Stockings

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Here they are! I made M’s stocking before she was born — finishing F’s when she was out in the world took quite a bit longer! But I love how they look, and I hope the girls will grow up loving them, too.

I just used a regular 72-stitch sock pattern with worsted weight yarn (Red Heart acrylic, so I won’t have to worry about moths when the stockings are in storage). I found charts I liked rather than following a set pattern. I’m so happy to be DONE with these! Although I suppose it’s inevitable that I’ll eventually want to make one for myself… and for Rob… and, and, and…

Christmastime

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It’s holiday time, everybody! Ever since M was born, I’ve really enjoyed the coziness of the shorter days during the winter. And I love decorating for Christmas. I took the girls to the tree farm this weekend. I picked out a pre-cut balsam, but we still went on the horse-drawn hay ride they use to bring people out to the cut-your-own lots. When we started moving, M said, “I don’t like this!” — but she wanted to know when we could go back on as soon as we were done. She actually picked out our tree (though it was also the one I liked best!), and she picked out our new ornament, too.

I remember having real trees when I was younger, and then we switched to a fake tree at some point — maybe when I was a young teenager? So even though climbing under the tree to water it is annoying, just the smell of a real tree makes me feel nicely nostalgic. And I want the girls to have those memories, too. We have several young firs that the previous owners of our land planted, and they’re way too close together (I’m sure they seemed miles apart when the trees were tiny!). They’re nice trees — in the 4-6′ range now, I’d say — but since digging them up to space them farther apart is pretty unfeasible, maybe a few of them will become Christmas trees in the future.

I’m happy to say that I finished knitting F’s stocking in time for the holidays! It was slow progress for a while, but I finally got to the end. Now I just need to sew a fleece lining for it (which should only take ten minutes, tops, but F has been more limpet than baby lately), and it’ll be done-done. I can’t wait to share photos of it!

Vacation!

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Yesterday, we got back from a week-long vacation! Rob, M, and I went to Marco Island, Florida — about an hour’s drive south from the Fort Myers airport. It was more bustling than we’d expected, but the weather was great while we were there, and we had a good time. Most of my photos are of M doing various things, as you can see, but of course that’s how I saw most of the trip, and those are the things I want to remember. I said to Rob that I’ll probably wind up thinking of this trip as the last time (for a while, anyway) that life was ‘easy’ — M is just at a perfect age and temperament for traveling. She’s such a go-with-the-flow kid, and this vacation was so much easier than when I tried to take her places when she was an infant.

M enjoyed seeing the sea… until a wave knocked her over, but then she discovered sand and enjoyed that instead. Other noteworthy outings included the Naples Botanical Garden (absolutely beautiful, and the Children’s Garden is perfect — M loved it) and Mackle Park, a municipal park on Marco Island that has a big playground and a nice splash pad. We had fun at the farmers market, where M ate an entire ‘chocolate thing’ (pain au chocolat) and had the chance to pet a nice little kitten. And one of the coolest experiences was feeding a giraffe at the Naples Zoo! I thought M would be intimidated by the size of the giraffes, but when she saw other kids feeding them, she asked to, too. And she did a great job! She stretched up high to feed the giraffe each piece of lettuce and didn’t seem nervous at all.

In case other people are interested in traveling-with-a-toddler logistics, M had her own seat on the airplane (she has to, since she’s over 2yrs), and we brought her usual car seat onto the plane. She has a Chicco NextFit, but it fit perfectly onto a Britax travel cart — they’re sort of expensive, but it was well worth it to have something safe and easy to wheel the car seat around with (and M rode in it like a stroller while we were in the airports). I didn’t want to bring a cheap umbrella stroller, and I didn’t want to risk having her BOB get banged up on the plane, so I rented a beach/jogging stroller while we were there. M liked it! We stayed in a house, and M had her own room with two twin beds, which we pushed together. Luckily, she stayed put, near the wall, so there were no rolling-off-the-bed incidents! So much easier than the days of trying to get her to sleep in a Pack ‘n’ Play.

Now we’re back in half-melted Minnesota. It’s nice to sleep in our own beds again, but I do miss that warm weather! What a nice break it was — we’re so lucky!

Christmastime

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Happy Christmas to everybody who celebrated it (and to those who didn’t, in case you just like joining in on happy wishes). Even though I didn’t do much besides making a cheese log and driving down to my parents’ house, it still felt like quite an exhausting Christmas Eve and Day. M had been eagerly anticipating Christmas for quite a while, and she had a blast opening all her presents. She was disappointed to see that Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas tree didn’t have a star at the top, which she thinks is most of the point of having a tree inside, I guess.

Not to make any of my other presents feel bad, but I think my favorite is the set of pasta roller/cutter attachments Rob gave me for my Kitchenaid stand mixer. Super fun and satisfying! I tested it out yesterday and made a batch of noodles — some spaghetti, some fettuccine. I’d been dreaming of homemade pasta for a while (especially since it uses up some of the chickens’ eggs!), and it was definitely worth the wait and the ‘work’. (It’s not that much work when there’s electricity involved.) I haven’t bought a single loaf of bread since we got our bread maker, so here’s hoping I’ll never buy noodles again, either!

The chickens had less of an exciting Christmas, since they were locked up while we were away, and then it snowed a fair bit yesterday. I opened their pop door to let them out into their run (which is covered and partially sheltered), and they each took a turn standing in the doorway, looking out at the snow and muttering about the weather before going back inside. So my free-rangers are going a little stir-crazy. I’ve been bringing them ‘fancy’ salads — really just our scraps or produce that’s on its way out, but I try to toss in whatever I think they’d like, and they always seem to appreciate it.

So happy holidays! Time to brace for 2016!