Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Summer vacation pictures

On our way back from Oklahoma this summer, we stopped in Mountainburg at the park because I've always wanted to see their dinosaurs.  Oh, and I thought Evelyn might like it too.  Sure, that too.


They're pretty big!

While we were there, a couple of teenagers backed into my car (the only other thing in the parking lot) and killed the back bumper and we had to wait forever for the cop to show up because he was at the scene of a dog attack. It was all very summer-in-a-small town and Cody requested we get off the scenic route and hit the interstate as quickly as possible after this.

Anyway, Evelyn played on the swings and bounced around a lot while we waited for the very tired, very sweaty police officer.  She even climbed in some of the dinosaurs!

 And I took this picture of her because I'm a mature and caring parent.

Cody took some cute pictures of her as well, looking all bright and summery while she explored.

This is probably one of my Top 5 favorite pictures of the summer.  It's so cheesy and could have been taken any time in the last 40 years or so.  It's very summer vacation-y to me and we've got a dumb story to tell about the day I took this picture of my very best girl and her dad and a dinosaur.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent: the first week

It's my third year of making granny squares for Advent.

I still don't remember much about how to observe Advent other than to reflect on how things are dark and cold and sad and we wait for Jesus and celebration.  I nearly forgot about it until this past weekend, and then I wondered about it out loud and Cody looked it up for me.

So. Here we are in Advent.

I'm just going to make one square a week this year.  I forgot how many rows I work for each granny square and originally had a brown row and then a navy blue border.  In years past, I've worked a bright blue border (or at least planned to at a later date) so things would look uniform whenever I have enough squares to make a blanket.  I felt like 2016 should look different because the year's been so different.

The part where I messed up even being unhappy about 2016 is very much in keeping with our 2016.  It's just been that kind of year, which I feel like is something I say every year but especially the past few years because this year was just.....really something.  My car was backed into twice.  In one week.  I had two tire blowouts.  Evelyn has had a ridiculous amount of ear infections and I don't feel like her asthma is well controlled (my feelings regarding her asthma are generally what's out of control).  Cody has filled out a million applications, gone on a dozen interviews, and there's still no job and no income and ugh.

There was also Election Day.  It was so terrible.  The days after it have been so terrible.  I knit half the body of a sweater trying to calm down before remembering I only try to knit sweaters when I've clearly lost my danged mind.  Then I took a break from the sweater because a family member was sick and I tried 4 different types of cowl patterns before just winging it.  If you're super sick, a cowl won't cure you.  But it will keep me from watching you while you sleep and cleaning your entire house (this sounds like a good deal, but always includes me throwing away important documents you won't miss until several months later.  Every time.), so there's that.

Dear goodness.

In every less-than-great year, there are always good things and I feel like I have to mention them because I haven't done so yet here.  Evelyn reads and is friendly and strong and adventurous.  Our local library is wonderful.  Our families carry us in ways large and small.  I tried new knitting things and got to put a lot of my ideas into practice at work.  Cody has found TWO chicken recipes that Evelyn will actually eat, so now we can get some animal protein in her that's not meat sauce in spaghetti.  We have friends and loved ones and sometimes we even get to see them.  Evelyn freaks out every time she sees a butterfly, so we had a pretty joyous time every time we went outside this summer.  We have a bird feeder on the balcony that Cody keeps stocked so we can watch birds eat and fight and make a mess while they perch all over the place and we look at them through the living room window.  Evelyn thinks we have a bird restaurant, and it's a point of pride that all the birds in the neighborhood seem to want to 'her' bird seed.  Cody's read books about birds in the area, and talked to her about the ones in our region.  We guess the names and usually whisper urgently to one another "Hey, look! Not too quick!" whenever a rare (for us) bird drops by (cardinals just don't want to hang out at our restaurant, and we're pretty sure last year's blue jay is not coming back).

I thought I'd use bird colors for this week's square.  We saw quite a few finches with little black and gray bodies this long weekend and I wanted to put their colors in a square.  So that's the little marker of this period of time.  The weather's finally turned cold, I'm waiting for good things to happen the same way I always do (crocheting. Crocheting without ceasing), and I'm back to observing things pretty much the only way I know how--with yarn and Internet.  Happy Advent season, guys.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Here are some Thanksgiving pictures! There's a whole lot of Christmas in them, too, but that's fine.

Here's my mom and Evelyn posing in their nice clothes. Santa had to be in the shot.

Calvin was just stunned by this marvelous being.

I asked Laine to take a few pictures of us just in case I order Christmas cards (fingers crossed)
. Sara kept Ellis entertained, Levi kept the dog from jumping on us, and Mom and Dad planted the tree over a decade ago.  It takes a village.

For some reason, every time Laine counted to the three, Ellis would say "Kick!" and then kick.  So he and Evelyn practiced their kicks.

And he and Sara practiced their sword fighting with some of the smallest sticks I've ever seen.

The kids went to space a lot because Ellis is Buzz Lightyear and Evelyn is just always up for adventure.  This is them, outside their space ship on the moon.  Sara even went on a few trips!  I'm glad for the supervision

 Gil loves Calvin.  Calvin loves snacks.

He has one of the most squishable faces I've ever seen.

These people all love one another, I promise.  They maybe don't love repeating rounds over and over in Phase 10. This game always starts out with great enthusiasm and ends with...less enthusiasm.

Evelyn has been a puzzle fan for a while, but now Ellis is starting to get in on the fun!  They were champs.

Not pictured: all the food, or Friday, or several other things because I ate food and picked up children even though I slept funny on Wednesday night and my neck was messed up and I messed it up more by picking up kids.  What was I supposed to do?  Not pick up kids?  Impossible, and too sad to seriously consider.

Also, Ellis went from lecturing my parents about how my name was "Jen" to going ahead and calling me "Jennifer" with great emphasis and pronunciation.

Also, we drank a lot of coffee and ragged on Dad for eating all of the oatmeal cookies before we even got there.

Also, here is a picture of our little family gathering with Cody's family on Saturday.  We play card games.  They play Yhatzee. 

Evelyn was an actual demon on Saturday, even after putting herself to bed and falling asleep in 'her' bed.  We recovered from all the fun and socializing on Sunday, and might have to have a re-do with her grandma and uncles sometime soon.

It was a super lovely holiday weekend and I'm grateful for every bit of it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A boy and a dog and some other cute stuff

Way back when we had Sara's birthday party this summer, we tried to take some good pictures of the 4 of us and they mostly looked like this.

I really don't care for how I always look shorter and paler and less fashionable in photos with these jerks.

And then we hit 'peak family photos' right here.

And here. Man, Diesel is so pleased!

I was thinking about this over the past weekend when I took Evelyn out to spend the weekend with her grandparents and Diesel carefully followed her around everywhere she went. He's nearly as tall as she is and weighs at least twice what she does.  He runs actually circles around and hovers around her and tries to get in her face until she puts up a tiny hand and says "Back."  And then he gets back.  He's the perfect herd dog for children and I remembered that I never showed this nice series of photos of Ellis and Diesel this summer.
 So here we go!

First, the dog is sensibly hanging out in the shade and enjoying a stick.

The boy wants the stick and begins to wrestle it out of the dog's mouth.

Maybe he's telling Diesel "thank you" here?  Or maybe he's letting him know that the stick belongs to him now.

The dog still looks just delighted to be hanging out with him.

They're both pleased with this exchange, and Ellis's slight cowlick and little toddler belly give me great joy.

And there he goes.

You can probably tell, but I took the pictures through a window.  I forget which adult was outside just in case Diesel wasn't going to be nice (he wouldn't be around the kids if he wasn't but you know what I mean) while the rest of us crowded around windows to watch the show.  It was a sweet moment.  Ellis is at the age where sticks are super important, and I first typed his name as "Dallas" because I remember when he got all excited about finding the perfect stick to run around a yard with.  Stuff like this just makes me smile.  Also, I took this sweet picture of Calvin and his dad and never posted it.

I've been meaning to post these happy pictures for a while, so there you go. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Skeleton adventures

Good news! Evelyn was a skeleton again.

She was a skeleton at her grandparents' trunk or treat.

She was a skeleton at my work's party the Friday before Halloween.

(All the pictures of that spooky event are on my phone and Blogger's mobile app just ate them?)

She was a skeleton on Saturday night when her dad took her to her grandma's house to stand on the porch until someone opened the door.  Yes, with the mask.

And then Monday, the day she'd waited for since the last Halloween, she was a skeleton at school.

Just a skeleton, getting ready for a great day of learning!

One loving look goodbye before she left for the morning.

Her father is definitely not in any danger.

So many festive classmates!

Such a festive room!

I was Professor Trelawny from the Harry Potter books. Some of the other parents dressed up.

Like Cody/Thor (there's a cape on the back) and some parents in face paint.

She went to the library in the afternoon, where most people remembered that this was a repeated wearing of her classic costume (that she wants to wear next year). 

This year was a little different!  We actually trick or treated around the neighborhood, which we normally skip because we go so many other places, or it's too cold, and she's never seemed too interested.  This year, she was. So we did.  Quite a few people weren't home from work yet, and some people had forgotten it was Halloween (how?! Do they not live with people who have talked of almost nothing else for the past 2 months?).  But everyone was very nice, and she had a blast!  Also, the full coverage from her suit protected her from mosquito bites.

When we got home, she felt like she'd finally properly done Halloween and told us it was her best Halloween.  Yay!  I could tell she was super happy about it.  Just look at the smile on this face.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

October's book list

"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" Roz Chast.*

Man, this was sad.

"The Dark Wind " Tony Hillerman.

I may need a small break from the Hillerman books. Just a small one, though.