We had another fun Halloween this year!  Tim asked to be Percy, one of Thomas the Tank’s friends, so Chris obliged with this:

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It’s tradition in Chris’s family for Daddy to make the costumes.  And you can’t buy Percy in the stores anyway, only Thomas.  Of course, Tim was thrilled!

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He got lots of candy dressed like this.

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He also dictated the look of the Jack o’ Lantern this year – he wanted a scary one!

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Boo!

I started a second baby project, a blanket made from Lily Chin’s Reversible Cabled Rib Shawl pattern. It’s a little bit insane because it will take forever, but it’ll be cute! Dream in Color Smooshy has been my “go-to” baby yarn recently, and I thought it would look great in a cable pattern, so this is what I got from Webs. It’s the Some Summer Sky colorway.

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It came in 4 different shades, as you can see in the picture, so I’m just going to knit them in order of lightest to darkest, and make the gradient a design element. No way am I alternating skeins!

From my swatch and some rough calculations I did 5 repeats across (CO 248 stitches) using size 9 needles – and it is turning out to be about 32″ across which I think should be okay for a baby blanket. Here’s what I have so far:

Baby blanket progress

And a close up:

Baby blanket progress

The pattern and yarn together are making a wonderfully cushy fabric!  I hope baby likes it.

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I hope everyone at Rhinebeck is having a wonderful time!  I didn’t go because of my stupid appendix.  I am pretty much recovered, but the festival is so big and overwhelming, I didn’t think I’d have the endurance to make the 2 hour drive worth it.  Plus I have too much yarn and spinning fiber in my stash anyway.  😦  Next year I hope to be there!

So I’ve been knitting instead.  Recently, I resumed working on my hubby’s sweater, which I put down when the weather turned warm last spring.  I already had the body done, so I cast on for the sleeves, using the percentage system from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears.

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Apparently, Elizabeth Zimmerman never knew anyone with arms as large as my husband.  The cuffs are appropriately snug, but the sleeves are way too tight around his forearms!  Wah.  So these will be frogged, restarted with more cast-on stitches, and I will increase less frequently than she specified.  For now, they are sitting in the corner.  Bad sleeves!!  I picked up my Bleeding Hearts Stole instead.  Here is what I have so far, looking rumpled.  I have finished 13 repeats of the center section.

Bleeding Hearts Stole, in progress

The pattern is designed to be cast-on each end, knitted toward the center, and grafted together, but I don’t like the way it looks that way, plus I am not confident in my grafting skills.  So I have knit past center, and will try to place the graft where it will be covered by my arm as I am wearing it.  I have cast-on the second half using yarn from the outside of the ball, and will figure out where to graft the two parts together.

Now for some Timmy pictures!  Over Labor Day weekend, we went up to MA to see Baby Andy and to attend A Day Out with Thomas together.  We got to ride a train pulled by Thomas himself!  Here’s Andy on the train, with his parents Pat and Rob, and Grandpa!

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Here’s Tim, Chris, and me.

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After the ride, we got to take photos with Thomas!  I love Tim’s little crooked smile.

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There were also carnival type rides there.

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Also, we saw the most gigantic bug I have ever seen.  I think it is a praying mantis.

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There was an indoor play area, where the two boys ran around like crazy.

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Fake tattoo!

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There was a guy telling stories and singing songs. Here’s Auntie Pat telling a joke!

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It was a fun day!

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My sister Pat, her husband Rob, and baby Andy, my Mom visiting from Thailand, and my Papa, all came to stay with us for Christmas. We had a great time together. The preparations involved tons of gifts for each other, and for the two little boys.Lots of presents under the tree

They were so excited they woke up at dawn. The rest of us were tired from staying up late preparing everything!

Early morning Christmas excitement

Here’s Tim eating a leftover Linzer cookie from Santa.

Mmm!  Linzer cookie!

Since Tim is allergic to eggs, I took two different Linzer recipes, one with egg and one without, and combined the best parts. I also baked some of the little shapes cut out from the middle to make mini cookies.

Linzer cookies!

Okay, so my sugar powdering skills could use some work. But they were delicious, if I do say so myself!

Of course, Tim and Andy had the best gift hauls. Thomas the Tank was Tim’s big theme this year. I have to say, having a kid obsessed with a certain character makes the gift shopping sooooo easy. He loved everything!

Thomas dinner set from Grandpa Dave

Grandpa Dave sent some Thomas dinnerware, as well as a Big Wheel! Uncle Natty sent this 3-headed dragon.

Three-headed dragon from Uncle Natty

Chris and I expanded his Thomas Duplo set with James, Percy, Gordon, and Spencer with Sir Topham Hatt! He wouldn’t even look up for a picture, he was so busy playing.

Tim's new trains

As for me, my spinning wheel was my big early Christmas gift, and then I got a digital scale from Pat for my yarn and fiber — I’ve always been terrible at splitting skeins of sock yarn in two, so that will help! I also got The Knitting Workshop DVD by Elizabeth Zimmerman from my MIL Judy, and I got a subscription to Spin-Off Magazine from Nat and his family. Yay! Pat also got me Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (and So Can You!). I love him, and think he is an absolute genius. (Okay, so now you know where I lean in terms of politics.)

Chris also got me Mouse Guard figurines. Unless you’re a comic geek you may not be familiar with Mouse Guard, which is a complex and beautifully illustrated series, and of course I can’t resist the cute characters. They aren’t cutesy though, they’re actually pretty realistic. If you’re interested, the first series has been collected in a hardcover edition which I have, of course! It is brilliant.  We are also fans of Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix series, and have been collecting some of the English versions.  I didn’t have time to read them much during residency, but now Chris bought a bunch and has caught me up to all the ones that have been released to date.  It’s great reading.

Here’s our Christmas dinner spread:

Christmas dinner

We had beef oven roast wrapped in bacon, brussels sprouts with bacon (hey, Tim and I like bacon), and Yukon gold baby potatoes. I watch the Food Network a lot but rarely make anything from it, but Rachel Ray made the potato dish which looked soooooo good, and it really turned out well. It involves chicken stock and butter. Tender on the inside, browned on the outside! For dessert, I made a chocolate ganache pie topped with fruit and whipped cream. Mmmm!

After dinner we did some more photos, here’s one of my favorites:

Christmas nuzzle

Here are the two silly hubbies goofing off:

Goofing husbands

There are more Christmas pictures on my Flickr account, for those of you (Mom) who want to see some more. This is already a pretty long blog post!

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays!

Because of the big snowstorm hitting the Northeast today, we brought Tim home from preschool early. I baked him chocolate cupcakes, and thought we’d have a great time going out to play in the snow, but surprisingly, he didn’t want to go out. Maybe it was because he woke up earlier than usual and was tired, or just didn’t like snowflakes hitting his face. Hopefully he’ll be up for it tomorrow.

So instead, we played inside. One of his favorite toys is a Duplo Thomas the Tank Engine set.

Timmy and Thomas the Tank Engine

He’s coming up with more and more elaborate stories as he plays. He even sings the little theme songs. Here’s a “giant lizard” going “crash” into Thomas.

Giant lizard attack on Thomas

Here’s Thomas carrying a load of crayons…

Cargo of crayons

But oh no! The bridge is out!

The bridge is out!

Crash!  Poor Thomas!

Accidents will happen

I’ve also noticed that it’s a lot more difficult to photograph Tim because he’s always in motion, or as soon as he sees me with the camera he tries to hide!

Silly Tim

My silly little boy..

Tim loves Thomas the Tank Engine, watches episodes on DVD almost every day, and has tons of toys, including a great Duplo train set (courtesy of Grandpa). Naturally, he asked for a Thomas costume for Halloween. I found this snazzy 3-D version on eBay. He was pretty sweet in it! Except that he wore the hat for about 2 minutes before throwing it off.

He had a good time ringing doorbells and getting candy, though he was shy and would only whisper “trick or treat.” We’ll have to ration out his candy now! He had a dentist appointment this morning and did really well — crying only at the beginning. But his dentist said that he will come after us if Tim ever gets cavities.