Right now I’m eating dinner, editing photos, watching the girls take a bath, and writing this post.  Busy isn’t even the right word; it carries no sense of imminent doom or driving impetus to finish work that more closely resembles the four horsemen of the apocalypse than it does motivation.  But look at this girl; I just had to share.

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When I was thinking about writing this post, I couldn’t decide whether to look at our quick, homemade, cardboard (yes, as in paper) sled as super duper uber crafty or just joke fodder for all the kids who grew up with winters where it snowed, not where they celebrated Christmas wearing shorts and maybe a sweatshirt.  Side note:  you know that used to look cool.  Now it just looks really yuppie.

But it finally snowed in New Jersey, like we blindly promised Hazel it would for Christmas (it didn’t), and she wanted to sled, dammit.  She has been asking for a sled, ice skates, and skis ever since we started reading the Berenstain Bears’ Christmas back in October, and she even started fussing about how Santa didn’t bring “anything on my list, not one little thing.”  I reminded her that nope, Santa didn’t bring giant dangerous snow equipment to a three-year-old, while Amos fashioned a sled out of some rope and a cardboard box.  The result, whether it’s a poor facsimile or super crafty, was totally popular with the preschool audience.

Paper sled! Not from a snake oil salesman!

For y'all voyeurs: that's our NJ house.

Speaking of preschool, Hazel’s first day of preschool is tomorrow!  Amos and I are SO excited for her; Hazel floats back and forth between excitement and flat out refusal to go.  All this emotional drama has led to crying jags that usually begin with something small, like “Why is the snow melting?” and end with “But the snow – sob – is my best -SOB- FRIIIIIIIIIEND and I don’t know why I am cryyyyyyyyyyinggggggg!”  I’m sure she will actually be fine, and one day she’ll join us in laughing about her dear attachment to the snow.

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First Snow

In Kansas City, we promised Hazel every day that there would be snow in New Jersey.  We checked out books about snow from the library.  We read books about Christmas and Hannakuh Hanukkah (thanks Jenn!  😛 ) and pointed out the snow.  “See?  There’s snow on the ground at Christmas, just like there will be in New Jersey,” we exclaimed to her.  Soon she was in on it too, talking about the snow and how at Christmas we would see the snow falling and make a snowman after we opened presents.  Then, when Christmas actually came in on its 40 degree heels, she told us that it wasn’t really Christmas at all because it didn’t snow.  Sad face.  Nope, it didn’t snow at all here, even as Kansas City has seen snow several times since we’ve moved.  Yesterday, though, it snowed a little bit here, just a teaser snow that barely stuck to our clothes, but holy moly was that enough to fire old Hazel up!

“Run out here and catch the snowflakes with your mouth LIKE ME!!!”  My baby girl could not have been more excited.  Julia played it cooler, just pointing at a couple of flakes and proclaiming them, “bat!”  We all ran around, looking like fools from the South who are freaking out over 5 snowflakes falling from the sky – which, you know, we pretty much are.

Christmas Stuff – Yes, I Know It’s Early.

That's right bro – it's officially Christmas season up in this mother!!! Why?  I'll be happy to tell you!  I made full-on caffeine coffee today!!!

  • We live in NY.
  • Most of the people I buy gifts for do not.
  • That means each gift involves extra time & money for shipping and strategic (wrinkle-free) packing.
  • That also means we travel every Christmas.
  • We don't like the snow.
  • So, we leave ASAP in December and come back ALAP.  
The last two years I've been orchestrating this huge Christmas endeavor have been learning experiences.  The first year I think I spent about $80 US DOLLARS on shipping alone, not including the cost of tape, boxes, and paper to stuff inside the boxes.  That's just too much.  Last year was better, and this year is going to be phenomenal.  I made sure to buy things that were generally lightweight or small, so shipping will be a breeze!  So, I've basically got that covered.  It helps that I start buying really early, like when everything goes on after-Christmas sale.  
Also, because we leave for Christmas pretty early, it means that everything has to be done by about December 10th at the latest.  When I've tried to let things go longer in the past I have ended up crying red & green tears of despair, curled in a ball under a half-decorated tree, holding lights that won't blink in my hands.  This year I hope to avoid that scenario.  To that end, I have about 80% of my list bought, wrapped, and packed to ship.  About 10% is staying here (bought & wrapped already), and the other bit I haven't made/bought yet.  I have also already written & addressed every Christmas card, and the whole stack is sitting tight in the box in which they came.
I know – I'm like this Christmas Nazi.  I start shopping and planning my Christmas knitting in January; every sale is potential Christmas fodder.  I can't help it; my tendency to over-achieve, combined with our kind of weirdly stressful Christmas situation, makes for a total organized Yuletide dictator.  But you know, when I'm sipping wassel and knitting in the evening with Hazel playing in the flickering glow of Christmas lights, I'm going to be enjoying my holiday instead of worrying about completing all the things I wanted done.

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Hazel’s Sweater

I love this sweater.  I love the yarn, I love the colors, I love the pattern, and I love that I got the pattern all the way correct.  This will keep her warm for probably the next 4 years, because it did turn out kind of big (I've since noticed that other people had this same outcome, so I'm still counting it as being correct).

Oh, and the yarn was spun & dyed locally in New Hartford.  Pretty cool!

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Soft, Warm Things for the Winter

I just finished this ribbed baby cardigan for Hazel.  A few weeks ago I picked up this gorgeous, soft, pale green yarn on sale (remember, Momma?) and knew I wanted to make something for Hazel with it.  I found this sweet and easy pattern, and this was the result.

I had to adjust the pattern to accommodate the bulkier yarn, but I think this will be able to fit her all through the winter.  When she wakes up we'll have a mini-fashion show and I'll post of photo of her wearing it.  After making tons of baby things, most of which I won't post photos of just yet since they are Christmas gifts, I'm ready to go in the complete & total opposite direction – I'm knitting a bathmat!  Yep, I'm using three strands of cotton yarn (durable, absorbent) and knitting a rug.  This thing is knit on size 15 needles, pretty huge, so I should be done with it in a day or two.  

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New Scarf!

This little girl needed something to keep out the cold!!!

I was knitting this scarf to be adult-sized, but the lace pattern, while pretty, was starting to really get on my nerves.  I had knitted maybe two feet and decided today that it was now a baby scarf!  I added that cool button on one end, and since this is a lace scarf I can button it anywhere, making it the ultimate in adjustable winterwear.  

She is feeling a little better, I guess.  We had no more incidences with the bulb syringe, so that was awesome (for us both).  Hopefully we can ward off future colds with her new scarf 😉

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Every Year at This Time

I still am just shocked when the weather here drops from "summer" (at a hot 80 degrees or something) down to "fall" (a bone-chilling 55 degrees or below).  It's freaking 40 degrees outside right now!!!  I woke up and was freezing, immediately checked on Hazel and she seemed ok in her sleeper gown and a blanket.  That child may be like me, though – Amos has mentioned many times that when I sleep my body feels like 700 degrees to the touch, even if I feel chilly.  But I digress — 40 DEGREES.  That is Christmas weather!!!!  My internal thermometer will never readjust from Alabama to New York range.

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