Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along: RIP


Time for yarn, and for books to share.  Last night I was feeling so excited to share pictures of the Sibella Babe sweater that was 7 inches long and ready to divide for sleeves when ... *cue horrified slapping of the forehead*  I realized I had accidentally knit the whole thing on size 4 needles instead of size 5 which probably was going to make a size difference.  So.  RIP rip rip, out it came.  Some maybe would have just kept going and found a way to get around it but I'm too much of a perfectionist to let something that huge go without repair.  I'm now about 1 inch into the ribbing again so it looks like I  made no progress from last week - when really I've been knitting up a storm!

The other day, to reroute bickering I told everyone they had to think of something lovely to say about the other people in the car.  After going through each person with a nice thing to say, Lyddie declared, "And Mommy, I love it when we read together in the afternoons!"  I already knew she did;  I have known for a long time that her love language is "quality time" but I hadn't even had that in mind as a reason for our reading together - it's just something we've always done before rest time.  It doubled my gladness that I have continued reading alone with each child alone each afternoon for even just 15 minutes.  Lyddie and I finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz yesterday and now we are reading Lady Lollipop by Dick King Smith.  I have decided to feed Millie a steady diet of Mother Goose, fueled all the more by the light in her eyes and her sudden fascination with rhyme and word play. ("Lyddie, are you cookin' or are you mookin'? HAHAHAHAHA!!!")  We are also spending greater time outdoors according to recommendations by Charlotte Mason; we aren't quite up to the 4-6 hours per day mark but pushing closer and closer as the weather allows.  This is good for my yardwork and the girls seems happier and more peaceful and more engaged inside and out. 

In my own reading is still The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  Sunday afternoon I also finished The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, completing the entire Narnia series for the first time.  I had read most of them as a teenager and child but never had read The Horse and His Boy and they are like different books when reading them as an adult. Can you blame me for the tears of happiness and hope as I read the descriptions of Lewis' ideas of what heaven in Narnia could be like?  

Say hello so I can track back to your blog if I haven't already visited! Happy Yarn Along!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Really Pretty

I finally finished Lyddie's Poppy hat (immediately above), my third and final edition of the hat. It is my favorite one!  

So I got to start working on the Sibella Babe for Rosie.  I love working with the Quince and Co. Chickadee, it knits up so beautifully even.  I put my shawl on a slight hold again so that I can get birthday knitting done by the end of April.  It is so sweet to me that Millie is asking for a new sweater.  As long as it's "really pretty."

Reading is the same, still working through The Magicians and getting inspiration from The Nesting Place.  Both great reads and couldn't be more different from one another. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

So Blessed


Were there ever such beautiful girls?  I say certainly not. The way the sun glints on strawberry and blonde heads, the way long eyelashes curve upward, the way freckles scatter across the bridge of noses, the joyful giggles bubbling up and out for the world to enjoy.  All things I notice in the beloved sunshine today.  I am so blessed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along: Poppy Blue

Nestled against the mountains about two hours from home, there is a little Bavarian town designed for tourists called Leavenworth.  We always love a chance to stroll the little streets as we did this weekend.  Since we were sharing and visiting at a church nearby on Sunday morning, we decided to go up a day early and stay overnight in a hotel.  The last hotel stay we had was when Millie was about 6 months old and it was a nightmare complete with all-night hall-walking, the only place she would be quiet.  We approached this stay with some trepidation since we have three children now but it was really easy-peasy.  I was so thankful that we were able to squeeze a bit of fun family time in with work. 

There was a lot of knitting time in the car and I am almost done with Lyddie's Poppy blue.  I haven't quite figured this pattern out even this third time knitting it.  My second one (for Millie) was too loose in the ribbing so I probably should have dropped even one more needle size.  I think I will just do the cast-off for this one with one extra needle size down since it's also a bit loose.  Does that sound crazy? I hope not. 

I'm still reading The Magicians but haven't picked it up much this week.  I am thinking about putting together a simple plan for working through some of the Family Math book as part of Lyddie's (gentle) kindergarten year next year.  She and I are still loving The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Another favorite library picture book with my girls this week is Extra Yarn, a darling story about a little girl who finds a magical box of endless yarn. The color-less town is soon transformed by her yarn, knit into sweaters for every person, every house, every mailbox, every tree.  When an evil count hears about the box, he tries to buy it from her but she refuses, so he steals it, but the box makes its way back to her across the sea.  My dream come true: a never-ending supply of yarn. 

Won't you join in with us over at Ginny's Yarn Along? Leave a comment so I know you stopped by and can pop over to see what you're working on!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


I am back to stashing multiple knitting projects in various places and it really does mean I knit more.  Here you can see a glimpse of my Radiance shawl in the back, the bright yellow Vanilla socks I knit mostly during potty training time, and the blue is a Poppy for Lyddie since she was asking for a new hat to match the ones I made for Rosie and Millie.  I hope I have enough of the blue but suspect I won't so I will either need to order another skein or get creative.

My parents gave me a swift and ball winder for Christmas and I was so excited to have a chance to use it with the Quince and Co Chickadee that arrived in the mail yesterday!  I ordered it in Dogwood to make a Sibella Babe Pullover for Rosie's birthday.  I don't make many pullovers but decided it is time to add some!  I now have three neat little pink cakes of yarn. 

Lots of apples being used up in the dehydrator and in apple crisps right now since they are on the verge of going bad in our root cellar and are no longer very tasty for fresh eating.  I wish some of you wanted to come make applesauce with me to share!  Does anyone have favorite ways to use up apples?  

I am still absorbed in The Magicians but only have enough time for one chapter each night in bed.  I just learned it's a trilogy when I looked up the link on Amazon.  So I guess I need to look into the second and third books! 

Lyddie and I are loving The Wonderful Wizard of Oz together with the original illustrations.  We read a chapter each afternoon and every single day she tries to convince me to let her keep it for the rest of her quiet time and every single day I refuse because I know she will just read ahead...tricky little five year old!  The Tin Woodman's story is so much more tragic and sorrowful than they go into in the movie and I was so taken aback by it when I read it for the first time a couple years ago.  I am again enthralled by Baum's ability to write gentle irony that children can understand by making it clear that each character already has the thing they think they lack; the Scarecrow is always the problem-solver in spite of being "brainless," the Tin Woodman is so tender though he longs for a heart, and the Lion misunderstands the word "courage" to mean feeling no fear.  Oh I love it.   The Snow Globe Family is my current favorite of all the stacks of library books in our house right now.  It's a sweet story with darling illustrations that completely capture the imagination.  Oh and I am still listening to Herland with CraftLit.   Meh, still on the fence but that's how devoted I am to the podcast - I will finish listening to it and hope for a book I like better in the next round. I listen to it while I'm working out and want to multitask so it ends up being a good use of time and it does make me think, so it's a win.

Leave a comment so I can follow the link back, I always try to click back through to my commenters!  Join us with Ginny in celebrating artistic creativity over at Yarn Along!  

Tuesday, February 03, 2015



Therefore, forgetting what is behind, I strain toward what is ahead. 

This has been one of those weeks, or maybe it's been more than one week. Maybe it's been one of those lifetimes.  It's not just the crankiness of winter, though there's plenty of that to go around in this little house. There have been griefs in the community we live in, griefs we find difficult to describe to others, difficult to even describe to our own hearts.  Griefs we long to see righted or to be banished.  Our hearts cry involuntarily - "Oh how long, Jesus?" 

So when the normal wear and tear of daily life with teething toddlers and piles of dishes coincides with the wear and tear of seeing and walking alongside others who are suffering deeply, it bends a mama's back down low, it can make a night seem like an eternity but a day like there are too few minutes to fit it all in. 

I seek the small joys that are laid at my feet.  Pale pink yarn arrives in brown packaging from across the country and as soon as I can, I pull out my new swift and wind it into neat little cakes, material for creation, for a darling loved girl.  It is like spring itself, the delicate pink and my heart begins to strain toward spring again.  

Two sisters pose goofy and a vision of future years passes through my head as my mind rushes forward to envision the beauties they will be as young women and I pray they will maintain the joy and exuberance filling their hearts now.   We gather in the dark evenings to watch and laugh out loud with the Muppets, precious family time with pizza and blankets stretched across the living room, crumbs and sauce and who cares what on the floor.   Oh the wild dance parties we have, our favorite soundtrack "Despicable Me 2" and we get low and we jump and we spin silly. (Do you let loose and just dance to music like no one's watching?  If you don't, you should.  You'll feel your soul lift immediately!)  And a little hand pulling on my jeans insisting "C'mon!  C'mon!"; come play with me, Mama! 

These are treasures, these also are fruit of my labor, fruit of the many hours I have poured into ministering to this little flock of mine, loving, disciplining, and caring for my daughters, and I am thankful for the fruit given by the Spirit.  These are joys, gifts unearned, from a good Father who knows I need them to buoy my spirit and keep my eyes on the finish line.

Friday, January 30, 2015


 (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.