Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day Highlights

::working on the puzzle o' year

::reading new books, playing new games, nibbling chocolate -- bien sur!


::the Christmas cactus actually bloomed on Christmas!  I was stunned by its punctuality!


::sleeping under the Christmas tree = dreamy

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Merry Christmas to all!


::required line up photo -- blurry, gah!

::so happy to get a robot from his new brother-in-law


::they were both completely happy and occupied all day


::La La Land music was a hit -- listening to them sing and play piano is one of my absolute favorite things


::the sun was shining, the magic of Christmas morning was in full force, and Ella gave me the most scrumptious mug that has ever been created = bliss.  I was so enamored of this gift that I was holding it to my face and stroking it lovingly -- Matthew just looked at me and said, "I'd like to apologize in advance for knocking that mug off of the counter."



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Festivating

::the annual Yule Log


::Nativity reenactment with the Clays -- and Ian

::always a photo shoot

::Christmas light viewing



Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

::getting those gingerbread houses in right under the wire

::Final creation -- blurry


::two cuddle bugs



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hooray for Light! And Magic!



I am going to take a risk here and proclaim that Winter Solstice is my favorite day of the year!  It may not be completely true, but it feels like it.  The dark and cold feel so oppressive sometimes, but simply knowing that even though the worst of Winter is still ahead, at least the days will be getting longer and longer and longer -- taking us straight into the heart of Spring and Summer!  Big happy sigh.



Tonight is the women's circle that I attend and I cannot think of a single thing I would rather be doing than communing and chanting with my fellow witches on this mystical night.  I made some Sun cookies -- I only had a flower cookie cutter, but it was close enough.  There is orange flavor in the cookie dough and then orange zest in the frosting as well -- citrus is the flavor of sunlight.  We were asked to come with an intention for the new year so I started thinking about my new word of the year.  I had a few things rattling around my head, but nothing felt right.  I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's, The Power of Now so the idea of time -- chronological vs. psychological -- has been forefront.  I also recently heard a podcast with Richard Rohr -- on OnBeing my favorite! -- and he mentioned that in Greek there are two words for time: Chronos which is chronological time, and Kairos which is God's time, or the right moment.  This afternoon I suddenly realized that my word should be Kairos.  There is so much loaded into that word -- that I need to have patience for things to come to pass -- not when I want it, but when (or if!) it's supposed to happen, that I need to stop and just BE in every moment instead of regretting or fantasizing about the past, or longing and yearning for the future.  I find myself often wanting things to be over so I can have done them, not be doing them, haha!  It's no way to live!  So, I was so excited to finally have a word picked out, but I decided to do a tiny test to see if it was the right one.  I went into our little library and randomly plucked a book of poetry off of the book shelf -- it was Mary Oliver's Evidence.  I flipped it open and read the poem that was on that page.  

Deep Summer

The mockingbird
opens his throat
among the thorns
for his own reasons

but doesn't mind 
if we pause
to listen
and learn something

for ourselves;
he doesn't stop,
he nods
his gray head

with the frightfully bright eyes,
he flirts 
his supple tail,
he says:

listen, if you would listen.
There's no end
to good talk,
to passion songs,

to the melodies
that say
this branch, 
this tree is mine,

to the wholesome
happiness
of being alive
on a patch

of this green earth
in the deep
pleasures of summer.
What a bird!

Your clocks, he says plainly,
which are always ticking,
do not have to be listened to.
The spirit of his every word.

What??? Are you kidding me?  First of all, Deep Summer is a little ironic with it being deep winter, right?  And then I was already fully recognizing that the Universe was affirming my word with the instructions for pausing and listening, to the reminder to be happy and content, but then the clocks!  Always ticking!  Do not have to be listened to!  It was like being hit over the head with a hammer, haha!  I gasped and then let out a jubilant little scream.  It was too perfect.  Too magical.  I accept it.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Firsts and Lasts

My baby lost his first tooth!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy Birthday

Happy happy Birthday to my dear husband! He really really really doesn't like having his picture taken so it was difficult to find a photo, nor does he like much attention at all... but if you happen to see him today, wish him the best 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

African Flower Blanket

Ta-da!!!! The first blanket that I made for myself (and Matthew) is finally finished! It took over a year, but I did make about six other blankets in that same time 😁 I should've waited for better light to take pics, but I was too excited. 378 flowers -- each of them unique, done pretty randomly, and I just happened to have the exact right amount as I was finishing my last row -- so serendipitous! Can't wait to cozy up in it, haha! Perhaps in the fall?  









I first saw this blanket on pinterest linking to a blog in the Netherlands -- I'll include it here:  (african flower blanketand I was distressed to find no information on a pattern or colors -- not that I usually include those sorts of details in my posts either, haha!  But I'll turn over a new flower petal and include some of those specifics.  I found a pattern and tutorial at Heidi Bears and just did the first four rounds.  I decided to used Lucy's hexagon join as you go method so I saved the gray section for the joining stage.  All of the yarn is Stylecraft from Wool Warehouse and I used these colors:

✽ sherbet ✽ turquoise ✽ empire ✽ grass green ✽ petrol ✽ violet ✽ spring green ✽ duck egg ✽ lobelia ✽ cloud blue ✽ aster ✽ bluebell ✽ aspen ✽ lemon ✽ teal ✽ white ✽ silver ✽


I did it all very haphazardly -- more organized people would probably cringe at my method, or lack thereof.  For a while I would do a pile of centers of one color, and then change the next rounds and then I did piles of using only two alternating colors instead of three... pretty random.  And then with joining I never even figured out ahead of time how many I would need in each row!  I just had all of the flowers in a bag, pulling one out at a time and only putting it back if the colors were too similar to what was directly around it, hoping I wouldn't get to the end and have only bright green left!   I joined them by doing a sort of herringbone pattern back and forth while the rows got longer in each direction.  I thought I might have to go back and do a few more, but as a mentioned above, I miraculously ended up with the exact right amount!  How freaky is that?  I love magical things.  I first thought I would have a curvy edge, but then decided I liked the look of straight edges better so I did have to hurry and do some half hexagons in the silver before I could start the border.  I used the border from a blog called dover and madden.  I did the first five rows wrong at first!  It was so frustrating!  At first I couldn't figure out why it didn't look right, but by the time I did realize I was very far along -- this blanket is humongous!  But I knew that I would be happier if I started over and did it correctly and it is true!  I always have to tell myself that it is not about finishing a project -- it is about the PROCESS!  So, it is fine if I have to spend a little more time.  It's not like I had a deadline hanging over my head. I think it is one of my favorite borders ever.  There you have it!  If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them!



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What Does a Leaf Know

Does a brittle, prime 
past leaf, plucked
from its cozy life
by an errant breeze,
wonder why it is
somersaulting precariously
through the air? Does
it question where
it is being tossed? Or
when it might once
again tumble jarringly
to a stop? Would
knowing change its
capacity for delight?
Or change the fact
that, in the end, we are
all inexpressibly, unalterably
alone?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday Speculation

Matthew has a new calling in the High Council at church.  Our stake is quite large so this will require some traveling, both to weekly stake meetings, but also to visit different wards and branches.  His assigned ward is one that meets in our building, which is very nice, but yesterday he had to visit and speak at a branch in Kewanee, Illinois.  It is about an hour and a half away and their meeting started at 10:00 so I accompanied him.  When we arrived, we were pretty much ignored by everyone, but then right before the meeting began they asked Matthew to play the piano and me to lead the singing!  I don't know what the plan was otherwise... so Matthew got up and down a few times for that and then gave a wonderful talk about gratitude.

It has been so sunny and warm, it was a perfect day for a long drive.  We chatted about our future, so I have some new adventures up my sleeve, and then we listened to the best On Being podcast about love!  I always love them, and always think the last one I heard was the best, but we were laughing, I cried a little, it was cathartic.

I was in a very very bad mood yesterday, but the little trip was helpful -- it is always good to get out of the confines of town and see the  countryside!  Matthew adores getting his picture taken, so I make sure to oblige as much as possible

Today is President's Day!  We were going to go clean the CYFS, but I think they're closed for the day.  Now we're going to meet some friends at the park for an early lunch, some other friends for a little play date, hopefully I'll find some time to exercise, and I still really want to tackle that garage!  It's eating at me...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why So Warm?

The weather here is being absolutely bonkers for February!!!  Judging from the reports I'm seeing on facebook, it is unusually warm all over the place.  On Friday it reached 70˚ so we went to the park with friends and had such a great time.  The wind was blowing... because we live in Illinois... but otherwise it was lovely.

On Saturday the boys both had basketball games in the morning so we got those under our belts, I went shopping with a friend, and then we totally chilled the rest of the day.  Matthew and I both had headaches, so our grand scheme of finally cleaning out the garage was set aside for yet another day.  Another warm one is bound to show up again, right?


After dinner we watched an episode of "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  Matthew told the boys that if they got ready for bed within 7 minutes then he'd give them a piggy back ride from the basement to bed.  They both did it!  So he tried to follow through with both of them...
That lasted just about long enough for me to snap a pic!  So I carried the lighter one.

As much as I am relishing the summery reprieve, I can't help but be slightly alarmed by it.  What does it mean over the long term?  Will we have a sweltering summer?  Will the bugs be enormous?  Because it really isn't worth living here if we start having to co-habitate with gigantic cockroaches.  Seriously.
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