Must. Knit. Something.

Funny story.

She came over that evening and she actually brought her knitting. She always forgets her knitting, but on this night she remembered. Then she actually knit on her project as we visited! She hardly ever does that. Usually I’m the one knitting and she knits a few stitches and then talks and then knits a few stitches and drinks her tea and then holds the baby and then… This time she was really flying across her rows, knit. knit. knit.

So there she is knitting in my living room and I had nothing in my hands at all. I had two projects on the go, and both of them were colorwork and I don’t like to knit colorwork while I’m talking (remember the socks? Yeah. That lesson was still fresh in my mind).

So I was sitting idle.

Watching her knit.

Weird, right?

Right. Totally weird.

Desperately, I grabbed the nearest ball of yarn and cast on some longies. Then as I talked and without any planning or thought, I started switching colorways from my scrap bag.

And I was knitting, too.

All was right with the world.

And The Blessing was getting another pair of longies. One can never have too many longies.

Win, win.

I am giddy with happiness at how lovely these scrappy longies turned out. They took days to dry after lanolizing, but this morning they were ready for the photo shoot.

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The Blessing, however didn’t want to do a photo shoot.

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No, she’d much rather crawl around and put leaves in her mouth.

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Or grab for the camera.

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When I finally got her to stand, it was only for a second and then she was down again.

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But she did like climbing on her chair that Uncle T made.

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I realize that this post started out as a knitting post and has quickly turned it’s focus to a cute baby. Can you blame me?

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I didn’t think so.

Okay, so knitting details. Well, for starters, the Ravelry project page is here.

Just for kicks I decided to try Russian joins. It’s clever and I like eliminating the ends to weave in later, but it isn’t very smooth as far as the knitting goes. It leaves big bumps. It’s only longies, so it’s cool, but I doubt I’ll use it again.

The yarn is all Mosaic Moon Targhee Aran. Some of it I picked up in a scrappy swap and some I had on hand. I did use one bit of Mosaic Moon Licorice Twist Aran (the pink zebra at the knees and just before the cuffs) as the legs were looking too blue for my girlie-girl.

These ended up being just a tad too big, you can see that I rolled the cuffs. And I should have used a smaller needle as the gauge is looser than I usually like for longies. But she will grow and they are just too cute.

I am extremely happy with the results.

Upset

Two years ago this month. That’s when the upset began.

I was content with my life. I had six perfect kids. I was comfortable with our income, our home, our car. I was complacent in my belief system. I was stagnant.

I was due for an upset.

And then it came. In triplicate.

First came the pregnancy test that heralded another nine months of morning sickness, heartburn, and depression. Month after month I did little more than vomit, wish I wasn’t having a baby, feel guilty for not wanting the baby, and then throw up again. I lived on the couch, watching Netflix and trying to keep down a bite of something, anything. My house was a wreck and I was a wreck. My only hope was in knowing that it would end and I would a have a beautiful baby to show for it.

Then came the birth, and with it the next upset. Down syndrome accompanied my Blessing into this world, calling into question everything I thought I knew about health, parenting, and faith. My baby flirted with death and for months I’d rock her to sleep with my heart silently pleading, “Live! Grow! Thrive!” I spent her early days redefining my mothering practices and wondering if she’d live another day. But she did live, and she grew stronger. We got comfortable with her diagnosis and fell into complacency once again.

Then came the next big upset. It became necessary for us to move out of our home of nine years. The hunt for a new place to call home became my new turmoil. I wondered where we would live, or if we could find a place or would we be homeless? I pleaded with God to give us a place to call our own, a place perfect for us. And He did. He didn’t give me what I thought I wanted, but as always, He gave me what I needed. And so we moved and changed and grew a little more.

For the last two years my life has experienced great upset. And while I long for peace and security, I recognize that it is through adversity that I become stronger, more faithful, and closer to God.

It is through the pain of pregnancy that I was given The Blessing.

It was the through disappointment of her diagnosis that I was introduced to an amazing community of people who were born with an extra chromosome and have so much to offer the world.

It is through losing our old home that we were able to move into a home much more fitting a family of nine.

And it is through all of these upsets that I drew nearer to God. Relying on Him to provide, calling on Him to heal, resting in His peace, and allowing Him to be my Father as well as my God.

Blogging through all of this has been a challenge and recently I have neglected it all together. It is hard to pretend that all is well. I’m not a good liar. Besides that, I want this blog to be a place of inspiration and encouragement , not a place for me to air all my dirty laundry. But today I’m being real. Life is hard, but it is also good.

I hope that the upsets are over for now and I can have some nice things to write about. I know that I have a lot of knitting and spinning to do and to share. I also have some thoughts about homeschooling, parenting, and babies. Then there are the things God has shown me about Himself in the past two years, and everyday that I sit and listen. I have some political rantings, too, but I promise to keep those to a minimum. The point is, I see more blogging in my future. I’ve missed it.

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Christmas Consolation Socks

Everybody got a handknit in their stocking this Christmas.

The Bookworm got fingerless gloves (which she hasn’t taken off since Christmas morning)

IMGP1752and a lace shawl (oh, she has been asking for years for a lace shawl. I think she loved it). I finished it last summer and squirreled it away –

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The Boy got minions. Lots and lots of teeny, tiny minions –

IMGP1591The Princess got a hat and scarf. When I finished knitting these in November, I asked her to model them for me. She had no idea they were for her!

IMGP0962_medium2The Munchkin got hat and mittens to match her Strawberry Sweater

IMGP1576_mediumFor The Fraggle, a hooded capelet. I love how she tucks her arms up into it. She is so cute!

IMGP1745 IMGP1747And for The Dancing Queen, socks. She had been asking me for handknit socks for years, but I always say no. Her feet grow far too fast! Oh, how sadly true that is, for when she tried to put them on Christmas morning, I realized they were too small.

IMGP1644She wanted them, bad, though. And she is such a gracious girl, I know she didn’t want me to feel bad, so she crammed her huge feet into them and thanked me heartliy. Later, I saw The Princess wearing them and I knew I had failed.

So, I took The Dancing Queen aside and I gave her a a few choices. I could fix those socks, I told her, to make them fit better. Or, if she wanted to pick out a different yarn, I could knit a whole new pair and she could give the small ones to her sister. She chose the latter. I gave her the run of the stash, any yarn she liked. She chose this Family Pendragon which has been in my stash for ages. I guess I was saving it for a really special project.

IMGP6820_medium2It fit the bill perfectly. And then I started knitting. I knit that first sock as fast as I could. Then I had her try it on, and wouldn’t you know it? Too small. Dang! When did this kid get so big? So I ripped back and started again. But by this time, I was burned out. Bleh. For a week I just played with my wheel instead, because I knew she was watching, so I couldn’t knit something else, but I DID NOT want to knit that! So I spun. See my merino/yak? oooh, purty!

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But it turns out that I am a good mom after all, and so I pushed through and finished the socks. The Christmas Consolation Socks. They turned out pretty darn good.

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Turkish Bed Socks in Family Pendragon 80/20 Fingering (discontinued), Ice Dragon 

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IMGP1737All’s well that ends well. And there might be enough left in that skein for a pair of socks for me! Woohoo!

But now I can’t wait to get back to that merino/yak. It is yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Healthy

While I am in the resolution mood, I am revamping my health.

Well, that is not quite accurate. I have been striving to make and serve healthy food in this house since I got pregnant the first time, fourteen years ago. There is nothing like motherhood to start one on a journey to the ideal diet. So we eat pretty good. However, I have my vices. Coffee, chocolate, late night snacking, and of course, my sweet tooth, all negate to some extent the kombucha, organic produce, grass fed beef, and other basic healthy foods that make up our diet. And the pregnancies necessitated some short cuts that we no longer need.

I know it sounds cliche at this time of year, but I really mean it. And just like I stick to my knitting resolutions every year, I can stick to these, too. Wanna hear it?

1. Coffee and tea are vehicles for sugar and cream. I don’t need them like I think that I do. Therefore, I will abstain from both coffee and tea. I will reward myself at the end of each week with one cup on Saturday morning. Exceptions – holidays and hostessing 

2. Chocolate is my downfall. I will not buy it. I will not stock it. If I am given some, I will appreciate it and savor it slowly. Exceptions – holidays

3. Snacking. I know for a fact that if I eliminate all eating after 7 pm I will loose weight. I am allowed one healthy snack in the afternoon to take the place of my usual afternoon coffee. This snack will be healthy – an apple or some celery in peanut butter, for example.

4. I will return our diet to more closely resemble the Nourishing Traditions model. More lacto-fermentation, more broths, more heathy fats. Less grains and processed/prepared foods. Only raw or cultured dairy products.

5. I will drink more water. I will drink when am snacky, drink when I want coffee, drink all day long.

6. I will be more active. Whether jumping on the trampoline with the kids, going for a walk to the store, or doing an aerobics video, I will get my body moving in some way each day.

7. I will try to eat seasonally, traditionally, and locally. (I just read Full Moon Feast and I am inspired)

8. I will keep a food journal so that I will be forced to be more honest with myself about what I put in my body and so that I can learn how food affects my health, my mood, and my life.

I post this here as a reminder to me. I may need to come back and read it again. And again.

This is my year to be healthy.

Happy New Year!

What’s that? I am six days late? My apologies to all of you who rang in the new year on time, but I am just getting around to it. We have been the reluctant hosts of a nasty little stomach bug since before Christmas and I am just too happy that we are all not barfing any more to care that Christmas and New Years were a total bust this year. At last, today, six days late, I start the new year. Today the kids begin their second term of school, I begin living up to various resolutions (both knitting and food related), and here on the blog, I recap the old and ring in the new. So….

Happy New Year! 

I’ve got to fess up and tell you that I have been a bit blue looking over the last year. Twenty-thirteen was a toughy. I spent the first six months of the year suffering through a pregnancy that I was still struggling to accept, a pregnancy which culminated in the birth of our blessing, and her subsequent diagnosis, hospital stay, and breastfeeding/weight gain issues. I was just starting to feel better and The Blessing was putting on weight and eating well when that Christmas sickness knocked us all down again. It was very discouraging.

These things were made harder to bear by the extremely tight finances. With very little money to play with on special occassions, our 15th Anniversary was a dud, my birthday was practically ignored, and our Christmas was meager. Then there was the time when my wallet was stolen, along with two weeks worth of grocery money in it. And the time my credit card was used at a hotel in Conneticut (hint: I live in California).

To top it all off, close friends suffered also this year, and I grieved sorely for broken marriages, lost babies, and empty wallets.

But it is as they say, that every cloud has a silver lining.

The pregnancy that I didn’t want and that I suffered greatly through, gave me the most amazing blessing that anyone could ask for. Her birth was exactly as I had wanted, her smile makes my heart ache with happiness, and her life is more precious than anything.

The hospital stay was probably the scariest thing that I have ever endured, but it was only a week long. The Blessing’s Down syndrome did not come with any life threatening conditions and did not require heart surgery, feeding tubes, or long term medical care. Though she was born with TMD (a form of leukemia), it was gone before she was discharged from the hospital. Our baby is now a healthy, happy six month old.

Down syndrome has not been the life changer that I thought it was going to be. So far, The Blessing has not been delayed at all, and she is very much a normal baby, with only her regular therapy sessions to remind us that she does, indeed, have an extra chromosome. Well, that and her eyes, her gorgeous, blue, almond-shaped eyes.

When my wallet was stolen and we had no idea how we were going to buy food for the next two weeks, I told the kids that this was our chance to see how God takes care of His children. We prayed and asked for Him to provide for us. And He did. People heard what had happened and started giving us money. A little here, a little there, and in less than a week we had more than we had lost!

On Christmas morning, after the stockings were opened and breakfast was eaten, we opened our front door to find that someone had piled up a Christmas miracle on our doorstep. Gifts of socks, shirts, and sweaters for everyone, a big box of food, and an envelope containing a Costco gift card and a typed note. I seriously cried as I watched the kids open these very unexpected gifts.

I realize now, looking back over 2013, that I can see it two different ways. I can see it with my blue lenses, my woe-is-me glasses, and cry over all the hardship that I endured. Oh, what a struggle it was to get through this past year! Oh, the things that I have had to endure! Oh, the trials that I have faced!

Or, I can instead put on my rose colored glasses, my life-is-good lenses, and see how it really was.

Even in my discontent, God provides.

Even in my weakness, He shows me his strength.

Even in my trials, He comforts me.

And, honestly, if that was the worst year of my life, then I have had it pretty easy. 

So here I am at the start of a fresh, new year. I have great hopes for this year. I’m going to be healthy and strong. I have creative goals and personal goals. I have ideas for homeschooling and memory making and training our kids up in the way that they should go. But I also have the memory of a very tough year to remind me that even when things don’t go the way that I hope they will, God is always in control and He has me in His very capable hands.

A Thank You Note to Our Mystery “Santa”

You left gifts on our doorstep,

And filled our pantry with good things to eat,

You put grocery money in my wallet,

And socks on the kids feet,

Thank you

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I don’t know who it was that did it,

And I can’t hug you tight,

You chose to remain a secret,

Playing Santa on Christmas Eve night

Thank you

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We were so surprised to find it all,

Piled up outside our door,

I stood with tears filling my eyes,

My kids opened gifts on the floor,

Thank you

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The clothes all fit perfectly,

The food is exactly what I’d get,

You made our Christmas magical,

One that we will never forget,

Thank you