Monday, November 30, 2009

The Monday List

Starting Fresh Today!

and without preamble...

  1. Carmen would be fantastic if I could finish both of them this week.
  2. Take 'glamour shots' of my new shawl and post about it. I can't wait to share it fully with you because I'm sooooo very in love with it!
  3. Get a new sports bra. Seriously....I had to replace the others last week because of the weight I've lost, and as of today mine is so big that it's causing chafing. It's a good problem to have!
  4. Finalize Christmas gift plans.
  5. Make a decision about Christmas cards.
  6. Get the girls Christmas dresses.....which will require a decision. (Are you getting the Christmas theme?)
  1. I really want to do some spinning this week. I started prepping fiber yesterday, and have several possibilities. Yep, I'm stuck at the 'too many options, none being exactly what I want' stage.
  2. I've done enough work on my big cardigan that I now need to make some decisions about how I'm going to proceed with the arms. Why? I'm rewriting the pattern to ditch the seams. I have several options....and so we'll see!
  3. Possibly run a 5K this weekend. I'm going to talk to my trainer about it tomorrow...and it might depend on the weather as well.
  1. Work on the repair basket.
  2. Get to work on the quilt.
  3. Embroidery.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where Did My Afternoon Go?

I had good intentions.

The call of my spinning wheel and spindles has been growing strong....fed by posts from blogging friends as well as an influx of fantastic new books.

There are a few Christmas gifts still to knit... not to mention a huge stash of lovely things.

Under my desk lives a basket of repair work, my embroidery materials and a quilt that needs to be pieced.

So what did I do today?

I read.

When I was young, my nose was always in a book. I'm probably the only kid in America who got into trouble on a regular basis for reading too much. (And by the way, I'm being paid back in spades for that one....) That love of books carried on through my college years - paving the way for a degree in English - and into my early married life.

Then I had kids.....and the reader in me had to be set aside for more important things. Once in a while I indulge, but for the most part my love of books has been sadly denied. I would be lying if I didn't fess up that I really, really miss my books...and that it hurts to have them all set aside - even if they are being set aside for people and things that I love with all of my heart.

Earlier this summer I decided to reread the books of my favorite author, Charles De Lint. My husband perhaps thought I was a tad nuts when I spent an afternoon searching all of my boxes downstairs for each and every De Lint treasure that I own....a total of 36 books. The only question was how to go about rereading them? In the end I settled on a plan of first going through the Newford books in order of their publication. After all, in some ways the Newford books can be seen as one giant story that becomes deeper and more beautiful with each book set in that fictional city. Once I'm finished, I'll go back and read the others....also in order of publication.

Earlier this week I began rereading Trader, which just so happens to be the first De Lint book I bought in hardback. As of today, I officially hit the point where I couldn't escape the book if I tried.

That's a good place to be.

The hard part? Waiting before I begin the next book....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wee Preview

I hope to have finished photos ready tomorrow. Until then, here are the blocking pics of my most recent piece of lace!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Little Weaving Expert

It occured to me today that I have neglected to share with you the results of our Princess's weaving classes. Bad Mom! (Actually, the Green Woman is the one who pointed out my error...granted she pointed it out while dancing around the house waving the finished pieces like flags.....)

And so, with my apologies to the Princess for taking so long, I give you her weaving! Her first project was a beautiful pink table runner, with purple and sage accents. It now lives on the mantle most of the time in a place of honor.

Pink being her favorite color, she carried it over to her second piece - a beautiful rug.
This is my personal favorite, and right now it graces the top of a little nightstand that greets people when they enter our home. From there she moved on to a project which made her father VERY happy - a Halloween table runner!
The Halloween piece was also her first foray into the world of patterns...a beautiful twill.
Her most recent completed project came home with her this evening. She made these pieces on an inkle loom - a loom which I admit attracts even me. The two items on the left are little bean bags, and on the right you see a bookmark. Apparently there are also cat toys from this project as well.
I believe that right now she's working on a treasure bag in blue and pink. From there, who knows!

A big thanks to Jenny, the most wonderful weaving teacher in the world and to Access Arts, which is now one of our favorite places in town!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because sometimes we just need a little bit of silliness!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Kniting

Do you have any ideas about what this could be?
Does this help? (And yes...I know a few of you have already made this particular item!)
Here's my last hint!

That's right, I'm knitting sock monkeys! Carmen Banana, to be exact. When Knit Picks debuted this adorable kit this summer, I fell head over heels in love.
The problem? I have two girls...and I didn't really want to knit two complete sets, nor did I want to shell out the money for two kits.
The solution? Mom got the same email that I did, and she fell in love too. She proposed that we each buy a kit and split up the knitting. Perfect! When they arrived, we decided that I would knit the monkeys and she would make the clothes.
I have to admit that I'm enjoying this project more than I expected to. I started last Thursday night, and am about half way through the first monkey, with the arms of the second already finished. I'm working as fast as I can because Mom and I are planning to test the fit of the clothes on Thanksgiving.
Which means...back to work!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Quickie

I just found a very profound little article while reading through the blogs I subscribe to, and I wanted to share it with you all in light of the holiday we celebrate this week.


Remember When I Used To Knit?

Oh yeah! That's still happening here!
Next week we'll be getting back to our regularly scheduled blogging. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you this week a few of the things that have been happening over the last few weeks. Believe it or not, it's not all been crazy! (Although it has been crazy a lot....perils of family living.)
First up - more mini-socks! As you know, I make one to match each pair of socks I knit. This is my latest crop...knit during my tummy bug a couple of weeks ago. Cute, n'est pas? Not much to say about them, other than I can't wait to see what my handwork Christmas tree looks like this year with two new groups!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fiber Dreams

This is what I've been thinking about.

Rather than indulging, though, I've been working on Christmas Knits....which are satisfying in their own way.

I've had a rather odd day. It's been one of those days where I have felt ever so slightly off-kilter. I've cried a bit, I've laughed a bit, I've wanted to curl up and sleep and I've wanted some quiet time. Tomorrow I'm sure I shall be fine once again. It happens.

In the meantime, I feel I must answer the burning question of the day.

So where was Tigger?

All along, the facts in the case of the missing Tigger just didn't match up. We were convinced he wasn't in the home because we had searched so thoroughly in vain (and I can't stress enough how thorough we were...nor how many times I searched!). However, the ONLY place we had gone was the Health Department, and they distinctly remembered us leaving with him. (By the way, Kudos to them for both taking me so seriously and also taking the time to search the office for me.) We had decided that the only thing that could have happened was that the Pixie had dropped him either on the way to the car - or from the car as the automatic door was shutting. Neither one of those made a lot of sense because A. Tigger has a rattle inside and I would have heard it and/or B. the child who had just received a shot would surely have kicked up a fuss.

After more than a week, I had given up all hope.

I was also growing increasingly more worried about Pixie's attempts to adjust to life without her beloved Tigger. She was definitely not sleeping well - having accidents and waking repeatedly in the night - which is highly unlike her usual peaceful self. She had taken to sleeping with my old Panda bear, but in the night I knew he just wasn't what she needed. Surprisingly, she only mentioned Tigger twice in the entire week....but she was definitely a subdued child.

With all of that in mind, I went to put her to bed Friday night. She wanted to find a book, so I sat down on the floor next to her bed for what promised to be a long process. While she was going through her options, my gaze fell to the old wooden chest in her corner that is the home to the rest of her stuffed animals. I rather absently took in the pile of fluff, wondering at the mess that the pile was.

That's when something registered in my mind. There was a bit of dirty, faded orange under the chest. Hardly daring to hope, I reached over....and pulled Tigger out from under the chest.

Now, I have no idea why I hadn't found him before...when I know I searched that pile of stuffed animals and that chest along with the rest of the room. I had even crawled around on my hands and knees, looking under every piece of furniture multiple times. It's a mystery to me...although it does prove once again the old adage that you find something only when you stop looking for it.

Life with Tigger is now back to normal, although he's no longer allowed outside of the house under any circumstances. We're going to give Pixie a few weeks to enjoy him, and then we are going to try to wean her away...perhaps luring her to a new that I can carefully tuck Tigger away. Some things are just too precious to let slip away again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

10 Blessings...No Wait, 15!

Thank you to you all for such warm wishes! I really appreciate your support after all of the craziness last week, and I hope you know it meant the world to me.

I thought I would take a moment today to count some blessings. It seems appropriate, don't you think?
  1. I'm quite happy to report that the effects of Kiera's stroke have mostly worn off. She's left with a bit of a balance problem, but in light of the fact that she was bounding after squirrels this morning we're just not going to worry about it. (She's also resumed counter surfing, as evidenced by a spoon and a clean yogurt container found in the living room....)
  2. Also, while the meds are still messing with my tummy I have discovered that my regular dose of cardio in the morning generally clears it up. Go gym!
  3. My girls both attend wonderful schools and have very talented, loving teachers.
  4. I finished another shawl on Sunday! Pictures to come, promise.
  5. As of yesterday morning, I've dropped under a significant number on the scales. I hadn't seen this number since half way through my first pregnancy. So far....26 lbs gone!
  6. Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane tea is back in the stores.
  7. I have a rice bag, which I use to warm my feet at night. We keep the house chilly (65-70), and it makes all the difference in the world.
  8. Mom let my sister-in-law and I hijack the Thanksgiving menu.
  9. My husband grew a beard to please me. I think he's devastatingly handsome with a beard, and I love it when he indulges me!
  10. We have a wonderful church family, and I'm very glad to be a part of that community.
  11. I've totally managed to hook my kids onto the Glee soundtrack, which makes life a lot easier for me. There's only so many times I can hear the practice CD from the Christmas Pageant before I go stark raving mad. Even better, they are now developing choreographed routines.
  12. My husband complimented me Sunday as the girls and I got ready to leave for church. For the first time in my life, not only did I believe him when he told me that I looked good, but I also felt that I deserved the compliment. (Although, I'm not sure "hot" was what I was going for!)
  13. My library has downloadable audiobooks. Soooo cool!
  14. I've been eating Brussels Sprouts almost every day for the last week. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Brussels Sprouts!
  15. My trainer gave me a couple of challenges relating to My Daily Plate, and rewarded me with two free sessions for succeeding.

I could go on and on and on and on....but we'll leave it for that for now. Life really is good!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Been A Rough Week

Apparently I've been worried about the wrong pet.

Last night my dog, Kiera, had what appeared to be a minor seizure. This is really nothing to worry about as she has a history of them going back over the last 6 or 7 years. They've always been very mild - as in she retains awareness and isn't thrashing on the floor - and they've always disappeared after a few minutes. I stay with her to make sure that she's calm, rush her outdoors right afterwords so that she can go to the bathroom, and then I call my parents so that they can put the event in her medical records.

But last night she went into what I thought was a second seizure less than 30 minutes after the first. When it hadn't stopped at 10 minutes I got worried and called my Dad. We were on the phone for about ten minutes - during which time the symptoms didn't stop. Dad gave me the diagnosis when I described the fact that her eyebrows and eyes were twitching...which was something I hadn't seen before in her seizures.

Long story short, my dog had a "cerebrovascular accident" of some sort last night. That's a big, fancy word that means one of three things. She either had a stroke, has a leaking aneurysm or has a brain tumor. Yes, I could take her to a fancy vet clinic and have an MRI done to determine what the problem is. However, as much as I love my dog I am a realist. There's very little that can be done to help her with any of those would only serve to run up a huge vet bill. (Someday, I'll give you my rant about the ridiculous lengths people go to these days to help their pets because they have forgotten that they are not people.) What this all boils down to is that she's old...and you can't cure old.

As of this morning, Kiera is still fighting her symptoms. Her personality and general mood haven't altered at all - she's still the same sweet, loving dog that she's always been - but if you didn't know any better you'd think she was drunk because of the way that she's moving around. She is, perhaps, sticking closer to me than normal....but that's too be expected. We'll start her on a daily aspirin protocol, and we've blocked off the stairs so that she can't accidentally fall down them. For the time being we're taking her out to the front yard or are carrying her to the back so that she can do her business. It's possible that in a day or two this could all clear up. It's also possible that she could go downhill quickly. You just never know.

Sorry this blog has been such a downer this week. My stress levels are much higher than they've been in a very long while. On top of Tigger, a tummy bug that I had earlier this week, a trip to the doc and subsequent antibiotic madness in my already-abused tummy, and my dog we also have connections to a horrific news story this week that has left us all shaken. I'm going to take some time today to regroup and then hopefully we can move on and things will get better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Tigger,

(Picture taken in July....the most recent we have.)

Dear Tigger,

I wish I knew where you were.

The last time I remember seeing you was Wednesday morning at the Health Department. I made the mistake of allowing the Pixie to take you in - figuring she would need the extra comfort for her vaccination - and I remember talking to the nurse about you. In fact, she gave my daughter Tigger and Pooh stickers because of you. I'm not sure what happened next. We realized you were missing at bedtime, and for some reason I just knew that this time you were really gone...that Toots hadn't just set you down in an odd place in the house. I was up all night worrying about both you and my daughter. When I did sleep I had bad dreams. You're awefully special to us all, and this is a terrible thing to have happened.

Tigger, you've been a part of our family for three years. You were a Christmas present from my husband's father to my wee celebration of her very first Christmas. None of us had any idea at the time of how important you would become. There was no indication that you were anything but another stuffed animal that would be loved intensely for a while and then set aside. I'm still not sure of how the magic happened.

What I do know is that a few months later the magic did happen. The girls and I had gone for a weekend with my parents, and Pixie and I were having a rough night. My sweet baby who never had sleep problems was struggling in an unfamiliar crib. I was exhausted, and more than a bit perplexed. The child who never needed comforting was hard to help because even she didn't know what she needed! Out of desperation, I took you and snuggled you up next to her. I remember watching with deep amazement as she pulled you close and then calmed down and went right to sleep. For the rest of our visit, every time she fussed in the night I just scooched you closer and you instantly helped her relax.

From then on, the two of you were inseparable. Being the smart parents we were, as soon as we figured out how attached our baby was we bought a second Tigger. For a long while we were able to trade you back and forth....although attempts to add another two Tiggers into the mix failed. At a year old, Toots was too wise for that. We were amused when we figured out that what she really wanted of you was to rub your ear and smell you. You were always being held right to her face, and she refused to go anywhere without you. When she started talking you became 'Tig Tig'. I'll fess was a hard thing to take when she started to call you by your full name because it was a sign that my baby was growing up. Then - about a year and a half ago - she rejected the second Tigger as being, "The Other," while you became, "My Real." I don't think there's ever been a bigger love affair between a child and her favorite toy before. We always knew that she would be ok so long as you were there for her.

Your stripes were long gone, your ear was shredded through much love, there was a hole in your neck and you had no more stuffing in your head. Yet, you were one of the most beautiful creatures in our home and in her heart.

I suspect that you quietly slipped away because Pixie just doesn't need you so much anymore. I'd noticed that since school started she rarely carried you around the house anymore, and while she did still insist on taking you with her around town it was becoming increasingly more rare of an occurrence. Perhaps you knew that it was time for her to move on, or perhaps you didn't want to stick around until you felt rejection. I have to hope that you knew what you were doing.

In all honesty, I think your disappearance has hurt me more than it's hurt my child. After all, I am the woman who slept with the same stuffed Snoopy from the age of 3 until I traded him in for a husband. Just as he was (and is) real to me, so are you. It upsets me to think of you as being cold and alone. Yes, I'm being a very silly grown up, but that's just the way it is. I know we were going to have to wean the Pixie from you soon, but I had wanted to gently tuck you away for her so that she would always have you around. We adults are awfully attached to our childhood loves.

So here we are, two days later, and I've done everything in my power to find you. I called the health department and went by to check in person. They remember you clearly, and were sure that you hadn't been left behind. We tore apart the house and car, and I was out in the backyard with a flashlight at 11 pm the night you went missing. You're just gone, and I'm going to have to accept that.

So far the Pixie hasn't been too upset. We let the girls go to sleep together in our room on the first night, which was a huge distraction for her. Last night I let her take my Snoopy to bed, which was also a big treat. I can tell that she's upset, though, and she does ask about you. The first thing she said to me yesterday morning was that she was sad because she lost you. She gets quiet and wants to be held, and I wonder what's going on in her head and her heart.

In my heart of hearts I believe you've gone to that special place where beloved toys go to become real. I'm a great believer in the Velveteen Rabbit's story, and just know that somewhere you are bouncing and happy...with fresh stripes and a newly plush coat. Or perhaps you were found by a child who needed you more. Either way, I wish you well. Thank you so much for everything that you did for us, and please know that you will always be loved.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back To The Crafty Stuff

Rest assured, creative stuff has been happening here at Chez Green Woman. Here you see the things that have been amusing me for most of the last new Prairy Rose Shawl and more mini-socks! The mini-socks are just plain fun, and I do need to catch up so that I have a bunch of new ones for my HandWork Christmas Tree this year. The shawl...well there's a story involved that I will tell when I debut the finished object.
Senior Big Stuff was unimpressed with the knitting today. He did, however, like the fact that he had a warm body to cozy up to for most of the afternoon.
FYI - I am NOT one of those bloggers who feels a need to discuss her pets normally. HOWEVER, Tynan is approximately 17 years old and has been on insulin for about 5 1/2 years. He's doing really well, but the average for cats who've been diagnosed with diabetes is only 2 years, so you may see him crop up more and more as he's really on borrowed time. (Watch him make it for another 5 years now that I've said that....) I'm not a cat person....except for in the case of this one particular, personality - filled, larger-than-life cat, who has been with me longer than any one else in this household. So there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Things

Last Thursday night I had a wonderful time presenting a really fun program to my P.E.O. chapter. It was an impromptu sort of program as I was stepping in for a sister who moved away this summer. (We still miss her very much!) I didn't have a whole lot of time to build a program, and so I decided that we should have a game night...with our sisters being the stars. I had my email coordinator send out an email, asking each sister to send me three fun facts about herself - facts that people probably wouldn't know. What I received was completely charming, and so much fun! At our meeting I then read the facts and had the sisters guess who they belonged to. There were even prizes for both the game winners (8/22 was the best!) and for those who had submitted the most interesting facts. It was probably the most fun I've had with my chapter, and I learned a lot about my sisters.

And because I'm in a mood this evening, I thought I'd share with you 10 fun things about me that you might not know!
  1. As a college freshman I belonged to the fencing team. I even competed in a tournament just before the holidays...and although I was soundly beaten and way outclassed, I had a lot of fun! (Had a bout with the #2 girl in the US.)
  2. My first 'big girl' book was Heidi, which I read in the 2nd grade. At the time, that was very advanced...although my daughter has easily already reached that level.
  3. I attended Missouri Scholars Academy as a student in 1990 and then as an RA in 1994. It changed my life...and led me to my husband.
  4. I was in the last class to learn how to read with the ITA method, which uses symbols instead of letters. Google it. It explains why my spelling is so iffy.
  5. I was bitten on the nose by my favorite angora rabbit when I was 14. Try explaining those teeth marks in high school!
  6. I took dance lessons for 15 years, and was very good at tap.
  7. I was given the Unsung Hero award in drama club my senior year in high school, and I also lettered in drama - thanks to my teacher who tracked points for me.
  8. When I was about 8 I was given my first cow. I named her Laura - after Laura Ingells Wilder - and it broke my heart when we had to sell her because she couldn't calve. It was even worse when I got the thank you note telling me how tasty she was.
  9. My professor in my very first Honors English class in college told me that my first paper was publishable. It was based upon Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera, and was entitled, "Crying For the Monsters."
  10. I'm currently hooked on Glee.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Monday List

Hmmm, I just looked at last week's list. Yes, I was able to accomplish everything on the Needs list, but I didn't touch the Wants. It was kind of a crazy week - definitely busier than usual - and I'm glad I didn't go overboard with my list.

This week, we're back to more normal of a schedule. So let's just jump right in!

  1. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells....the Christmas knitting needs to jump in full force!
  2. This week I'm upping my exercise schedule from 5 to 6 days/week. My trainer and I set out some achievable long term goals two weeks ago, and part of that includes bumping up the exercise a notch. Due to our schedule, this is the first week I can actually do 6 days, and I'm looking forward to the challenge!
  3. Along with that, I want to make official plans to deal with the holidays in a healthy way - scheduling workouts and planning for healthy foods. After all, if I'm going to hit my long-term goal I have to make sure that I'm following through with everything I have to do!
  4. I need to prepare something for my P.E.O. auction, seeing as I gave away the item I thought I was going to donate. (Don't regret it for an instance!)
  5. I've been slowly working to clean up and completely declutter our living spaces, and this week I want to finish up the work I've been doing on our bedroom, bath and closet.
  6. Finish a quick little knitting project that I started on Friday.
  7. Finish a second quick little knitting project that I started on Saturday.
  1. I need to seriously consider some plans to set up an office area in the basement. My husband and I talked on our anniversary about our plans for this house, and part of that includes making a space for me somewhere so that I can find a bit of peace.
  2. That spinning thing is still on my Want list!
  3. Ditto for the embroidery!
  4. I think this perhaps is the week to start getting up early again - as I'm still off from the time change and should probably take advantage of it.

  1. Purge the closet again. It doesn't need near as much as it did the last time...but it might help a bit.
  2. Purge the storage area in the basement. It's weighing on me a bit.
  3. Paint our bedroom.
  4. Put up a back splash in the kitchen.
  5. Paint the kitchen.
  6. New curtains everywhere.
  7. Replace the floor in the kitchen.
  8. And the carpet, too.
  9. Redo the landscaping in the front.
  10. Never mind....move to a farm!

Ok, Ok...I'm getting carried away with the wishes! A girl can dream, can't she!

Have a Great Week Everyone!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Giving Your All

I don't often touch on my faith here in my blog. However, this morning I participated in our Sunday worship service, providing one of two testimonies in lieu of the traditional sermon. Afterwords one of our pastors (we have a team) gave me a hug and said, "It takes guts to get up there and share yourself with everyone. It takes even more when you tell the truth." It occured to me that the truth I spoke of this morning is reflective of more than my religious life, and that I wanted to share it with you as well. I've expanded it a tad, but for the most part this is directly from my notes.

"My public speaking skills are getting rusty. It's been a long time since I've used them, and so I prepared notes for today. It occurred to me this morning that the last time I had such extensive notes for a public speaking event was in eighth grade.

Several weeks ago, Glenna, Dukkie and I had a long conversation during Sunday School. It was a very good discussion, during which we spoke of a little bit of everything related to church - from our likes and dislikes in worship services to parenting in the church to what our needs and hopes were. It was a very good conversation, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to share that morning.

As we prepared to go into the worship service, Glenna asked me to speak today. She said that she would like me to perhaps speak of the things we had shared. I, loving an audience, of course said yes.

And then she gave me the theme for the day....Giving Your All...and I had to laugh. Why? Well, I've spend the better part of the last year trying to let go of old expectations of a way trying to teach myself that I don't always have to give my all. It felt like a cosmic joke...but it also felt like something I needed to do.

I've been a perfectionist since preschool. Ask anyone who knows me, and I'm sure they will confirm that simple fact of my personality. The perfect storm of nature and nurture wreaked havoc in my life, building to a point where my expectations for myself - and the realization that I could never achieve perfection - paralyzed me with fear. I've been essentially 'stuck' for years now, failing to recognize that perhaps this wasn't quite what God had intended for me.

So clearly, I'm a work in progress. Thanks to some excellent love and support over the last year - and to be honest the help of some excellent qualified professionals - I'm beginning to learn to live differently.

Which leads me back to that conversation during Sunday School. Part of my reeducation has involved reevaluating my relationship with the church and what that means to my family. With that in mind, I sat down to consider what the theme of Giving My All means to me now - especially as it pertains to my family's connection with the church.

So I made a list.

I like lists.

When it comes to the church and my family, Giving My All boils down to two major expectations.
  1. That I am to raise my children in a Christ-centered home which places the church as a touchstone. I was raised in a family that held this truth as it's heart, and I believe fully that this is the right way to keep a family.

  2. That our responsibility is to regularly attend services and participate fully in the life of our congregation...and that in order to do that it is my duty as a parent to teach my girls to be respectful and quiet during services while giving them the opportunity to fully participate. While I haven't fully figured out my mother's trick of nailing a child to the pew from across the room, I do have high expectations for my children so that they might benefit from the service...but also so that those around them can enjoy the service in peace.

With that in mind, I now turn to what I've learned over the last year, and what I've learned is that a healthy dose of compassion and flexibility are also needed to Give My All. So what does that mean? Well....

  1. It means that our family should - and does - take advantage of outside opportunities to help our children grow in their relationship with Christ. That's why we have used a Lutheran preschool. Just this year my littlest came home from her very first day and proudly announced that, "Jesus lives at my school." We also take the girls to a Vacation Bible School at a friend's church because they follow a traditional daytime schedule that works better for our family..since our kids are in bed by 7.

  2. It means that I need to forgive myself for not always being able to live up to my personal expectations. I could be working on this one for quite a while.

  3. It means I need to develop a sense of humor to help cope with the embarrassing things that sometimes happen when kids are kids. For example, when my oldest was 2 or 3 she stood up and announced very loudly that it was time for everyone to go home about 2/3 through the service. I'm still working to laugh about that one, but apparently it's now church legend as just this morning when we came in the door some of our friends were talking about that story. And incidentally, that day a few of you came to me and told me that she had been right. One day I'll laugh!

  4. It means saying yes to volunteer opportunities that come up within the church community...but it also means saying no when those responsibilities might be detrimental to either myself or my family. Sometimes we stretch ourselves too thin...and there will always be other opportunities waiting when we have more time and energy.

  5. It means wearing jeans to church, accepting that that's just what my lifestyle dictates of my wardrobe at the moment - no matter what I was taught about the proper dress for church.
  6. Next - and this is a big one for me - Giving My All means stepping away for a while when the stress of managing my strong-willed children by myself most Sundays begins to create serious cracks in the foundation of my faith - because church should never leave you feeling angry and sad, and for a great long while it did. I know that many of you took the time to tell me that it was ok if my kids weren't perfect, but it wasn't acceptable to me and emotionally it was just too much. Leaving for a while allowed me to let go of the negativity, and I do think it was necessary. BUT, Giving My All also means knowing when to come back and it means creating a way for my children to readjust to the church schedule so that they come to it peacefully. We've been doing this for the last couple of months, and I'm quite happy to say that now I leave church feeling renewed and uplifted...which is how church should make you feel, don't you think? Plus, my children are now old enough that they can easily live up to my expectations, and I am very, very proud of them for their recent behavior.

  7. It means recognizing that I am human and that I should accept help when it's offered and needed. There have been some wonderful times when some of you have stepped in to take one of my children from me when I needed a break, and I thank you for that.
  8. Finally, it means cleaning up my own emotional messes that might be interfering with either my or my family's relationship with the church. For example, my beloved grandfather passed away very suddenly during World Conference when I was in college. Because of that - and some of the mess that surrounded his passing because of the timing - I still can't even speak of World Conference without getting a bit upset. This is MY mess, though, and it's something that I don't want coloring my children's view of the church. I wish this was the only example, but it's not, and I do have to work really hard to make sure that my children don't learn anything negative from me.

In the end, this is where I've chosen to raise my family and I want them to fully experience the loving community that comes with a church home. That's why I feel that I must continually Give My All so that my family has every opportunity available within the church...and hopefully we can also help to make our church family a bit better as well."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Christmas Knitting Has Begun....

With a bit of planning, hard work and luck there will be a few knitted presents this year. When you have a family that truly appreciates's a must!

First up - socks for the Pixie! The yarn is The Unique Sheep's Leili in Bella, the needles were my standard 2.25 mm and the pattern is Ann Budd's basic sock pattern. I started sometime last month and finished this morning. (How's that for specific!)

Next - socks for the Princess....

Baby Love

Yesterday my friend Kristin came for a visit with her new baby Hazel. To my immense surprise and delight, wee Hazel was dressed in the booties and jacket that I made for her. The booties didn't stay on long enough for a picture, although they fit beautifully. Babies and shoes - as we all know - just don't match! Kristin said that the little BSJ is the one piece she wears the most often, and she got a bit misty when she realized that Hazel probably wouldn't be able to wear it much longer. At any rate, I had to share some pictures with you because it was a wonderful, special day....not in the least because Kristin is another one of those friends with whom I hope to fully reconnect.

PS. Just before Kristin left, I slipped the Norwegian Woods shawl into her diaper bag. It found its home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slightly Perplexed

Last night I had the joy of finishing a piece of lace....always an act of magic! I was not at all surprised to wind up with a sink full of black water, given how much of the dye had come off on my hands. In fact, I was surprised that it only took 5 rinses for the water to come clean!
Miss P. helped me to pin it out, and I had to take a picture of her handiwork. I waited until she was eating dinner before I fixed it.
Here you see the shawl spread out in all of it's glory.
This is really the only detail shot I took.
I did manage to get an accurate picture of the color and the beaded edging. I thought the yarn and beads were perfect together!
The reason why I'm perplexed is that I just can't figure out a good way of photographing the finished piece...short of laying it out on another white sheet.
Project Specs:
Pattern - Norwegian Woods Shawl or Scarf by Sivia Harding
Needles - Addi Turbo, size 3.25mm, 36 inch
Yarn - Kangaroo Dyer Alpaca & Silk Laceweight in Slate, a gift from the talented Margene
Knitting Time - June 23 to Nov. 1, 2009
Notes - I made the shawl size! The End!

While it is indeed a lovely shawl, I've decided not to keep it. As the yarn came to me as an unexpected gift, I'm going to pass along the love and donate this shawl to my P.E.O. chapter's annual auction. (Which means I may have to find an excuse to not be there because I always find it rather excruciating to watch my pieces sold....especially when I know it's going to be sold for considerably less than it's worth!) ('s a great cause!) All proceeds from our auction go directly to support our programs, which you can learn more about here.
And if I figure out how to take better pictures, I'll be sure to share them!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Monday List

The knitters among you will no doubt recognize what's happening in this picture. It's the first step in a bit of magic, and I hope to post the final results either tomorrow or Wednesday!

I was right to keep my list on the fairly simple side last week. It was crazy - mostly because my husband was home most of the time and so our regular schedule was out the window!

By the end of last Monday, I had reduced my Needs list to just three items. Obviously, the Halloween costumes were finished - much to every one's relief. Even better, I did manage to clean the Pixie's room last week in a fit of frenzied productivity. I was fortunate enough to end up with a decent chunk of time on Thursday to work on her room when she wasn't home, thanks to my mother in law, and so not only did I clean the room but I also boxed up a whole bunch of toys that have been outgrown and threw away a bunch of junk. I'm so happy about the way Pixie's room looks now that I get a bit giddy every time I walk by! I took care of the last item during a conversation with my husband at our anniversary dinner. We also had a fairly long conversation about our Christmas plans, so hey! - it may not have been romantic, but it did accomplish quite a bit! I did get a fair amount of knitting done along the way, too, and we'll perhaps talk about that later this week.

This week's list...because believe it or not, it does keep me on track!

The Needs:
  1. We are going to have our picture taken at church on Wed. for the family directory, and I need to pull together spiffy clothes for all of us. Doesn't sound like something that needs this much forethought....but you'd be surprised.
  2. Put together my game for my P.E.O. meeting on Thursday. Our original program provider moved away a couple of months ago, and I'm winging it with a getting-to-know-you sort of game. I asked my sisters to send me three facts about themselves, and I'm having a whole lot of fun getting their responses!
  3. Finish up a couple of small projects - including the Pixie's latest pair of socks.
  4. Start the Christmas knitting!

The Wants:
  1. Prepare the spinning fiber and
  2. SPIN!
  3. Also redo my embroidery pattern and start again.
  4. Continue working on the new journal project....which I now have a few ideas for.

The Wishes:

  1. I'm feeling remarkably content right now, and so we'll just leave this one at peace.

Have a Great Week Everyone!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat!

I'm not entirely happy with any of the pictures we took on Halloween, so I may have to dress the girls up and try again this week sometime. In the meantime, though, I had to share our lovely princesses with you!