Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How are things going? We wish we knew!

Evelyn has been in school for 3 days now.

All we really know about it is that she's not pulling out her ponytail holders, she's eating quite a bit for lunch, and she hasn't bothered to learn anyone's name.  I picked her up yesterday and a teacher mentioned that she's good at cleaning up after herself, which was an odd thing to say since I opened her lunchbox at home and found half a peanut butter sandwich smeared everywhere instead of in her sandwich container.

We're all adjusting.  This week marks the first time I've been away from Evelyn and haven't been able to text someone to see how she's doing.  We know she's safe and happy and learning, but all the details are hazy.  We keep asking, and grandparents keep checking in just in case.  She's not sure what all the fuss is and is ready for the weekend so she can do whatever she wants and spend as much time with her baby doll as she likes.


If you see her and ask her what she's been up to lately, she'll probably tell you about how she's a mommy and she's married to me (we told her she had to marry someone nice, so I'm taking this as a compliment!) and (as of this evening) she's a superhero named Captain Crunch.  

She just might not say much about school at the moment.

But for real, ask her about Captain Crunch.

Monday, August 24, 2015

First day of school, 2015

Well, ta da!

Evelyn went to school for the first time today.  She's been wanting to do this for years, so I'm just grateful we got breakfast in her and detained her long enough to take a view pictures.  She was more than happy to skip away from us, and we acted like moderately held-together people when we dropped her off.


We've all been getting ready for this for a long time.  You wouldn't know it to check out the worksheet she brought home--all she had to do was trace her name and write her name beside it.  It looked like she'd never seen letters before.  Chalk it up to first-day distraction?--but we have.  All the reading, all the explaining, all the pointing out things to notice and learn, all the puzzles and books and outdoor adventures.  All of it done by just about every person she's ever encountered in her life.  Just to give her a good foundation so she'd love learning. 


She wasn't sure if she'd had a good day today because she thought the kids were too loud, she didn't get to play at the station she wanted to play with, and there was some other minor irritant that she mentioned.  There's plenty of time to adjust.  We're sending her off with milk money tomorrow.  Her dad made a sandwich in the shape of the state of Arkansas with a cookie cutter.  She has a lunchbox and a tiny backpack and some new shoes.  She has bows.  She's ready to write.  She likes the songs and stories (we did manage to get that detail out of her.  We also know that her teacher says "crisscross apple sauce" and sitting that way hurts her legs because she likes to sit with her legs in a W, which will apparently ruin your life according to articles I see sometimes), and she's pumped about the playground even if she can't throw rocks or play with sticks.  We'll have to save those outdoor activities for some other time.

She's going to do just fine.  She's probably the luckiest little girl I know.  So many people have cheered her (and her parents) on to learn and do and try.

It's a good start.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

An afternoon at Petit Jean

Cody and I have been wanting to try paddle boating, so we went to Petit Jean this past Sunday and tried it out.  Yes, I know there are closer state parks but Petit Jean State Park has Petit Jean Mountain.  You can't beat that....unless you're going to go to Mount Magazine and that's a bit far for a day trip with a four-year-old.  So Petit Jean it was.

We didn't think about our weight differences until it was too late.  When one person weighs twice as much as another, it's not a good idea to sit those people side by side on watercraft and expect them to pedal along.  Next time we'll try a canoe.  It was still pretty fun, thought!  It was a beautiful afternoon on the water with our little girl.

Life jackets were included with the cost of renting the paddle boat ($7 for an hour) and we were told we could actually pick the water lilies since they were starting to become a nuisance.  Picking the flowers at a state park?!  Evelyn was super thrilled!

I'm not sure we were out there an entire hour, but my knees hurt and Evelyn was bored.  And like I mentioned, it was pretty tricky for Cody and I to try to pedal that little boat around.  But it wasn't disastrous and my goodness, the water was beautiful and the park was beautiful and the little breeze that would pick up and make it even harder to pedal was beautiful.

I haven't gotten to spend as much time outside as I'd like these days, and I'd already decided that I'd go somewhere Sunday even if Cody and Evelyn didn't come with me.  But I'm very glad they did.  We were a little hot and tired for hiking, so we just watched Evelyn play on the playground for a while before we stopped at the overlook and took some pictures and enjoyed the view.  Evelyn shouted "I'm king of the world!" a couple of times and I know just how she felt.  It seemed like we could see forever and everything was big and beautiful.

She wanted me to see if I could step out onto that big rock in the picture up there, so I took off my flip flops and hopped over (and posed very awkwardly, it looks like).  I liked taking big steps from rock to rock with her.  She's so much more comfortable doing it since the last time we visited--she's a lot taller and loads more confident about outdoor things.  Cody's still not a fan of doing anything resembling hopping around lots of rocks on top of a mountain with a scary drop-off, but he seemed pretty happy that our little lake excursion didn't devolve into all of us having shouting and/or falling into the water.  We took a scenic route home and it was the first day in a while that Cody and I were both off work.  When we got home, I did some laundry and we ate pizza for dinner.  Lovely, lovely day.  I feel like I should be honest and say that Evelyn was argumentative and I was grouchy and Cody was forgetful and a pretty terrible driver since he was tired, but still.  It was still a lovely day.  It's so much better to be short-tempered outdoors rather than cooped up any time. It was an excellent adventure.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dishcloth of the Week: A Dino Dishcloth

In the last couple of weeks the desire to go through every item in my home has faded and I've felt a little more like knitting. So last week I knitted this cute little dishcloth.

I've had the pattern in my Ravelry queue for a while now, and I'm glad I finally got around to making it!  I have a large skein of bright green yarn, and this was a good use for it.  My favorite part about this--aside from the fact that someone knew people would want to knit a dishcloth with a dinosaur on it and so they sat down to figure out how to make that happen--was that the ridges are actually garter stitch.  In all the other textured dishcloths I've made, I've had to purl both sides of the bumpy part of the pattern and that can feel like you're wrestling your knitting.  I love not-purling, and the patterning was good and visible anyway.

 I enjoyed making it and I'm happy to have this in my gift stash, although I don't think it will stay there long!

Important additional point: there is a T-rex pattern.

Pattern: Brachiosaurus Dinosaur (free on Ravelry if you have an account)
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream in Hot Green
Needle: #7

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An anniversary post for Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad had their 38th wedding anniversary last week.  Thirty-eight years! 

They celebrated by going out to a fancy dinner the night before their actual anniversary, and spent the day of their anniversary looking after Dallas and Evelyn.  That's just what they do, and it seems pretty fitting.  They've been growing their family for nearly four decades now and they keep including kids and colleagues and church family and college students and neighbors and and and.

I'm so happy to be in this great partnership's family.  Sometimes I stop and think about the insane wealth of love that Evelyn and Ellis have been born into and I can barely believe it.  So many people are here to love them and it's because Mom and Dad have made this loving family and shown us how to find and keep good people in our lives.  It's a precious gift.

In this past year, they went on a big trip together and Dad sent us kids texts about not losing Mom in the airport. They kept Evelyn several million times.  They visited Ellis.  They visited older relatives.  They started going to a wonderful little church.  Mom puts a box out in the church foyer for people to donate groceries and then she delivers it to the local food bank.  They helped us all out a bunch of times.  They got chickens, even though Dad would probably say that just Mom got chickens.  They bought way too many educational toys and preppy-looking clothes for their grandkids.

In Year 39 they'll meet their second grandson.  They'll try to go to the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show with the whole family.  They're going to enjoy some overnight visits with Ellis because he's big enough now for some sleepovers!  We're going to find out how sincere Evelyn's school really was when they said they love grandparent involvement.  I'm going to stop here before I just burst into song and start warbling "When We're Gone, Long Gone" alone in my living room. 

But I do want to wish my lovely parents a happy belated anniversary and mark the occasion by celebrating how their loving union includes so many people.  We can all celebrate with them.