I have always liked taking photos of people from behind and walking away. Most of my photos from this month are variations on that theme. I like how the photos of Adrian and his two friends portray a sense of their friendships. They aren’t aware that I’m taking their photo, so the pictures are quite natural.
This was an easy theme to photograph although as usual, my photos are more about the stories and less about the technical mastery of the subjects. My 4 year old is at a perfect age for Christmas and was excited about everything, giving and receiving. These photos center around him giving and getting presents on Christmas day. But the baby is also a bit of a gift, especially after some pregnancy challenges before he came along. So his first Christmas was certainly a celebration of him as well.
This is Fraser’s “official” 10 month photo taken on December 5th (or maybe 6th). He is quite a gift, a fun, happy, healthy boy, who keeps us on our toes and amused most of the time.
I think that Fraser was amazed at Mt. Present on Christmas morning. We had both branches of the family celebrating with us, so there were a lot of gifts under our tree. Fraser made a bee-line for them and just climbed on up! (this is the first photo in a series).
The 4 yr old is not that great at smiling on command yet, but I love this photo of him with his big present from Santa. (Santa is a terrible wrapper and next year will have to do a better job!) – The gift from Santa was ordered online and arrived at noon on Christmas eve. Santa’s helpers were relieved!
We want to encourage the 4 yr old to enjoy giving as well as receiving, so encouraged him to give some gifts. He (With help from dad) made a comic book for his comic book loving uncle. It didn’t really have a plot, but was all kinds of awesome like a story by someone who’s 4 can only be. Uncle Paul was thrilled of course!
You can bet that Grandpa was surprised to receive a squash from Adrian! My mom had said that Grandpa really liked squash in an attempt to get Adrian to eat some the week before. That didn’t work, but he did decide that the perfect gift for Grandpa would be a squash. He picked it out himself at the grocery store. Grandpa was suitably pleased.
Optimus Prime was the gift from Santa and was just as appreciated as we’d hoped it would be. The Iron Man costume (purchased on sale the week after Hallowe’en was also a hit.)
My mother-in-law is an amazing quilter and made us this beautiful advent calendar. I look forward to filling it up for the boys every year. Adrian was so thrilled and amazed by it at the beginning of December that he changed where his chair went in the dining room so that he could look at the Advent Calendar the entire time he was eating his meals. We were able to take a beautiful video of him telling his Granny how he “loved it so much”.
I also got a gift from Adrian who apparently looked at everything in the dollar store and picked this out for me because it was the most beautiful thing in the store. It’s a star for the top of our tree (which doesn’t currently have a proper tree topper). He was so excited about the present and managed to keep it a secret from me for 4 days. Needless to say I love it, in all its ridiculousness and yes, next year, it will be on the top of our Christmas tree and for many years to come I imagine!
It’s been a hiatus of over a year since I blogged about sweaters or anything other than photos. My free time has been spent on other creative pursuits without taking the time to document them. Here at long last, I continue my sweater retrospective. There are a few more to go. However: the babies seem to be slowing down, so perhaps I will finish this project after all.
This sweater continued on my previous theme of making a sweater with the specific interests of the parents in mind. It was fun to design and relatively easy to knit since I only used two colours and it was largely a fair isle type design. There were not many ends to weave in at the end and many really long floats.
The design has skiiers, and bikes for the parents favourite outdoor activities and bird for the dad’s academic pursuits and flowers and bugs for the mom, who studies pollination. I love the red colour. As usual, I was knitting this without knowing if the baby would be a girl or a boy. It ended up being for a little boy.
I really liked the idea for the February photo challenge: Here’s the quote from the e-mail that was sent out –
I had fun keeping my eye out for illustrations of this month’s challenge. I also enjoyed using my fixed lens a bit and attempting to improve my shooting using that lens.
I tried to have the camera at the ready, and didn’t want to resort to iPod photos… but I did miss the best “out of place” incident of the month. The boy was helping me make granola. We had a big roasting tin full of oats, coconut, sesame seeds, etc. While I was busy getting the rest of the ingredients together… his fork-lift driver was drowning in the oats and being buried under it all. I had to sift through that very carefully before putting it into the oven to make sure there were no little play-mobil gloves, hats, etc. in the granola. I probably should have run up for the camera for that one… but you’ll just have to imagine it.
Thanks again for a great topic and a fun challenge.
Part VI… I’m going to get beyond my ability to write Roman Numerals before too long! (I’ll just have to switch to Arabic at that point, since I haven’t been big on consistency in these titles anyhow, it shouldn’t matter)
My next sweater project was a bit of a re-do of a previous one. I had enough yarn from the first project to make another sweater of the same type, and by this time I had a little baby of my own (who sadly doesn’t have a custom knit sweater from his momma! – I made the bike train while I was pregnant with him, and finished it off when my parents came to visit just after the Boy was born – then I didn’t knit again for months). Because I didn’t have a lot of time for knitting or creativity in the early momma days, I took the sweater from part III (https://simoneinottawa.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/knitting-the-retrospective-part-iii/) and changed it a bit to customize it for these friends. I liked designing and making sweater III as well as the finished product and I was not sad to do a version of it again.
Notable changes include the addition of a row of bikes (now that I finally had a little bike chart – I was going to add it to as many projects as I could!) as well as the addition of a row of “antique saws” – to fit in with a particular hobby of the dad. The fish stayed, (this friend is a Fisheries scientist), as do the skiers, (this friend also LOVES to ski). The house is also significant for this couple as well. The first time we met my friend’s boyfriend (who became her husband and father of her child) he was offering to sweep out the chimneys of the house that she had bought and was living in and trying to maintain on her own. I don’t know if she knew it then, but at that moment I knew that he was a keeper.
I had a little bit of yarn left, so I knit a hat. It was supposed to be for my Boy, but it was too small, so it was sent out west with the sweater. It is not a wonderful hat at all. It’s a bit tall, and a bit bunchy, especially where the bikes were. In order to better maintain the tension, it should have been either all fair isle, or all stripes with no fair isle. But as I’ve said before, I learn something new every time I make a sweater. I think that their boy wore it a few times before he grew out of it!
I have no photos of the sweater being worn by its owner – but I’m sure he looked very cute.
The best thing (Ok, one of many, many great things) about the improved weather we’ve been having has been getting out on my bike with The Boy. I didn’t bike much with him last year for various technical reasons (insert boring story about bike frame and incompatible trailer hitch here). This summer, I want to use my bike for far more trips, like I did in Vancouver – before I had a car. So far – so – good! the Boy and I have been having a great time. Going on out with the bike significantly increases the places that we can visit within a close radius to home. We try to walk a lot and we drive too – but there are some places that are difficult to drive to (they aren’t actually accessible by car – or they are too close to justify the drive) but too far to walk (without the walk taking up all the time and leaving no time to “be” at the destination ); this is where biking can be perfect.
For example: on exercise mornings we can bike to the Y and then after we were done we can bike to Dow’s Lake to look for ducks or to throw pine cones in the water, and to look at the tulips and flowering trees.
I can honestly say that these little trips have been some of my favourite times as a parent. The Boy is very interested in what’s around him, enjoys riding in the trailer, and is thrilled about seeing the river and ducks, all of which are still very new to him.
One morning we sat on the edge on the shore where the canal meets the Ottawa River and talked about what we were seeing for almost an hour, the ducks, the crane at the Art Gallery, the high water, the sound of the cars going over the Alexandria Bridge (Mommy, what is that noise?”) and the Aquabus that came along full of tourists – (if you want to capture the imagination of a two year old – tell him that the boat he’s seeing is actually a “bus-boat” that can drive on land and in the water!)
Another time we went up to the arboretum and spent a long time watching ducks swimming, listening to the frogs, just observing.
And all of this is possible on a bike. I feel like we have an infinite number of places we can explore on the bike that were just a little bit out of reach on foot – and that my eco-guilt doesn’t always let me visit in the car – or that are tough to get to by car as well. When you think about it, Ottawa has a lot of waterfront and almost all of it (at least in the centre of town) is accessible by bike paths. We could choose a different direction to explore every day for weeks and still find new places to go.
All photos are taken on the iPod – which is easier to carry while cycling – but sometimes leaves a bit to desire in the quality department.