Feb 27, 2008

The Party is Here!

I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again....I love it when we babysit large groups of kids. It is so fun to have several family groups here at one time. It is like a party: the Food, the GAMES, the TRAMPOLINE and the sleepovers can't be beat, or so my kids tell me. All my normal rules are relaxed and we get to have so much more play time. And this time I even relaxed the food rules quite a bit (shocker!). I am usually the food Nazi (no junk food for you! *growl*).
I wrote down a few of the numbers of visitors, but I got overwhelmed by figuring them out: suffice it to say that there were A LOT.

Yes, we've had lots of extra kids here really consistently for the last two weeks, but with enough breaks for us to get work done, in between. It's been a good life.

If you are reading this and you are a mom who shared your kids with us over the last couple of weeks, THANK YOU for giving us an OTS (opportunity to serve). We love it, and are glad. Using some restraint, I left my camera mostly alone, keeping the privacy of your kids (mostly) intact.

Among other things, we watched Emergency with some of the kids:

Does he give any other "Lost" watchers the chills?
And this:

Do you have kids who collect cat's tails and then explode them ALL OVER the backyard? Our neighbors must have been quite annoyed? Was the the guests fault? No. Mine own son. Our backyard looked like it had snowed.

This is a pic of the flowers from my sweet DH, and I pass it on to the mothers who shared their kids. Thanks. I needed the break from the routine.

Oh, and photos of the impulsive cast-on from the other day:
I had it 25% finished and tried it on. Too tight. Frogged.

Feb 23, 2008

Impulsive? Me?

****This post was from 2-23-08 (I forgot to post it)****
I began Grumperina's t-shirt two days ago in a fit of knitting. I call it a fit because it happened in the midst of an emotional frenzy to get knitting a real garment, not an accessory.

I begged my two oldest kids once again to look at a couple of garments I was seeing on Ravelry and....#1 said she's kinda like this one. #2 said she liked it too, and I should knit it for her. Now, we are on a serious budget, looking toward the future and I know I didn't have the yarn just sitting around waiting for them. So, I worked it. I checked the stash, consulting the daughter (at length) and we settled on a course of action. Ditching the school work, I kicked all the kids into the car and skipped down to the LYS. We settled on a Takhi Cotton Classic in a nice azure blue, trading it in for something I had in my stash....almost no $ spent. We got home and POOF! I cast on.

Ahhhh, the satisfaction.

This is my next Panda Cotton venture. I am making socks for #4. "Finally", she says! I got all goofy when I tried to take the pictures. The colors are so very saturated, but the photos don't show it really.

Feb 22, 2008

Seven Meme

My dear friend Tammy tagged me. The rules are this:

1) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4) Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here are the random and weird facts:

1) My house has several shades of gold all over the walls and curtains, and I hate gold. I like blues and greens and reds in my house. Instead I am inundated with gold everywhere you look (with lots of red and some green highlights). I am too lazy to paint over the lovely gold faux painting the previous owner painted by hand.

2) I constantly ask my four children to look at knitted garment patterns and beg them to want one; "Pleeeease look at this!...don't you like this one? Wouldn't you want to wear it?". Pathetic.

3) I'll admit it again, I am terribly inconsistent. I got on the Dean's List at UCLA and almost flunked out (for real) several times.

4) I LOVE books. Really loving them has brought me so much joy, but it also makes me a little weird; I prize copies of easily available books as if they are rare treasures. Even though we are trying to keep our stuff at a minimum, I couldn't bear to part with even one of my treasured friends, the books.

5) I learned to snow ski and backpack at the tender age of four, and I am a mountain lover now. If you ask me beach or mountain, it is mountain every time. The smell, the sights, the feel of it ....ahhh. Heaven.

6) I had four babies, but I don't really like babies. Kids, yes. Babies, no so much. I suffered through it to get to the awesome stage they are in now.

7) I am jealous of #1's hair, and #2's skin and #3's eyes and #4's friendly, popular nature. I am. Mom's shouldn't be jealous of their kids, should they?

OK, done.

Now I'd like to hear from (hm...let's see)
1) Dlyn, who Tammy introcuded me to lately (funny and gorgeous pics!)
2) Stephanie at Knit Lich, a new friend whose talent in color and proportion amaze me.
3) Olga at Uberstrickenfrau who hates memes I think, but who makes me laugh so much I hope she'll do it again anyway...
4) Lydee, who is having writer's block, maybe this will help...? And cause she likes Star Trek.
5) Becca, who also makes me laugh.
6) Felt Like Knitting, who loves to listen to Third Day (me too Beth)!
7) And Laura, because we share a love of books and because she inspires me with her kids.

Can't wait to see what comes next...

Feb 17, 2008

I'm John Locke, and you?

Do you watch Lost? I've seen it on DVD only...no TV here in this house. I like to see the whole season at once. So...I wait. While you might be gobbling up the new episodes, I've got to content myself with games:

Which Lost Character Are You?

and also Find815.com. Have you been there? And who are you? find out.

In praise of Serl, our new (-ish) Language program for two of the kids, I must say that I am very impressed. There are only two books, Primary and Intermediate. My youngest is working on the Primary book and my #2 is working on the Intermediate one. Why do I like them so much? Well, they are NOT BORING. That helps.

Not getting bogged down in silly grammar lessons and crazy composition, the author varies each lesson. One day you might do an oral composition based on the lessons premise, or you might look at sentences with a choice of using the word "a" or "an" and figure out for yourself what the rule might be. Some lessons are written, others are not. Some lovely poetry and prose are memorized by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Alice Carey.

In praise of wool socks, I must admit that I have been converted. Living where it is mostly dry and sunny and warm/hot, I felt sure all my life that cotton was the way to go. Not so. I take my wool socks to amusement parks and to weather changing outings. There are days when you know it will start out cold, but (being in So Cal) that it will warm up immensely and then turn chilly again....and the wool socks will take you all the way through in comfort. My feet stay dry in the heat (not hot, though) and warm in the cold. All day.

Are you thinking of Kenya? I am hearing of more violence and also more organized relief.

I am moving on with the whole bible for lent. I am in Deuteronomy now. More on that later.

Created by BuddyTV

Feb 15, 2008

The World at Our Door

Please bear with me....I really want to share this with you:
The situation in Kenya is continuing with IDP's (Internally Displaced People) numbering the the hundreds of thousands and confusion and violence throughout. When I visited last year at this time of year, the elections were approaching and I spoke with a number of various people. They all mentioned the same concern: corruption. Corruption of the government was widespread, and yet peace persisted within that corruption. It seemed to be a give and take. They all were expressing reservations and concern over the upcoming election.

As the election results were revealed, there was widespread violence because the people were convinced that the election was rigged and that the winner was not really the winner. The people felt betrayed. The tribal lines within the culture became even more important because they were aligned with political beliefs as well. The Kikuyu were risen up against. Underlying tribal disagreements between all the tribes were brought to the front. People who had always been living in a peaceful country suddenly had enough and were ready to fight.

Atrocities have been committed. Many people have been murdered, many more have been kicked out of their villages because their tribe is no longer welcome there.

The stuff I just related to you is my own take, my own understanding of the situation. The NY Times wrote an article which tells of the current displacement. Read it here.

My own family has been undergoing changes for the last several years, leading up to something new: my husband is training to become a pilot for missionary organizations. He and I have been thinking about where we'll go when the training is over, assuming that it goes well. We'd been keeping Africa, and especially Kenya, in mind.

I loved it there. I left part of my heart there with the babies who'd been born with AIDS. I felt a connection to earth of Africa. I love the red soil and the green plants. I love the dark skin of the people. With the communication systems of the world, I hear first-hand accounts from people there. We see photojournalists first-hand view of the people. I hear their call, as people, for help. To you, I would ask that you would pray for these people.
This is a little stand in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya. A normal spot for selling the fruit of the land. I bet it is not there now.

Yes, I know there is so much going on in the world today. Maybe you've seen the poem about the Starfish ? This one is in my heart.

Who knows what the future will hold for my family. God only knows where He will send us. Maybe He'll keep us here in suburbia, or to Indonesia, or send us to another place entirely. That's fine with me. What is in my heart now is Kenya.

And so, from my heart to yours, please pray.
Pray for physical help, for those with resources to stand up and organize and find a way to meet the needs of the people. Please pray for the government situation to be resolved in a way that is right. This seems now impossible, or unlike. So I will pray for a miracle.

PS: The photos are mine from last year, before the country exploded into violence. Please check out THIS post and THIS one from a missionary aviator in Kenya.

Feb 14, 2008

Valentine was here! **Warning: picture-heavy post**

Happy Day of Love!
Socks done: DIC Shooshy, Chinatown Apple color , twisted cable rib (C. Schurch)

This below is what I woke up to today from #4, my 6 y/o. My favorite candies that she and DH found for me. Can you hear me sigh with emotion from the words. Words: they mean so much to me.

Then my #3 said he had a message for me last night:

What can it be? A hint?

Love, that's it!

Words; they mean so much to me.

These are some of Ree's cookies. We've used muffin papers, and as you see, all of these are candy-less. All the candied ones are popped away for the dozens of children in our school who will be receiving the 130 cookies; one each.

Best yet, some dear friends have offered to watch the beasties tonight so DH and I can have a date. Sweet.

Feb 12, 2008

Flocking and Lent

Yes, there were birds at the park, but it was the sheer number of people that was impressive. I've only seen that many people there for a big summer event, like a concert. It was two days ago, Sunday after lunch.

Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter and it has been historically recognized by the church as a time to mentally prepare for the resurrection of Jesus. Most Reformed churches have eschewed the "giving up something for Lent" practice of the Roman Catholic church. But I like it...and sometimes have done things especially to prepare my heart and mind. This year, I was mightily intrigued by Laura when she recounted what she did last year. She Rocked! She read the whole bible for Lent. Read about it here.
Well, Laura, I am going for it! The bible from now until Easter...here I go...

More play at the park.

Friends and family are so good for spending time on Sundays.

Feb 11, 2008

Fetching Finally Finished

I've been working on a fingerless glove pattern by Knitty called Fetching. It look me a day or two way back in the Fall to do the first one and the other has just waited patiently to be knit up. I finally got to it this weekend. Above is a picture of the underside. For a picture of the first one modeled next to a great work of literature see this post. The two gloves were knit so far apart in time that I must have forgotten which needle size I used for the first one...it is smaller. It doesn't matter, right?
This is some Wonderfully soft and luscious Misti Cotton I got a LYS sale:

And this is some luxurious Noro Cash Iroha at the same sale:

Who could say no? I had a gift certificate AND they were on 30% off. I am thinking I'll have to conjoin them each with something else, unless a scarf is the project. There just isn't enough for a whole sweater.

Feb 5, 2008

Books and Dirt

This series by Jennifer Chiaverini is a fun read. It begins about 8 books ago. Some books are set in the past (like arriving in America 200 years ago and also in the underground railroad) and some are set all over the country. But all of them revolve around quilts and quilt-making and have certain core set of characters. I am so inspired by all the quilt making in the books that I even bought some stuff, but haven't really gotten in to it, yet...

I also just finished reading "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare to the kids for part of our Ancient Rome for history. It was very good, but not as good as I had hoped. Those high hopes seem to make even good thing seem...well, disappointing.

I have also been reading "The Narrated Bible" which is written in timeline formation. I really like it.

I also read the kids "The Children's Story Bible" by Vos. It's wonderful. Do you read that one, too?
Here's some pictures of how the bikes look after the ride:
the first one is the bag that hangs down from my husband's seat, the next is his bike, from the handlebars down...

The last is the #1's dirt.

Feb 4, 2008

Alternative Entertainment:

Who needs the Superbowl when you have a soggy steep trail going from the local mountains to the sea??? We don't!
A good friend and I dropped off the 8 kids and two dads at the trail head and said goodbye. This is what they did:

Nine miles to the sea. Trees and hills and many, many new pools.
They got a little wet.

And a little muddy! They even found a bit of sunshine.

Meanwhile, Danielle's car broke down and we were 2 hours (?) late in picking them up. They were cold and hungry and very, very wet. And happy.
I am thrilled the Giants won, but sad that I didn't get to knit at all.
Do I sound a little smug? I hope not. I do love having something outdoors to do, even if we have bad weather....
And I hope everyone who watched the game had a great time, too!

Feb 3, 2008

Finished with the Calormitery headband from Knitty.

I used Artyarns Reality on size 8 needles.

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our day avoiding the super event on TV.

Feb 1, 2008

This is my Noro Striped Scarf: DH actually wore it today before going up in a cold small airplane. Daring of him, isn't it?

This is another view,

And another. the next one is the beginnings of my Calormitery:

using Art Yarns Reality. And this below is a shot of the fun we had yesterday. I even wore the striped scarf for that one. It sure has gotten a lot of use lately.