a pair of Marquise Gauntlets.

It was a good project for me to have to use cables. I've done cables before, but was not really a very confident cable-er. The first gauntlet, I stressed, took notes, flipped papers around and took about four times longer than needed to complete it.

The second gauntlet was a much faster knit since suddenly, the little slashes and shaded boxes of the pattern chart started making sense. If you look closely at both gauntlets, you can see that the first row of cables are twisted in opposite directions. But it really makes no difference. I like the colour of the yarn and I mastered some new things (like the two by two front cable slip-slip-knit decrease cross gak!). (Ravelry Link)

Next up on the docket are a pair of socks. I've knit a pair of socks for B before. I had knit them because I'd wanted to make him a homemade gift and I wanted to see if I could knit socks. They worked out fairly well. He even wears them sometimes. They were socks of a worsted weight yarn. Cotton. Work-sock-ish. These queued socks will be made of sock yarn and I'm going to try using a trickier sock pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. It's a book I've had for quite some time. It'll be nice to break it in.

On the needles currently, to be finished before the socks are started, is the twice-frogged BYOB shopping bag from Knitty. This is the second of a set of two. I think I have the colour pattern planned properly so knitting it up this third time should be the charm.

At the Christmas dinner table, I stated in front of witnesses that this year I'd like to do more knitting. Hopefully, this is a good start to a year of projects on the needles.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Note To Self:

Hello Self. Wonderful Christmas we had this year. And that bit we did sticking to a school schedule really paid off as the kids and I have really appreciated these last two weeks of 'school holiday'.

Just a thought, Self. When planning your Science curriculum, peek ahead and see exactly what the required elements of each unit are. It may have been prudent to discover back in September that the Biology unit we've been planning on starting in January (tomorrow!!) requires a number of natural elements found in the warmer months here in this corner of Canada.

The beetles, ants, worm and pond water teeming with microscopic life are currently in short supply. The chapter on 'Releasing Your Butterfly' is not likely to turn out well anytime in the next ten weeks.

Self, may I suggest we do the Physics unit and then tackle the Biology unit in the Spring?

Now, don't we have some things to print? Gather? Prepare?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

K's 11th Birthday

On birthdays we have gifts as soon as the birthday person wakes up. 'Why not celebrate the whole day?' was our reasoning.

So, here is K, fresh out of bed on the 23rd of December. B took the day off work so we dragged him out of bed as well - to witness the beginnings of birthday celebrations: a couple of gifts.

K had been saving for a few months and was hoping to have enough saved for 1/2 an iPod touch. We had agreed to split the cost with her. As a bit of a surprise, we bought it early.

Amid the Christmas decorations, there are the traditional balloons and birthday banner.

K is modelling her birthday toque. It was a good find as she loves wearing hats and it matches her coat. She's a pre-teen now, she tells me, fashion is becoming fairly important, mom.

When asked what she wanted to do to celebrate her birthday, she wanted to have lunch out with B's mom and her husband. Here are her and I at East Side Mario's. K ordered the pasta off the 'big' menu. No more of the rinky-dink kid's menu for her...or so she says.

After lunch, we picked up the pre-ordered birthday cake. The kids like to go to the bakery to pick out a sugar rush on their birthdays. A couple of years ago, K only had Christmas cakes to pick from. That was ok with her at the time, but she later confessed to secretly preferring a more celebratory theme. Therefore, we now pre-order. Actually, with K's newly diagnosed peanut allergy, I ask for the cake to be baked first thing in the morning when all the equipment has been freshly cleaned and before it's had the chance to be graced with any peanut particles for the day.

Happy 11th, K. Here's to many more.