Friday, January 28, 2011

Over Thinking

This morning after sleeping soundly (but unfortunately for not long enough,) I heard the baby yelling for me.  My eyes did not want to open.  I stayed up too late last night finishing a book, and yet, even if I hadn't finished it, I would have laid there awake regardless.

I wondered what day it was.  Is that sad?  I lose track of days when my schedule is not packed.  I remembered that it was Friday.  Nothing to do on Friday.  Good.  That's how I wanted it.  We did something yesterday anyway, and we have something planned for Saturday. 

I thought a day of nothing would be good.  But I forgot one important thing:  I can never do nothing.  Even when I try, my brain is constantly going.  And I over think things.

I think of things forgotten.  Of disregarded goals.  Of undone to-do lists.  Of the future and its many possibilities.  Of ideas that never came to fruition.  Of things that should be but aren't and may never be. 

And I miss the one with whom I would normally share these over thought thoughts of mine.

Motivation, my dear, you are encouraged to return at your earliest convenience.  Doing nothing is not good for me.

Maybe I just need another cup of coffee...  =)

Get Steampunked!

Okay, it's nearing the end of January, and with 6 books read (including chapter readalouds) I think I am well on my way to accomplishing all my 2011 reading challenges (assuming I stay on the same pace.)  So, I've decided to take on one more challenge:

Get Steampunked!

I'm going to start at the lowest level:  Geared (5 books.)  This is a brand new genre for me, and I'm hoping I like it.  Can't wait to get started!

Steampunk books read:
  1.  Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. 2/2/11.  4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We survived...

Well, we've officially survived the first week.  I think I'm still a bit in denial (which seems to be helping the kids cope, anyway.)  I've been somewhat treating this week as a really long duty day, instead of what it actually is.

Mr. Hubs is deployed.  yuck.  There, I said it.  I suppose that being used to this past year's workups has made it easier on us.  We are used to him having to leave.  In a way that is a little sad, but ah, well, what can you do?  I think it will start to sink in more as we get further into the deployment.  We've already had some ups and downs, but overall we're holding it together.

Baby D doesn't understand, of course.  She sees Daddy's car outside and asks, "Daddy home?"  I have to tell her repeatedly, "No, Daddy's on the boat."  She'll look at me and say, "Oh, Daddy boat."  A lump will catch in my throat for a second or two, and after a few deep breaths, it's gone, but the whole time, she is fine.

Miss Dainty is strong.  She amazes me.  I can only hope that I can continue to be enough for her while Mr. Hubs is away.  She misses him very much.  We all do, of course.  Evenings are hardest for me, they are too quiet.  I've been filling them with knitting and season 1 of Doctor Who, or reading mostly.  And sleep doesn't come quickly, but the morning does.  Coffee is my friend.  During the day we try to stay busy.  It will be better when the weather gets nicer.  We've been stuck in the house lately due to cold rainy days.

Today was a nice break from that.  It was bordering on warm and the sun was out.  After Baby D's nap, I surprised them with a trip to the nearby playground.  (They thought we were going straight to the craft store.) They had fun running and sliding and jumping around.  It was good for them to get their energy out.  It was a nice chance for me to sit and knit. I was also pleasantly surprised by a single bird singing just for me (at least, that's what it felt like.)  That little bird's song as the soundtrack to my kids' playing and the yarn moving through my hands, made me happy.  That half hour was really, really enjoyable.  Then it got too chilly, and we had to leave.
This is what I've been working on:
My first sweater.  Well, it's for Baby D.  I figured I should start small.  It's a really easy pattern:  the pieces are seed stitch border and stockinette stitch with just a tad of shaping.  When I join them for the yoke portion, there will be some eyelets involved, so hopefully it won't be too hard for me.  It's an adorable sweater.  I can't wait to finish it.

However, I might have to put it aside for a while.  I've signed up for my very first ever swap on ravelry.  I'm so excited.  I've decided on what I want to make for my spoilee, I just need to get started.  I'm looking forward to shopping for her, too.  This is what I bought tonight to get started on the first two projects:
The yarn in this picture and the sweater look almost the same, but that's the lighting's fault.  The sweater is magenta.  This new yarn is a rich dark red.

I will definitely post about the completed projects, after my spoilee receives her package.  I think I'll do one more night of mindless stockinette and tv tonight, though.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Choice

The ChoiceThe Choice by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the first Nicholas Sparks book I've ever read. A friend recommended it to me. Perhaps I started with the wrong book, or perhaps this just isn't my genre. This was just an okay read for me. The first half did not hold my interest, it took me longer than it should have to read. It started to pick up somewhat, yet I was still indifferent as to what happened to the characters, and, really, I hated feeling that way. Overall, I wasn't too impressed. Then again, I think this style of writing and type of book just isn't my thing.

My short review on goodreads.  =)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Little House in the Big Woods

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"I read this out loud to my 5 year old. She enjoyed it, and at times couldn't believe how the characters lived. It read like a collection of short stories instead of one main story, which I didn't care for too much (I personally love a very defined plot in a book.) But it was perfect for my daughter. However, I absolutely loved the very last chapter. I definitely will be revisiting this book with her later when we actually study this time period."

That was my short review on Goodreads.  I just learned I could easily post my review here!  Pretty nifty.  Another thing I wanted to mention about this book is that a lot of my friends have told me they didn't get past chapter 1 in this book with their kids due to the "gruesome" descriptions of the father slaughtering and cleaning the animals that they ate.   I personally decided not to shelter my daughter from this.  I don't understand why we disconnect our kids from their "food."

We discussed how in the time this story took place, they had to eat what was available to them.  We talked about how they didn't have stores with vegetables year round like we do now.  And the reason I loved the very last chapter, "The Deer in the Wood," was because it showed that even though they had to eat animals to survive, there was still an appreciation for them.  In that chapter, the father (while hunting) didn't shoot a single animal because he was awestruck at their beauty and serenity in the woods.  I loved it.

Overall, Miss Dainty really enjoyed this book.  It helped that each chapter was it's own short story.  It was perfect for bedtime reading.  I can't wait to really study this time period of our country with her.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Contribution

Mr Hubs' 10ish days off of work were awesome.  It was nice to just be together, doing nothing much really, but enjoying each other's company.  He's been back to work for a few days now, and it's back to getting ready.  The checklist is pretty much taken care of.  I think we are ready.  We'll see. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Activity Box #1: Color Sort

This is something I've been meaning to do for a while:  getting activities together for Baby D to use while I homeschool Miss Dainty.  When Miss Dainty was around 2 and 3 I did a lot of Montessori type activities with her, and I need to do it again for the little one.  I entered a blog give away for one of the activity sets from Time for Tots, but I didn't win.  Those activity sets seem very well planned out and very well stocked. 

My home made ones will be more on the simple side (I'm super cheap...) but I don't think Baby D will mind.  I am thinking about getting the alphabet set though because $20 is really worth it to not have to hunt down 26 mini-somethings to match with letters.  It's a great activity.  I did something similar with Miss Dainty around 3 1/2.

This has been on my to do list, because lately, it's been a challenge to homeschool Miss Dainty.  We used to do her schoolwork during Baby D's nap, but lately her naps are getting shorter and it seemed like we were cramming too much into a short hour (or hour and a half if we were lucky!)  And because we were doing all the book type stuff during nap time, there was no opportunity to do Miss Dainty's favorite arts & crafts type activities because if the baby was up, she basically just wouldn't let us.

So, arts & crafts will be during Baby D's nap, and I need to figure  out a way to do schoolwork while the baby is up.  I'm putting together activity boxes that she will only be able to play with during school time, so that hopefully they will seem special enough to keep her interest.

I put a color sort activity set together yesterday:
What did I spend?
Paint samples: free.
Container: free. (Repurposed take out container)
Items: free. They were just stuff we had around the house and buried at the bottom of the toy box.  The marker lids came off of dried out markers (we definitely have enough of them.)
Rice: pennies?  I only used 1.5 cups.  And really, you don't even have to put it in there, but I did because Baby D is all about texture.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Miss Dainty's Meteor Shower

The other day, Mr Hubs was downstairs with the girls and somehow he got on the topic of constellations and planets and such, and so began an impromptu science lesson for Miss Dainty.  When I came downstairs, I could hear Baby D yelling about something or other, and Mr Hubs looked at me and said, "I have no idea how you teach Miss Dainty anything..."  I smiled knowingly.  Yeah... it's a challenge.  One that I need to figure out in the next few weeks, but that's another blog post.

I took the baby and entertained her while Mr Hubs continued showing Miss Dainty videos and pictures online which fascinated her.  They ran across a chapter in her book of constellations about a yearly meteor shower, and both were so excited to read that it would be happening this week.  Miss Dainty jumped up and down about her daddy's promise of waking her in the middle of the night and the possibility of seeing a meteor shower.

After researching a bit, we knew it might be tough to see this particular meteor shower.  The peak was supposed to take place between 3 PM Monday and sometime this morning (now I've forgotten.)  Regardless, it was a pretty big time frame, with basically no guarantee we would catch it.

So, last night, we went out around 8 pm to check and see if we could see anything.  Turns out, the area was not viewable from our house.  Miss Dainty was disappointed, but we promised her we'd check in the morning and wake her if we saw something.

This morning, around 5:30 am, Mr Hubs' alarm went off and he asked me if I was going to go outside.  "Yeah, if you see anything," I answered.  He laughed and went out.

In about two minutes he ran back inside,  "I saw two already, come on!"  He went and grabbed Miss Dainty while I got out of bed.  I hope we see something, I thought, because this is crazy.  It's freezing outside and it's 5:30 AM!!! 

We stood out in our side yard probably looking a bit ridiculous with our robes and blankets and scarves, staring up at the sky.  "We're that family," Mr Hubs said.

"Yep," was my answer, but I laughed because that thought made me happy.  We stared and stared and tried to hush Miss Dainty who was talking too loud.  We looked and looked and waited and waited.  And then we saw it.  A star suddenly appeared and dashed for a distance leaving it's long trail, only to disappear.  In that short time frame, I pointed and we all said something about it simultaneously, all of us so excited to see one.  Miss Dainty was excited the most.  It was, after all, her very first "shooting star." 

We waited some more, hoping to see another one or two, but clouds were moving in and the cold was getting to us.  "A few more minutes," Mr Hubs told Miss Dainty.  Then the clouds completely covered where we were supposed to be looking and so we went back inside.  I put Miss Dainty back to bed, and she was so happy even to see just one meteor.

In the end, the best part was that Mr Hubs was able to experience a homeschooling journey that was all his and Miss Dainty's alone: from Miss Dainty's spark of interest about stars to them reading books and watching videos online together, to discovering the meteor shower, and putting the effort into viewing it, and finally seeing a meteor. 

It was so neat and rewarding.  I think we will gladly be that family as often as necessary to have more experiences like that one.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Matched (Matched #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was just an ok read for me. I went into it with high expectations due to some glowing blogger reviews, but I was disappointed. I love dystopia, but this just didn't do it for me. The characters and setting seemed flat, and I just couldn't envision the world very well. The ending picked up for me a tad, but my opinion was already set. I don't know if I'll read the next one or not.

My review from Goodreads.

2011 Knitting Goals

I'm having a hard time deciding what I want my first knitting project of the year to be.  So, I jotted down this list, and I'm putting it here so I don't lose it (because I will.)  Anyway, this is what I would like to accomplish this year:

  1. knit a pair of socks
  2. lace 
  3. dye my own yarn
  4. kitchener stitch
  5. 3 needle bind off
  6. mattress stitch (I really need to work on my finishing!)(Eloise Cardigan)
  7. get better at continental style (use it for a project)
This actually ends my knowledge of knitting techniques.  I need to do some reading and learn about more.  Maybe I can find a list somewhere.
    Project Goals:

    List of projects I'd like to knit:
    1. first baby sweater (Eloise Cardigan)
    2. first pair of socks
    3. first baby blanket
    4. first lace something (E-Reader Cozy - simple lace pattern)
    5. knit or crochet doll clothes for the girls 
    6. knit or crochet pretend food for the girls 
    7. an adult sweater or cardigan for me
    8. sweater for Miss Dainty
    9. a lace shawl
    Other knitting related goals:
    1. attend a knitting group
    2. participate in a swap (Book Theme Geek Swap on Ravelry)
    3. go to a local yarn store
    4. continue to teach Miss Dainty to knit 
    5. figure out my knitting speed
    6. knit Christmas gifts again (and mail them out on time!)
    7. knit for charity
    8. buy hand dyed yarn
    Now to decide what to start on....

      Saturday, January 1, 2011

      2010 Life Stuff

      I started this blog late in the year, after a long time of not posting at my old one, and I'm a little sad that I stopped.  I keep trying to remember the things we did this past year, and I really wish I had written it all down.  I'm glad I've started blogging again, even if it's just for that in the end.  But I know it's not.  I've already made new friends because of it.  =)

      Last year, like any other, we had ups and downs.  Here's a very brief list:

      • I learned how to knit.
      • I received my Associate's degree (finally.)  I got in in business administration, although, I know that if I end up going for my bachelor's it will be for something different.
      • We lost my stepdad unexpectedly in April.  It was and is hard.  Thankfully, we were able to go home to be with my mom.
      • Miss Dainty finished her year of ballet.  We decided not to put her in again for several reasons.
      • I continued to deal with my anxiety, and made a lot of progress over the summer with the support of my summer small group.
      • Miss Dainty joined Girl Scouts instead, and I must say it is a much better match for our family.
      • We dealt with Mr Hub's ship schedule, in and out, in and out all year.  It was challenging, but the girls handled it fairly well.
      • For the first time ever, I led a small group Bible study at church.  It was definitely a challenging new experience, but at the same time, it was very rewarding.  I've made some wonderful friendships, and grew so much.
      • I fell in love with my husband all over again.
      • We reached 3 years of being vegan.
      • Baby D learned to talk.
      That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  

      I know 2011 will be just as challenging, if not more so, but we have God on our side.  So, I'm keeping faith that we will get through the hard times, and I'm really looking forward to the good times.  (Plus, blogging about them should be fun...)

      Happy New Year Everyone!