The Best Part

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Surely, the best part of 2016 for me was meeting our dear Mabel. I was so afraid to have another baby, but here she is and all is so very well. I want to take that lesson to heart, and learn to trust a little more. To believe deeply that when things don’t go according to my plan, there must be a better one. At just over six months old, Mabel still feels like the happiest of surprises.

I quietly celebrated my 39th birthday on Friday, and I suppose that means I have entered my 40th year. It doesn’t feel much different that thirty or even twenty, though this last year has seen my first gray hairs, and new lines in my face. We don’t stay young forever, do we? I think I am only just now realizing this truth about myself.

I was actually quite sick on my birthday, which forced me to cancel any plans I had. I slept late, and spent most of the day sitting on the couch, knitting and cross-stitching. I wouldn’t change a thing about the day, even my illness. I struggle so much to allow myself to relax, that just being sick, or it being my birthday, individually aren’t enough. Combining the two might be just the ticket for me. I taught Larkspur and Beatrix how to cross-stitch using Aida cloth that belonged to my mother, nearly four decades ago, and a sweet little cross-stitch book that has been sitting on my shelf for years. I completed my own first major cross-stitch project when I was Larkspur’s age, a piece for my sister Erin, who was born on my tenth birthday, and it seemed like a good time get started with my little girls.

Beatrix bought a pot of red tulips at the grocery store the day before my birthday, claiming that they were for her. Afterwards, she asked me what my favorite color of tulips are. Of course I said, “Red.” She replied, “Too bad these aren’t for you.” But then there they were Friday morning, along with a card. My kids all made me homemade cards as is our custom. I was very impressed with the little details (bunny poop-ha!)

During the days surrounding my birthday and the new year, I knit a hat for Seth from start to finish using leftover wool from this sweater (pretty much the only yarn he likes colorwise) in the same style as the nearly identical hat I knit him years ago. And, Mabel’s Granny’s Favourite sweater was completed down to hemlock buttons from Wooly Moss Roots. I think it really suits her.

We’ve had a very nice break, but this week we are returning to “regular” life…school work, the laundry we’ve let pile up, all the responsibilities…

I wish you all the best in this new year!

I have no resolutions and no “word,” just lots of hopes and dreams.

Still Squishing Together

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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!