Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life Today

This past weekend was great.

Saturday morning we were up at at em as usual.  I was in a bit of fury needing the house spotless NOW! and after scouring the dining room floor and squawking at everyone a bit I settled and we got going with our day.

Last week Ian finally got the eye exam he's been needing for ages which confirmed that he does need glasses for those near sighted eyes.  We were in need of a rare together without kids shopping trip to pick out some frames and Auntie Sonya came to the rescue to watch the girls so we could shop Costco with just sleeping Felix in tow.

I took deep breaths when we pulled up because my mom's voice will ALWAYS be in the back of my head when I shop on a weekend (never shop on weekends!  It's too dang busy!) but you know what?  It wasn't bad at all.  We were the only ones perusing the glasses and I honed in on my favorite pair and somehow Ian agreed right away.  In 10 days they'll be ready and he's going to look oh so dapper, and be able to see!

While Ian checked out there I roamed with Felix sleeping on my chest and ooh did I have fun.  I was very thankful for Ian being there.  IT's not often that I go shopping aimlessly and I fear it may have gotten out of hand without his even more frugal than me mentality.  We did purchase a few fun things for the girls for Christmas and for Ainsley for her birthday.  It was fun for me to see Ian pick things out for them.  I tend to take the reigns with gift giving most times, but really, he did better than me I think.

We checked out and stopped by a new to us sandwich shop to pick up some lunch.  When we arrived at Sonya's the girls were so excited to tell us about their fun morning at cool Aunt Sonya's apartment. I'm so thankful for her in this home away from home of ours.  IT's so special for the girls to grow up with their Auntie close (and she's so much more fun than mom!).

We all napped that afternoon, I think.  Or perhaps I kept working on Halloween costumes.  I merely remember that it was fun.  Then Ian took the girls to a friend's for afternoon coffee and homemade egg rolls while Felix napped and I kept sewing away.  That evening we had our annual Halloween chili potluck block party.  It was fun to eat it out of piping hot in bowls with cold hands outside while the kids ran around and played.  There are a million kids on our block and it's so fun to watch them all together, kind of miraculous that the girls are big enough to just do that with very little supervision from us.

Then it was bedtime.  I watched more scandal and knit.  I somehow keep finding ways to avoid the half finished knitting pile by making new unnecessary quick projects.  Fingerless mitts are my latest craze after that Luuk hat pattern I can't get enough of.  Ah.  Love those quick amazing projects.

Then Sunday I was up early for no good reason.  Oh, wait, it was because I finally got a full nights sleep thanks to Felix boy sleeping 9 straight hours himself.  He FINALLY took a bottle Saturday night and I fear it worked wonders.  Now just to keep him from giving up on me entirely! (update, he hasn't taken another bottle since...oh well :o(

Sunday morning we had some friends over.  Parents of a good college friend of Ian's.  They brought gifts for the girls, I made scones.  It was a lovely two hours of sipping coffee and talking while Jim, the dad played castle and knights with the girls.  It was the perfect Sunday morning.

Then they left and Ian and I looked at each other.  Indian?  Indian!  So we were off to our favorite buffett to get out a bit and fill up with delicious food.  We all napped again.  Then parks and raking and leftovers for dinner because who needs a full meal when you've eaten at an Indian buffet earlier in the day?  Then finishing the Halloween costumes and showing them off for daddy.  Then books and bedtime and some boardwalk empire and more knitting.

Now it's Monday afternoon and the girls didn't nap.  But the beds are changed and that roast is bubbling away in the oven and the floors are still mostly clean and four amazing jack o lanterns are sitting eagerly on our kitchen table and the sewing and knitting bug is still as persistent as ever.

I love this time of year.  I love this time of life.  My beautiful sweet family at such a perfect place.  A place where all we need is each other and a bit of crisp air and some of that yummy roast in our tummies.  Ah.  Life feels really good right now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Home At Last

We just got back from a week in Minnesota.  We've done that trip so many times that it hardly causes a blip in my radar anymore.  Two days before we left I did all the laundry in the house (6 loads), packed our bags in a half hour (all 5).  The day of we loaded up the car with our one entertainment bag filled with paperback books, pipe cleaners and beads, the iPad, CDs, crayons and colored pencils and paper, and we drove 8 hours to Minnesota.  Easy peasy.

It was a great trip.  We have widdled our Minnesota trips down to just one or two in the summer for cabin fun and once for Christmas.  I must say it's so nice to go without much agenda, just to enjoy and relax a bit.  Ian and I were able to go to TWO weddings WITHOUT our children.  The girls had SO much fun with their grandparents and cousins, Felix too of course.  We enjoyed hunkering down on the cold rainy days and getting out and playing on the crisp bright ones.  I took a long run one morning along a path I used to take in cross country.  It was gorgeous, wonderful, fun fun fun.

More than any other trip in the last 6 years this trip truly felt like the beginning of something new, a homecoming of sorts.  We were able to see most all of our best old friends from college.  Reconnecting felt so good.  It's so easy to get so bundled up in our family cocoon down here, too easy to assume everyone else has changed and grown so much, when really?  we all stay pretty much the same.  It all felt so delightful and refreshing and warm and fuzzy.

The Friday before we headed home we took a day trip to Stillwater.  It's a place on our radar for a potential move and we wanted to check it out.  We drove the hour from my parents' house, looping around the cities and up along the St Croix.  We dove down the steep streets to the riverfront, the main strip of town, and completely fell in love.

The town is vibrant but quaint.  Main street is lined with adorable shops, a DQ for Ian, a food co-op and knitting shop for me, coffee for us all, book and toy stores for the kids.  We ate lunch at Smalley's where I had the best BBQ sandwich I've ever had (and I've had a lot).  We then got back in the car and drove around, seeing lots of for sale signs in front of adorable beautiful 100 year old homes.  We're smitten.  When we got in the car on Sunday to drive home it's the first time in years that I felt sad about leaving, like we were heading further from home, rather than towards it.

Now we're back and I feel at peace.  Before our trip I was so frazzled about the what ifs and whens of this next year, but now I just know it will fall into place.  My panic has calmed and my heart has settled.  Right now I am thankful for here and fall and a great trip behind us and lots of fun in front of us.

And right now right now...

LOTS of making.

Ainsley's finished In Threes

new mittens whipped up last night when the need for new ones arose, made from my stash with a simple hand traced pattern.
perhaps my favorite kind of making, necessary, adorable, quick and well loved (ainsley slept with hers on)

 A luuk for the girls (my new favorite hat pattern for sure)

Felix's new luuk necessitated by the accidental felting of his gray one, made from the leftovers of Ainsley's new sweater (alongside fresh bakery bread and pumpkin donuts because that's just how we roll on Tuesdays)

Halloween costumes in construction...really hoping at least a few people will recognize our little Totoro crew...they are SO cute

a cleaned out knitting basket still filled to the brim.  Louise's 3/4 finished In Threes, a third luuk cast on, yarn for Felix's Christmas stocking, Ian's sweater vest, my cap sleeve Tea Leaves ...oh boy, LOVING all the making going on.

As for the kiddos? They are great.  A bit sad to leave all their beloved family in Minnesota, but happy to be home.  The past two days of school have gone so well, they missed their friends and teachers.  Ainsley May wrote her first book on the drive to and from.  She illustrated the pictures, then I wrote her dictations for the first three pages and she wrote the last half all on her own, sounding out words letter by letter with us most of the way home on Sunday.  I am so thrilled for her excitement learning how to read and write.  It's such a marvel to watch.

Louise still has her sass pants on at some point most days, but is the same old happy gal underneath.  She is so snuggly lately and wants to be held lots.  I take her up on that every chance I get.  She is very into her numbers right now and loves to count and do simple math.  Perhaps Ainsley will be our linguist and Louise our mathematician?  It's so fun to watch them grow.

And Felix boy just popped her first tooth yesterday!  Thank goodness, I feel like it's been coming for two months straight.  He's still not sleeping well at all so we finally decided to let him cry a bit at night. It's been hard but more sleep for all is worth it.  I tried to introduce some formula to him while we were in Minneosta to see if it would help him sleep better to have a big bottle before bed and he HATED it.  Spit it out and looked at me like "what are you giving me?!!?!?!"  Ahh my boy, so easy and sweet in most ways, SO difficult in others.  I'm blazing a trail here with him since both girls happily took bottles at 6 months.  I guess it'll just be him and me for some time longer!  He must know he's my last little baby, making sure we both get our fill while we can.

Ah home, and my favorite time of year and my happy little family.  Life is pretty good right now.  I hope the same for you all!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Getting Cracking

Thanks for listening to my gush the other day.  I needed that.  Both the day, and the gush.  So thanks.

I am continually surprised/shocked/amazed by how hard parenting is.  Also how rewarding and amazing.  Funny how it works out that way.

Like right now?  Since Monday? It's been amazing.  The past two mornings could not have gone more smoothly.  Louise was SO excited to practice her big ham smile for picture day yesterday and today Ainsley walked in holding her new friend Lotus' hand without so much as a peep. Remind me to find them for drop offs in the future.  Worked like a charm.

Then yesterday Ainsley didn't nap.  I was in full on clean out this house mode, unwilling to rescind my one hour of kid free time a day.  Miraculously a neighbor stopped by and offered to take her to the park with her boys.  What an amazing stroke of serendipity that was.  Everyone else napped until four, I got tons done, win, double win.

It helps so much that Felix's sleep has finally found it's way back into the normal range.  After sleeping through the night for the first 4 months of his life he decided to get up every two hours at night for three straight weeks.  I felt like a walking zombie.  Now he's napping well and sleeping 8-10 straight hours again.  I'm keeping all my parts crossed that this sticks.

It helps too that Monday felt a bit like Christmas.  I loosened the purse strings a bit to get some new things.  It was fun.  I ordered myself a new dress and shoes for some weddings coming up.  My feet have officially grown a half size after three kids and none of my fancy shoes fit.  It was a nice excuse to update my closet a bit.  Then there were the blouses for the girls' Halloween costumes, yards and yards of new fabric for Christmas gifts, more Halloween costumes, and a little something new for me. And of course fall yarn.  I LOVE fall yarn.  Good thing too seeing as it's going to take me about 100 hours of knitting to get it all done.  So excited about all of that.

Ainsley's new In Threes on top, so excited for this mint chocolate confection

And really, other than thew few hard days life has been so good.  This fall weather has been amazing.  Every weekend has been filled to the brim with fun.  Below are some photos from our day at the botanic gardens.  What a perfect morning.

And in this house there is so much love.  Just this morning the kids all woke up in tandem.  I took Felix into bed to nurse him, them Louise and Ainsley followed closely behind.  Ina went downstairs to make coffee and the girls smothered their brother with love.  I truly cannot recall one moment of malice towards our little guy on their part.  They love him so completely and wholeheartedly.  It is an awesome thing to witness.

And who can blame them?  He's pretty ridiculously adorable.

 Ah, and fall.  Fall is wonderful.

pie pumpkins and orchard apples, bags of pears and pumpkin spiced donuts

new window herbs, hardy for winter

mums and sunshine galore

an active full craft table, all. the. time.

drawing and writing from my big girl.  love love love.

a sideways picture of one of Ainley's many "Bop's Funeral" pictures.  An organ, people watching, Bop lying on a wheeled bed, her processing his death is such a journey

new art from the girls at school, I love their different styles

and always a happy  kinda dirty  full full home (blissfully quiet right now)

Ah.  So I'm back to soaking it all in.  I think I've kissed the nape of Felix's neck 1 million times today.  They all are getting so exponentially big.  This weekend we celebrate Bop's life, the following week we're in Minnesota for weddings and other fall fun.  Then Halloween! ooh fall is flying by.  I best get cracking.

Happy Wednesday friends!