Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yarn Along...

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~

Not much actual reading has taken place this week.  More perusing than anything.  I picked up this Baby & Me Knits at the library the other day and it has some fun projects in it.  I'll have a hard enough time finishing my current list of "to knit", but I love looking at actual hard copy pictures.  Ravelry is fine, but I'll take a book about knitting any day.  The photos are always so beautiful to look at.

For school, my oldest is working her way through On the Banks of Plum Creek.  Well, we're listening to the read aloud on YouTube.  This is a welcomed change from Farmer Boy, which was not our favorite.  And I love learning and hearing all of it for the first time with her.  I was not a reader when I was young (nor was I instructed to read half the books we do).  So the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a new and delightful one for me.

I'm knitting a basic baby pod for boo #4.  We eagerly anticipate his arrival in roughly nine weeks.  I can't believe we're this close!!

The girls also did a koolaid ice cube dying project this week.  The above yarns are the finished product.  I think they turned out great and we already have plans to do more in the future.  I used cheap Patons Classic Wool for this project since it was our first time.  It took some encouraging my little crafters to wait until I wound them because while they were drying in skeins, the colors didn't blend as well.  They weren't really impressed with how they turned out at first, but now they can't wait for me to knit their dolly's some sweaters.

I'm joining Ginny AND Nicole this week.  I hope you will also.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Perfect Mess...

The girls and I were dying yarn yesterday and prior to getting started I was winding it into a hank so the dye would disperse evenly.  I failed miserably with the first batch as it ended up a tangled mess, which took me about two hours to unravel.  
As I sat there looking at the uniform half positioned on the yarn swift, and then the other half in a wad of mess...I thought about how both resemble my life at times.  Specifically, how I can be completely content, yet perfectly restless, at the very same time.
By definition contentment is the exact opposite of restlessness.  But I have found that God has brought me, interestingly enough, to a place of both numerous times in my life.  Now being one of those very distinct times.
I am, without a doubt, content with the life I have been blessed with.  I have a beautiful family, a warm home.  My children are my pride and joy.  My husband is a pure gift and he works hard so I can be home with our babies.  I hold the freedom to homeschool, which is very important to us.  Life as a stay-at-home mother of (almost) four, though it isn't what I pictured for myself ten years ago, has taught me so much and brought me closer to the Lord than I could have ever managed on my own.  This life has enriched my faith by leaps and bounds.
Yet still, as content as I am, I have a restlessness within me.
Not a sense of longing for something different.  No, not different at all.
I long for something more.
Thinking on my daily duties and responsibilities, 'more' seems almost silly.  I don't have time for "more".  But I feel this almost constant tug to be more than just what I am.
Having been extremely self-sufficient, driven and career focused prior to marriage and family...maybe it's the independent and entrepreneurial spirit in me.  It could be that I have always performed best with multiple things on my plate.    
But I long for an hone in on my craft.  For something to bring to our collective table of income.  I long for something that blesses others, while filling me with accomplishment.  I long for a ministry outside the home.  I dream of being the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman.
How did she do it all, Lord?  Let me be like her!
 These feelings certainly don't negate how eager I am in my current post as wife and mom.  I regard my position and ministry in my home as one of complete blessing; I wouldn't trade it for the world.  But it's ok to want more.
My contentment lies within the duty of being mother to my children and wife to my husband.  Eventually it will include being caretaker of parents.  These I accept and look forward to it.
The restlessness lies in being...
And how to mesh the two together.

Lord, thank you for all you have given me.  Thank you for giving me charge of my home and my little family.  They are amazing and teach me to love you more deeply each and every day.
But when you made me, you made me with distinct talents and aspirations unique to my personality and abilities.  Show me when and where to use them, Lord.  Repeatedly align my heart and will to yours.   Show me how to do what you have called me to do and be who I am to be in You.
I love you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Yarn Along...

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~

I have to apologize...

My yarn alongs are certainly lacking variety lately, but I am in full baby, birth and diapering mode!

This week found me knitting yet another diaper cover.  An Ottobre Design soaker with slight modifications.  I won't say it's my favorite pattern thus far.  I was not a fan of the actual construction...thinking knitting flat would be easier, I actually prefer knitting in the round for soakers of this style.  It's also not without mistakes.  The seaming was no easy task.  Don't look too closely, but my stitches don't line up.  This might bug me astetically in the larger scheme of things, but fortunately it won't affect the functionality of it.

I do love the Malabrigos Rios yarn I used for this project.  It was a joy to work with!  And it's perfect for sensitive baby skin.

As for reading I'm going back to Redeeming Childbirth by Angie Tolpin.  I started this book three years ago when I was pregnant with my third child, but I never finished it.  This time, I'm pressing on as it is such an encouraging read about Christ-centered childbirth.

I'm joining Ginny at Small Things for her weekly Yarn Along and I hope you'll check it out.  So much delightful inspiration!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Answer...

Photo Courtesy of ClassiclyAmber

My little family and I.  Wonderful husband.  Three amazing children.  And one on the way.

The farther along in this pregnancy I get, the more I grow and prepare, the more I'm faced (almost everyday) with the question, "Are you done?"  Family asks me.  Friends ponder.  Well-meaning strangers inquire.  Even my own heart and mind settles in on the often wondered little detail.

Am I done having children?

With every baby I've determined that we were in fact "done' after each one.  I'd deliver and for two years I'd explain time and time again, "Nope, we're done.  Not having anymore children."  But inevitably, every time, we WOULD NOT be done.  Another would soon be joyfully welcomed into our family.  

Then it would start all over.

Here we are a fourth time around and I believe I may have learned my lesson.  In fact, when a friend asked, yet again, not so long ago if we were planning on more babies, my answer even shocked me.

"I don't know."  

I really don't know.  I have felt done with each child and God has renewed my Spirit and worked on my heart.  He has given me strength when I thought I didn't have it in me to mother another single human.  And now, I don't feel done.  I'm right on the cusp of birthing a precious little baby into this world and the prospect of more doesn't absolutely terrify me. 

I'm getting older.  Our home is only so big.  Sometimes I feel completely inadequate at being mama to the children I do have.  And all the reasons the world is throwing at me...

Kids are expensive.
What about you time?
Don't you look forward to them becoming more independent?
You can't possibly homeschool that many.
How do you show enough love to each individual child?
And on and on and on....

Really, if I'm logical, I have everything to be terrified of.

I don't know if we're done.

And that's ok.

God's call of my life may be completely different than what His call is for you.
   It's about me submitting my will to His.  And though it isn't easy to do...  
That's just where my faith comes in.  

My child bearing days will be over all too soon and I will be able to answer with confidence that our family is complete.  Until then, only God knows the number of children He wishes to give me.  Only God can bring peace to my heart and to the heart of my husband...truly it's a matter not meant for the masses, but one met in union with Christ and the man He blessed me with.  It might not make sense.  It might not look ideal.  It may not fit what society says.

And I may often look as if I'm learning as I go...wandering aimlessly through my life that is motherhood.  I probably am.

No...I definitely am.

But I can say, without a doubt, when it comes to this decision it is one that is met prayerfully.  It is one when the whole idea seems upside down to everyone else...

Jesus says to me, 
"You're not old."
"Square footage doesn't make what a home is."
"I will provide."
"Find rest in Me."
"True freedom comes only from depending on Me."
"You can do anything with My strength."
"Your heart is big enough."
"I'll give you the grace, the patience, the love for more children than you can imagine.  They are all such a blessing."


So with that, I can't wait to meet our newest addition.  I'm furiously knitting for him, preparing diapers, washing tiny baby gowns and praying over the little boy he's destined to grow up to be.

And if there are more...I can't wait for them either.

Dear Jesus,
I praise you for the work you've done in me...and I trust that you have a great many things in store for my family, however big or small, we may be.  Lord, I thank you for the children you have blessed me with.  I thank you for being present with me and teaching me Your ways and Your heart with each one.  I'm such a project, but You never give up.  You are constantly loving on me and showing me Your will for my life.  I welcome whatever You bring my way.
I love you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yarn Along...

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~

I'm still working on the same diaper cover from last week.  It's coming along nicely, though I'm getting bored with the last little stretch of knit, purl, knit, purl.  I thought maybe it would be too big, but now I do believe it will work out perfectly.

I did start working on a project that has been a year in the making.  The white egg looking thing is actually going to be the fluffy unicorn from Despicable Me.  I started it last year for my youngest daughter's birthday and hopefully I'll actually have it finished for her this year.  I've got a few more days to get it done.

In other wooly news, I scored a LlamaJama 100% Wool diaper cover for free from a buy sell or trade site.  WooHoo!  I was super excited except for the fact that it was HOT PINK!  Yesterday I set out to dye it green all while praying I didn't ruin it completely.  I did use regular fabric dye.  Which left me feeling less than stellar what with all the natural dying I read about, but that is truly an art form (with science mixed in).  For my first experience I decided to go the easy route.  Also I was working with a very rich existing color.  Had it been a natural color I feel like I could have experimented a little more.  It felted just a tad, but it actually didn't draw up as much as it could have.  It'll be a great cover for when my boy is a bit older and the color turned out great!  Overall, I'm very pleased with it.

Reading has pretty much been a no go this week.  As soon as my head hits the pillow each night I'm out.  Such is the song of the third trimester!  Which I am at.  But I can assure you from this point on, any reading that does happen will very likely be birth related.  

I'm sharing with Ginny over at Small Things for her weekly Yarn Along.  I do hope you'll join me!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yarn Along...

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~

I knit this precious little wool soaker for my nephew back in November (Ravelry notes here) and it is what set me on the course of exploring wool's roll in cloth diapering.  I dabbled with my last child by sewing up two soakers from thrifted sweaters, but I was completely confused and intimidated by the wash and lanolizing routine.  I never used those covers and eventually gave them away.

But this time I decided to really knuckle down and learn.  It turns out, it isn't a difficult process at all. 

This will be my fourth time cloth diapering and my preferences have changed so much since I started in 2008.  Slowly over the years I've moved to natural materials.  For my first two children all of my diapers were bumgenius pockets.  I actually did add in a few organic elementals with my second.  For my third I transitioned to organic cotton prefolds and PUL covers.  Now, this time around, I've settled on organic cotton prefolds and fitteds with wool covers.  I think my journey in knitting has affected my decision greatly.  There are so many distinct differences when knitting with manmade materials vs how they feel, how they wear and how they stand up to hard use.  Things I didn't consider prior to learning to knit.

So given wool's long history of it being a breathable, self cleaning, moisture wicking material...I think it's the perfect choice for us and baby #4.

Which leads me to this weeks Yarn Along project.  The WHW Plain Wrap.  

I chose this diaper soaker because of the ability to customize closures.  I haven't decided on whether I'll use aplix or buttons yet, but I'm leaning towards buttons.  I knit the small size wanting to have a cover for those first few weeks (I have big babies), but the more I knit the more I think I should have actually gone with the newborn size.  We'll see.  Next on my list and after researching even more I believe my go to soaker pattern is going to be the Curly Purly pattern with inch and a half leg cuffs.  It seems to get stellar reviews in both ease of the pattern and functionality.

I'm still knitting the baby socks from last week and finishing up Hands Free Life from last week as well.

New on the list of reading is my friend's Bradley Birth Workbook.  Birthing nerves are upon me and this has lots of useful tidbits.

I'm joining Ginny over at Small Things today for her weekly Yarn Along.  Please check it out!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yarn Along...

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~

These banana muffins are some of our favorites here.  Often times I'm not on top of things enough to prepare breakfast ahead of cinnamon rolls or crockpot oatmeal.  But these are quick and tasty.  They can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and please even my picky eaters.  The recipe calls for nuts, but we sub in mini chocolate chips.

Currently on my needles are tiny baby socks and I think they may just do me in.  I originally started with the Perfect-fit Newborn sock, but the closer I get to turning the heel, the more confused I become.  Heaven forbid I look on to the gusset.  From what I can tell, most baby socks are fairly similar in construction so I think I may continue with a pattern I understand a bit better.  Here's one I'm more likely to figure out.  Though I may make the foot a little longer.

The wee chunky hat was a stash buster and it almost didn't become a reality.  I was limited in both the right size dpn's and yarn, but I just kept knitting until I couldn't anymore.  I think it turned out ok.  My baby's have big noggins though, so my only hope is it fits once baby boy arrives.  This is a very basic knit flat hat, no pattern per se, but my Ravelry notes are here.

This week I started reading Hands Free Life and though I'm not very far in, the idea of striving towards a more meaningful existence, apart from ALL distractions (be it electronics, dishes, chores, various responsibilities) is enlightening.  I have such a difficult time separating the fact that I'm not bound by "things".  I have set these self-imposed expectations for myself and I'm the only one keeping tabs.  Of course I can't let my home go to squalor or never get school done with the children.  But none of these things are as pressing as I make them out to be.  Throw in the constant need to be "plugged in" and I suffer greatly from comparison syndrome.  Hopefully this book will lovingly guide me in giving up these ideals because as much as they stress me out, imagine the impact they have on my family.

Also on my reading list are my scripture birth affirmation cards.  I made these three years ago when I had my son (found the idea on Pinterest) and they helped immensely in staying focused on Christ during my labor.  I have no doubt they will be more than beneficial this time around as well.  April can't come soon enough...I'm so looking forward to meeting this little guy.

I'm joining Ginny today over at Small Things for her weekly yarn along.  I so enjoy being a part of a collective project, seeing everyone's handiwork and inspiration.  It brightens my day each Wednesday.  Please check it out!