Deck the Halls with Too-Small Sweaters

Dear Erin,

Christmas is coming, and I at least will be interested to see what we as a family do to decorate this year. Last year, as you know, it took awhile to get into the Christmas spirit, and I went light on the decorating. Although I couldn’t say it at the time, a big part of that ennui was probably because I was pregnant. So what with that not being the case this year, having Captain Wiggles around, and suspecting that Little Mister will really enjoy it – I’m seriously contemplating a real tree this year.


Not just this.

Hey, I’ve got something new to show you.


Here Little Mister experiences the wonder of eating an egg he’s helped to hard-boil.

Look at the sweater I finished! It only took, um, seven months. And it really shouldn’t have taken that long; it’s not big and it’s not complicated. But I started about 3 weeks before the Captain came along, and then the bottom dropped out of life for awhile.

Pattern is Harvester in size 4; yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino in “Royal Blue.” Had some issues with gauge on this one (don’t I always), but I more or less got it worked out. The sweater still came out small, though, and I’m hoping if I ever do get a chance to block this that it will loosen up a bit more and give us a tad more wear out of it. But it’s so convenient to just throw on him that I don’t want to take it out of rotation, even for a pretty necessary bath (it’s been on the playground and through several meals; neither left it unscathed) and repair job (you can already see some damage just above the waistband in the picture).

It’s light and warm, and a good layering piece. Also, I think it looks pretty good on him (although the sleeves are a little short and the waistband currently poofs out oddly), so I’m a big fan of this sweater and will make it again in the future. In fact, the Captain is supposed to be getting one soon in an orange yarn his brother picked out and “helped” me wind into a ball the other day (by which I mean he wound it into a huge knot).

So anyway, keep your eyes peeled for decked halls over here on the left coast over the next month. There might actually be something to see.


Just Daily Life

Dear Erin,

It’s Thanksgiving this week, and I’m not exactly sure how that’s possible. I seem to have lost most of the year, which I’m aware plenty of people would say is not much of a loss. But Captain Wiggles (and a lot of other babies I know!) was born this year, so it hasn’t been all bad.


Six months already!

And Little Mister is turning into quite the little boy. Going to the movies (!!! We took him to see a special Mickey Mouse event – two episodes of a TV show, not a full movie. And he had a complete meltdown later in the day. Worse than I’ve gotten from him in a long time. I blame overstimulation, so I don’t know that we’ll be repeating this any time soon.):


Requesting macaroni and cheese for breakfast:


Playing on the big kids’ playground:


(Mine’s the one in the red hat.) And doing the odd bit of motorcycle maintenance:


And, hey, I finished a project! Put it on the boy before taking any pictures, so now it has to be cleaned and repaired before I share it here, but hopefully on Friday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Share and Share Alike

Dear Erin,

Thanks for the book ideas; Little Mister loves the last three you mentioned, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the others.

Here are our Halloween costumes, all finished:


A t-shirt I colored, and a Tigger costume without its hat (I lost it somewhere in the last two months, but I know it didn’t fit anyway). Meh… Good thing the kids are so cute. Here is Little Mister’s costume more fully:


I’d claim he posed, but I really just got lucky. And here is the inspiration:


Charles’s request, and MUCH less work than my choice last year:


I figure next time, Little Mister will want to have some input, but at least we got some geeky stuff in for ourselves while we could.

Captain Wiggles was more or less just along for the ride, but he didn’t seem to mind much that he was wearing a hand-me-down costume with a big piece missing. He slept through all Halloween festivities. He came out better in the photo shoot at the pumpkin patch. Babies and gourds, right?


I put him in the outfit that his brother wore the last time we were there (again, hand-me-downs).


But Captain Wiggles does have his very own hat, so he got his very own, non-hand-me-down elf pictures, too.


No gourds, maybe, but I do like this one a lot.

So it’s basically all about sharing around here – like it or not. I guess I’m lucky that I’m the only girl – I don’t have to share anything!

What We’re Reading

Dear Kristen,

Procrastination looks good on Little Mister!  I loved his costume! Simple. Clever. And unique!

We weren’t so clever or unique – but simple was the name of the game.  Batman and Tweak.

Costume Recipes:

Batman: pajamas with a homemade cape attached with safety pins to the shirt. Perfect for Little Man.

Tweak: Found it on the internet, bought it, and it arrived at our doorstep.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  What do you do when your daughter insists she wants to be a green bunny engineer from her favorite TV show (Octonauts)?  Well, you don’t try to make a light green sweatsuit with bunny ears, that’s for sure!

So people thought she was the Easter Bunny or weren’t sure what to think.  But she was happy.

And reading is making her happy, too, so I thought I’d share what we’ve been reading of recent.  Munchkin is entering the world of reading all on her own (little squeal of delight!) and so we’ve been working to have fresh, exciting library books available and fun things to explore!

Munckin’s Recent Reads

  1. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  51olbjkb2bel-_sx363_bo1204203200_I think I’ve mentioned these before – but there are a variety of them and she can make out many of the words all on her own.  She also has a quick memory, so she can usually recite it after the second reading…so then I’m not positive how much reading is being done….
  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  51o8luyt2il-_sx378_bo1204203200_Silliness and rhyming out the wazoo – all good things!
  3. Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess.  51clhaltlfl-_sx355_bo1204203200_We got this as a listening book at the library.  God bless audio books!  But seriously, if I had to read Hop on Pop as often as she listened to it, I might go slightly nuts.
  4. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson.  51gthz-af4l-_sx385_bo1204203200_Another audio book, but since Halloween is over, Christmas books can come out!  And her brother likes this, too.

Little Man’s Recent Reads

  1. Little Blue Truck (any of them) by Schertle and McElmurry. 51m07baimtl-_sy448_bo1204203200_“Boo Truck!” is how he asks and its adorable.
  2. Frankenstein by Adams and Oliver. 519fcmyv-ll-_sy498_bo1204203200_“Monster!”
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin and Archambault. 51hsu2qlyhl-_sx378_bo1204203200_“Boom! Booooommmm!”  He likes singing the alphabet song at the end, which is awesome with his gibberish.
  4. Anything his sister is reading……which makes for epic fallouts….. Is it better that they are fighting over books?

So there you have it!  Reading with the 5 and 2 year olds is bringing delight and smiles.  Today, I’m giving thanks for those moments of joy. (And for coffee.  I’m giving thanks for that, too.)

Always Look on the Bright Side

Dear Erin,

Speaking of limeades, do you remember when we were little that sometimes after a long day we would have popcorn and frozen limeades for dinner? I never realized until I was an adult that limeades are practically margaritas. I wonder whether Mom and Dad were ever tempted to help their own limeades take that final step. I certainly would understand the temptation now.

Oh, also speaking of limeades – and cherry limeades especially – did I tell you that there’s a Firehouse Subs opening close to us? I’ve been doing a little happy dance ever since I found out: a real piece of home will be here. After all, it actually started in Jacksonville, and we used to go to the very first one! When Charles and I moved to CA, I missed a whole lot of people I loved and things I was used to, but there were 4 food-oriented places especially that I wished for. Chik-Fil-A (now right up the street); Cracker Barrel (who knows if it will ever get here); Publix (probably not in my lifetime); and Firehouse. Of course, we’ll go once or twice and that will satisfy for awhile, but it will be nice to have it as an option when we’re craving the warm, melty, steaminess of one of their subs.

But let’s set aside the food talk for a bit. Except – hold on, let me go get some more coffee; those three cups I’ve already had aren’t doing the trick.

Okay, so my life right now revolves around the boys, and primarily the two-year-old, which is exactly how he thinks it should be. You mentioned Little Man’s daily tantrums. Little Mister’s got them, too. Mostly because he wants to do what he wants to do, although he does have his mysterious fits that arise for reasons incomprehensible to me.


See that tiny blond speck under the basketball hoop? That would be LM, refusing to leave the park.

I’m starting to work out strategies that sometimes achieve the desired results, but occasionally – like right after I took the picture above – I still have to resort to carrying him like a sack of potatoes, and I think as he shouts and flails, “Someone is going to think I’m kidnapping this kid.”

So let me think of some of the fun aspects of having a two-year-old, for the sake of both you and me.

  1. In our house, hiccups are “pickups,” the piano is a “plano,” and all food is “num nums.”
  2. He’s recently started saying unprompted, “I love my mommy.” I think he got it from a book, but it still makes me melt inside.
  3. Sometimes he walks around with his hands in his pockets and just looks like a thoughtful little man.
  4. The rate of his learning is kind of scary but totally awesome. I wish I could absorb knowledge as effortlessly as he does.
  5. Everything becomes a game. One of his current favorites is for me to drive a toy car on a paper with a street scene drawn on it. Then I say I’ve seen someone in trouble, and they need an ambulance. He drives the ambulance over, and then drives it to the hospital on the other side of the paper. This is called “race” for some reason.
  6. He loves music. Current favorites include They Might be Giants, Electric Light Orchestra, the Frozen soundtrack, and pretty much any upbeat classical music. He likes to sing along with songs he knows, and he can almost carry a tune on a good day.
  7. This is what stickers are for:
  8. He loves to read, and we’ve graduated from the super-simple board books to actual stories and picture books, which is awesome.
  9. He still loves to snuggle up at bedtime, even if he puts bed off as long as possible.
  10. Every once in awhile, I still get a three-hour nap out of him.

Hopefully this will help you enjoy your own two-year-old, remembering that it’s not all meltdowns in the grocery store and fighting like a wild animal not to get put in the car seat and running away in parking lots. (To be honest, I’m really hoping it will help me.)