Rolling with Change (and a farewell to the Yarn Along)

Small Things-0105

In the fall of 2010 I had five children, the oldest being a new ten year old. After my children were put to bed each night, I had at least a couple of quiet hours to knit, read, blog, or work on projects. I currently have three teenage sons in addition to five children ages 11 and under. Mabel, my youngest, is 9 months old. My teenagers stay up as late as I do, enjoying time with Jonny and me after the littles are in bed.

Life is quite different these days. I’m different. I’m turning 40 this year, which as clichéd as it is, has me feeling pretty introspective. I am evaluating who I am, where I am, and how I should be, and want to be, spending my time.

I’ve always preferred unstructured days and loose routines to schedules and a full calendar. Too much time out and about can be stressful for my introverted self. I try to aim for simplicity, but nothing is simple anymore. Raising a family isn’t simple. It’s really complicated!

Today I spent an hour at the DMV, returned home and had about 45 five minutes before going back out to piano lessons. While my kids were in their lessons, Mabel and I grocery shopped and went by Lowe’s to check on an appliance order (have I mentioned that we have been somewhat oven-less for awhile now?) After picking everyone up and driving back home, we had less than an hour before it was time for golf. Meanwhile, Jonny had a couple of kids at baseball practice. Most days aren’t quite so crazy, thankfully.

I got away with only two kids in sports for years, with both of them able to play on the same team. No more. Thankfully, I have three in golf, so we are still being “efficient” with our sports scheduling. In a large family, if even a few participate in sports or other activities, it doesn’t take long before you have a full calendar. So that is where I find myself now. It’s been an adjustment, but I am finding ways to make this new reality work.

Yesterday, Seth had a two hour golf class. Somehow everything lined up so that it was just the two of us. I carried some knitting along with a vocabulary workbook that I am studying. I was super excited to sit in the clubhouse, do my lesson, and then do some knitting. Not long after finishing with my vocabulary workbook, I found myself in a very unexpected conversation with a woman about ten years younger than me. We went from friendly small talk to her essentially telling me her life story. I set the shawl I’m working on aside, though her intensity made me want to hide my face in my knitting at times! She seemed to really need someone to listen to her, so I did. I’m not sure that she was looking for advice, but I didn’t hold back! I’m nearly forty. I give advice now. Who am I kidding. I’ve always given advice! Driving home, I kept thinking about how so often I plan things a certain way and they don’t work out. I thought that going to a golf course without any young children would pretty much guarantee a quiet couple of hours to myself. I’m learning again and again, that my time is not truly my own. I’m learning to accept and embrace that. I’m glad for that conversation. My knitting will always be there. I keep thinking about her, and hope I’ll see her again.

And somehow this all brings me to the Yarn Along…

In the fall of 2010 I started the Yarn Along. I can hardly believe that some of us have been doing this for more than six years! I’m so grateful to everyone who has “Yarned Along” and for the friendships that have sprung up surrounding it. However, after much thought, I have decided to stop hosting the Yarn Along here on my blog. Right now, in the stage of life I’m in, I need my blog to be something that is more spontaneous and maybe even unexpected in the same way that my conversation with that young woman was. I’ll continue to talk knitting and books, but I want to share here because I am feeling inspired to do so, not because it’s on the schedule. I hope that makes sense, and I hope you’ll understand. If you enjoy linking up, I would encourage you to join Nicole for her Keep Calm Craft on Tuesday link-up. And if you want to Yarn Along, please do so on Instagram! Just use the #yarnalong hashtag and share whenever you feel like it! Thank you all so much for being here. I truly appreciate you and all that you have shared over the years!

p.s. I have been craving some “desk work” and not of the sort that involves a keyboard. I’m working through this (affiliate links ahead) classical vocabulary workbook (yes, it’s for kids-don’t laugh at me!), and this word power book. I remember using the same word power book when I was a teenager. Don’t worry, I am not going to start throwing a bunch of big, fancy words around. I just need some mental exercise!

p.p.s. Seth is driving, and drove on the way to golf yesterday! He’s been learning to drive for awhile now, but not from me. Yesterday was my first time riding in the passenger seat with him at the wheel. That’s a pretty wild experience, being driven by your baby for the first time, isn’t it? Scary too!

p.p.p.s. I realize that I have offered no explanation for any of the photos in this post! Beatrix is wearing this sweater that I knit for her when she was two–still her favorite though it is too small, and Mabel is wearing another sweater that I knit for Bea, one of my earliest knitting projects. I recently discovered the Indestructibles books, and Mabel loves them. She likes sitting and looking at books now, which is so fun!

And, the little boys didn’t get to paint for much longer after they started painting their faces and bodies. When will they learn?



I’m back!

That would make more sense if I had written here how I’ve been feeling for the past couple of months. But I wanted to understand what exactly was going on before I did.

If you’ve been reading here for long, you know that I suffer from depression and anxiety at times. As far as depression goes, it’s mostly been a seasonal thing up until the past five years or so when things started seeming a little consistently bad. When it began to seem like I was dealing with something beyond my seasonal stuff, I went looking for some professional help. This was in the year after Silas (he’s 5 1/2 now) was born. I saw doctors a couple of times for bloodwork to look into my thyroid function, but despite having all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, those doctor’s told me my numbers weren’t within treatment range and basically sent me home. I didn’t argue, because I didn’t like the idea of taking medication. I believed I could fix myself if I just worked hard enough. I changed my diet, going strictly gluten free, and did have stretches of feeling better. However, I think I have been coping with depression more often than not since Silas was born. Bad things have happened, and I thought that maybe life itself was just getting me down. There’s been a lot of loss these past few years. Family, and friends have died. Friend’s babies have died. I had a difficult pregnancy and birth (Job’s) that left me unable to walk long distances without pain (still). Life has been unpredictable, hard, and just plain sad at times.

Last fall–well fall 2015, after running some bloodwork, my obstetrician put me on medication for my thyroid (early on in my pregnancy with Mabel), and within a week the depression that I had been battling lifted. I felt like myself again and it was amazing. I could hardly believe how much better I felt, and how quickly. When you’ve battled depression, you don’t take feeling good for granted. The real me is a positive, high energy person. I tend to see the good in most things, and am pretty darn good at practicing contentment no matter my situation. Depression robs me of that, of the real me. And I hate it. For what it does to me, and my family.

Needing to figure out what is going on for the longterm, outside of pregnancy, I scheduled an appointment at a local doctor’s office that came highly recommended. Before I could see the doctor, I had to have lots of bloodwork done and saw only the P.A.s. It was suggested to me that I switch to a more “natural” drug, and I agreed it was worth a try. That was early December. My instructions were to take the new drug for at least six weeks, and then repeat my bloodwork and return to see the doctor. I started feeling bad within days of switching drugs. The inside of my head turned into a really ugly place. Bad went to worse, and I should have probably gotten switched back right away, but I wanted to give this more “natural” treatment a real go and have the bloodwork done to see what it did for my levels, rather than just going by how I felt. And I started wondering if maybe my real problem was postpartum depression anyway. Or maybe I was just crazy? I had my labs drawn about a week before my scheduled appointment with the doctor, literally counting the days until I could see her and find out what was really going on. That appointment was Monday this week, and she swept into the room all smiles and positive energy, which I love (inspires confidence!) and told me that my levels were terrible, that I was having an auto-immune “flair” and that I have Hoshimoto’s disease. So now I know. My meds have been changed, and I am already feeling so much better. I can actually get out of bed in the morning without a long mental battle first. I’m not sad about every. single. thing. And, I am eating dairy free (dying!!!!!!) in addition to my usual gluten free diet. My lovely doctor sent me home with instructions on how to eat, how to supplement, and a suggestion that I read this book after I explained that I must operate at 100% (at the very least). No room for feeling so bad!!

I am obeying doctor’s orders and truly thanking God for her, for good meds, and for coconut milk. And, I am knitting HATS. Hats are fast and always needed. I discovered the joy of colorwork last week when I knit Beatrix a Hillier Hearts cap.  That pattern is so fun, so quick, and just all around great. In other hat knitting news, Job claimed Jonny’s sacrificial ribbed beanie, so I knit Jonny a new hat too. That pattern is pretty fun, though next time he’s getting a hat with some sort of colorwork whether he likes it or not, because that is my new thing. Silas requested a red hat with yellow lightning bolts, but I can’t deliver on that one for lack of appropriate yarn or pattern. Instead I cast on a blue Hillier Hearts cap and replaced the hearts with sort of grayish (same as Bea’s main hat color) snowflakes that I improvised. It isn’t very good because there isn’t enough contrast between the yarn colors and snow isn’t really gray anway, and it’s definitely not yellow lightning on a red hat. So, I will probably have to knit Silas another hat when I finish the dirty snowflake hat. No big deal. Hats I can do. Right now I feel like I can do all sorts of things which is so much better than the way the past couple of months felt.

p.s. Sorry for the personal health saga. But I had to tell you. 🙂

p.p.s. Realizing that you might want to know what that toy is that Job is playing with. Those are his bees! He loves them.