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. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Christmas Memories

I am escaping from the re-decorating disaster that is my home by finishing this little Christmas photo album.  We had a lovely Christmas and taking the tree out and all the greens and decorations is bittersweet so a Christmas memory post is just right for this little break.  

(from left to right)  Amelia-3, Rosemary - 20 months, Adelaide - 5

  My handsome brother Andrew

 Another handsome brother, Sam, grinning big at his surprise gift of a Canon Rebel to our momma
 Rosie Joy, laughing with characteristic and hilarious joy after touching the tickly ball from her big sister
 Yet another handsome brother, Austen, and his beautiful fiancee Kelly


 Millie and her Poppi

  Lyddie is reading well enough this year to read The Night Before Christmas to our whole family at our Christmas Eve party - not pictured: one proud and teary momma and one proud and teary Mimi

What a cherished Christmas full of happy memories with my dear ones! 

Did you do a little Christmas album post?  Leave a comment with a link so I can enjoy your photos too!