We just got back from a visit to sunny southern California, and Portland's chilly, gloomy weather has been a bit of a shock. Luckily, we eased back in with some sunshine on Monday and a trip to Salt and Straw for their yummy new Sweet Potato and Candied Pecan ice cream.
Unfortunately, we were down in LA because Patrick's Aunt Linda passed away--we flew down for her memorial service. I was tucked away in the church's toy room with the boys for most of the service, but the bits and pieces of the service that I caught were inspiring--a good reminder to love our families and enjoy our time together.
After the service, we drove down to San Diego and spent a few days with Uncle Jay (Patrick's brother) and Aunt Heather. Such gracious hosts, and their little dog Oscar was very tolerant of Felix smooching him and stealing his toys.
We got to visit the beach and spent a little time in Balboa Park (just a playground visit and a ride on their little train; going to the zoo seemed too overwhelming). This was our first time visiting Jay and Heather since they moved to San Diego five years ago; hopefully it won't take us another five years to go back. (If only it were easier/cheaper to take the boys to CA; it's so nice to spend time with our families!)
Almost a month ago, we took our second annual trip to Lee Farms in Tualatin. Same deal as last year--fresh pumpkin and apple cider donuts (note to self for next year: one bag of donuts is enough for everybody; two bags are delicious and guilt-inducing), checking out the big parked semi-truck, pretending to drive a tractor, and buying a few pumpkins for our front porch. New this year: Arlo overcame his fear of noisy tractors and went on the little cow train with Patrick. Success!
Felix just turned one and a half, and most of the time, he is super sweet and full of love. He walks around the house giving us all smooches and giggling. It's the best! Of course, he also suffers from occasional fits of pique, usually accompanied by throwing whatever hard toy is in his hand, spitting, etc. He and Arlo play off of each other--when Felix does something that's against the rules, Arlo copies him (so annoying!), and vice versa.
Felix seems feistier at this age than Arlo was, which makes me nervous about how we'll fare when he reaches the terrible twos (and threes, and beyond?). Maybe he'll mellow out once he can communicate more easily. He is gradually becoming more verbal, but he doesn't have many recognizable words yet. His newest word is "gouda," but I think he was just trying different combinations of sounds and just happened to say a real word. There was no cheese involved.
Arlo is approaching three and a half, and it continues to be a very tumultuous age. He is frequently helpful, clever, funny, and just the best little guy you could hope for. My heart swells with love and pride when I see what a good kid he is. And then there are times when he's obnoxious and out of control, and it's so hard to stay calm with him. Sometimes, I can tell when something will set him off, but other times he goes into crazy mode for no apparent reason. Three is a hard age for all of us. I feel like maybe things are slowly getting better. I guess it doesn't really matter either way; we just have to weather the storm until he grows up a little more.
For Halloween this year, Arlo chose to be an auto mechanic a few months in advance, and luckily he didn't change his mind at the last minute. I couldn't find any plain child's size coveralls, so I ordered him an Air Force pilot costume, then took off the Air Force patches and replaced them with mechanic-y patches from eBay (a Girl Scouts Car Care badge, and an "Art" embroidered name tag). I sewed a Good Year patch on a baseball cap, we gave him a wrench and a rag, and he was good to go.
We recycled Arlo's Huckle Cat costume for Felix, and I went as Wonder Woman. I made myself a sleeveless, shortened Macaron dress in the appropriate fabrics, with the Wonder Woman logo added via freezer-paper stenciling after I'd finished the dress. The vintage gold belt and cuffs and tiara were from Etsy, and I decided to buy red rain boots instead of normal boots so I could get some use out of them after Halloween. At the last minute, I knit an i-cord Lasso of Truth too. (I kind of want to make myself an everyday dress out of that blue and white star fabric--it's so fun!)
The Macaron pattern seems like a great option if you want a costume that looks strapless but has a little extra coverage (say, if instead of going to a grown-up Halloween party, you're parading with small children five blocks to a park and then doing limited trick-or-treating with your 3-year-old). I was originally considering dressing up as Marge Simpson, and the Macaron pattern would work great for her dress as well. Oh, the possibilities!
Soon after Halloween, I made myself a much plainer Macaron out of black yarn-dyed Essex linen blend (it only took 2.5 yards of fabric to make the dress all in one color). This one is sleeveless too, and I finished the neck and armholes with bias tape, since the facing on my first Macaron kind of bugs me. I lined the skirt with a yard of lining fabric from my stash, which worked well. I really like this dress, and I'm planning on making a couple more. Pockets!
I had just enough fabric left over from my dress to make Arlo a pair of Oliver + S sketchbook pants in size 3T (this is the shorts pattern lengthened by ~7 inches). He much prefers his comfy sweatpants, but he doesn't flat out abhor these new pants, so that's something.
Speaking of handmade clothing items that Arlo begrudgingly wore once and probably won't wear again, I finally finished knitting him a larger version of the Baby Sophisticate shawl-collar sweater. While I was knitting it, he refused to try it on at all (and in fact went running out the room wailing every time I approached him with a sleeve--I don't know what that was all about). So I decided to skip the nice leather buttons I'd been planning on, and instead I ordered vehicle buttons on Etsy, in hopes of convincing him that it wasn't such a bad sweater. He loves the buttons, but they're not sufficient to get him to wear the sweater on a regular basis. He would prefer that I take them off of the sweater so he can stuff them in his little toy mail truck and pretend they're packages. I suppose that is more fun than wearing a scratchy wool sweater.
And here are links to two tasty recipes, plus a picture of some recent pumpkin bread (recipe from the Tartine cookbook, added dried cranberries and pecans). Yum!
- Miso sweet potato and broccoli bowl - healthy and tasty; the recipe made more dressing than we needed
- Cowboy beans - Delicious! These take a long time, but they're easy to put together. Instead of using the crockpot, I brought unsoaked beans, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil, then I baked them (covered) in a 300F oven for 2 hours. I halved the amount of bacon, and you could probably reduce it even more. Served with cornmeal waffles and salad