Saturday, December 26, 2020

six months of colin

Happy half birthday, Colin!
This month was all about moving! Colin is really picking up speed with his army crawling. He loves crawling to toys, but he loves crawling to anything that's NOT a toy even more. He wriggles across the floor and sinks his little gums into everything, including the kitchen drawer handles, the legs of our chairs, and my fingers. No teeth yet, though!

Despite the lack of teeth, Colin is loving the introduction to baby foods! He's tried rice cereal, sweet potatoes, carrots, pears, apples, and peanut butter... and he devours it all! He roars at us from the high chair if we don't fill the spoon quickly enough.
He gets a little better at sitting up every day. At first, he had absolutely zero interest in sitting. He would make his body stiff as a board and growl if we tried to get him to bend at the waist. All he wanted to do was tummy time! He's finally letting us set him upright now, and can balance himself for a few minutes at a time.
I love these photos of Colin with his hands tucked behind his head. This is how he sleeps every night. He lays on his back, tucks his hands behind his ears, and wiggles his hips side-to-side until he settles himself to sleep. We call it "the butt dance." If he's really fighting sleep, he will lift his legs straight into the air and SLAM them down onto the mattress repeatedly.
Mae was dressed to the nines for our six month photo shoot today. One of the fun parts of spending so much time at home has been allowing Mae to pick out her outfit every day. I love this ensemble she put together today: Dorothy dress and shoes, llama pants, polka dot long sleeved shirt, and sparkly headband. She is still the sweetest big sister. Sometimes when Colin starts fussing, Mae will already have him calmed down by the time I can get to him. He especially loves when she plays peek-a-boo!
Colin was introduced to Bitty Baby this month. He was OBSESSED. He cooed and screeched and wanted to claw at her eyes. Watch out next month, day care babies. Colin is coming for your face!
Congrats on turning a half year old, Colin!

Friday, December 25, 2020

a merry little christmas

Merry Christmas!
On Thanksgiving, I was busy writing about Colin turning five months old, and I didn't get a chance to reflect on all the things I'm thankful for this year. So, Christmas seems like the perfect time to catch up.

This year, we are especially thankful for Christmas traditions: the ones we were able to keep and the ones we were able to adapt to life in 2020. On Christmas Eve, we were able to attend the annual Christmas Eve Mass (on Zoom this year!) hosted by close family and friends of GranE and Batman. Even a virtual mass felt intimate with a small group of attendees. We also watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, one of Dan's childhood traditions that now lives on with our kids. Mae's favorite part (and mine too) is when Cookie Monster eats the typewriter and telephone. And we ordered Chinese food for dinner. (Of all the traditions Dan brings to the holiday, that one might be my favorite.)
We are thankful that we are able to see family over the holidays. I could write a dissertation on how we made the decision to travel, but I'll leave it at this: I'm thankful that our extended family members are pretty much on the same page around health precautions and that we are able to see each other for Christmas in the safest way we know how. With Mae and Colin starting back to day care in January, we are planning to hunker down as a family unit a bit more, so we are especially glad to have this opportunity to spend time together with everyone. (Even though we're trying to visit as safely as possible, I don't think I'll truly breathe easy until two weeks after our travels are finished.)
We are thankful that Mae was able to play with her cousins. She has hardly spent any time around kids since March. We spent an afternoon at Oliver and Archie's house, and Mae had so much fun (even though their floor was made of lava). She also got lots of quality time playing with Aunt Kelsey, which might be even better than kid playtime. (Sooo many hours of dressing up the Polly Pockets.)
Mae is thankful for her new American Girl doll and her new pack of googly eyes... her most highly anticipated gifts from Santa. She's also had lots of fun playing with her new Playmobil Mars Space Station from Grandma and Grandpa, and I think I will forever hear her little voice and raised eyebrows asking me, "Hey mommmm, want to play with my spaaace stationnnn?"
Colin is thankful for wrapping paper. Forget toys. Just millions of tiny scraps of wrapping paper that I have to snatch away at the last second or else he will stuff them into his mouth and mash them into little chokable wads of wrapping paper pulp. He couldn't care less about the noisy, blinky toy in this package. All he wants is the wrapping paper. He was literally chasing me around the floor while I tried to wrap Dan's gifts.
So, even though it's been a tough and unusual year, we have a lot to be thankful for. We hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones in a way that makes you comfortable and keeps you safe. I dare to hope that next year we can revive the traditions that involve big gatherings and being out in public again. Until then, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2020

smoke and fire

It's that time of the year again! Christmas? No, I mean that time where I scramble to photograph and document all the projects I finished this year. I usually avoid wearing my handmade items until they've been properly photographed, so these socks and gloves have been languishing on my dresser. It's cold now, and I want to wear them!

In August, I finished these Smooth Operator Socks. This was my first time knitting top-down socks (unless you count the stockings, I guess). This pattern works really well with self-striping yarn, since the stripes continue evenly and don't become distorted at the ankles/heels.
The yarn is jitterbug fingering from Rock and String Creations, which I bought at Kentucky Wool Fest last year. I was feeling sad that the festival was cancelled this year, so knitting these socks made me feel a bit better. The colorway is called Campfire S'mores and I love how the stripes look like embers, flames, and toasted marshmallows! I even had a perfect chance to photograph them in front of a fire pit while making s'mores at my parents house in the fall.
I finished these Basic Gloves in September. The yarn is Knitted Wit sock yarn in the colorway Great Smoky Mountains, a gift from my friend Kathy. Althought it's listed as a sock yarn, the weight feels closer to sport weight, so it was well suited to this pattern. I made the increases for the thumb gusset similar to my Fiesta Mittens. I adjusted the stitch counts and length for each finger, so they are perfectly customized for my hands!
I also modified the pattern slightly to have thumb flaps. This way, I can flip the thumbs back to use my phone. I keep forgetting I don't have to take off my whole glove to send a text message! At some point, I'll have to try out those conductive threads that you can knit into the tips of your gloves, so you can use them with touchscreens. For now, I'll stick with the low-budget thumb-flap option.
More details for the socks and mittens on Ravelry.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

tis the season

Our Christmas cards are ordered, gifts purchased (mostly), house decorated (as good as it's gonna be), and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care! Including a new one for Colin this year!
I ordered yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in colorways cloud and forest heather), designed the colorwork charts, and started knitting in September. Knitting took about a week and a half. I blocked it by misting it with a spray bottle and then holding the iron over it (without touching) and pressing the "steam" button. For the lining, I traced the stocking onto some off-white cotton fabric, extending the top by about 1". Then I cut out the shape, sewed and serged around the edges, and hemmed the top. I stitched the loop to the lining and then hand sewed the lining to the inside of the knit stocking. More details on my Ravelry page.

I'm glad I wasn't rushing to finish this at the beginning of December, since we usually have lots of other Christmas activities as soon as Thanksgiving is finished. In fact, we’ve been able to maintain several of our regular holiday traditions, including our annual trip to see the Christmas lights at the zoo. I reserved a time at 4:30 on a Thursday early in December, so the zoo was pretty empty when we arrived. Usually we approach the zoo from side streets and park a mile away to avoid the gridlocked parking lot. This year, we drove straight into the lot and parked in the front row. (It was pretty great, actually.) As evening fell, more people arrived, but it was still less crowded than past years.
We waited a few minutes to see (socially distanced, outdoor) Santa. Mae was completely star-struck. This kid will immediately strike up a conversation with any adult in shouting distance, but in front of Santa she was speechless and stuck clinging to the back of my leg. I finally convinced her to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas (an American Girl doll). Then he sent her a candy cane through his candy chute.
Mae also wrote a letter to Santa. She didn’t have too many Christmas gift ideas other than a doll, but does want some helmets for her Playmobil kids since one ended up in plastic head bandages from the doctors office set after falling off his bike. The letter reads:

(We're still working on writing the letter "S")

We dropped our letter in this special Santa mailbox that appeared along with a decorated candy forest trail near our house.
Mae and I built also a cute little gingerbread house. It was a multi-day process of making dough, baking the gingerbread, assembling the pieces, and then finally decorating. And, in a very fitting end to a 2020 gingerbread house, it collapsed into pieces an hour later. I was sad (“We worked so hard on it!”) but Mae was excited (“Can we eat it now??”) I must admit, it’s pretty tasty. Pairs nicely with tea from the tea advent calendar I treated myself to this year.
Only 10 more days until Christmas!