Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Something a bit... different?

Well, most of Christmas went as planned. Church was an adventure. I had decided to try a new church in the area, and I came out half-deaf and feeling like I still hadn't been to a Christmas service. In fact, instead of feeling a heightened spirit of Christmas I wondered if I had just fallen victim to the commercial side of the season. The church had recently been transformed from a World's Gym and comprised of a viewing room full of chairs and a large stage in between two square movie screens. When we walked in Santa Claus music was blaring so loud I thought Tommy would not want to go to church ever again - not because it was boring, but rather because it was too loud. After a couple of minutes a big screen rolled down and covered the stage, and a count-down to the service began. By the time there was only a minute left the lights had dimmed and the music changed, and when time ran out the screen rolled back up to reveal a rock-style band complete with all jeans-clad members clapping their hands over their heads and singing along with the words on the screens. Behind them dry ice or some other magic smoke filled the air. The sermon, if you could call it that, comprised of a big screen showing of the ad for Rocky Balboa and the minister spending half his time on stage wearing boxing gloves, pretending to punch himself out. This isn't to say that I didn't get his message, or that I didn't find some parts humorous, but the actual message sure seemed to get drowned out with all the hype. With the welcome speech to all the podcast and internet viewers, and to those in Australia, we half expected to see the church appear on TV in a few months or years, insanely rich and its highest member suspected of fraud. Next year we're going for something a bit more... traditional. Hopefully we'll have found the right church for us well before then anyway.

Yesterday was far less uneventful, thank goodness, and today brought some much-needed rest. Tomorrow it's back to work until the next holiday weekend. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with those you love.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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It's Christmas Eve. The final window on the advent calendar has been opened and with it the Christmas story completed and read to Tommy before we even arose out of bed. Cinnamon rolls have sweetened our taste buds and fresh hot coffee warmed our hands. We've watched a movie together and will soon prepare to make holiday cookies. Then we'll get ready for a quiet ham dinner at home followed by my Christmas wish to Tommy and Brian, a quick trip to town for Christmas Eve service. We'll give Tommy his one little Christmas Eve present, and he'll be very excited. I imagine he'll want take it with us to church. When we come home we'll put together a plate for Santa, complete with carrots for the reindeer. We'll talk about how we hope Santa doesn't leave any crumbs for the mice (our latest adventure). Then we'll help Tommy settle into bed, remembering the excitement we harbored when we were his age and re-living the experience through his eyes. If Its a Wonderful Life is on we'll watch it to the end, and I'll cry like I always do. Then we'll make sure everything is set for the morning and turn out the lights. Unlike when we were little, we'll have no trouble sleeping, and when morning comes we'll each have our own surprises, and the best part of it all will be the time we share together and the expressions we await as we watch our gifts become unwrapped in the hands of their recipients. When it's all over we'll be reflective, thankful, and amazed at God's wonders. At the end of the day, as we set Tommy's unwrapped gifts back under the tree,we'll prepare to spend New Years with friends and look forward to yet another beginning.

Here's hoping the spirit of Christmas warms your heart as much as it does my own.

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


We are back from our annual trip to New Hampshire for my family's big Christmas party. It was a quicker visit than we are used to, and it left us feeling completely exhausted, but it was well worth the trip to spend time with family, and especially for Tommy and many of his cousins to get a chance to play together.

It may have looked more like November outside, but the boys certainly didn't mind!

Less than one week until Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Time for Saturday Sky, Part II

This has turned out to be a productive crafting day, though I still need to go back and touch up some mistakes. These are nothing in comparision to the inspiration found here and here, but I really enjoyed making them.

No Time for Saturday Sky

Because I'm still making these... I think I'm almost done!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Few Thoughts on Knitting, Crafting, & Christmas

I have finally discarded the idea that my knitting habit is only temporary. In addition, I have decided not to photograph every little thing I make, particularly since I'm currently swimming in sweater ornaments. I so enjoy almost any type of crafting and always have, but I somehow lost that interest for quite a few years after high school. Now that it's back I'm going crazy with ideas. I love the feel of the soft yarn on the needles and selecting colors and patterns of fabric for quilting or other projects. I look forward to trips to the craft store to seek out buttons, ribbon, and any other little things that might catch my eye.

Since all of this started coming back to me I have taken a liking to flickr for inspirational reasons. Every week or so I look through other crafters' photos for more ideas (not that I need any more). See my favorites here. Today I stumbled upon the purl bee's photostream and this lovely little post. Recognize a couple of the photos? ;) Blogging and flickr have become quite valuable to me for the very purpose of connecting with others who share the same interests and, again, for inspiration. Now if only I had enough time to turn all my dreams into reality! *Sigh*

On a different note, I wanted to share a few of my favorite ornaments. My mom won a Hallmark tree when I was six, and it came with an entire collection of ornaments. I was very blessed to receive them when it came time to have my very own Christmas tree. These are just a few of those that I look forward to displaying each year:

I love the holidays.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time of Need

I have been so (happily) busy with Christmas preparations that I haven't yet taken the time to comment on my more reflective and somewhat deeper thoughts from December. There are so many. I will soon.

In the meantime, I'm asking for your prayers. My aunt 's car went off the road last week, and she is still trying to recover from some very tough injuries and trauma. I think about her each day and say a prayer of my own. This is a difficult time of year to have this happen, and a simple prayer can mean the world. Thank you in advance, to those who might offer a prayer.

On a lighter note, I hope you'll also take a time to reflect and enjoy the wonders of the holiday season and all the things for which you can be grateful. Have a wonderful night!

To Ali & Randall

Just for the record, I don't plan on posting all of my thank you notes here, but given the fact that some of our family is so far away, this just had to be said...
Ali, I don't know if you read this at all, but we just loved the package you sent. We received it today and opened the card and coffees as instructed. The scent is invigorating and a very nice surprise! You are so thoughtful! (To those who are not Ali, the coffees can be found here. ...She sent us some Kenya, Peru, and Sumatra. -If you haven't caught on by the title, we like coffee, and it just makes it that much more special that it came from Ali in Salt Lake City!)
Brian opened the CD too, and as he unwrapped it, he said, "Uh oh. Was I supposed to wait to open this?" Then he saw the note, which was priceless. (Ali attached a sticky note to one of Brian's old CD's that read, "I think this is yours. Merry Christmas!") Gotta love family. You're the best!

Merry Christmas!
Thank you Ali & Randall!

Monday, December 11, 2006


More photos here, and hopefully lots more to come soon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Not So Much

This was going to be a sock. There is a small possibility that it still will become a sock. However, all signs currently lead to no.

In addition to this sock and another to match, there were going to be stockings. Little hand-sewn stockings in beautiful fabrics selected and arranged oh-so-carefully by moi. These stockings were going to be filled with something on which I hadn't yet decided, and were to be handed out on Sunday when my sister and family will be here.

Today there was going to be blogging, calling, writing, sending, wrapping, shopping, cleaning, and lots of making. Apparently my list was a wee bit too long.

I shopped! And I'm blogging! Yay! I'm sorry I can't offer much more just yet. Hopefully soon. In the meantime I need to rest my feet. I made the mistake of wearing boots with heels, and the balls of my feet are in significant pain.

...Until next time!

(For now I await pizza and boneless hot wings... Then it's off to see Santa!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


My sister had her baby! No details yet except that it's a girl. Today is also my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday to both! Very special. I can't wait to meet the new baby!
Congratulations, Jess, Bill, Liam, and Caelyn! We love you!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Inspirations

I've been meaning to post about our Christmas preparations, but I was hoping to have some appropriate photos to share, and so far nothing has quite hit the spot. We decorated our (artificial - at least until we get a house) tree last weekend - and the inside of our small apartment. Today I put lights on the railing and in the windows. I tried the window lights last year but didn't think they fit well. I'm not sure why, as I now think they look quite pretty. They hang like icicles but are longer on each end of the window than in the middle and are indoor lights. It's amazing what a transformation has taken place. We really didn't do very much, but our home feels much warmer and more inviting than any other time of year.

Every Christmas I take out a book my mom gave me a few years back. It's called A Festive Christmas and is full of beautiful inspirations. (Thanks Mom!) The only directions I have used were for some Aromatic Dough Ornaments. Unfortunately I over-cooked them, and they had to be thrown out. I thought about trying again this year and using them to make a simple garland, but I don't know where I would hang it. I've considered some of the other gift ideas as well, namely the Trimmed Fabric Ornaments (pictured below). They are lovely. Then again, so are most of the photographs in the book:

I love looking at books like that. Sometimes the inspiration is as comforting, if not more, than the real thing.
I have also found myself terribly attracted to Scandinavian designs, and I think it may be the Christmas theme that has drawn me in far enough to mention it here. Of course I have suspicions that this is only the beginning. PBS aired a promotional special this morning, Rick Steves' European Christmas, and it was full of lovely Norwegian and Swedish holiday imagery. Maybe some day I'll make it there. You never know. =)
Time to study. More soon.

One More Tonight

Before I go to bed I just had to post this. After all, anyone who knows me knows I am a Gilmore Girls addict. Hey, I even bought myself the fifth season when it went on sale at Target last weekend ($16!!!!!) and gave it to Brian to wrap up for me for Christmas. It's ok. He knew about it before hand and couldn't pass up a deal like that himself. (Come to think of it there was a follow-up, "But now I have to get you something else." Not that he really does. It's just that he was expecting to spend between $40 & $50 on the thing. It was a real steal, I tell you.) Of course, not that Brian ever enjoys watching it with me. *Cough.* *Cough.* Yeeeeaaaaahh. It's ok. I love 'em both.

So anyways. Back to my point:

I'm not usually into anything with skulls and such, but this one I just love. Don't you? :)

...In case you're confused or missed this week's episode, Lorelai wore a similar shirt on the show. See pictures here. I tried not to post about the combo-favorite show/knitting thing, but when I saw this I couldn't resist. It's all explained in the photos.

Now really, until tomorrow (err... later today... ). Goodnight!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Night Sky

This was the best I could do. The sky was so beautiful tonight, with a mix of stars, clouds, and moon... This video does it no justice whatsoever. Maybe some day I'll combine better technology with a little bit of skill.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Time for Paddington & a Little Reminiscing

I was supposed to go to a holiday dinner at a nice restaurant with my co-workers tonight, but one unexpected thing happened after another. After an already late evening I drove home through severe wind, rain, and thunder storms (in December - who would have thought), and by the time I was home I wanted absolutely nothing to do with going back outside. Instead I spent my evening eating pizza and watching Paddington Bear with Tommy. Now I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before Tommy tonight. I can't explain what I'm doing at the computer now, awake, but here I am.

While we were waiting for our dinner tonight I opened up a college magazine. I hadn't received one for a long time, as I hadn't notified my school of any address changes since before Tommy was born, so it was strange to look through it and see so many changes. I haven't been back since I left to have Tommy, but I still think of my time there often, as it holds some of the best and worst memories of my life thus far, and of course I wouldn't be who I am now had I not spent my time there. Yada, yada, yada, I know. Anyway, it was weird. I won't post any pictures of the changes here, but just for the few classmates I have who might be reading, a little reminiscing:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Wrong Business

Just a quick one between pages. Yes, I actually opened my book! I would feel terribly guilty if I took the day off to study and spent the day knitting or shopping instead, plus failing the test would be bad. I'm taking a quick break to make a late breakfast to accompany my ever-so-satisfyingly excellent cup of coffee. Yes, it really is that good.

I have the Style network on, and they just showed some fabulous boots. I really am in the wrong business. There must be some sort of career for me where I can be surrounded by beautiful things. No, the insurance job in a cubicle just isn't doing it for me. I'm going out of my mind with boredom. Maybe that's why I so quickly became addicted to knitting once I started it up again. Hey, I needed a creative channel-any channel. It's helping, but it's also bringing me back to myself, and any job where I sit at a desk all day talking on the phone and, in this case, handling auto claims, is no where near myself. I even feel the urge to draw and paint again. My grown up ideas are sooo much better than my high school ideas (when I also had my heart bent on becoming an artist).

For now, though, it's back to my lovely executive-looking navy blue and dark brown workers compensation and bodily injury claim books. Blah.


Friday, November 24, 2006

a little of this & a little of that

Most things I mentioned for today have been accomplished... sort of. No apple pie. I completely forgot about it. My knitting attempt failed too. I did knit, but let's just say I destroyed the evidence. I was making baby slippers, and I thought they had potential but was quickly mistaken. I did take it upon myself, however, to upload some new knitting photos. They're just ornaments, but ever since I started photographing my FO's I have felt the need to not leave any out (not counting those that make it in the trash - there have only been two of those so far this year, I think).

Tommy and I did make it to two stores, and that was plenty. Traffic wasn't bad except in and around the shopping center. We started at Target and then walked to AC Moore, and both were as busy as expected, but by the time we made it to AC Moore it was after 11 am, and it was impossible to navigate the store. I couldn't see through the crowd of people on my way in that the line was LITERALLY BACKED UP ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK OF THE STORE. Once I heard the word "line" from someone in the back and looked around to see dread and fatigue on the faces of every shopper in sight I decided it probably wasn't worth looking around any more. Tommy and I took what we had to a second line that we somehow managed to find squeezed against the side wall, and we hoped it would move quickly. (There were no lines in the middle, as one could not get to those registers due to the never-ending mob of people on either side. One had to get in the long line and work his or her way down toward the center.) We were expecting the rush, so I didn't mind it much, but I couldn't have done it all day. Tommy was a very good sport about it all, but he was definitely ready to stop by the end too. He really wanted me to carry him, and he is so tall now that I just can't do it when I'm trying to hold and do other things at the same time. (To think he'll be five in March! Is that really possible???)

Somehow on our way home I managed to take some roads I have never driven and still ended up on the highway going the right direction (well, yes-that part was easy). I thought I knew where I was going until I realized I didn't know where I was. Yeah... It was sort of a long way around, but at the same time I avoided 90% of the traffic and still found myself entering the highway one exit closer to home than my usual route. It worked out well!

I hope if you went shopping that you found what you were looking for and enjoyed the time out. It's strange to me that this time of year can be both so heartwarming and so stressful at the same time. I am not of the more stressed out holiday types, but I understand where it comes from. I have to say that I really enjoyed shopping for other people today. I had so many ideas. I actually didn't find much, but it was about the spirit of the season. There were a couple of things I really wanted for family but couldn't find, so I'm sure I'll be out again. I still need to shop for Tommy too...

However you spent your day, I hope you have a great night and a wonderful weekend! Happy Holiday Season Beginning!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a quiet yet traditional day at home, complete with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and football in the afternoon. Brian cooked turkey, mashed potatoes (Becky's recipe-yum), stuffing, sweet carrots, cranberry sauce, rolls, and (of course) gravy. Neither of us likes sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie, and Tommy ate only the rolls, but that's no surprise. I had planned to make an apple pie, but due to a combination of circumstances it hasn't yet happened. I will probably make it tomorrow, and while it will be late, I will still enjoy it.

Also up for tomorrow is a shopping trip for Tommy and I. We braved Black Friday shopping last year, and it worked out well. I prefer not to shop the day after Thanksgiving, but the deals are excellent, and it's one of very few days I will be able to shop all season. Overall I am looking forward to it. While I don't have much put aside for Christmas I do have a little, which is more than usual, so I feel like I can really enjoy shopping for gifts this year. My only problem is figuring out when to shop for Tommy.

I will probably knit a little more too. I know I said no more until after my test, but that was before I rescheduled the exam a second time. This will be the final time. (I would have originally scheduled the exam for the final date except that I didn't realize it was available.) In any case, I do need to study some this weekend, but I am not completely cutting myself off from knitting until after the weekend. I have been making lots of little Christmas ornaments, and I like how they are turning out, for the most part. I have made 12 different ornaments since I bought the Christmas yarn: all those below plus another in red and the rest in green. I know to whom I want to give them, but I don't know which ones to give to whom. We'll see.

I also ache to make more baby sweaters. I don't know why. I just do. Of course, after Christmas will probably be a better time for that. Besides, I have a specific image in mind and no pattern for it or enough know-how to make it up on my own just yet...

More tomorrow! I hope you had a wonderful day with the people you love. Goodnight!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday's Study Progress

Yeah, there was none.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Sky

I said before that I would miss Autumn's colors once they passed, but now that October has come and gone I occasionally find myself gazing through endless webs of bare November trees at their intricate layers of lace. There is just something about their quiet, unadorned beauty. Maybe it's just me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pleeeeeeaase help me decide!

Every year at work we get to choose a gift for Christmas. This year I chose a certificate for 1 large 1-topping Domino's pizza, a 2-liter bottle of soda, and a DVD. I am having trouble deciding on the DVD.

Here are my choices:

The Big Chill
America's Sweethearts
Jerry McGuire
A League of Their Own
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
A Beautiful Mind (not really an option since we already own it)
The Bone Collector
Gosford Park
Red Dragon
Man on the Moon
about. a boy
Nutty Professor II
As Good As It Gets
The Emperor's Club

I won't tell you which ones I am considering because I don't want it to affect your answers. Please, please, pretty please, reply with your pick! (Important stuff, I know.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Soon to be Gifted -

My first baby sweater. I hope it fits, and I hope it's a boy!
I made the front Monday night, the back Tuesday night, and added the sleeves Wednesday night. Now if only I could manage the same sort of determination with my studying I would be golden!