Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fall Concert Announcement!

It’s that time of year! Fight the November dreariness with some sparkling music at our fall concert, presented this Saturday evening by the Lakeshore Chamber Orchestra!

The concert takes place at 7:30 PM on Saturday 29 of November 2014, at our home base of Valois United Church (70 Belmont Ave. Pointe-Claire, between King and Queen). The theme of this concert is Great Britain Revisited, music written in and about the British Isles. Here’s the programme:

Handel: Concerto Grosso Op. 6 no. 5
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture
Vaughn Williams: The Wasps Overture
Haydn: Symphony, no. 104, the “London”

Admission is $10, free for children 18 and under. The concerts usually last just about two hours, including the refreshment break. The address and map are on the church website. Children of all ages are very welcome.

I hope we’ll see you there!

Owlet: 38 Months Old!

(I’ve finally reconstructed the lost 38 months post! Now I just have to get the 39 months one written.)

Well, Owlet is very firmly in the midst of Being Three. Her use of language is fun; she confuses terms and ideas less often than she used to, but it’s adorable when it happens. “I just have to check my pounds,” she says, pulling the bathroom scale out. She stands on it, watching the needle and the dial settle. “Yup, I’m three years old!” she announces. (Thanks for confirming that, apparently magical bathroom scale.)

It can be frustrating, too, though. I think at this age kids are learning how to construct narratives, and they mix stuff with which they have actual experience together with imagined things. It can be hard to sift through which is which. Owlet tells us every couple of days that “Jacob pinched me” or “Ryder pulled my hair,” or her favourite, “Solstice bit me!” I’m fairly certain none of those things happened on that particular day; she’s dredged up an event that happened a month ago or more, brought to mind by something similar. Maybe she bumped her arm where Jacob pinched her ages ago, or she got her hair caught on a button, or her finger got squeezed by a toy where the rabbit nipped her five months ago. I think the sense of time is very fluid in toddlers and preschoolers as well, which can also muddy things. It makes for some frustrating conversations sometimes.

Being Three is also manifesting in sudden dislikes and about-faces regarding previously acceptable foods. It doesn’t help that she has a poor appetite from suffering colds, but she’s also rejecting things she’s always loved. She’s going through an odd no-meat phase as well, so her dinner plate is often one-third frozen peas (still frozen — it’s one of her favourite things, and no, I have no idea why, but whatever), one-third cherry tomatoes, and one-third now-cold meat shoved to the side so it doesn’t touch her precious veggies. Ah, the ongoing challenge of how to feed a three-year-old….

Her favourite book is currently Neil Gaiman’s The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (which was originally Sparky’s, but he never read it because the illustrations disturbed him. Dave McKean does that to some people, kid; you’re not alone.) She is firmly in a Miyazaki phase, as her favourite movies are now Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. She is very into playing with beads right now, too, stringing them on pipe cleaners and silky cords with long aiglets.

We’ve started putting her hair up in various ways more often. She often asks for her hair in ponytails, and one day I offered to put her hair in two braids. “Like Anna,” I explained. “No,” she said, “I want a braid like Elsa.” Well, I kind of walked into that one, so I gave it my best shot. Considering it was the first time I’d ever French braided her hair, I think it came out okay, despite all her head-tossing activity while I did it. (I’m surprised she was as still as she managed to be, to be honest.)

Then she had to dig out her play silks, get me to tie one around her like a skirt/cape, find her crown, and stand soulfully at her window like Elsa does while I cued up that verse in “For the First Time in Forever” on the CD at her instruction. She went to preschool with her hair like that, and I was almost kidnapped to braid everyone else’s hair that way, too.

She’s been sick for about a month now. She’s not usually sick enough to stay home, although she has once or twice, but it’s a constant sniffing and coughing. Every time she starts getting better, another cold goes through daycare. Her educator has muttered dark things about people keeping kids home, but every time I check she assures me that Owlet is fine to come into school; it’s others who should be staying home. Poor Owlet seems to get sicker than the other kids; it’s just not fair. Well, she’ll have a brilliant immune system by the time she hits grade school, that’s all I can say.

By far the worst thing to happen this past month was Owlet falling down the six concrete steps at daycare one morning. Full-out, head over heels tumbling. She stood up at the bottom, dazed, but seemed fine. She was a bit sore later, what with all the limbs bending in weird ways and whacking concrete, but otherwise okay: everything moved properly, there was no pain or blood, so I was thankful.

It was a split-second confluence of events. She had her umbrella, and the handrail was wet, so I said she could hold my hand on the way down. She went down the first step together, but then her umbrella started to slip, and as we started to move to the next step she let go of my hand to grab her umbrella, and just pitched forward. The daycare has inch-thick rubber slabs on the stairs, and that plus how she was bringing her arm across her body as she fell so that she landed on her shoulder as she rolled are the only things that saved this from being a disaster, I think. I was supermum at the time, calm and cool for her, but an hour later at home it all sank in and I had a quiet freak-out.

For Halloween, Owlet has declared that she wants to be Toothless, the black dragon from How to Train Your Dragon. October 1 is our cut-off date for changing one’s mind, but I’m still expecting her to have a meltdown in about two weeks and tell me, “No, I wanted to be Elsa!” (She’d make a better Anna, but hey.)

And perhaps most exciting of all this past month, Owlet pointed at a sticker today and said, “This says ‘wow.'” Possibly her first recognition of a word on sight. Pretty awesome.

Owlet: 39 Months old!

(Look, I managed to upload photos and paste in the coding, so you can have the November Owlet post! I’ll backdate it to 4 November 2014 in a couple of days.)

There’s more Being Three going on. Naps are becoming an Issue, for example. Owlet will not nap if I put her down. She naps at school, she naps if her dad puts her down… but she refuses to do it for me. I’ve come to the point where Wednesdays I have to assume I will get nothing done, because I will spend almost two hours going into her room to get her back into bed. And if she finally falls asleep it’s around 2:45, an hour and a half after nap is supposed to begin, and I have to wake her up at 3:30 to go get Liam from school, and she cries the whole way because guess what, she didn’t have a proper nap. And no, she’s not ready to give up her nap; she still naps a long time at preschool and on weekends. She still very definitely needs her naps. She’s just being frustratingly stubborn.

We get errands done together on Wednesday mornings. One such day we went and bought her a new car seat. Our old one was out of date. I knew that, but I didn’t realize how far out of date. (Eek.) Owlet weighs 35 pounds, and that was the limit for the old one. This one can be used till she’s something like 110 pounds and 1.45 metres tall! (As a booster, obviously, not the 5-point.) Still… at least now we’re good until she’s, what, twelve?

A conversation about pre-writing skills came up in my mums group (mostly experienced mothers assuring newer ones that three wasn’t an age to be worried about lack of correct writing grip). Owlet still holds her crayons in a fist. It doesn’t help that I actually don’t hold a pencil properly, either, so I’m a lousy model. We still can’t trust her with markers (she scribbled all over the piano keys with permanent black marker recently; that was fun), not even washable ones, because when my kids get hold of so-called washable markers, they stain and do not, in fact, wash out. I discovered her scissor skills were pretty good the other day, though; Grandma found some Crayola scissors that are plastic but very sharp, which cut straight, wavy, or zigzag lines. We love them. You need to hold the paper pretty taut, though.

HRH turned the enormous box that held her carseat into a playhouse. The kids coloured it, and she moved some pillows and blankets inside and had a blast for weeks.

HRH also brought home some interlocking foam squares a student had left behind after a project, so I could use them for blocking knitted things, but Owlet has taken possession of them and lays them out to use as a bed for either herself or her toys. Sparky and HRH showed her that she could build three-dimensional objects with them, too.

She was very excited when I started knitting her mittens. I used her pink handspun for the cuffs, and some bulky black for the hands. Her educator thinks they’re terrific and that I am brilliant, because Owlet likes to mess around in the ground with leaves and sticks, and black doesn’t show dirt. (No pictures, of course. Or rather, there is a picture, but it’s ridiculously blurred.)

Halloween was fun for her. I documented her Halloween costume here. She has been having one piece of candy from her stash after supper each day. She gets so excited about how good it is that she wants to share it. She holds it out to me, saying, “Taste it, it’s good! Open your mouth and take a bite, like this.” I try to take tiny nibbles to leave her most of it, but she keeps telling me to take bigger bites. (And to chew. That’s because we have to remind her to chew bites of supper, and to swallow, as well, if it’s something she doesn’t really want to eat, like meat.)

Fall was, overall, lots of fun. But it’s all fun when you’re three. (Except when it’s not. And when it’s not… it’s really not.)

Spinning October 2014

Spinzilla kind of tripped me up. I’ve been production spinning, and it took me a little while to get back into the spinning for fun groove.

The Mazurka prototype is chugging along. It’s a delightful little wheel. I ordered the upgrade parts for it, so now I have an unfinished Minstrel/standard flyer plus the Minstrel front maiden. HRH and I just need to figure out how to kitbash those into the current mother-of-all setup. The MOA may even be long enough, which means it wouldn’t need a cap or extension! It turns out the new flyer will fit into the hole in the existing back maiden (woohoo! I was concerned about the clearance for the flyer arms!), but the height of the new Minstrel front maiden doesn’t correspond. And the new maiden has a metal bolt through it all for inserting through the MOA bar; it’s not a peg, the way the existing front maiden on the Mazurka prototype seems to be, so we can’t just cut it down to size. We need to mull it over.

I’m still spinning the same blue/green rolags on it, the last 2 oz to the 2 oz I spun during Spinzilla. I think I have just about 10 grams left to go. (Pardon the uneven loading of the bobbin; I was watching a movie with Sparky this weekend and lost track of switching hooks.)

Last week I wanted to spin something on my big Symphony, too, so I pulled out a lovely braid of Merino from Daybreak Dyeworks. I won this on the Daybreak Dyeworks team during Tour de Fleece this past summer. I rarely spin Merino, actually, and I’m having a lot of fun spinning longdraw from the end of this top. This particular Merino is really spongy and crimpy, so longdraw is pretty much effortless. I’m planning to chain-ply it when it’s done. It’s going to poof up beautifully for some very snuggly worsted weight, I expect.

That looks awfully lemon-lime, I know. There’s blue in the braid as well, it’s just not visible in this layer of singles:

And last but not least, what could this be, that has just arrived via our terribly nice parcel postman?

Oh, just a truly lovely Texasjeans Tibetan-style support spindle, whorl in maple burl with a curly maple shaft, weighing 22 grams and measuring 10 inches. I scored it in a destash last week. I’ve been wanting to try support spindling for ages, since drop spindling tires me out very quickly (thanks so much for that, fibro). I also have a Russian-style support spindle by Miss Lucy P in lingum vitae coming my way, also scored in a destash. All things come to those who wait! I’m still rather stunned that I scored both of these at a time when I actually had the money to do it. The only reason I sent “yes I want to buy this is it still available” queries for both was because I thought for sure I’d lose out on one, if not each. However, the beauty of the fibre community is that if I don’t like them (weight, balance, spin speed, whatever) I can simply offer them up for sale in the same forums these were offered in originally, to pass them along to the next person. I may do that with one of my two drop spindles, actually, since I rarely use them.

Halloween 2014

Halloween happened! It was a good year for costumes.

October 1 is our deadline for finalizing Halloween costumes; no changing your mind after that. Sparky decided to go as Link from the Legend of Zelda games. I started knitting his hat on the way home from Thanksgiving, since I’d finished the knitting project I’d brought with me and had good needles for worsted weight. HRH built the sword and shield at work, cooling out lots of the kids in his programme who saw him doing it.

Owlet wanted to be Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. For that, I initially went way overboard and started planning a full-body black dinosaur-like outfit, then mentally slapped myself for overcomplicating things. I found a pair of black track pants and a black hoodie at the thrift store, and another pair of black track pants to use as the basis for the tail. She chose some sparkly black felt at the craft store for the spikes and wings (you can’t see the sparkles in the photos, as they’re very subtle, but the rhinestones on the front of the hoodie carried the sparkle theme through quite nicely). The eyes are felt as well.

We usually go to HRH’s parents’ house for Halloween, have finger food, and then trick or treat in their neighbourhood. Well, they moved and are now ten minutes from us. We had the same plan, although we were worried about the new neighbourhood for trick-or-treating purposes. My mother-in-law said she counted only ten houses in their development that were decorated, so we figured it would be a short and sweet outing. If it was a bust, then we’d hit the hopping street close to daycare for a few houses.

It turns out the development is packed with young families! Mom never sees them because everyone’s at work/school/daycare all day. Every second house had an open door, pumpkins put out, and all the adults were dressed up. We did half of one street amid crowds of kids, then came back because the kids were cold. Next year is going to be awesome. Owlet was adorable; every time she came down the stairs from a door, she’d shout, “Mum, I got another candy!” in incredulous joy.

Everyone loved their outfits. I have to admit to a vanity here: I love it when people exclaim about my kids’ costumes. I make them so the kids love them, of course; they’re the most important people to satisfy and impress. But having people say how cute or how awesome they look gives both HRH and I a nice warm feeling. We love costuming. Someday we’ll have the time to do it for ourselves again.

Catching Up

So it turns out that I had a draft of Owlet’s monthly post that got torpedoed last month as well, and I didn’t realize it because I’m so off schedule with them that I couldn’t remember if I’d been working on one or not. Ugh. I will do what I can to reconstruct it. Which means in turn that this month’s post will be late, seeing as how it’s due tomorrow.

Halloween happened. I’ll have to write that one up, too. At least I have words from a post I made to my July 2011 mums group that I can use; I just need to resize photos and upload them.

How can I think about journalling so often and yet never actually get posts published? It’s very frustrating.