The weather is full on not-winter! It should be 83 degrees today with a 5pmh breeze and clear skies. YASS!
Busy busy as usual, but the beautiful weather helps a lot especially now that everything is turning bright green and the flowers are coming out. The boys and I headed to the zoo today with my mom.
We were there at 9:30 and we got back home at 4:45. It was the best day I’ve had in a long time. :-) We rode the train between parks for the first time! woot! Definitely doing that as often as possible. We have a zoo in one part of town, and the aquarium/biopark-botanical gardens is only a little ways over, just a short train ride. Maybe 2 miles? It was so much fun. When you get a pass for one park and buy a train ticket you can see all of the parks all day. So. Much. Fun! We saw both male/bull elephants: Samson and Albert. Here is a picture of Albert, playing with his ball. I love elephants! I even found this cute shirt yesterday at Target. W said I should wear it to the zoo, so there you go. We’re all about animals today.

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He was rolling around a huge ball, just like a cat would. On the way home we stopped and got pizza (Papa Murphy’s), so dinner is even done.

I organized my WIPs again because I’m one of those people that love to take everything out of a bag, lay it nicely, then put it back. Now I can take my fave bag everywhere. ;-)

I feel warm and tingly. I may have got sunburned again. That, and/or I am completely relaxed. mmmm

P.S. Yet again, I wrote and forgot to post. ;-) More soon!

I double checked that, I think this is the 8th week. (I don’t really care, but I do a little.)
I was going to name this post “Sick & Tired”, but I’m neither anymore, or at least not near as sick and tired as I was a week ago. I caught a head cold mid January, the dizzy, reeling kind, and it lasted a few days, as usual. Then I developed a cough, the nasty, shake your brains kind, and that bastard lasted a week and a half. It was awful. Then I had one glorious cough-free morning, and THEN I caught another round of the head cold for another week. This time the sinus pressure and congestion was the I-can’t-think-straight variety so I finally succumbed to heavier cold meds. Those, of course, made me both jittery and exhausted so I stopped those. I stopped them not just because they made me feel worse, but because I drive a car for a living and didn’t want to think about feeling like that while driving. I drank a lot of juice and water (and some good coffee when my taste buds returned), ate spicy green chile, and on Thursday night my head finally popped back into this world (it was a weird yet very interesting feeling of pressure in my head, then and audible pop in my ear, and my sinuses expanded significantly), and the next day, I felt so much better! I’ve been saying that for awhile, optimistically, but today I can say I really do feel ok. A tiny bit congested, but it may be a combo of allergies (omg it was 70 degrees last week! woot!) and this crud finally leaving my head. So, well, yes, I’m in the gross phase of the end of a cold, the snorting, productive cough, need-a-tissue-nearby kind, but holy cats I’ll take it! It’s so exhausting being sick for longer than the usual week. Everything is affected: schedules, work, kids, spouse. Luckily they didn’t get sick!

I also worked too much the last couple weeks, I stretched myself too thin. I bet you know how that goes. More work to do, a deadline, trying to cram 4 weeks of work into 2. That was unnecessary, for sure. I’m proud of what I have done so far, but I made myself leave it at work (or literally int he work truck) and not do more than send email at home. By George, it works!! Imagine my surprise when the work was still there and there were no fires. ;-) I’m taking is easier now and it’s making the work easier, for one, and I’m able to make sure the work is right the first time so I won’t worry about double checking later.

Anyway, work is fine, but busybusybusy. We’re two weeks into the new job schedules for both of us, and it’s going swimmingly. I probably don’t actually see B more than I used to, but it feels like it because we talk all the time, like we do. :-) Ah, communication.

Boys are better too! A is over the hump of the terrible 2/3s. W is firmly 7, and it’s a little strange and exciting to see how much he’s changing into a bigger little guy, you know? Bit by bit. They both remain wonderful, tantrums aside. We went out to eat at Fat Squirrel last night (YUM, they’re new menu is great!) and we were complimented by a  stranger on our way out about how nice they were! Woohoo! It was a tough-ish day too, with tantrums and such so that was a good way to end the day. That and Lego Batman and me falling asleep on the couch, lol.
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But you came for WIPs of the yarn variety didn’t you? One side effect from my anxiety over life and when I’m sick is a lot of reading and/or crafting! I finished Locke Lamora (again for the first time, long story). I got a few more chapters into the next one too, plus I started listening to The Book Thief in the car at work. I have a knit project that’s perfect for reading whilst knitting. (see #7 below)

Oh but I went nuts with yarn! I cast on 3 or 4 things and made good progress on them. They’re mostly scarves of course. I love scarves; they’re warm enough in my coolish winter, fast, small/portable, and big enough to do a lot of techniques with only one skein of yarn. My favorite lately are the “assymetrical” variety, like Martina Behm’s Strichmich patterns. I cast on only a few stitiches, maybe 6 or so, the the “shawlette” is worked bigger and bigger, usually with one of the borders. So they are super easy and fun, and they’re supposed to be easy, with lots of easy garter stitch and an interesting but not difficult border. I made Hitchhiker already, and I think I have 3-4 more of her patterns on or ready for the needles! Penny is working on some too so it’s fun to see what we make with different yarns, same pattern. These patterns are perfect for variegated colors too; I love that. I can work on these patterns anywhere, since 95% of the pattern is garter stitch and I don’t even have to look down.

(Note: I’m trying to make it so you can see my Ravelry project page for each project, bear with me as I learn how to blog better. I had troubles loading pics onto the blog today, so hopefully all these rav links will work…)

1) Trillian is going well! Lots of yarn left, so I don’t think I’m halfway through. This yarn is smoooooth. I might make another scarf in this pattern, for sure. I love my new habit of taking pics of WIPs with whatever drink I have! I wanted to take one with my delicious root beer last night but I didn’t get a chance. Oh well. Try the root beer on tap at Fat Squirrel, it’s delicious.

2) Reichenbach Falls Cap. I’m not any further on this but still excited about it. Did you hear Sherlock Benedict C got married yesterday? How sweet!! They are also actively filming Sherlock Season 4 so I’m very very excited about that indeed! (Probably more excited about that than the marriage. I mean, congrats and love is wonderful but Sherlock is Sherlock.)

3) Second Story shirt-a new one!! I got my last issue of Interweave Knits this week and it has a ton of shirts and shawls I want to make. This is one of two patterns I cast on immediately (well as soon as the kids were in bed, lol). I have used this yarn for three other projects and I think this one is the right one! Finally! Such a simple, yet bold pattern. It’s nice to have a project with no yarnovers sometimes. I love these shirt patterns with two pieces sewn together; easy peasy.

4) Speaking of, Juicy Top is progressing! It might now look like much but it adds up pretty quick. I’m still nervous it won’t fit, but I remember checking and checking and then 4 checks later I know it will be the correct size. If it doesn’t fit me, my mom might like it. ;-)

5) Another new one! Also from Interweave Knits Spring 2015, is Potter’s Shawl by Jen Lucas. Jen dyed the yarn for my Bat Shawl years ago. I’m excited to see her design in a major knit mag. This is the project I put in my purse and work on near constantly. It’s all garter stitch except for easy increases on the ends. The neat border will be done sideways up the edging! Cool!! And that colorway…swoon. Lorna’s Laces always gets me in the heartstrings.

6) Blue Lagoon is not technically a new project but I grabbed it out of hibernation. It’s very good for movie watching and it’s progressing faster than I thought! This yarn is so soft and smooth and sparkly and happy. Plus, oodles of stitch markers clicking around are fun. It’s one of my oldest projects. I tried to start it when I just learned to knit, and it confused me. But I’ve had it sitting around, with this yarn specifically for it, for years. My dear friend bought me the yarn on our first visit to Houston. I’ll be so happy to finish this!

7) Boop! is a lace shawl/wrap out of this ridiculously colorful yarn, Freia. It practically glows. Penny gave me the pattern and she’s working on one too, in a smoky grey. This ball of yarn has over 600yds in it so I’m hoping this pattern will be just right to use most of it up. When it’s done I’ll have a nice light, hugging-shoulders wrap that practically glows. This one is great for reading and knitting since it is 99% stockinette. I named it Boop because when Penny sent me the name of the pattern, I read it too fast and instead of “Mobius Bias Loop” I read “boop”. ;-)

8) Finally, the T-Rex! I was going to finish this sooner but lost my stuffing. I found it yesterday under the couch, naturally it was there. I remember putting it there so I wouldn’t forget. (facepalm)

Eight is a big number of WIPs. I’m having fun though, and that’s the idea anyway. :-D

We’re having another glorious out-of-season day here. We played out in the back yard. The boys played baseball and in the dirt while I ran around taking pictures of WIPs, lol.

I hope you have a good day too!

Every year I think about all the things I’m happy and thankful for, and try to keep in mind I should keep doing those things next year, since they worked. I also try to think of one or two things to do for the next year to make things easier or generally better for myself. Last year I wrote this on an index card and taped it above my calendar:

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That calendar in the middle of the kitchen is a happy thing. Everything is at a glance so I don't have to remember all of it. whew!

which turned out to be very good advice. I stopped worrying so much about finishing WIPs and had more fun actually making things, regardless of when I finished them. I also stopped worrying so much about how often I exercised, and instead worked on eating better all the time and getting exercise when I had the chance. It’s not what I want to do, I want to be able to go for a run anytime, or a ride, or have delicious healthy food all the time, but that’s not realistic. I’m much better about eating better, but I could do…better. (maybe find my thesaurus too)

UNO: So my first goal for 2015 is to cut down on fast food. Like when I’m working and need something quick, or I’m craving the dreaded delicious cheeseburger. Or when it’s been a long day and pizza is just easier than forgetting dinner again. I have a freezer full of ready to make crockpot meals (that can also be cooked in my super cool covered baker in the microwave), not to mention frozen veggies and fruit for quick sides and smoothies for breakfast. If I can eat the food we have at home, I’ll be able to experiment more with fun lunches (and use those bento boxes!) for myself, save money, and everyone eats healthier. I’m the one in charge of groceries and food consumption, so if I eat better, so do they. Win-win. Of course, consuming less gluten will also be high on this list. Luckily for me, fast food tends to go hand-in-hand with bread and I already cut it out at home.

DOS: My next goal is to really make an effort speaking Spanish. I tried it last week while doing some inspections, and guess what? Everyone was super helpful and we had fun being bilingual together. They seemed surprised I knew as much conversational Spanish as I do, and so was I, honestly. I started learning in 7th grade, all the way to college. I never had many people to speak it to though, but I can read it and understand it very well. It’s mostly a matter of confidence, so I’m throwing that out and giving it a go. A good friend from high school learned to speak fluently only because he was the only one in his office at the time that could speak more than 5 words in Spanish, so at his call center all of the Spanish speakers were sent to him. He was nervous but said absolute every one of his callers were helpful and that’s how he learned. Being truly bilingual has always been a dream of mine, so this is the time to get going on that. I love this state, it’s cultures, and especially the languages. If I can master Spanish, I may try for German someday.

TRÈS: And the third and final goal, perhaps the easiest and definitely the most fun, will be the Year of the Cross Stitch! It’s my favorite craft, so I’m going to dive into it again. Cross stitch is heavy on the prep work, but if I can knit as much as I do, I figure I can stitch one or two x-s here and there. I celebrated my decision by starting Clipper Ship Voyager (Dimensions #3886). I’ve loved this forever! I barely got it organized yesterday, so I have yet to start actually stitching. I hope to get to that today after we rake the leaves in the front yard, then decorate the yard. We haven’t done that before but my 3yo is insistent, and boy is he persistent too. ;-)

So how am I starting these lofty but achievable goals? I have only been out to fast food twice in the last two weeks. We like to run errands on Saturdays and get lunch (all four of us) and Freddy’s Steakburgers is a favorite. I tell you, that special family burger was really good, not just because Freddy’s is awesome, but because it was the only cheeseburger I’d had all week. Yesterday we met friends at a local diner joint (Ironwood Kitchen) and I had some seriously yummy tacos. Yay for homemade salsa!! I have a brick of frozen spanish rice with hamburger for the crockpot tonight.
I spoke quite a bit of Spanish at my sites on Friday and had a great time. I learned a couple new words too. My favorite phrase right now is “Perdi mi pluma” which is “I lost my pen”. I do that a lot, lol.
And I’m planning on getting the yard done after hitting “publish”, then watching movies with the little guys and stitching all afternoon. Sounds like the start of a very good year.

P.S. This post needs more pictures. Este post necesita màs fotos.

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New doily for funsies, step one of four.

(This is a free pattern from Nancy Tracy on her site www.be-stitched.com btw)

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A pretty bookmark I made last month with new thread. I love adding charms to bookmarks.

So the kids had a project to make at home that represents the first 100 days they’ve been in school. It’s super cute. We worked all week to find 10 groups of 10 things “around the house” for it and it was a lot of fun. This makes me happy. :-)

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Gummy bears, popcorn kernels, stickers, cereal, chocolate chips, fingerprints, buttons, cutout shapes, rocks, and pennies, oh my!