Friday, December 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes: How about 12?

We're into the 12 Days of Christmas.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day blew in and blew out more quickly than we expected or would have liked.  For that reason, we're trying very much to enjoy these 12 Days of Christmas even more this year.  Although, it's difficult.  Matt has to work.  Instead of the full holiday, he's only has both Eves and both Days off.  This used to be pretty normal the first several years he started working.  Now, I've been spoiled by the full week or more of vacation - glorious days with ALL of us home, ALL of us celebrating and ALL of us relaxed. 

In all the hustle and bustle, I've neglected to post recently.  To recap, here are 12 quick takes.

1.  The week before a holiday break at school is insane.  An entire week of celebrating for Joshua in first grade.  A week of cramming in the ends of chapters and units then testing for Matthew in fourth grade.  It ended on a high note for everyone with the annual grade level sing-a-longs and parties.  This is Matthew's last year in elementary school and last year for a class party.  I think he liked me being there.  He was sitting by himself, saving me a seat at the sing-a-long immediately after, so I take that as a sign that he's not too cool for Mommy...yet. 

2.  There's a cutie who's sweet on my Matthew.  This is strange to me.  The megawatt smile and blinky blinky eyes she makes at him leave me perplexed.  I mask my confusion my ribbing him good naturedly, then firmly reminding him of our "No dating until you're 16" rule.

3.  We won the best double door decorations for the neighborhood!  We were flabbergasted...and excited.  Josh pointedly remarked that there must not have been many double doors decorated or participating. 

4.  We were happy to have the boys' Opa and Nana staying with us for the holiday.  I think it's the longest they've stayed with us.  The boys loved having them here and our only regret was that Opa had so much work to do.  They passed the time playing with Nana on her new ipad. 

5.  Opa taught Josh how to play blackjack.  This is how my family rolls.

6.  We completed the O Antiphons this year.  It really was a great way to up the ante that last week before Christmas.  Our Advent wreath and the O Antiphons are what we did together as a family.  The boys were quite happy to do their Nativity calendar and Lego City Calendar just the two of them and miraculously kept track themselves whose turn it was each night.  

7.  Christmas Eve Mass was lovely.  Our Church was beautifully decorated with the most stunning Nativity set I've ever seen.  The boys thoroughly appreciated Father's homily centered around The Little Drummer Boy.  Then we celebrated a modified Wigilia with their Grandma and Grandpa.  Matt hopes to lobby for Wigilia rights for next year.  I told him that when he plans to wager that war, to leave me well out of it. 

8.  Instead of whiskey, Santa had blackberry brandy this year.  We also had to quickly make a fresh batch of reindeer food - oats and glitter - because we misplaced the 3 bags we made over Advent.  Santa and his reindeer were well fed at our house.  There were cookie crumbs in the fireplace and "rein"deer tracks all over our back yard and around where the food had been left.  All the food was gone.  I expect some other neighbor was surprised to find glitter laden "rein"deer poop in their yard.

9.  Santa came.  Santa conquered.  Santa left the boys what they wished and hope for most.  Evey year the boys make a list for Santa which Santa, Mom and Dad discuss.  But they really only ask Santa for one very special present.  Matthew asked for and received a remote control Apache helicopter.  Joshua asked for and received a light up green light saber just like Luke Skywalker's. 

10.  The boys gave each other a Rainbow Loom.  We have 2 looms, lots of Legos, a convertible game table and many more new, fun things to play with, read and build.  So far, they've been building Legos, playing air hockey and making bracelets non-stop for 2 days.  Today I had to buy more black and white bands. 

11.  Yesterday, with Matt at work and Opa and Nana on their way to Kentucky, I cleaned the house.  It was Thursday which is bathrooms and kitchen day anyways.  I added the floors.  With the great crowd we hosted on Wednesday, the food, cookies and unwrapping, it was needed.  The boys and I had a deal.  If they entertained themselves and stayed out of my way, and there was absolutely no fighting, I'd just pretend they were at school and get all of the work done myself.  One slip up though and they'd have chores to do.  I neither saw nor heard them all day - minus lunch.  My husband also mysteriously returned home when the chores were done! (Just teasing.  He came home at his normal time.  A quarter past 'I needed you home to help with dinner before karate.')

12. Today, we braved Peach Street to get Joshua to his best friend's birthday party.  I planned errands since I'd be up that way.  I didn't consider that everyone else is still on vacation.  Stores are a mess.  Roads are sloppy.  And both JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby are just normally a disorganized mess with nary a sign nor label to be found anywhere but would be more aggravating with all of the additional wandering and lost shoppers.  We came home with MOST of what I needed, exhausted and with a headache.  The three of us took a Christmas cookie break and are now waiting for Daddy to get home. 

And that is that with not a smidge more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rewind....7 Quick Takes from LAST Week

Wow.  It's Tuesday.

We are exactly one week away from Christmas Eve Day.

Last week was a rough one.  Hence, the delayed recap.  Although I hardly expect anyone was waiting with bated breath.

1.  Our week can be summed up in one picture.

The only thing missing is Joshua's antibiotic.  It tastes better if it is stored in the fridge.

2. - 7.  Nope.  That's about it for last week.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Wasn't Kosher, But...

 Last weekend, Matthew studied the Ten Plagues.  He made an origami pyramid and we glued images representing each of the plagues on the outside.  He learned that God was showing the Egyptians that He is the One, True God.

Tonight, we had a Seder/Passover Celebration.

Well, a mini one. We made up a Seder Plate.  We prepared some recipes my cousin shared with me.  We flipped through the pages of the Haggadah I borrowed from the library.  We talked about the preparations before, that kosher means things were specially prepared and blessed, and walked through the whole celebration.  We stopped to read the parts about the questions and the answers.  We read through the play.  We did certain things like dipping the greens in the salt water, washing our hands and drops of wine for each plague.  We talked about the symbolism of all these things.

The light bulbs went on as we read through the play.  It was everything Matthew has been working on in his text, learning about Salvation History.  Then, when we came to the end, at the 4th Cup it  seemed to click.  The eyes were wide and he was bouncing in his seat a little as he answered questions.  The Passover.  The Last Supper.  The Eucharist.  He's been taught all this before.  We've talked about it.  But sitting there with the cup in his hand, finishing our walk through this Haggadah, this book that Jewish people use for Passover, that it clicked.  The connection between Salvation History - all these people he's learning about, the pictures he cuts out and glues on his timeline, Church every Sunday, the Eucharist that he receives so solemnly and adores.

Matt teased me as I was trying to roast an egg and figure out what was what and which was which on the Seder plate and realized the matzoh I bought wasn't kosher, "You know, we're not Jewish."  No, we're not.  Our cultural, ethnic background is not Jewish.  We're just not Jewish.  Period.  But the oldest root of our faith?  They are Jewish.  The ancestor of our Christian faith, is Jewish.  This Seder meal is a part of our faith history.  And to fully understand the Eucharistic meal that we are blessed to receive and share, we must understand and appreciate the Passover. 

But I did rock the charoset.  Kosher or not.

Friday, December 6, 2013

7 Quick Abbreviated Edition...Sort of

This week went too quickly.  I know it went too quickly because I have to vacuum and dust again.  It can't possibly be Friday that fast?!

1.  Happy St. Nicholas Day!  St. Nick traditionally brings the boys a new Christmas book and I make them pajamas.  St. Nick used to bring pajamas until the year he mistakenly waited until November to buy them and there were none to be found.  Anywhere.  Now, Mom makes the jammy pants and sometimes St. Nick contributes a shirt.  We've added a new tradition to our St. Nick's Day celebration.  The kids pick dinner.  I should have planned more carefully.  It messed up my grocery budget.

2.  My kids like sushi.  And Chinese food.  Any excuse to use the chopsticks...or stab things with a stick..or play with your food at the table.

3.  We still haven't finished decorating.  This means there are still boxes piled in the living room.  This means I feel like my brain is about to explode.  This means I still have work to do on that whole perfectionist/control freak/pride thing.

4.  I have a friend who makes 15 kinds of cookies for Christmas.  I would like to make 15 cookies. ... I had to buy cookie ingredients today.  Stupid grocery budget.

5.  I have to call a guy about trumpet lessons.  I hate using the phone.  If there is a social anxiety disorder specifically pertaining to the phone, I probably have it. 

6.  I thought it'd be a good idea to make my niece Christmas jammies this year.  Even a top!  This was not a good idea.  I was bemoaning the trials of setting in sleeves to Mimi.  She chuckled.  This made me feel better.  If she chuckles and shakes her head in that way while I describe wrestling with my machine, fabric and pins, then re-wrestling to try to conceal what a crap job I did, this means that sleeves really must be a pain in the bottom.  It's not just me.  Tomorrow, I plan to complain about buttonholes. 

An aside, I make a fabulous buttonhole on scrap fabric.  This bodice however isn't scrap fabric.  It's the real thing, painfully made and finished with sleeves, gathers, a neckline and everything.  It is also tiny.  This means that the sleeves, gathers, neckline and everything all get jammed up under that stupidly long buttonhole foot.  The fabric doesn't slide right on the little moving tread thing.  Then, instead of a buttonhole, I end up with 7 pounds of knotted thread on the back of where the buttonhole was supposed to be.  After 4 trys.  4 rip outs.  And one stabbing myself in the cuticle with my seam ripper - I cut those bad boys and sewed them by hand.  They aren't perfect - but you know I'm working on that whole perfectionist/control freak/pride thing.

7.  I found the Gummy Lifesaver books today.  I am officially and totally done Christmas shopping.  Now I have no excuse for not baking cookies. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yarn Along...Mittens in Hurricane

After knitting the boys' Christmas hats, I've begun work on the mittens.  Pop top mittens.  I'm working from a mitten pattern I have had for years.  I found it somewhere online, cut, paste and print it.  I don't even remember what site I found it on but I know it was before I was ever on Ravelry.  I knit up to as far as the kids want the fingerless hand to go, then finish with a rib and standard cast off.  Then, I pick up the row of stitches where I want to attach the pop top piece, cast on the additional stitches, join and knit in the round until it's long enough to finish.

I made a pair of these in this way a couple of years ago.  At the time, I picked up the stitches and knit the first row.  This time, I picked up the stitches and purled the first row.  I'm much happier with the look and think that the pop top part lays much better.  I also picked up that row of stitches just above the thumb gusset so that it would have enough of an overlap when the boys want a full mitten.

The reason I call these Mittens in Hurricane?  I made Matthew a Hurricane Hat.  (It's already packed in a box for Christmas.  I'm sure it will make an appearance hereabouts sometime soon.)  When I started the stockinette portion of the mitten, I counted half way into the body and started doing the same purled hurricane detail on the mitten body.  Just one stripe, not several.  But I think it's enough.

I have nearly finished the pair and then will begin work on Joshua's.  Hopefully next week, I'll have those finished and be on to finishing a certain little sweater that's been put on the back burner too many times to count.


I'm reading two different books.  I've been working on Scott Hahn's Signs of Life little by little for a couple of seasons now.  It is that sort book.  It needs to be digested.  I recently finished the Sisters Grimm series, so went fishing through the stack of second hand books I've purchased at the library's used book sales.  I pulled out a book called Resurrection Men by T.K. Welsh.  I have a thing for young adult fiction....I LOVE it.  This is a pretty good read, as evidenced by how quickly I've been reading it.  But it won't likely make the cut and remain on the shelves when I'm done.

And that is that.

Small Thing's Yarn Along....the main site.