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Today is Johnnycakes’ birthday, so I’m finding it extra appropriate/hilarious that today is also the feast of a St. John.  Speaking of Johnnycakes, the big news around town is that he got officially engaged last weekend.  His now-fiancee is an amazingly sweet young woman who fits him perfectly (and he fits her perfectly) in so many ways.  Unfortunately, I still don’t have a nickname for her, which is awful.  It’s not that I don’t know her well enough to come up with one, it’s just that nothing has felt quite right yet.  I might have to ask her and Johnnycakes for suggestions.

I’m utterly delighted for both of them, and my delight has been amplified by relief.  When I first heard the news, my second thoughts (after my first thoughts of “Yay!”) were something along the lines of “Oh, crap, now I have to get a roommate, except there aren’t very many people I really want to live with, and most of them are related to me, and I’m running out of single relatives who aren’t already happily settled in living situations.  Or maybe could I afford the place on my own?  Except the budget’s really tight as it is –  maybe I can get a promotion?  Or just get a second job?  Or…”  And that sort of thing tends to suck the joy out of something.  Except then I found out that Johnnycakes and his Yet To Be Nicknamed Fiancee aren’t planning to get married until April 2015.  And that’s a nice, long way away, long enough that maybe I really will be able to get that promotion, or find the perfect roommate, or whatever.  So now I can just be happy for them without worrying.

And speaking of delightful things, last week was our annual Family Vacation, when everyone in my immediate family who can converges on one location and just hangs out with each other for a while.  This year we headed off to southern Ohio again to stay at a retreat house.  Last year this location turned out to be somewhat unfortunate.  Only minutes after we arrived, a monster storm arrived that wiped out the power to a huge chunk of the eastern US, including where we were, for days.  We had our vacation anyway, but it was a lot more rustic than we’d been counting on.  This year the power stayed on the whole time we were there, and we were grateful!

Someone asked me what we do when we’re on vacation.  And, well, we just sorta hang out.  Watch movies.  Do crafts.  Go swimming a lot. Cook big meals.  Spend time with each other.  Remember that we’re a family.  And this year we had the added entertainment of babies:


Nieces are a lot of fun to play with.  They weren’t so much interested in playing with each other – another small person is mostly competition for resources, not a source of entertainment.



I got a few pictures of Sweet Pea “reading” a book to the Little Philospher, but even that didn’t last long.  But it was really cute while it lasted.


However, they’re awfully fun for us to play with.  Sweet Pea, almost a year and a half now, is walking all over the place, and starting to talk.  She spent hours every morning trotting back and forth down the hallway between the kitchen and the small sitting room where people tended to congregate, stopping to converse earnestly and mostly unintelligibly with whoever she might encounter.  She says hi, and bye bye, and please and thank you.  She can say baby (which she thinks is her name), and greets her mother with the most ecstatic, “Hi, Mommy!” you ever saw.  She’s also very pleased with learning to say Meow, and will serenade you with it at length at the drop of a hat.  She demonstrated her skill during the Eucharistic prayer at Mass, causing an entire pew of her aunties and uncles to fizz with poorly suppressed giggles.

The Littlest Philosopher, who may be renamed the Baby Orca for her way of trying to dive backwards out of her feeding chair by violently arching her back, sortof like a baby whale breaching the waves, is about nine months old now, and starting to walk herself.  She’s still figuring out this whole muscle control thing, so her walking is more like lurching, very comical for the watching aunt. She’s also still working on her smiles – there is no doubting her enthusiastic glee, but her smiles come out a little like the Comedy mask, which can be a bit disconcerting on such a small face.


But it’s still pretty stinking cute.

I had big plans for sewing a new Pavlova wrap sweater (desperately needed for my work wardrobe), and sewing and fitting the wearable muslin for my Hummingbird top.  Neither of those projects got completed.  I was steaming ahead on the Pavlova until I discovered that I’d cut out two Left ties instead of a Left and Right.  That was so discouraging that I switched to the Hummingbird top, and got a lot done.  I just didn’t, you know, finish.

It was fun sewing though.  As people got up in the mornings, they tended to stumble into the kitchen for coffee and breakfast, and then congregate in the upstairs sitting room/game room, watching the news on tv, working on computers, playing games, or just hanging out.  Indy had also brought along some sewing projects, and an enormous bag of craft supplies to do crafting lessons with Fleur.  Fleur had heard about the Skype art lessons Indy has been doing with Honey, and was immediately shocked that any of her staunts (step-aunts) were showing attention to any  nieces but her!  So she asked for her own art lesson, and over vacation, Indy showed her how to sew together her own little stuffed felt cat, and an owl to live in its own Altoids tin house, inspired by this one.   So most mornings we spent at least some time sitting around the big table in the game room, sewing.  It made me feel like the ladies in a Jane Austen movie.

Now we’re all back to our regularly scheduled lives.  Since there was such an outcry for proper pictures of my new work wardrobe, I’m working with Indy to schedule a proper photo shoot, or at least one that won’t make me look like an ogress.  And then, I’ve been neglecting my garden shamefully while I’ve been so focused on sewing, so that needs to be sorted out.  Plus, you know, the work wardrobe is far from finished.  I had forgotten how cold the work AC gets, so I’ve been wearing my one work sweater every day this week.  That’s getting a little old, so I’ve really got to get that Pavlova finished soon.  Plus they’re showing The Princess Bride down at the Victoria this weekend as part of the Hot Times/Cool Films series, and that’s inconceivably cool.