Belated Birthday Knits

on 28 January 2013

In my family we party from Thanksgiving until my birthday.  The holidays are jam packed with the usual (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years) and then you add in, my father's birthday and my sister's birthday (which are the same day!) and then mine and my brother's birthday, and now the Girl's birthday--and it makes for an exhausting but super fun level of chaos.

This year I was all kinds of caught up knitting my baby girl's birthday dress, which meant that I have just barely mailed off my sister's birthday mittens.  She lives out west and it has been a bitterly cold winter.  They keep their own chickens and she runs in addition to running her kids around everywhere.  So I asked her what would be most useful and she requested some fun, stripey fingerless mittens.  Well, I tried.  I really did.  I tried three different incarnations of the stripey fingerless mittens, and I just could not get them to work, or could not get them to work in a manner that I liked.

So I threw caution to the wind and decided to go against her wishes and knit her something else.  I kept the fingerless mitten plan, they're incredibly useful, and a way to add a layer of warmth while maintaining the use of fingers and hands.

Last winter I had purchased this lovely dark, cranberry red wool, and a ball of cream intending to knit her a pair of color work socks with a bird motif on them...but the pattern was written for toe-up and I've never done toe-up socks, so I got scared and shelved the project.  Well, two weeks before Christmas I pulled that wool out and started rifling through patterns until I found one that I had been contemplating for a while.  I knit up the cuff first and just LOVED it.  Then I started on the hand section, which was a different motif and so much harder that I couldn't even have background noise, which meant that I lost my momentum and couldn't work on them.  When I figured out what was wrong, I pulled out that hand section, got down a book of motifs and picked new ones that I liked and worked well with the colors I was working with.  I set to work and within 10 days they were done.

I washed, blocked and mailed them off last week, and they're so pretty.  I just hope she's wearing them...

And staying warm, poor girl.  I just thought it was cold here...

Welcome to the Wizarding World

on 25 January 2013

This is the scene most days in Burnstopia:

Like I said, some days they're children and some days they're Jedi knights.*

But some days...they're wizards.  Wizards with wands**  running around shouting spells, some from Harry Potter and some they've just made up.  Well, the Boy's are intelligible, the Girl just squawks.

In other news, the Boy and I have been reading the Harry Potter books.  I got a little burnt out on C.S. Lewis and needed a break, so I suggested Harry Potter.  I wanted to read the Hobbit with him, but he was really struggling with the language and total lack of pictures.  Harry Potter at least has the valuable illustration at the start of the chapter, and then the added bonus of his cousins who love Harry Potter and talk about it quite a bit.  The Boy loves the feeling of knowing what they're talking about.  He genuinely enjoys them, and I absolutely love our bedtime routine.  We cuddle and read and then cuddle and talk about what we read.  He hides his whole head under my arm and shoulder when we get to a scary part, and when I cry (which happens), he rubs my face with his woobie.  It's absolutely funny and heartbreaking all at the same time.

He just walked in with a lightsaber in one side of his belt and his wand in the other. He's well prepared in case of any emergency, extraterrestrial or magical.  We're all set.


In the interest of full disclosure, I get tired just like any other mother.  We've had weeks where the Boy watches entirely too much television.  But since we got back from Savannah, I've been trying to get us back on track.  Turn off the television, get back to schooling, get back to eating vegetables, get back to reading every day...all of the normal stuff.  And it's amazing to me, how, when we turn off the television, my children's imaginations blossom.  And when they blossom, they are HILARIOUS.

There's no story here, this is just a gratuitous picture of my darling girl.  Who is not a baby anymore, but not quite a toddler.  She is entirely made of mischief and caramel, and has a surprising capacity for injuring people around her.

*There's no way I would actually pay money for them to have the battery operated, light-up toy light sabers.  We use the emergency flashlights, that have a small flashlight on one end and a glowstick on the other.  The boy LOVES them and only calls them lightsabers.

**You guessed it, there's no way a 4 year old is playing with an actual wand either.  He's got one of my knitting needles and he calls it his wand.  I find myself reminding him every 30 minutes or so to be careful or "you'll put your eye out!"

Now can we go back to normal?

on 16 January 2013

We're finally ready to close out the holiday season in these parts. 

They generally last from Thanksgiving through my Birthday, but this year we added on Chris' extended family's After Christmas Party.  We spent the last weekend down in Savannah.  It was 77 degrees and sunny all weekend long.  In JANUARY.  The only clothes I had packed were long sleeved and layered. 

Needless to say, I'm never going to Savannah again without a pair of sandals.

Anyway, it was fun.  We got to see the whole family and everyone was charmed by my children, which always makes me happy.  Chris got to go shooting with his Dad and his brothers, which makes for a happy Chris.  My babies were showered with belated Christmas presents, so my Boy is happy, my girl is oblivious.

We had a familial revelation regarding our little girl.  She is NOT a good traveler.  There's just no excusing her behavior on this trip.  She woke up every two hours all night long, and by "woke up" I mean she screamed hysterically until I got up and rocked her back to sleep.  And she did this EVERY night we were gone.

Needless to say, we weren't sorry we laughed our faces off when we saw her do this...

Grandmama Burns had one of those chairs that you can raise, lower, or recline with a remote control.  Well, my darling girl LOVES remotes, and she got a hold of the one for the chair and pushed and pushed until the chair swept her right off her feet.

Needless to say, she was NOT happy about that.  But since she had been torturing us by night, we felt it was justifiable that we both laughed hysterically at her before rescuing her from her own curiousity.

We take Molly with us since she has this unabashed adoration for my father-in-law, she follows him EVERYWHERE he goes.  It's pretty amusing.  But we left Agnes here.  Don't feel sorry for her, she had the whole run of the apartment without children or the dog.  I'm quite sure she was happy.

I'm also quite sure she was happy when we came home because that first night home, she did this...

And if he hadn't been propped up reading, I'm pretty sure she would have laid right on his face.

And now we're back to normal.  The laundry is caught up, we've moved my Girl into the forward-facing car seat, she's had her 1-year check with accompanying shots, and today I baked 8 loaves of bread.  I'm finishing up the last birthday present that I'm knitting on tonight (I am determined), and then it will just be our lovely normal life until Chris' birthday.

(I'm nearly done with two knitted gifties...I'm totally posting pictures here as soon as their owners receive them!)

Breakfast Cake

on 09 January 2013

My sisters don't generally celebrate their birthdays.  They say it's no big deal, but I can't understand that.  It IS a big deal and I'll tell you why...

Breakfast CAKE.

My birthday is the one and only day of the year that I care not at all about calories or nutritional values.  My Grandma is declinging, so my parents weren't able to come down and see me (and bring me a birthday cake) for my birthday this year, so I made my own.

Want to know the best part about making your own cake?  You get to lick the bowl!

Anyway, the cake stuck to the pans--it's what I get for having delusions of grandeur.  I was going to frost it and decorate it and make it all pretty.  And while I could have chosen to be mad and sulky about it, instead I'm looking at my favorite cake in the world that's not pretty enough to Share with anyone else, so me and the babies get to eat ALL of it.  Straight out of the pan like the wild heathens that we are!

This morning we ate breakfast, then got down the candles lit them and the Boy sang to me and we blew it out together.  We got our forks and shared a charming piece of unfrosted marble cake.  I made him promise not to tell his Pediatrician that we do this once a year.

There were presents too.  My sweet husband bought me a grain grinder and a flannel nightgown.  Truly selfless gifts since he likes his baked goods made with refined white flour and his wife...not decked out in baggy flannel.

I think the reason that my Birthday is a big deal to me is not really the cake or the presents.  It's a day to celebrate my life...the part that's just mine.  And it is a sweet life.  I never expected it to turn out this way, but I'm oh so grateful that it did.  I get to spend my life with these amazing people.  I get to try new things and learn new things and see new places.  And best of all, when I screw up, which is inevitable, I get to try again.

And if those things aren't worth celebrating, I don't know what is.


on 08 January 2013

This is your little Winter Parade.  Of finished knitting projects!

First up:  Chris' Christmas socks.  I tried 2 different color work patterns and neither of them wanted to be knit (some day I shall have to tell you all my theory about projects and their own mystical desires to be knit or NOT, but not today), so I switched to cables, and lo, these really wanted to be knit and adorn the feet of the man I love.  They turned out beautifully, I'm really pleased with them.

Next up:  Mittens!  Chris and I divide and conquer when we're taking care of Hogan, and as Chris works evenings and puts Hogan to bed at night, I take the early morning shift.  And most days I don't mind, but the mornings have been very, very cold (nothing as bitter as it is out west, but still!) and my hands ache by the end of the walk.  After the last round (in October) I thought, "M, surely there's something we can do about this."  And then I thought, "Wait a minute!  I know how to KNIT!  There IS something I can do about this!"  And I sat down, picked a pattern and knit these lovely little mitts up.  I sized the pattern down since I have teeny little hands and they're still a bit on the big side, but they do their job so well, I might just take to knitting myself a new pair of mittens every winter!

You've seen the Gox Box Socks, but have you seen my Boy's elfin hat?!  I thought it might be a fun tradition for everyone in the family to have something wooly and handknitted under the Christmas tree, and since I was feverishly working on my Girl's birthday dress, I didn't have much time.  So I knitted up this little hat for my Boy in a couple of days.  He quested RED, Mama!  RED!  And I complied.  It still needs a button, but I'm getting there.

And last but not least, I give you My Girl's Birthday Dress.  One day in September she and I went down to one of our local yarn shops and I gave her the choice of color and this chalky lavender is what she picked out.  The pattern was incredibly simple and lovely with the yarn, but so plain that I thought, "This needs something..." and when I hit upon bloomers it was a stroke of brilliance!  The bloomers are knit from the leftovers of the yarn I knit into her first sweater/hat combination.  They're not a proper wooly diaper cover, but they are stinking cute!

Ok,  I tried to get a picture of my Girl in the dress, but she wouldn't hold still.  I'll keep trying and post it later.  Rest assured she is beyond adorable in it.

Birthday in Review

on 07 January 2013

So on Thursday we all gathered at my Mom's house for my Girl's first experience with chocolate AND cake.  I thought, in lieu of actual content, you'd all enjoy the pictures.

This one is just after blowing out the candles and she has no idea what we're all doing, but we've offered her something to eat and she's never passed up on something to eat.

She tastes.

She realizes that we've been holding out on her.

She begins to hoover before anyone can take it away from her.

With gusto.

In Review

on 04 January 2013

Well, it was sort of expected, wasn't it?

That amid the chaos of the holidays and dogsitting and a freelance project, that some balls would drop?  Right?  And as much as I love you all, this blog is pretty low on the priority list since it doesn't DIE if I don't feed it regularly.

But now that the holidays are over and the dust is settling from the Girl's first birthday, I'm starting to surface again.  I was thinking about all the cool things that I need to tell you, or show you in some cases--knitting projects that I've finished and am quite proud of.  But to do that I'd actually have to take pictures of the said projects and since it's been chilly here, we're busy wearin' 'em.

How about I tell you about the 3rd Annual Burnstopia Christmas Eve party instead?

It was lovely, really lovely.  I was very stressed out the Sunday before, just feeling really overwhelmed by everything and a bit bummed because I live with the Grinch.  Or Ebeneezer Scrooge, take your pick.  Chris doesn't get excited about Christmas until the Christmas eve party is in full swing.  But my Prince, he pulled himself up by some deeply buried Christmas cheer on Christmas eve morning and he cleaned and cooked and laundered like a Champ.

My family all came down, including my nephew who has been serving a mission in Denmark for the past 2 years, and my 96 year old Grandmother.  There were NABS in abundance...

Chris' favorite contribution (and my brother-in-law's and my nephew's) were these homemade jalapeno poppers. 

Here's the main spread:  chicken nuggets, bruchetta, shrimp, my favorite marinated veggies, chips and salsa, assorted cheese (and gluten free crackers for my niece) and a very yummy cheese ball.

And finally we come to the desserts:  mini-cheesecakes made by my mom, Sherry's pecan tassies which I SWEAR she puts crack in (I actually teared up when I ate the last one because I knew there would be no more until next Christmas) and Sherry's cherry blossoms (those are the pink cookie, they are basically butter and sugar and almond flavoring with a chocolate kiss and when they're warm from the oven there is nothing better on the planet.  Except for the aforementioned Pecan Tassies).  Not pictured:  the homemade caramels that my Mom made for me and my sisters.  I'm HOARDING those.  I occasionally ration one out to Christopher, but that's only when I'm feeling particularly benevolent.

We ate and talked and laughed.  It was rowdy and crowded, but I love looking around my small living room and seeing so many people that I love in that one small space.  We passed the Girl around and I took pictures of her with everyone, because every child in the world should be loved the way that she and the Boy are loved.

My Dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and the kids opened presents from Nana and my Grandma.  It was far from perfect, but just exactly what a Christmas celebration should be.

One Year

on 03 January 2013

2012 Started for me with my Girl.  My beautiful, tiny, impish daughter.  She has filled everything this year, our home, our hearts, and our exasperation to overflowing.   She is lovely, she is funny, she is clever, and just like her brother, she's sensitive and sweet.  Though, unlike her brother, she's more curious and adventurous than eager to please.

By the end of the day I am exhausted.  Exhausted by chasing her around and keeping her out of stuff and cleaning up after her and protecting her from herself.  And yet.  By the end of everyday I find myself filled with curiosity about what the next day will bring.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.

Happy Birthday, Little One.  And many, many more.

The Girl's First Birthday from Melissa Burns on Vimeo.