Still Squishing Together


This evening, I was smashed against one end of the couch by my little girls, doing my best to cross-stitch without being able to really move my elbows because I was so squished. Jonny was sitting on the floor, with Mabel between his legs, and he commented, “We have all this space now, but look, we’re all in the same room.” The big boys, the little boys, the girls, and the baby. Maybe a dog? I can’t remember. At our other house all ten of us couldn’t hang out together in one room without feeling really cramped, so cramped we were. Now we can spread out a bit, but usually we don’t. That is the gift of having lived in such close quarters for so long. The little boys have started sleeping in the girls’ room, abandoning theirs to the monsters in their closet. Mabel has stopped sleeping through the night in her crib, opting to sleep with me about half-way through. And before I forget, she also has a new trick: the fake cough. I’ve had a yucky cold and she’s heard me coughing. I guess she’s copying me? Her cough is way cuter than mine.

I got through the short rows on her pink jumper and was getting ready to divide for the legs when I realized my stitch markers were in the wrong places, and hence my short rows. I was pretty bummed about that, but then had this fantastic thought just before falling asleep that night: skip the legs! I knit a garter stitch band, added sleeves, and now Mabel has a cute pink jumper rather than a full sweater suit. I think it’s more practical this way at her age. She’s seriously contemplating crawling and would ruin the knees of knitted pants quickly. Since I finished the pink sweater I went ahead and cast on for a Granny’s Favourite cardigan for her. I’m knitting it with some of my dk wool that I stashed away for just this sweater a few months ago. I can’t remember what I dyed it with–definitely indigo, maybe it was over dock seed? I think so. Anyway, I’m so excited about having a new project on my needles!

Some of you asked to see my cross-stitch project last week. I’ve been working hard to finish up My Sweetpie ABCs, a project I started and shared here as a stitch along in early 2015. As a friend accurately commented recently, “You really fell off the wagon with that one, didn’t you?” Yeah, I really did! But I’m making lots of progress now. I’m working on “Q” for quilt and once it’s finished, then I’m done! I’m so excited to get this framed and hung over Mabel’s crib. It will be what I see on the wall in front of me when I am sitting on my bed.

Do you remember that old version of the game, Payday, in my photograph? My Aunt Genie recently sent it to me, one of my very favorite childhood games. My older kids have been playing, and really like it too. Actually, there has been a lot of late night game playing recently. My older boys are getting along so well since we’ve moved. There’s is far less fighting. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Exhale. Exhale. Exhale.

p.s. Thanks so much for all the raffle entries!


  1. Can I just jump into your family for a day or two?! I have been looking at your blog for several months and I love the pictures of your children and getting a glimpse into your life.

  2. OH MY! Payday! That just threw me back. I had the exact same board and everything. Wow.

  3. Our family (of 11) lived in small house, then moved to a huge one– a 3,000 sq ft. rental as we searched for a new, permanent place again. For the first six months or so, we were all still cozily atop one another and then, one day at about the one year mark, I realized we had drifted our separate ways. My older children were in their late teens by then, and it truly grieved me to see the physical distance that had become so normal, and to sense the emotional distance it allowed. Right around that time, we began feeling the nudge to buy again. We found a fantastic, 3 bedroom, 1800 sq ft. converted barn that is exactly what we needed as a family with 20 year-olds and 19 month-olds! So here we are again… tiny and loving it!

    All this to say, I wish I had been more purposeful in preserving that elbow-rubbing. Maybe then the additional space would have been a place of peace for me? I don’t know. Maybe the truth is that we are just small house people. 😉

  4. I remember that version of Payday! I liked that game when I was a kid. It’s one my kids have never had.

    Your cross stitch is absolutely gorgeous! And how well I remember bathing my daughter in the sink when she was my baby.

    I requested the book The Saturdays at our library after seeing you talk about that series. I started it last night and am in love with it already. So fun!

    Have a good Christmas!

  5. lovely cross stitching! And Mabel is growing too too fast for me. Slow her down! Our house is the same, we have a family room and a living room and everyone is in ONE room. I don’t mind because the house is empty until they come to visit.

    Our son arrived last Friday and my daughter and son in law arrive next Tuesday (that’s when the big fun begins). New to me this year is my sister and her family over New Year’s weekend. My house will be filled to the brim!

    Merry Christmas Ginny dear.

  6. I love that you are all still staying physically close in a big house! I’ve heard that families that live in smaller spaces are happier because the family is together more and not so isolated. I think the isolation comes more in the teen years when they want their own space. Which I suppose is somewhat natural. I love her pink sweater!

  7. I have been looking for that original Payday to purchase! Recently re-played it (from a long time ago). Do you know the newer version just doesn’t cut it and it takes Sunday’s day of rest out of the equation all together. 🙁

  8. I stared at the photo of PayDay for the longest time! I completely forgot about that game and it was one of my very favorite games!!!! Now I MUST find it. Ebay, here I come….

  9. ooo I’ve been wanting to knit a Granny’s Favorite too! 🙂 Love that color way of yours. And I did your stitch along back in 2015 and so loved that set. I framed it in my girl’s room and have since fallen in love with everything Alicia creates.

  10. Ginny, I took your recommendation and ordered some Doll People books…the Christmas one and the boxed set of 3. My 5 and 6 yr old granddaughters love the Christmas one. I’m going to give the boxed set to my 8 yr old granddaughter who reads everything (I was actually totally engrossed in this set as well!) Love your cross-stitch. It turned out so pretty…and Mabel’s sweater is just beautiful..and the yoke of the other one is just lovely as well. My sister at the last minute decided she wanted to get some new knitted dishrags from me for Christmas so I’m going to be doing marathon knitting.

    Anyway…you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

    Gwen in Iowa

  11. The first night in our bigger house, my husband and I were sitting on the couch in the living room by ourselves while the 5 kids (at the time) were gathered together in the back of the house. We were amazed that we couldn’t hear them and were talking to each other in normal voices. In our small house we could hear everything, all the time and there was often an air of loud tension. We enjoy being together, but a little elbow room lends to better relations. I sometimes compare it to raising animals – there is a certain amount of space, for instance, chickens need for optimal health. I think it’s the same for family mental health. Not that families can’t function well in a small house, but you do need to be more creative about finding outlets from the squish in those situations. And squish affects some kids differently. I have a friend whose mom grew up in a large family. Her siblings have very fond memories of their childhood, but my friend’s mom hated it because she she never had any privacy.

  12. We always joke that we could be in a mansion but would still all end up in the same corner of the same room. There are only 3 of us though!! :0) I do remember PayDay and when I tried to get a new copy for my daughter I read all the changes they had made and decided not to. Enjoy it!!

  13. My son is always squishing me into the corner of the couch with his body while I am trying to knit. I have started telling him I can’t knit with T-Rex arms.

    Also I grew up for most of my childhood in a very small house. We still to this day mostly end up in the same room when home at my parents. Especially my sister and I because we were older and lived in that house longer.

  14. We have four kiddos here and even with a “big” house everyone is still on top of one another in the living room (or wherever mom/dad seem to be)…I keep thinking it will change as my older ones are now a teen and preteen but nothing doing. Sometimes I get really claustrophobic and just want the kids to spread out (like away from me-ha!)–your take on it has set me right. I will remind myself a mama should be pleased her brood wants to hang with her 24/7!

    Mabel is such a cutie in her new jumper–great problem-solving, Ginny!

    I haven’t been able to comment in awhile and have been meaning to write–Congratulations on the new house! I hope the work on your former home is going well.

  15. loved this; so glad that the new house is giving enough space for your older boys! nice that you all like being with each other, that’s lovely. Have a blessed and beautiful and Merry Christmas!!!

  16. Your sampler looks great. At least you didn’t forget any letters like I did! And I may not have fallen off the wagon with mine but it had been sitting un-framed in Margaret’s room since 2015. I just framed it the other day and it looks so nice in her room, well the front looks nice. I had to do some extra securing of the back of the frame with duct tape to hold it all together. #classy 🙈

  17. Stephanie in Germany says:

    8 years ago we moved to a larger house and I , too, began to exhale. I no longer heard every single squabble or conflict (we have 4 girls). Such a relief! We all had more room to breathe and space to retreat when necessary. Your baby is growing so quickly!

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