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...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Keep On Keepin' On

One day at a time, enjoy each moment, take pleasure in the small things. These are my mantras right now. Despite all the unrest with Brad's job situation, I have had several of those wonderful "all is right with the world" moments in the last few days. (Then I remember the job thing and feel a little guilty, but not enough to weigh me down.)  So many things to be grateful for! Here are some of them...

Rowan modeling her handmade fingerless valentine mitts from Grandma...
Brynn getting off the bus after preschool today...
 and looking super cute in the driveway with Ernie.
My budding gardens of teeny yellow and purple crocus... 
 tulips, iris, and hyacinth...
The finished valentine doll sweater, being modeled by Kanani...
And the finished baby hat (yay, I think the sizing is right!) and baby mitts, as well as a mitten started for big brother...
Oops, still need to trim the pompoms! So, almost finished.

It's sunny and almost warm today, my head cold is pretty much gone after only 5 days, and I've actually got a week that isn't jam packed with chaos! I'm going to keep on keepin' on, and life is good. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life. Period.

Has it really been 16 days since my last post? Wow. There is a lot of LIFE happening right now, and darn but that gets in the way of feeling creative sometimes!  Life in a nutshell this past two weeks: getting over sinus infection, hosting Superbowl party, Stuffed Animal Drive, Rowan being bullied at school, school conferences, Valentines' Day, and wait for it...Brad is losing his job!  I have had a sickish, knotted, worried lump of ick in my gut for too many days now, and have been falling back on the old habit of food for comfort. Not good. But there are good things going on too...

Rowan and her friend, Grace, have become pen pals because we hardly ever get to see them anymore. Grace wrote Rowan a secret message on the back of a puzzle and mailed it - here's Rowan putting the puzzle together so that she can read the message.
In preparation for the Superbowl, Rowan created a welcome sign on our front door with window crayons (sorry, didn't get a picture of it completed, and I cleaned it off the door this morning!)
I made a yummy quinoa salad, and our favorite Petite Pain au Chocolate, complete with football frosting.
We finished earning our Brownie First Aid Badge on the 7th, and I've sewed it on to Rowan's vest. Go Brownies!
Our troop has also collected 275 stuffed animals to donate to SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies), which I have sorted, cleaned, snipped tags, mended, and bagged. Whew - can't wait to get them delivered and out of our piano room!
Tuesday brought several school parties (as well as the news about the job), and is kind of a blur. I made cutout cookies to give to each kiddo in Rowan's class (I'm the Room Mom) and made a few extras to give to friends and neighbors.) A couple moms teased me about being an "over achiever." Too true, sometimes! They did turn out super cute, and the kids loved having a giant cookie to take home after the party.

We decided to stay home Tuesday night and grill steaks, play games in front of a crackling fire, and then dip strawberries and pound cake into chocolate fondue. It was a very sweet evening, and full of love. :)
I didn't quite get Rowan's doll sweater done, but it's close. I'm not happy with the way the i-cords look or lay, and the nubbly yarn makes for chunky seams. At Knit Night tonight, I'll finish the seams and sew on some snaps. And be glad to have it done!
I have one knitted heart left to go, and then my Brownie's gifts will be ready for our Wednesday meeting. I'm making 15, so that nobody gets "stuck" with the last one. I'll give the extra to the mom helping out that day. 
My Simple Abundance journey took a hiatus this past week, but I am back on track with the reading, and have been actively coming up with things I am grateful for during this tumultuous time. Today, I am grateful for:

1. Friends who keep calling, emailing, and taking me out for lemon martinis (thanks, Liz!), and offering to babysit (thanks, Dawn and Jennifer!)
2. Extended family who keep sending words of support, encouragement, wisdom, and hope.
3. Immediate family, who are my rock of Gibraltar in troubled times (Brad) and my pride and joy (Rowan and Brynn).
4. Knit Night, because I get to surround myself with people who care and who need a night off as badly as I do!
5. Chocolate. Seriously, could it be any yummier or more cheering?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snotty...but Still Crafting

I've had healthier weeks, let's just put it that way. Finally saw the doctor this morning, got some antibiotics, and hopefully will feel better and get some decent sleep soon.

And suddenly it's February, and we're off and running! (Seriously, people, I just don't have time to be sick. And as a mom, I don't get to take a day off. Especially when Dad is sick too!)

I had to laugh as I uploaded photos from my camera to my computer today. Clearly, Rowan had a little photo shoot which included some fuzzy pictures of Brynn, as well as at least a dozen images of the TV. Here are a couple (and no, I won't bore you with the TV photos.)

In knitting news, the baby hat is blocked and done now, poms and all...
and after 30 minutes of trying to match something in my yarn stash to a pattern I wanted to try, I ended up choosing a doll sweater (Italian Ice) and some nubby cotton yarn I bought for a baby sweater a year ago and didn't use. 

The main body of the doll sweater is also blocked and dry and ready for the neck and sleeves. I am going to try and finish it by Valentine's Day to give to Rowan. The little colorful piping along the edges will be in green and pink.

Doll sweater, back (and true to color)
While waiting for the sweater to dry, I also embarked on a heart-making project for my Brownies. We're doing a "Secret Pal" gift exchange in February, and each girl is to make something for her secret pal. I decided to make something for each of the girls too, and remembered the heart washcloths my mom has made in the past for Valentine's Day. Rather than make a large washcloth, I adapted the pattern to a smaller size. The girls can use them as a coaster, a rug for their Barbie house, a doll pillow - whatever! I will make 14, all different, using some yarn from my stash and a few new skeins. Here's what I have done so far. They need to be blocked as well!
At our house, February also means Superbowl Sunday. We have a few neighbors and friends over for a potluck bash. With all the basement cleaning efforts this past month, our family room is ready to go and clutter-free for the party! I barely ever see the basement during the party, as I am usually on mom-duty upstairs with the kids. In preparation, I always get our $1 squares board for the adults and prize game board for the kids ready. 

This year, each kiddo who attends the party will get a giant Hershey bar wrapped with a special paper (even when I'm sick and sleepless, I can get 'er done.)
Recently, a friend turned me on to a book called Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  I've been taking daily dips into the wisdom it provides (albeit, sometimes a little to flowery for my taste but there are still some gems there.) I have started writing daily in my "Gratitude Journal" to help me keep track of the good things in my life, and on each day's reading I highlight a sentence that strikes a chord and is something I want to do or remember. Today, February 1, I highlighted "commit to a weekly creative excursion: a regular, solo rendezvous with your authentic self."  In a way, blogging is it's own creative excursion, right? Well, I guess I can check that off my list this week!