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, 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.