Sunday, December 28, 2014

Slower Days

They don't happen here very often anymore.  It seems we move from crisis to crisis most weeks.  One week it's sick kids, another week it's dental appointments, or it's something else.  All the while I am moving through the colder weather craving the comforts of home.

We had a big wind storm last month.  Our chicken coop has a new skylight and our ducks took a ride, tumbling around for 20 feet in their crate - I think it stopped them from laying, poor things! While we are still building their shelter, we now have trees down everywhere and lots of cleanup to do.

 Worst of all, our beloved treehouse blew apart!  It was really solid too.  The worst of the wind hit it, and the sides acted like sails, ripping it apart.  I hope we can fix it soon, we are missing it already.

This holidays have brought some time off from school and some much-needed family time.

Time, finally to slow down and feel like I am in tune with the seasons.

Time, to bake bread.

Time to knit or spin.

Time for Dad to do some painting with the kids.

Time to take a deep breath and be grateful.

It's the knitting that I've missed the most.  I've started and stopped a few projects, some I got stuck on others I couldn't concentrate on while being pulled in different directions.

But Oh, how I've craved my needles.

And the projects that I have planned are endless!  I know I don't have time to do all that I want to do, but for now I keep plugging along at it when I can.

I'm clicking away on a little something special for our littlest member of the family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finished Tree House

Finished Tree House!!!

Summer always goes by too fast.  With our new baby thrown into the mix, summer went by in the blink of an eye!  It seems like we were just working on this treehouse with the kids yesterday, but already, it's fall.

We have lots of ideas for additions and improvements to the treehouse, however, the basic structure is in place. If this is all we ever finish, I'll consider it a success.Their Daddy built cubbies into one of the walls, using some old drawers, which now house a flashlight and some pencils.  Already there have been some sleepovers out there.  We kept our old mailbox and plopped it onto a nearby stump.

My kids are growing up way too fast.  Looking at what is to come, I'm a little scared. Did we teach them enough?  Do they understand the things they need to know? Are they going to be ok out there in the world?

While I fret and worry, the kids of course, are outside fighting battles from their treetop fortress with pine cones and sticks.

Sometimes, I really miss being a kid.

Side rails
Siding becomes the walls


Somewhat hidden from the driveway

The Lookout

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finished In Time for Blessing Day

Button choices
Hand-sewing the sleeve seams

Before Blocking

On the mats, before blocking

Wet and pinned out- much larger now

Some days just stand out for me as perfect days in my memory.  Charlotte’s blessing day was one.  Ila’s has been another.   I’m about ready to go to bed now, I’m as exhausted as can possibly be, but I’m in this peaceful, grateful, lull of bliss.  Her gown was extraordinary, Ila, was even more beautiful than her gown.  Ila didn’t cry or fuss during her blessing, in fact, she stared up straight into her father’s eyes. 

Afterward everyone came to a Potluck BBQ at our house.  We talked, we cooked, we laughed.  The kids made messes and ran and played.  The 'tweens' and 'teens' played a fierce game of capture the flag.  The smaller kids played with a gigantic cardboard box that we saved from cleaning up yesterday and pulled out for today. The cousins grew closer together.

People stayed, and lingered, and the weather was even perfect.  I took some of the little kids out to pet and hold the ducks.  It is a special place, this place where we live.  Not only because of this peaceful, pastoral setting, but because of the spirit of family and faith that we have here.  Today was a day, where we felt so much of the love that people have for us, and we were so grateful.  You don’t get that kind of support from the rest of the world when you decide to have six babies.  But here with my family and friends we felt so embraced. 

I had a great time showing people the chickens, the barn, and the ducks.  A friend brought a special gift for me, a children’s book called, Annie and the Swiss Cheese scarf.  It’s like the book describes my life knitting, just perfectly.

I guess the thing that stands out in my mind after this long day is just how happy everyone was.  I know that life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, and sometimes those downs are pretty awful, but there’s really, really, good stuff too.  It’s hard to remember the good stuff, when you are dealing with the disabled children in your life, or sick, or pregnant and miserable, or dealing with other frustrating realities of life.  But the good stuff really does happen too.  I want to remember this day forever – it was perfect.  The last day of summer sunshine for awhile. (It rained the next morning.)  Summer went out with a bang.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. It is a plan of happiness.  I am so grateful for the Priesthood.  To have this marvelous power that blesses every part of our lives.  What a tremendous gift I have that I hope I never take for granted.

You'd think 'Blessing Day' would be like this.

But it's really more like THIS!!

It was totally worth all the work!

Sharing Today with Ginny's Yarn Along.
And Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Blessing Gown for Ila

I'm a pattern follower.
Truly, I am.
And, I'm bad at math, which makes me a poor candidate, I think for designing knitwear of any kind.

Until I have to.

I am a connoisseur of fine knitting patterns, include quite a collection of vintage ones.  But even with the pattern index on Ravelry, I could not find exactly the pattern I wanted.  I had modified one for my previous blessing gown, so I figured I if I did it once I could do it again.

No problem, right?

Here's how it's gone so far:

I spent my entire pregnancy just looking at patterns, not actually knitting on a gown.  I built up quite a nice Pinterest board full of inspiring ideas.  But really, I figured I'd probably have a boy (things lead towards the boy side in our family) and I figured it would waste time to get started just-in-case.

But of course, I didn't have a boy.  I spent the first few days just being thrilled by the fact that I had a lovely girl!  I spent the next three weeks knitting samples.  The week after that, I ordered a beautiful pattern online.  The week after that, I decided it wasn't exactly what I wanted, so I started drawing designs.

So that the gowns would be different, I bought some crazy-amazing and expensive silk yarn.  It arrived and was beautiful (and expensive!) and then immediately I changed my mind and wanted to use plain cotton #10 crochet thread like my other gown.  It costs about $2.99 for a cone.

So you are getting the picture.  At four weeks postpartum I still hadn't even started! And all this time I should have been knitting.

I started the gown, then after about 3 inches of Horseshoe Lace decided against it and ripped it out. Nice one!  My husband was thinking that I was truly crazy.

Needless to say, after ripping and re-knitting, and ripping and re-knitting, I finally made some progress.

I found myself:

Knitting while nursing

Knitting while the baby slept

Knitting at the dinner table

Knitting at the doctor's office

Knitting in the car, waiting to pick up and drop off my kids

Knitting on our summer road trips

On the Ferry from Port Townsend
Knitting my way through A&E's Pride and Prejudice, yes, the one with Colin Firth.  I wonder how many times I've seen that.  Ahem.

Then I found myself:

Ripping out

Ripping out again

Dropping stitches and picking out stitches.

Easing the stress of it all by listening to my Funk station on Pandora.

Stopping the Funk music because it was way too distracting!

And changing my mind over and over again.

But finally, I am making progress; I'm almost to the finish line!  At this point, I am so sick of knitting this, I swear I'm not going to want to knit anything ever again (but I will, and soon).  I have only three more days to finish.  Here goes, folks.

Sharing today with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Days of School

First Days of School are always stuck in the memory.

Today brings me back to a particular one.  Five years ago.  After having four kids all in a row, it was time to take my youngest to his first day of preschool.  It was a hard day and a wonderful day, as so many first days of school are.  I stayed there observing and watching as long as I possibly could. Then with some tears, it was time to let go.

I walked the 3 blocks to my house.  Alone.
All alone.

It was a strange feeling this alone-ness.  Something foreign to me, after so many years with the little ones as my constant companions.
I wiped the tears from my face and realized that I had a couple of hours of well,
complete freedom.

I could sing, I could dance, I could clean, I could watch T.V.  Whatever.
Then I reached my home, and kept walking.
In fact, there was no reason for me to go home, so I walked some more.

I walked around town for miles.  I smelled the flowers.  I felt the moisture in the air.  I breathed.  I noticed things.  I made plans in my head: I could work out every day, I could write in a journal, I could grow a beautiful flower garden.  I could get so much done.  I felt happiness.

It was just a few days after that bittersweet day that I discovered I was pregnant again.  After four years of being out of baby mode.  You know baby mode:  car seats, and diapers, and spit-up and chasing toddlers. Instead of the lovely freedom I thought I would have, I spent the next month of mornings on the couch trying not to vomit.
And getting the house and family ready to squish in a fifth baby.

Today, I think of that day, because it's another first day of school.

With tears in my eyes, I sent off one to his first year of middle school, watching him struggle to open his locker and find his classes. I stayed there as long as I could, watching and observing, and praying.

That baby, that kept me on the couch those months, today she went off to her first day of preschool.  With excitement in her eyes, and anticipation,  she watched each of her older siblings get dropped off at their schools.

I went home, and I remembered that day of freedom years ago.  I remembered how happy I felt, at the prospect of a little bit of freedom.

But today, instead of taking a walk after dropping off my youngest, I went home and nursed another new little sixth baby peacefully off to sleep.  I realized that I have given and sacrificed so very much to these kids.  I have hobbies and passions, but these kids, this family, this life, takes my whole soul, and everything that I've got.

While there are probably many people that would question my sanity at this point, I myself,

am simply staring at my little baby, peacefully asleep at my breast.

And I am marveling at this new little life.  How things repeat themselves in one gigantic cycle of living.  How like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

But what I realize so deeply, more than any other thing, is that:

While I've given up most of myself to this thing called Motherhood,  I've found myself, too.

Happiness comes and goes, and I will seize it whenever I can.

But this stuff, this difficult and tiring journey that I am on with these souls that are my children, my tribe,

It is JOY.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.