Friday, January 23, 2009

She smiles

She smiles when her tummy is full.

Sleepy Sleepers

Tess snuggling with Daddy

I don't know how many pictures I have of Paul asleep with one of our boys. I can't help taking these peaceful pictures. Here's Tess in the new sweater Daddy bought for her. Daddy has good taste! I love watching her sleep (Paul too!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doesn't this look fun?

What could be more fun than combining classic children's literature and cooking fun treats from those great books? I can't wait to check this book out.

The 4x10 Reading Challenge

Today, we have a new president and I just realized that the first month of the new year is more than half over already. How does that happen? I said earlier that I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I do set goals for myself in many different areas. I've been thinking about making a quilt for Tess. I pieced a quilt for Sammy a few days after he was born, but after I finished the topper, it stayed incomplete until this year. I don't want any unfinished projects and I think one year is enough time to make a nice quilt for my baby. I bought a quilt pattern that has squares with applique cupcakes. Each square has a slightly different cupcake (very Andy Warhol, but for a child). I also have to knit another Wallaby sweater for Luke after I finish Sammy's. I'm so close to being done! I'm knitting the hood now (in-between nursing the baby). Luke wants some outrageous yarn color (he mentionend something about yellow and black yarn so that it would look like a bee)... So, we will have to make some sort of compromise on that. When I bought the cupcake quilt pattern, I also purchased a kit of fun floral prints for another quilt. The colors are very bright and lively and I can tell that I'm already looking forward to Spring even though I am determined not to dislike the snow too much this Winter. Anyway, I've been definitely thinking about my quilting and knitting plans for the year especially since I became the VP of the Colorado Chapter of Newborns in Need and I will also be loom-knitting hats for premature babies. I haven't yet set a goal number of hats yet, but in any spare time (spare time?), I will be making hats and hopefully small blankets too.

I have been also planning a winter menu. When I'm not nursing, I've been poring over my cook books trying to plan a two week menu that we can stick to over the next three months. We are determined to live a lot more frugally this year and that means way more cooking and baking. As always, I'm really looking forward to becoming a more competent cook. Plus, I really want an excuse to use our new food processor more! So, my menu is complete. Now, we just have to be disciplined enough to follow it consistently. Another part of my kitchen endeavors plan is to transform my uber-picky first-born into a discerning gourmet. Okay, that might be the unattainable goal, but I'm actually hoping to expand his tastes a little in the coming year. Just the other day, Luke told me that his worst fear is having to try new foods! Imagine that being your worst fear!

Over the past week or so, I've been trying to come up with a list for the 4x10 reading challenge that I read about Sweetness and Light even though she read it somewhere else. The goal is to read four books in each of ten subject areas. I believe that real life will get in the way, but life is always better for me when I set challenging goals. So, here's my somewhat incomplete list:

Reading Categories
Children's Literature (ages 6-10)

1. A Day on Skates
2. Betsy-Tacy Somehow I missed this Betsy collection as a young girl. I did, however, read all of the Carolyn Haywood "Betsy" books.
3. In Grandma's Attic
4. The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook

Children's Fiction (ages 10-14)

1. City of Ember
2. Swallows and Amazons
3. Twilight Seriously, what's the big deal with this series? I'm sure that this is more for the young adult reader, but I put it on this list anyway.
4. The Crystal Snowstorm

Adult Fiction - Classics

1. The Lord of the Rings -How could I have not read this by now? It's probably all of those orcs.
2. The Bird in the Tree
3. The Count of Monte Cristo
4. The Scent of Water

Personal Improvement/Faith

1. Grace Cafe
2. It's So You! Fitting Fashion to Your Life



1. The Creative Family
2. The Duggars: 20 and Counting!
3. The Surprising Power of Family Meals
4. Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids


1. Haystack Full of Needles
2. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American and English Literature
3. Instead of Education
4. Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook

Adult Fiction

1. A Reader's Delight
2. The Shack I received this book for Christmas from my father-in-law. I had never heard of it before, but then I find out it is this huge bestseller. Despite hearing that it's theologically "very different", I feel compelled to read it myself. I want to know what all the fuss is about. I'm not sure that I'd have picked this book out on my own though.
3. A Woman's Place
4. The Ten Year Nap
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
(one extra book just for fun!)

World Politics

1. Three Cups of Tea

I will add more titles later. Any suggestions?

History and Biography

1. A Walk With Jane Austen
2. Jack's Life
3. Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau
4. Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature

1. Longitude
2. Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
3. A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
I will add some more titles later. Any suggestions? Steph the science teacher, if you're reading this, I know you have suggestions! I need three more. Maybe I should finally read Lost Moon.

I reserve the right to change, add or delete books from this list as I know there is always something else exciting to read!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The New Year

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I do like to begin the new year with a clear slate. I like to purge and clear out unnecessary stuff that I think clutters both my physical space and my mind. Then, I like to set out to challenge myself in some way in the new year. Maybe that is a resolution, but usually I think of resolutions as endeavors of self-torture that are quickly abandoned even before the end of January.

On New Year's day, I took down the the Christmas tree. Normally, we would keep the tree until the feast of the Epiphany, but this year, I needed the decorations packed away a little sooner. I kept the Nativity set up so that the boys could move the Wise Men closer each day until the Twelfth day of Christmas (today). Since we had a chaotic December our Advent was anything but routine. I just wanted to get back on track and that meant leaving the Christmas celebration a little earlier this year. Tess is a just a little over a month old now and we're beginning to settle back into our new "normal" life now. December passed so quickly yet it already seems so long ago that I was pregnant. Isn't that strange? The other night I rubbed my belly and I got a little sad missing my pregnant belly, but then I remembered that I can sleep on my tummy again! Anyway, I've been looking ahead and making plans for 2009. I've been reading Living Simply by Joanne Heim. Now, I've read scores of books on simple living, but I like her gentle approach to living a simple life including celebrating the Sabbath. I think this is an area that I want to explore more in the new year. How do I want to live the Sabbath? I want to create a day of restoration for my family, but it remains to be seen how this will actually play out during the year.

I've been reading many of your blogs out there and I really like this challenge I read about over at Sweetness and Light. It's the 4x10 Challenge where one reads four books in ten different subject areas. My first thought was 40 books? No problem! Then I realized that this might be more challenging considering there are ten different subject areas. I realize that I tend to read a lot about homeschooling, education, contemporary societal issues, simplicity, cooking and the occasional work of fiction, but there are several neglected subject areas. So, I'm looking forward to compiling a list of books. I got a few books for Christmas that I'm excited to read. I received a couple of novels by Elizabeth Goudge that I know I will add to the list. Of course I love to make lists so this will prove to be a fun beginning to a year of reading!
I would also like to continue to challenge myself with knitting. I'm getting closer to completing the Wallaby sweater I started in October. I received a fancy set of circular needles for Christmas and they cannot stay in the box. What to knit next?? I don't know yet, but there are so many delightful things to create! There is so much beauty to create.
"The World is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." -Robert Louis Stevenson
Okay, I just had to borrow that quote from Alice's blog.

Anyway, I look forward to a new year with exciting new projects, books, drawing with Luke and of course watching my new baby girl grow (but not too fast)! I love the pleasant thoughts of new beginnings! Happy New Year!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Christmas dress

Here's Tess wearing her Christmas dress. I had intended to find the perfect plaid dress for her, but when I saw this dress with the perfect shade of deep red and little roses, I abandoned the quest for the perfect tartan. Oh, it is so different to have a girl after two boys! I have to mention that I had a hard time getting tights on her little legs. Anyway, I'm going to try and get a better photo of her in this dress since I know she'll outgrow it so quickly. I just had to document the first item of clothing I ever bought for her.


I'm still in awe. I have three children now!!

I can't help taking pictures of my sleeping baby!

A Stocking for Tess

Before all the Christmas decorations go back in storage for another year, I have to mention the new stocking for Tess. I had intended to make a Christmas stocking for Tess, but I should have thought of working on one much earlier than November. I still thought I could do it before her due date and I bought fabric before she was born. Then, after buying fabric, I toyed with the idea of knitting a stocking for her, but who was I kidding? I'm still a beginning knitter and I am still knitting that Wallaby sweater for Sammy. I really couldn't justify another project especially since I've never knit a sock before, but I do know how to use double point needles now! I'm starting to know my limits when it comes to quilting and knitting projects! There just wasn't any time and that's when Stephanie stepped in and offered to make a stocking for Tess using her new super-cool embroidery sewing machine. She sewed this beautiful stocking and embroidered the little figure skater on the front. Stephanie knows how much I like ice skating and little plaid skirts. (Hopefully, Tess will like plaid too!) So, the super-cute little skater wears a fancy little tartan. I love how personalized this stocking is. It truly is a wonderful gift and one that will be cherished every Christmas. It sure makes the rest of our stockings look absolutely ordinary. Thank you so much Steph. It's truly wonderful!!