Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blessed Christmas

For all of my Scrooging last week, we really did have an excellent Christmas. Most excellent.
First, we had four days with Tim's family - mom, stepdad, teenage brothers, older brother, and dog. I had a lovely time and learned that my new favorite game is Bananagrams. It really is fantastic and I look forward to a time when I can play with them all again. It takes all the fun parts of Scrabble without the messy scorekeeping or board strategy. It rocks.
After 4 days with Tim's people, Nebraska started doing its blizzard thing so we went to Mom's house. We needed to be with Mom - she's had some rough Christmases and the idea of being snowed in away from her over Christmas was unbearable. The storm screwed up my head so much we hadn't figured out what to do until Christmas eve day, but we celebrated a quick Christmas with Tim's family and then went to my mom's house. Snow ensued. So did happiness.
On Christmas day, it really seemed impassable, but Erika & Darin packed up the kids and made it work. Kirsti's stepdad got her too and her mom brought her over, so we actually had the Christmas we planned, just a few hours delayed. I'm so grateful that the storm didn't steal our Christmas day!!
We hunkered down until Monday before we left for Dad's house. The roads weren't terrible, but they weren't great either. Still a lot of blowing snow and several cars off the road. We got tired of counting at about 13 and I think we quit counting shortly before York. Got to Dad's and had a quick but lovely Christmas with them Monday night before coming home Tuesday.
Now we are home. And I'm thankful. 10 days is a long time to be away from home!! It was a long and lovely trip, certainly, but it's always good to get home.
And now on to New Years. . . I'm certain a resolution post is pending. . .

Wow. Nearly a month with no updates!!

I need to get off my butt and upload some pictures. This month I made a super soft scrunchable scarf for my MIL, another gorgeous neckwarmer for my stepMIL, and have been working on my grandma's lap blanket.

So I'm working, just not updating. Sorry. :(

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'm (not) dreaming of a white (out) Christmas.

I remember when I was 8 or so - it was the first time anybody had brought to my attention the song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." It was Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's farm and everyone would look out onto the lawn and witness the scant covering of dusty white snow and say "At least we have a white Christmas."

And here is where I diverge from most Nebraskans. I probably should be a Floridian. Or a New Mexican. I do not dream of a white Christmas and despite living in Colorado with its bounteous snow, I'm not a big fan of it.

That said, that's what we've got kids. Not just a white Christmas, a white-out Christmas -- a full on blizzard. We're hunkered down at Mom's wondering what we forgot at the store and why anyone thought "Geez, with its tropical summers and sub-zero blizzarding winters, Nebraska is a great place to settle."

Still, my friend Kim was right in that I was being melodramatic in saying the storm was stealing Christmas. It's not. It's changing Christmas certainly. . . but we're still here and still celebrating.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And now this:

Forgive me. This post will show up eventually, as will many others, whenever we decide to share with the world that we are, for the fourth time this year, pregnant.

I am, today, 5 weeks 2 days pregnant.

A few things I must admit:

  • It is Tuesday and I'm not looking forward to Friday, Christmas, now that I know a winter storm is on its way. I've come to conclude on this trip back to Nebraska that I am not in any way, shape, or form, still holding out to move back. I love this state and all its flatness and delightfulness and sweet summer thunderstorms and crisp late summer sweet corn. But I do not love the Alexander Paine dreariness that's blanketed the city three days prior to the winter storm.
  • I do not like dogs. For the dog owners in my life, I am sorry. It's not that I dislike your dogs individually or that I don't enjoy the occasional head pat or their sweet chins on my knee when I visit. Please do not be offended, I do not dislike your dogs specifically. But I do not like dogs with their smell and blind obedience and, most of all, their dogness. I am and always will be a cat's friend.
  • I am crabby. (If you read the other two notes, that should probably be clear).
  • I am a bad blog updater. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Now the waiting:

It's Advent. I'm excited. I love Advent. It's the waiting - well, there's the springtime waiting during Lent as well, but that's more mournful, sorrowful, pensive, tentative waiting. Right now we're in the anticipatory waiting. The fun waiting. And to be frank, after the year we've had, I need fun waiting. So here I am. And here's what I'm up to:
  • Finish up Semester. Grades due next Thursday.
  • Work on Spring courses, learn entirely new online teaching GUI, create entirely new courses using said GUI, and figure out wtf GUI means or if I'm using it appropriately.
  • Finish up knitting projects for Christmas Knits.
  • Finish up "To Do" list for Christmas Gifts.
  • Give water ( on behalf of everyone on our list. This year we cut our Christmas budget in half - and spent half on friends, family, and loved ones, and will spend the other half on clean water. For many of our people, I managed to half (or greater than halve) the spending and give better gifts, made of good yarn and a lot of my time. I'd say that's a fair trade.

I'm excited about Christmas, as it lopes toward me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last but not least: Christmas Wraps

My goal this year is to make all of our Christmas gift wrappings out of scrap fabric. Some of them will be rather plain (like Nana's right here), but others will be more ornate. So far I just have a few done. Nana's holds her Star lap blanket.
This one is for Camden and Spencer and holds their Starfish Washcloths. It's actually a washing mitt made of terrycloth! I'm so proud of it.

The last two are Marge's. Small gifts -- the small brown bag holds a bracelet and the larger black bag with red roses on it holds a washcloth and some shower gel/shampoo in a beautiful tin container. I'm very proud of these gift bags - my hope is that they can be used again by the recipients - either to wrap gifts THEY give to people or for some other task around the house.

Fetching in two tries:

I wanted to learn cables, so I used the Fetching pattern from Ravelry to make some fingerless mitts for my brother's new girlfriend - and then a quick pair for myself.

Angel's are knit up with Cascade Superwash 220 in Chartreuse. I followed the pattern exactly. Overall I like them a lot, though they feel a little short and a little wide.

For me, I used one skein of yarn I bought that looked so nice but got horrible reviews on Ravelry. Much like the reviewers said, the soft fibers of the yarn split and the ugly black core poked through rather often. I'll be happy to be rid of this yarn eventually, whenever that might happen. I suspect if I have time, I'll make a quick scarf for Mom with it. She really liked the colors. Or maybe one for myself. Who knows.
I narrowed the pattern to cast on 40 rather than 45 and I added one extra cable at the wrist. Overall I really like these, although they have a tendancy to get caught on my coat sleeves (which explains the rather short pattern for Fetching).

Nana's Lap Blanket

IMG_3327, originally uploaded by lilhipmama2002.

Finished. Finally. I worked on this every night for 2 weeks. And now that I'm done with it, I'm doing it again in a solid color for MY grandma.

I love the star pattern in this - the pattern you can barely see in the verigated yarn. The yarn I used for this is perfect for Nana - it has her favorite colors, but really does a disservice to the pattern.

Overall I'm pleased, but I must say I'm quite disappointed in the fact that the edges REALLY roll on this. I'll be changing the pattern to adjust this out by putting 2-4 rows of garter between the last row of the pattern and the YoK2tog row then 2 rows of Garter afterward. I hope this will solve the rolling issue. If anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it.

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