It begins...

A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.

For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.

I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!

So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.

And I can hardly wait to create something new...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where To Begin...

I thought my life was crazy the week before we left for Iowa. HA! It's been 3 weeks since my last post, but practically a lifetime has been lived in those three weeks.  A quick update before I launch into my current crafty business:

The first few days in Iowa were busy but good, then all hell broke loose and Mom ended up back in the hospital with blood clots in both lungs. Brynn and I stayed an extra 5 days to lend support and help, then came home on the 18th. I had to hit the ground running in order to catch up to my life, all-the-while worrying about my mom. Thursday night I hosted a giant party for all the 1st graders at Scarborough. Fun, but the leftover cake just about did me in! Friday I tried to get unpacked and prepare for Saturday - the end-of-year Girl Scout Outing. We spent the day touring an ice cream shop and then at Chuck E Cheese since the weather was iffy. Sunday was Rowan's piano recital, Monday was our final Girl Scout meeting and Bridging to Brownie ceremony, and Tuesday was the last day of school. And I hosted Knit Night. And my house cleaner couldn't come as planned, so I had to try and hide the filth that is my house! Yesterday and today, I have been frantically pulling together the annual back yard treasure hunt we are having here tomorrow. I have 35 kids plus their moms coming!  

For the treasure hunt, I have created four teams (using jungle animal mascots), taken all the photo clues, created the clue cards, and stuffed the treasure bags. I've recruited help to bring snacks and drinks, so tomorrow I will head out into the soggy marsh that is our back yard and spend a half hour setting up the hunt. 
In order to get all this done, I had to get Rowan involved in a project of her own so she wouldn't get a heads-up on the clues and what's in the treasure! I suggested she make a list of all the fun things she wants to do this summer and make a collage. I helped her find photos online, which we printed, and she got to work creating "My Summer Brake Collage!" (Gotta love the spelling!)
I have all kinds of garden updates to show as well, but that will have to wait - Brynn's nap will be ending soon and I need to sit on my butt for 15 minutes and not think about anything! I may try to work a bit on my current knitted bag - I'm getting near the bag bindoff and almost ready to start the icord handles.
Rowan and two neighborhood friends are busy creating face paint art on each other - pretty cute stuff. :) Happy summer break!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wrapping Things Up

C.R.A.Z.Y. week. Crazy! My in-laws arrive tomorrow for the weekend, and Brynn and I hit the road for Iowa at o'dark thirty on Sunday morning. So much to little time! I don't plan to blog much next week, so this might be it for awhile. I think I'm just about ready for the Girl Scout meeting/bridging on the 16th, and am halfway done with the bookworms I'm making them. Here are the ones I've finished, stretched to make the tails strait. I love that no two will be the same, just like my scouts!
Rowan managed to finish her little stepping stone - here she is hard at work, and a close-up of the finished product. I have no idea if it will hold up in the rain, so we'll wait until the sun comes out to find a garden spot for it.

Speaking of gardens, I let Rowan design and choose the flowers to be planted on the back deck this year. I got them all planted yesterday, and I'd take a picture of them but I don't want to stand in the rain! The two deck boxes (that we can see from the kitchen table) have petunias (deep fuchsia and pale pink), and the 3 big pots have snapdragons, lantana, and petunia, as well as the tiny azalea and tiny rose plants that she received in our May Day basket. We'll see how they do! I had to refill the bird feeder again this morning - they are inhaling the seed this week!

Rowan gave the felted bag to her teacher today - I hope she loved it! Here's the finished bag - Rowan liked it best with one flower on each side, near the top. She got to keep the 3rd flower I made, and was pleased as punch about it! The greens are much brighter in real life...
I also finished knitting and felting the bag for myself! However, the icord on the teacher bag turned out much shorter than I prefer, so I made myself a longer icord that is still wet. Not sure if all will be dry in time to use in Iowa, but at least it's done.
Now I need to do some meal planning for this weekend (don't want to feed my in-laws bird seed), clean the basement play area (wall-to-wall toys), and keep cranking out the bookworms. Happy early Mother's Day to all!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ta Da!

Drum roll please...
The bag is drying! I've got a box inside (covered with plastic) to help keep the shape while it dries. Once that is done, I will punch holes to weave the long handle cord through. Then I attach the flowers. Or flower. They turned out bigger than I thought, and 3 might overwhelm the bag. What do you think? Once the handles are on it will be easier to envision, methinks.

In the meantime, I've got the second stripe well underway for my own bag and am excited to perhaps get that felted on Tuesday while Brynn's at school.
The girls and I went flower shopping before dinner last night, and picked out flowers to plant in our pots on the back deck as well as a couple of window boxes I will hang from the deck edge where we can see them from the kitchen table. My plan was to get those planted this afternoon, but it's cloudy and cold out. We'll see.  In the meantime, Rowan has decided to start a "stepping stone" project from a kit she got as a gift awhile ago. We laid everything out and mixed the concrete for the stone. Now it's drying, and later today we can paint and decorate it.
After her school field trip to the hospital last week, we've been playing a lot of "doctor" at our house, and she was THRILLED when we opened the stone kit and there was a face mask inside that she can use with her doctor kit! She had constructed one for herself out of paper and yarn yesterday, but as you can imagine it didn't quite hold up in surgery.

For those who don't celebrate May Day, it's a tradition that's been in my family since my parents were kids. On the 1st of May, we would make little baskets, usually from construction paper, and fill them with wildflowers, candy, and other small surprises. We would sneak them to our friend's doorsteps, ring the doorbell, and run for our lives!  If our friends caught us, they could give us a kiss. (I don't think I was ever caught.) I left little baskets for my girls on the front steps this morning, and we are expecting another to arrive any minute from a friend we are doing an exchange with. Rowan is quite anxious about it! We dropped ours off across town earlier this morning, and hope it brought excitement and joy to our friend. :) I wish our whole neighborhood participated, like when I was a kid, but oh well. Happy May Day, everyone!