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


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


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!)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Of Mice and Motorcycles

Keith starting reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle to Michael a few weeks ago. I wouldn't have thought he was ready for it, and I think there are lots of things he misses or doesn't follow. But he understands the story. He loves the idea of a mouse riding a tiny, mouse-sized motorcycle that moves by making an engine noise. He loves the interaction between the a mouse and a boy, and he loves the threat of owls outside.

We've been reading it before his nap, and sometimes afterwards over a cup of tea. Today I came down from putting his brothers to bed, and he'd opened it and found the chapter where we'd left off. We read two, because he asked for another (happy Mama heart!), and now there is just one left.

I am so pleased that this world has opened for him, for us, especially just as the seasons start to turn. How wonderful to settle in to read when the winter is all outdoors; to be cooped up inside and enter the wider world of a story.

(I may be thinking of doing 31 posts in 31 days? Or some version of it, just to get blogging again? Just noticing/reflecting on/documenting moments from our daily life? Not sure I have the guts to commit ... but we'll see. :) )