Winter finally arrived

Here we are, at the end of January already, and winter finally decided to show up. We had an early hard freeze, in October – but then all signs of winter disappeared. We had a very warm Christmas, and then ugly things happened. The lilacs and gardenia and azalea tried to bloom! The forsythia had yellow blooms and there were a few blooms on the plum tree. Not good, not good at all. And I have no idea what this means for spring when it finally arrives. So now we have had a week of hard freezes and even some snow that melted within a few hours – but decidedly more wintery and seasonal.

915f1301-d3bc-44df-9214-c3f78a0f2d13 I am finally able to wear my newly knitted Icelandic wool sweater – it is lovely and warm and soft. Getting it done and off the needles has inspired me to clear out some other things “on the needles” and so I set a January goal of finishing a couple of very old projects.

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I started these socks in November 2012. I chose to cobble together several patterns, and it took me a while to get sock 1 done – then I couldn’t remember how I made it, so sock 2 ended up being a series of trial and error. Not terribly difficult when all was said and done, just not something easy to cart around in a car or at a game. Socks don’t take all that long to knit, so it is a bit embarrassing that it took me over 3 years for this pair! But they are being worn now – yeah! Ravelled here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/socks

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I started this sweater even longer ago – in fact, it made its blog debut here:https://willowcaroline.wordpress.com/2008/04/19/keeping-it-in-perspective/  –  and it is much the same story. I would set it down and not get back to it for weeks – and then find I hadn’t properly written down where I had stopped with the cables – and then make a mess of it, put it away because unknitting and reknitting takes quiet concentration and not something one does at a ball game. But I am determined it shall be done by the end of January.  Ravelled here:  http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/a-cardigan-for-arwen

So I am plenty busy indoors with knitterly things and final exam marking and keeping a 15 year old boy fed (gracious, he may be the only one home but he is a HUGE eater, but the smallest of my three guys!) Let winter do its thing.

e8271b66-e1e6-42d1-89f9-7148bdcaab9f (Well, there is this on the dining room table. With the weather so warm in early January I started getting the itch. I HATE starting seedlings – they take so much care – and usually I just plump for plants when the time is right. But I gave into dreaming of summer tomatoes, and so I have started some from seed. Let’s hope we can keep them alive until May!)

New Year’s Family Weekend

We did have a lovely getaway over the New Year’s Weekend. Our oldest son and his girlfriend were busy working, so did not join us. But the 4 of us had a fun time in a rented lake house on Lake Keowee in South Carolina.

First order of business, was watching the Clemson/Oklahoma football game.   http://espn.go.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400852733  Again, I am not a big football watching fan, but anything for my middle boy. We all curled up in front of a big screen TV with pizza and knitting. And we celebrated a win!

ea0e9a39-fa95-4de2-a36e-d94329a74c7f (Once again, I have been away from the blog long enough that when I come back, wordpress has changed things again. Not sure why my pictures are all so tiny. Grrr….)

32df15b2-2be9-4b77-8acb-dd471ce22d8e I attribute the success this season to the lucky scarf knitting. I knit furiously on it while the game is on – I find that I feel guilty if I am not knitting on it, like they will all stop playing or something if I stop. LOL…it is amazing how invested we were in a game – so atypical of our family.

We then had several lovely days of fishing and relaxing.

095d01b4-9e69-4904-b20a-f2e25443b91b Mostly the boys went out fishing and I stayed in – kayaking on the lake by the house or walking the hilly area. But one day I did join them to see the waterfalls on Lake Jocassee. I was apparently the good luck charm – or good luck knitter as I knit away on a sock – as this was the only time they caught fish.

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Both boys caught fish, we all saw some amazing views and waterfalls, and we enjoyed being together quietly for a few days before it was time to drop the middle son off at Clemson to return to his studies. A very quiet trio made our way home on Jan 3rd, facing final exams and a suddenly quiet house. You raise your children hoping they will fly – but missing them a great deal when they are far away.

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The good news is that we all enjoyed it so much that we may make it a yearly tradition.

(Sorry for the picture resolution – I tried to enlarge them, but that makes them look horrid. But leaving them as they were meant they were tiny. I didn’t see anywhere to change their size…)

It has been a long time…

There was a time when I blogged regularly : changed the theme to reflect the seasons; sometimes scheduled posts to appear throughout a week; took copious photos and uploaded them and made sure I added them to my blog.

But over time, more of my photos went into my instagram account – no idea how to move them here. Days were packed with work and boys, and lists that never quite got crossed all the way off. A quick note on facebook, a photo on instagram with a short note – that was all I could manage.

I used to do lengthy Advent posts and document our holiday activities. As a young mother and then later a very busy mother, writing it all down seemed to 1) confirm I was accomplishing something and 2) help me keep track of life as it blurred by. At some point I have cried “uncle” and given up a bit – but I can still visit this space a re-live many happy memories.

So, since I last posted:

  1. We survived graduation, and the party that went with it, and the Eagle ceremony. Then the hubbler and middle child went to Guatemala with the school Spanish club to work for Safe Passage, and the youngest went to Boy scout camp, and I had a staycation.
  2. Youngest made the High School Summer league baseball team and many very hot baseball games were attended. Middle son worked and started to get ready for college. This required going through his stuff, and the youngest’s stuff and sorting through years of stuff – and giving the upstairs a bit of a makeover. Fresh paint in the common room, a redo for the youngest’s room, and a clear out of the middle son’s room – and all the exercise equipment moved to the oldest son’s room.
  3. The time came to take the middle son to college on August 10th. I survived – but barely. We then became a family of three at home – and that was also an adjustment. Cooking for 3. Only one kid’s schedule to keep up with. Only one kid to tell to empty the dishwasher. Only 3 people to wash for.
  4. The hubbler had my office redone. It was a hodgepodge of used/free furniture – and he had it professionally done by a friend’s company. I barely got moved into it before school started. It is very very lovely to be all organized and have it look pretty.IMG_1206
  5. We hosted a 50th anniversary for my inlaws at my house. A ton of planning, cleaning and cooking – for a ton of people. P1250912IMG_1260

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6. School was in full swing for September and October. At the end of October, we finally saw our middle son again. He came home, bringing friends, to attend the NCState vs. Clemson football game. We became diehard Clemson football fans and watched a lot of Saturday football games on TV. We are not a TV sports watching family – so we watched more games this fall than the entire 25 years of our marriage. Oh yeah – we had our 25th anniversary – which we didn’t celebrate really, because we were throwing a 50th party and school started all the same week. Ugg.

7. Some knitting was done. IMG_1228

Hat designed by middle son, in his new college colors – duly made so he would be warm at school. At all those football games.

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Icelandic wool knitting project for me. Details on ravelry.http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/top-down-icelandic-sweater

8. Thanksgiving brought the middle son home again. And then he was back for finals. We got on with December which just blurred by. Middle son arrived home with a buddy on the 12th – we finished up school on the 18th – and it has been a blur of cooking and cleaning and visiting since.

That brings us to today. We took down the tree and decorations, and then I realized I never really took pictures this year. We have a couple of days left before middle son leaves to start semester 2, and youngest and I return to school. Youngest is running winter track, so I have been getting him to and from practices while we are on break – thankfully the school is very close at hand. January will bring his first final exams, and much marking for me. But that is the worry of future weeks. This week is still the time to enjoy, relax, visit, and eat with those I love best.

Thanks for stopping by to catch up. I hope to do better in 2016. I shall put it on my to-do lists….IMG_1325

Pride…

We are in the midst of the goodbye’s –   last class with my current IB seniors. Last final given to my IB juniors. Senior awards night. Baseball banquet….  Those events are now behind us, but the week ahead holds more – IB Goodbye picnic; graduation itself; and the graduation party; 8th grade transition/”graduation” for the youngest as well.

At these moments there is a tendency to not have much time to breathe – so much crammed into a small space of time. But I am trying to take a moment to savor it. I know all too well how quickly time has flown, and how it tends to just keep speeding up. I have long come round to missing the late night rocking/feeding sessions with my babies, the fun of the toddler years and storytime at the library, etc. etc. So fleeting, now long gone.

Pride can take lots of forms. For us, there are some things we could care less about, and others much more important.

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First – the middle child was honored at the Senior awards night with National Honor Society cord, International Thespian society cord, and Spanish Honor Society cord. He also gets an IB Stole and a white tassel representing the fact he in in the top 10% of his class. Valedictorian? No – could care less. But that he worked really hard? So proud that he chose to work hard and that he knew it was important to his future to make sure he had opportunities in front of him.P1250426

He was also an athlete. Three years varsity baseball. Valuable contributor to his team. And as a senior, a real leader. Someone coach could count on to run fall workouts, spring practices. And still contribute batting and pitching to the team. So I was so proud when he got the big award at the baseball banquet – Heartbeat of the team.

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He may not have had the biggest bat – and his pitching record got him an honorable mention in the conference – but the fact that he was a reliable, dependable, hard working member of the team that LEAD his team – that to me was much more important. Those are life skills he will need in every other area of his life going forward.

Last pb and j of the year, made by dad.

Last pb and j of the year, made by dad.

One very busy week ahead – to celebrate all the transitions, and the hard work, of my sons and their teachers and the village that helped us raise them – it should be fun!

College decision….

All winter long, we felt sure we knew where the middle son was headed for college. All winter long, it was all about one school. He got a couple of offers to play baseball at some close to home schools. He got other acceptances – but it was always University of Vermont.

The next likely place was Clemson. So over spring break, he decided he should at least visit. Baseball tournament conflicted with the accepted student days, so he called and made arrangements for us to go another time.

IMG_0860All the way down, it was pretty clear we were just visiting to check off that we had been there. It was the only school he had not visited last summer on his epic tour. It was however, the first school he had been excited about based on some research they were doing in his field of interest. But all winter he was all about Vermont.

The generic tour was first, and I don’t think anything really swayed him at that time. But then he had meetings with the department where he had been accepted. I watched him walk into the building ambivalent. I watched him walk out completely sold.

All the way home he was full of chatter. We got home latish, and he stayed up even later making giant pro and con lists on giant whiteboards that sat on the ping pong table for weeks. Comparisons of every fact he could find. It took him until late April to admit, he wanted to go to Clemson, but we knew it the moment he walked out of the Life Sciences building.

IMG_0861So next fall, he won’t be as far away as he had planned to go. He chose the only southern school he applied to. He is so very excited, and we are excited for him. We were all looking forward to trips to Vermont, but having him just 4 hours away is also a very nice thing. Go Tigers. We hope he will find his life’s calling there.

Part 3 – Winter wear

Both boys were anticipating a snowy winter and asked me to knit them new hats – yes – at 18 and 14, they wanted their mom to knit new hats. Of course I jumped right on that.

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The middle son picked one that was patriotic and colorful and it went together easily. Here is ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/hat-for-eli

Then the younger son wanted one. He has a love of polar bears, so I surprised him with this:

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Details at Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/polar-chullo

And just in the nick of time – the epic snow came the next day!