14 October 2014

Baby Brown Bear Beanie

Remember how I said I was busy crafting while watching General Conference? This past weekend I finished one of the projects that I started during Conference. It's an adorable brown bear hat for my friend's new baby. (If you follow me on Instagram, then sorry that you are seeing it again, but these are definitely better pictures.)

I used a pattern for a polar bear hat, and it whipped together really easily. I was using a different yarn than she used, so I had to modify the pattern a bit, but I made sure it matched up size-wise with the sock monkey hat that I made for Felix two years ago. Now I can focus all my crafting attention to my Halloween projects. I'm sure there will be post-Halloween pictures to come.

09 October 2014

Crochet Pumpkin Bunting

This year around Valentine's Day I visited a friend who had some adorable crochet heart bunting hanging in her home. I thought, "I could do that!" I went home and found a pattern and did it. I subsequently found patterns and made a shamrock garland for St. Patrick's Day (which is kind of a big deal to me) and an Easter egg garland for Easter.

After reading Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to beef up my Halloween decorations by featuring photos of our family at Halloween. I made a few pumpkins before I found the best pumpkin pattern. I worked on this during General Conference (along with a few other crochet crafts that I may or may not post about.) Eventually I'll get around to making some more pumpkins to intersperse with additional pictures. But I'm quite happy with it as-is.

06 October 2014

Felix - Two Years

Felix is 2! He is such a fun and sweet little boy. Things he loves:

  • Cars, trucks, airplanes, any vehicles
  • Animals, especially dinosaurs or anything else that might roar
  • Books
  • Coloring
  • Mimicking his older brother
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Picking flowers
  • Brushing his teeth
  • Emptying cabinets
  • Singing - Favorite songs include "The Wheels on the Bus," "Popcorn Popping," "ABC's," and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
Things I love about him and want to remember when he is not little anymore:
  • He's really tiny. Currently mostly wearing clothes sized 12-18 months, but many things that are 9-12 months. And his pants won't stay up.
  • His adorable facial expressions when he is excited about something.
  • How much he loves to be tickled.
  • How excited he gets when I pick him up from the babysitter's house.
  • How excited he gets when somebody comes to the door.
  • How terrified he was at first of Ike's nebulizer and the garbage truck. (Both fears are waning now.)
  • How much he loves to sing. And the fact that he's been able to sing recognizable tunes (without words usually) for over 4 months.

22 September 2014

Autumn Canoeing in the Tetons

In late July we went to the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park for a couple of days. We canoed a slow part of the Snake River with Eric's parents (after they had just finished an arduous canoeing adventure in Yellowstone National Park), and ever since then Eric has been fantasizing about doing that same stretch in the fall. We went up there again this past weekend, and enjoyed the Tetons in all their autumnal beauty.

The boys enjoyed being on the water. We were really clever this trip and filled up a box with rocks so the boys could chuck them in when they started getting bored. They also enjoyed watching other boats and fishermen. Ike spent a good deal of time with his hands in the water, and occasionally he managed to pull up out some grass. When Felix tried to reach his hands into the water he nearly went headfirst into the river. I managed to save him before he was able to test out his life jacket.

The boys also liked seeing various wildlife. We saw ducks, geese, cormorants, and herons. Eric also saw some otters at one point, so we canoed upstream to the opposite side of the river to get a better look at them. We counted a total of six, and they continued to swim upstream and play around logs as we approached. Eventually they got out and ran along the bank. I never got a great picture of them, but they were fun to watch.

Just as we were getting close to the otters a bald eagle flew right above them and went to a spot in a tree on the other side of the bank. So then we hustled over to the other bank to get a better look at him. Thankfully, he landed in a tree with no leaves, so he was pretty easy to spot. As we approached, he took off again.

Although our trip with the boys was certainly beautiful, it was not as colorful as Eric had hoped or expected. While we were driving out of the park we noticed that other sections of the river (the ones not really accommodating for canoeing with children) were much more vibrant.

After watching the BYU football game at my brother's house, we took advantage of the free babysitting and the ability of my 16-year-old nephew to shuttle us to a more adventurous section of the river close to my brother's house. It was fun to canoe without little kids in our boat. We had a great time going through rapids and definitely got wetter than we did with the boys. Eric fully intends to take them on the same section of the river next year. The scenery was gorgeous, especially as the sun was going down and lighting up all the yellow leaves along the banks.


15 September 2014

Ten Books

There's been a lot of tagging going on with Facebook right now. Not just the ice bucket challenge, but also this thing with a list of books. The prompt is to list ten books that have stayed with you. You aren't supposed to think about it much. I did it, but I didn't do my own status update or tag people; I just responded with a comment on the post where I was tagged. And admittedly, I did think about it probably more than I was supposed to. Having a list of ten books with virtually no context (especially reading others' lists) had left me wondering why those books are on the list. So I decided to do a blog post with my list, and with a little detail about why each of the books made the list. In no particular order:

1. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton - I read this book a few years ago, and there is a part when the judge passes down the sentence, which he clearly believes is unfair. But he makes a statement that he doesn't make the laws. The politicians, elected by the people, make the laws. And any injustice in the laws ultimately goes back to the people who elected the politicians. I think about that often. The rest of the book, even the main plot, was certainly good, but I couldn't recount details to you.

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - I've read it a few times (five or six?). This woman was just amazing. Her story is just amazing. If you haven't read it you really ought to.

3. Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman - I talk about this book so much that it had to make the list. I'm a firm believer in the way French people feed their kids, and while I don't follow their methods exactly (because I'm not French, and don't have time for five course meals every day), I do attribute my non-picky eaters, in part, to this book.

4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - Like The Hiding Place, it is just an amazing story.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry - My first introduction to dystopian books. I read it first when I was about 10, and I've read it a total of about 30 times. (Who can keep track?)

6. Matilda by Roald Dahl - I loved this book as a child and read it numerous times as well.

7. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - There are just certain scenes in this book that have stuck with me. As with Cry, the Beloved Country, I can only remember the basic outline of the plot, but the overarching themes have stayed with me.

8. Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein - This is another non-fiction book that I talk about a lot. I recommend it to many women with daughters.

9. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin - Have you ever had to listen to me prattle on about how amazing Abraham Lincoln was? No? Well, let me get started...

10. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan - This wasn't the first book that really made me think about what I eat, but it was the first to make me think about where my food comes from. I'd still like to have a chance to slaughter my own meat one day. (Except, not really. But kind of.)

If you've shared your list on Facebook and are eager to share on your blog, feel free to post a link in the comments. I'd love to judge you based on your lists read your lists.

10 September 2014

On Having a Teacher Husband

In June, when I first started writing about our long road trip, I mentioned that one of the benefits of having a teacher husband is that he gets lots of time off. Around the time that he was looking into moving into a teaching career I talked to somebody whose husband was a teacher. I asked her what I needed to know about having a teacher husband. She told me that at first it's really great, but then you have to give him a list of things to do because he can get really bored. I didn't find that to be the case at all. (Maybe the things that need doing in our house are incredibly obvious. Or maybe Eric is just more observant or self-motivated?)

We really loved our first summer with Eric at home. I was on the borders of true devastation when it was time for him to go back to school a couple of weeks ago. (Although I did (and do) love it when he'd take Ike with him to his classroom to work and get organized. It's fun having only one kid!) How was I going to survive without my best friend hanging around all the time?

With Eric's time off, we took a super long road trip with stops in Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. We went to the Tetons and to Yellowstone. We played a lot. Eric kept the house really tidy. I worked more than usual to help pad the bank account. (The low salary is certainly a drawback of being a teacher.) We did projects (like our headboard). We worked in the yard and the gardens. When we had family in town we (especially Eric) got to spend lots of time with them instead of dealing with a million work crises (which was the previous modus operandi.)

Other benefits of having a teacher husband:

  • Dinner is usually about 5 or 5:30. Much better with small children. (He was getting home closer to 6 or 6:30 with the old job. We frequently started (and sometimes finished) dinner without him.)
  • No middle-of-the-night phone calls.
  • Work stays at work (mostly).
  • I can help him with his work a lot more than I could with his old job. Which is fun (usually) and helpful for him (hopefully).
  • He brings home learning activities and other educational resources for our own kids.

Mostly it was just fun to have him around. With Labor Day (the first holiday of the school year) past, we're eagerly looking forward to the next school holiday in October. We're planning a canoeing trip down in Moab with Eric's parents. On the whole, we were both really pleased with the experience of Eric's first year of teaching, but the summer break definitely sealed the deal. He'll be doing this for a while.