Monday, December 27, 2010

Believing in Christmas Wishes and Amazing Surprises

There was only thing I wanted this Christmas. I admit there were days it was hard to keep the faith, but the week before Christmas, Santa came into the yarn shop, and reminded me to keep on believing!

Santa at Yarn Cravin'!

Dad made it to Christmas and my wish was granted! His cancer is very aggressive, now in his liver along with the lung and bones. The day before my family gathered together, Mom told me his hair had begun to fall out, so I started a hat for him from Berocco Ultra Alpaca. (50% wool, 50% Alpaca). I finished it at the table while we visited that day. Dad immediately put it on!


We had the opportunity to take some photos of Mom & Dad together,

Mom & Dad

and Mom and Dad with all of us sibs... we don't look alike, do we?


I know these photos will be treasures and bring us comfort sometime very soon.

the little cousins together

All the "little" cousins were enjoying having the "grown-up" table to themselves!

As for surprises, well this beautiful man below, the love of my life, gave me an amazing surprise this Christmas. Bill pulled off an incredible surprise, which is not easy to do because I am nosey and I have incredible hearing!


The gifts were all ready for when the kids woke up.


Here's a photo of all my critter together. :-)


The first gift I opened from Bill, was a plastic pail of sand with seashells and gift certificate to Margaritaville Key West, complete with palm tree bottle opener. "Cool," I thought, "I can order a shirt online," and Bill went and fetched two bottles of Land Shark from the fridge. At 8:3oAM.

clue one... Margaritaville Key West

Gift bag #2 had another plastic pail full of sand, with a shovel and shells... and I had to dig for treasure. A sealed metal spice canister held an incredible surprise... flight itinerary to Florida!!!!

flight itinerary

Sand pail number three really blew me away... See? The treasure I unearthed in the sand in that bucket had the itinerary for a Caribbean Cruise!!!!! Miami to Key West to Cozumel!!

stunned... cruise itinerary

Bill even had an ornament made to commemorate the occasion.


Think about how hard it is to find beach toys in Toledo in December!!! <3

treasure hunt for cruise clues

Bill even made sure my precious baby Bruno (and Coco, too!) will be taken care of while we are gone.


Once my kids left for their Dad's, we prepared for Christmas day with Bill's boys. My two big sons surprised me with a gift certificate to Yarn Cravin', my very favorite yarn shop. I sent the entire red velvet cake (made from scratch!) home with them.

Christmas miracles happen. You just have to believe.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

The tree is up, dear friends. See? Mayhem helped me assemble the tree last weekend, and we got it all decorated. It's mostly ornaments the kids made over the years, and ornaments that the kids received each year as they have grown up. When they leave home, they will take their ornaments with them.

tree 2010

I have been busy wrapping presents this week while the kids are at their dad's. See?

wrapping presents

My kids, though, have been told they are getting nothing but coal for Christmas! hehehehe Other times I tell them all they are going to get is socks and underwear. ;-)

We've even been blessed with just enough snow to make the ground all white, and cold enough temperatures to keep the snow from melting. Okay, that's not quite true. It's been frigid here! Most of the country can comiserate, as below-average temps have plagued most of the fifty states. Thank goodness for my trusty wood-burning stove.

As for me? Well, the only thing I truly wanted this Christmas was for my dad to still be here for the holiday. He has fought valiantly and bravely against his cancer all fall, and I'm happy to say that I am getting my Christmas wish! This Sunday, my entire family is gathering to celebrate Christmas. Dad will have everyone with him; his kids, his grandkids, on down to each and every great-grandchild, and family from as far away as Alabama. I'm so excited for Sunday!

One last piece of good news from me... I had a job interview today. I hope to hear something by Christmas or shortly after. Send some good vibes, cross your fingers, say a prayer. Any or all of those would be greatly appreciated!

In the meantime, hug the people you love. Tell them you love them. And from me to you, have the merriest holiday ever!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Secret Knitting and Sacrifices

A certain middle-schooler that lives at my house every other week is obsessed with purple. Her coat is purple. Her backpack is purple. Most of her clothes are purple. Are you seeing a trend here? So last week, when it was Dad Week, what did her dad get her? A white hat and white gloves. Ugh! This is a young one who, like her momma, has a love for the fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky. She plays in it, even when there's only a dusting on the ground. You know what that means; dirty gloves/mittens!


How do you keep white gloves clean on ground like that??? (And see Bruno? he's spotted a squirrel up on the lines above him! mmmmm squirrel!)

Being the type of mom that I am, and knowing that wool mittens are the best winter weather gear for playing in the snow, I've cast on a pair of, yep, you guessed it, purple woolen mittens. Even though my darling Mayhem is a cookie-cutter image of me, and we share the love of snow, we do not share the love for purple. More than once I have threatened to friends that I am going to stab my eyes out with my dpn's before finishing these mittens, and I fear I may not finish them in time for our Christmas celebration on the morning of December 24th... not because I can't, but because the purple is killing me!

Darling Mayhem knows nothing about these mittens at all. I have been working on them at night, or when she is at her dad's, or in the car while waiting to pick her and her brother up from school. I just reached the point of needing to put the thumb stitches on hold for mitten number one, so the hard part is done; keeping track of the gussett increases. I feel safe showing you a photo, because Mayhem would have commented here by now if she were a reader of this blog. (She is not one to keep quiet, trust me!)

Pardon the crummy cell phone photo, please. As you can see, I was in the car, but not driving, I promise.


I am using this pattern - Alex's Mittens (on Ravelry) which is a roomy pattern and well written. I knit it before, for Bill's younger son for Christmas a couple years ago.

So far this December we have had only a dusting of snow (.7 inches) which made the dogs ecstatic (me too!), but we are expecting 5" tomorrow afternoon and into Monday morning. *happy dance* That will be good knitting time for me for finishing up mitten one and getting number two knocked out of the way. Then it's on to another gift project. A dear friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles has requested a hat in OSU colors. GAH! More stabbing out of the eyes.
Sheesh. The sacrifices I make! ;-) GO BLUE!

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside

It's been really cold here lately, barely reaching 30 degrees most days for the past 10 days or so. You know, the kind of days where you don't want to go outside unless you really have to. Combine that with the gray skies and the early darkness that sets in, and you have a hibernating Karen.

So what have I been up to, you wonder? I did some Christmas shopping online (thank you, Amazon!) and then I spent 3 days sleeping off a cold/flu kind of thing. I used so many tissues that I thought the front of my face was going to peel off! eeeew We all have to be healthy for December 19. That's when my entire family is gathering at my parents' house to celebrate Christmas. With my dad being sick, we can't take any germs!! And ALL of us have to be there. Period.

When I wasn't sleeping I started re-reading the entire Harry Potter series. The kids and I had been to see Part 1 of The Deathly Hallows at the movie theater right after Thanksgiving. That inspired me, along with some friends doing a mini book club, to read the series again. The books are so much better than the movies!

I have also been doing more knitting since my shoulders are better! I can knit for longer periods of time and don't have pain, so I am actually finishing things. Not anything big yet, but my endurance is increasing, and it's so encouraging. I have been released from PT as well. Hooray! So, knitting? I am working on a secret project for Mayhem for Christmas involving very purple yarn to match her coat. I detest purple, but like all middle school girls, she looooooves purple. So purple it is. Bleah.

Last night I finished a hat for my Mom for Christmas. At Thanksgiving she was saying she would love a warm hat.

it matches my current reading
I'm almost done with Book 5 - see how the hat matches the book?

This hat took me two evenings, maybe a total of 3 hours (including the finishing) to knit. It's knit with Berocco Sundae, a bulky yarn on size 11 and size 13 needles. It's a pattern from my LYS, but if you search Button Band hat on Ravelry, you will find similar patterns.

Mom's hat

Other than that, I am job hunting, Christmas shopping (frugally), and waiting, rather impatiently, for some snow to arrive here in T-Town. It seems that it has fallen all around us, and in places that don't normally get snow, but none here!

The kids are with me this week, so we are tidying up and getting the Christmas tree up by the end of the week.

Do you have snow? Is your holiday shopping done? Are you knitting gifts for the holidays?

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