Thursday, December 27, 2007

Twas the night before Christmas...

Twas the night before Christmas and everything was stirring in our house! We had all the family home plus the Aikens came for a while too! I think it's the most people we've ever had for Christmas. Christmas morning I got to be with Juan and AnnLaura while Aurelio discovered Santa had left him toys! It was great. Of course Aurelio sat in the middle of his new car track with lovely cars and trucks all around and played with a roll of toilet paper. Ah to be one again!

I got some really amazing presents. The best presents are the ones that you would have never thought to ask for but realize how much you want it when you open it! Pretty much every present I got fit in that category! Pretty awesome really.

By the time I gave Martin his socks in progress there was only about 1.5 inches to go before the heel. I got good and started on the heel turn, but now I need a wee little bit of help. I'm going to be selfish and start another project. I want a pair of fetchings to wear with my new red coat. Lime green! Too tired to night, but tomorrow for sure!

(ps...I stole all the photos from AnnLaura and Annie)

Sorry about the red-eye buddy!

Are we hot or what?

Oktoberfest here he comes!

Every boy's dream! This kid's got a very wonderful uncle!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas traditions...

We all have Christmas traditions of one sort or another. My family seems to be very tradition oriented. So here are a few of ours...

Advent - we celebrate Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. We have an advent wreath that AnnLaura made when she was really little. It's all made of pinecones and acorns and lots of glue! After dinner, the candle for the week is lit and we have a song we sing that Mary Lu Walker wrote. There's a verse for each week plus a verse for Christmas day. We also get little presents sometimes on Sundays. I suppose that stems more from Hanukkah more than advent, but none the less it adds to the tradition!

Angel Chimes - after we light the advent candles and sing, we light a set of angel chimes and sit in silence for a bit and watch and listen. Aurelio really likes this part already!

Christmas Carols - after the advent song and after the angel chimes we sit at the dinner table and sing Christmas carols. We go in a circle and each person picks a song and we all sing. John always picks Jingle Bells. AnnLaura and I usually are silly during the glorias for Angels We Have Heard on High. I like Up on the House Top and Mom always ends up making us sing Oh Jesus is Our Chirstmas Tree. That song is best when company is around, because they are pretty surprised by the song and we can't really get through it without laughing so hard we cry! It's a lovely song...really lovely.

Recording Christmas - We don't do this anymore, but I still remember it as a tradition. We never had a video recorder, but mom used to always tape record the time when we were opening presents. Now that I think about it, I wonder where all those tapes are. It might be kind of fun to listen to them!

Christmas stockings - I LOVE the Christmas stockings. This one has changed a little over the years. We all give each other little stocking stuffers in addition to under the tree gifts. When I was little I remember opening stockings on Christmas eve and then on Christmas morning we would find that Santa had filled them again in the night! Very exciting! Now we open stockings with Christmas breakfast...after we open the presents under the tree.

Waiting - used to be that we had to wait for AnnLaura to get here from Chicago. It took a long time for me and Martin to realize that there was basically no way she could get here by 9 in the morning like we wanted her to! Now that we're all living here there and elsewhere we still end up waiting for someone.

Mom's Pepsi - Every year we all get settled in. Mom is usually the last one in the room when the rest of us are ready to rip open the presents. Once the first person is about to start opening a present...oops! Mom forgot her Pepsi. One of us has to go get it for her. We all mope and groan like it's the worst thing in the world, but secretly I think we kind of like it.

Present wrapping - I kind of already mentioned this, but I wrap the presents for mom every year and have for probably 10 years. I love wrapping presents, but AnnLaura traditionally has the best wrapping paper. I don't know if it's because she lives in cool places or because she has an eye for the cool paper or what, but her presents always look spectacular! Martin does not make the wrapping effort, but he does gift bags. Or sometimes gift bag. One year he would put a present in the gift bag, give it to the person to open and then ask for the bag back and put the next present in it. Last year the presents were wrapped though and I'm going to guess that was Annie's influence!

The last gift(s) - Martin hoards gifts while everyone else is unwrapping. So when we're all done....wait...Martin still has 5 things to unwrap! He's always been a bit of a rascal! Wouldn't be Christmas without it though!

Shopping - The day after Christmas we go to the mall and anywhere else to try to get good deals. It started because one year we had more presents to return than usual. Now we go every year whether we have presents to return or not! John usually gives us a Visa gift card and we spend that. It's really just loads of fun.

Nutcracker - I was in ballet from 3rd grade till sometime in college and every year the Nutcracker is the first weekend in January after New Years. This is usually is around the 12th day of Christmas. Of course I'm not in it anymore, but Mom is! She's the Grandmama in the party scene and steals the show every year!

Twelfth Night - I guess we like to celebrate as long as possible! So on the 12th day of Christmas we have little presents after dinner. Just little things. Like stocking stuffer type presents. I like it that we have one last hurrah before we move on to Valentine's day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2 inches...

two inches does not refer to the amount of snow we're supposed to get. It's how much I seem to have done on almost every knitting project! My socks have progressed some, but not as much as I was hoping. My mom added another project for me to do. It's a cowl thing. At least it's easy, but it does kind of take away from the time I could be knitting socks or fetchings or the Irish Hiking scarf. Here's the progress.

Irish Hiking Scarf - 36 inches long...not quite long enough!

Socks - 2 inches where close to long enough

Cowel - two inches long...only maybe 8 to go.

Fetchings - two least they are pretty small!

There you have public declaration that there is no way all these things will be done by December 25th. Sad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And we have a cuff!

Today I was knitting and studying for the GRE. Ok, studying is a stretch, but I did watch the crossword game show for a while. That has to boost my spelling and vocabulary one way or another!

Look though! A certain someone's socks nearly have a cuff! How on earth this are going to get done by Christmas eve is a real mystery! I'm usinga pattern from the book Sensation Knitted Socks. Haven't exactly chosen the pattern yet since I'm still doing the ribbed cuff. Hmmmm...what have I gotten myself into! Time to hop to it!

p.s. if you happen to know who these socks are for, please don't mention it in any comments just in case that person happens to read the blog!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Here, there and elsewhere...

Well, Mrs. Dietel called tonight! It's time to make angels! Every year since Martin was in Second grade (1990) Mom goes over to St. James and helps the second graders make these beautiful Christmas angels out of white handkerchiefs. Most years since I've been in college I've been volunteered to go help. A bit sad to think this is the last year. Mrs. Dietel is going to retire after this year. She's been teaching 2nd grade at St. James since 1966. At some point she was teaching kindergarten because Tony had her for kindergarten. Martin and AnnLaura and I all had her for second grade. So and I will go tomorrow and smile sweetly at all the little children and try to quickly figure out which ones are bad! We must be absolutely mad, because we give each child a needle and let them sew lace on their angel. Some little second grade boys just weren't meant to have needles in their hands! Towards the end Mrs. Dietel usually plays the piano and the children since a song from their Christmas program and generally I'm reminded that I don't have the patients to be a second grade teacher!

My knitting projects are getting a bit out of hand. I can't seem to work on just one project. I finished a pair of flip-top mittens the other night and they're ok. Not great, but kind of cute. The pattern seems to be a bit odd. Next time I'll use a different pattern. I started the Intricate Stag Bag the other night because I found the perfect yarn for it here at mom's house. I'm using navy as the main color and a natural oatmeal color as the contrasting color. I got about an inch done and haven't gone crazy yet. Mind you this is my first fair isle project. Might not have been the best one to start with, but there's not point in taking it easy. Then of course I'm still working on that Irish Hiking Scarf. I think it's about half way done. And tonight I got a bee in my bonnet to start a pair of fetchings for a friend of the family who I love. I don't know when I think I'm going to get this all done. I should only be working on the Christmas knitting, but I want to do it all! Annie...we need to sit and knit!

It's been a blessing and a curse going through all the yarn here at mom's house. Mom had the bright idea to get me giant zip lock bags so I could organize it better. Today was the day for that. Kind of fun to go through. I'm super excited because I found some black and gold yarn! A skein of each! Now I can make a pair of Purdue Boilermaker fetchings or something else lovely!
I have a new ( to me) red wool coat that I'm excited to make some accessories for! This is where the curse comes in! I want to knit everything RIGHT NOW! There are only so many hours in the day though. Alas alas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Never doubt...

I should have never doubted the weatherman! We got 10 inches of snow! I'm feeling a little bit stuck in the house. Martin just called though and he's going to come dig us out a little. Isn't it great to have such a wonderful little brother?

Time to wrap more Christmas presents!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm not convinced...

We were supposed to get up to 7 inches of snow today. They were going as far as to call it a blizzard. I'm not sold. It's 9:45 now and there are a few inches, but no where close to 7. Of course now the weatherman says we'll have 10 inches by morning. Hmmmm.....I suppose time will tell. Churches have already canceled services. It's all a little dramatic if you ask me!

Today was my first day as Santa's little helper. Every year, I wrap all the Christmas presents for mom. I've done it for years. I love sitting in a pile of presents surrounded by all the different beautiful wrapping papers and bows and ribbons! I like trying to thing of the perfect way to wrap things. This year, I've been a wee bit lazy though. Mom can't find any labels, so right now each person has their own roll of wrapping paper. AnnLaura's is pretty with stripes and lovely colors! Martin and Annie have Hanukkah paper. Martin's is mostly blue and white and silver with dredels. Annie's has several colors and menorahs and if my memory is correct it's got a lot of gold accents. My paper is Hanukkah paper to! Blue with silver menorahs. Anja's paper is red with raindear and snowmen. Very cute for such a little girl! Aurelio will get cute paper too, but his has Santa and snowmen. I'll just sneak this in an maybe no one will notice too much. I now have dishes for a salad party. Georgeous blue glass bowls and huge serving plates to match. Juan might get gold with stars, but I'm not sure yet. I haven't wrapped any of his presents yet! And I'm done wrapping presents for now because I lost the tape. I always do that. Every single year. I don't know where it goes. I must walk around and put it stupid places, but it's no where to be found. One year, I had a tape dispenser that I could wrap around my wrist. Now that was a good idea! Of course I must have managed to lose it too!

Ah the joys of Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Done & Dusted!

It's done! The thesis has been turned in and I'm free as a bird! I already finished a mitten today and I took Baxter to the groomer. He's looking very handsome. Not even going to bother blogging more tonight. I have no real desire to be at the computer and nothing can keep me glued to it tonight! Amen to that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

24 more hours...

Guess what! I have internet at mom's house! I never even bothered to check, but tonight I got the little pop up that more than one wireless network is available. It depends where I stand and the connections is a little dodgy. On my bed, I connect to 'belkin54g.' In the dining room, if I stand in front of the window I catch the Holiday Inn wireless from down the street. In the living room I can get Randy Strickland's wireless, but I have to be standing up and in front of the window closest to the hallway which is odd because it's the window furthest from Randy's house. Oh the joys of modern technology!

So, it's 2am and I'm about as excited as I can be! The state I'm in is not short of a miracle! Only 24 more hours and this thesis will be done and dusted and flying through the wireless waves across the big blue pond! I'm really fairly close to being done now. Just need to write my conclusion and recommendations and then do a few more revisions here and there. Nothing too major. Who knows...tomorrow night psychosis may set in! Earlier I remembered that nothing in Dublin is even open till 10, so having it emailed to Katharine by 4am my time would probably be fine. God so help me if I'm still awake at 4am working on this stinkin' thing!

Send lots of encouraging and persevering thoughts my way!

Late night blogging...

(written about 11pm Monday)
I have to say…this is picture perfect for me. I’m in a dark room with just one light on in the corner. Neurons in my brain are on over-drive thanks to the large cup of coffee I had tonight. I’ve got all my school stuff spread out on my bed, computer in my lap, snacks and water an arms length away. And the best…Baxter is asleep with his chin on my knee. Have I mentioned how much I love my dog? If only everyone could have a dog so wonderful! The world is a wonderful place to be right now!

Things I’m going to do when this thesis is done and dusted…sleep in, sit and knit with Annie, read a newspaper, take Baxter on a long walk every day, celebrate Dana’s birthday, put all my dishes in the basement, figure out mom’s sewing machine, take Baxter to the groomer, wrap Christmas presents for mom, do something to earn money and maybe…just maybe go for a run or a swim. This list is by no mean exhaustive, but it’s a good start!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm stuck...

Seems like all of Chicago iced over today, so I'm kind of stuck here. Actually, it's probably safe enough to drive home, but there's nothing terribly appealing about driving for 3 hours not knowing if there's going to be a slick patch on the road. I suppose that makes me stuck here by choice.

I'm kind of stuck on my thesis though. And that's not by choice! I can't seem to get the darn thing over about 6500 words. I need 10, 000 words. So, you can look at it as 3500 more words or about 6-7 more pages. I keep typing and typing, but the word count seems stuck. I get so annoyed with this thing. On the other hand, I'm surprisingly NOT stressed out about it. I think it's wonderful that I'm 3000 miles away from my stressed out roommates. Panic mode seems to be contagious and since I have no one to catch it from , I'm going to see if I can complete this with minimal stress levels. Plus, last night I got more help than I was ever expecting! Aurelio helped me get things going last night. See?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The saddest thing...

Aurelio has chicken pox! Yesterday he didn't feel good...mild fever & extra snuggly. This morning he woke up ith spots everywhere. He had his vaccinelast week. There's a 5% chance a kid will get the pox within a month of havin the vaccine and it's usualy mild and not conageous. Poor litte guy! Thing is, his birthday party is tomorrow and AnnLaura is calling everyone to cancel. Even though it's generally not contageous, everyone who is coming either has a new baby or is pregnant! Well, excpt for me and mom and John. AnnLaura had such a wonderful Peter Rabit party planned too! It's so horrible, but we'll still have fun. Maybe we'll go to the Goodwill and we're going to get ice cream. As the resident dietitian, I say boys with chicken pox need ice cream. Hee hee...

Friday, December 07, 2007

I love the zoo!

Today I got to go to the Brookfield Zoo with my sister and my most wonderful nephew. So much fun! It was fridgid cold, but we did inside things so it didn't much matter. This was Aurelio's first dolphin show! It was so cool! He tensed up in excitement every time they jumps and tried to mimick their noises. The polar bears were the only outside animals that weren't bothered by the artic weather. Oh and some dear type mountain goat thing. The monkey house was pretty nifty. They divided it by country/region. There were the South American monkeys, African monkeys and Asian monkeys. But maybe the coolest thing...other animals were mixed in. Like an aardvark! I mean, when was the last time you saw an aardvark? And better yet...a sloth! And I got to see the sloth move! Sssssllllllllooooooowwwwww motion for sure! It was awesome!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

One more week...

Lack of posts can be blamed on the library. Blogger is blocked by the library web master. Grrrrr! Except that I just remembered I can email my blog! Ha! Very clever.

Today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Haven't been this grouchy in ages. I stayed up late working on school stuff, but still had to wake up at the crack of dawn because of the dogs. Sadie, my mom's fat little yippy dog has been sleeping with me. That's fine. I don't mind...keeps my feet warm. But she goes ballistic in the mornings wen Baxter wants to get in bed and snuggle. So this mo there I was with Sadie running up and down the length of the bed yapping at Baxter and Baxter whining at the foot of the bed. Baxter could eat Sadie if he wanted to, but for one reason or another he let's her boss him around. So then Baxter started jumping up on the bed, then Sadie throws a fit, then Baxter jumps off the bed and the cycle repeats. I was not entirely amused. Usually they get along better and we can all fall asleep on the bed together, but not this morning. Finally just ended up getting bundled up and taking Baxter for a long the freezing the snow...and I had no mittens! How can I have no mittens?

So, now I'm settled in at the library. I found a nice pattern for mittens already. I'm just glad that one week from today my thesis has to be turned in and I can relax. Hopefully today is the end of the grouchies!

Monday, December 03, 2007

One thing at a time...

Last night we had a lovely family get together and Martina & Annie's house. They are lovely hosts! AnnLaura, Juan and Aurelio came down from Chicago and of course it's always a treat to see Aurelio! He's such a gorgeous little guy! Anja is getting bigger, but of course that's not to say she's really very big at all. Maybe up to about 7.5 pounds or a little more. She's got about 10,000 faces she can make! It's pretty cute! I love it that our family is growing and that we're all close enough to get together! Last night might have been the first time all four of us kids were together in a really long time. We got photos, but not on my camera, so I will continue with a photo free blog for now! I hate my current camera, but let's not open a can of worms!

My big brother is in the National Guard and is going to be deployed to Iraq. Every family's worst nightmare. Since he's been in the Guard for a while, I suppose I should have been prepared for him to get deployed at any time, but I was kind of hoping it wouldn't happen and of course I'm nervous for him to have to go. I'm really proud of him though and pray all the best for him and his team.

Today my goal is to finish the material and methods section of my thesis before lunch. I suppose I'd be closer to making that goal if I weren't updating my blog! Ha! Right, so.....back to work for me!