Archive for 2011

Hello, 2012!

2012 goals are all about finances. Have I mentioned how much I love finances? I love reading about finances, paying bills, setting goals and stretching our dollar.

Jason and I were motivated by the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover book just after we married and eliminated all non-mortgage debt. We downsized to one car and have been living well on these principals ever since.

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However, we did get off track from our long term goal of eliminating mortgage debt and that is what the 2012 focus will be. The smaller mortgage is my first goal and I’ve already thrown my first “extra to principal” at it. Woot!

It’s going to be tough this time because we have four kids sharing our love for weekend trips, movies and dining out. I’m just going to have to be creative with saving money and still keeping the fun.

Goodbye, 2011. It was fun!

It was a fantastic year filled with:

First year with Lotus,

new niece and nephew,

lots of hikes and weekend tent and cabin trips,

Couchsurfing guests,

Sewing and (LOTS of) knitting,

and best of all, our EPIC cross-country road trip.

It was a fantastic year, spent savoring the moments with our kids. Life is good!

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A two-post day

All of our Christmas photos were taken with Jason’s Grandpa Irwin’s camera. He let us try it out and it is a nice little camera! It’s a Nikon Coolpix P500, basically a really nice point and shoot, with HD video and better-than-average lens.

This is auto mode with no flash. I noticed all of the pics I snapped here overexposed the right side of Xander’s face. Ideally, I’d want to be able to leave the flash off most of the time and not worry about manual settings when using a point and shoot, but I’m sure after a little reading and learning the camera settings better this issue wouldn’t be an issue.

It would be nice to have a light-weight camera like this and not worry about the lens changes of my heavy SLR or the grainy crap our regular point and shoot puts out. This might be a 2012 purchase!

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Same camera…Jason and Xander wind the yarn for a surprise project for a certain friend of mine. A certain friend who has shared so much of her wonderful pottery with us. I hope she likes blue!

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Christmas 2011 brings a new twist

After several Christmases with rough, sleepless nights, early wake-ups and an exhausted day, things went differently this year. This evening, right around 7:30 we all piled into the car to go to 7-11 and when we got home all the presents had been delivered!

Yay! We might as well open them now right?

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We bought a giant roll of two-sided wrapping paper from Costco in 2006 and have been almost exclusively using it since. After wrapping ALL of this year’s gifts we finally finished the roll. That is SEVEN Christmases on the same roll of paper. I confirmed this by looking back at Christmas tree photos on my blog back that far….yep, the same paper every year. Ha!

I hope Costco hasn’t gone cheapo with their wrapping paper because we’ll buy another for sure.

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Ah, the flurry of gift time…

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They each got “gaming (texting/podster/fingerless) mitts” hand-knit by mom.

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The loot, minus the sibling gifts that were under the downstairs tree waiting to be opened next.

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Jason got a fancy gaming keyboard. My gift wasn’t finished in time for Christmas but I’m super excited to get it when it is. It’s a custom, hand-made knitting needle organizer and matching knitting bag. It’s going to be gorgeous!

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It never seems like we get them that much stuff but then I see it all on the table like this. Crikey!

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Simon is our kid most effected (right now) by commercials. He had to have these Socker Boppers. I love how he really tried to lay into Jason. He’s still our little guy:)

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What a great Christmas! Now we can enjoy our night, sleep well, relax tomorrow while they play with their toys. I can leisurely make cookies for our dinner with friends. Change is good!

Lotus is ONE!

She opened her present…

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…and now first birthday activities are completed. Ha! Hey, she’s only one and *every* day is awesome in her mind.

Swap package fun

We received our package in the mail from a swap I joined. The swap was between knitting moms of babies turning one this month.

Pretty paper!

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Yay! The packaged contained chocolates, a book, lip balm, two(TWO!) skeins of awesome yarn, two ornaments and the sweetest knit monster friend.

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So sweet the boys wanted dibs…

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…but it belongs to Lotus.

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Saying hello…

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Taste test meets approval…

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Off to set it on the couch…

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Hello

Remember this knitting fail? I ripped out all the yarn and….

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…turned it into my first sweater SUCCESS!!!!!!! It fits great and feels like a cozy hug on a chilly day. It’s the Heather Hoodie Vest, by Debbie O’neill.

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In other news, Lotus has been walking for a few weeks now. It is still impossible to get a photo of her without someone to hold her down. She walks right to me the second I back away to take the pic. What can I say? She loves the mama! I *heart* her too. [soaking in these moments].

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In other other news, we have been catching the kids up on writing skills. Simon(4) is learning the alphabet and writing the letters, Xander(7) is learning sentence structure and Isaac(10) is learning cursive. This unschooling-inspired family is looking a lot like a structured homeschooling family on Mondays.

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knitting recents

I finished a few things!

The gift wrap romper by Carina Spencer has been a wonderful “coat” for baby’s first year in our climate. It’s not too hot, wears over clothing and still fits well under the car seat belt.

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Jason helped me out with the buttons: hand shaped Primo clay, baked and unglazed.

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I made another romper for a knitting swap I joined. I hope they like it!

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I attended an open house for a local yarn shop under new ownership: Kathy’s Knit Korner, and I won a gorgeous skein of hand painted wool!

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I couldn’t wait to see how it knit up, so I made Lotus her second vest from the plain vest pattern by Anna & Heidi Pickles. It still needs to be blocked and buttoned but she’s wearing it anyway;)

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See that gorgeous color!? That’s by Stitchjones, the new store owner.

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And one knitting fail: the baby-wearing poncho. I took it off the needle to try it on and the baby collar was WAY too low. I would have had to basically start over and it wasn’t worth it to me at this point.

So, I’ve already started something new with the cozy grey yarn. It’s going to be a sweater vest-cardi for me and I really, really hope it turns out. My record so far is not great with 0/3 sweaters wearable for myself.

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Some of my dolls

Lotus came across a baby doll at Jenn’s house and it was love at first sight. We have cloth dolls at home she doesn’t go gaga over, so I assume it’s the realistic plastic head?

So we took a trip to Target and, no matter how gender neutral we try to be as parents, there is no denying the sheer look of glee on her face as we rolled through the doll isle. What the….?? Is this woven into our genetic makeup somehow? I have to admit it may be, just a little.

The identical twins, of different age and gender;)

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I wanted to capture a pic of her knit-by-me vest and, ya, pretty much impossible at this point. She does a crazy, happy dance to be let down and crawls away.

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This is the first and last time she’ll wear that shirt, now that I see belly poking out. She’s growing like a weed!

ALSO….wish us luck. The box of disposable diapers from the road trip finally ran out and we are back on cloth. We need to shake off the disposable routine and get our poop-spraying, laundry doing, diaper stuffing and folding mojo back. We can do it!

Portishead concert

Isaac and Xander had their first concert experience this weekend. We took them with us to see Portishead in Seattle and it was a great concert!

We stayed with our friends Jenn and Tom. Jenn and I have been friends since age 13. She’s stuck with me through all that teen angst. Now that’s a friend. haha!

We met at a pumpkin patch on the way, so the kids could get all their road trip energy out…

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Then off to see their new historical home in the city. I sure don’t envy all the construction they are going through but the house is amazing and the location can’t be beat. I only have ipod pics this trip, sorry…

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Space needle, city lights and lake view out the window.

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Jenn and Tom babysat the littles while the rest of us drove 5 minutes (5 minutes!!) to the WAMU theater for the concert.

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Isaac did really well, as I expected at 10 years old. Xander, being 7, I wasn’t sure. He did really well for most of it until about 30 minutes before the end. At that point he was DONE and wanted to pout us into leaving. I was ready to sacrifice the end of the show, as we should for our little guy, until Jason bought us some time with games on his phone. Whew! Everyone was happy and a good time was had. Successful first concert, I say!

Next, I want to try taking them to a symphony and a ballet. I think they will definitely enjoy it. I think the key is finding the right age to start and then maintaining flexibility to leave early, if need be.