Happy Harry Potter Friday!

Here’s a quick post I’ve been meaning to write all week… We’re big Harry Potter fans in this house. While I read the first book not so long after it came out — and saw the first movie with some friends, including Brenda and her kids, the oldest of which is now a sophomore in college — I decided to wait to read the series with Izzy.

We started when Izzy was in kindergarten, and had just finished Sorcerer’s Stone when we set off to visit my sister in England over Thanksgiving. Karen, for those who don’t know her, is the biggest HP fan I know. She actually did all the paperwork and jumped through all the hoops so she could be selected to take a group of her college art students to Oxford for a semester. So there was no need for us to hire a tour guide, we had the best one all to ourselves. Here she is with Izzy in the Christ Church dining hall that inspired the Great Hall.

Izzy and I finished the Harry Potter series, starting Deathly Hallows just weeks after it was published. But the love affair hardly ended there. At this point, I’ve lost count of the number of times Izzy has checked out the books and audio books. As for the movies, let’s just say our DVR queue holds space for little else…

Two summers ago, right after we’d moved to ABQ, we went to Chicago to see the Harry Potter exhibit, meeting up with Karen and her husband, Dean. Luckily the Weasley’s car was located outside of the exhibit, giving us at least one good photo op from the visit. And tucked under Izzy’s arm is the Hermione poster that’s now the focal point of her room.

Given this history, it seemed absolutely necessary to take today as a vacation day from work. Izzy and I are now headed out for a celebratory breakfast, then off to the theater early to wait in line with our pre-purchased tickets. And (I buried the lead), I’ve packed a knitting project along for the wait outside and inside the theater. Dumbledore, himself, said it best, “I do love knitting patterns!”

Puppy-Sized Update

Why don’t I just carry the theme forward and begin this post with: How can it be May already? That’s certainly a lot easier than explaining where the past three months have gone. And since it’s Friday, that’s really all I have the bandwith for.Violet turned one a few weeks back and Izzy fretted long and hard, determined to make it “her best birthday EVER.” I tried to take the pressure off by interjecting that, honestly, the bar was low. First birthday.

Kid was havin’ none of it. She wrapped and rewrapped the chewtoy several times. It’d be fun to watch Violet tear through wrapping paper. Then again, a gift bag is so much…more. At least the cake was an easy decision — a “pupcake” from our local cupcake emporium, complete with a mini bone on top.

Here’s how the celebration played out from Violet’s point of view.

Hey, whatever this is about, swear it wasn’t me.
  
Maybe they didn’t find that chewed sock under the bed…
 
Frosting!
 
 
Is that what I think it is?
 
Toy, what toy? There’s tissue paper to play with!
More than anything, isn’t it comforting that first birthdays are all the same?

Super Dog, Super Kid

Nine years ago today, Isabel and I flew home together from Guatemala and our adventure officially began. (The photo’s what went out with my announcements, taken about a week after we were back in Maryland. And because this is a knitting blog and someone is bound to ask, yes, I did make the sweater she’s wearing.)

I still feel the way I did on that day, like I won “baby lotto.” Can’t believe the universe brought this funny, sweet, firecracker of a kid to me. And while life as a single mother can be harder than I ever imagined, I wouldn’t trade a single moment. (Yes, even emergency room earache visits and tween tantrums.)

Recently, we were laughing about the small-but-mighty Violet, who has taken to ferociously barking whenever a large truck or semi drives along the road behind our house. One look at her in action, and it’s clear Violet believes she can take down a ton for each of her 11 pounds. From there, Izzy made the leap that Violet needed her own superhero cape, and set about designing and making one with the mini sewing machine she got for Christmas.

Yep, I’ve been blessed with quite the dynamic duo.

A Tale of Two Christmases

Last year, Izzy and I hosted Christmas in Albuquerque for my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. We were in high holiday mode, with every ornament we had making its way onto the tree and lots of new paper chains and snowflakes filling the house. Batch upon batch of cookies were made. And the baking and decorating continued after their arrival, with me making from scratch (for the first time) the gingerbread pieces for five houses (Grandpa preferred to supervise construction and sample the candy adornments).

This year was far more Dickensian in spirit. The holiday season began with Izzy awaking Thanksgiving morn with a raging stomach flu that pushed our turkey dinner to the following weekend. Then a new initiative at work continued to consume a good 60+ hours/week straight through to our plane’s departure for Minnesota on December 23. One secret holiday knitting project was finished and blocked just days before we left, but the other went with me on the plane and kept me busy through December 27 — the day before I saw the recipient — and got blocked on a spare bed at my parents’. (Nothing like cutting it close!) The tree never made it out of storage. We threw a wreath on the front door, pulled out the Christmas doormat, and called it a day. In an attempt to provide some festivity for Izzy, we purchased Trader Joe’s Really Big Gingerbread Man Kit. Poor guy didn’t even make his way onto the good dishes.