Friday, January 30, 2015

Busy





  
 (Rosie likes to nurture Gideon and put him to bed.  He complies graciously)



 Every single one of these pictures holds a complete story for me and I love looking at them for that reason.

A week ago my parents asked if the could make a last minute trip over to visit.  Deep housecleaning was on my to-do list for the day anyway so we spent Friday morning and early afternoon dusting and wiping, and all three girls found a baby wipe to follow along behind me re-wiping everything I already wiped.  So helpful.  :)  We had friends over that evening for a movie and Indian tacos: fry bread made fresh by my friend Tsennibah and beans and meat and taco fixings.  Y-U-M.  

The plan for Saturday was to begin demolition of our gross kitchen drop ceiling.  My mom and I got up early and went to a ladies brunch at a nearby church --what a blessing to get to do something so special with her!-- and as we pulled out of the parking lot to come home, I called to let Jesse know.  He informed that he had to go to town to get a bunch of drywall since it turned out the "ceiling" underneath was mere fiber board (think of the stuff you see on bulletin boards) so instead of getting to rip down the ceiling and paint, there was an added time consuming step.  Thankfully, my dad was able to help him get it up quickly and almost all the drywall was up by that night. I didn't even bat an eye when he told me the situation, since I am now so used to finding out that the previous owners took ridiculous and inexplicable shortcuts that I assumed there would be at least one major strange setback.  

Jesse designed and built the light fixture that is now hanging over our dining table and is almost done constructing the second that will go over my kitchen.  I love it, although we are at a crossroads trying to figure out how to hide the wire coming down from the ceiling.  I am hoping a third rope coming down in the middle will provide a way to camouflage it. 

That collage wall?  It used to be home that huge and hideous air conditioning unit, then to a large hole in the wall, then to patchy drywall.  Now it is the color blue that I will eventually paint the rest of the living room and covered in pretty things.  I love the ikea twinkle lights covered by little stars; my parents picked them up and brought them over for me, originally to put on the piano top but since the strand was too long, I looped them along the top of the living room wall.  They add a bit of happy to my day every time I walk through the room - which is many many times a day.  

Can you tell we've been busy?  This kind of busy is boosting my spirits and keeping the focus off the damp and misty drear of January this year.  It's not even cold enough for frost or freezing which is very strange, so no snow, just gray, brown, gray gray gray. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knitting with Toddlers






I miss writing.  This month it seems that I can get about one post out a week and it's a pretty formulaic one.  I have been working really hard to follow my weight watchers plan, complete with evening workouts which just bites into my time to do other things.  It is so worth it to feel my endurance increase and hope for more health in time but cutting back on some of my favorite things has been a trying result. 

Be that as it may, I am trying hard not to cut out my knitting too much since it's such a rebuilding thing for me.  So I continue to plug along right now on my Radiance shawl but *gasp* I have to tell you, I cannot recommend knitting with a toddler on your lap.  If they stand up suddenly, you may lose lots of tiny lacy stitches and have to rip out two whole rows to ensure you picked them all up again.  Not that I know this from experience or anything.  I have some new yarn on the way so new projects will be arriving on my needles soon!

I am still reading  The Magicians by Lev Grossman and am engrossed in it.  It's not for the faint of heart, having some raw and rough content but it's really really interesting to me.  I am also listening to Herland through CraftLit and for now I am not at all sure I like it but, being the rabid listener that I am, I will see it through.  It is a bit theoretical on theories I don't really buy into, and instead of being a really good story it's kind of like hearing a feminist lecture about the virtues of women that could be revealed in the absence of men and sexuality -  set in a sort of a story. Not quite my cup of tea but the reader is fabulous and I still enjoy the conversations that happen around the book.  

Click over to Ginny's to join in the crafty fun!  :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cozy




I started implementing my knits-handy-thru-life plan again and have started knitting my socks again while standing in the kitchen waiting for any number of things I have to wait for.  I got the heel turned and am decreasing the instep now.  It's nice to have something else to knit when I'm not mentally present enough to knit my Radiance which is coming along nicely.  

One of my favorite knits was the Rio Dress I made for Rosie and she is still getting wear out of it in spite of it being knit in the six months size.  Now it's just a top but still adorable with room in the sleeves and lots of ease through the neck and waist.  That Frogtree Pediboo knit up so nicely and has been washed several times but looks hardly worn.  

I started a new book this year, having finally finished North! Or Be Eaten.  I picked a book off the shelf, The Magicians, that I have been eyeing for months, well, really for a couple years since Jesse read it and enjoyed it.  Its like a heavy Harry Potter, starting with adults instead of children (aka, a little bit of rough language and subject material but not too bad so far).  I'm really hooked by it even just a couple chapters in, and want to curl up on the couch to devour it, something I haven't felt for awhile.  

Normally at this time of year I am so eager for winter to be over.  This year I feel so happy with the coziness and don't feel stir-crazy at all so far.  This is probably because the weather has been so very mild here in our area (highs in the 40s/50s for several days running now) and also because I don't have a tiny infant making me feel housebound; it is not nearly as energy-consuming to bundle everyone and head to town or the library down the road as it was even just a year ago with little ones so close in age and needy.  It could also be all the home projects we are doing during this time since it is the only time of year we really have available to focus heavily on home improvements.  (Kitchen remodel pending, Lord willing!)

Happy creating, y'all!  Head over to Ginny's blog to join in the fiber fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Love Wildly









  
  




She sat on the floor, folding yet another basket of laundry when he looked up, glanced at the children playing and said, "Lots of happy sounds in here today." Yes. There are lots of happy sounds here.
And she soaks them in, so they hold off her impatience when the bickering, inevitable moments arrive. Little sinners and big sinners together in tight spaces means those moments come too.


She folds those footie pajamas and thinks of another pair of little pajamas tucked away in a drawer for a little one so loved, now far from here with another family member, perhaps to stay. The children here, sometimes they go like that, and she knew this from the start, knew everyday was just a gift, remembers that everyday with these three girls is also gift. Memories of tender moments, bedtime kisses,  laughing dancing, playing in drifts of snow, flit through her mind as she searches for that missing sock in the pile, these special moments etched into the pages of her heart, treasured and wistful. 

This is foolishness to the world, opening up to love wildly with the knowlege that it will hurt.  Yet we can simply obey and trust, when our hearts are full of joy and peace and also when they are sad and aching. Trust that we are only walking in the larger footsteps of one who "making himself nothing became obedient to death,- even death on the cross."  Trust that He loves better than we do with our imperfect love,  trust that He cares powerfully and will finish what He has started. This is true for our marriages, for our dear children, for each moment we are given. It is all a gift from a good Father.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Side Show

I couldn't bring myself to take yet another picture of the exact same knitting and books this week so I thought I'd feature another project that I am enjoying, which is related to my reading, The Nesting Place.  I talked about it some last week and I am still reading it a little at a time.  It's almost like taking a course on decorating a home and with its inspiration I have been putting together elements of a gallery wall to go above our couch.  The color above is way more yellow than it actually appears in real life. 

I am still knitting my Radiance shawl  (want to find me on Ravelry and be friends?  Click the link!) and have added a few more inches on, but lace shawls knit so slowly that you can't see any difference in photos. By next week I will at least have a new book in the works since I'm very close to the end of North! or Be Eaten which is now hard to put down at night.  I am listening Herland still too.   I am not sure what I will read next but I am looking at some of the Madeleine L'Engle on my shelf.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Finished Her Work








Here is a little question I have for other mothers:  Do you sit and play with your kids?  If so, how often, and how long?  

This question has been ping-ponging around in my brain for a little while now because I struggle to find time to really spend with my daughters.  But the days and years are going by and when I think of what I might regret, it's the thought of not having spent time with them, going slow, making memories quietly at home together.  This is not usually a "compare-myself-to-Pinterest-moms" mental game, and it's not about adding more "stuff" into our day or onto my workload or trying to be "a good mom." This is just me noticing the longings of my heart to be in the present with my children more often.

I had a funny thought earlier today.  I was thinking about Ma Ingalls which, strangely, I often do. (That is strange, right?)  I remembered reading how sometimes, if Ma finished her work, she would sit in the rocking chair and cut paper dolls for Laura and Mary.  And I was struck by that phrase: finished her work.  How could Ma have ever felt like her work was finished?  There was surely always more food to put up, more clothes to mend or make, more water to haul.  But she gave the impression to her daughters that she was through with work to spend time with them.  That's what I want.  I will never feel like my work is finished, but I can make my children feel like it is finished sometimes.  

My to-do list is so long; it is always so long, it feels Ma-Ingalls-long.  Isn't yours?  That's a mother in her natural habitat:  standing in the kitchen staring at her list.   It's full of really wonderful things: nutritious and delicious meal preparation, making sure there are clean clothes in drawers, simplifying clutter, exercising, doing dishes, making doctor's appointments or a meal plan, beautifying or tidying the home.  It is so easy to just keep going - and going - and going

- and going - 

and never accomplish it all.  Then it's bedtime and another day went by in which I accomplished a good amount of basic upkeep of our family and yes, spent some time with the children, usually reading or talking with them as they perch on the counter helping with cooking - but not as much as I wish.  

My kids are really good at play, as most kids are.  They are really good at entertaining themselves and I am so happy for that.  They don't depend on me for entertainment which I see as a very good thing. But I feel like I am missing something and I am going to blink and my heart will be heavy in a few years. 

One of my goals for this month is to stop my work at least once a day and be with my daughters.  It might be as simple as sitting down and really watching them play with dolls or playing with them; it might mean pulling out a special game or planning a special activity to do at the table together.  There is no chance I will ever regret this.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Creativity



  

   



On my needles:  Radiance Shawl in Cascade Alpaca Lace Paint.  I probably got another inch done on the shawl this week while we devoured the first season of the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at night when the kids are asleep.  I am so glad I frogged the other shawl I had been doing and chose this pattern instead.  I love it - it's so well written and easy to follow.

On the pages:  The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith and North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.  Listening to Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman through CraftLit.  I am really enjoying all three of my books, although I kind of find Herland to be a bit slow so far, but I will persist happily, having developed a trust in the quality of discussion through the podcast. 

I have two major goals this year - for right now, anyway.  One is to get fit and lose weight but how stereotypical is that?  So I'm working hard to get 300 minutes of aerobic activity each week and keep going with my Weight Watchers plan. Last week, check. This week, going strong.  

But more creatively, we are doing a lot of plotting and planning about and making little changes in our strange 1940's built-a-little-at-a-time-with-cheeeeap-materials house.  The credit for this in my world is largely thanks to The Nesting Place - I really appreciate the book's focus on freedom to just try home improvement and home decoration projects without terror or fear of ruining the home.  So when Jesse removed the monstrous, obsolete air conditioning unit above our couch last week and drywalled up the huge hole, I started having fun planning a collage wall to go there instead - but there are many steps first to be done.  {Tonight I textured the wall with just a little bit of drywall mud and a paint roller.  Yesterday I picked up paint to sample in the living room over the place that has been repaired and will try to texture the wall in another place tomorrow - before hopefully priming and painting that little wall to see how we like the color since I wasn't ready to embark on painting the whole living room this month).  This is turning out really fulfilling to me, but prior to this new free attitude, it would have felt much more stressful and anxiety producing.   There are other things afoot as well in my heart and head to beautify and cozy up our home. This is the first time in my life I have actually felt free and adventurous instead of paralyzed by the all decisions and changes and repairs to be made about the house on careful Dave-Ramsey-budget.  I am laying aside my tendency to look at a decision from every angle and just jumping in to change things as we can afford the time and materials.  It is FUN!

So that's the creativity happening here.  I am joining up with Ginny's Yarn Along again today.  I wish I had time to write here a little more, and a little more deeply, but right now we have had our sweet girl staying with our family a good amount of time, meaning I'm mom to four small ones several days of the past week or two and I love it, but with that and all that I've written above, blogging has had to go a little on the back burner, especially more heart-related blogging, although be watching because soon the posts that are wriggling at the corner of my mind will push their way out here.