Thursday, December 10, 2015

Update

Hello friends.

It's been a while, so let's do a little combination day-late-yarn-along/life-dump, shall we?




I finally--FINALLY--finished knitting the last of the boys' Christmas stockings. Holy cow. That's four inches of stockinette that just gets tucked INSIDE the stocking to give the cuff a little substance. Pure torture at the end of such a frickin' huge sock. I still have blocking to do, and little i-cord loops for hanging, and maybe, maybe they will get their names embroidered on the cuffs before Christmas. But I realized that all the names in the pattern are 3-4 letters--"Emma" is the longest--whereas our kids all have seven letter names. This is going to be interesting.

The book--I am greatly, greatly enjoying it. It had been on my to-read list for some time and when I saw Karen reading it that pushed me over the edge into buying it, and honestly it is worth every penny.





So, life.

On Saturday I fell down the stairs holding Gregory. It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds--my feet slipped, I slid down a few steps and landed backwards on my bum. It has happened before. (Usually when I'm wearing socks ...) But this time my elbow landed on Gregory's foot, and now he has a cast on his whole leg, and will for about a month.

If you are looking for a way to slow down your Advent, physical injury works. But I would not recommend it.

We've been lighting our Advent wreath and singing "O Come Emmanuel" at dinnertime. And opening doors on our advent calendars. And I have been reading a story a day out of this book with Michael, as well as other books from our seasonal book basket.

And our unoccupied stable is out on the mantle, as well as our Little People nativity, with Baby Jesus who gets put to bed with a binky in Dominic's crib for his nap by helpful little hands.

That's it.

And it is more than enough.

I decided that wrangling three kids--one no longer mobile--plus cookies to our local Catholic mom's cookie exchange was a bit much, but a sweet friend is stopping to pick up cookies from me this evening AND bring me some back from the exchange. Such a kindness!

And this weekend, on Gaudete Sunday, we will get our tree.

So really, we want for nothing in this season of preparation.

And I? I need this advent so much. My heart is crying out for Jesus to come, to be with us, and for the grace to keep the door open for him. He will find no humbler home than this, but He is more than welcome here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yarn Along

I type this riding on a writing high.

After receiving an email about it from a dear friend, I have decided to jump in with both feet and participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

Two days ago I wrote. And I hated it. And it made me so depressed. Like, incredibly melodramatically depressed. I won't even go into it. So I turned around, jumped ahead in the story, and inflicted those feelings upon my main character. End Day 1 of writing.

Yesterday I continued from that point in the story rather than the beginning. And while I would tremble to go back and look at that writing, it left me feeling excited, and happy. I guess tormenting your characters can lead to good things? ;)

And all of these things are just emotions, dangerous things to ride without caution. But after two days of writing and meeting the daily word goals (although I'm still one day behind), I feel like I am legitimately "doing" NaNoWriMo for the first time in years, and that makes me very happy. It seems that naptime is usually just enough time to pound out 1500-1600 words. So we'll see.


Right now I am working on a test knit for Little Woolens. It's worked up in chunky yarn and thus flies by very quickly! Malabrigo Mecha is delicious, and I find myself calculating how expensive it would be to knit a sweater for myself out of it ...

If it weren't for a knit-by-Christmas list as long as my arm I'd immediately cast on for all of Annie and Ashley's other designs, because seriously, how cute are those little knits?? Especially the Winter Hoodie and Trane Vest.

I set aside Possession for a bit to read a Catholic book about a teenage vampire for Halloween. (Yes. Maybe a review forthcoming?) So I'm still not that far in, but I'm enjoying it and stayed up far too late to read it last night.

Linking up with Ginny.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Refreshment

The other day, I had a day that was ... not bad. But halfway through I realized: I really needed to get out of the house. Without kids. Everything I confronted--not just bad or difficult things!--filled me with a sense of, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE."

(I realized later that I'd had way too much caffeine that day. I'm pretty sure that helped fuel my angst.)

So I texted a friend to ask if she wanted to get together that evening. (The exact text was something like "Margaritas tonight????") We crashed a Mexican place and ate wonderful food and reveled in being ourselves together, just the two of us--even if most of what we talked about was still our children. ;)

Then we hung out in the car for an hour and just talked. (And saw a pair of stormtroopers ride past on bikes. For real. Pretty sure that was not the margaritas.)


The next morning, my mom came down and I took Michael out to breakfast while she watched the twins. I've been meaning to do something one-on-one with him for a while. I think it did a lot to lift up both of us.


Coloring is serious business. 

I've come to realize that I'm not very good at self-care. It took me a while to discover, because the typical picture of lack of self-care is a mom who spends all her time pouring herself out for others: caring for the children to the extent that she doesn't eat, take a shower, make any sort of space for herself, until finally she burns out. 

That isn't me.

I possibly make too much space for myself. Often in little bits throughout the day. But I also have about an hour to myself each day for naptime, and plenty of time after the kids go to bed. Throughout the day I hide in the bathroom and read. Or, more likely, I check my phone, since bathroom breaks don't last long enough to sink into a book. I follow rabbit trails on the internet, catch up on Instagram. I indulge far too often in treats while the kids are napping.

In short, I spend a fair amount of time on myself, but much of it isn't on things that fill me up. That takes a little more work. A little more intentionality. It's easy to pull up Facebook for a few minutes--a few minutes that extend into a longer period of time until a child interrupts you and you get grumpy because sheesh, they interrupted my me time. 

I do knit, and that fills me up. I think blogging more regularly would too. Or actually calling someone or writing a letter during naptime, rather than spending the whole time scrolling through Facebook groups filled with too many women to make real connections with. (Wonderful women, mind you. People I probably could connect with if I invested beyond the scrolling.) Or setting aside a little more time each day for prayer, conversation with God over a cup of tea.

But unless you have some solid routines, it takes work to do something healthy that refreshes and renews your spirit rather than just consuming an empty spot in your day. I am not good at working up that mental energy, and I really stink at routine maintenance. (I don't blame this on motherhood. I've always stunk at routine maintenance.)

So I'm trying to give those things that really feed my soul their proper place. The Instagram and Netflix (or their equivalent) will always be there to fill in the cracks, I'm sure; but I'm making an effort to use naptime, bedtime, the times when I'm actually free, on things that ask a little more of me, but give back in return. And I'm trying to be willing to make time for myself for things that matter. For prayer, for connecting with friends.

Every day's a new opportunity to try.

:) 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Aaaah, that's better.


I am about to start the ears on the third and final fox hat. Hurrah! My children are excited. :) A lovely friend lent me her set of DPNs so I could knit this final hat without frustration. I'd been using two sets of circulars and it was getting very tiresome!  

I am almost wishing the boys were going to be foxes for Halloween. I would make them little tails to match! But their costumes are already underway. Michael has his heart set on being the Cat in the Hat, so the twins, of course, will be Thing 1 and Thing 2. (But who knows? The tails may make an appearance under the Christmas tree!)


I am still in the first pages of this book, which I first heard of on the Fountains of Carrots podcast. Any recommendations from those ladies are generally a good bet. Since then I've seen it written about in a few other places, so when we made a spur-of-the-moment visit to our favorite city library after Mass on Sunday, I took the opportunity to pick it up.

Linking up at Ginny's place.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hats!


Fox hat #1--complete! Just in need of some button eyes. The construction of this is very interesting. It starts from the bottom up until you reach the end of the face, then you break the white and continue knitting up around the back, top, and then down the front again for the nose. Not exactly TV knitting, but lots of fun.

Right now I'm taking a break from foxes to knit a little something for a friend. And I just finished reading Howl's Moving Castle. I really enjoyed it! An easy, enjoyable read that is also very clever. It's a book I'll happily hand to my children when they're old enough to read it. Keith and I watched the Studio Gibli movie based on this book a year or two ago, and while my memories of it are a bit hazy, I remember enjoying it ... but I think it was quite a bit different than the book in terms of plot?

Linking up with Ginny!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Autumn Yarn Along



Knitting: a fox hat for winter. The first of three, because there's no way I could knit just one without a war breaking out once it was on someone's head. There would be blood shed over that hat.


Reading: a book that has been on my to-read list since its release. I am very much enjoying the literary fairy-tale feel going on here.


The book and the yarn arrived on the same day. I think they go quite well together! :) Fairy-tales and a foxy orange ("Allspice") both speak to me of fall. And also something more about the book ... the atmosphere of forgetfulness and search for memory seems to me very autumnal.

Linking up with Ginny.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tea and Honey on a Chilly Day


A few weeks ago I asked some fellow-moms on Facebook about buying local honey in Pittsburgh. It was something I'd thought about ever since reading this article, but had been too lazy to pursue. It wasn't until I found myself swallowing spoonfuls of honey at a time that I thought, "It would really be better if I knew where this was coming from."

Today on our way back from the homeschool co-op, Michael and I stopped by a local tea shop that I'd passed the sign for many times. Getting there is a little funky--it's in a very industrial sort of plaza, and you have to go through a warehouse to get to it, but as soon as you open the door the wonderuful smell of tea drifts down the stairs to greet you. It's a cozy little loft filled with lovely teacups, handknit cozies, and an entire cabinet full of honey. (I almost bought one of the little wooden honey dippers, but stopped myself after the jar of honey and a box of tea samples ... maybe next time?) There was even a little table painted with chalkboard paint and chalk for scribbling--a handy way to keep little hands away from breakables!

Among the samples I bought are two kinds of chai. Today is quite chilly, and it seems a good day to drink it! I haven't drunk much chai in a few years, and am looking for the perfect blend--not too spicy, just a touch of sweetness. I have high hopes for these! (Any recommendations? I'm also open to mixing my own!)



(It may be that my reentry to blogging will consist of elaborations on Instagram pictures. I guess I'm okay with that!)