Advice from a Second-Grader

This is one of those posts that I just had to get written so that I would not forget this Davey conversation that I overheard.

Yesterday we had lunch with some good friends in Arkadelphia.  Davey had the best time playing with and chatting with their son Jack who is going into kindergarten this year.  I couldn’t help but listen to some of their conversation.  Davey was asking him all types of questions about starting school, and he was giving his best advice.

He had some basic advice for him like:  “If someone tries to bully you, just walk away.”

I also heard him tell Jack, “If someone tells you that they hate school, don’t listen to them!”

He asked Jack if he was nervous about starting kindergarten.  Jack said he was a little nervous.  Davey explained that this was a good thing “because it would help him learn better.”

I found this to all be pretty sound advice from my little second grader to be.

Driving Driving to Oklahoma

Today was the second day of what I have been calling “Our Drive Across America” even though really we are only going about halfway across.  I was thinking it might feel like a drive across America by the time we were done, but so far it’s been a lot of fun.

We are leisurely travelers.  For example, we made our first stop in Vantage, Washington.  It’s about 30 minutes from our house.  I’d been wanting to stop at the scenic overlook to see the Wild Horses Monument though.  So we did.


It’s just beautiful.  This scenic stop also overlooks the Columbia River.


I love the Columbia River.  We took the opportunity to take Buster for a little stroll too since we’d stopped.


We drove across eastern Washington on I-90 to Spokane.  We had not made this drive before.  It’s pretty flat and desolate, but it was fun because I kept seeing these!


Dust devils everywhere in the fields!  We have driven through a lot of areas similar to this in other parts of the country, but I’d never seen so many dust devils.

We stopped at a rest area outside of Spokane before we went into Idaho.  We like to stop at rest areas, and there are a lot of beautiful ones in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  The facilities were almost all spotless.  Some even have fenced in areas for dogs to run leash free.


I didn’t take any pictures, but our drive across I-90 through part of the Idaho panhandle was amazing.  We drove by Couer d’Alene Lake, and it’s just incredible.  It’s a beautiful mountain lake, and we can’t wait to go back there some day.

We spent the night last night in Butte, Montana.  We left pretty early this morning and headed to Rock Springs, Wyoming which is where we are tonight. We drove through some beautiful country today.

For the past two days we listened to the entire first Harry Potter book on cd.  Jim Dale reads it and he is an amazing reader.  Davey wanted to listen practically all day long both days.  Jim Dale is so entertaining to listen to, and the story is so good that I think we could happily listen to it again.  We might!

Today we also drove through Spencer, Idaho.  There are opal mines there, and you can pay to dig for opals.  I don’t know if they brought this rock in or if this is the mine?  There were some people digging here though.  I thought this was interesting!

opal-mineAnother highlight of the day were the “square” ice cream cones we had in Swan Valley, Wyoming.  Swan Valley is another beautiful area not too far from Jackson.  We stopped for a little break and saw people pouring out of this little convenience store with their square ice cream cones.  It was definitely some good ice cream!  (Well Davey wasn’t thrilled.  He claimed that his was too “vanilla-ey”  and he didn’t like his much.  David and I, however, were very satisfied customers!)IMG_0061

Tonight we experienced a nice noisy thunderstorm, and it poured down rain.  Buster was not happy.  Poor nervous dog.  He hadn’t really experienced thunder much before.   He’s been enjoying the trip for the most part though.  He’s always just happy to be with us.

Buster3Somehow David and I both accidentally wore Eskimo Joe’s t-shirts today.  So when we checked in to the hotel tonight, we encountered a group of people who were traveling together on their Goldwing motorcycles.  They were from Sand Springs, Oklahoma which is only about 20 minutes from where David and I grew up!  Small world.  The Eskimo Joe’s shirts almost always bring out fellow Oklahomans!

Now it’s time for rest before we head out again tomorrow.


Manastash: A First!

Yesterday we decided to go for a hike on the Ridge.  This is a beautiful hike along the Manastash Ridge outside of Ellensburg.  It’s about 2 miles long and you climb about 2,000 feet.  It’s a steep climb. There is a trail that goes along in the woods though that makes the ascent a little easier, and we decided to take that route.  It eventually meets up with the other trail which is steeper and which ascends to the top of the mountain (as I like to call it.  Davey insists that it is not quite a mountain!).

We hadn’t necessarily intended to go all the way to the top, but once we started going we decided to go for it.  We did take frequent breaks.

davey hike


We worked our way up up up, and finally we reached the top!


When you get to the top, there is a book to sign, and so we signed it making note of the fact that it was Davey’s first time!  He was disappointed that we didn’t bring something to leave at the top.  Next time, I told him we would.

He’s ready to go again!


Hulda Holly: Back to it.

Back in December 2010, I first blogged about knitting a lace weight sweater.  The pattern is called “Hulda”, and it’s from a book called Northern Knits.  I am making it for my sister-in-law Holly so that’s the why of Hulda Holly. I thought about it for awhile because I knew I was going to have to knit it with size 2 needles.  I couldn’t resist trying it though because I was fascinated by the stripes and how the colors were going to be blended.


The stripes are a blend of 3 shades of red, 5 shades of gray, and black.

I started knitting it in 2011.  I know this because I checked ravelry this morning to see if I’d put the details of the project up there.  Sure enough I had – back in October 2011.

I have decided to buckle down and get this thing done.  I am hopeful that it will be “wearable” when I am finished.  I have a few worries.  First, I am hoping I have the gauge right so that it will fit my sister-in-law.  Second, I am hoping she will not want to run when she sees it.  Third, the yarn is not soft.  It’s the opposite of soft, but it’s supposed to soften up when I wash it.  We shall see.

My assistant helped me try to take a couple of pictures of my progress.


Another concern I have about this sweater is the reason I needed Davey to help me take the pictures.  He had to hold down the bottom of the sweater which is really wanting to roll up.  I am hopeful that when I block this I will be able to get the bottom to lie flat.  I will figure out something one way or the other.  Maybe some small fishing weights if necessary – that’d be comfortable.

One final thing – I didn’t have the sense to weave in ends as I was going.


This yarn should weave in nicely though.  It’s almost sticky, and I’d hate to have to try to frog it.  I need to get started on those ends.  I will do better on the sleeves and weave in as I go.

This is a fun project.  The lace weight yarn makes me feel like I am really creating “fabric”.  I love how the colors blend.  It’s all stockinette, but the stripes involve using two different colors on every other row.  I knit one strand with my right hand, and I hold the other strand continental style with my left hand.

I am knitting the first sleeve now and am able to use my favorite Signature dpns which is another plus.

We shall see how it goes.


All it takes is Sunshine, Water and Lots of Love!

We are unpacking and unpacking some more, but a person has to take a break from that.  So this afternoon, Davey and I started working on our garden. There are raised beds in the backyard, so I couldn’t resist planting immediately.   It’s a little late in the year, but I did a little research, talked to some local gardeners, and I determined there are a few vegetables with which we might have some success.

After all, as Davey it explained to me, growing a garden is easy.  All it takes is sunshine, water, and lots of love.

I went to this awesomely cool nursery this afternoon to get a few seeds and see if they had any remaining tomato plants.  The nursery is called Dusty’s and apparently it is located on a 110 year old farm.  It was really neat.

Our landlord loaned us a hand tiller.  It’s one of those “as seen on tv” tillers, and it worked great.  Davey was checking it out, but I did the tilling.  That’s pretty much the pattern we established in the planting of the garden.



Davey marched into the garden ready to clean out the weeds.  Mostly though he loved trying out his new white tiger stripe gardening gloves.



He helped me weed a little, but then Ron Weasley needed something and then there were Hogwart students needing to get into our gardening class, and he was off into pretend land.

He did insist on digging all the holes for the scraggly little tomato plants that I got for 50 cents each.  He enjoyed digging.



He also liked planting the tomatoes (as Buster watched forlornly from outside the garden fence).



Davey was focused so I was able to take a few pictures of him. I like this one.



After that we planted the seeds.  Davey wasn’t quite as into that, although he helped me a little.  By that time there were Hogwart students who wanted to buy vegetables, and he was having to explain to them that they were not going to be ready for awhile.

We had fun getting our first garden going.  David came out for awhile and took a few pictures for me.  He’s not much into the gardening thing, although he’s very optimistic about and looking forward to some good vegetable yields.  I planted some beets, kale, lettuce and carrots.  We shall see.  It’s good training for next spring as well!


First Library Card and Little Library!

Before we moved here, I’d been reading about the Little Free Libraries.  I thought it would be really neat to put one in our front yard here.   Turns out I don’t have to!



This one is right across the street from our house!  There were a couple of kids’ books in there, and Davey already chose one to borrow.  As soon as I get to unpacking my books, I’ll try to add a few to their collection.  So fun.

So then today, David, Davey and I went to the regular library to get library cards.  Davey was excited to learn that he could get his own library card.  He waited until they had it ready for him, and then he wanted to go pick out some books on his own.  (He looked for a little bit, but then he saw their train set.  It was time to play and pretend.)

We found him a Geronimo Stilton graphic novel.  He set his card down carefully near his book.




When it came time to walk back home, I wanted to take a picture of Davey.  He’s started to run when he sees me get ready to take a picture.  Good thing my camera is fast!  He tried to hide from me, and then he’d peek out.  It was a good game.



The library is close to our house and it’s great to be able to walk over there.  We will be doing a lot of that!


Thanksgiving Preparation

Davey and I are having a relaxing start to what is going to be kind of an errand filled day.  We need to go to:  Library, post office, Honey Baked Ham, bank and grocery store.  I think that’s it.  Oh Hobby Lobby!  I need some inexpensive lightweight white yarn.  So we need to get started soon.

Davey woke up this morning and the first thing he said was that he was going downstairs to find “Man-at-Arms”(Daddy).  He’s been watching old He-Man and She-Ra episodes on Netflix.  I’m Adora (She-Ra).  Davey, of course, is He-Man.  Last week I was Invisible Woman.  I think I prefer to be a superhero(ine?) over Adora.  Although I do like Adora.

I wrote that we are going to our friends’ for Thanksgiving.  I’m going to make a few things to take.  David wants Squash Casserole like he always had at home.  I found the recipe in the cookbook we have from his grandmother. I’m also going to make Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Potato casserole recipe.  It calls for vanilla though.  I put it in last year, and I liked the casserole except not too crazy about the vanilla.  Going to leave that out this time.

A friend just gave me a new recipe for cranberry salsa.  I’m going to try that out as well.  I love all things cranberry.  I am also going to try the Pioneer Woman pecan pie recipe.  She says that it will make me cry.  If I do it right, I am assuming these will be happy tears.  (I am fond of Pioneer Woman recipes huh!)

So that’s the plan for our Tuesday.  Davey has been very busy this morning and could not be bothered for more than a quick photo.



Getting back to it.

Christmas is over, and we have had our New Year’s celebration.  Yesterday, David and I started back to school.  I am teaching literature this semester, so I am happy as a clam.

I made some knitting resolutions, but I haven’t made many other ones.  I did start doing a pilates video.  It’s fun.  I always say that I need to “get me some core”.  I have little core strength.

Davey calls it various things, mostly he likes to say spillates. He also likes to hold my hand while we do some of the exercises together.   He even offers words of encouragement:  “Mommy!  You are doing so good at that!”  So sweet – he apparently ignores the fact that I have about 1/10 of the flexibility of the ladies on the video.

As I type this, he is on the other computer playing Mickey Mouse games.  I know children pick up on using the computer really easily, but the sight of him gazing at the computer screen while his little hand moves that mouse around is just amazing to me.

It’s about time to get him off the computer though and head to “tum tum tumbling” as we always call it.

The back of The Sweater is almost done.  Gosh a man’s XL makes for a big back.  I love knitting with this yarn though.  It’s so soft and nice to knit with.  I also love watching the patterns emerge.   I am hoping to finish the back today.

The snow is melting.  It has stuck around for quite awhile since it has been so cold.  Davey doesn’t get tired of it.  We throw the snow boots on and off he goes.



I really want to knit this sweater.  I think I must be a little crazy.

Here is why I think I am crazy.  The sweater is knit with laceweight yarn.  Laceweight.  With Size 2 needles.  I don’t know that I would like this sweater on me, but I could find someone it would look good on.  (This may involve finding the smallest person I know.)  I just really like it.  I’ve always been interested in the idea of knitting a sweater with a really light yarn.  I’d thought more maybe fingering weight, but LACE weight?  I’ll think about it some more.  Besides that, it’s time to get going on THE SWEATER.

I am reading a really interesting book about a lady who documents her year long process of knitting a very complex sweater.  She also interviews many well known knitting bloggers (at least well known to knitters who read such things.  Like me.), and she shares quite abit of knitting history.  So somewhere in this book she writes that the idea of knitting a fair isle garment flat, instead of in the round, is “exceptionally silly.”  The pattern I found is fair isle knitted flat.  I tend to agree with that so this has had me flusterated, as Davey says.  But, I am going to just give it awhirl and see how it goes.  It may be fine.  I am already trying to substitute my colorwork for what is on the sweater.  I really don’t want to have to figure out how to knit the pattern in the round as well.  Especially since I am not the most experienced sweater knitter in the world.   I plan to cast on today.  I hope.

Finally, Davey went to a 3 hour camp at the Little Gym today.  He had a big time.  I went to the mall across the street and spend a few hours knitting and reading in Panera and then Borders.  We hadn’t both left Davey since we moved here, and I don’t leave him much anyway, so it always kind of leaves me anxious just the entire time he is away from me.  I am going to have to work on that.

So I returned about 10 minutes early to pick him up.  He saw me through the glass and ran towards me as fast as he could.  He had a very anxious expression. I could hear him yelling through the glass, “No Mommy, can’t you leave for a little while longer?  I am not ready!”  I assured him that I was going to sit and knit and we didn’t have to leave yet.  Back he went.  They were playing with bouncing balls and Miss Heather was blowing bubbles.  Then they did a fun crazy dance which was hilarious to watch.

There was a boy doing his own thing.  This consisted of rolling himself  up inside a long mat so that he was like the inside of a burrito.  I saw Davey walk over to him.  This boy was about 6 I think.  Davey spoke to him for a moment and then walked away.

When I picked Davey up, I asked him what he was talking to the boy about.  “I was telling him not to be a cheater!”  I didn’t realize that Davey knew what a cheater was.  Apparently, he’d learned that at camp.  I asked him what the boy was doing that was cheating?  “Mommy.  I don’t want to talk about that.”  Also, “Mommy, don’t ask me that.” I got a lot of this, but eventually through my sporadic persistence, he talked to me about his day.  Apparently the boy had pronounced himself to be a cheater.  Davey did not like this.  Not one bit.


Dam Beavers. I mean Beaver Dams!

I know.  Dumb joke!  I never get tired of that joke.  Or as David might call them:  Beaver Darns!

This afternoon we took Davey over to see a beaver dam.  David runs by it on his trail run, and we’ve been wanting to see it.  I am really fascinated by beaver dams.  Beavers are a hardworking bunch.  This was a dam.  A multi-generational big dam building family.  (I know.  I can’t help myself.)

We saw trees that had been chewed down by beavers – but they looked like they’d been chewed down a LONG time ago.  Here’s their result.

And here is their Lodge!


Davey liked it too.  He wanted to throw rocks.  The rocks hitting the water probably sounded like big sonic booms to the poor beavers.  (They have very keen ears!)  We tried to discourage this.

Davey really just wanted to run.  That boy loves to run.  He and Daddy ran way ahead of me.

Then he ran back to me all the while yelling, “Mommy!  Can you Hear me?”  It’s hard to get this little running blur in focus!

And then he was thirsty.  Very thirsty.