Christmas 2016

We started out on Christmas Eve with the play at church. Evelyn and Oliver are both in the choir, Oliver was set to be a lamb, and Evelyn was set to be Mary. What we did not expect was that Alex got conscripted to be baby Jesus (which means Sara was conscripted to play the “Innkeeper’s Wife” and help on stage). Alex is a little big to play a newborn,but was absolutely slaying the audience with his toddling around, saying, “ma ma” and playing with the hay. It didn’t hurt that Evelyn is his actual big sis, so was much more comfortable around him than the typical Mary.

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Evelyn naturally nailed her big speech. That girl just has an absolute lack of stage fright, which means she is able to deliver her lines slowly and clearly in a way that most kids just can’t manage. Like, she would say it the same whether talking to me at home, or orating to 1500 people (yes, 1500 people! We always tell her she’ll probably never play to a bigger audience than the Christmas play!)

And for Oliver’s part, he was the most adorable sheep you’ve ever seen:

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Vania got all three kids matching pjs and they were THE BEST. There are little t-rexes with Santa hats on them! They are the exact pajamas I would have picked out (assuming I even knew such a thing existed!)

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Barb knit Alex some *adorable* hat and mitten sets:

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However, those pictures don’t really give the…flavor of the experience. Alex HATED having them on. You can see above that we had to constantly bribe him with raisins to get him to leave them alone long enough for the pictures. I would say this is a more accurate representation:

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In fact, Alex hated the hats so much, that after that he refused to open any more presents. He reached in, felt the tissue paper, pulled his hand back like he got burned and then just shook his head “No!” We had to open them and show him they were not hats before he would accept any gifts.

Other than that, though, Alex has a phenomenal first Christmas. He loved his car set from Santa, loved having everybody home to play with, loved all the boxes and wrapping paper, and most of all, loved the “na na” that Evelyn gave him. He hands it to you, demands, “Na na!” and then sticks his tongue out and goes “blubalubalubalub”:

Sara and I have officially been married too long, since we got each other the EXACT SAME PRESENT. Sara opened hers first, and since I wasn’t sure she would really like it I rushed to explain all the features that I thought she would like (Ceramic burr grinder! Doesn’t take up space on the counter! No batteries required!). Sara just kind of smiled and nodded through the whole thing, until Ollie said in a very confused voice, “Wait…I thought you got that for daddy?”

“It’s like Gift of the Magi!” shouted Evelyn.

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I thought it was such a unique gift! I didn’t even mean to get a hand-crank one, but when I saw it I thought she would like that one better!

Finally, there was one truly enduring gift that will be remembered long after Christmas is over…

I’m talking about Ollie’s fitbit.

Ever since last year when Evelyn got one, Ollie has been pining for a fitbit of his very own. And just like when Evelyn got one he is obsessing about it every. second. of every. day. Nary a step is taken without a full reporting. He spent the entire day yesterday pacing up and down the hallway. The number of times we had to say something like, “Oliver! If you don’t sit down and eat your supper I’m going to take your fitbit away!”

Naturally, Evelyn responded in the way any big sister would: by pacing up and down the hallway behind him, making sure he doesn’t get more steps than her. Just the two of them doing loops, all day long. Luckily it was like 60 degrees for no reason, so we did get them out of the house for a bit, and Oliver managed > 20k steps for the day (and that was with going to see a movie!).

Better that than another hand-crank coffee grinder I guess.

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Baby’s Coming – Knitting Edition

So…I started this post 3 months ago, with the idea of showcasing the baby things we knitted in preparation of Alex’s arrival. Somehow I only managed to do a post about the sweater *I* knit, but never quite highlighted all of the things that Sara knit.

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Just to prove how late I am in posting this, the astute among you will probably notice the one in the middle is no longer necessary since Alex ended up being a boy. And in fact it is already out of date, since Sara has knit some additional things since Alex was born (I guess that can be a future post!)

Many of these things have shown up in pictures already, such as the outfit Alex wore home from the hospital, and others have not, even though Alex wears them quite frequently.

The blanket is certainly the highlight, in my opinion. It is one of the most beautiful and unique blankets I have ever seen, and if anything, it looks better in person. Definitely a great keepsake, as baby blankets should be.

Sorry it took me so long to get this one up! Better late than never!

My First Sweater

I have knit my very first sweater!

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Okay, so Sara says that picture might be misleading, so here’s one with a dinosaur, for size:

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That’s right, I knit a huge, dinosaur-sized sweater!

Alright, alright, so it’s a baby sweater. But still, a sweater’s a sweater, right?

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I think my knitting has improved at some point without me realizing, because this was actually pretty easy. Plus, it gave me something to do every day on the train. That’s right, I was that guy (hey, it was less weird than the lock!) I was a little nervous about finishing this in time, but it turns out I needn’t have worried.

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I will certainly add an “in-use” picture when applicable!

Badass Accordion Gloves

Guess who’s got himself a pair of badass accordion gloves?

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As a knitter, I feel like I should have something on hand (see what I did there?) to show people. Almost like a sample or something, like credentials, as if I need to prove that I’m not lying about knitting (because that’s totally what you would lie about to be cool, right?). However, as a person married to a knitter, my hats and scarves have all been provided by Sara. “Oh, did you knit your hat?” they ask. “Well, no. I mean, I could have. I do knit hats, sometimes, but not this *particular* hat…”

No, I needed something of my own.

And hey, if you’re going to go custom, go all the way custom, am I right?

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So I made myself some “convertible” gloves, that can transform from fingerless gloves into mittens with the flip of a flap. There are even little flaps for the thumbs!

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As I was picking out the pattern for the gloves, I saw some with embroidery on the knuckles, and I knew I wanted to do that. But what message to put? Something badass, something awesome, something uniquely me, and something no one else would ever have in a million years.

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Look, I’ve even got a picture of me working on my mittens in Costa Rica. Mittens! In Costa Rica!

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Now, I will admit, knitting these mittens has taken all the time that I would normally use to practice the accordion. But, hey! Now that I have the accoutrements, fame and fortune can’t be far behind, can they? If nothing else, at least I’m prepared for some winter busking.

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Knitting: a sure sign of villany

From the truly surreal files, you remember the Batman villain Bane? This guy?

You notice anything strange in his hand there? Turns out that our buddy Bane is a fan of the fiber arts.

This may seem like a strange choice; as the article points out:

…it seems pretty out of place for someone set on destroying a city to all of a sudden have a penchant for arts and crafts.

Not so strange after all. Director Christopher Nolan modeled “The Dark Knight Rises” on “A Tale of Two Cities”, which makes Bane Madame Defarge:

She’s a villain from A Tale of Two Cities who has a passion for two things in particular — killing and knitting, as seen in this excerpt:

“Eh well! How then?” demanded madame, tying another knot, as if there were another enemy strangled.

So that’s not one, but two knitting villains. Surely a coincidence. On the other hand, knitting teaches you patience and attention to detail, something that most villains could use a little bit more of. Anyway, it’s not like everybody who knits is evil…

::Slowly casts on stitches while staring you in the eye::

::Retreats into a dark corner::

::Leans back into the light so he can see what he’s doing…those stitches are tiny::

Link via Jen.

Come to the dark side – knitting

Gryffindor Scarf

I was in a homemade name exchange this year. I wanted to do something nice, that anybody could enjoy if they wanted, but also something that fit my personality a little bit. In other words, something geeky. I finally settled on a Gryffindor scarf.

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The scarf is knit in the round, so it is double-thick. There’s nothing particularly complicated about it, other than the fact that it is very, very long.

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In retrospect, I probably should have picked something that was a little less time consuming. I started this back in about September, and since that time, I have spent most of my free time working on it. I can knit while watching tv or some other distraction, but I knit a little bit slower. I timed myself many times during the making of this scarf and discovered I could do about 5 rows an hour while distracted. Each band of color is 25 rows, and there are 19 bands. Add in the fringe, weaving in the ends, etc. and I think it’s safe to say I spent about 100 hours working on it. Luckily, I finished just in the nick of time, at about 10 p.m. the night before the name exchange.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone makes an excellent fringe-measuring tool!

However, I’m very pleased with how it all came out. It’s a really nice scarf. My step-father ended up winning it, so I’m glad it’s staying in the (immediate) family.

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Towards the end, I kept saying, “After this, I am taking a break from knitting!” However, now that it’s done, I don’t know what to do with myself. While I was working on the scarf, I always had something to do when I had a free moment. I think I might need another project just to keep myself occupied!

On the other hand, maybe I just need to find a way to make scarves by magic…

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