Shale Baby Blanket

Finally finished. The baby blanket that was meant to bring Sophia home from the hospital in will be for her first birthday.


First time blocking with blocking wires. I didn’t do a great job with them, but good enough.






Patter: Shale Baby Blanket, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers
Started: 3/5/13
Finished: 7/21/14

Ravelry notes here.

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Throwback Thursday

A couple of Instagram friends raided their old Flickr accounts for old pictures for Throwback Thursday, and it was super fun to see their photos from two, five, or even eight years ago. I wasn’t on Flickr for long, and haven’t even looked at the account for years, but their posts made me curious about what might still be there. There were about 550 photos to reminisce over, but there were a few that struck me because I can see little glimpses of my future (now present) life.

First there was the room I redecorated when I moved back in with my parents for a year before I got married (I didn’t know Paul yet).


First, that single bed, where I slept all by myself every night. Hard to even remember what it was like to sleep all night long by myself, without four other people waking me up! Last night I was woken up practically every hour, and ended up with a baby in my bed at 6 am-ish. That chest next to my bed became our first “preschool” shelf as we gathered around it for our very first year of learning at home. That green rug is now in our current playroom/learning room. And this Mystical Supper icon has hung over all four of our family’s dining rooms.



That chair, old even back then, has now had three babies nursed in it and now sits in the children’s room, where I sing to them in it every night. That little nightstand, and the cloth on top of it, is still next to the chair, with a bouquet of flowers that Miriam picked out on her recent day along with Mama, and a guardian angel icon. The knitting basket on the floor has been repurposed as our preschool book basket.

Of course, the most obvious thing when looking at these is that it’s so tidy. It was a tiny room to move back in to after living in a house, so it’s plenty cluttered, but still, I could put things away and have them stay there. I could paint a floor white and have it not be the dumbest idea ever. I admit I might feel a tinge of nostalgia for that, but, of course, I’d much rather have the mess and chaos of my little munchkins any day.


And speaking of munchkins, the other photos I saved from my Flickr today were of my first little munchkins. I was a live-in nanny for two children, and when the boy was four and the girl was two, the mama had another girl. Sound familiar? Yeah, I got married and basically copied their family exactly. How crazy is that? It’s not like you can plan these things. Eight years later, I have a thoughtful, curious, slightly bossy, dark-haired, brown-eyed four year old; a funny, mischievous, three year old with curly dirty blonde hair and brown eyes; and a sweet baby girl, the only one with blue eyes. Exactly like my little nanny-babies. Before I left them they gave me a coffee cup with the three of them on it, just a little younger than my three kids are now. It strikes me as strange anew every time I use the coffee cup.



And guess what else I was doing eight years ago? That’s right, wearing babies. I met nanny-baby number three the day she was born, and just two weeks after she was born, I started caring for her for most of the work day. Her parents were devoted babywearers, and had brought their favorite carriers with them from Israel, where they were from (and, alas, where they returned). So that nanny job was great practice for caring for babies. I left that nanny job to take a job back home for a family with six children seven and under, so I had quite a lot of practice under my belt before I had my little James!



Those four girls became my flower girls less than one year later.


That was a fun little trip down memory lane!

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Yarn Along: First Birthday Ball


After nearly a year and a half, a new baby and a giant knitting break, I finally finished the Shale Baby Blanket. I’m sure that will get blogged soon, after it’s done blocking. So now I am reveling in being able to knit little tiny things that are done in a day or two. Yesterday I started a little ball to felt for Sophia’s first birthday next week (I’ve knit one before). I had all the yarn in random single skeins or scraps (including scraps from the aforementioned blanket), except after knitting four colors I decided it was sorely in need of goldenrod. Luckily (or not, depending on your perspective) a new yarn store opened up just a few minutes down the road. I ran out after dinner, and from going out to the garage to coming back in took twelve minutes, and then I was in possession of some goldenrod.

The yarn is wound for an autumn cardigan for James, my only child to never receive a Mama-made sweater. My grandmother lives part-time in Ireland and brings back beautiful handknit wool sweaters, so he’s never needed one. But I bought yarn in Ireland to finally make him one. Hopefully will cast on tonight after I finish this little ball.

As for reading, I was listening to Great Expectations aloud during my morning walks. I’ve had to keep my morning walks to only once or twice a week lately, because otherwise I get a tendonitis flareup, and I decided I much prefer reading books to listening to them. It’s amazing to me to compare the experience of listening and reading the same book. It engages different senses and affects both my experience and memory of the story.

I’m a day late for a Yarn Along, but I will link it anyway.

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Nature Walk Fridays

FishingIMG_3244 IMG_3259

IMG_3268 IMG_3273

I love Maidenhair ferns.IMG_3279

I took 180 pictures and Miriam is running in about two thirds of them.IMG_3281

I decided I needed evidence of the last days of baby feet before they turn into big kid feet.IMG_3295 IMG_3317 IMG_3335 IMG_3343 IMG_3349 IMG_3351

Stinging nettle. See below :(IMG_3353 IMG_3354 IMG_3372

“Miriam, what do you think might live in that little hole?” “A DRAGON!”IMG_3373

“Mama, we found a CASTLE!”IMG_3378

Aaaaaalmost asleep little one.IMG_3383 wrap

We have a new spot that we love – the nature preserve trails behind the Portland Audubon Society. We play at Balch Creek for a while, eat a snack or lunch depending on the time, and then take a little hike. We don’t have any “learning agenda” but the kids like to know what plants and bugs are so we do our best to figure it out. Unfortunately, this last trip necessitated a lesson in how to identify stinging nettles after Miriam pushed a tall one away with her hand. And that experience made them very wary of the Oregon Grape growing everywhere for some reason, so they learned that one too.

We always leave way too late, like after 10 am. One of these days I will learn to get everything packed and ready Thursday night. I carry Sophia in a wrap in front (she’s usually tied on to my back, but I wear a backpack for our hikes) and took a bunch of baby selfies. She’s such a ham. She always notices the camera and makes her giant wide mouth grin at her picture in the lens.

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Photo Shoot Fail

Fact: getting everyone to look at the camera and not look distressed becomes exponentially more difficult with each added child. I have a photographer friend with nine children. She got a Christmas picture with all eleven members of the family looking fabulous. She said it took three days, and I’m pretty sure Photoshop was involved. Anyway, here’s what happened when I tried to get my children to sit still and pose for a 4th of July picture.

Sophia plots her escape.


Sophia is foiled.




Look, two out of three!


I gave up and tried individual pictures.



If I knew how to edit photos, I would Photoshop out that scrape on Sophia’s nose (from when she tried to escape out the back patio door), but alas, it will stay.


Seriously, why won’t these people let me go.




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Clover Cross

I love the piety of children. James brought me a few clover flowers. I told him it might be nice if he added them to the little of vase of “Mary flowers” the children are responsible for. Instead, he brought me back his little wooden cross, that he had attached the clover flowers to (rather ingeniously, by separating the two pieces, tucking the stems in, and reattaching it). He told me, “I thought it would look nice, like the big cross with the flowers and Jesus on it with the crown” [he's talking about the large cross that the priest nails an icon of Christ to and carries through the church during Holy Week, which is later adorned with a crown of roses while we await the Resurrection]. I love that he makes these connections all on his own.

He asked me to take a picture of his cross, and I did, and immediately wrote this down to remember.


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Yarn Along: Shale Baby Blanket


This is my first Yarn Along in a long time, because I quit knitting for a long time. I started knitting a baby blanket for my third baby almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant with her. It is the Shale Baby Blanket by Jared Flood. Sophia was born nearly eleven months ago, and I thought her blanket would be finished soon after she was born. Other than making her a little capped-sleeved sweater (that was easy to knit up with her in my arms), I haven’t knit much of anything since. I spent most of those eleven months holding a baby. I was so happy to have Sophia sleep in my arms nearly all the time, and she was happy to do it until she started being able to put herself to sleep in her bed just recently. So I’ve finally picked up her baby blanket again. It’s getting close to done, and I really hope she can have it for her first birthday at least!

I’ve just started reading The Religious Potential of the Child. I’m so intrigued by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the work some have done to adapt it for Orthodox children. I’m looking forward to reading this book that is the foundation of the Catechesis. Liturgical worship is so well suited for the way children learn, and I have always sought to make my children’s religious education as physical and experiential as possible, but can definitely use some more ideas on creatively bringing them into the spiritual and liturgical life.

Joining Ginny today.

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