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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Play (and rest).

When I picked Charlie up this morning, his folks were happy to report that he'd slept in ... 'til 6:15am.  His usual wake-up time is closer to 5:30, so I wasn't quite sure what our day might bring.  We started off with steamed milk and cereal, but he wanted to get upstairs to "play toys". So we did.
I shared this collage on Instagram with the caption "two minutes of toddler time" - seriously y'all - the first photo (building) was at 8:19am and the last (all knocked down and ready to start over) was at 8:21am. two minutes. 

He proceeded at that pace all morning. More legos, puzzles, a book, a trip to the library and then to Whole Foods (pizza! for lunch)

Then we did our usual nap routine - milk and stories (today he chose The Little Engine that Could and Snow Day) - and then sleep.

52 minutes later he woke up. And I decided we both needed a little more rest. Marmie's lap worked perfectly.

And then - my happy little guy was back again. With enough humor to make funny faces for the photo booth.

Here's to naps! and the complete bliss of being two.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

More and Less | January 2017.

from Saturday's morning walk
I'm taking a different approach to Currents this year.  Instead of documenting what's going on with a list of -ing words, I'm going to frame the update with my intentions for 2017. Hopefully making that a monthly practice will help me keep those More/Less ideas top of mind ... and get back to a habit of Currents posts.

more gratitude. This has been a challenge. There are still lots of good things in my life, but I'm getting bogged down by the not-so-good. I need to practice being grateful for all the things.

more mindfulness. With a huge thank you to Kat for the recommendation, I ordered Slow Stitch. I've been savoring the words and photos.

more exploring. Thanks to Krista Tippett's interview (recently re-run) with Maria Popova, I subscribed to the Brain Pickings newsletter. I've wandered down a few paths on the site and enjoyed every single thing I've found. This article about Mary Oliver is one of my favorite finds.

more curiosity. One of the Read Harder Challenges is an LGBTQ romance. I'm reading Month of Sundays, my very first lesbian romance (because curious).

more connecting. I'm on track to publish 20 blog posts this month - woohoo! that's almost every weekday. And I've made real progress in real life - Marc and I are walking together a few times a week and I've started a regular Monday afternoon knitting date with a girlfriend; there's also knitting class on Wednesday afternoons, wine & knitting with my sister on Wednesday evenings, and small group on Friday mornings. With the little boys on Tuesday and Thursday (and a built-in opportunity to see their mama) and regular calls with my mom and Sara, I'm feeling about as connected as ever. (see less busy below.)

more yoga. I recommitted to the "daily yoga" habit on January 1. It helped that the Y added a second Yin class on Mondays and I'm back to using Yoga Studio. 23 days so far ... and I'm almost ready to say it's a habit again.

more prayer. A work in progress. (see less worry below.)

more letting (it) go. I packed up two boxes of "stuff" to donate (I'm not sure that really counts because it was mostly to make room for the three boxes of stuff I brought back from Mother's).

less busy. My calendar seems awfully full (for someone with no day job), but I don't feel busy. I wonder how that might change when Sam starts coming on Thursdays (this week!)

less worry. I'm paying more attention to current events now than ... maybe ever. There is so much going on that's scary and uncertain, but being informed and taking action (even little things) is helping. I'm glad I included this intention this year. Keeping it top of mind is helpful, too.

And whew - this month has flown by. Connecting with y'all continues to be a highlight of my day(s). Thank you!

As I start planning for February, I welcome any and all suggestions, especially for exploring and curiosity. Podcasts, books, websites?

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Birthday. Katie! Her arrival ... way back in 1987 ... changed us from a couple to a family.
February, 1987
And since I last shared birthday wishes to her on this blog (for her 25th), she's gotten married and made a family of her own.
photo credit Rylie Hitchner
Best wishes, Katie for a beautiful day and a wonderful year. We love you!

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Lemonade Day.

Little Sam is having a tough week. Yesterday morning, Katie and I agreed he should go to day care today (instead of spending the day with me) ... hoping one more day there will help get his transition onto more solid ground. Of course I'd cleared my calendar weeks ago and all that empty space would be a shame to waste!

Yesterday afternoon I made a few plans - found a new knitting project, planned a walk with Lauren (which is really a double lemonade thing - she was supposed to have knee surgery yesterday but it's been rescheduled for next week), and made sure I had all the episodes of Victoria recorded.

Turns out the knitting and the walk, along with a third bloom on that amaryllis

and a very happy mail day

were all I needed. By the time I finished listening to Lillian Boxfish (loved it!) Marc was home. Just in time to help me try on the sweater.

Yep, still needs a few more rows.

Thanks to last week's trial run, I do have a bit of Sam to share with y'all. Hopefully next week I'll have a lot more!

...and now it's time for something a little stronger (and likely a little redder) than lemonade... cheers to (almost) Friday!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Waiting and Watching | Week Seven.

yesterday afternoon
playing with the light (and yep, that's a knitting needle holding up the stalks!)
The main reason I planted amaryllis bulbs this year was to re-live a bit of the magic our first one brought us last January. These blooms are certainly not as stunning as last year's (whoa, those white stripes and whoa - all those blooms!), but this one got the timing right.

Sunday afternoon there were still just buds

but by Monday afternoon there were blooms!

I'm betting the bright sunshine yesterday and today will get that third bud to open by this afternoon.

Today's waterlogue is again the Color Bloom filter, chosen for the beautiful way it portrays the blooms, their reflection and their shadow. and that touch of blue in the window...well that's just serendipity!

Happy Wednesday!

(Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | At Home.

Tuesdays with Charlie are pretty much a slam-dunk in the "light" category. Our schedule now that Katie is back at work* is 7am - 5pm. Sunrise isn't until well after 7:30 these days, so our immediate priority once we were back here was to walk Holly ... and after that chilly exercise ... steamed milk!

Next he wanted to head upstairs for toys. My mom gave him a subscription to Highlights Five and today we finally had time to see what it was all about. He/we loved it! I was delighted he knew about the Hidden Pictures and how to find them. He also aced the free app that we downloaded. (and the two Dr. Seuss books we re-discovered.)

We had lunch "in" (he opted for mac'n'cheese ... and I had all the fixings for that here) and even though he snacked on what we were cooking the entire time, he still almost cleaned his plate.

Next, nap. Stories, milk and a few selfies to say "Hi!" to his mom.
(a new lock screen photo for me is icing on the cake)

And nearly two hours later - cookies! I talked up the baking while were outside with Holly and he was excited to watch. 

It was all his idea to bring in the stool when he realized it might take "a little while" for the cookies to finish.

They were delicious!
those are lunch leftovers ... green beans and oranges to balance out the cookie!

...a little more play time (flashcards and legos) and all too soon it was time to go home. 

A day full of sunshine. literally and figuratively!

*We both thank you for all the good wishes ... two days in, it's still tough...

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Balancing the Light.

tulips on my kitchen counter
These past few days have been such a roller coaster of emotions. In addition to the lows I'm sure y'all are familiar with, my neighbor (who has an aggressive upper renal cancer) was ambulanced back to the emergency room Saturday morning. Thankfully he's now stable, but we have no idea when he'll be coming back home. My little neighborhood rallied around a text-message prayer chain Saturday evening ... a high for sure.

Sara made it safely to Washington Friday evening and had the lifetime experience of marching there on Saturday. Thanks to Instagram (my only social media outlet other than this blog), I participated vicariously in marches country and world-wide: Port Townsend, Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Minneapolis, Madison, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford, Washington, Nashville, London and Paris. To everyone who marched, thank you for participating - and sharing your stories!

And yesterday - for only the second time in the club's history - the Atlanta Falcons won the NFC Championship. ...and they looked pretty darned good doing it. We've got a smidgen of hope they might actually win the Super Bowl (which would be a first).

...all of which to say - I really had no idea what to blog about today. Until I read yesterday's newsletter from Holstee and these words practically jumped off the screen:
All of this is the way I "compose" my life, if you will. The way I balance the dark and the light -- because life most certainly has a healthy mixture of both.
~Lea Ciceraro (emphasis mine)
This week I'm going to try my hardest to balance the dark with the light - and to share a few rays of light here.

I bought this bouquet of orange tulips for bookclub (I hosted Thursday evening). There's just something about orange tulips that makes me smile.  And I especially love them when they're fully open, almost spent. How about an informal tulip poll - what color's your favorite and are you a fan of the fully open blooms?

(and also, happy Monday.)

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Three Things.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is three things I'd do if I were President of the United States. Of course I have zero desire to be President; I wouldn't even know where to start. But I do know which three policy areas are most important to me:

Education. Equality. Environment.

A strong system for public education and full literacy is a must.

Everyone is equal. regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, skin color, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, eating habits, income, health, marital status ...

This Earth is a precious gift. It's the only one we have. We need to treat it as such.

However I doubt that platform would've helped me get elected (unless I had a really terrific speechwriter and a lot of folks smarter and savvier than I to help me communicate it!)

Instead, I'm feeling right now like what I'd do as President is not as important as how I'd lead:

With hope,
Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.
~ Barack Obama
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
and commitment.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
~ Margaret Mead
(and always giving credit to those terrific speechwriters who make me sound smarter and savvier than I am!)

Thank you Carole and Kat for another thoughtful topic. Head over to Carole's blog to see what others are sharing.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Getting Close. two finishes! Fiona Coat and Hidden Figures. I'm sure I'll finish the book first, but hopefully the sweater coat will be a close second.

I started the book on my drive home Sunday; it's excellent. I've mostly been listening (Robin Miles' narration is wonderful) but I've read a few pages on my iPad, too. I'll have more to say about the book once I finish it.

The book has been the perfect accompaniment to round after round of ... sleeves. I pulled this project back out (after ten months of hibernation) just before Christmas, but all I did until the New Year was figure out where I was. Sleeve #1 took nearly two weeks and sleeve #2 is - thankfully - going much faster (probably because it's getting nearly all my knitting attention these days!)

Joining up again with Ginny. Head over to her blog for plenty of knitting and reading inspiration.

Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Out and About.

There are certainly minutes of Tuesdays that seem to drag...but on the whole, my days with Charlie fly by. He must think so, too, because when his mom asks him what we did, his first answer is "I don't know". That's why I take photos (and write blog posts)!

My plan for today was "our storytime" at the library (I wanted to let Charlie choose the books and I would read them), followed by lunch out (pizza) and, after nap, a few minutes at his neighborhood playground, hopefully with his mama and Sam. We added in a few more things (cereal with milk, mopping, puzzles, legos, bed-making, taking Holly out to tinkle) and it was a full day.

The library was a big hit. Especially when I let Charlie roam the shelves - all by himself! - to choose the books. We read maybe ten and I honestly can't say any of them were memorable, but they were all new to him and that was a plus!

Pizza out was also a hit. I didn't order well (we shared a pizza with barbecue chicken, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes - yikes, right?!) but Charlie didn't mind. He had crayons and a kids menu to color, milk in a cup with a straw. a clear view of the kitchen (and the wait staff) ... and hockey on the big screen TV. plus plenty of pizza. I think he ate more than I did!

The highlight of the day, though, was the playground. We didn't even need jackets. Katie and Sam met us and we enjoyed 20 minutes of swing and 30 seconds of monkey rings. Charlie loves going up high and I took a bunch of photos of him having a great time...these two capture the gist. 

Katie goes back to work next Tuesday. The rhythm of our days together is going to change. But even as I type this, I realize the rhythm of pretty much every Tuesday is just a little different. Thank you for following along with our story!

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Words to Remember.

...especially right now.
from Saturday morning's walk
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | Blue Sky Blooms.

A few #makelight collages came across my Instagram feed yesterday and of course I couldn't resist seeing what it was all about and making my own collage for 2016.

Look at all that blue! I did knit two blue sweaters for myself and one blue baby blanket for Sam, but I'm pretty sure most of the blue is thanks to #blueskyblooms. and a few winter visits to Florida. I can't remember when I started using this tag, but it was certainly before last year. I shared a few Eye Candy shots with y'all back in February and figured I'd keep up the tradition.

Wishing you all the warm sunshine and the light of bright blue skies (even vicariously!) - Happy Friday!

p.s. these photos are all straight off my phone ... no edits, no filters.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday | A Special Dinner.

I forwarded the email about this week's Think Write Thursday topic - to plan a dinner party, inviting 3 people, living or dead - to my mom, suggesting we collaborate. Last night, we started to talk about it. Hands down we agreed my dad had to be the first guest - he loved a good dinner (party) and he was a fabulous guest (ate everything and talked to everybody). From there it wasn't long before we decided that recreating one of our five-of-us family Christmas Eve dinners would be fun. Family dinner was the norm in my house growing up, but Christmas Eve was special.
of course my mom isn't in this photo - she was taking it!
After much talk and looking through photos, we think the last time just the five of us sat around the table for Christmas Eve was 1987. My folks were living (back) in southeast Texas. Karen, Steve and I all traveled there (I brought Katie, aged 11 months) for the holiday.
there's Katie peeking through ... from her high chair
As long as I can remember, the highlight of Christmas Eve dinner was roasted cornish game hens, stuffed with cornbread stuffing (always Stovetop) and topped with an orange glaze (thawed frozen concentrate). That was the only time of the year we ever ate cornish game hens (or cornbread stuffing). Mother is sure we also had this Holiday Salad
(from Kathryn Windham Tucker's Treasured Alabama Recipes; Mother has the first edition, published in 1964)

and of course Christmas cookies (and ice cream) for dessert.

Things changed quickly for our family. Just three years later, we were gathered in Florida (my folks' first home here was a vacation home, in the panhandle).
L-R - Mother, my grandfather, Karen, John (Karen's then husband), Lydia, Daddy, Marc, me, Steve - my grandmother took the photo
Karen had married earlier that year and was seven months pregnant (note that glass of milk at her place). Steve and Lydia were dating. Two of my grandparents (my mom's mother and dad's father) were also there, as was Marc. Katie was still the only grandchild (she had her own special table).
that's Marc, pouring the wine
And we still had those game hens for dinner!

Thank you Carole and Kat for the topic - we had a fun time reminiscing about all those wonderful dinners!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Waiting and Watching | Week Five.

Three of those eight white blooms from last week are still holding on, but this week's real stunner is on the second bulb.

At least I hope it's a stunner... waiting in the wings.

Today's waterlogue is another new filter - Fashionable. chosen entirely because of the way it rendered the collage. I love the pops of pink and the faint, suggestive outlines of the words.

These photos were actually taken yesterday; Holly and I are headed to Florida this morning to visit my mom for a few days. Hoping to share a few posts while we're there. I'm itching to see what the #blueskyblooms are up to!

Happy Wednesday!

(Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | One Story.

A few of y'all might remember the "sleeping bag days" (which officially ended way back in September shortly after he turned two). He's been doing great in his big boy bed, but our furnace is on the blink (thankfully it waited until after the ice storm) and the repairman showed up just before nap. The attic door to said furnace is right outside Charlie's room... and it seemed prudent to have nap back downstairs today.

Much has changed since those summertime sleeping bag days

a pillow and a new sleeping position for starters... and of course now there's a blanket. and little Holly  in the picture. literally. they're really becoming friends. not always with me in the middle.

Two is turning out to be a very fun age!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekending | Frozen.

Long story short, the "three to five inches of snow" thing didn't happen. Instead, the chilly rain that started Friday afternoon (while Marc and I were on our walk ... brrrr) turned briefly to snow overnight, and left a covering of ice by Saturday morning.

For the first time in a long while, Marc and I spent the weekend home alone. He didn't even venture outside yesterday. (Holly and I - of course! - had to ... but only twice.) We took turns on the treadmill. We watched all of The Crown (his first time and my second - enjoyed it even more on the re-watch). I finished three knitting projects, including Rob Roy (seen above). We napped. We cooked (real food and snack-y stuff). We FaceTimed with our favorite toddler.  We drank a lot of coffee (and I did finish a half gallon of milk, so that crazy trip to the store Thursday evening wasn't wasted!) and I drank some wine (and caught up with my neighbor Friday evening).

All things considered, it was pretty good. But I'm looking forward to getting back out this morning. Hopefully Costco has restocked. and I've got a date at the gym for a walk and a yoga class. We're going to try walking outside - it's supposed to be almost above freezing by noon!

Here's to sunshine and warmer temperatures! Happy Monday!

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Friday, January 6, 2017

FO Friday | No Tails.

Happy First Friday of the year! Seems like the perfect time to share my latest FO ... this is No Tails, another wonderful design by Lori Versaci.

I actually finished it just before Christmas and I've had several opportunities to wear it since then. Hands down, it's now my favorite winter sweater.

This is the second design I've knit from Lori's Building Block collection. You might recall Tails, which I finished over the summer ... well No Tails is the same silhouette, except no tails 😉. This time I opted for the cowl neck and the sleeves to make it a cold weather piece.

The construction is straightforward - a back and a front with drop shoulders, joined with a three-needle bind-off. The sleeves are worked flat, picking up stitches from the armhole. Then the cowl neck (8+ inches of seeded rib...seemed to take forever) and the underarm and side seams. Nothing complicated, but a really stunning result. I did end up with a slightly looser gauge than the pattern called for - which meant a little math in the beginning to adjust my stitch counts - but otherwise I followed the pattern as written.

The yarn is Shibui Cima (a lace-weight merino/alpaca blend) held double. I snagged a sweater quantity for half price a few years back when Shibui discontinued the color (and why they did that is a mystery - it's the perfect camel). Cima is great to work with (just sticky enough to make holding two strands together not a total pain) and the finished fabric is lovely - soft, drapey and warm.

A huge thank you to Katie for the photos. You can read more about the project on Ravelry (here).

Looks like we're going to have a snow day tomorrow (that could last into next week if the temperatures stay as cold as they're predicting). Marc and I braved the grocery store last night for milk and wine. Sadly, Lowes was sold out of snow shovels. He's going to stop at Home Depot this morning on his way to work ... won't be the end of the world if we have to borrow our neighbor's shovel, but otherwise - we're ready!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Stay warm!

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