We didn't have 'big' plans for my birthday, largely because mom was flying in late in the evening, and we've got plans for the next ten days or so, which means it felt a little cramped to "also" try and go somewhere special tonight since we've got dinner plans tomorrow. Mom's birthday was last week, so we're celebrating together tomorrow. After the boys' tandem swimming lessons, we're headed for the California Pizza Kitchen and a quick stop in the LEGO store. It's in the mall, so even though we're heading to LEGO Land on Sunday, there's no way we can eat at the CPK and not go to the LEGO store. It's okay though. You can't stay on my blog long without realizing we love LEGOs in this house.
Matthew and I just yesterday, in fact, finished the final level of the LEGO worldbuilder game. If you've got a LEGO (or computer) fan, I highly recommend it. The first few stages are very easy, but they get much, much harder. There are three "worlds" of challenges (and three levels in world one), and we've been playing during Spencer's naps for weeks now.
We have tons of LEGOs, but by far, my favorite small LEGO kit invention is the "xPod." There are nine different colored xPods out, and they're fabulous. Each comes with a few models that can be made from the generally 50 or less pieces, and that's cool. But I'm constantly amazed at the inspired "creations" (he alternately calls them "inventions") that Matthew makes with each xPod. Having played the worldbuilder game so much, he's now daily making new good and bad xPod creatures and vehicles and enacting the game. Pretty cool. (He's 4.) (Actually, we did something similar for a while recently with the various castle kit pieces. He and one of us would build dozens of obstacles and challenges for the Knights of Morcia to battle their way through, creating our own constantly changing quest, of sorts.)
At any rate, we didn't have much planned, other than that I wanted to go to ArtFibers to check out Chai. When I logged on this morning, I was greeted with several e-cards, including one from my Secret Pal, and a number of kind messages and good wishes from fellow bloggers, which I loved getting.
After dropping Matthew off at school, and sticking around long enough to help him make a fishing pole (one of today's optional "projects") and watch him catch a yellow fish in the swimming pool of paperclipped (so they're magnetic) bubblewrap fish in the play yard, M, Spencer, and I headed to ArtFibers.
Spencer is cutting yet another tooth and has the bit (okay, so more than a "bit") of congestion and crankiness that goes with that, so it probably wasn't the best day to yarn shop with him. Once he spotted the rack of hanging buttons, he wasn't happy being Bjorned or carried. He just wanted what he'd seen. I was picking up another set of Bryspun needles, so I gave him those to placate him, only to then have him unsheathing them ever few seconds and swinging wildly at my head with them.
Luckily, we were able to look around a bit before he got too fussy. The store has an amazing variety of fibers, and a fabulous array of colors. I can't believe we've never been in there before. The store manager, Kira, was wonderful as well. She was very friendly and helpful without being pushy. (We were also charmed to see our preschool's "thank you" note and class picture pushpinned on the bulletin board with a note written in about them being the "future generation of knitters." ArtFibers supported our school auction last year.)
I'd checked the web site before heading down and realized Chai comes in solids, too, and is then called Siam. (Somehow I'd never noticed them before.) From the pictures on the site, I was leaning towards a solid. Once actually in the store, I was torn between a very pretty Chai in a mix of roses and soft greens and a Siam in a salmony pink. I really was conflicted, but I went with the pink, mostly because M said so, and I do have trouble making up my mind when it comes to things like that. We also picked up some other goodies. The cranky one is crashed asleep in my lap, so I can't get photos right now, but I will.
It was funny when Kira asked if I have a specific project in mind. "The flower basket shawl from Interweave," I told her. "I've seen someone online make it out of Chai."
She laughed. "Lots of people have made it out of Chai," she said. She went on to mention the esteemed Yarn Harlot and how Stephanie mentioned it right around the time the book came out. Apparently quite the influx of Chai orders followed. It's the first time I've been in a store where the world of knit blogs met up with the real world of knitting and yarn. That may be hard to believe, but I still don't know any other bloggers in person, and I remember how shocked I was last year when searching for the Charlotte's Web pattern to find that at two major Bay Area yarn stores I checked they'd never even heard of it. (Charlotte is still popular, but last year it seemed to be all the rage on the blogs.)
So, that was all cool.
Then, I came home to find a package from my Secret Pal. I didn't even know she knew it was my birthday! She sent me a wonderful "vanilla sleepover" kit from The Body Shop. It's great. It's got body lotion, bubble bath, shower gel, perfume, and a sponge all in a sweet little bag, and it all smells divine, and comforting, and cozy. Vanilla must just be one of life's perfect scents. Thanks Secret Pal!