Sharing Mabel (+dishcloths are here!)


(Beatrix had refused to wash the “beautiful butterfly” off of her face the night before…)

We were at a party with friends over the weekend when my friend, Eve, mentioned that Mabel looked cold.  (She had a bit of bare leg showing between her pants and her socks and Eve is a member of The Cold Baby Police.)  I quickly remedied the situation by adding a pair of wool pants under her outfit along with a hat and sweater.  I’m so happy to be able to start pulling out all the woollies (details on all at the end of the post)!

The party was a welcome distraction for us because we learned on Friday that our dear Ms. Nell had died, suddenly and unexpectedly.  I kept the information to myself until Saturday, needing to process it on my own before telling the girls.  I can’t tell you how much I dreaded that conversation with them.  It’s really, really hard to tell your children that someone they love has died, and it seems that I have had to do it too many times.  The last time we visited Ms. Nell it was with a new baby for her to meet (Mabel!) and bouquets of flowers from all my younger children.  I’m so thankful that we ended on that note, her knowing she was loved by us.  Reminding my girls of that didn’t do much to ease their grief, though.  Beatrix spent time wandering the backyard after I told her, crying and periodically looking up to the sky, mouthing words that only she could hear.  She wanted to be alone with her sadness, and it broke my heart.  Larkspur keeps saying that she can’t believe we can’t visit her anymore, and I agree.  Death never becomes commonplace or easy to accept.  But I’m grateful for the relationships we have in our community, the friends who are our family.  The more people you love, the more you open yourself up to hurt, but the love always outweighs the grief.


(Ms. Nell with baby Silas)

I stopped at our farmer’s market on Friday, shortly after learning of Ms. Nell’s death.  An older woman who works there, who hadn’t yet met Mabel, immediately asked if she could hold her when I got out of the van.  I happily handed her over, and, oh my goodness, I’ve never seen someone love on a baby that doesn’t belong to them so completely and unabashedly.  She would lift Mabel into the air and Mabel would look down at her, smiling big.  Then she would pull her down into her chest, hug her tight, and smother her in kisses.  Mabel loved every second of it.  The woman, whose name I can’t believe I’ve never asked for, told me, “We never had children.  By the time we thought we could afford them, it was too late.  I always thought if I had a baby of my own, I’d kiss it to death.”  She didn’t seem bitter or sad though, just more than happy to love on Mabel, and I was grateful to be able to share her, if only for a few minutes.


When I got home that evening, I had an email from my mom with the subject line, “Beautiful you,” waiting for me in my inbox.  She found this photo of the two of us from 1979 in an album at her sister’s, (my Aunt Genie’s), house.  She had never seen it before, and neither had I.  I don’t know why, but I dissolved into tears seeing it, and I wasn’t even sure if I was happy or sad.  Maybe it was just another expression of the passing of time, but more than that I think it was a reminder of love and life.  So many things to ponder lately…the joy that babies bring, the sadness over the death of a beloved elderly friend.  All the life that happens in between, both the good and the painful.  We soldier on, thankful for every minute.


p.s. I have received several emails recently asking if we would be selling dishcloths as a fundraiser for Gabe and Keats’ travel baseball fees this year.  Yes, we are!  As many of you know, they are made at a small mill in the U.S.A. and I have been using them in my home for years. They are a polyester/cotton blend. The polyester content helps them last longer, and it also helps them maintain softness and stretchiness even after many, many washes. The one caveat is that they aren’t great for wiping up spills, but that’s not how I use them. These are the cloths that I use to wipe down my kitchen table and counter-tops. Their texture makes them great for light scrubbing.  They are great for washing dishes, dusting furniture, or scrubbing the bathtub. After their first wash they fluff up and shrink to roughly 11 inches square. I love the colored stripes, and their vintage look. I sell them by the dozen, and you will receive 3 each of 4 colors (this year: red, blue, green, and purple), so you could designate certain colors for certain rooms or tasks. These make lovely, practical gifts, and it is always nice to toss those old cruddy rags and replace them with fresh ones! They are for $20 + $6 for usps priority shipping in the U.S. for a dozen, and orders for 2 dozen or more are welcome as well. You can buy them via the button below. (I don’t ship outside the U.S. because the shipping would cost more than the cloths!)  Thanks for supporting our boys, and saving us from having to sell donuts!

p.p.s. Knits:  Mabel’s hat was knit by Tania, and her Ravelry notes are here.  My notes on her yellow sweater are hereKaren’s notes on her pink and white sweater are here.  My yellow barn sweater notes are here.  Not a knit, but Mabel’s bib was purchased here.


  1. Ginny, your posts are a bright spot in my day – a gentle reminder of the Light Christ in daily life. Thank You!

  2. Loved the pictures of Mabel and the story of sharing her with the lady at the Market. I am sure Mabel made her day. Sorry about the loss of Ms. Nell. Praying for your family.

  3. LouAnne Wronski says:

    Hugs, Ginny. I will pray that your fond memories of your dear Ms. Nell will comfort you as you and your girls remember her. I also want to thank you for trusting the lady at the market with your baby. I can only imagine the joy you gave her and Mabel also! I am so sad that in this world, most people are overly careful and anxious, and even though I understand the reason, it still makes me sad. I was recently in the presence of a dear family of strangers in a hotel breakfast room. There were three children and two parents, and since I was finished my meal, I offered to hold the baby so the harried mom could enjoy hers in peace. She looked at me as if I had two heads (I don’t) and I am not scary, honest. But the poor dear couldn’t trust me to sit beside them and we all missed out.

  4. Is shipping $6/dozen? or if I buy more is shipping less. I would like to buy 3 dozen. Thanks.

  5. Thank-you so much for sharing your babies and feelings – happy and sad with us.

  6. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    Thank you for all the photos – happy and sad feeling here too. I cried even before reading that you cried at the photo of you and your mom.
    Love you and miss you

  7. I think the fourth and fifth pictures down are absolutely my favorite. It really speaks to me about the bond that these two already have, but even more, about the everlasting bond that we have with sisters.

  8. Becky Barry says:

    Its hard to tell wee ones of life, you handle it well and truth is best in these situations.
    Love the pic of your mother and you! Thanks for sharing!

  9. It’s the circle of life. Reading this sweet and heart felt post reminded me of something that happened in our life.

    My 87 year old father was in the hospital and my sister was visiting him, when they decided to take a short walk. During their walk they passed a small waiting area where they encountered a young mother with a baby girl sitting in a stroller. My sister thought the little girl was maybe 9 months or so.

    My dad and the little girl locked eyes and started smiling and laughing. An instant connection! The mother took the baby out of the stroller and put her on her lap so that they could see each other better. My sister was struck by the fact that one life was ending and one was beginning. My dad and this little baby connected in such a sweet, mysterious way.

    I’ve often wondered if God didn’t work through this sweet baby to reassure and comfort my dad who passing away just a week later.

    Maybe God worked though Mabel to provide smiles and comfort to Ms. Nell.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  10. so sorry for your loss, it is never easy to say goodbye. I loved seeing Mabel modeling her clothes and she is a well dressed baby in all of that luscious wool!!

  11. sorry for your loss. Mabel is adorable and I am glad her siblings love her and adore her too.

  12. So sorry for your loss, Ginny. She sounds like a sweet, wonderful lady, and I’m glad you and your family got to know her.

    Love the photos, as always, and the one of you and your mom is so cute!

    Will be thinking of you this week. Hope you’ll get plenty of time to work on Bea’s sweater and lots of time to just…be :).

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. My kids lost their great grandma this year, and they pray for Great Grandma Rita to be in heaven almost every night. Her passing was also a good reminder to me and them that our life here on Earth is only temporary. Eternal life with Jesus is forever! We have all found comfort in that promise! The pics of Mabel are adorable! I was so excited to see you selling dishcloths for a fundraiser! I HATE shopping for dishcloths, and I wait until mine are just gross or falling apart before I buy new ones. You just made it super easy for me to replace mine! THANK YOU!

  14. If it were not for my baby son, I don’t know how I could bear my Mum’s recent death. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. Mabel is an absolute sweetie xx

  15. If it were not for babies, life would be unbearable. They make me cry and laugh at the same time. Thanks for sharing yours.

  16. i haven’t been able to have children yet, and i am always beyond grateful when someone lets me love up their baby. it’s one of my most favourite things–baby cuddles and baby kisses. and you certainly have an adorable baby to love up, and her wee knits are just exquisite!

  17. I can only imagine what a joy you and your little ones brought into her life – certainly as much (or more!) as she brought each of you. Sending you and the girls – and all of you – so much love. xoxo

  18. I am so sorry for you loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  19. So grateful for your blog- almost feels like a cup of tea after a hard day with a friend sometimes. The photos of Mabel being held up with one arm are absolutely hilarious, ..and then the one with you holding her crying are so heartwarming. Beatrix sure has moxy! Thank you so much for sharing your blog, Ginny. Really, thank you.

  20. Love your little Mabel’s face — she looks like she knows much more than we do. So sweet, and I can understand why a complete stranger would kiss all over her. Babies are to love.

    Do you mind if I ask which size of the puerperium cardigan you knit?

  21. Memory Eternal! So sorry for your loss! Will light a candle for you all. Love your pictures as usual 🙂

  22. I’m so sorry for your loss–it is always hard to lose a treasured friend.

    Mabel is such a little darling!! I love seeing her cheeks and happy smile.

  23. So sorry about your friend. You have beautiful memories of her. Mabel looks very surprised in the last picture of her!

  24. EweCreekCottage says:

    So sorry for your loss you have a beautiful way with words I felt joy sadness and shed tears definitely will visit often!

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