Friday, August 15, 2014

Enter: Pigtails

At almost two and a half, Penny Jones finally has enough hair to put in pigtails. Doesn't she wear them well? Her teacher at school started putting them in, and when I asked how she got Penny to sit through the process, she said, "I don't ask her. I just do it." So I started doing it, too. She likes them so much she tells me when I haven't put them in, and doesn't like to go out of the house without them. Hooray!

Chris, her bear, certainly approves. She accessorizes her pigtails with a homemade dress.

The pigtails really keep things tidy when you're getting, er, UNtidy in the backyard. Oh what fun we're having these days. We don't want summer to end!

PS. The first time Penny ever wore pigtails (a year ago!).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thirty Nine

I turned 39 on Monday. I didn't feel well on my actual birthday, but last weekend we celebrated with a meal out (and not just IHOP, but IHOP, too) and some extra times in Portland parks. This visit to Mt. Tabor was especially sweet. Sometimes you get to a park and the evening is so crisp, and the kids are giddy, and everyone just seems so happy as the massive trees tower above you. It's just a great time. 

Mr. Jones was busy helping both of his girls with the walking, on different terrains.

We especially love how Penny gets to a new playground and surveys the territory. She always requests the swings first, and has a look at all the other options, deciding what she'll do first. Then she really gets busy.

Lulu could stay on the swings all night if her big sister would let us push her (and she won't, for long).

Penny's lost all her nerve on the slides. Remember her brave days? Now one of us always has to accompany her. It would be slightly embarrassing - we're usually the only parents trying to fit on these baby slides - except we enjoy it, in a way....

Once she's tried the slides and the swings and the merry-go-round, and hung on the monkey bars and climbed the fake rock wall, there's always a moment of calm where she always just picks around in the grass, collecting pinecones and bringing over leaves and sticks. This part of the park trips is always my favorite.

It was certainly a low key birthday this year, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun. Time with these three outside is always really special. Next year is the big one! What will I do? Everyone is asking.

We have no plans, but I've already taught Penny how to say "Hawaii":).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bring The Happy

My grandmother's sister Betty was an avid crocheter. She made blanket after blanket that she would show off to us when we would see her at holidays and other family get-togethers. This was when I was young, before I could knit or crochet, or tell the difference between the two. Now, 30+ years later, I am taking up crochet myself. I've finally found what I like to crochet! Things for the home, whether they be mine, or someone else's. My first project was a bread warmer, which I plan to give as a gift. This is Junior, the cloud pillow, my second ever crochet project. I think he really brings the happy. He's going to a friend who I think will really enjoy him.

The pattern is from the book "Amigurumi at Home", a book I've fallen in love with. There's so many cute things to make! And this amazing rainbow blanket? My coworker Heidi made it (pattern here and details here) and I'm doing a complete duplicate of it right now to give to my friend when her twins are born. I might make a little cloud pillow, as a toy, to go with it!

Because both of these will be gifts, I'm not letting my girls catch sight of them. They'll want blankets and clouds for themselves, immediately. I showed Penny a picture from the cloud crochet pattern and she was grinning. She gave her sign of approval with a shout of "Baby!", a name she calls everything she loves (excluding her sister, who is only known by her name, WooWoo).

I am dreaming of crocheting so much more. I'm thinking I might start to make things now for the girls' rooms when they have twin beds - it won't be long, I guess! I should start quilts, and crochet throws, and make a few more cloud pillows for them: one in white with a smile, and one in gray with a frown would be cute. I don't know why these juvenile objects constantly inspire me. Maybe it's because they really do put a big smile on my face, as I embroider a smile on theirs :).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dorothy Klein

Before "Strong Woman" was even a phrase, there was Dorothy Klein. At age 102, she passed away today. My grandmother taught me to strive to do the best job I can, and to not be afraid to say what I feel. Growing up, she and my grandfather enabled our family to afford our home, family vacations, and higher education. There seems to be no better gifts than those. Dorothy Klein kept an impeccable house and garden. She loved entertaining, playing bridge, and traveling. She sewed and cooked well. She had a competitive spirit. She loved church. She was so proud of her two granddaughters, my sister and me. 

When I think about all the things Mrs. Charles Klein saw in her 102 years of life, my mind is blown: World Wars, women voting, inventions from the car to the tv to the internet. Most important to her, however, was her son, my father, who I believe she loved most of all. She outlived him by almost 11 years, but today we are hoping that they are together again. My sister and I raise her three great-grandchildren. We will surely tell them of her strength and determination in all things, about her good health and longevity, about the hours of piano lessons we spent with her, and all the good times, too ;). We love you, Aralia K. Rest in peace.

P.S. When Penny met Dorothy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Model Behavior

My kids did some modeling lately, for knitting patterns for the company where I work! It resulted in some pretty adorable photos, taken by the talented Amy Cave. Here are the photos they didn't use (and gave me permission to post).

Penny points to Lulu's Scrunchy Booties:

It might be hot out, but Lulu doesn't mind sporting her Bee Stitch Hat (and giant pom pom)!

Penny got to wear the cutest poncho. I want to make one for each of her friends!

After 10 seconds she was tugging on it ("Done, Mama, DONE!"), so I offered to push her on the see saw and she enjoyed the ride, while keeping her hands off the knitwear.

 There is nothing cuter than a baby in a pointy hat. That is a FACT, friends.

You can find this pattern on the website, and you can find these photos in grandparents' homes from the East Coast to middle England. I can hear the framed pictures being nailed to the walls as I post this; am I right? Because professional modeling doesn't happen very often. Penny and Lulu don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day. That's a fact, as well ;).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lulu at 7 Months

Lucille Jones turned 7 months old this past week. She's so darling! Like most babies her age she smiles at strangers all day long, but is getting quite attached to her parents! 

It's been so hot outside, and Lulu really enjoys being on a blanket, or a walk. She likes the car, too. She can hardly stand to nap, there's always so many interesting things going on all around her.

She's started solids. She's not a big fan, but we're working on it.

She also started crawling. Now it's just a matter of time before she can catch up with her sister.

Then life should really get interesting! We love you, Lulu. You're finally starting to sleep a bit better, and we're all better for it. Your smile brightens the day, and your lovely spirit is always a joy to have around.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Girl Called Yay-Ya

Penny has a best friend. I don't know why this is somewhat strange to me. Maybe it's because I don't remember being two years old, and when I think about having had friendships back then (the 70s!!) that I no longer remember, it strikes me as kind of odd. Anyway, Penny's BFF is named Estella, and boy, does Penny love her. She talks about her constantly, and when she's with Estella she has a love in her eyes reserved only (or so I thought). The funniest thing is that Penny can't even say Estella's name. So she calls her "Yay-Ya", and Yay-Ya has no problem with that at all. Penny and Yay-Ya go to daycare together. Here they are showing off their Fourth of July craft.

We took it to the next level by setting up Penny's first playdate with Estella this past weekend in our back yard. Since then, Penny has requested "Yay-Ya at my house" every single day.

There are so many great things about their friendship, but one is certainly that they influence each other, mostly in positive ways. Estella is a much more adventurous eater than Penny, and if Estella is eating something, Penny will eat it, too (hello, strawberries!). It's amazing how early peer pressure starts, isn't it?

There's room for two on the slide, as long as the right person is squeezing in...

Then there's that kind of "secret language" that best friends have. Estella decided to talk some nonsense into a tupperware lid and Penny...well, look at her face. Penny was in love with her for it. 

Penny and Estella share really nicely, and they're really polite with each other, too. They really admire each other. They've known each other for so long, and I really hope their friendship continues. Estella is getting twin sisters in the coming months, and I think Penny is hoping that means more time for "Yay-Ya at my house". We'll take her!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Crafty, Lately

There's no doubt my crafting has slowed down a bit. With 2 kids, a new house (to redecorate), a job and a never-ending commute, things are so very busy. I do manage to eek out a few rows here and there, however. Here are some links to things I've been doing outside of this blog, if you're interested.
  • I crocheted the bread warmer, above. It was my first ever finished crochet project! Read all about it here, and Ravelry link here.
  • About every 2 weeks, I host a podcast. Lately I've done one about Men and Crafting, and Crafting in Summer. If you need an audio companion, maybe I'm it!
  • I'm learning to weave! It's going...ok. More on that, soon.

Monday, July 7, 2014


The Fourth of July offered me the opportunity to dress my children up in garish outfits. You might remember this tradition from last year, when the in-laws were in town. I kept it up merely because I thrifted their dresses, on separate occasions, months ago. And what day doesn't go well when it's started with red, white and blue homemade waffles for the entire family? 

This year was our first Independence Day in our newly purchased house. We found a flag in the basement, left to us by the previous owners, so up it went...

My Jones, Resident Alien (if that isn't true...), clutched his half American offspring proudly.

The neighbors told us that each year the children hold their own parade, decorating their bikes and riding and walking down the street with their parents. But we couldn't find the parade! Online research came up with nothing, so we headed to the parks, as usual.

Then we retired to the back yard for a picnic lunch. I set up the camera's self-timer, and Penny loved pressing the button and running back to sit on our laps. I don't think she understood what was really happening, but she could feel the suspense. Later in the day, we went to a bbq with some of my oldest friends and their children. 

It was also great to get some photos of the four of us. Yesterday was Mr. Jones and my third wedding anniversary. We were married in 2011, had a baby in 2012, had another in 2013, and bought a house in 2014. Life is sweet. What could be next?