yarn along

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I cast on this featherweight cardigan probably close to a year ago, and haven’t touched it since the summer, when pregnancy sickness set in, I suppose.  Suddenly the other day, it just popped into my brain that I probably hadn’t ordered enough yarn.  I couldn’t even remember what size of the sweater I was knitting, but suddenly I had that feeling of dread that I won’t have enough yarn to add length to the pattern like I had planned.  Since this is indie hand-dyed yarn by madelinetosh and she often discontinues colors as she comes up with new ones, I had a mild panic checking to see if this color way was still in stock (it is).  When I checked the pattern I realized I hadn’t even ordered enough yarn for the size I was knitting, let alone to add length to it.  What was wrong with my brain and why did this suddenly come to me now, almost a year later?  I have no idea.  It’s so strange how the brain works.  I suddenly needed to pick it up again, and have been knitting on it the past few days, now rotating skeins as I should have up until this point.  Hopefully the new skein that I ordered will look fairly similar and I won’t have to rip out and totally start over?

Phoebe and I have been reading A Wrinkle In Time, without any impetus from the forthcoming movie, which someone told me about after the fact.  I have never read the book before and Phoebe has the series on her shelf from one of her aunties, I think, and for some reason I’ve been interested in reading Madeleine d’Engle lately.  I don’t know if I’ve read any of her books!  I’m interested in reading  A Circle of Quiet next for myself, I think.  Any favorites of hers?

Joining up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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her seventh

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Dear sweet phoebe girl

Seven years with you has both flown by and also seemed like a lifetime.  I can barely remember what our world was like without you in it.  You came and you brought so much light and joy to our home, you made us a family.  You were so small, wrinkly, and frail and we thought there was no way we should be entrusted to care for such a precious little bundle.

Year after year you have delighted and surprised us.  You have gone through so very much in this last year, probably one of your hardest years yet.  Watching you undergo your second and third endoscopy and colonoscopy, as well as doing the hardest elimination diet I’ve ever known for 3 full months–so tough that none of us even felt we could do it with you.  It was painful to watch, to walk through with you, the tears, the questions you would ask, hearing your sweet prayers asking God to heal your body.  And then finally, a glimmer of hope.  A clear endoscopy, but still elevated antibody levels in your blood.  By this year’s end, we finally got those numbers under control–so much work and so much “going without” for you, and I’m so proud of what you’ve had to endure.  It’s going to be a long road ahead for you, but you are the strongest, bravest, most positive little girl I know.  I think you’re going to do just fine.

In the process of all of that, we moved from our rental in with Grandpa and Rainey while we waited to find and then close on our house, then finally into our new home.  Lots of change and busyness, us trying to keep up with your schooling in the midst of it.  Summer came and we found out a new baby was on its way to us, and momma was pretty wiped out with sickness for the next few months.  Then, in the fall you began first grade!  You were so proud, telling everyone everywhere we went about it and how grown up you are now.

Its sort of ironic that you are the firstborn, and yet your birthday comes last in our string of holiday birthdays.  It’s so hard for you to wait until it’s finally your turn.  In the barely-there hints of morning light you came stumbling out of bed to see the house decorated for a day just for you, pink wrapping and homemade birthday banners strung up around all the christmas decorations.  We gave you the option to open all your gifts right away, knowing how hard it is for you to wait, but you wanted to do what Philippa and Noah did and open a few at breakfast and save the rest for later.  You opened the bonnet I knit for you, which you’ve been asking for for a long time.  It just fits, but maybe after a good blocking it’ll fit a bit better.  We also gave you a new dress for your Kaya doll (American girl doll) and some of her trading accessories for when she would go to trade her wares.  What fun it was last year to read through all the Kaya books with you, and we need to reread them!  You immediately had to dress her in her new things and you were so excited to have her with you all day long.

It was a rainy, gray day so we decided to go into town for a little walk.  It was the first time we’ve walked around in our little hometown and gone into all the shops that interest us.  It was really fun!  You pushed Kaya around everywhere and were so careful to keep her dry in the rain.  Later in the afternoon, you opened the rest of your gifts.  Your dresses and new pjs from grandparents.  We gave you your first real bible, now that you’re reading.  What a fun time your daddy and I had picking out just the right one for you at the bookstore.  I gave you the sweater I had knit for you, and you threw it on right away.  I love knitting for you because you enjoy it so.  I had also put together a little sewing kit for you–your own little scissors, needles, pack of floss, embroidery hoops and aida cloth.  You were so excited, as I thought you might be, and wanted to get started on it right away.

You wanted pizza for dinner and of course chocolate cake with strawberries.  What a sweet and joy-filled day, simple cozy and full.  It never feels adequate to sum up how we feel, but we love you so very much.  So very proud of you and excited to walk with you into this new year, wondering what it will hold.  How I treasure our morning snuggles, our tea and knitting time, reading together, cooking together.  Grow strong and true, my little girl.  Let go of what you can’t hold onto anyway.  Lean the full weight of who you are and your desires on your Savior.  He loves you more than we can imagine, He has a good plan, He is busy working it all out for your good and for His glory.  Run your race with joy, with hope, with faith, and keep those little eyes fixed on Him all the way.  We’re right here, cheering you on in every step.

Love you always and forever
xo
Mama

yarn along

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The timber cardigan is something I was hoping to wear throughout this winter but I’ve only been working on it intermittently between other more pressing projects.  It’s the mindless back burner knit that I pick up when I just need something easy and comforting and don’t want to watch a pattern closely.  I’m slowly making headway on it, and I still hope that I’ll finish it in time to wear it this winter, but who knows?  Either way, it’s been a joy to work on and anytime knitting with Brooklyn Tweed yarn is cozy and satisfying.

I’m still reading Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy and enjoying it a lot.  I do have to return it to the library today and I’m not done with it, so I’ll have to take a break and place another hold on it.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

Noey’s day (5!)

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Your favorite foods are pizza (in your daddy’s footsteps), applesauce, cereal and pancakes, chips and popcorn.  You are still addicted to your dee-T (blankie) which is fine by me.  Rue the day you outgrow dee-T!  You are sensitive, careful, a tinkerer, loud and wiggly, bouncy and giggly, a lover of music (drums especially) and riding bikes.  You can’t wait to grow up and have a “real race car with a trailer behind it.”

This was maybe the most fun birthday we’ve had with you yet because you were actually excited about opening presents and didn’t mind us singing happy birthday to you since it was just us.  When you opened your playmobil “trash truck” (recycling) you said, “Yes!! Now we can go trashing all day!”  You held it up at the window for the trash men to see when they went by the next day, and they honked at you and gave a thumbs up.  It was a treat to see you build your lego airplane with daddy and I think you’re finally at the age where you really enjoy legos and playmobil.  It always surprises me how much you love your hand knits, and you wanted to put your new birthday sweater on right away.  I’m just glad it actually fit well!  You reminded me all day that you wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and that you wanted cereal for dinner.  I made spaghetti, which is another of your favorites, hoping to entice you with it, but in the end relented and let you have cereal.

I look forward to the adventures we’ll have in the coming year!  Welcoming a new baby with you as my big boy helper, spring and planting our garden, fall and your official start of school.  So many new things to come!  Your daddy and I adore you and thank God for you.  Happy 5th birthday!

Love,
Mom

yarn along

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I cast on these socks on Christmas day as a little treat to myself (the yarn was a Christmas gift from me Brandon) after a long stretch of gift knitting.  It’s only my second pair of socks for myself that I’ve ever made, and they are going to fit so much better than the first pair I made, which ended up far too big.  So I’m on the foot of the second sock and should be done with these in the next couple of days.  I discovered yesterday, to my dismay, that one of the kids had sat on my knitting bag and my size 1 wooden knitting needles were all in shards inside the stitches.  I thankfully have this one pair of size 1 circulars, but I have always knit socks on DPNs so it’s taken some getting used to.  I’m enjoying it though!  I still have so many upcoming projects on the brain, many little baby things I’m excited to cast on.  I have some yarn leftover from these socks and may knit up a few pairs of baby socks to match for our little girl coming next month.  (Ahh!  Next month!  That sounds so strange and sort of terrifyingly close.)

I’ve also just started reading Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy per Ginny’s book recommendation list, in the spirit of wanting to read more fiction and more classics.  I’m not sure what I think yet, not quite hooked yet but I will keep at it.

I’m so so excited that Ginny has started up this yarn along again!  I’ve missed it and all of you lovely knitters out there!

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things and Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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winter rose

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Christmas morning dawned beautifully here.  The light did somehow seem different–rosy pink, fresh, full of new life.  The children were up not too early, mostly their usual time, while I was busy making coffee and grain-free cinnamon rolls.  I had saved a little frosting from Phoebe’s cake to put on top of the cinnamon rolls and they were heavenly.  We opened stockings first, giving them our usual things–socks, underwear, toothbrushes, candies and dried fruits, some purple sock yarn for phoebe, a toy car for noah, a bath toy turtle for philippa.  Just little items, over which they took such joy!  (As I’m typing this I just now remembered I forgot to tuck one little gift into Noah and Phoebe’s stocking!  Ahh!  My poor brain.  Lately I really feel worn down, brain tired.  It doesn’t bode well for starting school back up with phoebe next week.)  After stockings, we had breakfast and read the Christmas story from the scriptures, and then commenced opening gifts under the tree.

We told the children in the fall that the play gym we were working on for them would be their big christmas gift.  I had bought each of them a coloring book and a chalkboard slate (really actually need these for school), but otherwise we didn’t have presents for them to open Christmas morning.  They had a couple gifts from grandparents to open, and their Hape Mine Mountain train toy was a huge hit!  Brandon gifted me a Fringe Supply project bag which I love, and some sock yarn that I’ve been eyeing for awhile.  I bought him a warm Carhartt coat for work.  I did manage to finish knitting his beanie at midnight on Christmas Eve, just in the “nick” of time, as they say.  Brandon and I had been talking about getting a family gift of a kitty for the kids, but kept going back and forth about the timing and whether or not we really could afford to take on a pet right now.  It’s been years since we’ve had any pets and I admit, it’s been so nice!  I kept imagining a little white kitten in a box under the tree, and a few days before Christmas Brandon visited a local shelter and adopted one.  Some kind friends cat-sat her for us until Christmas Eve, and we kept her hidden in the sunroom while the kids slept.  We had them each open a part of the family gift–a set of bowls, a cat bed, a cat toy–and then they opened the box she was in.  Their reaction was quieter than we expected, I think they were shocked that there was a real live animal right in our living room.  Slowly the giggles and glee and squeals took over!  It’s been such a joy the last few days to see them interact with her, care for her, figure out how to pick her up carefully or get her to play with them.  We don’t know much of her backstory, but she is 3 months old and the shelter had named her Belmont, but the kids have decided to name her Winter Rose, and mostly are just calling her Rose. I am slowly warming up to her, too, kittens are just irresistible.  I am, however, holding to my position that she be an outside cat come spring.

After Christmas morning we had a small lunch and then headed out for a hike instead of putting kids down for naps.  It was absolutely freezing here, but I was especially craving some time out on the quiet parkway nearby, so we drove a short way up and hopped on the Mountain to Sea trail for a bit of a hike.  Despite my bad back pain (which has been the worst this pregnancy) it was still so nice to be out breathing fresh cold mountain air for a bit.  We came home and Brandon helped me make a simple Christmas dinner just for us–baked ham, scalloped potatoes, and a salad of mixed greens, citrus + pomegranate.  I had hoped to make a cherry pie for Brandon, but just didn’t have the energy to pull it off.  I will surprise him with one soon, he’s been waiting for one since Thanksgiving.  I’m feeling really weary after all the kid’s birthdays, holiday celebrations, and I’m looking forward to the next couple months which will hopefully be more quiet until baby comes in February.

It was a simple day spent together, and there was some quiet ache in the midst of all the beauty–the longing for things we can’t quite name that always seems to be stirred up on Christmas day.  The children were happy and we were tired and happy with them.  I think our Advent season this year was one of my favorites–as they get older, it is so rewarding to see them learn and understand and process.  It’s sad to let it go, and today I think I’ll begin packing away some of the decorations.  But our hearts are full from the time together and our minds are turning now to the new year and whatever hopeful things may be in store for us in it.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying these last few days of 2017, and that the year to come is full of hope and promise and joy for you!  I’ll be back to share pictures from Noah and Phoebe’s birthday soon.

first snow

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The “first” everything in this home is special, as we are still finding our way in these four walls.  Decorating the house for the Christmas season is new, finding new homes for old favorite decorations.

I’ve been looking forward to our first snow in this home for a long time, really since before we bought the home.  Last February we were out of our rental, living temporarily with my parents while waiting to close on this home, and we drove over one day to drive by the house on a snowy day.  The neighborhood was transformed, so quiet and pretty and white, and we couldn’t wait for the day when we’d be building snowmen in the yard and tracking footprints all over the yard in our own fresh snow.

The snow began early in the morning before the kids were up, and it just kept coming and coming, all day long.  We had a playdate at a friend’s house and had a blast playing in the snow together with them, stayed through lunch and then realized the roads were quite covered and we had better hurry home.  We slid around all the way, but made it safely.  I had the kids rest briefly but then we couldn’t bear to not be out playing in it all.  Daddy came home from work early with milk and a couple other provisions and we prepared to hunker down for the weekend.  We were prepared to lose power, as some other folks around us had, but miraculously we didn’t.  Church was canceled on Sunday but our roads were relatively clear by then, so we headed instead to our very favorite pottery place in a nearby town, where we have gone every Christmas season since before Phoebe was born.  They have an open house the second weekend of December usually, and you can get a free small pottery mug (per person) and they have hot cider, snacks and treats, live folksy music, and crafts for kids.  We often buy a little christmas ornament or something there to support them and it’s just one of the most Christmasy feeling things we look forward to doing during the season.  So festive and fun.  We try to get a picture every year in front of their cheery red door.

Otherwise, I’ve attempted to keep our December still and quiet.  Advent readings and Christmas hymns begin and end our days.  We’ve made yummy grain-free Christmas cookies (though I never got around to making icing for them) similar to these.  We decorated the tree one evening and remembered all our favorite ornaments.  I treasure the junky kid-made ornaments, especially the ones from last year that Phoebe made while in the hospital in Winston Salem waiting for her endoscopy procedure.  My, what can change in a year’s time.  Phoebe has been practicing for weeks at church to sing in the Christmas children’s choir, and she requested a solo.  They sang last Sunday and what a joy it was to see her do so well, and to see her making new friends at our new church home.

This week is busy with birthday celebrations and today will probably be our quietest day until after Christmas.  Phoebe turns 7 tomorrow and I still have a few things to do to prepare.  Mostly, I just can’t believe that teeny tiny baby girl has gotten so big, grown-up, sophisticated and smart.  Sob.  With little ones, our lives are filled with change even as we try to nail a few things down around us.

I hope your December has been cheerful and meaningful thus far, and that you are enjoying these last few days before Christmas.  If I don’t pop in here before then, Merry Christmas to you and yours!  May you find Jesus to be enough for you, the very fulness of joy, and every other good merely the overflow of His grace.