Ups, downs, and joys

(She was slightly “over” the monthly sticker thing this month)

I’m not going to begin this blogpost with yet another apology about life catching up with us or time flying by.  These days, it seems to be a given.  Four kids have had growth spurts sending me scrambling to find seasonal clothing to fit them in time for the next heat wave and summer vacation.  We renewed our enrollment with Seton Home Study School for another academic year.  I’m grateful for a solid education for our children and also a special services department that helps me find great resources for Trooper and Sunshine.

Little Bit turned three earlier this month.  She’s such a feisty, imaginative little imp. She loves to trot around the house carrying her brown-and-white stuffed dog, whom she has named “Snowy” after the dog in the Tintin books.  She’s talking up a storm and asking all sorts of questions, mainly beginning with “What’s THAT?”

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Spring has brought a spot of nature to our yard.  We have apples on our two apple trees this year, and we have had not one but three house finches nesting in our porch eaves.  Just when one set fledged and we thought it would be time to pressure wash the porch down at last, two more nests appeared almost overnight!

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And then there was the episode of the stray cat.  I had seen that cat a few days before, looking utterly bedraggled, but it hadn’t stayed around.  Then, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Miss M happened upon it in our driveway. She immediately named it “Polka Dot” (it was once a lovely tuxedo/calico kitty).  Rascal and Princess came out and fed it small amounts of food and gave it water.  Polka Dot did not move on that day, as we made a bed for it in a crate and I posted a notice in our neighborhood forum (as well as warning Haus Meister about it via text, since he was away on business).  Close to dusk, the trio moved Polka Dot into our fenced backyard deck area so it would be safe from the coyotes in the area.  However, we were the last stop in Polka Dot’s nine lives, and Mother’s Day morning found me digging a quick grave in the backyard with Rascal’s help before the smaller girls woke up and wondered where our overnight cat had gone.  A promise of a trip to Dunkin Donuts did much to dry tears (and give me some much needed coffee)! So that’s the tale of our 24-hr cat.

Our Spring has been full of house painting projects but we did turn our attention outdoors a but.  We thought about planting a garden but are satisfied to keep some houseplants alive and two tomato plants on the porch.  After my Texas rosebush came into bloom, I really think I’d like a rose patch.  One bush for each child.  What a fun variety, and a tribute to St. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Which brings me to the big news of this update:

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We knew officially that she was coming on my birthday back in January and she will join us around Haus Meister’s birthday in September.  What a gift from God!  The kids are quite excited and while the boys were hoping for a brother to counteract the reign of pink in the Haus, they are rather more complacent since we moved them into our old spare room.  Now their LEGOS are safe from the marauding habits of the Toddler Mischief Squad!

That’s all for tonight’s update. I hope this missive finds you all well, and enjoying the early days of summer!  God bless!

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Yarn Along & Recap so far….

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The afternoon sun is out for a moment in between showers of rain.  It’s not very wintry here.  My aunt just posted a picture of snow in Indiana on Instagram, and here I am in the South posting pictures of daffodils.

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Don’t get me wrong; I do wish we had one more good snow before Spring begins in earnest. I wish we hadn’t already had mosquito bites in January.  Overall, though, I’m not complaining because I don’t have to try to drive in the snow. 🙂  If we get more than an inch, none of us go anywhere and we just enjoy the stuff and pray the power stays on. 🙂  Otherwise Haus Meister has to pull the Charles Ingalls routine and chop wood for our wood stove.  I do remember the night he was out at 2am restocking the woodpile because the power had gone down.  How homestead-erish it made me feel!  Ironically, true homesteaders would have had all their wood chopped and near at hand already.  But I digress.

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I finished Haus Meister’s socks/slippers before Candlemas so at least it was technically still in Christmastide. 🙂  I need to work on stitching soles onto slippers but he tells me they are quite comfortable.  I have some yarn I’m going to use for socks for me using the same pattern but without the leather soles.  I enjoyed the pattern a lot.

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My first official project of 2017 ended up being the Antler Toque.  I’m stash busting some Istex Alafosslopi in blue tweed.  Since the dusting of snow around Epiphany reminded me that we are woefully undersupplied in the hats and mittens department, I thought to keep happy doing small quick projects that help me use the yarn on hand.

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This picture was taken last week before I began the cables on the hat.  These are my reads for February.  The Brothers Karamazov is what my sister and I chose to fill the “book of over 600 pages” for our Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge.  Some chapters were hard to slog through without Russian v0dka, I’m sure (I didn’t try), but about halfway through I just couldn’t put it down.  Haus Meister kept teasing me about binge-reading, but I was.  I just was.  And then it ended.

Dostoyevsky, if we meet in the hereafter, you must tell me how you were going to wrap up the loose threads at the end of your story. Yes, I do insist there are loose threads at the end of a 718 page novel! The only explanation I can find is that the author was a few months from his own death, but he left one character on the verge of death, and I’d kind of like to know what happened to him.  And two of the others as well! Whom does Alexey marry eventually? What becomes of him?  And Dmitri? Does his plan succeed?  It was the nearest I have come to throwing a book against a wall in a long time–I merely banged the book against my knees. How could it be over at that point?!?!?!  I did actually throw Tess of the D’Ubervilles because it was (in my humble opinion) just awful.  This time, I had come to the end of 718 pages and I wanted a quick epilogue, at least. Note: since writing the above I have learned some editions do have an epilogue; I just happened through frugality to have purchased the one that didn’t. Heh.

Suffice to say, it was a good book.  I’m going over it again, a little more slowly, to see if I missed any clues now that I know how it ends.  Besides, February isn’t over yet.

Different is also a nice book, and definitely not in the same genre as Brothers K, so it’s rather amusing to see them pictured together.  It’s non-fiction and encouraging, like a warm cup of tea from a friend who has been there raising a high needs child.  I have been taking this book slow, reading a chapter every few days, so I’m not finished yet.

In other news….

Happy girls.

Happy boys.  At the end of January, the lads went to Dallas as the support team for Trooper who was due for a trip to his CP specialist.  They had a fabulous time visiting cousins, climbing trees, watching trucks (that’d be Trooper), and seeing the Frontiers of Flight Museum.  Trooper is standing in front of the Apollo 7 capsule.

Trooper is going to be getting new ankle braces soon.  He has totally outgrown his last pair. This guy is growing like a weed!

I’m having fun with a new teapot and new candles, except that one on the right didn’t look as nice once the label was off. It looked like a soft-boiled egg with a wick in the middle. So why did I take a picture of it?  Because I wanted to prove to anyone who heard me vent about it (my mom and sister, mainly), that it looked like a soft-boiled egg.

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This handsome fellow (picture taken by Sunshine), has been busy with more painting.  He did the kitchen, upper half of the basement, and is going to do the classroom in Lowe’s Historic Collection Antique Filoli Lace (which I mention in case I forget and need to look for it again).  The hallway, foyer, and upper living room is rapidly becoming Woodlawn Colonial Gray (from the same collection).

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Better picture forthcoming; this was all I had on my phone.

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As the laundry room was never entirely finished last year, I made up for lost time while the guys were in Dallas and painted the whole in “Craft White.”  It looks so fresh and warm in there now.  These doldrum months between Christmas and Spring is the perfect time to renew the home.  In our case, that usually involves painting, but there it is.

Well, all for now.  Have a great week!

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Remember the days when the messages were embossed on the hearts, and you didn’t have to use Google to know what they said?

 

Yarn Along, Goal met, Books, and links

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Bedside table, Ordinary Time edition.  The curtain was drawn because Rosebud was napping.  There usually is a matching teacup on the saucer, but I used it this morning for my coffee. 🙂

As you may or may not be able to see, I am working through the gusset of Haus Meister’s last slipper sock.  The end is in sight!  After this, I am cancelling my Facebook proclaimed first 2017 Knitting Project of a sweater jacket.  The weather is absurdly warm here, and not at all conducive to wool jacket knitting. 😦  I may go on to another pair of socks. I may knit up a bunch of hats and mittens because the recent snow scare over Epiphany (it was less than 1″) proved to me that we are woefully underprepared for actual winter weather here.  Too many mild winters.  Also, I guess I’m just still in stash-bust-short-project mode, and friends, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Reading-wise, no huge novels this week.  I haven’t even gone back through Wuthering Heights lately! I have been reading a lot of other things, though.  Dino received a copy of The Green Ember for his 10th birthday last week.  I read it all to myself in about three hours and then began reading the first four chapters out loud to the oldest kids.  It’s a good book!  Everyone is listening to me read aloud from Little House in the Big Woods during our lunch hour every day.  In the van, on drives this month, we’re enjoying Paddington Helps Out on Audible.  For my own enjoyment, I’ve been reading old Jan/Feb issues of Victoria and my current issues both of Victoria and The English Home.  January is always a good month to go back and rehash my goals for the home, especially as we put Christmas away, albeit very piecemeal. So out again comes Sally & Sarah Clarkson’s The Life Giving Home.

Another huge book and home related goal was met this week.  I indulged myself in a personal birthday present of an ebook of a year’s worth of meal plans and menus based on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  I’ve been following that plan more or less since last July, although I haven’t made Haus Meister and the kids live without sugar. However, 95% of our family dinners are made with THM compliant recipes, and none of us have suffered. As Haus Meister said, “a diet that allows bacon is one I can live with!”  I found as the months progressed toward the end of 2016 that while I used the THM cookbook so much that it fell to pieces and I had to order a second, I also had an inordinant amount of printed-off recipes and way too many saved on my phone.  At last I completed a goal I have wanted to accomplish for years. I printed out that ebook and used it to organize my recipe binder.

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The only loose paper there is the pudding bowl full of Christmas cards, as we continue a tradition of Haus Meister’s family by picking a card from the bowl and praying for the sender every evening at dinner.  The “Recipe Traditions” binder does have some old family recipes in it and favorite old cards from recipe books past. But no loose papers, no random prints.  Everything goes in it straight away, and while I still check recipes on my phone, if it is voted a keeper, I will take the time to write it out, or if I have to print it, it will go straight to the binder.  After about eleven years of recipe paper clutter, it is nice to declare independence!

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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12 in 2014

I was worried.  My blogging time had been less blog and more yarn update than ever this past year. Did I have enough material to do a top 10 of 2014 post?   Then Laura shared this awesome idea via Dwija and I’m hooked.  So here we go: 12 photographs of 2o14!   Sheesh, compiling this I see I need some climbing pictures of Trooper!!! He’s a regular Spiderman at the indoor climbing wall. But you’ll have to wait on that a bit.  Anyway: 14 pictures of 2014!!!!

January:

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first of two winter snows

 

February

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new haircut

March

photo 2pi day birthday girl

April

photo 3sunshine at easter

May

photo 3littlest arrives

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and is soon baptized

June

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swim league

July

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August

photo 5pajama tea parties

September

During the "obstacle course"

During the “obstacle course”

area equestrian special olympics

October

jacobs day10 years

November

SONY DSCeveryone hold still for a family picture!

December

photomiss m, a mask, and a penlight. epic combination

Thanks for being with us during 2014! I will be blogging again in 2015, with more than just yarn, and more yarns as well.  Pun intended. 😉

Yarn Along & P, H, F, R for week without my phone’s camera

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So, I had a blogpost in my mind and I had pictures for it.  Then, the preschooler accidentally tossed my phone into the loo for reasons beyond my comprehension.  The benefit for me is that I am learning to use and definitely love our standard camera again. This is what I’ve come up with for today’s post.

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 Mulled cider candle: the answer to the question, “Can anything good come from Wal-Mart?” 

Hot Cinnamon Spice tea… liquid autumn?  I put that on my Amazon subscribe and save list.  Next month I might just have to get two tins.  Haus Meister and I will be done with this one well before October.

Yes, I was in total denial of summer that night.  Why do you ask?

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My Princess.  “Did you get my picture yet, Mom?”

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 I am still waiting for an excuse to open this.  The wrapper is too hilarious, the thought too funny.  I would hate to use this prematurely.

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My knitting for the past two weeks.  Now I’m back to where I was two weeks ago when I had to restart the project.  But the cold nights are coming and as you can see I’m getting ready for it.

Actually, after Littlest arrived I went on a parenting binge-read, brushing up on all my special needs mommy reading and reading up on babies who didn’t gain weight right away and would formula use damage her, etc etc etc and officially burned myself out of any serious reading for the nonce.

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The flowers that replaced the dead tomato plants on our porch.

I am still in utter denial that it is 84 degrees out there.