Yarn Along — It’s Really Done! Plus a lot about books….

A few days ago I published a teaser about the Armas sweater, and while I don’t yet have a picture of my beloved wearing said “beloved” sweater (“Armas” is Finnish for “beloved,” if you haven’t actually read the Ravelry description), he did try it on and do I ever wish it were a COLD WINTER down here so I could see him wear it more often (cue starry eyed expression)!

However, the winter sun was kind enough to shine this afternoon and I snapped this picture.  I confess I am still preparing myself to block the sweater… I had a nightmare one night after working on the second sleeve that I accidentally felted it … I’m sort of afraid now to let water touch it… I mean, eighteen months in the knitting, heh heh heh….

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I’m in the post-project breathing phase.  I gauge-swatched for the Evelyn sweater, and should be posting about that in the next Yarn Along post I manage to write.

In the meantime, I have much to report about BOOKS.  For Christmas my mother gave our girls some of the “Shoe Books.”  Anyone who has seen “You’ve Got Mail” remembers the “Shoe Books” (in below video, skip to 2:24 or so).  I confess before the Christmas season was really over I read all three that we have (“Ballet Shoes“, “Skating Shoes“, and “Dancing Shoes“).  “Ballet Shoes” is my favorite, too.  Although, I never knew these books existed before the movie.  Same with the Betsy-Tacy series!  I was reading a book I’d bought for my girls’ home library when I found myself quoting out loud: “…whose name, I’m sorry to tell you, is Thelma.”  I love this movie.

Then there is my winter project to name that Austen quote’s source.  I have read “Pride & Prejudice,” “Northanger Abbey,” and I was reading “Sense and Sensibility” the week my sister called to say: “Did you hear that Col. Brandon died?! And by the way, happy birthday.”  I finished the book with the nostalgic memories of many a weekend spent with my sister watching and rewatching and rewatching again the classic “S & S” movie with Alan Rickman as THE HERO (sorry, Edward, but it isn’t you. You got out of a jam with considerable good luck.  We all like you immensely, but that’s true). Even ten years later or so, when the newer movie came out and gave Col. Brandon his due with a much larger role in the film, it wasn’t the same without Alan Rickman’s voice.

But I’m sharing this clip which doesn’t have him talking, because this song was in my head all day on my birthday after that phone call.

Rest in peace, Col. Brandon.

Now, on to those quotes.

“The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone” Definitely Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey…. And she has no heart to give, incidentally.

“A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”  Definitely Northanger Abbey.

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” I was wrong about this one. It’s from Emma. I’m nearly halfway through this novel at present but I actually have two reads on my bedside table at the moment.  It depends on what I feel like.

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”  Ok, the almighty Internet tells me that it belongs to Sense & Sensibility and it did indeed.  I thought it would be Marianne or Willoughby but it was, in fact, Edward.  Ironically, he says this as he visits the Dashwoods in Devonshire after having visited his secret fiancee.  And at the time he was saying this, he was pretty miserable.

Will you bear with me a moment more, dear reader?  I finally decided to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge.  I haven’t decided on all the titles I want to read, or the order I wish to read them, but I’ve got one done already.

January: A book published this year.  “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo.  My pantry never looked better after reading this one. ;)  Just don’t ask me about the corner cabinet. We’re getting there…

February (other current read): A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. I chose for this one “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally Clarkson.  It actually just arrived today and I’m working on the first chapter.  To be honest, I don’t go to our local library since I’m not “in city.” To get a library card at one time cost $50 for us non-citiers. So I decided to spend $50 on books I can keep and use our buy/sell/trade bookstore as an easy “library.”  If I pick out something we don’t want to keep, back it goes for credit.  Now, the general type of workers at the bookstore would probably suggest “Game of Thrones” for my reading pleasure, and that type of book just….isn’t. So I went with Elizabeth Foss’ recommendation via Facebook because let’s be honest, I get many book ideas from other moms on the internet.  You ladies are wonderful. :)  I had already pre-ordered the book, so I’m glad it was highly praised.

Now for a cup of tea.  Good night!

It’s done!

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I took this picture ten days ago for a Yarn Along post I never actually wrote.  Pictures are pending, but I am pleased as punch to proclaim that at long last, “Armas” is off the needles….

Now I’m going to enjoy a mug of coffee and heave another sigh of relief.

Yarn Along: Armless Armas

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IMG_4679Well, not exactly entirely armless Armas… I’m 3/4th done with the first sleeve, if you can see past that shaft of winter sunlight that wasn’t quite as blinding in person.  Illuminates that yoke detail, though!  The other sleeve is still absent, and the sweater looks rather lopsided without it.  I’ve customized the sleeve decreases for him, and I need to make sure I properly note that before beginning the next.

No real reading this week, unless you count the Tintin anthologies the kids received for Christmas. Even Posey Pie sits and looks at the pictures for quite a time.  We have almost all seven sets of books, with #3 still en route from somewhere.

Meanwhile, my parents gave me this wonderful mug for Christmas, covered in many quotes from Jane Austen’s books!

 

There’s just one problem… I feel like I should know where all quotes are from.  I’ve been reading Austen since high school; my senior thesis for my BA was on Emma, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice… my devoted husband one year gave me every novel she wrote–in hardback, even the hilarious Juvenilia.  Why don’t I know all the quotes?! So, while many other literature minded friends and ladies on FB and blogs are writing out lists of new books to read in 2016, I’m going to go through Austen and figure out the quotes I’m unsure about.

It’s just for my vanity, but also curiosity.

So, the quotes I know–and please correct me if I’m wrong:

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” George Knightley, Emma.

“In vain I have struggled.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice.

“A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not. He does not.” Frederick Wentworth, Persuasion (he writes a better letter than Mr. Darcy, by the way).

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”  Pride and Prejudice, opening lines.

“Till this moment I never knew myself.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice.  Also, “The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my disbelief of the inconsistency of all human characters.”

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”  Mansfield Park

“Friendship is the certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.” Northanger Abbey

Now, the quotes I’m unsure about:

“The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone” That sounds like Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey….

“One cannot have too large a party.”  Mr. Elton? in Emma?

“A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”  Again, I’m almost sure that’s Northanger Abbey.

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” That sounds like about three or four of the novels… but I want to say Persuasion

“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”  Ok, I look at that and think Batman Begins… which I only saw once.  So where is it in Austen (mainly so I can tease my brother-in-law that the writers of the movie must have read Austen! ;))?!

One more quote that’s not on my mug but which I have recently seen: “I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”  The almighty Internet tells me that it belongs to Sense & Sensibility but I want to know for myself who says it, because to be honest, there’s a lot of characters in that book who don’t always have the nicest ways of getting their own happiness.

Goodbye 2015!

YARN ALONG! I can’t seem to get the tag to link up, so I’m just linking in ye old-fashioned way.

Well, it’s been months since I posted on my knitting because frankly, it didn’t seem to change much from week to week.  Some weeks I had only managed a row or two on the way to Mass on Sunday, but I’m happy to say this Christmas break I’ve been able to seriously step up the knitting progress.  The day after Christmas I was able to bind off the body of the sweater, and have been working down the first sleeve ever since. Will I finish it for him during the 12 days of Christmas? To be honest, I have no idea. I want to be done by January 18th, though, as that was the date I cast this sweater on the needles.  Also, I signed on to participate in the Evelyn knit-a-long, this time for something for me, and it starts sometime next month.

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Altogether, though, I’m very pleased with the Armas project.  It took a good deal longer than I thought it would, but that wasn’t the design’s issue but rather my everlasting struggle with time management. ;)

A little light reading this week.  I’m kind of on an Astrid Lindgren kick, having scored Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, as well as Happy Times in Noisy Village on Thrift Books this month. I am not above reading the books I buy for my children, nor do I think anyone should ever be.

Meanwhile we had a very Merry Christmas here at the Haus.  My parents came down for the main holiday, and on Boxing Day we had a big dinner for them, my in-laws, some friends, and our parish priest. What fun!  We aren’t doing a big dinner tomorrow for New Years, but we are expecting more friends to stop over for the night on their travels back home.  It promises to be a fun beginning to a new year.

My resolutions for 2016 seem to be trending toward keeping things running smoothly.  Yesterday I sat down and pencilled out a menu plan for the entire month of January.  Today I began to work on the lesson plans for the month, knowing that I would not want to do that while having our friends over.  My workstation in is the foyer, where I can have a central space to keep track of things. It consists of an old dresser from my grandmother’s house, that keeps our binders, maps, mailing materials, and lesson plans out of sight.  A shelf on the wall above–from my great-grandmother–is the year-round place where I keep the books I’m reading, stationary (if I ever get around to hand-writing an actual letter or sending a real card!), a letter holder for bills, a plant, a picture of Jacob, and a favorite icon. This year I’m trying something new and have Susan Branch’s desk calendar on the wall between shelf and dresser.  My menu plan is to the left of that (with chore rules above), and to the right are favorite drawings from my resident artists.

Now, I would love to say having this workstation means that everything stays neat and tidy, but my husband will be the first to tell you that is not the case, if he were inclined to do so. ;)  And it’s a constant struggle not to let the workstation become the dumpstation. However, at the moment it is looking nice and tidy, which is more than I can say about it’s appearance an hour or so ago:

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And that’s another struggle constant in the household: keeping things running smoothly while raising toddlers!

Here’s farewell to 2015 and a blessed 2016 to all of you with love from all of us!

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Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Christmas Eve Edition

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Advent is winding down!  Oh, there seems like so much still to do.  Isn’t that how it always is?  Still, I wanted to pop on and wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

Pretty

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The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!  We did misplace one of the girls’ stockings, and fortunately they aren’t personalized so I whipped out my own personal First Christmas stocking for Littlest to use.  She won’t even notice, this year, at least.

No, the star does not fit above the tree.  The tree was just too tall!

And no fire in the woodstove this year.  It is far too unseasonably warm. :(

The prints above the mantel are from “glorydesigns” on Etsy.

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Upstairs we have our Jesse Tree and the IKEA stars that Haus Meister brought home for me last month.  When lit, they are very cheerful and may just be one of my favorite decorations this year.

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I do love decorating with candles. Last year, also from Etsy, I purchased a set of vinyl Nativity cutouts to go on glass jars for a handmade candle holder effect. However, it was one of those things I didn’t get around to until this year.

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This jolly St. Nick is one of the few decorations to have survived through our entire marriage.  He’s been at every Christmas in every place we’ve lived.  Even if he has to hide in a bathroom for survival…

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And everyone was happy to get our big tree downstairs!

Funny

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Everything is one toddler away from destruction.  (Actually, they’re surviving okay)

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As Advent ends and Christmas proper begins, I’m going to share with you some of our favorite carols.  Frohliche Weihnachten!

O Come O Come Emmanuel (this version has been a favorite in the Haus this Advent)

Mitt Hjerte Alle Vanker

Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker

Mitt hjerte alltid vanker i Jesu føderom
Der samles mine tanker som i sin hovedsum
Der er min lengsel hjemme, der har min tro sin skatt
Jeg kan deg aldri glemme velsignet julenatt

Akk, kom jeg opp vil lukke mitt hjerte og mitt sinn
Og full av lengsel sukke, kom Jesus dog her inn
Det er ei fremmed bolig, du har jo selv den jo kjøpt
Så skal jeg blive trolig, her i mitt hjerte svøpt

Jeg gjerne palmegrene vil om din krybbe strø
For deg, for deg alene jeg leve vil og dø
Kom la min sjel deg finne sin rette gledesstund
At du ble født her inne i hjertets dype grunn

My Heart Always Lingers

My heart always lingers in the birthplace of Jesus
My thoughts gather there as their main sum
There my longing has its home, my faith its treasure
I can never forget you, blessed Christmas night

Oh come, I will open my heart and my mind
and sigh with longing, yet come in Jesus
It is not a strange home, you have bought it yourself
So I will remain faithful, wrapped here in my heart

I will gladly spread palm branches around your manger
for you, for you alone I will live and die
Come, let my soul find its right moment of joy for you
that you were born here in the deep of the heart

Happy Birthday, Trooper!

It’s just Littlest and I awake right now.  The rest of the house is sleeping late, mainly because there’s been a lot of sniffles and coughing overnight. The whole family has been down with this crud, one by two, ever since Thanksgiving break ended.  The kids wanted an extended break time but this was not the way to obtain it. ;)

Last night my dad and I assembled a fitness trampoline downstairs.  It’s Trooper’s big birthday gift to help with sensory during the day.  Haus Meister and I are going to put off his special trip to the climbing gym until he’s feeling better, but there will be online shopping for climbing shoes.  My parents had asked me to make sure Trooper e-mailed them his birthday wish list, so one day I sat down with him and opened the “mail” app on his iPad.  It’s the family address, of course, so I got everything ready and told him it was time to type.  He picks out the letters one by one, sometimes grabbing my finger to type if he’s in a hurry (I let my hand go limp so he is the one guiding) and sometimes he picks them out with his own finger while I lightly keep a touch on his wrist to remind him to focus.

I would like climbing shoes for my birthday.  Mine are too tight. 

And then he was done, but I was impressed once again that he realized the need and wanted to express it.  He’s sharp as a tack, that boy, and a little snarky sometimes, too.  One time during these little typing sessions I began to wax poetic about how wonderful it was that he could communicate so well with us now, and was there anything he wanted to tell me right this minute?

Be quiet.

Followed up with his cheesy grin so I’d know he was joking. HA!

He hasn’t been horseback riding now for about eighteen months, and he doesn’t miss it.  After his tenth birthday, the instructor we liked switched jobs, and then he was passed around through instructors who really didn’t have a way to challenge him and couldn’t be bothered to push him harder. The Special Olympics he was in?  I didn’t mention it at the time but they hadn’t even made it possible for him to guide the horse himself.  Crumbs, the terminology escapes me, but there were no reins for Trooper to hold himself. As his grandmother had been taking him to his lessons, she had said how much nicer it was that he was learning to use the reins himself.  I never got to see that. They put the rope on for the instructor to pull the horse around the arena, and Trooper just sat up there for the ride. Afterward his new instructor changed times to something less manageable for us, so we called it quits.

By then, he’d found his new sport.

I like climbing better than riding, he typed once. They never let me lead the horse. I was always being pulled around. With climbing, the auto belay means I can do things myself. I like to get up the wall. It makes me strong.  I really like it when I can get to the top of the wall.  I feel like I can do anything.

And when he’s not on auto-belay? His Dad has his back.

Nicholas at High Point

Happy 12th Birthday to our high climbing Trooper. Our inspiration and our hero.

And if you need to remember how he almost didn’t make it, how he was supposed to ruin our lives, and how happy we are that he’s here? 

 

 

Counting my Blessings

We’re going to be hosting the dinner tomorrow, and we’re lucky to have almost all of Haus Meister’s extended family with us.  While I don’t have to do all the cooking, I am roasting a 19lb bird and I have committed to a number of pies, not to mention colcannon, asparagus, and the sweet potato casserole.  And oh, the cranberries…. so I should be baking something right now instead of sitting in front of the screen…. Riiiight.

But I have a lot of fun pictures I’ve been waiting to share and now is a good time.

I’m just so thankful for this rowdy bunch of hooligans.

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They make me rethink my “comfort zone” — for instance, this handsome guy with the toothsome grin JUST lost his second molar. As in, just now came up to me and motioned to his mouth where it was dangling on it’s last gasp and can I just say that extremely loose teeth make me squeamish?! His brothers are the type that will chase after me to show off their loose teeth while I scream, but he doesn’t like it any more than I do (chalk it up to extreme oral sensitivity) and so he waits to ask for help only if he thinks he needs it.  One day he came up from the basement with blood on his face and I ran downstairs expecting broken glass or something but no, he had had a tooth loose and never mentioned it. Just threw it away. Buuuut that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, I swallow my squeamishness and help yank the tooth.  And then I think I’ve made progress until someone tries chasing me with a loose tooth again….

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They make me realize the wonder of God’s creation by asking a zillion questions I can’t always answer without pulling out a book–or Wikipedia.  They make me value my Faith by giving me the chance to pass it on, and help me rejoice by living it themselves.

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They amuse me with a hundred fantastical stories a day, especially those made up on the spur of the moment to hopefully distract me from the fact that I’ve just assigned him a chore…

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They wear princess dresses for “school pictures.” They inspire me with their enthusiasm and creativity and make me really really wish I could knit faster and that my sewing machine worked again. ;)

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They challenge me a hundred ways a day, stretch me further than I thought I could go, and always always always keep me on my toes.

Because honestly, you can’t script moments like these:

(No, no one had the wine.  But we definitely started storing the box wine in a different place after I caught that!)

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They keep me laughing.

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They keep me smiling.

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They melt my heart.  Even as they tear up my house.

And I’m especially thankful for the handsome, loving man who helps keep everything around here, including me, running smoothly.  :)

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