Friday, July 28, 2017

windy city

We crammed a lot of fun activities into the last few weekends, so I have lots to share... including some big news!!

Two weekends ago we went with my family to an outdoor symphony performance of John Williams' music. It was a beautiful evening, and we enjoyed a picnic of KFC, fruit, and wine (we are classy like that.)

Well... I guess not ALL of us got to enjoy a glass of wine. Obviously the babies stuck to milk and water. Oh, and Emily too since she is PREGNANT!! We found out when Oliver wore his "Big Brother" shirt on Friday evening. Congrats, Christopher and Emily!

Mae and Oliver had to practice sharing toys and food during the symphony performance (good practice for when the new baby arrives in February.) In order to keep them from wandering away or getting into all the picnic supplies, mom and dad came up with the idea to construct a makeshift play pen with orange yard stakes and a large roll of plastic wrap. It worked amazingly. Both babies stayed inside the whole time and didn't try to climb out! (Maybe because Grandpa made buzzing electrified fence sounds any time they neared the edges.)

On Sunday, we went to a minor-league baseball game. Christopher got us awesome seats through work, so we got to sit right behind the plate and see a good, competitive game!

Last weekend, we went to visit Kelsey in Chicago, where she has an internship for the summer. This was Mae's first time to Illinois! I enjoyed our trip even more than previous Chicago visits, since I just finished "The Devil in the White City" and recognized lots of names and places from the book. I wonder if the architects of the World's Fair foresaw that their parks would be overrun with people frantically capturing virtual monsters on their smartphones as part of Pokemon GO Fest and the release of the much anticipated legendary Pokemon. My guess is "no."

Saturday we went to the Field Museum, and enjoyed seeing lots of exhibits including Sue the T-Rex.

Apparently Mae thought we were taking one of those touristy photos where you pretend you are being attacked by the dinosaur skeleton.

(Actually she was just cutting a new tooth -- top left canine -- and had a few emotional moments over the weekend as a result). Sunday, we went to church and to Navy Pier. We enjoyed Chicago-style hot dogs and ice cream before heading home. It was a long weekend, but full of fun memories!

Finally, an update on a couple of Mae milestones. She walks more every day, but often defaults to crawling for long distances. Her day care teachers even reminded her, "Mae, you can walk," when she crawled to Dan at pick-up time this week.

She is continuing to sound out new words, and greets me with a cheerful "hiiiiii" frequently during the day. She is also working on animal noises like woof ("fff") and moooo ("mmmmmmmu"). She learns baby sign language at day care, which isn't super helpful since I don't know it. But this weekend, Dan was pushing her in the stroller at Navy Pier and she was making the "all done" sign after finishing her milk. They walked past a mom who took one look at Mae and asked, "Are you all done??" Mae was very proud. Apparently I need to brush up on my signing!

Mae is enjoying lots of foods now and weighed 18.5 lbs at her most recent doctor appointment. Her favorites are pepperoni pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches, and she drinks milk like a champ from her straw cup. She is still not a fan of peanut butter, eggs, or chicken. She is down to one nap, but loves to sleep in on the weekends and weekdays when I'm home with her. She wears herself out with all her walking practice!

We are looking forward to a visit from Aunt Colleen this weekend and have lots of fun things planned. Hoping for good weather!

Monday, July 17, 2017

hank's blankie

When I gift a handmade item, I hope that it is loved to pieces, literally. The ultimate compliment is, "I used it so often that it wore out." Achieving this is pretty difficult with baby items. They outgrow clothes so quickly, and they get lots of blankets which all compete to become The Blankie. (A child's selection of The Blankie seems random, but is actually based on a sophisticated ranking system taking into account: ease of throwing out the car seat/stroller/window, chewiness, drool saturation capacity, and imperviousness to stain remover. Number of hours spent lovingly handknitting said blanket is not considered.)

So, when my cousin Courtney mentioned that her daughter Kate still uses the blanket I made, and that she'd like one for her son Henry, I was thrilled! I ordered the same yarn I used for Mae's blanket, Garnstudio Drops Cotton Merino in the Denim colorway. I like the cotton/wool blend for warmth, softeness, and drape.

I used the Pine Forest Baby Blanket pattern, same as Kate's blanket, but added 2 pattern repeats to accommodate the thinner yarn and smaller needles while keeping approximately the same finished blanket dimensions. I completed 54 repeats and made far fewer mistakes than the last time I knit this pattern, thank goodness!

Happy belated first birthday, Hank! I hope you enjoy cuddling your new blanket!

Details on my Ravelry page.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

star wars

Dad's birthday celebration continues. (He's really dragging out his February birthday, isn't he??) Saturday we took him, Mom, and Kevin to see an exhibit of 60+ Star Wars costumes from all 7 films. There was an interesting dichotomy between the simple, iconic costumes of the original movies and the elaborate gowns from the more recent films.

My favorite takeaway was the idea of "greeblies," which was George Lucas' term for the little bits and pieces attached to the outside of costumes to look like electronics, weapons, badges, etc. Definitely adding this word to my lexicon.

Afterwards we enjoyed a walk along the river and some tasty German food. Mae let Grandpa help color her Kinder Menu and then wolfed down some pretzel and hot dog. Such a fun day!