Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear Fellow Shoppers,

Dear Fellow Shoppers at the End of the Year Yarn Sale,
It was nice to spend the morning with you. But before I go on about how nice most of you were, I want to apologize for being that person who thought it would be a good idea to bring a three year-old and a nineteen month-old to a sale at our local yarn shop. In my defense, this was my first big yarn sale and I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I had no idea quite how many people would be there or how zoo-y it would get. Also in my defense, I asked B to go into work late or to take off early so I could come without the boys, but he didn't feel my enjoyment of a yarn sale warranted him taking time off work. Well! Anyway, I apologize for being in your way repeatedly. I know that knit shops are not arranged with strollers in mind and that even though my stroller was small and highly necessary (N is really fast and would have quickly mangled 100s or even 1000s of dollars worth of yarn in mere minutes) it was majorly in the way. So for everyone whose path I blocked, whether you were trying to get to yarn or get to the end of the checkout line, I apologize. I tried to make my shopping trip as efficient as possible by carefully planning out what I was looking for. Before I went, I looked up the patterns for several projects and wrote down the yarn requirements for each. I even brought a few of the patterns with me. All in all, I was considering buying yarn for four different projects (1 sweater for my sister and 3 sweaters for me). I ended up buying yarn for my sister's sweater (Slanting Gretel Tee) and one for me (Ripple Cardigan). I was tempted to buy yarn for one other, but decided that even at 40% off (woo hoo!) I was still spending plenty for one day. So, fellow shoppers, I apologize for any inconvenience my temporary insanity caused. I also want to thank you for all your kind words in regards to the good behavior of my children. With the help of an Elmo phone (sorry if the sound of Elmo's squeaky little voice annoyed anyone), two packs of fruit snacks and a bag of jelly beans (not sure how long those have been in my bag, but I'm glad they were there), the boys managed to be really good even though my "quick trip to the knit shop" took about an hour and a half. Hope you all are as happy with your purchases as I am with mine.

6 skeins of Ella Rae Baby Cotton in Aloha (for my sister's Slanting Gretel Tee):

And 4 skeins of Schulana Kid-Seta (identical to Rowan Kidsilk Haze) in a lovely burnt orange (for a Ripple Cardigan for me):This photo really does NOT show the true color. The actual yarn is much richer and darker and just lovely! If you click on this link, it is #7 Tangerine.

Take care. --Haley

P.S. Are any of you considering getting up before the crack of dawn to head back to The Woolie Ewe at 5:00AM tomorrow morning to get another chance at 40% off? I think I've convinced myself not too, but there's still time for my insanity to return.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Highlights

We are finally getting life somewhat back to normal after a wonderful Christmas. We spent Christmas in Ohio with B's parents, his sister and her husband and their two adorable children (Oscar is 2 1/2 years old and Isla is 7 months). It was crazy and chaotic at times, but a lot of fun. It was hard not to be able to see my parents and brother and sister and their spouses and children, but it was a lot of fun to spend some quality time with family. Here are some photos of some of the highlights.

Isla and her precious smile:
She is 7 months old and already crawling and pulling up and trying to walk.

There wasn't a lot of new snow while we were there (in fact, it rained on Christmas), but there was enough on the ground that J got to make his snow angel:

N was intrigued by the strange white stuff on the ground:

The boys got to decorate Christmas cookies. J took his job very seriously:

Oscar just liked eating the sprinkles. Yum!:
On "Christmas Eve" (actually the 23rd as Christmas arrived a day early for us this year), J and N went outside to spread the "reindeer food" (oatmeal and glitter). J again took this job very seriously:

Our little sleeping angel, Isla. Isn't she just adorable?:

On Christmas morning (actually December 24th), my boys were the first to wake up. Here they are waiting for their aunt and uncle and cousins to wake up so they could open presents:
Don't worry those aren't all their presents. Those are the presents for the whole clan.

Oscar and J being silly:

On Christmas day, we got together with extended family. It was nice to visit with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. The boys played ping pong with some of the older cousins and had a blast!:

Anyway, it was wonderful to visit with B's parents and with Kristen and Chris and it was so much fun to watch the cousins play together. Other highlights included getting to go out with a bunch of my "mom" friends and getting together with our former neighbors.

Hope you all had wonderful holidays with friends and family!


J has been wanting to play in the snow (make a snow angel) for six months. And since we were headed to northern Ohio for Christmas, I told him we could do it there. Well, there was very little snow in Ohio when we were there and it had the nerve to rain on Christmas day while it was SNOWING here in Texas. However, God and Mother Nature have teamed up to give me a belated Christmas gift of an inch or two of snow today. Three snows in one month--where do I live again? I thought I lived in Texas. Thanks for the snow! It's rare here, but still so beautiful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'm not at home so I don't have anyway to upload cute pics to this post, but I wanted to take a moment and wish you all a Merry Christmas! Christmas Eve has always been a special part of our Christmas celebrations so I am feeling especially festive tonight. Hope you all have a wonderful wonderful Christmas! We are having a wild and often crazy time with family and I can't wait to blog all about it when the craziness is over. Merry Christmas to you all! And to my Virginia family and my Texas family (you know who you are), I miss you and hope Santa is good to you all. Love ya!

Wishing you peace, love and laughter this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pepper's BFF

Pepper has a new friend. She lives next door. She and Pepper have been flirting through the fence for about a month now. They decided it was finally time to meet face to face.

This is the new entrance to my backyard.

Houston, we have a problem.

Note to Self:

8 1/2" by 11" Christmas letter does not fill well into envelope for 8" by 4" Christmas card.

To fold again or to trim? That is the question.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

O, Holy J

J made this "J" using every person/animal/angel/item (except the stables) from our two nativity sets. Just had to share.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not our Christmas card pictures

These aren't our Christmas card pictures, but I kind of wish they were. This year I did a photocard for the first time. I was so excited when a friend shared the code to get 50 free photocards from This meant I didn't have to go through a painful photoshoot (or photoshoots) trying to get the perfect picture of both boys together. I could use individual shots and just put them on one card. However, I still struggled to get a good picture of J and had to order the cards by November 30th to get them free... so I settled on a card that had two pics of each boy and I love the pics of N, but J's pics are just okay. Anyway, the other day I was at the Dollar Tree and found these stockings for just $1 each and I couldn't resist:

And then they were off like two Mexican jumping beans:
Merry Merry, everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Knitting Needle Giveaway

Fave Crafts (a fun website for free craft patterns) is doing a knitting needle giveaway. They are giving away two sets of Clover needles (one set of 13" straight single points and one set of 29" circulars). Both sets come in cute little striped cases. Just thought I'd pass it on to my fellow knitters--especially newbies like my sister. I'm never very good at remembering to enter these daily, but you can enter this contest once a day from now until January 10, 2010. Click here to get to the contest.

Friday, December 11, 2009


With two weeks until Christmas, I have finished my niece's Christmas dress. It's already in the mail and on its way to Virginia. I hope she will get to wear it multiple times this holiday season and this winter.

Pattern: Brittany Jumper by Minnowknits
Yarn: 5 skeins of Plymouth Encore D.K. (75% Acrylic/25% Wool/ 50g/ 150 yds)
Color: 9601 (actually a LOT more burgundy than the picture)
Needles: Size 7 (24" and 16" circular)
Size: 4ish (My gauge was off so even though my niece's chest circumference was more the size 3, I knit using the stitch count for size 4.)
Modifications: This dress (although sized up to 4) seams geared more towards a younger child so I added extra length throughout to make it more appropriate for my four year old niece. My finished skirt length was around 14.25 inches and my finished bodice length was around 7 inches. Instead of doing a crocheted picot edge for around the arms and neck, I did a simple slip-stitch crochet border which is almost invisible. I did "bind off one stitch, then kfb in next row" for the buttonholes instead of "yo, k2tog" to make a less stretchy buttonhole.
Thoughts: The first 8 rows of this dress (the picot hem) are a royal pain. I can not tell you how many times I messed up and had to rip out 288 stitches or more. However, the rest of the dress was smooth sailing. This yarn is not ideal as the pattern is written for a worsted weight, but I love the washability of Encore.

Sorry for the cruddy picture. I finished late last night and had to get it in the mail this morning. Hopefully I'll have a cute picture of my niece in it to share at some point.

My Day

I knew it was going to be a good day when I started it by dropping my earring down the bathroom sink drain. Luckily, B was able to recover it. Then J woke up with a very pink, goopy eye and I knew he wouldn't be heading to school today. Instead, we went to the pediatrician's office where we found out that, yes, he did have pink eye. So instead of running errands and getting ready for the playdate we were going to host tomorrow, I entertained two grumpy boys with an even grumpier mom as I canceled our playdate, our plans for a trolley tour of neighborhood Christmas lights and a night of cookies and drinks with friends. It wasn't the best of days, but we survived despite the fact that J treats eye drops like torture. But I really shouldn't complain. The day could have been a whole lot worse. There could have been a real trauma or tragedy in our life. And as my pediatrician so kindly said today, "you have really good boys." And, it's true. I do have two wonderful little boys.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

17 degrees

It's supposed to be 17 degrees tonight. I don't think I'm in Texas anymore.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

N's 1st Haircut

Today N got his first haircut. He's 18 months old, but his hair is still so fine that he didn't have a lot to cut, but what he did have was getting long and out of control--especially when styled with peanut butter or mac n' cheese.

This picture has nothing to do with his haircut. I just thought it would be funny to add to this post. The best part is that underneath that bowl, N is saying "cheese."

Here's a pic of N in my lap right after getting his haircut. He was great. He wouldn't wear the cape thing, but sat nicely in my lap and didn't cry or fuss. When the hairdresser used the clippers to clean up the bottom of his hair and around his ears, she kept touching tickle spots and N would giggle. It was really cute.

Here's a pic of N with his sucker he got at the haircut place.He looks SO grown up to me.

And here's a picture from yesterday for reference (the boys are making alphabet and train soup). You can kind of see how long N's hair was before his haircut.

Ho Ho Ho!

Way back BEFORE Thanksgiving, the boys and I went to the mall to play in the play area. It was rainy out and both boys love to climb on the waterfall, trains, stairs, slides, cow and horse there. Anyway, as we were walking over... I noticed Santa was ALREADY at the mall right next to the play area. Since we haven't had a picture with Santa since J's first Christmas (he hasn't let us get close since), I decided we'd go and chat with Santa. Since it was BEFORE Thanksgiving, there was no line. We stood and chatted with Santa for 15 minutes or so. He showed off some reindeer jingle bells and made N laugh a few times. J eventually told him what he wanted: an ambulance and fire station (to go with his train set), the Curious George book where he dresses up, and a cash register. I then proposed that the boys get their picture taken with Santa. N was suspicious; he kept smiling at Santa and then backing away. J wasn't keen on the idea either. Finally I convinced them to do it--with me in the picture and J making a silly face:

The best part, when Santa said, "Mom, you can sit right here in my lap." Actually--that part was a little creepy. So the boys were both in sweats instead of nice holiday clothes and I had to be in the picture, but we got our picture with Santa. And, I love J's awesome silly face.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Star Tree Topper: Finished!

Pattern: Star Tree Topper by Tonia Wagner (Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2009)

Yarn: 1.1 skeins of Nautical Cotton by Louisa Harding (100% Mercerized Cotton/ 50g/ 93 yards) [I had to break into a second skein while crocheting the two halves together. If I had left shorter tails when casting on and binding off, I may have been able to use just one skein.]
Needles: Size 4 Doublepoint
Beads: Darice TOHO Premium Beads, 6/0 4mm Round, Gold [I bought one 30g tube, used 140 and have a ton leftover.]
Stuffing: Poly-fil
Modifications: The only change I made was to add more beads to the pattern because I didn't just want them on the star points. I like how it looks with the addition of beads on the center of the star and extra ones on the points.
Thoughts: Easy pattern. My first time beading. Not hard, but a little bit of a pain--definitely made this project go more slowly. This was also my first time using single crochet to connect two halves. That also took a while since I am not a crocheter. I like the way it really gave the star a nice finished edge. The star outline was much prettier after the crochet edging. I really hate how this bulges out in the center (both to the front and back of the star).

It looks a bit boob-like. Not sure if this is my fault or the fault of the pattern. I know others have had this problem. Maybe gauge related. I didn't bother checking gauge. Not sure how to fix it. Will leave for now. Like it, but I don't LOVE it.

Will this stay on the tree for years to come? The jury's still out on that one.

More Holiday Fun!

I love Christmas and all the fun things that come along with getting ready for it. J's been asking to make a gingerbread house so this weekend I broke down and bought one of the kits. We had fun making it. J helped decorate the house and one of the gingerbread men that came with it. N just got to help with a gingerbread man. I was surprised that I was able to get N to actually decorate a little bit before he ate all the candy and most of the cookie:

J cracked me up. After much encouragement from me, he put most of the candy on the house (instead of just eating it all). Then he worked on his cookie. I love how quickly it went from this:

To this:
Yes, he's just squeezing the icing into his mouth. A boy after my own heart :).

Our finished house:

We also got our Christmas tree. Can you guess where we bought it?
I love that picture. I think it's just too funny.

Anyway, here it is all decorated:

I put a lot less ornaments on this year as I only put select fragile ones on (all near the top). Despite the limiting of ornaments for fear of losing them to the whirlwind that is N and J, I really enjoyed being reminded of fond memories of wonderful people (especially my grandmother) as we decorated the tree. For the first time in many years, I actually remembered the garland this year. B also decided that we needed to hang candy canes on the tree this year (a first for me). B took J shopping for candy canes so most of them are very non-traditional (Sweet-tart flavored and Dora and Sponge Bob). The star on top was knit by me this year, not sure if I love it, but it will do. More details to come in a different post.

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday preparations. I know we are. As part of our fun, we also went to a local display of over 200 nativity scenes from all over the world. It was beautiful and amazing and a really nice reminder of the real reason for Christmas.

Hope all of your holiday seasons are full of joy and fun times spent with family and friends!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Knitting Change of Plans

Well, all of you who are wondering how the Owls Sweater is's not. I did a few gauge swatches. Couldn't get the gauge that I wanted (too many stitches per inch, too few rows per inch). I then played with the pattern numbers a bit and decided to put it on hold until I knit this. It's a star tree topper from the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2009 issue. I added a few more beads and used solid vs. variegated yarn and here is what the front looks like:

I have the front and back done and now need to crochet the two sides together. Unfortunately, I left the magazine in Virginia so I'll have to wing the rest of it included the i-cord to hold it on the tree. Wish me luck.

The Owls Sweater was going to be my next project. I even took my yarn, pattern and needles to Virginia with me for our Thanksgiving trip, but... while I was there my mom showed me the little dress she decided to knit for her three granddaughters for Christmas dresses. It is an adorable pattern and I can see why she decided to knit them but...she was only partway through the two smaller ones and hadn't even started the third so I volunteered to knit the third one. Unfortunately, the dress is 288 stitches per round with DK yarn and the first 8 rows are a picot pattern that I screwed up repeatedly. I even managed to knit 12 rounds before realizing I had joined the first round with a twist and had to frog the whole thing. I'm now doing much better, but still have TONS of knitting to do and this needs to be done in time to mail to Virginia and be worn for Christmas. What have I volunteered for? I'm sure it will all work out, but I MUST go knit now.

If You Decorate...It will Come

Yesterday I started decorating for Christmas. It's the only holiday I decorate for and I LOVE it. Each decoration is a memory from the past and a new memory to be made. It was a rough day for decorating as I broke two ornaments and J broke a snow globe just in unpacking the decorations. Oh well. It was still glorious.

We pulled out the nativity scenes (J's favorites!):

The fiber-optic snowman (N was entranced):
A ribbon wreath I made a few years ago went on the door (my favorite feather wreath did not survive the move very well--too smooshed!):

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care:

And decorations were spread throughout the house like these adorable alligator salt and pepper shakers:
And my favorite Santa-- I bought him at 7-11 ten years ago (my first year in my own place for Christmas):
So we decorated our house and we created Christmas magic. This morning...

it snowed! In Texas, it SNOWED! It's hard to see her, but that's Pepper in the snow. She seemed confused.

We decorated for Christmas and a miracle occurred...snow in Texas. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I am SO thankful...

I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family. B, the boys and I had a lovely week spent with my family in Virginia for Thanksgiving. We got to spend lots of time with my parents, my siblings, and my nieces and nephews. It was glorious! I am SO thankful!

The Thanksgiving Spread:

My brother's triplets:

The rest of the kids:

J, 3 years old.

N, 18 months old, on my dad's motorcycle.

My nephew, Michael, 6 years old.

My niece, Lizzie, 4 years old.
My nephew, Joe, 4 years old.
My nephew, Reed, 2 years old.
My niece, Mary, 2 years old.
My niece, Madeline, 2 years old.
Me, my good friend Emily, and my sister Cat
A little beauty in nature (my mom's cherry tree that blooms in the fall and spring):
I am SO thankful!