Yarn Along

I have a bunch of finished items for baby this week to show off!  I finally got some ends woven in, some blocking done and buttons sewn.  Many of these projects were started awhile ago, and I just spent a few days this week finishing up last few inches, weaving in ends, sewing on buttons and blocking.  It feels good to finish projects!

First up is baby’s Christmas stocking (Ravelry notes).  She’s due December 22nd, and I tend to go on the early side, so I’m assuming she’ll need a stocking.  If she decides to come late, I’ll consider myself a year ahead on her first Christmas present next year.

I was really worried that it was coming out too small, but I stretched it a ton in blocking, and I think it will be just fine.  I’m in no mood to pull out everyone else’s stockings to compare, so we’ll just have to deal with it regardless.  Other than the size, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  For reference, here is Solveig’s stocking that I made 2 years ago.  Everyone else in the family has store bought knitted stockings from before I learned how to knit…or before I knit well enough to make a stocking.  I would buy one this time too, but I just can’t find any knitted ones I like. 

Second up is the finishing of this little one’s Small Thing Romper.  Some may remember I made one for Solveig, in the newborn size, and loved it so so much!  I think she wore it non-stop in the first 2 weeks of her life.  I was disappointed I hadn’t made one in the next size up as well.
 So this time around, I made the 3 month size, so when this little girl grows out of her big sister’s hand-me-down romper, she can start breaking in her own one.  This time instead of sapphire pink, I chose periwinkle.  I think I have enough left over yarn to make a matching Small Things bonnet again, and since that’s a pretty easy knit as well, I may work on that this next week.

I had a tough time picking out buttons for this one.  I was certain that people would confuse periwinkle with blue and call her a boy all the time, so I wanted to make the buttons extra-girly.  I asked Silje and David each their opinion, and they both strongly suggested these pink flower buttons.  Since Silje and David basically never agree on anything I figured it was a sign that these were the buttons.

Lastly, I made a little set of booties.  They came together so fast I was shocked!  Who knew that sport weight yarn and size 3 needles could pull together a set of booties in just an evening?  This pattern was fabulous, and I will definitely be using it again!  Actually, I’m wondering if I can tweak this pattern to make myself some matching booties for myself…

Because I think I need a pair of these for me!

Poor Ginny was in the path of Sandy, so I’m unsure whether or not she’ll have the power available to host the Yarn Along today.  If she posts, I’ll link up.  If not, then remember to say a prayer for her family, that they are all safe and well.

Pumpkin Carving

This year I made the controversial decision of buying only 1 carving pumpkin.  We didn’t grow pumpkins this year, so I picked one up.  Silje and David each wanted their own pumpkin, and had they be able to catch onto what was going on, I’m sure Elias and Solveig would have liked their own as well.

Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday, but I think carving pumpkins and dress-up are both fun activities, so we do those.  Unfortunately for the kids, I remember very well years past when I got them each their own pumpkins.  What ended up happening year after year is they don’t want to clean out the middle, or at least not past the first 5 minutes.  So I ended up carving out all of them after the kids’ initial thrill was over. 

So this year, we did a “family” pumpkin.  That way, the kids could take turns with the thrill of cleaning it out, and when they got bored, there was another kid on deck to try it out. 

Silje and David were not fond of my decision.  The first few minutes involved pushing and shoving and yelling, and separating.  They did eventually work together to come up with a design, and it was decided that David would draw on the eyes and nose, and Silje would draw the mouth.  Knut would use the knife. 

Elias and Solveig had a blast, and the older kids did too, after each taking turns having to leave the room to cool off and have a talk multiple times. 

It took awhile to get our teamwork going, but when all was said and done things clicked.  Knut and I both agreed that we need to do more of these “team” activities together as the older 2 seem to always be in constant competition.  It worked out really well.

We do non-scary costumes, and trick or treating with a few neighbors and into a trunk-or-treat event in town.  This year, I believe we have a mermaid, a knight, a Transformer (or Thomas the Train…he’s still deciding) and whatever I find in our old costume box that fits for Solveig…probably Eeyore.  We make it simple around here.  I buy costumes by the handful when they hit 90% off in the store, the kids play with them all year long, and on Halloween, they come up with their own costumes based off of what’s in the dress up bucket. 

And now we do a “family pumpkin.”  I’ll save my energy for Christmas.  😉

I’m Blessed

It seems as though I have picked up on the little cold that Solveig and Elias have been hanging onto for the last week or so.  It’s really not too terribly bad.  I was certain I wouldn’t sleep at all last night, and I actually slept really hard…except when I had to get up with Solveig at 4am because she needed a new diaper.

At any rate, it’s Monday morning, and I need to focus on some blessings.  Won’t you join me?

I’m blessed with a cold that is forcing me to drink the herbal pregnancy tea that my midwife has been wanting me to have 2 cups a day.  It’s hot liquids all day long for this sore throat.  1 cup of coffee, 2 cups of pregnancy tea, multiple cups of other teas.  This cold is forcing me into submission.  I’d been only have 1 cup every other day, and now I’m so on board.

Yesterday, I had an amazing photos hoot for my new Clarity cardigan to be released at the end of this week.  I edited all the pictures and already formatted the whole pattern.  The only thing stopping me from publishing it right now is I’m waiting for the final word from my tech editor in a few days.  I’m trying so hard to be disciplined because once my side of the work is done, I really want to put it out there!  I’m trying to be disciplined, because I’m sure she’s going to find some mistakes.  She always does.

The photo shoot ended up taking, like 15 minutes because every shot was perfect.  I’m blessed to have married into a beautiful family so I had a handful of models to choose from:

I’m so excited about this pattern.  The anticipation is killing me…in a good way.

I’m blessed that I can’t yell at my kids today, because of my throat, and will be forced to use better parenting techniques.  Colds are great bad-habit breakers for this mommy.

I was so blessed yesterday when Knut made our family pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.  In fact, I’m just blessed with Fall flavors in general lately: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice.  Does any other season have such amazing flavors that seem to fill the house?

THE ROOSTERS ARE GONE! (Or I should say, have been moved to my freezer.)  The dirty job was done this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier about that.  What a huge blessing.  Looking over our hens afterwards, which is the first chance I’ve had for awhile, it really hit me how war-torn they all were.  We have witnessed 4-5 of the roosters pounce on one hen at a time, pecking out feathers and pinning her down, and many of the girls have missing feathers and bald heads now.  We’re not getting eggs (well, we’re at 1 egg every other day right now), but I recently heard they stop producing them when they’re growing in new feathers.  At any rate, our girls are on the mend.  It may take them awhile to recover, but I’m so blessed to have those mean birds away from them.

We’re still lingering on the high of a wonderful harvest over at our house.  I can’t seem to get over how good everything went, and what a good year it was.  We are so blessed.  I know people ask “why me?” or “why us?” when things go wrong, but I seem to find myself asking God that when things go really well.  To me that boggles my brain even more.  The sinners we are, the number of mistakes we make, and knowing full well our inadequacies, why us?  Why did God choose to bless us?  I don’t know, but I do know that I will praise Him for it.  His blessings boggle my mind most of the time, but what can you do but just praise Him?

How has God blessed you?  This is a wonderful Monday morning exercise.  (Especially if you’re like me and not a morning person…or a Monday person.)  I love reading how God has blessed you too, so please share!

Teacher Notes

Ugh, I’ve been dreading writing today’s post.  I so don’t want to tell you how homeschooling has been.  Upon much reflection on this in the last few weeks, and lots of prayer, I’ve realized our homeschool is just fine.  My kids are still fine.  I’m just not wanting to tell you how I’ve been.

I’ve been so hormonal.

I’ve been so moody.

I’ve been so irritable.

I’ve been so guilty about the above 3 items.

Running through my mind the last 2 weeks or so is the same thought: my kids don’t deserve to deal with me.  Certainly, there must be someone better suited to teach them.  God surely made a mistake when he called me to this.  I must have misheard.  I’m screwing them up.  There’s about 1,000 + things I should be doing better.  I need more patience for this job.  I need to be a better person.  If they were going to school somewhere else, they wouldn’t have to deal with my raging pregnancy hormones right now.  They would be in a fun place.  At least, more fun than I am right now.

Mentally, it’s been a battle.  Right on time, like clockwork, when I feel like I’m near bottom, my monthly homeschool mom support group met.  I love those women so much.

I felt like I walked in there so empty.  Empty of ideas, empty of hope.  Frustrated.  Guilt-laden.   Holding onto this whole homeschooling thing because the one thing I don’t doubt is that God called Knut and I to this.  But surely, God must know what a failure I am. 

I left there so encouraged, so refreshed, and with a bucketful of ideas and tools and resources for hitting the next month.  I’m not the first homeschooling mom, (or the first teacher for that matter) who’s had a tough time dealing with kids through the uncontrolled emotions.  Given the more than usual large families in the homeschooling community, it’s certainly not unusual to deal with it. 

I’m reminded once again why the Bible stresses real fellowship.  We as a body need each other so desperately.  We are not meant to do this all alone.  It may feel like we’re alone in our troubles, but that’s a blatant deception, and we moms especially need to see that.  I think of Elijah, who felt he was the only one left.  I think of the multiple ways Satan isolates us to make us feel like no one would understand, people will rush to judge, and it will only lead to more loneliness.  There’s so much power in fellowship, and in our independent society, it’s so important that we see ourselves spiritually as a body of believers, not just an individual.  That’s a whole other study I’d like to do sometime.

On a practical note, (really changing my tone here), David’s glasses have been great.  He really loves using them, and as he explains it, “They really help my brain relax, so when I see the math problem, it just makes sense.  I don’t have to concentrate as hard.”  I’ve tried picking apart that statement of his to try to understand him better.  He’s aching for more work to do, and I’m determined to assign him more.  He’s not expressly asking for it, but he complains a lot of being bored, and when I suggest schoolwork, he doesn’t fight me much at all.  We still really need to work on his attention span, though.

He’s crusing along in Chinese, much faster than Silje did, although if he gets stuck, he always asks Silje who helps him out, and Silje didn’t have that helper.  He still likes to figure out how things work, why they work the way they do, how things are built, why they aren’t built another way, etc. etc.  His questions sometimes drive me bonkers.  Legos are my friend. 

He’s been eager to be a help, and be “the man of the house” when Daddy is at work.  It’s not all roses, but really, I see him stepping up to the plate maturity-wise.

Silje has been my quiet help.  She’s been practicing the piano a lot in her free time, and she’s getting to the level where I really enjoy listening to her play.  We just got her Christmas songs music book in the mail and she has wasted no time pulling it out and starting to work through it.  She spends a lot of time reading still.  She still wants to be a vet, and has started doing “check ups” on Lena and the chickens.  She reads books on animal anatomy and care, and tries to locate all the parts to each of the animals, and make sure they look right.  I like when she’s with the animals in the yard because she’s been able to save some of the chickens from the roosters’ brutality by chasing them off every now and then.

Don’t get me started on the roosters.  If it’s not done this weekend, I may butcher them myself.  They’re such bullies out in the yard these days.  It’s painful to watch.  I need to clear out space in my freezer.  Add it to the list.

I digress…

Silje has been very careful around me these days.  She is old enough to see I’m on edge, and she’s trying hard to make my life easier.  You have no idea how guilty this makes me feel.  I know it’s a good trait for her to have, and I appreciate it so much, and it makes me beam with pride that she’s my daughter, but I HATE that she’s tiptoeing around me.  I don’t want to be the kind of mom my kids have to tiptoe around.

Knut somehow feels that my moodiness must be due to some sort of dietary imbalance and has become my food intake tsar.  I somehow regret taking him to meet the midwife.  He asked her all sorts of questions since I’ve been telling him how great she is at helping me feel so good through diet.  So now he wants me to have molasses on everything instead of brown sugar, and is making me these spinach omelets in the morning, when I would just like a piece of toast and a large cup of coffee.  Then at night he brews me these special herbal teas instead of the black tea I prefer.  It’s ok, though.  The food isn’t bad, and I don’t mind being babied by him.  Eventually he goes to work and I can pull out some cookies to snack on and all is well. 

Some things can be solved with a healthy diet, and other things can be solved by dunking a chocolate chip cookie into milk.  I’m so hungry all the time that I can have both.

At any rate, I feel so pumped up for this next week after my mom’s night out.  I got some great tips on extending the kids’ attention span, and developing better habits.  We need some better habits for sure. 

We’ll get there.  My kids are exhausting, but still surprising me by how much they’re learning and growing in maturity each day.  It would be easier if Elias didn’t recently decide he hated going to the bathroom again after a few months of no accidents.  That’s been miserable.  I blame my lack of good habits, which is #1 on the list right now. 

God has put on my heart this evening, as I write this: “When I am weak, He is strong.”  Upon reflection, I see how true this is in our life right now.  I may be failing, but my God certainly is not.