Thursday, February 28, 2013

knit parade: the boy's spring hat

i love the purl bee. i want to make everything they showcase on that blog the very second a new project is up. and i want to buy out their entire store. obviously, if i set out to do either of these things, i'd get nothing else done in my life and i wouldn't have any money. 

anyway, not long ago the boy was looking over my shoulder when i was salivating over one of their newest projects, soft and sweet baby hats.

src:the purlbee

and he asked me to make him one. the one with the anchor on it. without the pompom.

i swooned. and then i cast on. i finished. 

success! he loves the hat and wears it all the time (anchor on the side) - without, may i add, bribing, begging, or any other form of coercion from me! quite the accomplishment.
be still my beating heart.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

birthday blips

yes. it was lovely as all that, turning 37 was.

but it seems i have run into my regular round of blips where i'm extra absent-minded and can't seem to think clearly.

anyone who has ever spent quality time with me has seen one of these blips in action, in one way or another. in fact, many of my really good friends have developed an instinct for circumventing such blips: checking to see if there's anything i've left behind, looking at a map, reminding me about something i should do before getting on to the next thing.

i am a forward thinker. it is difficult for me to look back. 37 years later, i've learned to take a moment to look back, every now again; and plan more. 

but the blips do happen. i celebrated my birthday on monday. and on that day, all i wanted to do was get lost in the forest. hours of toddler (x2) and mommy (x2) later, we never made it to the forest.  i just kinda trusted that if we made it to stanley park, we would just get there. but blip made sure we just didn't.

and my camera camera (not my phone camera) stopped working (or, as blip likes to put it, "battery exhausted").

after surviving a few tantrums (the boy actually professed to being grumpy), both babes knocked out: the boy in the stroller, the girl on my back. the wife and i both tried to stay cheerful (we were not), but we did manage to meet up with a dear, dear friend and we made for a restaurant that served good food and alcohol.

and then i had a margarita (X2).

and then we had ice cream and cupcakes. the best part was freaking the kids out with the sparkler.

and then i lost my favourite, favourite, the-one-i-wear-all-the-time shawl. i took it off at the restaurant.  but blip help me, i didn't bring it with me when we left. they claim it isn't there. but i don't think i will ever see it again. i was forlorn. and i pouted as i knit until the day was done (although i do really and truly recognize and appreciate what a good day it was). 

but really, i blame the margarita (x2).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

the first day

i have this print i bought online last year. 

i haven't quite figured out where it goes in our home but it was today that i truly felt the spirit of its message.

i know it's late february. and that it rains at least 5 days a week in vancouver right now. but today was warm and sunny and just lovely. full of blue skies and backyard discoveries. 

today, i felt what it was to be outside and look forward to a spring and summer of growing: growing gardens, growing memories, growing up.

i can hardly wait.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

i miss dinosaurs

when the boy was into dinosaurs, we went with him to jurassic park. we rode the dinosaur train. we went with the dinosaurs to the potty. we found out how dinosaurs said i love you. we saw dinosaurs at the science centre three times and even hung out with them at the royal british columbia museum. heck i can tell many of the jurassic dinosaurs apart and pronouce their names with admirable smug-a-saurus ease.

one day, the boy decided he was afraid of dinosaurs.

then he went to montessori school where they brought a dead fish to gut, clean, and paint with and all of a sudden, our lives were all about fish.

so we promptly got a membership to the aquarium. we even encouraged his grandparents to buy him a (second) beta fish.

but the boy's obsession with fish has surpassed my expectations. above and beyond belugas and orcas (which consumed him for a time), nemo, and all manner of sharks, the boy is obsessed with fish.

not the alive kind. the dead kind. the kind you buy at the fish monger's. fish with their heads still on. he likes to pick them out and wash them (and sometimes the wife even has to gut and clean them) so that we can cook them and eat them.

you should see the kid with the fish we bring him. he pets them and caresses them and talks to them like they're his babies.

now i'm a pisces. i love fish. i like to swim with them in the ocean. i even like to eat fish on occassion. certainly not everyday. and certainly not to avoid a tantrum every time we pass the fish monger.

so now, i really miss dinosaurs. they're extinct. so they don't actually stink anymore. and i never had to wash, cook, or eat them.

grilled mackarel with miso, steamed veg, and buttered quinoa

naturally, because i love my son, and because he loves fish, i knit him a pair of fish mitts.

goldfish mittens knit with stash scraps
these are my very first colourwork project. huzzah!

and a very silly fish hat. 

fish hat dead or alive knit with various stash scraps

of course, the boy cares not for the hat. but it was most fun to make. i'm thinking it's going to be my halloween costume this year. 

but seriously, i miss dinosaurs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

knit parade: the girl's spring hat

you may have noticed the girl was wearing a new hat in yesterday's post.

the wife declared the girl needed a beret.

and a beret was knit.

i loved the pattern: day beret by hannah fettig. it was fast and very easy to knit and the design is clean classic. the pattern only provided child and adult sizes. the girl is still a toddler so the hat fits a bit big but it'll do. which means unless something happens to the hat, she should be able to use it years.

the yarn is good, too: rowan felted tweed - full of texture, with a slight halo, plus it's machine washable. and i couldn't help but pick a purple-y tweed. the girl looks great in purple. 

now the wife wants one, too. 

the way forward

it's all happening too fast.

with the stealth of lara croft, my daughter snuck into my bedroom, spun around my office chair at least 13 times, snatched a handful of chocolate covered almonds, and stuffed them safely into her mouth, chewing them well before the 2 minutes it usually takes me to find her, wherever she is, in our home.

my little girl turns 2 in a couple of weeks and she constantly asks "why" with the sure wisdom of the word's pause-inducing power over her mothers. why, indeed, do we have to put her jacket on when we're still in the restaurant and not outside? why, indeed, does she actually need to stay in the stroller? why in the world does she have to go where we're going?

all the while, my son who turns 4 in a month is constantly giving us feedback and providing us with remedial training on just about everything: what to put away, how to cook, how to make him a glass of warm milk. today, i got schooled on the fact that i should not slide a glass across the table and just about an hour ago, he told me it was "so rude of [my wife,  his other mother]" not to have taken the time to say goodbye before leaving for her meeting.

there is a veritable onslaught of articles and blogs and books in these here interwebz on how to raise childre, "the right way" (never mind all that other noise on my untraditional family make-up). i read what interests me, take my grain of salt, and pay no attention to the rest.

i'm not a perfect person. i'm not a perfect mother. and like any other parent, i do what i feel is right for my family as things happen. i do my best. some days it's an uphill battle of wills (and let's face it, wits), made difficult by sleep deprivation and competing priorities - especially when i'm on auto-pilot (and make no mistake, it's ugly). other days, i'm thunderstruck with a joy that wells to the point where there simply are no words.

photo by the wife from the top of rock island in whytecliff park.
she and the boy scaled it together for the first time. 
right now, at this moment, i'm proud of my already-opinionated, very vocal, incorrigible babes. putting aside all necessary discipline measures, each moment of dissent (among other unflattering emotions) beams in me a glimmer of hope that these babes will stand up for themselves when it counts, that they will carry on feeding their curiosity, and question the status quo when they think it's necessary. 

every time they give us feedback, it is always humbling, yes. but it also lets me know that on some level - even as toddlers, they see us as human, as well as their parents.

the girl is only nearly 2 and the boy is only nearly 4. but it is so important to me that they know that the process of learning and communicating is a road that goes the distance, under often unpredictable circumstances, in both directions. 

and we can all take turns leading the way forward.

all photos taken at the breathtaking whytecliff park in west vancouver

Thursday, February 14, 2013

favourite things: on valentine's day

:unexpected treats (thank you, thank you, thank you my darling wife. you know just how much you've outdone yourself.)

:handcrafted valentines from us to the kids

:handcrafted valentines from the boy. 

:valentines for the boy's preschool class; potato-stamped hearts by me, typewritten words by the wife and the girl, and the boy glued on the hearts himself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

full disclosure: christmas knitting pile, fresh off the needles

as you may be able to imagine, the christmas knitting took a direct hit when we were all held prisoner by the viral party bus. 

i had a ton of grand plans. i always do. i'm not just an optimist, you see. i'm delusional. i know how to knit. therefore, i must be able to knit everything for everyone, whenever i want. and on time, to boot. 

never mind that i have a day job. or that there's chores, cooking, and four mouths to feed. never mind that there are bed time stories to read, or that i can't actually knit waiting for the kids to fall asleep because it's, um, dark. never mind that i actually need sleep because i hulk out every time the wind blows when i am sleep deprived. i can. knit. everything. goshdarnit.

then, not only was i tending to my sick family, i got sick. and you know i'm really sick when i'd rather sleep than knit.

i'm all better now. the babes and the wife seem on the mend. (i'm crossing my fingers. it seems i'm only delusional about the knitting. especially because our nanny's sick again.)  

all the while, i've hunkered down and spent many spare moments on christmas knitting. 

and now that it's mid-february, it's all done.

the bottom hat is graham knit with malabrigo worsted (my fave) in azul profundo
the hat on the top is wurm knit with knitpicks swish (lovely) in merlot heather

i can only show you pictures of piles at the moment at least until these lovelies get shipped to their recipients. but they are done.

the lace border is from a shawl called piper's journey knit with imperial tracie too (soft and lofty)
the socks are knit with knitpicks felici (really loved watching the yarn self-strip)
and diamond luxury collection soxy (soft!)

now i can focus on the march events extravaganza knitting: both babes have a birthday and the wife and i celebrate 18 years. 

i have grand plans. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


you may have been wondering where the heck i've been.

(or not. and that's totally okay.)

believe it or not, over the last 2 months my little family has been held hostage on the viral party bus. it's just been an absolute hot-potato riot of the usual fluids and associated clean-up in various permutations.

in fact, we spent the very first day of this calendar year in convalescence from the effects of the noro virus. not just us. our hosts, too. we were in kelowna, visiting with dearest friends. and we all rang in the new year with the harsh reality of what it means to succumb to a parasite.

apparently, i'm still bitter.

shortly after we returned to vancouver, we were hit yet another virus that would not end.  it was just not pretty. and while the hangover continues as the final symptoms prevail on each of us in one way or another, i am forcing my little family off the viral party bus by the power of the lunar new year.

i am calling a new year do-over.

i began this blog on the first day of the calendar year in 2012. but extenuating circumstances being what they were over the holiday season, 2013 begins today.

fittingly enough, we spent most of the day cycling through the feeding and cleaning rhythms of our routines. but we did manage to make it to the river.

i made that sweater. it's jane richmond's classic raglan. i'm stupid proud of it. the yarn is madelinetosh vintage in graphite: seriously delicious stuff.

i took a moment, the merest of seconds, to breathe out 2012/early 2013 and breathe in the blank pages of what's left of 2013. i love blank pages.

anyway, i'm back. and i absolutely plan to continue to use this space to stay focused on what's important to me.

happy new year! 

made by the boy.