12 years

It was not particularly my intention to pick up the blogging threads on a somber note, but it’s someone’s birthday today, and we still remember him.


I picked up a cake mix for his birthday cake. I wonder if he would have liked this vanilla creme one with chocolate glaze, or just chocolate.  I still sometimes wonder if he’s a redhead or flaxen haired like half his siblings. Did he have brown or blue eyes?  Part of the grief is the not-knowing.

Why bother with the birthday cake? Someone will ask, I’m sure. It’s simple. We believe that all life is sacred from conception to natural death. We celebrate every member of the family, even this little guy, taken from us before he was born.  The children know they have a brother in Heaven, even though only Trooper ever saw Jacob.

Besides, it was actually Rascal’s own idea to have a cake, years ago. Likely he wanted an excuse for an extra dessert back then, but it launched a little tradition that I’m glad we do.  There will always be sorrow for Jacob, our sweet baby Jacob, but there is after all, cause for joy, too.

As God wills, we shall one day see him again.


(The hands and feet of a baby born at 23weeks gestation)






Busy Living Life


I’ve come to the important conclusion that I need to stop beginning blog posts with an apology for being busy.  I am probably going to be busy for the next twenty years, so it’s entirely redundant and unnecessary to apologize for it.  If you do not hear from us in over a week, we’re just busy living life.


Rosebud hit her two month milestone and just looking at this picture makes me realize all the more how much larger she’s grown and how much she’s adorably rounding out.  And how much time has passed since my last blogpost, but again, no apologizing.

School started, and on the same day that school began, Little Bit decided it would be a fun day to slice her finger on an exercise bike and thence need stitches.  Thankfully, her aunt was able to take over the school day (good practice before beginning her Montessori job the next week) so I could get her to the pediatrician.  Elizabeth Foss wrote an excellent article once about the first school day never going as planned, and I repeated that like a mantra all that morning.

The mischevious, marvelous Miss M turned five (5!!!!!!) in August, obtaining a princess dress that she has worn almost daily since.


Rascal has turned 11, reestablished his LEGO collection, sprained his thumb, and is currently out hunting doves.


We rediscovered the old episodes of “Zorro,” starring Guy Williams, which has given the kids another hero to imitate, and taught Miss M that “Z” is for “Zorro.”  I should mention though, that the boys also like to impersonate the bumbling duo of Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes.


My laundry basket (plastic) broke and it was tiring lugging it around. Serendipitously, I discovered it was much easier hauling the laundry with our leftover IKEA bags.  There’s a bit of sage advice for you.

Haus Meister went to Idaho on business, reminding us of a trip we took out there ten years ago.  The picture top right is of a lake in the Grand Teton National Park where little Trooper and Rascal waded and splashed.  Haus Meister camped in the Park for two days and snapped a bunch of pictures for us while hiking.  We left a bit of our hearts out West on that trip.  Haus Meister and I like to joke that one day we’ll retire there.  Near enough to see these mountains often.

In the meantime, our own mountains are near enough to visit in a day, so we took my parents out over their last visit.


Of course, 0ur hiking was limited but the kids accomplished a bit of creek stomping.

I liked this view of Miss M and Posey Pie exploring a trail.  The arch of the woods ahead of them reminded me of the scene in the movie version of “Fellowship of the Ring” when the hobbits first meet the Black Rider.


“Get off the road!”

And by the way, whomever you are, TG, your initial carving on that tree is now captured for posterity.


This is a Yarn Along picture I meant to post a few weeks ago.  I am making slow but steady progress on my Evelyn cardigan. I’m also continuing on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

July: A book you should have read in school:The Virginian,” by Owen Wister.  I had looked for that in high school because it was on our reading list but our library never had it.

August: A book published before you were born:”A Wrinkle in Time.”  I had never read that because someone told me it was weird.   Then I found it on several reading lists and at a sale so I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was like a lighter version of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy!  And one of the characters happened to mention one of my philosophies of life quite perfectly:


I’ve been doing that for years, for better or for worse.   I know many people who have misunderstood me on that score, who think I should deal with life more seriously.  The thing is, I do take life seriously, but I refuse to let it get me down without a laugh.  After all, the news channels and social media are chock-full of things being taken far too seriously.

We cannot all do that.  How bogged down we’d all be!


We need to find some brightness in anything.  To have some corner of joy to lighten the darkness.

To find something funny in the mess….

…like this: what bug did they catch in my jar-mug?!


And why wasn’t it THIS FIEND FROM GEHENNA?!!  (Seriously, that was a huge cricket)



So, recapping July?


Well, hello there.  It’s been a while.  One hot dry day after another and suddenly, summer break was over for us and this beauty started first grade.


We were–are–in “summer hibernation” anyway.  Too hot and humid to want to spend a ton of time outside, unless it’s neighborhood poolside!😉  One night we had “Christmas in July” and turned on our DVD of London’s Nutcracker Ballet and the girls danced out their energy.🙂


Back on July 2, we went to the nearby Civil War Battlefield Park for a renactment cannon fire in honor of Independence Day.  This is one of our new family traditions.  It takes longer to drive our van up the mountain and find a van-friendly parking spot than the cannon program lasts, but it’s worth the experience.


And the view.

These two lovelies handled the sound better this year.🙂

My family came for a visit in time for Rosebud to come home from the NICU.  Unfortunately, my sister and brother-in-law and their kids had to leave the morning of her homecoming, but we had as pleasant a time with them as we could with all the hospital runs.


Posey and her buddy, Grandpa Mark

 The kids enjoyed my parents’ stay through Independence Day, and Rosebud’s Baptism .  My Dad brought a little whirligig thingamabobber that really had the kids laughing.



I’m looking forward to updating this picture very soon–that baby has grown!

I tried to get a one month picture with those ubiquitous month stickers that seem to be all the rage these days.  Of course, this was the best I could get on her actual monthaversary.


I tried again the next day, but couldn’t find the sticker!


But it’s a lovely picture of her.


Our Rosebud.

Toward the end of the month, I finished a knitting project that we affectionately call Grumpy Bunny.


Miss M asked me to make it for Rosebud while the baby was still in the hospital, and I’m glad I did, even if Rosebud takes little interest in it right now.😉  When my kids actually request me to knit something, I’m always ready to oblige!

So passed July away.  We started back to school on August 8, homeschooling grades pre-K through 6.  Only three days in, but we’re glad to be back on routine.  There’s a lot going on this autumn for us, so I hope to keep this a little more updated.🙂

Ending on a geeky note.



Posey Pie decided, after I bought the Star Wars band-aids, that I had a lot of boo-boos on my arm.  I think I had maybe a mosquito bite. One. If that.


Yarn Along: Hats



“Hello, world.  My mama has been busy the last eighteen days making hats for me.  Here’s a newsflash, though…. I’m not sure I like hats!  Or napping in my crib, either.”

Isn’t she a precious little Rosebud?  We think so.  She’s been home since the afternoon of the 4th and to be honest we can’t get enough of her.

And if she doesn’t like hats, no matter.  She’s got that hair.

The first hat I cast on (18 days ago), was the Coriolis Hat.  I had finished the newborn booties and wanted another project to quickly finish, whiling away the time.  I cast on the hat on Saturday evening, June 18. In the wee hours of Sunday morning I found it to be a soothing distraction while timing contractions. Sunday afternoon, my husband snapped an amusing picture of me knitting in the L & D room post-epidural.


I finished it a few hours after our sweet daughter arrived!


Knowing we were going to have to wait to bring her home, I began another hat while in the hospital.  My in-laws had given me a book purchased at the Dutch Oven Yarn Shoppe in Alanson, MI, a special place to the family  (well, the Dutch Oven Bakery, if not the Yarn Shoppe), so I cast on another hat from that book.


The cookie was a consolation from Haus Meister, who got to go get artisan breakfast sandwiches from the coffee place in the lobby while I had hospital food.😉

This past weekend, I finished the hat.  Here is how it will look when I’ve sewn on the flower and button.


Hat: Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Sailor”

Flower: using up the skein of Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Blush”

It was nice in a way that I hadn’t sewn on the flower before she was discharged because it ended up matching the red & navy blue outfit she wore home from the hospital on July 4th.


And here’s one of Rosebud today wearing Coriolis to her first pediatrician appointment (our pediatrician also enjoys knitting/crochet and always asks what I’m working on when I bring someone in).



We haven’t slowed up our reading much, so here’s the latest reads in the family.

Haus Meister: The Hunt for Red October

Haus Frau: Force Ten from Navarone (ok, I liked both Navarone books by Alastair McLean. That author may make a spy novel reader out of me yet)

Trooper: was listening to “The Cottage at Bantry Bay” on Audible.

Rascal: Henry and the Paper Route

Dino: Nobody likes a Goblin (his new favorite Hatke book)

Princess: Simple Pictures are Best

Sunshine & Miss M: How to make an Apple Pie and see the World




{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Waiting and then waiting….

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So our summer began and we had a routine of reading and playing. Princess and Miss M attended their annual summer day camp with our American Heritage Girls troop. It was Miss M’s first week away from parents or grandparents, and even though Princess was in the same park, they weren’t together all the time.  It was rocky on the first day, but by the fourth day she was quite a pro.

The boys had some school to wrap up, and even now, after this week off and next, there’s going to be worksheets as we get stuff done.  I’m enjoying the respite from a full schedule to rest, breathe a little, and begin to plan for the next school year.

Last Saturday I told Haus Meister I felt like a “broody old hen on a nest.” It was as if all I could do was focus on that July 10 due date.  Would she come before I finished knitting her booties? (No, I finished them on the 17th).  Would she come before or during the week my mom and sister planned to spend with us?  I couldn’t answer any of this.  So I found a hat pattern on Ravelry that I could make with the last skein of Knit Picks yarn that I used for the booties.  I cast it on the needles Saturday night.



I finished the hat Sunday night, recovering in the hospital from the surprise arrival of our Rosebud.

Pretty Happy


7lbs 10oz, 21″, 3:55pm on Father’s Day.

Yes, that’s right. Daddy’s Littlest Girl arrived on Father’s Day. I joked that she was vying for being the official Daddy’s Girl by becoming the best Father’s Day gift ever.


Because someone asked, that’s not a tattoo on Haus Meister’s hand.  It’s Rosebud’s footprint.  The nurse gave him a footprint stamp after stamping the official paper.😉

 Real but Happy.

Some Roses, even in June, need some extra help to fully bloom.  Rosebud had some fluid in her lungs so she is in the NICU for a little while.  These pictures are a little delayed, for she is no longer on her CPAP machine.

This is the same NICU where Trooper spent the first 119 days of his life.  We have met nurses and respiratory techs who remember him even now.  As he (understandably) would not voluntarily enter a hospital, it’s been hard to take him back for a visit, so it’s been nice to have a chance to give them a success story.  They are very impressed with the fact that he likes to go indoor rock-climbing!


This picture is more recent, and was taken last evening when Rascal got to visit his baby sister again.  Her story parallels his more than the dramatic/traumatic story of  Trooper. Rascal had aspirated amniotic fluid at birth and also had to spend the first week of life in a special care nursery, in a different hospital, however.  Her baby pictures are following the same pattern: birth, CPAP machine, nasal cannula, and now we wait for her to be off of that.

We waited months to see her, and now we wait again to bring her home.  She’s worth every second of the wait.

I know I had not expected (based on reasons that I won’t go into since this blog is read by guys who won’t appreciate it,) that this pregnancy was a girl pregnancy. It didn’t feel like it. It resembled in many ways the early pregnancies with the boys.  But obviously even a veteran of ten pregnancies can be wrong on some counts.  I never wanted her to think that I was disappointed that she was a girl.  It’s irrational to think she would think that, but when you’re huge and hormonal it’s hard to be rational anyway. I covered my bases though. One of the first things I said to her after birth was a paraphrase of one of the loveliest lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s a girl. My girl. My girl that I’m proud of.”

Real Funny.

And while we wait, life totally goes on for everyone else.😉


Yarn Along in Pink & Books


Knitting continues in full speed for Munchkin 2.   Her wee little outfits are wending their way from various online outlets (Memorial Day sales, anyone?!) and I was so happy to see that her booties will pretty well match her homecoming outfit.


I’m also pleased to say after many a mistake, I seem to have found the hang of that little sock.  Hopefully the next will be finished quicker.  She’s not really in a hurry to show up, it seems, but I did ask her to hold off until I get the second bootie done, in any case.

This week’s reading:

Haus Meister: Guns of Navarone

Haus Frau: The Son Avenger.  I finished Undset’s Master of Hestviken series and all I can say is “WOW.”  I’m counting this one in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. So, June: A book you can read in a day.  I read this one in a day.  I couldn’t help it!

Trooper: Listening to Hilda VanStockum’s The Cottage at Bantry Bay on Audible.

Rascal: The Hardy Boys: Secret of the Caves

Dino & Sunshine:  Curious George visits the Dentist.  He read it out loud to her as she prepped for her first dental visit (found a great dentist who has a lot of patients on the autism spectrum).

Princess: Meet Josefina

Miss M: listened to Pinkalicious.



Yarn Along: Summer Reading


Knitting! I’ve been knitting!  Last night I finished the Newborn Hat with a Touch of Lace, although I hope it shrinks because it seems I totally made it too large.  Serves me right; I didn’t exactly gauge it because, well, impatient.


This morning I cast on the Perfect Fit Newborn Socks, both in Knit Picks Shine Sport Blush. I took it along to my OB appointment because I like to be the gal knitting in the ob/gyn office like you see in the 1950s-60s movies (“Pillow Talk” comes to mind).  I had the chance to see Munchkin 2 today and asked my doctor if it’s definitely “go” to still knit pink.


He said, “Yep. Absolutely.”

I had had my doubts about that early sonogram.  This just hadn’t felt like a “girl” pregnancy.  However, clearly my intuition was wrong, and since it has rarely been right, who’s surprised?  ;)

We simply just can’t wait to meet the newest Princess of the Haus, who already has our hearts in her tiny hands.

And now for books.

I’ve been keeping up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

January: A book published this year. “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo.

February: A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally Clarkson.

March: A book recommended by your BFF, sibling, etc: “Pistols for Two” by Georgette Heyer.

April: A book you’ve been meaning to read: “The Trim Healthy Mama Plan.”  I credit my pregnancy health–and passing the glucose screen–to this book.

May: A book that’s been banned: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Also May: A book that intimidates you: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.

Why in the world did that book intimidate? Because in the past several years every time I heard it highly recommended, it came with the caveat that I wouldn’t be able to put it down.  When do I have the time to read an non-put-downable Norse saga?!  So I avoided it. Until this year.  I was going to save it for the hospital since I anticipated at least a bit of down-time to read (and not aimlessly surf the internets on my phone), but then I opened it, and couldn’t put it down.  And for the record, I didn’t mind the Archer translation.

Other reads going on in the Haus:

Haus Meister: “A Man on the Moon” by Andrew Chaikin

Haus Frau: “The Snake Pit,” by Sigrid Undset.  Waiting for Book 3 to come in the mail, thank you Thrift Books!

Trooper: just finished “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis on Audible.  Unabridged with Michael York narrating.

Rascal: working on “St. Pius X, the Farm boy who became Pope” for his 4th Quarter Book Report.  He’s champing at the bit to read more Hardy Boys mysteries, though.😉

Dino: writing a book summary of “Ox-Cart Man” for his 4th Quarter Reading to finish it off.

Princess: just finished “Betsy-Tacy” by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Sunshine: listened to “I’m a T-Rex

Miss M: listened to “Going to Town.”

Today some of us are going to our favorite buy-sell-trade bookstore to find more gems for summer reading!  We’ve been looking forward to this all month, especially as we are meeting friends there to share the joy.