Thank you everyone for your input and ideas on my ahem dilemma. Northern Girl Knits said that perhaps we secretly enjoy taking on too much, and I think she may be right! I've decided that my project list is doable and not to stress about it, yet. After all, I still have more than two months and three of those projects don't actually have to be done until Christmas (and technically I can take as long as I want with Adam's).
I've decided to go with the Sunny Spread. While I'm pretty much in love with the Girasole, or maybe just the idea of one, I choose the Sunny Spread because of it's portability. It's much easier to take a skein of yarn around with you than say, and entire afghan. I don't love seaming, but it's manageable. And my final decision maker was that if I need to, I can crochet like the wind (if the wind crocheted).
I'm hoping to spend some time this weekend looking for yarn. Jacey suggested Berroco Comfort, which is a yarn I have used before and love. It is definitely on my short list but I think I'll do a bit more looking around before I commit. I've given it some thought and this afghan must be washable. I know my mother won't care if I make an acrylic afghan, but I might. Unless I can find an acrylic that is very soft and doesn't make me hate crocheting when I use it. And that's a tall order.
For today, I'll leave you with a picture of some yummy yarns I'm working with for a sample knit. I don't know if I could love Malabrigo more. Working with this yarn reminded me just how cozy Malabrigo is.