Weekend with Bernie

This blog is about four little Iowans, so I’m thinking it’s safe to say readers realize I live in Iowa.  As an Iowa transplant (Wisconsinite by birth!) I am all caught up as of late in the crazy that is the presidential nomination season.  Coralee, Brian, Harmon and I went to see Bernie Sanders speak on Saturday in Manchester, Iowa.  None of us has actually ever attended a single campaign event EVER.  I find that pathetic as I take voting very very seriously.  So, despite the fact we have a slightly colicky 8 week old, I was determined to see at least one candidate in the flesh speak this go-around.  I’m not endorsing anyone yet, but I’m leaning towards Bernie.  I think. I don’t know!  My mind changes by the minute.  Hopefully I’ll figure it out before I caucus tomorrow night (with Harmon in tow, could be very interesting).  Here’s an explanation of the Iowa caucus in case you’ve ever wondered what in the blazes it is we do here every two years (yes, two).  Happy Caucus Eve!
This afternoon Brian and I went for a hike around our property with June and Harmon.  June led the way & she is a really good navigator!  Took us to all her “haunts” such as the place where “the owl killed the bird” (we think it was one of our neighbor’s farm ducks, yikes!).  The weather was quite warm, but breezy.  There is supposedly a giant snowstorm on the way scheduled to hit Monday evening late…I’ll believe it when I see it! 
 Not sure what the face I’m making is all about!  Harmon did really well bundled up in his Tula.

 I visited our filthy chicken run (by way of wading through the muddy moat) to check out Coralee’s show chicken for Fair this year. This is Frost all grown up and all filthy!  She is going to be a lesson in patience for Coralee keeping those feathers of hers constantly cleaned and groomed come the Benton County Fair in July…but Coralee’s definitely a thoughtful, purposeful, deliberate person like her Daddy, so I have no doubt she’ll do great!

Not much left in the slop bucket for you, Frost!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

UPDATE: I did indeed caucus for Bernie, but, unfortunately, in my precinct of roughly 70ish folks, Bernie only carried enough votes for 1 state convention delegate to Hillary’s 3.  The lone person that wanted to caucus for O’Malley went with Hillary almost instantly.  My county overall went Hillary.  The statistical tie between the two candidates overall in Iowa, however, is quite exciting!  I definitely think my vote mattered & the race is on!  In terms of the blizzard bearing down on Iowa, Storm Kayla is proving a flop where I live.  We might get an inch or two of snow and then rain after that…bother.

Caucusing in a school library.




Giveaway! Aviatrix Cap No.5


In honor of Harmon smiling for the first time today (yippee!), I would like to give away his Aviatrix No.5 knit in sumptuous Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns ‘100% Baby Alpaca’ in a green-yellow colorway with a baby blue vintage button (& two button holes for adjusting).  Harmon will not wear alpaca, but I would love for someone’s baby to wear this cap & I don’t know anyone currently pregnant or with a new baby right now.  The color is a bit different, but the yarn is soft & the cap construction is one of my favorites.  Harmon has a fairly large head for an almost-two-month-old & this fits with room to grow.  I’m going to peg this at a 3-6 months+ sized cap–it all really depends on your baby’s noggin.

If you have a little baby in your life (or about to have one!) whom you think would love this cap, please comment below!  Comments will close & a winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 5, 2016 at midnight (I’m positive I’ll be up, ha!).  The winner will be notified via email & announced within this post–so please don’t comment ‘Anonymous’ if you’d like to win.  I will mail the cap (shells & jar not included) for free anywhere in the world!  If only one person comments before next Friday, hey, you win automatically!

Happy Friday! ❤ ❤ ❤

Comments are Closed & the winner is #3–Katharine Blair!  Please email me, Katharine, at ellamaeknits AT gmail DOT com & I will get this Aviatrix on its way to you!  Thank you to everyone who commented!

First Smile!

Following a multiple-diaper-changes morning consisting of grunting, snorting, oinking, squeaking, gurgling, etc (you get the picture), we were rewarded with Harmon’s first real smile!  We’ve been catching him sort of smiling for a few days, but I’m calling it–this is it!  Hooray!  (Eight weeks old this past Tuesday.)

A Very Happy Harmon Hunter!

Yarn Along {not much doing}


Not much knitting happened this past week, nor reading.  I am *almost* finished reading Kingbird Highway.  My enjoyment of this book increases with each passing chapter.  Kaufman’s trip to Alaska has been my favorite section thus far.  I am up to the middle chapters of Silent Spring & continue to work on the study guide for it as I go along (as part of Coralee’s homeschool curriculum).  No.6 Aviatrix ravelry notes here.


It snowed Monday evening three whole inches!  I know, that’s nothing compared to the 40+ received on the East Coast this past weekend, but we’ve had very little snow this winter in Iowa.  Three inches may be paltry, but it didn’t seem to stop the roads from going to pot around here…I barely got Merritt to the bus Tuesday morning as our rural road was still not plowed & my little Ford Focus is so low to the ground.


Early morning–pardon my everything!

Here’s the reason not much doing around here…Harmon has been getting, I’m afraid to admit, colicky.  Merritt had TRUE COLIC for almost a year as a baby, so I don’t want to say Harmon has colic if he’s just having a string of bad days.  I’m not sure what is going on at this point.  He’s definitely possibly heading that way…every evening, like clockwork, for the last week he shrieks, screams, bawls, you name it, he’s not happy & wants us to know it for over three hours.  He won’t nurse during these fits at all which isn’t helping.  He’s been sleeping on me for most of the night, too.  He will not sleep any other way…


Waking up is like exiting a tornado.  I know we slept, but I feel worn out & obviously he does, too.  He rubs his face on me all night & that leads to some rash flare-up by morning.


He seems to need constant attention all day in order to be happy.  He does have some happy moments, but still no smiles.


Not much napping &, therefore, not much knitting.


Trying to enjoy the present with an eye to the future & fingers crossed we don’t enter true colic territory…I’ve been there, I would prefer no repeat visits!

Joining in with Ginny.

ikabags review {& a thank you!}

IMG_1805[1]My parents gifted me an Etsy gift certificate for Christmas this year–one of the best gifts I’ve ever received at Christmas!  I could spend hours perusing the shops on the site…favoriting lovely things & creating treasury lists…I guess it’s my version of Pinterest as I do not use any social media outside of WordPress.  Anytime I need a special gift for someone, to Etsy I go!  I’ve had my eye on an ikabag since before June was born, but never purchased mostly due to the price & the international shipping charges.  These bags are made in Paris, France by a one-woman show.  The craftsmanship is excellent.  She doesn’t cut corners anywhere.  The material is sturdy, but machine-washable, as well as water-resistant & ironable.  The leather strap (I chose blue) is detachable & is worn across the body messenger-style.  There are ten pockets inside made of waterproof cotton & a clip to attach your keys.  I’m in love with this bag & so happy I was able to purchase one with my last little one.  I’ve had far too many diaper bags & “diaper bags” to count starting back in 2002 with my first baby.  I truly think I’ve settled, finally, on a bag I like & will use.

Thank you so much, Mom & Dad! xxoIMG_1801[1]

This is how the package arrived (it took roughly a week once it shipped & only a few days to ship once my order was placed, even with the alterations and add-ons I made).  Isn’t the presentation beautiful?  The dried branch smelled divine!  No clue what it is, something French!IMG_1800[1]




I can fit all this (& probably more) inside with ease.  My bins lay on top of everything so I didn’t include those in the stuffed photo below.  Harmon is mostly using disposable diapers when we go out for extended periods of time…eventually we will switch over to all cloth (once he stops pooping 12+ times a day!) & fitting his cloth diapers inside will be no problem.  I’m thinking I could comfortably go out with 3-4 of his fluffy newborn fitteds/prefolds and a couple wool covers (in addition to all pictured above).IMG_1808[1]

I LOVE when a bag stands up on its own!

I chose an inside zippered pocket as an add-on.  This is the only zipper.  The top is held together with a sturdy snap (it’s heavy-duty).  I inadvertently got some dirt on the back of the bag from the siding while photographing it & it wiped clean off with ease!  I am a clean freak, but I have no worries that this bag will not stay clean, especially since its machine-washable.IMG_1806[1]

Link to the shop here.  She has over 100 bags to choose from–different fabrics, shapes, sizes, etc.

ikabags are not marketed exclusively as diaper/nappy bags.  This bag will rock as a knitting bag once the babies grow up around here, but I can wait awhile for those days.

Shameless baby pic to end.  (I realize it’s silly all the things we think we need when we have a baby…)


Thank you, Nana & Papa Hammond!

How we homeschool in the fourth trimester…

  My side table, pardon the tissue–real life.  If you happen upon Harmon’s missing SmartWool sock, please text me!June waiting patiently for lunch while Coralee & I finish our discussion. 
Multi-tasking.  Coralee discussing her reactions to chapter one of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring with me in the nursing chair in my bedroom.  Most of our fourth trimester days seem to be spent in this space.
  June rocked Harmon to sleep all by herself!
  [My all-time favorite newborn outfit…I will be so sad when he outgrows it.  My cousin from Oklahoma passed it down to me for Merritt in 2005, but the weather was too warm for him to ever wear it.  It’s quilted & so cozysquishyyummysoft.]
Research.  Coralee began working on her Junior Duck Stamp entry this week.  Lots of art going on in our fourth trimester days because it’s plain old easy & requires little input/prep from me.
We’re focusing on art/writing, chemistry, and lit for the rest of this winter.  Online Lightning Lit 8 starts next month.  Silent Spring is part of her chem work but obviously falls across multiple subjects.  I’ve created a study guide by utilizing various sources as well as my own work.  I’ve only typed it up through chapter 3 so it’s a work in progress, but you’re welcome to it here and here if you like–good for middle school+.  The formatting is really wonky in the upload, if you leave a comment with your info I can email the pdfs directly.

Trickier days ahead as my daycare child starts back with us February 1st…to be continued…

Yarn Along {my baby is a yarn snob, but he got a ‘sprinkle’ anyway}

I finished Harmon’s third Aviatrix cap over the weekend–made with Blue Sky Alpacas 100% sport weight baby alpaca in a now-discontinued yellow-green shade.  He did not like his first Aviatrix in Knit Pick’s Peruvian Wool.  Not at all.  Ok.  I knit his second in Quince & Co Chickadee–he liked that well enough, but it was just a trifle small.  Cap #3 fits great with room, but, well, below has been his reaction EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I put it on him…  He screams, rubs his face and head on stuff, tosses about…generally acts a fool until I take it off.  I’ve put his Quince & Co Aviatrix (in the colorway Belize) on his large noggin every time we’ve left the house over the course of the past week–which amounts to dozens of times due to school runs, band runs, jazz band runs, grocery runs, library runs, doctor runs…my body could use an actual run at this point–he hasn’t had an averse reaction to it once.  Not once.  So he likes his Quince & Co cap, but it’s too small…
So, of course, I cast on another Aviatrix.  Harmon’s fourth (not including the two I knit prior to his birth for his going-home outfit).  This time I’m using Quince & Co Chickadee in the color Peacoat & knitting one size larger than his Belize cap.  I also have a skein of Quince & Co Lark in Peacoat (& one in Honey) waiting in the wings.  Hoping to knit up a couple Cobblestone Baby Vests once Harmon finally has a cap that fits.  And doesn’t make him scream like an adorable banshee.

I’m about halfway through Kingbird Highway and I am hooked.  It’s a great read.  I hope to write a review of it next week.  If you like to bird, you will love this book.  If you want to go on an armchair adventure, you will love this book.  If you tend to find that the ride is often more fun than the destination, you will love this book.Here is Harmon after I took off his third Aviatrix on Tuesday.  No harm done, but never again.  I guess being a Quince & Co yarn snob isn’t so bad…it sure makes my life fantastic!  My baby will only wear my favorite yarn!   Such a problem to have… 😉
My knitting group friends (and mostly former coworkers) threw a surprise “sprinkle” for Harmon & me this past week during our knit night.  SO SWEET of those ladies!  I love them all so much.  A “sprinkle,” I have learned from BabyCenter, is a light shower–instead of “showering” a new mother with gifts, you “sprinkle” a been-there-done-that mother with a few gifts.  This did not exist with any of my other kids. Harmon received a wonderful selection of board books & several outfits.  Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA by Jimmy Fallon is hilarious.  Fallon has said of the book: The thing about this book is there’s no real point to it. … It’s a selfish thing.  I just want the baby’s first word to be ‘dada.’ I don’t care if she’s smart. I have one agenda.  I loved Fallon on SNL so it makes the book all the better for me.  June has been “reading” all the new books to Harmon since the morning-after the shower.  She thinks all her “knittin’ ladies” are awesome.  You ladies so are, thank you!!!! xxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxxx
This is my good friend Marty at the shower (in our homeschooling loft) when she noticed Harmon was wearing knit fingerless gloves.  Shut the front door!  Needless to say she was impressed.  I know what I’ll be knitting when her next daughter pops out a grandchild!  Marty’s so cute.  I love her.  Wish I had taken more photos…  June had a tea party yesterday with her knit dolls.   The red haired one is named Ella Mae.  I knit her for Coralee when she was like 3 or 4 years old and she’s still kicking!  I’ve knit three others since then for the collection.  One is named Gloria and one is named Charlotte, but the newest one doesn’t have a name.  I asked June to name her.  She named her June.
Ella Mae enjoying her tea with June (the person) & me.

Joining in with Ginny.