Wednesday, February 10, 2016


The girls have always liked their tutus, and they got some circle-skirt dresses for Christmas, so I find that photos of girls twirling make up a large part of my oevre these days. Here are some of them.
Junie looks like she's dancing a flamenco or something

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Catching up and clearing out

We STILL haven't taken the Christmas stuff down. Part of it was a conscious choice because I wanted it to feel Christmas-y for the whole "12 days" till Epiphany, but after that it was just because we…didn't get to it! But if I can't clear out the decorations yet, I can at least clear out my photo folders a bit.
On New Year's Eve, Abe was in Florida with my mom, and to celebrate cheer ourselves up from being bereft of him, we went out to eat at a Japanese tepanyaki place. I hardly ever take pictures at restaurants because the lighting is always bad and I always feel like it's rude to have the phone out, but the kids were so enthralled and delighted with our cook and all his rehearsed antics, I just couldn't help myself. They were so cute. 
Goldie was especially cute, and very serious and dedicated to the food. She ate everything with great enjoyment, even the last bit of rice which we caught her salting…and salting…and salting, so pleased with herself, before we realized what was going on.
Then there's this guy. I do NOT like to see a baby standing up and grinning at me in a smug, self-satisfied way when I come in to see if everyone is napping as they should!
He's so busy, all the time, and we keep forgetting that wires…and phones…and laptops now need to be kept up very high for their own protection! And when you talk to him sternly about how he can't just keep getting everything, he just looks at you airily, like, "oh, this? I do stuff like this all the time. Everyone's fine with it."
Also, he has teeth.
This was my view of the crib after Goldie came running to get me excitedly, saying, "Come look, Mommy! I made Teddy so, so, so COZY!"
Nutmeg likes to sit under the piano and listen to people play. He's a very musical bunny. Must be those big ears, like finely calibrated speakers.
Daisy's picture of Daniel in the Lion's Den
Goldie asked me to put braids in her hair and even though it's not really long enough, I couldn't say no. She looked so cute in them!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Matching animal hats for girls and dolls, crocheted snowflakes, etc.

I'm not really sure why I always feel a need to document things I crochet. Maybe it's because once I've taken a picture of it, I feel like I can relax if it gets lost or ruined (as everything eventually seems to around here) because I at least have a record that I did it. And these little dolly hats are some of my favorite things I've made for a long time. They went so fast, and they just looked so…miniature and matching and cute! Because I made up the patterns for two of the girls' hats (that sounds more impressive than it is: they are just basic HATS, with simple ears and noses and such figured out as I went along, and I followed a pattern for Daisy's) I had to make up the dolls' hats too. It mostly involved doing the same thing, but…less of it. I tried to write down what I was doing so I could give someone a pattern (lots of people asked me for patterns for my Angry Birds Hats, and I felt bad I hadn't written anything down at the time) but I'm afraid I still wasn't wholly complete in my instructions. Maybe at some point I'll sit down and write them better. I do at least have notes.

Anyway, I had already made the penguin and piggy hats for the girls, and I made their little matching doll hats for Christmas. And then after Christmas, Goldie was saying, "I wish I had a ow-funt hat!" so I made a set for her and her dolly too, which might be my favorite of all.
Goldie's hats match her big elephant and tiny elephant.
This Christmastime I also tried crocheting with thread instead of yarn. It took me a while to get used to keeping the tension right and manipulating the smaller hooks, but it's really fun, and I liked making these snowflakes. There are tons of amazing, delicate patterns at this site. I gave all of these away, but after Christmas I made a few more and I'd like to do even more next year. Maybe eventually I'll have enough for a whole tree-full!
And more on the doll front: I made these darling little dresses for the girls' dolls (Rosie and Violet…see if you can guess which is which) :) Again, really fun patterns that go so quickly! Just a few hours for each one. Here's the free pattern I used. Up next: I want to make this.
Oh! And I almost forget the Beard Hats I made Abe and Seb for Christmas. They are so funny. I learned how to do a loop stitch for the curly beard, which was fun. They don't fit quite as snugly as I'd like, though—I may need to make some adjustments. Patterns for these are here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Eve, and so on

Much has been said about how the discerning parent seeks for real, unscripted, genuine photos of one's children having authentic childhood moments. As opposed to a posed, forced, fake-smile mockery of a photograph (no doubt the type their own parents took of them). While I am, of course, all for the capturing the fleeting, sparkling, gem-like moments, there's just something about a good-old fake-smile portrait that does my heart good. I look at these funny little velvet cuties, and these, and these, and I'm just so glad I made my children stand there and grin at me! Next year there will be no one to wear the small Christmas dress. *sniff.* Unless I manage to stuff Goldie into it anyway, just for old times sake (can't rule that out).
Ah, Christmas Eve! Such a wonderful day, and it makes me nostalgic to look at these pictures, because it already feels like it happened years ago. But I'm back-dating this post to December so it will at least appear in the correct year! 

Every year on December 23rd we have a family party (usually it's my side of the family, celebrating Joseph Smith's birthday, but this year we had the Nielson family party) and we inevitably get home late at night, and as we drive home I'm always panicking about what has to be done the next day: namely, I have to get the house clean and make 21 dozen butterscotch rolls. Our Christmas Eve Neighborhood Butterscotch Roll Party is a tradition I never want to give up (we've been doing it for 13 or 14 years now!), and it's worth any trouble, and usually once the morning begins it's all just bustle and chaos and fun—but in those dark hours the night before, even though I know it will all turn out fine, I just can't help but worry. What if no one comes? What if the rolls don't rise or the oven stops working? What if the house is a mess? (The answers to these questions are all "it would still be fine," but try telling that to me on December 23rd!) It's gotten so predictable that Sam can just say, "You always feel stressed, and it always works out fine"—and I can say, "Yes, you always say that—". Nice for us both to know our proper roles! :)

Anyway, this year when Sam and I got home from the family party at 11:30 p.m., having left Abe and Seb babysitting the other kids, we walked into the kitchen and I stopped in my tracks. It was totally clean—completely. Down to the stove and microwave having been scrubbed and the counter cleaned off. I was so surprised, I felt like I'd just stepped off a cliff! I just stood there in awe, with tears running down my face. When I recovered enough to go upstairs, I saw it had all been cleaned too: everything put away, lamps turned on, and nice straight vacuum lines in the carpet. Abe had cleaned the entire house for me while Seb kept the little kids entertained. And now everyone was sweetly asleep in their own little beds. I don't even know if I can describe how I felt, with surprise and pride in my thoughtful boys all mingled together, but mostly so GRATEFUL. So amazed that Abe would think of doing that for me, and then that he had actually done it! All my worries just lifted off my shoulders and I couldn't stop crying with thankfulness. It was amazing and I felt like Christmas had come sooner and in a different way than ever before.
I found these pictures in the camera later, which Abe had obviously taken to document his good work.  I'm so glad he took them so I can remember this night forever.
And a little watcher in the bed
The Butterscotch Roll Party was a warm, crowded, noisy, happy occasion, as it always is, and we even remembered to get a few pictures before things got too crazy. Sam's apple plate was a work of art.
At one point, in the thick of things, Seb said to me, "Come see! People's shoes are going all the way down one hall and up the other!" And in fact, they were. It's funny, because we don't TELL people to take their shoes off, and indeed I wouldn't mind if they didn't, but once a few people de-shoe, everyone else inevitably follows suit. :)
Seb's specially designed place setting
And after the party in the morning, of course, there are all the usual excitements: making dinner preparations and setting the table and lighting all the candles and, this year, wrapping the last presents while watching "The Scarlet Pimpernel" with the kids (me behind them on the floor, sternly warning everyone to NOT TURN AROUND, you must NOT TURN AROUND).

And then, after dinner, Sam's Annual Elf Olympics, which ended slightly prematurely due to some unpleasantness during the "Load Santa's Sleigh" activity, but which brought plenty of giggling and drawing and cheering and fiendish Lego-building while it lasted.
Poor Theodore was valiantly trying to grab the bell on Sebby's hat for a good five minutes while Seb kept moving his head, oblivious.
Sweet Goldie, designing some toy or other. I am starting to wonder if she is left-handed, and I've probably caused deep psychological damage already because I've been cluelessly trying to get her to switch to her right hand for the past year. It's just that she seems to do better eating with her right hand, or she did for a long time. And I would always switch the pencil or crayon to her right when I noticed her using her left, because I just figured she had picked it up in the wrong hand or she didn't realize what to do. And I've just never had a lefty before, so that didn't occur to me. Finally after absentmindedly making her switch about 20 times in a row one day, I realized she kept going back to her left on purpose! As she is here in this picture, happily coloring away. I still think she puts the fork in her right hand a lot of the time, though, so I guess we'll see.
Theodore watched all the proceedings thoughtfully, like a baby who is storing up lots of thoughts to put forth at a later time.
And then we watched the Tabernacle Choir broadcast, and the kids went to bed, and here was the tree  and the clean house as I at last went up to bed myself. All glowing and magical, as it always is on Christmas eve.
And to top it all off, on Christmas morning, we woke up to a big snowstorm! What could be better than that?