Friday, October 28, 2016

7 Very Quick Takes: The I'm-Still-Alive Edition

I am still alive!

Since last Sunday night, I've been dragging myself from my couch to my bed and back again (depending on other adult availability for supervision of my children). My kids have watched more television than they had seen up to this point in their lives. We are all here, though, and we're still able to take our big roadtrip, so that's something.

I have a small mountain of laundry to deal with before I can pack for the bitter climate of the Northland (just kidding, I know it isn't that cold yet, Canada) of course, I am taking a moment to blog. Priorities.

1. Disney Junior is not the best thing in the world. I'm pretty much convinced after a week of watching princesses, tiny cartoon scuba animal marine biologists, and conflict-ridden lion sibling relationships that it might be contributing to the demise of our society through an unrealistic standard of beauty and a ridiculous emphasis on individualism.

That said, it isn't the worst thing, either. I respect Doc McStuffins' dispassionate but empathetic approach toward her patients, and it's difficult to dislike Mickey Mouse under any circumstances. He's such a nice guy.

I am a little concerned that my girls have apparently fallen in love with some toy called "Adoptimals" that they saw repeatedly advertised this week and now want for Christmas.

2. In case I was worried about the effects of Disney on female identity in my house, my girls pretended last night during their bath that they were a twin swimming duo breaking the world record. When they touched the end of the tub, Lucy sat up and said, "Do you see where the other people are? Waaaaaay back there. They haven't even started." Then she granted me an interview, in which she confessed that she had been a bit nervous, but the world record race was really just like all her practice races. "I just did my best, not just today, but over the course of my life, and I wasn't intimidated," she said.

I was impressed.

"And my sister here tried really hard and got the silver," she said, gesturing at Nora.
Nora shrieked and splashed her in the face.
"I...GOT...GOLD...TOO...justbecauseyouwerebornfirst you poopy top!" she yelled.

Apparently lions are not the only ones with difficult sibling relationships.

3. Felix has started his superhero phase claimed his true identity as a superhero.

"Who are you?"
"What are you gonna do?"
"I gonna fly!"

And he did. Unfortunately, his flight was cut short just after this by his brother, who crashed into him in the middle of a sword battle with a ninja princess who was defending her planet.

We obviously just need wider hallways.

4. I am tired of eating frozen waffles. Last night we had Chinese takeout for dinner, and it was the first real food I've eaten all week, and it was heavenly. Not quite as good as the turkey sandwich the hospital gives you after you have a baby, but almost.

5. I got some great ideas from readers and friends for things to do in the car that don't involve screens. We've had so much screen time this week that I really want to take a break from them for a bit. I'll let you know which ones work after we get back from our trip. In the meantime, feel free to follow along on Instagram (#dupuysgonorth) for occasional updates. Sam plans on featuring his Playmobil guy's travel adventures with the hashtag #

6. My friend is taking my big kids to the playground this morning so I can finish packing. THIS IS SUCH A GIFT. If you ever find yourself in the position to offer this kind of love to a stressed out parent, you will earn a place in the friend hall of fame. Seriously. It seems like a little thing, maybe, but it is going to make such a difference!

7. Believe it or not, it's almost time to start thinking about there anything you'd like me to be sure to talk about? That's a question, not really a quick take, but I'd love to be helpful to you if I can as I start thinking about preparing for this season of um, preparation.

Now, to do something about all that laundry. (I am probably not going to do anything about the french fries under the backseat. Just being honest.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The occasional knitting post {yarn along}

It's not that often that my reading and my knitting end up being color coordinated.

The book is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It's our Well-Read Mom pick for this month, and I've just started it. (Goodreads tells me I am 6% done, so I can't really have an opinion yet- but I think I'm really going to like it.)

I've just finished the cowl I was working on before. (It still needs blocking- it's curling up a lot on the bottom edge- will blocking fix that?)

This week, I cast on and started knitting a hat for Sam, which he desperately needs.

This is the last hat I made for him (and a pair of matching mittens).

It was 2011. He's overdue.

The new hat pattern is Luuk by Annis Jones on Ravelry. I'm using a wool yarn from Knit Picks that I haven't tried before. I was afraid Sam would say it was scratchy, since it's wool, but he says he thinks it is going to be okay. The color is "sea monster," which he loves. He's calling it his Leviathan Hat.

So far, it's working up pretty quickly. After the counting involved with the eyelet, it's kind of nice to be back to just straight rows of knitting and purling. As often as I'm interrupted, the chances of my losing count on a complicated pattern are pretty high these days.

I'm linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along again- head over there to see what other people are making and reading...and tell me- are you reading or making anything you really like this week? I'm always looking for more books for my list and more projects for my endless Ravelry queue. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

7QT: The Sabbath Rest Week edition

After having completed our first six weeks of the school year, we are on break this week.

This is the first year we have adopted this schedule for homeschooling. I got the idea from Mystie Winckler over at Simply Convivial, who uses it successfully as a way to prevent burnout. With the knowledge that there’s a break coming, it’s easier to keep on keeping on when things feel tough. So far, for us, this seems to be true.

So, what happens during a break week? We’re not having any written work, but a lot of other things look similar. There was a giant medieval feast/birthday party for the Playmobil king this morning in which all the children were involved. When the girls got tired of Sam’s constant telling them what their characters had to do and say, they started building block castles for their blankies and dolls. Felix asked for books to be read to him and played for a while with scoops and funnels in a box of rice. We had a snack. They went outside. We had lunch, and now they’re resting.

Actually, it doesn’t look that different than normal.

I do feel different, though- as if I had more mental space to think about other things. I’ve half-written several blog posts in my mind this morning. Yesterday, knowing I had this week free from school, I found the energy to bake two different kinds of bread and make soup. I feel less pressure to keep the kids on task and more freedom to let them be loud and live in their pajamas.

I’m not sure what to expect from the rest of this week, but I’ll be sure to let you know how it went. In the meantime, here’s the short list of things I’m hoping to accomplish with all my extra time and mental space this week:

1. Replace the assortment of random stuff in our book basket with our fall books.
I’m a big fan of the seasonally-rotating book basket. When the books come out of storage, they feel like old friends. Especially in the fall, cuddling up to read those familiar stories (and a few new ones I’ve added) makes me feel like the season has definitely changed. Despite my commitment to the practice, I just haven’t been able to make it happen yet - it is on my list for this week.


2. Clean the windows.
Yeah, it’s kind of futile- they’ll be covered in nose prints and finger prints in just a day or two…but for a few sparkling October minutes, I’ll be able to see that bright blue sky streak-free.

I guess I could just go outside.

3. Tackle the mountain of recyclables.
September is our birthday season, with three kids’ birthdays falling in the second half of the month. That combined with the start of our school year made for a lot of Amazon shipments. We also had a Costco trip in there for the medieval feast birthday party (still planning to blog about that sometime), so there are a lot of boxes. There are also a lot of beer bottles and wine bottles. Some of those are from the party, some are from dinner parties, and there was a Presidential debate, and some are just…well, I don’t know. There are a lot. I need to take them to the recycling center this week because they’re obviously getting too comfortable in the laundry room and are multiplying, and I can't get in there to do the laundry, and people are running out of underwear.

4. Deal with the ordeal that is the seasonal clothing change.
The laundry room is also the temporary home to a bunch of those wonderful/awful giant grey Rubbermaid storage bins that hold all of the off-season clothes in the next size up for my children. Obviously, they’re in the way, and this is the week I have to tackle this chore.

I have a love-hate relationship with hand-me-downs. I’m extremely grateful for the clothes, but the process of sorting and trying on and laundering and separating and putting away seems to take a week (at least) every season. This is the time of year when I start looking at coats and boots and hats and jeans and sweaters in all sizes and wondering if we might be able to just move to southern California. What must it be like to only need one and a half seasons in your wardrobe?

5. Prep for the next big road trip. 

We are taking a trip soon to Niagara Falls for George to run the marathon there. As I’m preparing for a long car ride with my kiddos, I’ve started a Pinterest board to save ideas for games and strategies to make it all easier on everyone.  I’d love your ideas- what’s your best car trip tip for little people? Favorite travel games? Things you’ve tried that were a total failure (or just weren’t worth the effort)? Let me know. I’ll do a roundup post on what worked and what didn’t when we get back…just in time for your holiday travel planning needs. Let’s help each other out!

6. Quality time with the Rug Doctor.

I will also be spending some time this week cleaning the carpet in the girls’ room. It’s funny. I was just thinking (pretty recently as they approached Five Years Old) that we had finally found our way out of the Random Acts of Twin Naughtiness stage. It had been so long since they’d done anything really awful that fell into the category of “stuff they only do because there are two of them and somehow that is more than double the amount of naughty impulse and less than half the amount of self-control.”

In the last twenty four hours, they have cut their hair (and each other’s) with the fingernail scissors (kept behind a childproof lock in the bathroom cabinet, which they somehow defeated). They also pretended that their floor was a “rest area” and spread blankets out on it and peed on them. This is not our first family intentional floor-peeing incident (just scroll down to #6 there, and you'll be all caught up).

I’m not sure what this says about us.

Both the hair cutting and the peeing incidents happened while the girls were supposed to be sleeping.

So, despite my smugness, I’m forced to admit that the season of crazy twin behavior isn’t over- it’s just gone underground. Should I be glad, from a sibling relationship perspective, that they aren’t ratting each other out?

Mostly, I’m just annoyed. Bring back the tattling. Tattling saves hair. And carpet.

7. Finally, I’m hoping to knit this week.
I’m so close to finishing my cowl and ready to cast on a hat for Sam (who just can’t wear his any more). I haven’t knitted him anything since 2011 when I was on bedrest, so it is definitely his turn. I’m hoping to get some work done on the hat before Wednesday so I can show something new for Ginny’s linkup and not just more rows of the same.

There you have it- think I can do all that in a week? Sounds restful, right? Maybe "Sabbath" isn't exactly the word I should be using...

Thanks for reading my quick takes at the beginning of a week instead of the end of the previous one. For more of everything under the sun (divided neatly into sevens), visit Kelly and the others at This Ain't The Lyceum.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Yarn along, read along, get along

I'm in the middle of a few things that aren't quite ready to share yet, but you can find me over at Blessed is She today talking about prayer...specifically about calling God "Father" and what that means for our relationships with each other.

In other news, fall always makes me feel like knitting. I've been a dormant knitter for a while, but I pulled out this cowl this past week that has been unfinished for a long time, and I got back to work.

I still really like it! This is significant, because usually when I've had something hibernating for this long, it just doesn't make me as happy to work on it as it did before.

Nora says the needles are "more impressive" than the cowl. (I am really smitten with those, too.)

Our much-anticipated book club meeting is this Sunday afternoon, and I still have to make my way through about 40 pages of The Death of Ivan Ilyich. It's not exactly a light read, but it's not long, either. That's okay with me. Next month, we'll be reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I'm pretty excited to be leaving Russian classics behind for a little bit.

What are you reading? What are you making? I'm linking up with Ginny at Small Things for the first time ever, because I always mean to and never seem to get around to it. (If you go over there, please be kind and don't compare my knitting to those folks'- it's amazing and inspiring what people can do with yarn).