Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

9 days with my nephews

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011


At Christmas time, my dad’s gift to me was a ticket to visit my sister in Texas after her second baby was born in March. April was a busy month, we moved! But early May was perfect for my visit.

My sister SS lives with her family in The Woodlands, a planned community north of Houston. She has two boys; JWS is going to be two years old in June, and JNS was born on March 30th so he was living his 6th and 7th weeks while I was there. Both of my nephews are at very fun ages! JW loves to play, play, play. He likes to read books, mostly so he can turn the pages, and put together puzzles, play with balls and cars, go to the park, and most of all he loves Technology. He’s an expert at scrolling his dad’s iPhone with his chubby little index finger, and he’s always happy to look at photos, videos, and listen to music on the computer or TV. He had a little toy camera that he would pull out whenever I had mine in hand and we would take pictures of each other and with each other. Even the cheap little calculator I keep in my knitting bag was good for some intense button-pushing and number-clearing. His favorite word is “More,” with the accompanying baby-sign-language gesture of tapping all fingertips together. (Meaning, more crackers, do that trick again, let’s watch another video.) He also says “baby,” “cracker,” “juice,” “bubble,” and of course “Mom” and “Dad.” I tried to get him to say “Aunt KT” but he didn’t quite get there.


JN is a perfect little bundle of baby. He has a pointy little nose, pointy little chin, and expressive eyebrows. Most of the time he looks very serious, but he is starting to give some heart-melting toothless baby grins. He likes to wave his hands around, kick his legs, and he made some excellent progress in the holding-up-his-head department during my visit. I knitted him a stuffed turtle, which my sister named Herman.

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On our way to the park. The neighborhood is picture-perfect.


Along the path. Lots of pretty trees. I went jogging here in the mornings.

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Part of the “big deal” about me visiting Texas was the very different climate! I packed very light – just threw some cotton dresses, tops, and shorts into one of those good-sized carry-on bags. When I arrived, it was already quite warm and humid. My sister’s home is of course air-conditioned, and they have a pool. But to my Oregonized constitution, it definitely felt like summer outside. I got up early to go running before it got too sticky. Then, halfway through my visit, we had a big thunder storm with downpour of rain. That was exciting! And the best part was, the weather was beautiful and non-humid for the rest of my visit. This sunset was made even more enjoyable by the fact that I sat on the driveway in flip-flops to watch it.


JW and I got to play outside a lot, in the yard and at the park.

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JN is too little to play at the park, but he liked his activity mat, especially when his big brother would turn on the lights and music and Auntie would swing the hanging toys for him. He kicked the crinkly sound-maker all by himself. Who can resist a tiny person in a T-shirt that says, “Hi, I’m new here.”


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The day before I left we took an excursion to the Woodlands Town Center. It’s sort of downtown-ish, with lots of shopping in a sort of outdoor-mall style. We got sandwiches and ate them outside. It was lovely in the shade.



The Woodlands Town Center. It's like a big outdoor mall.

There’s a waterfront area with boats, birds, and fish to look at. JWS would have trotted all around the nearby arena if I’d let him.

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All in all, it was such a wonderful trip. I had a great time visiting with my sister and just hanging out in her life. We hadn’t had so much time together since we both lived at home with our parents, and so much is different now! We had some major catching up to do. I really enjoyed just playing with JW, holding JN, and helping her with their care. I also enjoyed cooking in her enormous kitchen.

Thanks, Dad, it was a gift I will always treasure.




Catching Up

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Well, hello 2011! The holiday dust is still settling this week, since we only got back from California last weekend. But here we are, a new year. I wonder what the future holds.

BN is no longer a teacher, so we didn’t have to organize our vacation around the academic schedule. I had done hardly any work until the week after Thanksgiving, so I was willing and in fact eager to continue to work through the holidays. BN found me a MacBook Pro on Craigslist, and I was able to stay on top of my current projects while we were visiting our families in San Jose for a little more than 3 weeks. That worked out nicely – I had enough to do that it felt gratifying, but not so much that I had to neglect family time. On Monday, the first day back at my desk, the laptop died. It no longer starts up, except a few times randomly, and soon runs into trouble with monitor flickering and things seizing up. Oh, dear. Luckily we were able to connect it up to our old computer and get the files off of the hard disk.

It seems that iPhoto changed how they do things, so we couldn’t figure out how to get the photos that we took during the trip. We’re working on it… In the meantime, here are some borrowed from my Dad.

I made a wreath for my Mom, at Bloomers Nursery in Eugene.

I made a wreath for my Mom, at Bloomer's Nursery in Eugene.

I was so happy to get some quality time with my two little nephews. They are growing so fast!

GJW is 10 months old and totally adorable. He started crawling during our visit.

GJW is 10 months old and totally adorable. He started crawling during our visit.

JWS is 18 months. He still doesnt have much hair but so smart! He loves books. Here I am cracking up because he thought a coaster was a book and kept trying to turn the pages.

JWS is 18 months. He loves books. Here I am cracking up because he thought a coaster was a book and kept trying to turn the pages.

How many nephews in this picture? 3! My sister is expecting JWSs little brother in March.

How many nephews in this picture? 3! My sister is expecting JWS's little brother in March.

My dad drew my name for this year. He gave me a lovely ceramic bowl, two skeins of Mini Mochi, and a ticket to visit my sister in Houston after her baby is born. What a wonderful gift!

I drew my sister MA’s name, and I knitted her a sweater. It’s 100% organic merino wool, hand-dyed by Textiles A Mano.


Our visit included some crafty endeavors, too – HN and I made glycerin soap. You should try this – we worked from a kit and simply melted the soap in the microwave, tinted it, and poured it in molds. We then cut chunks and shapes, put them back in the molds, and poured more soap in. Fun, fun, fun!


Short but Sweet

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

That was my summer. Not that it’s totally over – I’m going to savor any more warm weather we may get – but it really did seem to go by quickly this year.

BN and I took a few camping trips earlier in the summer. That was nice, to get away. I’m happy to announce that BN completed his PhD in Math from the U of O! I am very proud of him for sticking with it through thick and thin, mostly thin, and I’m excited to see what’s next for us. We are moving out of Student Housing week after next, to a place north of downtown but still close enough for bike rides to the market, library, etc. BN will be job-hunting, and then it’s pretty wide open where we could end up.

My sister GC came to visit us. She was here during BN’s big thesis defense presentation, so she joined us in celebrating by swimming, camping, whitewater rafting, and blueberry picking. That was a ton of fun.


Then we went camping in Lassen with my parents and my 4 youngest siblings.






One of the major highlights was hiking to the Mount Lassen Summit in time to see the sunrise.

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We also rock climbed…

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… played games, made music, swam in the lake, hiked around, and generally had a wonderful time.



Thursday, May 13th, 2010

… is a word that BN coined for referring collectively to Nieces and Nephews. I have a new nephew, my brother’s son GJW. It was a long two months waiting to meet him, I was sustained in the meantime by adorable pics that my sister-in-law posted on Facebook. He is a handsome little guy, I wish I had taken more photos of him and captured one of his beautiful smiles. I was too busy watching him to be snappy with the camera, I guess. Here he is with his Dad, and in Grandma’s swing that was rigged up with extra padding – a surefire nap-inducing trick.

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I also got to catch up with JWS, my sister’s 10-month-old big boy. He’s grown a lot since we saw him at Christmas, he’s got teeth… but still no hair. I love his round blue eyes and the way he waves his hands around. What a charmer.

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And Little Miss EAA, BN’s brother’s daughter, is a busy 14 months now. She is always on the move, with no time for baby toys. Dog dishes and toothbrushes are more her style. She is so cute and spunky!

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A Day in Portland

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

We had my 15-year-old sister visit us in early May. She flew into Portland and the three of us spent the day there together.

We went to Hoyt Arboretum.

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We saw a bunny, who reminded HN of her dear departed Toby.

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We saw lovely moss-covered scenery and native wildflowers.

We had tacos for lunch and walked around downtown. We were amused at this dire warning to those who would ride their bikes over the streetcar tracks.


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In the late afternoon we took the streetcar to see Cirque Du Soleil KOOZA!


It was an amazing show. After a yummy pasta dinner we made our way home to Eugene, looking forward to a whole week with HN.

A Puppy for my Nephew

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

My brother has a son! GJW was born on February 27th. From the photos I’ve seen, he’s adorable and making a splash among the family. I’m anxiously looking forward to meeting him in person. I already mailed him his gift, however.

Based on Otto by Ysolda Teague

Based on Otto by Ysolda Teague

After I decided to make a stuffed animal for the boy, I was reminded of how much fun my brother and I had as children, playing with our cherished stuffed animals. We would spend hours, each with our favorite “character,” pretending wild adventures in the backyard. I hope GJ has just as much fun with his puppy pal.


Ravelry link

My Nephew At Christmas

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

JWS is 6 months old. This was his first Christmas. We didn’t see him until Christmas Eve, because during the first week of our visit he and his wonderful parents were in Arizona visiting his other grandparents. Once he reappeared on the scene, though, the cameras started snapping.


He’s too young to be talking but he likes to communicate with his tongue. This means, Hi, Look at Me!

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We witnessed an early experiment with feeding him rice cereal.


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Christmas Eve had not a dull moment, with so many aunties

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and even Mom to give him attention.


He was determined not to miss a single moment. In fact, he refused to take an evening nap (Why would Mommy and Daddy think I’d be able to sleep with a party going on downstairs?) But, he behaved very well for the most part, and stole the show in his starring role.

Lest you think that I didn’t take photos of anyone else unless they were holding JW, here are some other scenes from our Christmas Eve party (hosted by my brother and his wife in their lovely new home.)

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I’m excited for next year – another nephew is on the way!


Christmas Presents

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Here are some highlights of the gifts my family exchanged this year.

SS, super-creative crafty mama, gave GC a handmade owl pillow and and assortment of other sleepy-time themed goodies.


GC gave HN an awesome hi-tech camera, to fuel the passion of our budding photographer. It was quite a surprise because GC hid it inside of a large box.

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Baby J got many presents, of course, from his adoring aunties and uncles. He especially liked the book about the lost mitten. It was delicious.

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GC gave RC a jello fishbowl that she had made, with blue jello and gummy candy fish.

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BN made a clever photo holder for HN. After shopping around Santa Cruz, he couldn’t find anything like what he was looking for so he decided to make it himself.

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And… MA knit me an afghan!!!!!! Tears came to my eyes as I was opening it because as a knitter, I know that afghans are like the marathon of knitting. She drew my name last year in our exchange and she worked on it all year, for me. It’s beautiful – lofty, squishy, and warm. Definitely one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received.


I did quite a bit of knitting for Christmas gifts, myself. I knitted a February Lady Sweater for SS: (Ravelry Link)

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A pair of socks for BN: (Ravelry Link)


And baby socks for the babies: My brother’s son, expected in February; JWS, currently the most-photographed-baby on my side of the family; and our little princess EAA (she hates socks, unfortunately.) (Ravelry Link)

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Christmas Pageant

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.


So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.


While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

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An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.


When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 


But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.


The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Niece At Christmas

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

EAA is nine months old. This was her first Christmas. Highlights of our visits with her (and her awesome parents) included:

High-fiving Uncle B

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Taking Miss G. Beagle to the dog park


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Going to Christmas in the Park (a San Jose tradition since the 1970s)

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Drinking water out of Daddy’s glass

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Exploring at Grandma’s – under the tree, the winter-wonderland singing centerpiece, and playing piano.

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We also got to visit with some friends who are newly mutual – J&M met our friends M&A when they were in birth classes before the arrival of their daughters. E’s meeting with KGP got off to a bit of a rocky start but with some diplomacy on the part of their parents, they ended up getting along well.


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