About subscribing to this blog

Hi there! A lot of you are new visitors to my site via Alicia & Ginny, and I'm so happy you're here! I've been getting some questions about how to subscribe to this blog and I'm so sorry I don't already have that set up. Our family is currently without a home computer and managing this site via iPhone has some limitations. I'm working on getting it all figured out and set up.  

In the meantime, I'm so glad you're here! Thanks for hanging with me while I work this out!

Stitch along

 Photo courtesy of  Alicia Paulson

Photo courtesy of Alicia Paulson

 My kit, getting ready to go! 

My kit, getting ready to go! 

 

Two and a half years ago, Ginny and I had the idea to host a stitch along for Alicia Paulson's awesome Winterwoods ABCs cross stitch sampler. Last week, Alicia released a new cross stitch pattern and kit, My Sweetiepie ABCs. Ginny suggested that we host another stitch along, and I was definitely on board!  

 A is for Apple! 

A is for Apple! 

Cross stitch is such a fun and easy craft, totally accessible even to inexperienced and beginning crafters.  These patterns are simple enough, and the instructions clear enough, that I don't think you need any previous experience.*

I'm posting from my phone, so I encourage to to visit Ginny's post for more links and details! I hope you can join us!

*Alicia did not pay me to say that! Neither Ginny nor I will receive anything for promoting Alicia's pattern & kit, other than the fun sense of community from stitching along with others!

13

 Newborn

Newborn

 First birthday

First birthday

 Age 1

Age 1

 Second birthday  

Second birthday  

 Age 4

Age 4

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 Age 5

Age 5

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 6th birthday

6th birthday

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 Age 7

Age 7

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 8th birthday

8th birthday

 First Holy Communion

First Holy Communion

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 California

California

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 9th birthday

9th birthday

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 Age 10

Age 10

 Arwen costume

Arwen costume

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 11th birthday

11th birthday

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 Bobby soxer

Bobby soxer

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 12th birthday

12th birthday

 At Camp W. 

At Camp W. 

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 Recital

Recital

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 First in her heat at state (red cap & black shortjohn suit)

First in her heat at state (red cap & black shortjohn suit)

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 13th birthday, with a bad head cold

13th birthday, with a bad head cold

Today our wonderful, amazing Elisabeth Grace is 13 years old. it hardly seems possible, and yet we are so ready, too. 

I think a lot about the ways I have fallen short and, yes, failed as a parent over the last 13 years. I worry about the ways my own baggage has come to rest on the shoulders of my daughter at times—when I see my perfectionism, anxiety, or hot temper flare up in her. I grieve over the ways our hopes and dreams for our family, when we were so much younger and just starting fresh with our first adored child, have failed to come to pass. 

But then I spent a few hours today looking through pictures of her—these, and so very many more—and I see the evidence of a joyful childhood, of a happy little girl coming into her own, developing interests and passions. I see a girl who is a leader, who is caring, compassionate, kind, funny, and brilliant. She is both very innocent and very, very wise. A few weeks ago, she told me that she thinks people rush through their lives and make risky decisions because they are afraid of facing the idea of death. I thought this was so profound, something I hadn't really thought about before. 

She is generous, often spending her own money on things for her siblings. For example, she recently bought a scooter for Fiona so that Fiona could ride on her own scooter with the older kids.  

She is responsible and so helpful around the house. She is wonderful with John, which is such a gift when I need to take care of other things.  

It's incredible to imagine that the sweet, silly baby that she once was is now this thoughtful, mature young lady—and all the amazing things she was in all the years in between. Creative, imaginative, stubborn. An extraordinary child, an extraordinary teen.  

As my girl now stands in adolescence, ever so gently closing the door on the large part of her childhood, I know that it was a beautiful childhood that we made together—Elisabeth, her father, and I.  

The mistakes don't matter so much as I think. I am so grateful for the gift of this incredible, beautiful human being.  To know her is a privilege, to be her mother is a true gift.  

I love you so much, my Elisabeth. 

Nine years old

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Almost 3 weeks ago, my sweet James turned nine! I've been meaning to get a birthday post up sooner, but just kept being distracted by other things.  

James is such a wonder at nine. He's really helpful and mature, very thoughtful and sensitive. He is also still quite a challenge in a lot of ways, but I think there's a real chance that what we view as challenges now will be strengths later in life. The very things that make him hard to parent will also serve to make him independent. He has a lot of integrity. He's a very hard worker and so sharp! I'm really proud of my little gentleman.  

I remember turning 9, and feeling quite grown up in so many ways. Somewhere there's a picture of me looking so poised and wise on my ninth birthday, and I think James has many of those qualities. Despite being the little brother of one, he's the big brother of two, and over time, I feel like he's shifted into more of an "older kid" role in our house (rather than just being "one of the little ones"). He's very responsible and conscientious. Recently he cleaned up our entire main level when Elisabeth and I were both sick, the house had been neglected for four days, but I needed to teach cello lessons anyway. He did a great job! He really surprises me sometimes!

He started swimming on a team (rec center league) in January and absolutely loves it. Soccer and baseball were both fun but he hasn't wanted to do them again. Swimming, though, has proved to be a good fit for his temperament, just like his older sister.  

James is also very articulate about his feelings and is so good at setting boundaries about his need for rest or time to himself, again, both traits I think will serve him well in his life.  

I love you so much, Jamesy! I'm so excited to see the person you grow into! 

Two birthdays

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Yesterday I turned 37, and today my sweet Fiona Catherine is 6! We've been enjoying intermittent heavy snowfall over the two days, which we both love. Most of our other birthday plans have been postponed due to weather, which is kind of ok because it prolongs the celebration just a bit longer!

 

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I'm a little speechless that this sweet baby is now a big six-year-old girl. It's so wonderful and bittersweet all at once.  

 

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From that golden morning when she was born to this happy sixth birthday, she has been, and continues to grow into, a quiet, confident, gentle, so very funny, bright, humble, honest, and tender girl. she has always seemed like a flower to me, delicate and yet so resilient, too. Everyone always says this, but I really feel so blessed and deeply fortunate to get to be her mama. To carry her in my body, and to get to know her in all the quiet moments of childhood that mamas do, as well as the many joyful and ebulliently loud ways, too. She is so very precious to me. 

Happy birthday, my little lady!  I love you so!

catching up a little

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Our computer broke about a month ago. It ended up being a repair we couldn't afford, and replacing it is out of the question right now, so we've been without a computer now for weeks. A friend may have an older one she can give us, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, I hadn't thought of posting here via phone, but of course, there's an app for that!

Things have been mostly chugging along in a very ordinary way. I have started exercising daily. There's not much to say about that, because it feels very personal to me, but I like it more than I thought I would. So that's all I'll say about it.  

I have hardly had a moment to work on the many knitting projects I have planned, and have felt really discouraged about my knitting in general. Things not coming out in the right sizes despite careful swatching and attentive pattern-following. Things turning out differently than I'd hoped. Not enough time to finish some baby gifts I'd had planned for several months. Just discouraging. 

Parenting has been requiring a lot. It seems to be a season in our family's life. My husband is working nearly non-stop cobbling together various income streams so we can sort of keep afloat. He's frustrated as the amount of work he's doing is still not bringing in the amount of money we really need, and of course he's almost never home, so nearly all the parenting is falling squarely on me. In a way, I'm used to that as he always had to work very long hours when he was a teacher. In another way, it's more difficult now than it ever was: there are more children, they're busier, the older ones are coming into newer, more challenging phases. It's hard and lonely work, and I'm often dead tired. 

February is my birthday month and I've always loved it. But this year, I'm longing for spring and summer in a way I usually don't. I keep hoping that the next season will bring with it a turn for the better for our family. I can't give up that hope even though the last two years (and really, the two years before that, too, in many ways) have been so financially and emotionally trying in so many ways. 

Anyway, I remain here, hanging on and trying to maintain hopefulness. Wishing you all a lovely week.