Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Monk Wears No Shoes

And the eagle flies at midnight. Actually, according to Mr. T, who saw him again this morning, the Newspaper Monk wears no shoes. Given that it was in the mid 30s this morning and raining, I conclude that he's nuts AND dedicated. I'm considering leaving him some homemade cookies or something, but it's hard to predict which days he comes.

I have some more FO pictures to show you: the Chevalier Mittens:

Here's one, flashless, but being worn:

They are comfy, soft, and warm. I recommend this pattern for a nice gift, or a little self-indulgence.

Specs: Pattern: Chevalier Mittens, by Mari Muinonen. Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, In Vino Veritas color, about 1/2 a skein. Needle size: US 6.

And now I am once again afflicted with ennui, malaise, attitudious maleficus, lack of mojo, etc. All I've been able to do this Thanksgiving "vacation" is swatch one lace pattern for use in a smoke ring, but I didn't like it once it was knit up in the yarn I was using. I have two or three other possibilities, but I haven't had time to swatch them. I'm not thrilled with what I'm doing. Unless a lace pattern really sings to me in this yarn, I'm going to abandon the project and try to find something new to do.

This state of mind extends beyond knitting, too. I'm not reading anything that's really capturing my interest right now. I'm avoiding buying books because I plan to get a Kindle* eventually, and I want to save some trees. There's nothing (other than the Kindle) that I can think of that I want for the holidays, either. There's been little time for knitting and absolutely no time for exercise, so I feel flabby and out of shape.

I know. Whine, whine. Woe is me. (Violin playing motions here.)

* I've been holding off on ordering the Kindle because there are rumors that version 2.0 is being released soon after the new year. Then I thought I'd order one, then order the new one when it's released and give the old one to Mr. T, who gets most of his reading material from me anyway. Of course, now there's a waiting list and none will be available until after the holidays anyway.

Does anyone out there in reader-land know anything more about this mythical Kindle 2.0, like a possible release date? Is it really almost ready for release, or is it still a work in progress? Thanks!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Simple Knitted Bodice Pictures


I don't love it wholeheartedly, like I love the Gathered Pullover. There are some issues with fit that I would change if I could. I think it's a little bit big in the shoulder and bust area, and could use another inch or so of length. There's a little extra fabric in the underarm area that bugs me, but I think no one else would notice. Otherwise, I like the design a lot. It was easy to knit, with interesting bits to keep me from being bored.

Overall, though, it's comfy and wearable.

Stats: Pattern: Simple Knitted Bodice, by Stefanie Japel. Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, In Vino Veritas color. I used about 2.5 skeins. Modifications -- made the V a little shallower than called for in the pattern (increased at the neck every 6 rounds instead of 8, I think) and added an inch or so to the length. The original pattern called for a silk yarn with a lot of stretch, accounting for that by calling for a shorter length. My wool yarn won't stretch, so I added length to compensate.

The Chevalier mittens are finished, too. They had their bath this morning; now they're drying. They're warm and soft, too. I still have a bunch of this yarn leftover, but I'm going to take a break from the red.

I want to make a smoke ring-type thing. I don't have a pattern, so I'm just going to wing it. The question is the details -- should I just pick a lace pattern I like and knit it in the round, large enough to comfortably go over my head? Should I do some mumbo-jumbo with needle sizes to make it larger on top or on bottom, so that it lays flatter over my shoulders (bottom) or expands more comfortably to go over my big giant head (top -- see, you wondered why I don't show my head in pictures! It's because I'm freakish.)?

I will be using a dark turquoise alpaca and wool yarn that I got ages ago on eBay. I used another yarn from the same seller/manufacturer for my Fir Cone Wrap. It's soft and warm, perfect for a lacy smoke ring.

I don't know when I'll get started on that, as knitting time seems to be but a pipe dream these days, but in the meantime, I will keep working on the Tweed socks.

Hope everyone who celebrates it had a nice Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No One's Here, But I'll Show You Anyway

It's pretty clear that no one is around right now. I hope everyone here in the States is getting ready for a nice, warm, fun-filled Thanksgiving. I also hope that your travel goes smoothly, with a minimum of traffic or annoyance.

We're staying here. Small gathering. Ho hum. Blah.

I still do not have pictures of myself in the Simple Knitted Bodice, because no one has been around during daylight hours to take any. Sunday was another big bike race, and as Mr. T and Sr. Jr. headed out the door, I said, "Please just get back while there's still daylight, so you can take some pictures for me." Ha. Fat chance.

In the meantime, I have a lot of leftover Dream In Color yarn, so I started a quick project to use some of it up -- the Chevalier Mittens. The original pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, used doubled, but the called-for gauge was the same gauge I was getting with the Classy. The pattern is fun and easy, with very impressive-looking results:

They're warm, too. I think I'll have enough yarn left over to make a hat, too.

Next on my agenda -- a smoke ring/cowl/snood thing.

I'm sure I'll be back sometime this weekend, fuller and fatter than ever :)


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Work in Progress and a Finished Object

Eighteen years ago today, Mr. T and I had our first date. I believe it was the night before Thanksgiving, too. We've been together ever since. I've been with him longer than I lived with my parents. Our relationship is old enough to vote and join the army. Hard to imagine, but wonderful to experience. I especially appreciate how strong our relationship is in light of the marital troubles of more than one couple we know. It's easy to take for granted when things are going well, or even just motoring along on auto-pilot. There have been times that brought into focus the rightness of my choice, both good times and hard, and I'm sure there will be more. We've grown together at every step of our relationship, every transition we've made, and I'm sure that we will continue to do so. Happy 18, love :)

Back to the knitting. I finished up the Simple Knitted Bodice this morning and plopped it into a nice warm, soapy bath to relax and set up. There was one scary moment when I went back upstairs after leaving it in it's bath for a while to discover that a curious cat had accidentally turned on the hot water in the bath tub. The hot water ran right into the tub with the sweater for a while. I was worried that something dire would happen, but no, everything was fine.

I let the water cool a bit before taking the sweater out to roll up and lay flat. It felt so much softer after its bath! Remember, I said that the yarn felt kind of stiff when knitted at the pre-wash gauge I needed to use to get the correct post-wash gauge. I knew from my swatches that the yarn would soften and relax, and it most certainly did.

I didn't have to do much beyond laying it out and smoothing it down to get it to size and shape. As you can see from the pictures, the most I did was pin out the bottom hem to keep it straight and even:

The color looks pretty accurate here, too. I think those lighter streaks above and below the lace panel are from the hot water running onto the fabric, believe it or not. Here's a close-up view of the lace panel:

It's upstairs drying. I'm not sure how long it will take to dry. When it's dry, I'll try to find someone to take some picture of me wearing it. I know I owe you live shots of the Plum Lotus Scarf, too.

This weekend is another bike race, this one organized by Mr. T's team. Plus, Jr. Jr. has a project due on Monday that will require a trip to the craft store and lots of glue. Yay. My knitting abilities do not translate to other crafts, alas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Little Things

Right after we got home from a birthday party on Sunday afternoon, Jr. Jr. announced that he had a headache and a sore throat. Sure enough, he was running a fever. He's been home from school so far this week with a confirmed case of strep throat. So, while I'd finished the main knitting on the Simple Knitted Bodice, I really haven't had the time to focus and get the neckline stitches picked up and knit.

In the meantime, I've been knitting some little things.

Yesterday morning was the first morning it was down near the freezing mark so far this year. On his way to school, Sr. Jr. texted me with a simple command: "Make me hat." Easy enough. I'd already gotten his approval on Jared Flood's nice Turn a Square hat, so all he had to do was pick out some colors. He did, so I got clicking. Before the night was done, he had a new hat:

View of how the decreases form the squares on top:

The final test -- wearabilty:

Tres handsome, no? And good timing, as it was in the 20s this morning when he had to leave for school! The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn, but I used a slightly heavier aran weight yarn, Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran, in black, with stripes of grey and a denimy blue. Sr. Jr. is very pleased with his hat, but Mr. T worries that he'll be dorky walking around in a hand knit hat. Fie on him. Sr. Jr. was amazed that I knit the hat so quickly.

This is one of the great benefits of having a ginormous decent-sized stash. Someone says "knit me a hat!" and I can, right away, without having to run off to the yarn store or to place an online order and wait. Like spices in the cabinet, it is.

I also started a new sock for myself. I'm using Sundara's sock yarn, in the Sage over Pumpkin colorway. The yarn is gorgeous! Browns, greens and oranges, just perfect for this time of year. I found a great pattern to use with the yarn, Twisted Tweed Socks. It's an easy pattern, but I have some concerns. It involves a lot of slip stitches, which I know from experience can inhibit the natural stretch of the yarn. I knit my Tilting Sunset socks using a similar pattern (of my own design, not such great pictures in the link) and find them to be a bit difficult to get on. Once they're on, they're very comfortable, but I expect I'll have similar problems with these:

I really like how this pattern works with this kind of hand-dyed yarn.

In the meantime, I think the next STR sock club shipment will be here later this week, and I'm also looking forward to getting the Winter issue of Interweave Knits. I expect great things from the latter, but not the former. But Sundara's first sock club shipment arrives sometime in December...

This morning I ventured out to Whole Foods to order our Thanksgiving turkey. Mmmm. I also picked up way too much prepared food for us to munch on today. It's dangerous for me to go there on an empty stomach. So far I don't know if anyone at all is coming over for Thanksgiving, but at least we'll eat well.

Question for the comments: What are your Thanksgiving plans? Home? Travel? Large? Small?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Suburban Weirdness

As Dave Barry would say, I Am Not Making This Up.

Several mornings a week, I find my newspapers on my front stoop instead of at the end of the yard. I especially appreciate this on rainy mornings. At first I wondered whether the delivery guys had developed particularly good aim, but I rejected that pretty quickly. After that, I just assumed that some kind neighbor threw the papers up there occasionally while walking his or her dog. Wrong.

This morning, I went out to get the papers from the end of the yard when I saw a man in a full-on monk's habit -- brown gown, hood, rope belt -- with what looked like a mop with a plastic bag covering the mop head and a slight limp, walking slowly up the street, taking people's newspapers and placing them on their stoops. We exchanged a cheery "good morning," but I was too flabbergasted to talk to him more. I went inside, and he went on his way. I ran upstairs to wake Mr. T to come see this, to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating or anything. I wasn't.

Mr. T pronounced him a nutjob and wanted to call the police. "No," I said, "he's a helpful nutjob. He's not hurting anyone, just doing a random act of kindness."

Still. Strange.

In the meantime, I'm very close to finishing this Simple Knitted Bodice. I'm almost done with sleeve 2, which leaves me with the neckline and some minimal finishing before I can get it blocked.

I have a case of the blahs, knitting and otherwise. Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Makes a Mother Proud

We'll get to that story in a minute. First of all, even though there's been only a miniscule amount of knitting this week, I do have a progress picture to show you. I've finished the first sleeve of the Simple Knitted Bodice, and started the second. I'm just starting the lace patterning on the second sleeve. Here's the overly bright flash version:

I remain skeptical about the length of this sweater. I'll be holding my breath until it comes out of its soak and I see how it blocks. In all other ways, I love this sweater. I love the yarn. I adore the color. I'm clearly in a deep red mood these days, because, even with all the time that I spend with this yarn, I still find myself ogling deep red yarns as much as I can. I will have a bunch of this yarn left over when the sweater is done, so I can extend the pleasure by knitting some mittens and/or a hat. But I also need to knit Sr. Jr. a hat, finish my MIL's socks, and go back to drooling over the shawls in Knitted Lace of Estonia...

Local business shout out: A couple of weeks ago, Mr. T gave me some chocolates from Artisan Confections, an artisanal chocolate maker located not far from us on Lee Highway in Arlington. I freely admit to being a chocolate snob. I've been lucky enough to have had some amazing chocolates from all over the world. To me, mediocre chocolate just isn't worth eating. I'd been curious about Artisan Confections for a while, but never managed to go in.

Wow. These chocolates are among the best I've ever tasted. Even flavors that I thought I wouldn't like thrilled me. The flavors and combinations are subtle yet deep at the same time. I quickly ate the four that Mr. T got me, then realized that I had a friend coming in from out of town who would definitely benefit from some gift chocolates, so I had an excuse to go to the shop and get some more. If you're local, check it out. If you're not local, they ship... and the holidays are coming up :)

The Title Story

Yesterday was already going to be a busy day. I had a brunch get-together with the playgroup moms, and a doctor's appointment right afterward (still no cancer!). I left the house early and stayed away almost all day. I pulled into the driveway at 2:30, thinking that it was a good thing that tennis would be rained out. Sr. Jr. would head to a friend's, instead of rushing home for tennis. I had about an hour to have a cup of tea, read the paper, and relax before I'd have to get Jr. Jr. As I was sitting in the car, my phone rang. It was the nurse's office at the elementary school.

Apparently Jr. Jr. and a friend, having nothing better to do at school, were messing around. They decided to take their scissors and cut up their pencil erasers. Jr. Jr.'s friend showed Jr. Jr. how he put pieces of pencil eraser in his ear. So Jr. Jr. decided to get in on the fun.

Yup. My super genius kid got pencil eraser stuck in his ear. So I went straight to school to pick him up and run him over to the doctor's office to have the eraser removed. Luckily, it wasn't in far, so there was no damage and it was removed easily.

I just looked at him and said, "What were you thinking?" "I wasn't," he replied.

We've been calling him Eraserhead ever since.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This weekend we went to Charlottesvillle. We thought it was high time Sr. Jr. started thinking about college and we wanted to indoctrinate him show him the University of Virginia. No, we're really not putting college pressure on him this early. Honestly. Mr. T and Sr. Jr. had a bike race in Charlottesville, and we thought it would be fun to make a weekend out of it.

The drive itself was very pretty, even though the foliage was just past its peak. We saw some pretty old barns in Madison County:

We stopped and had lunch near campus, and then walked over to look around. I'd never been down there, and it really made me want to go back to school. Sr. Jr. was impressed, too. UVA is now his first choice school. Here's a pretty shot of some gnarled trees near a wavy brick wall:

A view down a walkway:

One of the main buildings on the green:

Another side of the green:

Jr. Jr. acting goofy in front of Thomas Jefferson:

A pretty view of some Holly berries:

After we toured the campus, we drove over to Monticello. Unfortunately, Saturday was the grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony for Monticello's brand spanking new Visitor's Center, so the place was packed. We tried to get tickets for a tour, but there was a two hour wait, which would have made dinner time too late for us. Instead, we drove a short way up the street to Ash Lawn Highland Park, home of President James Monroe. ALHP is much smaller and more intimate than Monticello. There was no wait for the tour. It's a lovely little home that gives you a sense of how more "normal" people lived at the time than you could get from someplace grand like Monticello. The house itself was small, but interesting. We all got a kick out of the idea of the Jeffersons and the Monroes playing cards in the master bedroom. Plus, there are peacocks on the grounds!

On Sunday, we all got up early to go over to the grounds where the Urban Cross at IX race was being held. The race was in Charlottesville proper, on what looked to be the grounds of an abandoned school, near a little office park that had a bike store and an Italian Restaurant. The visual centerpiece of the day was this lovely dilapidated building:

Here's Mr. T, riding the course:

Cyclocross is an interesting beast. Yes, you ride your bike up and down hills, but you can also do one or more of the following in any particular race: 1) Run, while hauling your bike, up one or more flights of stairs:

2) Jump over barriers, also while carrying your bike:

3) Ride over gravel; and 4) Ride through a sand pit (or as yesterday's announcer called it, the big kitty litter box):

I've come to the conclusion that cyclocross is bicycling's version of Calvinball.

All in all, it was a successful day for the T racers. Mr. T came in 8th in his category, which was a nice, solid finish. He's pleased. Sr. Jr. came in 4th in his race, which was actually 2nd in the 14 and under group. He's really powerful going up the hills, and has great technique over the barriers. If he keeps this up, he's going to be a very strong racer.

The non-racers among us hung out on the sidelines, freezing our butts off. The only food vendor around sold donuts and nothing else. The high quality facilities always include porta-potties. We arrived there around 8:30 in the morning and didn't leave until after 2:30. I was cold. It was too cold to knit. I was cranky. So there was only one thing to do to add a little something to the day for me: go yarn shopping.

The evening before, we wandered around the pedestrian Main Street area of Charlottesville, checking out the shops and eating dinner. It did not escape my attention that there was a yarn store right there, although it was closed by the time we got there. Nor did it escape my attention that this yarn store, The Needle Lady, had Sunday hours. So, when the race was over and Mr. T asked what was next, I knew exactly where we were stopping before we hit the road for home. The store is lovely. It was very busy for a Sunday afternoon. Everyone was very friendly, too. I picked up some sort of local yarns, too. The skein on the left is Blue Ridge Yarns (Misty Mountain Farms) Kaleidoscope, a superwash sock yarn, in the Mossy Hollow colorway (I think my picture shows the colors better than the picture on the website). Also from Blue Ridge Yarns is the Alpaca Delight in the middle, a lace weight alpaca in the Secret Garden color.

The last skein is not local, but beautiful. It's a silk and mohair yarn from ArtYarns in a combination of ice blue and light grey.

So, we ate a lot, we froze our butts off, we cheered our racers on to good finishes, and yarn came home with me. All in all, not bad.

I have another busy week on tap, so there won't be huge amounts of knitting progress to show. I'm almost done with sleeve 1 of the Simple Knitted Bodice. I need to get one of my little helpers to get shots of the Plum Lotus scarf. I've decided that I'm going to give it to my father-in-law's wife for Christmas this year. I think she'd like it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Now, Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Life, Already in Progress

Whew. It feels weird to have the election over with, doesn't it? Mr. T asked me what I was going to do now that it's over. Easy. What I usually do... cook, clean, knit, carpool kids around, say "No" to the umpteen requests for candy/video games/serious weaponry. This morning I went through my Ravelry groups and left most of the political ones. No more obsessively checking 538. The knot in the pit of my stomach, gone. No more nasty political ads!

I finished knitting the body of the Simple Knitted Bodice, and started the first sleeve. I'm just at the point on the sleeve where I'll start the lace pattern.

Here's a close-up pattern of the lace panel:

This one was taken without a flash.

The sweater looks small and short. I keep telling myself to Trust The Swatch. It will grow. It told me so. I hope to have sleeve 1 finished sometime tomorrow, but I'm not going to take bets on that. It will be a pretty knit-free weekend, so don't expect to see FO pictures on this anytime soon.

Then I have to decide what to knit next. Estonian Lace perhaps? There are a couple of possibilities in the book that would look beautiful in the Yarn Chef yarn I got a little while back. I promised Sr. Jr. a knit hat, too. Fingerless gloves would be nice, now that the weather's getting colder. We keep the house pretty cool, so fingerless gloves would be nice for knitting, and sitting at the computer in the even-colder study. Plus, I still have to finish more socklets for my MIL.

Where is that bottle of time that kippi mentioned?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, We Can. Yes, We Did! Yes, We Will.

I'm very pleased with the outcome of the election. It was no secret that I'm an Obama supporter. I thought his campaign was everything it needed to be, as was his victory. The margins, both in the Electoral College and in the popular vote, were large enough for him to claim a mandate and avoid any claims about the legitimacy of the election, unlike what we've seen in the past several elections. His campaign was honorable, inspiring, and uplifting. I hope that this election proves once and for all that Americans are sick of negative campaigning and hateful smearing (hear that, Liddy Dole?)

I was too young to have been around for JFK, but now I can imagine some of the emotion that people felt about his election. Never in my life have I been so inspired by a politician. Clearly, the rest of the world agrees. People from all around the world are hailing Obama's election as leading to a rebirth of American international leadership.

This morning I thought of Judy, whom I worked with at the FTC years ago. She told us about how she and many others in her generation were inspired to enter public service because of JFK. Even then, years later, her face glowed when she spoke of JFK. Unfortunately, Judy died last year, way too young. I know that she would have been just as inspired by Obama as she was by JFK.

I cannot remember an election in my lifetime that led people out into the streets to celebrate like people were celebrating last night. In Chicago, San Francisco, Harlem and DC, people poured out into the streets with elation.

Forty years ago, riots raged in some downtown DC streets after the assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Last night, in those same streets, people joyfully celebrated the election of our first African-American President. I am SO PROUD of my country right now. I hope that Obama's election can keep us moving ahead, so that we can truly fulfill one of the bedrock principles upon which this nation was founded, that all men are created equal.

While we're all basking in this historical day, I want to remind everyone that Barack Obama is a man, not a miracle worker. He's taking over the office of President at a very difficult and volatile time for this country. The work we have to do to dig ourselves out of the pit we're in will be hard, and potentially lengthy. We might fail before we succeed. But I hope that we can be patient, work together, and help make that change happen. Let's let the activism that won this election continue.

Tomorrow: knitting content!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Year

Today is my blogiversary! I've been posting about knitting, kids, life, and politics for one year now. I wasn't sure when I started this venture whether I would be able to keep it up, or if anyone would read it. Well, very few people read it, but those who do always brighten my day. In that year I've finished projects, started and abandoned projects, chronicled the life and times of one suburban family, and complained often about how I don't get to knit as much as I'd like to :) Readers have followed as I decided which political candidate to support. I'm sure some readers left because my views are sometimes pretty strong. Nonetheless, everyone is welcome here. I don't mind differing viewpoints -- in fact, I'd like to see some more -- as long as they're stated respectfully. Honest discussion is always enlightening, even if no minds get changed. In my real life, I often tone down my strong beliefs to avoid confrontation or offense, so I'm grateful to have a place where I can let loose.

I'm happy to have "met" some wonderful people through the comments. They bring me support, laugh with me, commiserate with me, and keep this blog going. I know there are people out there who read but don't comment. Consider this an open invitation to jump on in!

Back to the knitting. Yesterday's post showed you my Plum Lotus scarf pinned out and blocking. Today you get some free-form pictures, but no live modeling. Sorry. My little helpers are at a bike race, and I suck at taking pictures of myself in a mirror. (Blogger does NOT want to load photos today, but I'm patient.)

The moody backlit shot:

The long view:

And the closer-up view:

I don't know whether I'll get a chance to post again before Election Day, but you can count on one the day after, if I'm not too hung over ;)

Everyone get out and VOTE, and remember, no matter who we vote for or what the outcome of the election is, all of us want a better America.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Catching Up

I'm sorry for the blog absence. This time of year can be very busy! I always forget how September starts out promising, then Halloween creeps up on us, with its parties and costumes, then we slide headlong into Thanksgiving and the holiday season. It goes faster and faster each year.

Instead of carving a traditional Jack o'lantern or other scary pumpkin, this year we made and Obamalantern :)

We don't have any yard signs, but we thought this would be fun. We got lots of compliments as the night wore on.

The boys were the traditional scary ghoul and demon-thing:

Clearly, Sr. Jr. isn't trying that hard. He's just in it for the candy at this point.

As you can guess from the first paragraph, there hasn't been too much knitting time (it seems like I'm always saying that). The boys are off doing boy things, so I took the opportunity to get my act together and block the Plum Lotus scarf. A million pins later, here are some pics:

I know the green on blue color contrast makes for a less than stellar picture, but it'll have to do until the scarf is dry and ready for its official debut.

In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on the Simple Knitted Bodice. As I predicted, the combination of yarn and pre-wash gauge doesn't make for terribly smooth knitting, but I'm enjoying the pattern a lot. Even though the knitting isn't as soothing as I'd like, I know that once it's washed, it will be beautiful. (Mini-comment: Since my pre- and post- wash gauge are different, I can't try the sweater on as I go to make sure the fit is right, or to make adjustments if needed. I have to Trust The Swatch. Swatches have served me well in the past, so I think I'm ok.) Here's a progress shot:

Pictures just cannot do this yarn justice. The color just sings.

I also got my copy of Knitted Lace From Estonia, by Nancy Bush. Serious knitting porn! The patterns are so beautiful! I'm staying away from it right now so that I maintain my enthusiasm for the SKB, but once that's done, watch out for more lace :)

The kids are off from school on Tuesday for Election Day. While I'm not thrilled about having to drag them to the polling place with me for what will likely be VERY long lines, I really want them to be there. This election is and will be historic. I want them to be able to say that they were there, that they remember being a part of it. Sr. Jr. is already very politically aware and opinionated. I hope to encourage both kids to stay involved and work for what they believe in.