Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Glimpses

 Knitting happening here, rapidly in evenings.  I am churning out several pairs of Bon Bon Mittens from Tin Can Knits using Cascade 220 Paints but have made several strange mistakes so actually after all the frogging I have only completed one mitten.  I don't make mistakes like that all too often anymore, but I think it happens to the best so then it will certainly happen to me too.  I finished the first mitten and wove in the ends and everything, then knit the second one and when comparing it to the first realized I made at least one or two strange mistakes on the first and then frogged the whole first mitten.  I would have been more upset if it wasn't a toddler sized mitten that knit up in an evening or two.  

Not a lot of reading here but much podcast listening while doing Thanksgiving food preparations and Christmas preparations and cleaning in the afternoons while the girls have quiet time. I am listening to CraftLit (oh yay, CraftLit is back from hiatus!) with the book Herlandia,  as well as Dusted (a new podcast about Buffy, one of my all-time favorite shows), Never Not Knitting, Serial, and  Revive Our Hearts... Figuring out how to stream podcasts using the Stitcher app on my phone has been really fun this past week or two.  I don't get a lot of time to even poke around on the internet so finding a way to keep my mind engaged while doing housework.  I am still reading North! or Be Eaten a very little at a time (...still....), just picked up Cold Comfort Farm from the library but haven't started yet, and I will probably devour The Nesting Place when it arrives after Thanksgiving, which I bought for myself using birthday money.  I love Myquillyn's blog and have been wanting to read her book for months now.  

I recently won a giveaway over at Nourishing Days and received a copy of one of the Mama's Notebooks that I have seen reviewed and raved about on several blogs.  It came today and it is so lovely that I hardly want to start marking it up yet!  It has a single page for planning each week and a whole page opposite for notes and lists and such.  I have been using a yellow legal pad for all my life organization right now but I will relish transferring everything into this pretty spiral bound calendar+more.

Oh, and the recipe above is for Spinach Lasagna Rolls,  a Weight Watchers friendly recipe that allows me to get a pasta fix for fewer points and it is a fall and winter staple in our house!  Try it - I know you'll love it!

I am joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along as usual!  Won't you leave a comment so I can be sure to follow over and see your projects this week?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I have started this post several times, trying to wrap my heart and head around the realization that my first baby is five years old.  I know, I know - just wait until... she's 10, 15, 20, 30, I hear the voices say, and I am, I am waiting with joy.  If she is this lovely, precious, joy-imparting after just five years, what embodiment of beauty will she be in those future days?  

The party, the birthday, it was joy.  The scavenger hunt to find the new bicycle tucked into the back of the ministry bus - joy.  The sharing of a birthday with two friends, the ear piercing that makes her look so grown - joy.  Seeing her read aloud on the laps of those who taught me to read - remarkable. Watching in awe the caring love my little girl-sisters have for one another, the kind of love that didn't get jealous over the birthday girl's attention but that participated in bestowing it - beauty.  

This joy and beauty is not without imperfection. We have our share of grabbing, shoving with hands and words, pushing each of us to be in the front.  This big girl, now,  she has her momma's perfectionism, the one that shows its face when the laundry pile won't fold perfect smooth, when the letter won't form perfect under her pencil, and she grits her teeth and her forehead wrinkles, and she moans with frustration. 

And I hear the words coming out from between my lips, the ones I hear in my head over and over some days:  It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful.  I bend low over her head and say them again, a reminder that beauty isn't in perfection but instead is often wrought in and through imperfection. 

Don't forget, sweet one.  You are imperfect yet you are so beautiful.  The work of your hands will never be perfect, but it is beautiful.  Let go of flawless to find joy.  We can practice together, you and I, and remind each other of the truth.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along, Chilly November


Gone is any trace of summer and really autumn, too, and I don't know what to call this now since it is too early to be winter.  I have settled on calling this the Season of Cold Fingers.  We have been keeping our thermostat set high in the evening since there is a noticeable chill in the house after the sun goes down, yet my fingers are stiff and cold as I knit still.  I hate to run the heater so much, especially this early in the year but with highs in the low 30s and lows in the teens now, my frugality has to take a back seat to daily practicality.  So I sigh as we bump the heat back on and wish for a wood stove that would at least give the illusion of coziness and a place to heat my frigid fingers. 

My oldest baby girl turned five yesterday.  How can that be?  In the pictures above you can catch a glimpse of her newly pierced ears, which she is quite proud of.  I finally got to see the Bulle I knit for her a couple months back being modeled and I think it fits her perfectly, oh I love it so!  What an adorable pattern, I just wanted to eat her up all day today.  I will definitely plan to knit that one again, it seems like this one will be a staple in her wardrobe and she didn't  even complain of any itch to her skin through the shirt underneath it like she often does with handknits (thank you KnitPicks Stroll!).  Her favorite feature is a tie between the sweet Little Red Riding Hood buttons I found and sky blue pockets that are just barely peeking out at the bottom of one of the pictures up above. She also received some handknit wristwarmers and a darling dusty blue Leksak tunic knit for her by her Mimi (my mom) which I will take pictures of soon.  She is all set for this cold weather, let me tell you!  Happy birthday, my dear Lyddie-girl.

I am knitting several gift-ish things that I can't describe too thoroughly in these annals.  

And I haven't had a spare minute to read this week (so what kind of Yarn Along post is this, really?) other than a few pages in The Molehill, v. 1, a compilation of short stories, essays, and poems by some of our favorite writers, singers, and songwriters.  Just an excellent short story by Walt Wangerin Jr. that I disappear into during quick hideouts in the bathroom.  Other than that, the reading is sparse because of a big birthday party, out of town visitors staying with us, and serious Christmas preparations happening now on top of all the normal demands of a busy life with three small children.  I resolved to have all the gifts bought and wrapped by the end of the first week of December if at all possible, as well as have a few batches of cookie dough in the freezer, Christmas cards printed and sent, and the indoor and outdoor decor done.  This timeline has been helpful and has helped me stay on track and be motivated - something about seeing it all broken down makes it feel that much more doable, though I am pushing it back a week because of the birthday week and the fact that this doesn't account for our American Thanksgiving since the writer is Canadian. We'll see how I finish out the plans but so far there is no reason to think I won't be able to meet my goal and minimize the stress of December. 

So now I am probably at least halfway through gift planning and purchasing now.  Can you see my happy dance?  I am hopeful it enables me to happy dance through December as well.  The last few years... well, the last five years... have been difficult when it comes to holidays - happy but difficult.  I have been either pregnant or had an infant for all five of those years, I think, and this is the first year I feel like I have a bit of sanity in approaching the season. 

So this week I will still continue to not-read, most likely, but am looking forward to the beginning of a new CraftLit book (HerLand) starting Friday.  I finished The Woman in White recently.  I have also been hooked into the new podcast "Serial" (what is the grammatical convention for podcasts anyway - quotation marks?  Italics?).  Seriously, look that one up, it's fascinating! 

Today?  Hoping to get a family picture for a Christmas card, which explains the high levels of red strewn across my bed as I attempt to get everyone coordinated.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yarn Along, November 12

Busy week- (terrible photo from my early morning phone!)
Planning a birthday celebration
Christmas preparations and planning
Knitting through online continuing education courses
Pondering cognitive anchoringcognitive anchoring

Soft lavender wispy Alpaca yarn in lacy stockinette
Sturdy vibrant sunshine socks with slipped stitch rib heel, moments stolen near bubbling and boiling pots
Even sturdier white cotton that will soon scrub dishes
New stash (on surprising sale!) in sweet pinks, purples, and emeralds

Smiles exchanged with that other mother with clicking needles in the waiting room

Chapters of North! Or Be Eaten snuck late at night and over a slow quiet lunch
Drifting to sleep repeatedly over the same few paragraphs of The Woman In White, only two chapters remaining

What are you reading this week? Are you crafting? Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

What Beauty Here

Autumn has slowly begun to exhale.  The weather has turned colder and the temperature is predicted to drop quickly this week but we go outside anyways.  We walk, and we stop and we exclaim in wonder over that perfect yellow-red leaf, the furry mullen, the stark trunks reaching into the sky, tenacious leaves clinging to the last.  

My heart, how can it feel so light and so heavy at one time?  I recall the last walk we made here in the spring, bringing with us the little girl who stayed with us for that time, and that now-dry creek bed is transformed in my mind for an instant back to the bubbling water that three little girls leaped over and through which they splashed so proudly.  I recall that the toddling hiker on this trail stopping now to pick up leaves every few moments wasn't yet walking and spent the morning happily in the backpack but now clamors to get down from high on daddy's back.  Where is the time going? 

And those precious redheads now confidently dash ahead of me on the trail, glancing back over their shoulders before following the bend just out of sight and I realize that all of motherhood may be like this: glimpses of the years and moments past and a capturing and treasuring of the moments now, and a sorrowful joy over what is to come. That almost-five year old grinning so cocky on that log, I nearly gasp when the picture of that grin spread on a fifteen year old's face flashes through my mind. 

I slow, I photograph to help me remember later what beauty was here. We admire the handiwork of the beavers, and I fail and fuss when my foot goes in the water and I am tempted to keep moaning but they all bear with me and I silence my complaints.  I bite my impatient tongue with the drooping three-year-old and tell her to close her eyes and tell me what she can hear, her little hand tucked into mine as we walk by gurgling creek and screeching stellar's jay, and she smiles and plays along, no longer whining about tired legs.  There is a beauty in being together, even when things aren't exactly as we might have hoped.