Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wait, WHAT?

It's the middle of December, tomorrow? WHAT?

I am losing my grip, I think, on reality. Not in a bad way, just in a...time is FLYING way! I'm all discombobulated. We put up our tree really early this year - normally we wait until after my birthday but for some reason I was all gung ho and we put it up way early. So now I feel like it should be Christmas tomorrow. I keep going to the stores and thinking IT'S SO CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE and then I'm reminded that it's still a ways a way. Anyway.

So, I turned 41. Not that a big a deal, really. I don't have Issues with aging, so much. I like who I am these days, and I think turning 40 is very liberating. I really have come to embody the whole lack of giving a sh-t about what most people think of me. Unfortunately, this leads me do things like mutter to myself in the grocery store and wear my pajamas to the bus stop. Oh well. My BIG exciting present was a new camera, and I *love* it. I used to love photography and my dream job would be photographing families and babies. I haven't shot an SLR in a really long time, and I've finally come to accept that I can't take the pictures I want without the proper lens and camera. I'm still deciding which lens I want...but I'm psyched!!

My big Christmas present is going to be a serger. I am really excited about this too! I know there's going to be a steep learning curve. One reason I'm psyched is that I'd love to do more blankets for Project Linus and this will make it very easy and quick to do some.

It's funny, my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and having just been through an incredible birthday with such a lavish present, I couldn't think of ANYTHING. I don't need anything, far from it, and honestly, I'm sort of drowning in stuff. I have plenty of yarn, plenty of projects to sew...all I really need is time. I thought of the serger because it's something I've been wanting for a long time. Turns out I could cash in points from our credit card to get gift cards to pay for it, so it didn't even cost me any money! Which is good.

Blah blah...nothing really happening here. I think I need to start a new knitting project. I want to design a hat with a ponytail hole. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

Ahhh, I am stuffed with turkey, stuffing, gravy and and pumpkin pie. We had just my folks here for Tday, and they left this morning. We had a lovely day, and I actually got a bunch of stuff done! I've had a big pile of projects sitting on the ironing board, and I finally got motivated to finish. I put velcro on two hats for my daughter. One is this wild pseudo-animal print, which I don't like at all, but she picked out and loves. I then put together another hat which will probably go to a friend's daughter, it's the perfect color for her. I put together a stocking cap for DS2, in his most favoritest color: green. I made a simple hat (for some reason I call them envelope hats) for DS1, which has monsters on it. It's tricky, he's at that age where I'm starting to wonder if he's too old for cute little-guy stuff. I don't think so, but I also feel like I don't have a great handle on how big a deal it is at school, you know? Ugh, not my favorite part of parenting. Then I made a cape for DS2. We bought this fabric ages ago, and today I bought a lining for it. I confirmed for myself that I do NOT sew well with slippery polyester fabrics! It's a terrible job but he seems to like it. Mainly I'm just feeling happy that I got some things DONE! I have several pairs of socks cut out that I need to sew, and then I think I'm going to put the fleece away for a while and maybe focus on knitting.

Today I am grateful for the time to do my projects.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here and There

So, I finished the hat. I really like this pattern. It's Lotus Hat designed by Third Base Line, and it's just gorgeous. I ended up knitting this on size 6s, using my Denise kit (which I always do for adult hats now because my KP Options doesn't have a short enough cord). The yarn is Malabrigo, so soft and wonderful. I don't have pictures that really do the hat justice, that's for sure. I knit it as written, 96 stitches, and it did fit me.

It turns out, sadly, that the question of whether it will fit the intended recipient is moot. This was sent to the mother of a good internet friend of mine, who was diagnosed with cancer, and was designed to be a chemo cap. Unfortunately, things are progressing much more rapidly than anticipated, and the wonderful woman will not be needing it for this part of the journey after all.

I don't know if it's something about 2010 or something about the fact that I'm 40, but everywhere I turn, lately, it seems someone's losing someone dear to them. Many, many friends have lost parents this year. Beloved pets have died. Deeply wanted pregnancies lost. It seems like for so many, it's been a hard year.

In the midst of all that, I'm feeling profoundly grateful. We came very close to losing my father, whose life was saved by a quadruple bypass, and now he's fine - as sassy as ever. I'm so blessed, so unbelievably blessed with my family. I had the opportunity this weekend to go celebrate the wedding of two dear friends. I went sans kids and husband, and was reminded of how much I love all of them. My daughter wiped out last week and ended up with three stitches in her forehead. Even though it took about 4 hours at the ER to get the stitches, I'm feeling lucky - *all* she needed was stitches, and we're lucky to have good healthcare. Though there are challenges with my kids, they're good ones to have.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm sending love to all my friends who are missing someone this season, and holding my own family near to my heart.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not the post I thought I'd be writing.

So, I've been knitting up a storm, and *loving* it. I offered to make a hat for a friend's mother. I've been knitting along, it's a fairly easy lace pattern and I've been enjoying it so much. I've been thinking about the whole Purpose part of knitting with a purpose, and feeling like service knitting done on my own time frame is something I just love.

There's just one, teeny tiny little problem. So, the hat has a two-part lace pattern. The body of the hat is worked over 6 stitches, the decreases over 12. When I cast on, I did the math wrong in my head and cast...I'm not even sure. They recommend 96 stitches, I thought that was going to be HUGE so I cast on 96-12 which in my head came out to be somewhere around 85. Which is so isn't. It must have been an even # because my 1x1 ribbing was fine, but when I finished the first round I was 3 stitches short. I blithely worked a couple of increases in there, figuring they wouldn't be noticeable. Except I was thinking in multiples of 6, not 12, so now I'm at the decreases and there's NO way to make this work because I am 6 stitches short. I had planned to send this out overnight tomorrow....I think I can still make that deadline, but I'm just aggravated with myself. I was even feeling so complacent about how easy I was finding the lace and thinking how that showed that some of my brain power has returned post-childbirth. HA!

So, now the question. I've been told the lady in question has a larger head. Do I got down a needle size or two, cast on the 96 stitches? Yeah, I think that's what I'll do....except of course I don't have the size 6 tips.

And, I just looked at the tips I have on, and I have knit the entire hat with one 8 and one 9.

Okay, this hat needs to be frogged and redone, that's all there is too it.

But, not tonight. I don't want any negative energy near it. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where did the year go?

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! This year is flying. Which, given the number of awful and sad things that have happened to many people I care about, is not a bad thing.

I think since Thanksgiving is coming, I'm going to dust off my gratitude journal. I think spending some time focusing on the good things is a really good practice for me.

So, in that interest - today I am really really REALLY grateful that my kitty who got out only went about 100 feet away and was interested enough in the food container to let me just grab him and bring him in. *phew* We live right next to 100 acres of woods that have coyotes and fisher cats in them. This kitty would make a nice tasty dinner for someone. I'm so glad I kept looking for him. Another trusting my gut moment - I *knew* he was out, and I knew the cat crying out there had to be him. I've not heard anything else like it around here. So, thanks, Universe, for sending my fluffy buddy back.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Loyalty and Moving On

I've said this before, I'm sure. I believe that often our great strengths are also our great weaknesses. In my case, it's loyalty. I am intensely loyal, even when it's clear that the time to be loyal has passed. I had that lesson given to me again today. Its time to let something go. I should have let go months ago, when I realized the situation wasn't right for me, but held on out of fear of hurting others. Who, it turned out, were doing the same thing.

I think the situation was part of why knitting hasn't been giving me joy. This was a knitting group, a group of women where it was very clear, I really didn't fit in. Which is fine, I don't have to fit everywhere. Given who I am, in fact, there's no way I can fit everywhere. I am who I am, these perfectly nice women are who they are, but we're really, really different, and who I am just doesn't work with them. After an honest conversation with a good friend, we both agreed no harm, no foul, and I'll step out of the group. I came home and thought about knitting. About how this group has felt like such an obligation, and by extension, my knitting has felt like an obligation, something hanging over me that I *had* to do. I don't think it's coincidence that I came home from being with my friend and immediately cast on a hat I had offered to make for a friend's mother who is going through chemo. I made the offer two days ago, but couldn't bear to get going.

As I cast on, I began to reconnect to how much I love knitting. I love the feel of the yarn, the sight of my hands holding the needles and working the stitches. I love looking at a beautiful pattern and thinking, sure, I can make that.

So, what can I take away from this? A very different lesson than I would have taken while in my 20s. Then I would have been crushed and hurt, and felt like there was something terribly wrong with *me* and I would have turned it into another excuse to be cruel to myself. Now, though, I'm taking it from the perspective of someone who has a pretty good idea of who she is. I usually like who I am, and this isn't going to change that. These women don't get me, and who I am is not comfortable for them. That's fine.

And I also am thinking about what's important to me. Sure, my friends are important to me, but I don't think most of these women are really true friends. We couldn't connect enough for it to get to that, and the one I really do connect with, our friendship is fine. As important though, is knowing that other things matter to me as well, and knitting is one of those things. Any group that sucks the joy in my craft from me is not a group that's good for me. I didn't realize just how much until today and I want my joy back.

So, to that end...I've cast on The Lotus Hat from Third Base Line. I'm using a skein of Malabrigo I had left over from another project. I don't know this woman at all, but her daughter has been one of my on-line friends for over 10 years. I cast on 88 stitches, which I am a tad concerned won't be big enough, but I need a bit more length in the hat before I can really tell. I'm excited to knit this and to give it away. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 05, 2010

In which I return to the minutiae of knitting.

So I had playgroup over here today, and oddly enough, 2 3-year olds and a 2.5-year-old are easier than just 1 2.5-year-old. They played upstairs so I brought out the knitting. I thought I'd ease back into it - I'm almost done with yet another Noro scarf, so I pulled that out. This one is ostensibly for me but I'm not loving it. It's not like I really *need* another scarf, though I do want one of these striped scarves for myself....So, I don't know. I may keep it, I may gift it. I think I've come to the conclusion that I love the *idea* of Noro more than the reality of Noro. I think I'll do another one in Boku. I think I can find yarn that's more right for me.

It was really enjoyable to just sit and monitor the kids and knit. It's been a long time, several months I think, since I've really sat and knit.

I've had some thoughts swirling around in my head about women, women's work, and being a feminist, but I don't think I have anything coherent to say about it yet. Also about being a big geek and how awesome it is to be 40 because I just really don't worry that much about what the general population thinks of me, because really? THEY'RE NOT.

I think I need to spend more time communing with my stash to see if a new project leaps out at me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

And back to the Mundane...

*whew* I don't know when Halloween became a week-long celebration, and I don't love it, but we survived! It started with the town parade last weekend, then costumes at gymnastics all week, then a parade and party at school, a party at the gymnastics place (that was Out of Control), a friend's birthday party, and, of course, the Main Event, the Trick or Treating on Sunday night. Not to mention that all three kids were also baptized (this occurrence driven entirely by the boys), so my sister came down for the weekend to be Godmother, and DH's parents came for the day yesterday. CRAZY WEEKEND. It was wonderful, but I'm tired. And we've got a CRAZY month coming up! Fancy wedding next weekend (complete with overnight visiting from the grandparents for babysitting), a big fundraiser the weekend after, I'm going to New York the weekend after (ALONE) for a dear friend's wedding reception, then we're hosting Thanksgiving...DUDE. So, yeah, life is awesome but tiring.

I was wearing handknit socks today, the Felici ones, and they're getting really thin in the heel. No holes yet, but soon. They're just wearing out. Which is fine, what with the impermanence of life and all, but it made me realize that I am missing knitting. A LOT. So, one might wonder, why aren't you, in fact, knitting? I'm not sure. I have a ton of fleece and LOTS of planned projects looming over me. I think another issue is that I have too many things of needles, and I've not been knitting at all in months. I think maybe if I just started knitting something easy, that didn't require too much brain power, that might be a good re-entry. I love knitting, and I love having handknit things. I think sometimes it just takes me too long to finish stuff, whereas I can make a pair of fleece socks in about 35 minutes...

I am feeling very, very scattered these days. We've got some...not even bad stuff, just really challenging stuff with one of the kids. I'm volunteering in both boys' classrooms, I'm on the board of the PTA, I'm room mom for both boys, I'm doing a babysitting coop with two friends, I've gotten addicted to puzzles, I've got fleece in piles all over my house, and every where I turn, there's something I need or want to be doing.

Hmm. Maybe it's time to slow down a bit. Take some time just for being. As I'm writing this, I'm pondering the fact that I haven't done any yoga in a month. Perhaps the first step would be to go to bed earlier, so I can get up at 6 and resume my practice. Yeah, I think that's a good thing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It Gets Better

Like so many others, I've been shocked and saddened by the recent suicides that have been publicized in the media over the last few weeks. I love Dan Savage's It Gets Better project, though I can't make it through a single video without weeping.

I've also read a lot of criticism of the project, the primary one being that it seems like people are just offering the mantra without offering anything concrete. It's scary for me to expose this part of myself, to tell this part of my story. It's not a secret, but I don't think there's anyone in my life who knows the whole story, except me. I'm not going to tell it all here because, well, it would take too long.

But I do want to tell a bit of my own story, because I know what it's like to feel so depressed that you want to die. I know what it's like to feel like you have a toxic and shameful secret (though my secret was not about my sexual orientation). To feel so alone, and so damn different that you cannot fathom how life could ever change, could ever be anything different than what it is. Which is unlivable.

For me, one of my reservations about the It Gets Better project is that sometimes it doesn't, or it doesn't for years. And when you're in that darkest of places, you can't see beyond the fact that it's not okay now, and you can't fathom that it could be better. Someone telling you that it gets better might be a lifeline for some, but it may feel so far out of reach for others. And perhaps it's true that for many people, their problems are purely situational, and getting out, leaving that small-minded town, or high school, or family, will be all the catalyst for change that they need. Going somewhere where gay people are accepted, if not embraced, really is all that it will take to help those kids. I don't think my story is as much for them.

Because it's not true for some. For me, in fact, it was just the opposite. Going to college, while in some ways a liberation, also threw me into a complete tailspin. While in retrospect I'd flirted with depression for years (and I certainly had a raging eating disorder by the time I left for college), it was my freshman year that I went through my first major depression, and made a half-hearted suicide attempt that landed me in the hospital for a week. Half-hearted because I was simply too depressed to do more than that.

I wish I could say that that was it, that was the worst it ever got, and it really got better from there, but it didn't. Not for me, not for years. I landed in that place over and over again. I have a clear memory of taking a walk with my boyfriend. It was spring, one of those achingly lovely spring days in New England, where winter is finally gone. This is now over 20 years ago, and I still remember the color of the skies, and trees starting to flower. I can also remember how empty and dead I felt. I remember sitting down by the side of the road, and when my boyfriend asked me what was wrong, I couldn't answer. All I could think was, "What's the point? I'm just going to sit here until I die because I cannot see the point of living like this anymore." I was 19 years old.

The roots of my depression are deep and varied: family history, abuse (not within my family), alcohol, just to name a few.

If depression is the roots, then healing is the tree, and my tree is strong and vibrant, but it took time, a long time, to grow.

So, for those who, when some loving soul tells them "it will get better," ask "HOW?" Let me tell you some things that worked for me. Your mileage, as in all things, may vary.

Quitting drinking.
Medication. (I'll note it took different trials of different things to find something that helped me.)
Therapy, and lots of it: individual, group, multiple times a week.
Love. This is the kicker, the biggest part. I know people say that you have to love yourself before others can love you, but I say no, that's not true and I'm living proof. People loved me, kept loving me, and *still* love me, all through those long hard times. Sure there were good times in there, but so much of those years is colored for me by the darkness. Between the meds, the therapy and the love, I started to heal.

And here comes the cliche. You know what? It *did* get better. It got better because I worked, so hard, to make it better. Because somehow there was some tiny spark in me that fought for that, even when all of my conscious self was just done and wanted to die. And one of the things that I learned from those horrible bouts of depression is that when I'm in that place, my brain is lying to me. The part that says, "this is never going to change, it's never going to get better, you're worthless and no one loves you because you ARE unlovable." Those are lies. They are lies my brain told me, and if your brain is telling you those things, it's lying.

How can I know that? How can I say that about people I've never met, about you? Because I believe it's true of all human beings. Okay, granted, there are people who've committed such atrocities that it's hard to see how they can be deemed worthwhile, and honestly, I've not worked that one out yet. But, if you're some scared middle schooler or high schooler who's being tormented and bullied simply because you might be different, because you might be gay, or not white, or fat, or...whatever, I can say with completely and total belief, you are a worthwhile person who deserves to live, who does not deserve to live in agony. And internal pain is every bit as agonizing as physical pain. I know, I gave birth 3 times. I'll take the agony of labor any day of the week over depression (though I'd have some serious explaining to do about that).

You are not alone. This may be one of the true miracles of the internet, that it can connect people across the world. There are people out there who are like you, and there are people who aren't like you who will love and accept you for who you are. Who won't ask you to hide your true self. There are more allies around you than you may know. Yes, it sucks that it's on you to find them, but they're there. We're here. We're listening. We want to know your story, so you have to stick around to tell it.

I know these numbers are being published in many places, but I'm going to add them here. If you need someone to talk to, if you are feeling like you're at the end of your rope, call:
  • the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
*taking a deep breath and hitting publish*

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

4 years.

I just passed the anniversary of starting this blog. FOUR YEARS. Wow, I hadn't realized that it had been quite that long! It's amazing to me, looking at how my life has changed in those 4 years. 4 years ago, 2006, I was sending my just-turned-3-year-old off to his first year of preschool. I was hanging out with my 16 month old. I was mourning the loss of two very important friendships. I was cautiously reaching out and making new friends, who are still really close and important to me today. So many things have changed. I've moved out of the city to this small town, much more rural than suburban, and I love it. I've made a whole new community out here. We have a house. We lost our beloved cat, we gained our new boy kitties, we've lost family members, we had a daughter. Life is so full, so rich, so *interesting*. This year I sent my 7 year old off to 1st grade, my 5 year old off to Kindergarten, and soon my 2 year old will be going to preschool! It's a whole different world. I think 4 years ago I was floundering in a way. My life was changing, and I'm not someone who embraces change joyfully, to say the least. It's not that there aren't changes ahead, I know there are, but life is more settled. This summer I felt like we turned a corner with our kids. My daughter started sleeping through the night (yes, at 2 years, 3 months) and while I don't think my boys will ever be *easy*, they are becoming more and more independent. I'm starting to have some breathing room, to think ahead to the next big change, of how work will fit back into my life. I have *no* idea what it's going to look like, but I think it's going to be interesting!

It's funny, October has historically been a really BAD month for me (like profound clinical depression-bad), and as September draws to a close and the light fails, I've tended to get more and more anxious and worried. It didn't even occur to me this year! We've got so much going on, with school, soccer, piano lessons, friends, and of course, the all-important Halloween-costume-planning (and on a side note, could I use anymore hyphens in this post??), that I forgot about my long-term history to focus on the here-and-now. It's not all roses, of course. There are struggles and challenges, but I do feel hopeful.

I think back on how sad, how hurt I was 4 years ago, and it seems so long ago. It always takes me a lot longer than other people to move on, but I truly think I have.

So, for the knitting and crafting, where does that leave me? I haven't moved on from that!! I've been sewing a lot lately. I made a hat and mittens set for our preschool auction. Technically we're not actually there right now, but we're still a part of the community, and I decided against knitting this year - too time-consuming. If I can find the time, I'll make another set. I have a hat made for a friend, and two hats for my daughter for this year, and I need to make the coordinating mittens. My younger son got really sad and wanted a hat and mittens as well, so I'll be making those. Green, of course, because it's his favorite color! I taught another friend to knit yesterday, and I'm hoping the bug will catch for her! I want to finish my Noro scarf, and then I may just put all my projects aside and start something new. As I keep reminding myself - knitting is my *hobby*, not my job, so I need to be enjoying it!! No one's grading me or can tell me how to do it. :)

I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying in spite of some of the hard things going on, I'm feeling optimistic today!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's really Fall now.

We had Back To School night for our first grader, our first experience of this. Our oldest was *wired*, which was sort of good, in that it gave his teacher a chance to see his more...energetic self, shall we say. It's weird weather, hot and muggy and rainy. Hopefully tomorrow will dry out a bit so we can have soccer practice.

I met a couple of women at my bookclub this month who are knitters! It almost got me inspired to pick up needles...almost. What is my problem? :) I have been sewing. I just put together 4 pairs of fleece socks for myself. I have another cut out for me, and 5 pairs for a friend's son, who wants fun socks. Then I've got requests from some other friends. I have another hat for my daughter, and I need to do some mittens for her as well. Lots of projects.

I want to get re-inspired with my knitting. I think I'm not in a sock mood, which is mainly what I have on needles - that and lace shawls. What would be a good reconnecting project??

Monday, September 13, 2010

Here we go.

I just spent a bunch of time writing a post, all about pain and sadness and blah blah blah. I decided to delete it because I am just bored with it. For some reason this morning a bunch of stuff from the past kept cropping up in my mind. Memories of past losses, relationships that ended, professional disappointments, friendships lost.

Just like I spent too much time pre-suffering pain that hasn't even (and probably won't) come to me, I have historically spent way too much time in the past. Not to say that it's not a necessary part of healing and growth, but rather it's just something I do too much. There can be a fine line between processing and wallowing, and man, do I love a good wallow.

So, instead of trying to come up with some sort of profound insight that's really just a cliche (love's worth it! everyone has pain!), I am going to go DO something. I've got an unexpected chunk of time - my boys are in school ALL DAY today, both of them, and my daughter is sleeping the blessed nap. I think I'm going to go make some fleece socks.

And I'll just say on the gratitude front, today I am profoundly grateful for the health of my children. And little Karlee, I'm holding you in my heart, sweetie.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

And a new year starts.

Like so many, especially those of us who spent a few extra years (okay, 8, but who's counting) in graduate school, the beginning of September really feels like the "new year." I know, it's still 2010, but it's a new school year! We start very late, tomorrow is the boys' first day of school. DS1 is *7* today, which I can't quite believe! How did this happen? 7 feels like a big one, like he's really making the transition from little kid to BIG kid. He's clearly had another cognitive leap of late, and having conversations with him is just markedly different than it was a few months ago. Because he's a September birthday, he's just starting 1st grade (our cut-off is Aug. 31), which is so good for him. I'm hopeful he'll have a good year. He loved Kindergarten and had a really successful year. I think (and hope!) 1st grade will be more challenging for him, and we're going to be working with the school to ensure that he gets the challenges he needs. DS2 is heading off to Kindergarten! This is just so bittersweet to me! He's my little love, he's such a snuggler and would happily be no more than a 1/2" away from me at all times if he had that option! I'm going to miss him. He'll be doing 2 full days and 3 half days, so he's not really gone quite yet, not the way DS1 will be.

We've had 24 hours of emotional highs and lows and highs again. We had a little party for Labor Day and invited 3 other families over. It was a *great* time, for me at least, and every one else seemed to have fun as well! There were 8 adult and 10 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 10. The kids all did great together, the adults all get along really well, it was fun. I feel like we turned a corner with DD this summer, now that she's 2. She's finally sleeping through the night, and she's so independent and social that I give her a tremendous amount of freedom. Freedom I sure wouldn't have given my oldest! I remember being with other moms when he was this age (of course, I had a 5 month old as well, which none of them did, which set me apart), and we all hovered so much! I've really changed as a mom, I'm much more relaxed. I'm still me, of course, which precludes actual relaxation, but I'm much better than I used to be!

The low happened when we didn't realize that the kids had left the slider out the basement open, and our escape artist cat got out and was just gone. We live right next to woods...with coyotes....that have been known to eat cats. I just panicked. DH is better at being in the moment and not presuffering too much, but I just freaked. Not simply because I love the little bugger and he's part of the family, but the kids *adore* him as well. And imagine, losing your lovely kitty on your birthday? I couldn't bear the thought of it. I was up most of the night, just out of my mind and sick with worry. He *did* turn up the morning. DH went out around 5:30 and found him under the porch, clearly freaked but fine. Thank you, to whatever benevolent power in the Universe heard my cries and guided him back to us.

So, today, I'm feeling utterly grateful that our sweet kitty came back. And I'm really really glad that school is starting tomorrow!

I've got some sewing projects on the brain. I'm going to do another round of fleece socks for my Internets, and I've got an idea for some fleece toys as well. So, after I get the boys on the bus, and DD and I go do her gymnastics, I think we'll hit Jo-Ann and see what they have in the way of fleece. I can't believe we're headed back into sock season!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I hear the drizzle of the rain...

DS1 woke us up with a new milestone - barfing (not in his bed, even) and then coming down to tell us about it. :( Poor kid. I am 99% sure that it's simply that he ate a metric ton of crap at a birthday party yesterday but just to be on the safe side, I am quarantining all of us. It's going about as well as you'd expect cooping up three active kids on a rainy day to go.

I actually got something done today - I'm working on tools to help us be more organized when school starts, and I've put together task lists for the boys and me, of all the things to be accomplished. With both boys in school 5 days a week, I have a fantasy that I might actually be able to keep a bit more on target with some house cleaning. I am going to print them out and put them in plastic sleeves (or laminate them), and have them at the bottom of the stairs. I'm also going to institute evening routines that involve things like locating shoes and coats and backpacks and whatnot, so that we can perhaps be a bit less frenzied in the morning. Wish me luck!!

The girlie is down for a nap, boys are playing a bit on the iPhone...maybe I should go knit?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I actually started knitting today.

For some reason I'm just feeling so disconnected from the creative part of my soul, so I haven't been doing anything! I was on a big sewing kick, but it turns out the my daughter HATES dresses, so the cute little dresses I made forher are unworn. She's pretty funny about it, but very very adamant. It's a good thing she's darn cute, or I don't know what I'd do!

In other news, we took our big "vacation" which involved go to my home in VT for 6 days. Every time we go there, I leave thinking of how much I want to move back there. I do like our little town here, but honestly, the Boston 'burbs wasn't ever really my dream. We are so profoundly lucky to have a wonderful house in a town we really like, and it doesn't feel like a suburb much at all, it's really very rural. But still, if we had a way to make a living in my hometown, I'd take it. I'm less excited about living in a suburb of Burlington, for example, I think I'd take our town here over that. Anyway, it's all a dream. We had a great visit, and took the kids to the county fair, and the boys got to ride a bunch of rides this year! They had a *blast*, and so did the grown ups! Baby girl slept through a bunch of it. (I know, not a baby anymore, but still MY baby.) My oldest even rode a little roller coaster all by himself! I can't believe how big he's getting. Off to first grade, and turning SEVEN, in just a couple of weeks. We've got a school friend party planned for next week, and I think we may have a neighborhood party over Labor Day weekend as well.

Oh! Yes! Knitting! So, it was a lovely rainy day today, perfect for lounging around and doing not much of anything. I cast on and knit, oh, a good three rows of Monkey Sock #2. Perhaps I've actually get another pair of socks finished?? Part of me wants to ditch all my projects and just start something new, but more of me wants to FINISH some things so I can actually feel okay about starting something new. I think the responsible part of me may win this battle.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fall is coming!

It's hard to believe. I like the end of summer, starting a new school year. Having been a student or connected to a university for much of my life, it always feel like a fresh start, the fall. We had DS2's practice bus ride today. I was stunned, he went off easily with friends, though clearly after the fact he was pretty freaked out. Poor guy, he takes after me in his dislike of change. It's hard, having them growing up and moving away from me. The issues get more complex, more challenging the older they get - I can't fathom what it'll be like when they're teenagers!!

We are just back from our vacation. We went to my hometown this year, and stayed with my folks, which was really fun. I really wish I could move back there. I love my hometown, and I think it'd be a great place to raise kids! If we could sell our house and my husband could find a decent job, we could even afford it! Almost. It's a total pipedream, and I love our house and home and life here too...

I'm not crafting at all. I even took knitting with me and not only did I not do any, I didn't even go to the yarn store!! *gasp* What's wrong with me??

There's lots of stuff I want to be doing, but finding the energy and time is not easy right now. I'm not sure why, it's not like we're doing all that much else at the moment!


Starting over with gratitude....there's so much to be grateful for, but today I'll be grateful for my friends' babysitter, who made off with both my boys to play with their friends, all day! The baby girl and I had a fun day together! Even if she didn't nap.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poor blog!!

How long has it been? You'd think with the fact that I could update from my phone, I'd be better about it, but that's not the case!

Project Dishcloth continues! Turns out I can only crochet in the round, hence all these pretty round cloths. I'm having much fun with it, and starting to use them. If nothing else, it simply makes me happy to use something I've made with my own two hands. :-)

In about 2 hours, I'll be doing the swim leg of our local triathlon. I'm quite excited, as I didn't think it was going to work out this year, but two weeks ago, a friend put out the call for someone to swim for her, so I am! I love swimming and it's a fun event. :-)

We're having a busy summer, mostly good stuff. There's some stressful stuff too, nothing huge, just some issues with one of my kids. It's nothing that can't be sorted, but it's always hard to see your child struggling.

I keep saying I want to get back to project Gratitude, as I actually think about it every day! Today I'm grateful for the chance to have fun and swim this race!!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Project Dishcloth is begun!

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Summer is here!


We've been super-busy here at KWAP, surviving the end of the school year. DS1 is moving on to 1st grade, DS2 will be starting *gasp*Kindergarten! And DD may head off to preschool a bit early next winter, we'll see.

After school ended, we headed up to VT to visit my folks for a few days, which was really fun. At this point I'm quite comfortable doing the drive alone with the kids. DH didn't come with me, he didn't have the time off from work (it was last minute trip) and it was his father's day gift, to be home alone without kids. :) Since we came back, we've started getting into the summer groove: beach and friends. I'm building some reading and housework into the schedule too, and as soon as my friend gets back from RI, I'm getting her baby jogger and I'm going to start the boys running a bit.

I just had an inspiration for a craft project as well. I have a *ton* of kitchen cotton and I want to make a whole bunch of dish cloths, so I can ditch the sponges. I think that has been a plan before, and I did make a bunch but my mom decided she liked them so I gave them all to her. I am going to start off with some crochet, just to get in the groove. We'll see how it goes, I'm tired of sponges that smell like swamp.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Knitting Night

I have a couple of different knitting groups put here, one at the library and one with some women in my neighborhood. Tonight my neighboorhood group is going for ice cream!!! Yum!! I am psyched! Especially since I'm not in a knitting mood. I sewed a dress and shorts for my daughter yesterday. I'd love to get good enough that I could sew for myself.

And in other news, I found a church that I'm sort of psyched about. We bagged the fancy church in the wealthy city two towns over. We're just not similar to the people there. We're financially comfortable but we're both not people who are at all into wealth, and I felt like the people who are in our life situation there are much more...I don't know, rich than we are. And they weren't friendly. So I checked out the church in the city two towns north of us. It's much smaller but had a *big* population of young kids, was very low-key in terms of presentation (though still Episcopal), and they kneel, which oddly enough, I like. :-) I'm going away this weekend, but I'll go back next weekend to hear the priest speak, and to suss out the friendliness factor. The priest already has encouraged me to bring the kids, it's cool if they're not perfectly behaved. So, we'll see. It had a nice feel to it.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cupcakes and Updates

In the interest of actually putting a post up here, I'm going to forego looking up the right number. It's a busy time of year, with some bittersweet moments. My younger son turned 5 and "graduated" preschool. I've always felt a bit scornful of the whole notion of graduating from preschool, until I went through it with my oldest. We're blessed to be able to have me at home with the kids, and to have flexibility in our preschool choice, in that we don't need the childcare. So we've chosen small cooperative nursery schools, where we've been very involved. Moving from that to public school, even a small and very warm'n'fuzzy elementary school like we have, is a big change. My younger son is a very sweet and sensitive kid, and he does not like transitions, so I've got a few worries about how this all will go.

I can't believe I'm going to have a 1st grader as well!! I continue to be so glad that he's one of the oldest kids in the class, I think it's so good for him. I'm looking forward to the summer break. I've also been reading some interesting books on homework, and may be taking on the school system. We'll see. :-)

In knitting news, on Plurk, I mentioned I had a cupcake, and a friend wanted one, so I made her one. :-)

In bigger news, I finished and blocked my sister's Swallowtail!

I've got better pictures on the computer, and if I ever have a moment, I'll post them. I am so thrilled of how it came out! It's big, and so pretty and cozy, and she loves it!

My problem is that I am bored with everything I have on needles but I really need to finish more things before I start anything new. I'll need more socks in the fall. You know, as I write this, it's making me think: why do I feel this way? I had *such* fun knitting the cupcake, and it gave me such a spark, you know? It's not like I knit for a living, and if I'm feeling guilty over a hobby, that's ridiculous. This is about joy, not drudgery.

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Monday, May 24, 2010


One of the things I really appreciate (which, you will note, is different from enjoy) about knitting is how often it gives me the opportunity to go beyond my comfort zone. I am blocking a shawl for the first time; it's a gift for my sister (just in time for summer, huzzah!).

It's a gorgeous day out so I'm going to pin it out on the back deck. Hopefully it'll dry pretty quickly.

Blocking is one of those skills that seem so mysterious and, well, skillful to me. *Real* knitters block.

Wish me luck!!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

365-89: working to get back into this.

Today didn't go quite as I had planned. The school nurse called me to say that DS1 was not feeling well and wanted to go home. Since I was on my way to the ped for DS2 and DD's WCVs, I swung by and picked him up. Turns out he has strep. Turns out all the rest of us do too.

So, tomorrow is a quarantine day. There'll be WAY more TV than usual (as our usual is none), I bought a new Playmobil thing, we've got lots of new birthday presents to play with...it's supposed to be rainy. I'm trying to reframe it by thinking that this perhaps explains a lot of the whining we've been having, and YAY for antibiotics. DH and I are on penicillin, DD is on azithromax and the boys are on Amox. I had to do the Mommy walk of shame, i.e., calling people and saying "sorry I exposed your kid to strep."Hopefully I'll be forgiven.

My big hope is that this will explain why I've not been sleeping, and once I'm feeling better, that'll clear up.

Monday, May 17, 2010

365-88: Time Flies

I'm really having trouble blogging these days, both about knitting and about gratitude. Why is that, I wonder. I'm not knitting at all at the moment. I need to bind off my sock but I finished it at library knitting. I have blocked Swallowtail yet, I'm scared too. I keep looking at yarn but I've got a stash, more than enough, so there's nothing I need.

It's not that I'm not feeling grateful, I am-though I think reconnecting to it on a daily basis would be good. In part, I'm feeling like I've not got much interesting to say. Life is sort of just rolling along. We're winding down the school year. DH is working too much and I'm not sleeping well, so we're good but tired. Sometimes I feel like my life is a bit small these days, you know?

So in the spirit of reconnecting to my gratitude, today I am grateful for:

• Motrin that works on my migraines;
• The beautiful Spring weather;
• Playdates that go smoothly!

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Location:Great Rd,Littleton,United States

Saturday, May 01, 2010

365-87: Hello, My Neglected Friend!

So I wonder how many years it's going to take me to get through my 365?? :-)

I have so much to be grateful for. It's spring!! I got a weekend away and then took the kids away, both great trips. I have been knitting! I finished my sister's Swallowtail, just need to block it. I turned to the heel on an in-progress sock and I'm psyched to finish it. We got a swingset which is a huge hit. I'm feeling great about my family, blessed in my friends, and especially happy about the delicious moon pie I had tonight. Maybe I'll even get some sleep tonight??

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

365-86: It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

It's days like today that make me absolutely LOVE New England. It's low 60s, not humid, glorious blue skies with little white clouds...just heavenly. Even better, I Got Stuff Done this morning, including a trip to the LYS when it occurred to me that all I really NEED are blocking pins, so ordering $50 worth of stuff from KP to get the free shipping didn't really make sense. When I got to preschool pickup, DD was *sound* asleep and I knew that if I woke her up to take her in, that would be it for nap today. We've got a long afternoon so she needs a nap. I asked my friend to bring DS2 out, and when she did, she invited him over for a play date. Nap survived the transfer, and I had about 20 minutes to myself before DS1 got off the bus. He's eating and playing downstairs, I'm getting somethings done for the weekend and then we'll get some good one-on-one time. Even more exciting, the playset is being delivered tomorrow! This afternoon we've got Karate and Soccer (too bad they can't be combined, karatesoccer sounds like it'd be really cool), and we're having pizza for dinner. All in all, I can't complain.

I'm grateful for Spring today, for the sun and the air and the flowers. I'm even grateful for the bees, although they make me nervous. I love seeing all the things we've planted coming up in the garden.

Monday, April 12, 2010

365-85: You can't always get what you want...

I like Mondays this school year. Oldest son is in K for the full day, so he's gone 8:30-3:30. Younger son has preschool 9-1. DD and I go to the chiropractor and tend to run errands. Today we had our friend G with us, whose mom had to go have some follow up tests. Amazingly for such small girls, they really love each other and get along well! G headed home around 11, and I came home from the preschool pickup with an extra boy for DS2. They had a fantastic time running around outside and grubbing around in the dirt while DD napped. It was a nice day.

I'm doing my typical over-thinking/over-analyzing thing around this whole church issue. I've been having some really good conversations, especially with DH. He said something really thought-provoking about how we can't recreate our own childhoods, and I realized that to a certain extant that is what I want, and that this is just not going to happen. Okay, pretty much all that follows is purely for my own pondering so you've been warned!

So, we visited the church in the next town over (I'll call this church GS). During the sermon, the priest stated that she has been asked to resign and during the coffee hour, a long-term parishioner said to me "The church is in turmoil right now." Hmm. That's...a bit disturbing. Now, one friend reminded me that the more on the inside of things you are, the more crises you see, but that it doesn't make a difference really to people who are showing up for worship. I've been looking at a church the next town over in the other direction (SM). So the GS church is 3.6 miles from us, and under a 1o minute drive. The CCOL was about 1.6 miles from us, and a 5 minute drive. The SM church is 5.4 miles from us and about a 15 minute drive. The gentleman I spoke to was very nice but there are a couple of things that concern me. They have about 60 active members, and they don't have a full-time rector because they can't afford one. My gut reaction of distress and resistance based on this info highlighted for me that I think part of what I'm looking for is a larger community. The GS church, for example, has no high school kids involved. The CCOL has a pretty active HSYG and kids teaching Sunday School.

If we're willing to go further, there are other options. Two towns over to the east is a church that sounds very large - they've got a Rector, associate Rector, many priest associates, a 40-person choir, etc. Is it too big for us? It's also in a town that's very very wealthy, and we're not (unless you count us globally then we are). We're not really country club upper-crust kind of people. It's also far, 10.5 miles and 20ish minutes. This is fine for Sundays but if we do things like join the choir, is it too far? Two towns to the north of us is a church that also sounds pretty big and vibrant. It's 9 miles, 14 minutes.

Obviously what we need to do is go out and check these places out. See how it feels to drive there. See how it feels to be there. I'm struggling with figuring out how to meet my own needs but not at the expense of my husband's needs.

Since I did use the 365 title on this, let me ponder what I'm grateful for. I guess I'm grateful to be part of a process around this stuff. I feel like it's been pushing DH and I to have some really good and intimate conversations, as we struggle to figure out what we want and needs - as individuals and as a family. I'm grateful to have a husband who's right in there with me. I'm grateful to have so many options as well.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

365-84: Spring!!

It's fully spring here, which in New England seems to mean alternating 60s with close to 90 yesterday! There are many things I'm feeling grateful for right now. In no particular order:

• my garden. I'm a total neophyte gardener, but the fact that things are coming just delights me! I'm giving up on tomatos this year and I'm going for lots and lots if basil.
• Thursdays: my oldest is in full day today, and the other two are home. It's just nice to hang out and not HAVE to rush off. We are heading out in a bit to run errands but the timing can be flexible.
• Swingset: it's coming a week from today and they set it up!!!
• Knock wood, it looks like the kids are finally all sleeping better! Maybe we'll get my daughter to sleep through the night more than two nights in a row (which she's never done...yes, she's almost two).

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

365-83: I know it's cliched...

But there's something about being on the receiving end of love from a toddler that's just remarkably lovely. My daughter came into bed with me this morning and snuggled in, whispering occasionally "Mama...Mama..." She's getting so big and independent, we're all about MY DO IT these days, so I just cherish these moments where I am her world. So much of parenting is teaching your kids how not to need you, how to let you go, and so often all I want to do is hold on.

I've been having so much fun with my little girl, we spent a while yesterday just sitting in the sun, soaking up the gorgeous Spring day, and laughing. I see my oldest off at Kindergarten, building a life outside our home, and my younger son set to head off in September. I try every day to find these moments of joy. It's not always easy, or doable, and I often forget. Days like yesterday remind me, all things change and flow, so be present in all the joy that's all around us.

And now I need to go clean up the animal crackers that my beautiful girl just dumped all over the floor. :-)

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

365-82: Extra Kids

We're at the stage with the boys (6.5 and almost 5) that having an extra kid or two around actually makes it less work for me.

We send our kids to a coop nursery school. We've only done coops, they're a good fit for a family. The in-class work, though, can get challenging when you're juggling other kids. Today was my day to be in the class, so here's how the day went. Get up, do yoga, do all the morning stuff, get DS1 on the bus. Bundle DS2 and DD in the car. Drive to friend's house. Drop off DD, pick up their son. Remember it's a lunch day and I forgot to pack a lunch. Friend offers snacks and I accept. Take the boys to school. Spend the morning in the classroom. Friend drops DD off at 11:45, and she and I go home. Feed her, get DS1 off the bus at 12:25 (early release today), give him some food, go back to school and pick up Ds2 and friend. Come here, get DD down for nap. Boys are playing, somewhat harmoniously. Do some chores. Things get less harmoniously, separate DS1 out for a bit. Now I need to wake up DD, get all kids back into the car, go drop of friend then go to karate. We'll be home around 5, and it's occurring to me that I've forgotten to plan dinner. *eyeroll* All this work is really interfering with my bon-bon eating and story-watching. Because isn't that all stay-at-home-moms do? :)

So, today I am grateful that this play-date has gone relatively smoothly, so I've gotten some time to catch up on a couple of tasks that I've had hanging over me.

Knitting and Crafting

I've actually been doing some things other than pondering big life stuff and grieving.

I finished a prayer shawl. It's actually a little small, I'm wishing I'd done another pattern repeat. The pattern was this one, La La's Simple Shawl, and it is, indeed, very simple! I used Lion Suede and didn't have any of the color issues I've had with other skeins of this. This yarn is a bit less enjoyable to knit with, but does make a lovely cozy fabric. It appears to have been discontinued, I can't find it on their website. Ah well. I used two skeins of it, and had very little left, so another pattern repeat would have opened a 3rd skein.

I've been working a bit on my Forest Canopy shawl and I want to get my sister's Swallowtail shawl done too. A friend was asking for hat patterns for babies and now I want to cast on a baby hat even though I don't really have a baby anymore to knit cute little hats for!

I also was on a fleece sock kick. Not only did I make myself several pairs, I ended up making 17 pairs for Plurk friends. Yes, I'm a bit crazy but I did use up a whole bunch of my fleece! I used the Green Pepper pattern, and it's really good.

Sorry, no pictures at the moment. I've got some saved on my phone, maybe I'll do a phpto post from the phone in a bit!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

365-81: Lots to ponder...

DH and I have lived in our town for 2 years, 3 months now. For me, it truly feels like home. I've got a wonderful and large group of friends that I truly love, and feel very connected too. It's rare for me to go to the grocery store without running into someone I know. I'm on the Board at the nursery school, I'm in the PTA, I'm involved in three separate knitting groups. I feel so lucky and blessed at the community I've been able to be part of here.

It's not the same for DH. He commutes into the city daily, which is 1 hr 20 min each way, and he's just not a commuter kind of guy. On the weekends, he spends time with his family, he works on the house, occasionally he gets some alone time. As the kids get older, our weekends are starting to get filled with their activities as well. Soccer on Saturdays, birthday parties, etc. I think DH feels like he hasn't really found his place here. In order to help facilitate that for him, we've been attending church.

We started at the local UU church, but just as we got there, the minister left, and then they took the summer off, we had another baby, and got derailed. When we talked about whether we were going to return there, I realized that regardless of where I am in my journey with religion, I needed my Church to have more, well God in it. I was raised Episcopalian but haven't been a participant in a long time. I was pretty serious about it as a kid and teenager, and even at one time wondered if I was called to the ministry. In more recent years, I've been quite drawn to Buddhism. DH was raised Congregational but is pretty firmly in the Atheist camp at this point. We're in really different places with this, which is fine. We decided to check out the Congregational Church in town. DH was drawn to it because "the parking lot is always full." And they do all sorts of things in the community.

We had a THING that we learned about the Church that had me questioning if it was the place for us, and while that was resolved entirely satisfactorily, I am feeling more and more strongly that while I really like the community and the people of this Church, it's just not the right fit for me spiritually. I am sure that the reason the Episcopal church feels right to me is simply because I was raised there, but I can't argue anymore that this is how I feel.

What does all this have to do with gratitude? Well, for one, I'm so thankful to live in a country where I can have this struggle, where we have freedom of religious choice, and I'm so thankful to live in a country where we have freedom FROM religion at all, where I don't have to lie about the fact that my husband is an atheist. In this current climate in our country, I feel that so many have lost the respect and tolerance for differing and opposing viewpoints. It's unfortunate. But anyway, I was talking about gratitude. So I'm thankful to have this freedom in my life.

I'm also thankful that I have the marriage I do, with the man I married. I'm thankful that we can have this difference, which is a deep one, and yet still be completely committed to each other and supportive of helping each other get our needs met. There's not a clear and easy answer to our dilemma here, but I know we'll work it out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

365-80: my sweet kitty

So things didn't go quite as expected today. We didn't end up putting my girlie to sleep, there's a couple of things we're going to try to attempt to boost her quality of life. It's weird, I'm still sad and worried. It's another profound lesson about living in the present moment. Being here now. I am reminded once more about what's important, and really, it just comes down to love. I have told my sweet kitty how much I love her, how lucky I am to have had so many years with her, and how grateful I am, how profoundly grateful I am for all she's taught me.

The other thing I am so deeply grateful for is the outpouring of love and support we've received. Not one person has suggested my grief is an overreaction, or that I should get over this because she's "just" a cat. Maybe some are thinking it but not one person has been anything but loving and supportive. I've gotten so many messages of sympathy and understanding of how hard this process is, I feel like I've got a lot of people who get it. But then, I'm an animal person and pretty much all of my close friends are animal people too.

And right now I'm grateful that I have my sweet girl sitting on my chest, purring softly.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

365-79: My sweetie

Today I am reminded once again why I married the man I did. He's an amazing partner, friend, father, love, and just an amazing, wonderful person.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

365-78: 2010 so far...

It's not been so great. Lots of annoyances: sickness, pain, frustration and while we haven't had a major loss here (yet), friends suffering big losses.

It's easy to feel gratitude when things are going well. It's easy to count my blessings when things are smooth sailing and just simple, you know? It's these sorts of times when it gets tougher. And, I expect, much more important.

We're putting my darling cat to sleep on Saturday. We haven't told the kids yet. It's time. I had made an appointment a week and a half ago, then canceled it because it wasn't quite time, but now it is. She's losing weight so quickly, she's seeming more and more uncomfortable...it's time. I'm heartbroken about it. She and I have been together 16.5 years and she's been the constant for me. I'll miss her forever.

So today, right now, I'm grateful to have her with me, to have had such a good long run and to be able to ease her transition to the next phase of being, whatever that might be. I'm sure there is one. I love you, my sweet girl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

365-77: ew.

Something smells really gross in my laundry, I think it's spoiled milk. Sorry, you really didn't need to know that, I got distracted!

Today I'm really grateful for access to the CVS Minute Clinic. The lovely nurse had me in and out in 20 minutes, diagnosed my ear infection and gave me a script for amoxicillin. And they take my insurance, which I feel so fortunate to have.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

365-76: It's the little things.

We had a good morning. I managed to get everything moving early so we weren't crazy people at bus time. I got DS1 on the bus, DS2 dropped at Preschool, and went to my chiro appointment. A friend was supposed to come over but her baby is really sick so she's at the hospital with him. I really hope he's okay. So DD and I are hanging out. We had homemade sour cream coffee cake (pretty good) and I splurged on Chai and she had milk. She playing and I'm sitting, listening to the rain, enjoying a moment where we have nowhere to be but here. I should go clean the playroom, but you know what? It'll be there in 20 minutes.

I am grateful for these moments if peace in life that often feels so full and hectic.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

365-75: Gratitude

Interestingly enough, today's sermon at church was on gratitude. Our pastor (okay, in my heart I'm an episcopalian, we don't have pastors, we have priests) suggested "Blessed are the grateful, for they know they do not stand alone". I like that thought. I've been missing this journal. I've been missing my gratitude practice. I've been working on not beating myself up over not doing a great job lately, but I want to do better.

So, today I'm grateful for the church we've joined. They've made us do welcome and it's always thought provoking, regardless of where I am in my own belief process.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

If you can't say something nice....

I need to get back into this blog and gratitude list. I think it really helps me. We've had a rough few weeks, low-level health stuff but just ongoing. Colds, ear infections...then I got the stomach flu and hurt my back and now we all have another wretched cold. I need to be reminded, to remind myself that it's not that bad. I do know this but when you're so tired and just don't feel well...it can be hard to remember.

I've been crafting, sewing fleece socks and working a bit on my prayer shawl, so I'll try to do some pictures/posts of that stuff too.

And now, TGIF.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

365-74: Love

I'm really thankful that I have a husband who gets me and my sense of humor, and not only still loves me but thinks I'm really funny.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brief crafting update...

Brief because really? I got nuthin'. I've just not been in the mood. I've had this wicked cold/sinus infection that's knocked for a loop and I've been watching some Olympics (has NBC managed to piss of every single person in the USA with its coverage, I wonder?), and I've been doing a lot of music. I want to be sewing but I'm waiting on patterns. I am not in a knitting space right now, though my son told me he thought that a robot lovey would be AWESOME. I could also crochet him a space shuttle. How cool is that?? I've gotten some cross stitching done but even that I'm just not feelin' the love right now. I don't know what it is. I just feel like I don't have much time or space for ME right now and until I recharge a bit, I don't know. I'm sure I'll get back into it all, it's essential for me, but I think it's okay to allow a break.

365-73: I love my town.

Today I was scheduled to be in my oldest son's Kindergarten classroom for "table time", where you go in, read a story, help some kids with an art project. I like getting into the classroom - I didn't manage it at all in the Fall, so it's nice I can do it. However, what with vacation and all, it had slipped my mind that I had to go in, and I hadn't arranged childcare for the other two, both of whom I have home on Tuesdays. I put a plea up on Facebook and within an hour I had two offers of childcare.

I love it when it works out. I took DS2 and DD over to my friend N's house. Her oldest is in school with DS2, and she has a daughter a few months younger than mine. We parent pretty similarly, I love her kids, and it was just great. We went over, I hung out for a bit and then left them all perfectly happily. I did my classroom thing which was fun - it's funny, I think DS1 is so *big* until I see him in Kindergarten and I'm reminded he's really still little. Even though he's the oldest in the class due to a Sept. birthday. I *love* that I didn't have to make the call to send him or not. Academically he was totally ready but socially, he was a bit young. Also, I'm just thankful that when 12 or 13 rolls around, he won't be the absolute youngest. Obviously somebody has to be, and given his birthday and our cut-offs, he'd be one or the other, so I'm glad he'll be older. But anyway, when I got back to N's, it turn out our other friend M was on her way too, with N's middle son who is in preschool with her two boys (we all go to the same school), so there was an impromptu hangout and playdate.

I just feel really lucky that we landed in a community with people with really similar parenting and other values. Most the moms expect the kids to be polite, share nicely, and have similar values to me about electronics, tv, that sort of thing. (I can still remember a woman telling me that because her son was an only child and didn't have to share at home, she wasn't going to make him share when on a playdate. My eyes just about fell out of my head at that one!) It's such a gift to know we've got back up, and that we can provide that for our friends as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

365-72: How is it almost March??

I'm pulling together all of our tax stuff, trying to get *something* done today, and just feeling bowled over at how quickly time goes by. This week flew! Of course, we were away for part of it, DH had jury duty on Thursday and ended up home early, and we had friends over on Friday, so it was a good week. We're still trying to figure out why DD is randomly spiking fevers of 103 (armpit). She woke up from her nap SOAKED so I'm hoping that means her fever broke and she's on the mend. She's been sleeping like CRAP and it's just, well, tiring.

I feel like I have so many thoughts going through my mind these days, and yet I can't quite articulate them. I'm moving through thoughts on career, going back to work (or not), struggling to finish something I started years ago (a certificate program, the certifying organization has basically fallen apart and I need to decided what, if anything, to do), faith, religion, family, parenting, community, life, blah blah blah. I think it's the hazard of being a philosophic psychologist, my brain doesn't turn off!!!

I have all the usual things I'm grateful for, but I'm also grateful for a funny moment with my daughter today. It's been gorgeous the last couple of days, and I'm *so*grateful we've been able to get outside. Well, my daughter today decided that she MUST wear her sunglasses. I took some cute pictures of her in her silly hat and pink sunglasses while listening to the boys running around with one of their friends, and had one of those "all's right in my world" moments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

365-71: Let It Snow!!

Today I'm grateful for the snow. It was beautiful, for once not an inconvenience as we had nowhere to be, and we had some awesome sledding!!!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

365-70: Vacation, all I ever wanted...

It's school vacation week here in MA. I decided to be a kind and loving wife, so I packed up the kids and left DH at home while we traipsed off to visit my ILs. I am truly grateful for them, I won the in-law lottery, for sure!! They're so loving and welcoming. Today we went sledding and ate pie! Not at the same time, of course. That'd be a bit messy, don't you think?

Remember how I was grateful for the antibiotics? Turns out I'm less grateful for the cefprozil than I thought. So, approx. 10% of kids on amoxicillin get a rash. For most kids, it's harmless. It's a reaction, not an allergy. For some it is a true allergy, but it's really hard to tell the difference. We were told that DD's response was not an allergy by one doctor, but our Ped is treating it like it is. So, she got a Z-pack for her pneumonia and tolerated it fine. They prescribed cefprozil for this ear infection. It's given her wicked diarrhea and today she broke out in a rash. Approximately 20% of people who are allergic to the penicillin drugs are also allergic to this one. So, looks like it is a true allergy. Poor boo is running a fever again, so tomorrow we take her to urgent care and see what's going on in the ear.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

365-69: No crass jokes here...

...I'm too tired. We've all had a massive cold which turned into an ear infection for the baby, so no one is sleeping much. I'm hoping we've turned the corner. I don't like myself so much when I'm this tired. Or rather, I don't like that the aspects of myself that are areas for growth (aka "flaws") come out in force. I'm just impatient, more crabby. My oldest is a very spirited child and we clash. He can push my buttons and it's hard to remember sometimes that I'm the grownup here. Today I bought myself a reminder. It's a bracelet with a freshwater pearl and a small silver charm. On one side is a dove, on the other, the word "faith". For some reason, it *called* to me. Even though the cord is blue, and I'm a purple/green kind of woman. I'm not quite sure why it resonated for me but it did. I want to use it as a reminder: to be the person I want to be, I must choose to act the way that person would act, especially in the hardest moments. I already have. I want to believe that when I need it, and ask for it, help will be offered. Is that faith?Faith in what?

Today I am grateful for the chance to ask the questions.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

365-68: ugh

I had hopes for 2010 that so far haven't materialized. I feel like all around me I'm hearing of tragedies and people I care about are hurting. I'm sure part of my gloom is that I'm tired of winter, and part is that I, along with the rest of the family, am sick and exhausted. So, where's the gratitude? Does it count to say it, even if I'm not feeling it deep down? I do appreciate all my blessings, I'm thrilled that there are antibiotics to treat my daughter's ear infection (she's allergic to Amox so it gets more complicated)...I guess today I am choosing to be grateful that I can take today at home with 2 of my kids to just be quiet and rest, because we need it!!

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Monday, February 01, 2010

365-67: Cake

Today I'm grateful for the delicious cake the kids and I made, and for the recovery that allows me to eat a piece with joy and appreciation, and without fear or guilt.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

And non-deep thoughts too.

I have been crafting, actually. I worked on my shawl at KFO, which was lovely. I have been making slippers. I really don't like the ballet flat slippers, so I need another pair of felted clogs! I wore out another pair of socks too. I hate to say it, but for hanging out at home, I think fleece socks are a better choice, so I can preserve my handknit socks. Hmm, I wonder if there's a pattern for them? I have lots of socks and shawls to be working on as well.

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365-66: 2010, yer dooin' it wrong.

I think where I fall down on the belief in a loving, present God is when tragedy occurs. Whether it's global, like Haiti, or personal, like the loss of a desparately wanted and loved baby, I don't get it. Trying to find gratitude in my life as I watch friends grieve feels somewhat trite. Maybe the lesson I'm focusing on right now is to let go of petty irritations and small-minded-selfishness, and focus on the joy and blessings I have here in this moment.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

365-65: Some musings on parenting...

Today I'm feeling really grateful for my children. Now, I'm grateful for them all the time, every single day, but today I've been thinking about a few of the things I've learned during my experience as a mother. I certainly don't claim that my experience is universal, far from it, but I don't think it's particularly unique either.

I think parenting has been the most profound, transformative experience of my life. For me, the divide between my life and experiences as a person without kids and a person with kids has been profound. In the most basic way, I'm still ME, of course, but who I've had to become in response to the demands of parenting is very different.

I've had to come to understand my strengths and my imperfections in a very deep and immediate way. I've had to understand that I am both far more patient than I ever thought I was (not being a patient person at all) but also that I'm not as patient as I'd like to be. I've learned more about rage than I ever thought possible, my own rage in particular. I've also learned about joy. (This is in no way saying that I think people who don't have kids, whether by choice or not, don't know love and joy, *at all*.) I've had to be the grown up when I didn't want to be, I've had to be more generous and giving than I ever imagined (and more than I want to be sometimes). Oddly, I've also learned to be more selfish and better at taking care of myself because really? There's no one else to do it. That's a good lesson to learn. Not to say my husband doesn't take care of me, he does, but he's pretty tapped out too.

Perhaps the biggest lesson pregnancy, labor and parenting have taught me though, is how little I control, other than my own responses and process. It always makes me nervous when I hear women who haven't yet birthed crafting extremely specific visions about labor and delivery or parenting, simply because you just don't know what you're going to get, and you don't have control over most of it. I'm a control freak, certainly, so it's been perhaps more challenging for me than for someone who's a more go-with-the-flow sort of person but I had enough close friends (many of my internet friends) who'd already had kids that I think I had started to grasp this when I went through my first pregnancy. The experience of parenting is so, so different from the fantasies I'd had. So much better, so much deeper, and so, so much harder than I could have imagined. Like many worthwhile things in life, I think, it's such hard work.

Parenting has also given me much compassion for my own parents, now that I understand that they were just people, doing the best they could with what they had, as I am. They did a great job, but made mistakes. So will I. That's okay.

I'm thankful today for my children who have taught me so much. That's such a damn cliche but true. Thank you for teaching me to be open to the moment, to understanding more about what I can and cannot control. Thank you for being you, all of you, for the wonder and joy and frustration you bring me. Thank you for teaching me to embrace the chaos and messiness of it all. I love you, my sons and daughter, more than you can possibly imagine.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

365-64: Modern Conveniences

Gotta make this quick because I'm too tired to see straight. Tonight I am grateful for our washer and dryer, as my deeply beloved and quite elderly cat becomes more incontenant. Poor girl. I can't bear to think of saying goodbye, but we're headed in that direction.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

365-63: A chance to serve

I am looking forward to tonight. We joined the Congregational Church a few months ago, and one of the things that I was intrigued by was their "Knitting For Others" group. Turns out it was disbanded...on our second week in the church, they had lay speakers and one woman spoke about how important and moving the KFO ministry was. She's an oncology nurse, and the group knits shawls for her patients. I spoke to someone after the service about how I was interested in this group. The woman said "Okay, enough people have said they're interested, we're going to revive the group. God sent me a message today." Now, I'm not sure about the whole God thing (thankfully the Congregationalists don't let that stop them from welcoming you into their community), but I do believe in the Universe as a power that draws us in the right direction. So, tonight's the first meeting, and though I know at 7:00 I won't want to go, I Am Going and I know it will be so worth it. I've already started my shawl!

I'm going to do La La's Simple Shawl (sorry, it's a Rav link). I am doing it in Lion Suede in a deep pink-burgundy color (the label is downstairs so I'm not sure which one - and off-topic, is Suede being dc'd?). While I've had issue with this yarn and dye-lot consistency, it's so soft and lovely (and machine washable). Yes, I know it's polyester but remember? I'm not a yarn snob. Yarn aficionado, yes, but snob, no.

Monday, January 25, 2010

365-62: Mom

I have to say, so far 2010 isn't meeting my expectations. A good friend's mother died this morning, after a long battle with cancer. I called my mom as soon as I could, so I could just say "I love you." I am grateful to have my mom, who even when she drives me crazy, is a wonderful, loving, supportive mother.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

365-61: Freebie

Sometimes things happen and afterwards you realize "whoa, that could have been bad. *Really* bad." I call those the freebies that the universe gives us, maybe as a wakeup call to be more careful, pay more attention, not take things for granted. We had not one, but two of those. The first happened this morning. I took DS1 out to the bus, and when I came back in, found that DD had gotten into the probiotics and eaten, well, most of them. It was a new bottle. I got her to spit out the mouthful she had, but clearly she'd been snacking on them. I just am not used to a kid who gets into *everything*. I called Poison Control and they assured me that they are non-toxic (and before you ask, yes, all the medicines are locked up in a bin that she can't open, on the top shelf of a closet that she can't get to). Freebie #1. Freebie #2 happened this afternoon. I'd put her down for a nap. She'd protested a bit, but then gotten quiet and I thought she was asleep. Then we heard a tremendous crash from upstairs. I ran up, and found her basically under her brother's dresser. The drawers had opened and supported it, so she was not hurt, not a scratch. She was very scared, but calmed down immediately when we snuggled. I sat there and wept. It's a big dresser, and she's a very little girl. I have no idea how she even caused it to happen, I just can't figure it out. Tomorrow, DH will be anchoring the dressers to the wall. We haven't had a climber before, she's such a monkey, and we haven't had to do this sort of thing before. So, yeah. Freebie #2. Thank you to whatever guardian angel is watching over her (maybe she has an army of them? She could use it!). I am beyond grateful that she's okay.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

365-60: Back with the gratitude

I think the thing I am most grateful for today is that this MA election will be OVER after today, and we'll STOP getting these robocalls from both candidates asking for our vote!!!!

FO: French Press Felted Slippers

(I haven't abandoned my gratitude, just got knocked off course by a weekend away! I will get back on it tonight!)

It's a bummer to finish a project, especially one that is something you need, and...not like it. So it is with these slippers.

Everyone's projects on Rav look so cute but I'm disappointed in mine. I don't like how you have to sew on the strap. I don't know if mine just felted so they were too short, but they are and I think they look dumb. I used embroidery thread to sew them on, and I may just take them off. If I do this pattern again, I'll pick up stitches and knit the flap attached, so you just have to tack the one end down. I can't think why that wouldn't work. I have two other issues with these. The first is totally something controllable: I felted them with jeans and I must have used my new jeans because they ran blue dye!!! ARGH!!!! So these started out a cheerful magenta, and are now more purple. It's fine, I think they're pretty but it's not the color I picked. They also just don't fit well. The heel is too shallow and my guess is they won't stay on, and then they're too wide, so I feel like they look sort of clompy (perhaps it's just that I have big feet, which I do). I don't mind that from my felted clogs (of which I am immediately going to make another pair because I love them) but I was hoping for a different look from these. Luckily they were a fairly cheap and quick knit, so I'm not out a lot of money or time.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

364-59: selfish gratitude

We're going to my home tomorrow for the weekend-since we had to cancel Thanksgiving, this is our makeup trip. The service light has been on in the van for ages, so I finally took it into the shiny new dealership in town. The service was excellent and included free breakfast and a lovely decaf cappuccino. There's a nice playroom and WiFi, they clearly know their market! I am grateful that the van just needed a basic service and it only cost $68! I'm also grateful for the few minutes I got to sit and drink said cappuccino. It was good!

Selfish because given what's happened in Haiti, it does feel selfish to be grateful for coffee and a breather. I have donated to Doctors Without Borders and would encourage you, if you can give anything, to do the same. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and all who are striving to help them.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

365-58: Gratitude in the face of tragedy

I am grateful today that we (meaning my husband and I) are in the position where we can donate to Doctors Without Borders, to do what little we can to help the people of Haiti. I am grateful to be part of a community of women who can support a grieving friend. I am grateful to have friends close by who are willing to take my kids so I can spend time in my oldest son's classroom-the joy on his face when I walked in was wonderful to see.

I feel like so often all I really want to say is "I am so so thankful for all of my blessings." That might get boring to read, though it doesn't feel boring to say!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FO: Pirate Mittens

I've been doing more sewing of late, I can churn out fleece hats and mittens more quickly than if I knit them, and it's winter in Massachusetts. It's cold. I got a new pattern, the Mitten Wraps from Sew Baby! It's cute! This is the first pair I made. The first picture is open:

And this picture shows them Velcroed closed:

It's a fairly easy pattern, and the double layer of fleece will be warm. It doesn't turn out a particularly...what would be a good word, polished product. The palm set has a raw seam,

and the outer lining is just tucked into the flap, which isn't stitched down:

But it is quick, and gives a nice, thick, useable mitten! And the pattern gives you separate pieces for all three sizes! These are the 3T-4T size and fit (snugly) my 4 1/2 year old. I give this pattern a thumbs up, I'm definitely going to make more of these!

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Monday, January 11, 2010

365-57: A Moment to Breathe

I got to school to pick up DS2 and it turned out his buddy wanted him to come over, which worked for the grown ups, so off he went in M's car, so excited! I came home with DD (who was SO sad that DS2 wasn't with us!), fed us both some lunch and then popped her into bed. I've had some time just to sit...I *should* be cleaning. DH and I had a friend over for dinner last night and were both too fried to clean up so the kitchen is a MESS, and I have NO dinner planned but I'm just savoring a moment before jumping back in. I was up late over the weekend, and even though I got sleep last night, I'm tired today. So, I'm truly grateful for this unexpected hour and a half all to myself!!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

365-56: Still Sad

I'm just struggling today to understand the order of the universe. Sometimes things make no sense, none at all.

I am so grateful today to be part of such a loving, generous and supportive community. I know these terrible and painful things are part of life, and it's love that sees us through.

Friday, January 08, 2010

365-55: No Words

A friend has suffered a tragedy. It's not my story to tell, so I'll leave it at that. I'm trying to find something to feel gratitude for, and, in fact, there are many, many things but so many are trivial, and the rest feel...selfish. My heart is broken for my friend.

I am grateful for the love in my life, received and given. It's all we've got, really.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

365-54: Life as a SAHM

That's Stay-At-Home-Mom for anyone who might not know. :)

There's a lot about being a SAHM that I love, there's definitely things I don't love. This morning has been one of the mornings I really do enjoy. I got my oldest on the bus with a minimum of drama and fuss. He's got some worries going on about grades (they really stepped up the academics in Kindergarten this year and I'm not sure it's for the best), so we went out a couple of minutes early and chatted. We don't have anywhere to be this morning, and we've been really busy, so I decided we're just going to hang here and do nothing today. I want to do some cleaning and work out, so I'll do that but it's going to be a mellow day, and sometimes we really need that. Typically I'm more of a get-out-and-go sort of mom. I'm pretty good at finding things to do, and very motivated to go out and do them. I used to have a friend who, on those tough days, would just hunker down and stay home. I'm just the opposite, we need to get out. But because we're doing so much (or so it feels!), it's nice to have a morning where we can just sort of putter around at home.

Time to go make some tea and play with the kids. :) So, right now I am grateful for the flexibility my life has given me, to stay home with my kids while they're little.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

365-53: Happy Wednesday!

Today I am grateful that my husband, who normally gets home late on Wednesdays, was home on-time so we all ate together and I could go to knitting at 7 at the library, where I knit about 8" on my latest Noro Double Gradient Scarf. It's so pretty!!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

365-52: Nothing is Perfect

We had a really nice day, and I felt like I had a wonderful moment with each member of the family today.

• Doing yoga this morning and having DD give me a kiss every time I went into upward dog.
• Having a really funny conversation with DS2 about bugs.
• Meeting DS1's bus and just feeling my heart leap when I saw him, seeing his face light up when he saw me, and walking down the driveway holding hands, listening to him tell how he was leader of the day today!
• Getting a big hug and smile from DH when he got home really late due to commuting woes.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

365-52: Letting Go

Letting go is very, very hard for me. I am loyal, which is good, but to a fault, which is not so good. I am loyal to people, places, jobs, things, cloths, stuff. I am also a gear-head. This can lead to things like...well, a lot of sock yarn and knitting needles, or a very large diaper bag collection, or a small but respectable baby carrier collection. Or too many strollers.

I'm struggling with letting go of things right now, which is sort of weird because I'm always feeling like I'm drowning in stuff and sometimes I want to throw it all away, but when it comes right down to it, well, I hold on. I think I need to challenge myself to move out of my comfort zone. The holding on can come from a place of fear...fear that there won't be *enough* or fear that I might need something and not have it. I have to remind myself that stuff is just stuff, and holding on to it isn't going to make me any safer, really. It's just going to make my house a mess.

Time to take a deep breath and leap. Time to let go. I'm grateful (sort of) for the opportunity to do so.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

365-51: too tired for titles

I am so tired, I'm about to fall asleep but I wanted to post a quick gratitude. I am so grateful for my husband (as usual? again?) who planned
out a date for us today and in spite of myriad tiny disasters, it all came together. He took me down to Providence to see Wicked which is a show I've been longing to see!! Even though it was snowing hard and the roads sucked, we made it there. We had great seats and I just loved it! I am also grateful for my ILs who came and babysat so we could go carefree!

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

365-50: New Yarn

I have always been really into the world of the internet. When I was in college, eons ago, before the web (literally), there was an on-line game/con called XYZ, and I played. I'd say I met many of my closest friends from college there. I got into bulletin boards in the days of usenet. I joined a group called alt.wedding, and from there a bunch of us went to alt.newlywed. It's morphed into other groups, but there's a core bunch of us that have stayed close. We're on Facebook together, some of us are on Plurk together. We do a gift exchange every Christmas called Secret Snow. My secret snow arrived today and included this: if you can't tell, it's 50g of lace-weight silk. In a color I adore. It's so so pretty and soft, and I *love* it!! There were some other gifts in the package too, and I just felt so...blessed. It was such a lovely, kind and thoughtful gift, and it really just made my day!

Today, I am immensely grateful for this group of true friends of the heart. This group of women have given me so much more than I can ever repay, they've taught me so much about so many things: life, love, loss, parenting, friendship, honesty, strength and courage, just to name a few. I've known many of these women for well over 10 years now. Don't tell me you can't have real relationships over the internet, because I know you're wrong. I live it.

And thank you, my Secret Snowflake, for sending me a gift that spoke to my heart.