“I can think of several times in my life when knitting kept me from slapping some fool upside the head.”~Stephanie Pearl McPhee

I have several of Stephanie’s books floating around the house just now.  I can’t really say that I’m reading them exactly.  I mostly find myself just closing my eyes during any potential reading moments.  Sometimes the book is nearby, if that counts for anything.

Spots on the family futon sick bed are awarded on a greatest need basis.  We’re kind of just living all one on top of another.  You know that scene in one of the Little House books where they all have malaria and Laura is trying to crawl, dragging herself across the floor to get Mary a drink of water?  There were times this week that felt like that, only perhaps a bit less dramatic (perhaps more, there was often more than one person crying).  Today was good though.  It was a beautiful day and all five children felt well enough to play.  I can’t tell you what a relief that was.  I’ve been so worried.  Perhaps things are starting to turn around.

I started a new knitting project.  One that I can work on even with my eyes closed.  The idea came from one of those Yarn Harlot books.  It’s a knitted scrap book- scrap blanket? of sorts using all of the yarn leftover from old projects.  It’s like the crazy quilt of the knitting world.  What really sold me on it was the fringe, read as: less ends to work in.  In theory there should be no ends, but since I insist on using even tiny balls of yarn that won’t make it the full 280 stitches across a row, there will still be some finishing work for me.

I’m working a single row of each yarn leaving a long tail at either side. Every 4 rows I knot the ends from those rows together.  The only color rule I’ve applied to it is that I’m alternating a neutral and color every other row.  My theory being that it might help to blend this crazy range of hues together.  

There is something very cathartic about this project and also something deeply comforting.  It’s helping me to keep patient and hope.  Cotton from booties beside wool from a birthday sweater, next to yarn from a shawl, bordering yardage from a diaper cover.  In a way this really is our story.  It’s about the past, but also the future; using up those last little bits to make room for the projects, and the accompanying milestones, to come.

All three boys have picked it up at one point or another and sat knitting anything from a few stitches to a few rows.  Mairi made her very first stitches on this blanket, working in some of the leftover yarn from the little elf cap I made for her when she was a baby.  I added a stripe of the yarn she chose for her first project right after it.  We will always remember that little spot, knit by a “perfectly medium sized girl” glowing with pride.  Afterwards she declared that she might just be a “perfectly big girl” now.

In addition to starting to learn to knit this week, Mairi Rose is learning to read.  The book pictured is Living Alphabet, for those interested!



Iain and Seraphina: A sick baby pile up.  I was off caring for another child when she awoke.  He picked her up and she fell back to sleep on him.

Mairi Rose:  This week she discovered two wiggly teeth and learned to knit.  It’s hard to say which she is more excited about.  Yesterday she said to me very sincerely, “Mommy, I think I’m going to be like you and knit a lot of the time.”



In the 10 days since we’ve been back I have fought off an infection, contracted a cold, developed a severely (according the the chiropractor) pinched nerve in my lower back that prevented me from lifting my legs higher than a couple of inches and made it impossible to do things like sleep or find a comfortable (read as non-excruciating) position ever and today I was officially diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  Again.  That’s without even mentioning the ailments of the rest of the family, some of which we haven’t even been able to identify yet.  I think I’m ready to be done with this week please.


bountiful blooms

Below you will find the post I abandoned in the chaos of preparing for our trip.  I came back with an infection, everyone came down with a cold, my storage devise is informing me that there is no room left for my pictures.  I haven’t so much as managed to finish unpacking.  And I’m generally feeling at odds with the world at the moment, but trying hard to get back on track.  So in the mean time…

We’ve reached that glorious time of year where people just bring in wild armfuls of blossoms and foliage.  The peonies are amazing.  Every year I think I will make some sort of form to hold them up and I never do.  They just flop their giant, blowsy, tousled ruffle covered heads every which way.  After four summers here, our flower garden is really starting to come into it’s own.

I had been reading a gardening book by Christopher Lloyd when Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden arrived at the library for me.  I found myself completely gobsmacked by the photographs, the stories, the little hints here and there and perhaps most of all the sensuous descriptions of so many wonderful plants.  I want to look up each and every variety mentioned.  I’m afraid the venerable Mr. Lloyd very quickly found himself unceremoniously tossed aside.   So sorry Chris!

I whipped up a quick pair of spring green toddler booties to replace the outgrown striped pair.  I divide the yarn up just so, making sure there was enough left to finish the two ties, with perhaps a mere inch of yarn left to spare.  Having been called away after just having finished the second one, I returned to find two booties and one tie.  The other is lost, seemingly never to be found again.*  It’s been several days now, but I’m still holding out hope (secretly I’m still holding out hope that the half finished sweater that I lost while on vacation 7 years ago will somehow miraculously reappear in my life, just to put my hope when it comes to lost knitwear into perspective).

* It has since been found closed up in a math book!



We’re home, safe and sound.  I haven’t had a chance to transfer my pictures yet.  I fell behind on the 52 project as I was busy preparing for our trip, so I thought I would take this chance to start catching up.  There are actually pictures of all of them, counting the giant feet!


Cherishing Womb Wraps

“I want us as women to enjoy our timeless beauty and feminine essence.”

~ Claire, owner and creator of Cherishing Woman

I’ve recently had the privilege of trying a womb wrap for the first time.  It’s a concept I became interested in after my last pregnancy.  On her inspiration for creating these wraps, Claire says,  “I was needing the comfort and warmth on a physical level as well as on an emotional/comfort level. Like feeling wrapped in loving arms and held there all day till taking it off.”

My wrap is the lilac organic cotton one.  I tie it a little funny.  I don’t do well with things tied around my waist, so I wrap it around my hip bones instead, which would also work well during pregnancy.  My bone structure in that area isn’t terribly stable, so that bit of extra support doesn’t hurt either.

The idea is to bring warmth and a very gentle support to the back, kidneys, and womb area.  The wrap itself is a pleasant thing, and it’s worth wearing as is, but the really incredible, brilliant part is this: there is I pocket.  I know, you are so not impressed, right?  But wait, there is more.  This is not just any pocket.  Oh, no.  This is a pocket to hold a hot water bottle!  Right there, all attached to your body!  Front or back, where ever you need it!  Hands free, going about your life all warm and cozy and comforted!  I think that other people -normal people- may not be as in love with hot water bottles as I am.  But here is the thing- other people are just wrong because hot water bottles are wonderful.  You know that kind of chronic pain that you get so used to living with that you don’t even really recognize it as being there anymore?  It’s just the background noise of your body until something happens to relieve it a bit and that little reprieve is just pure bliss?

I can’t help but think how amazing this would be for a postpartum mother.  It would certainly be a truly unique gift.  You can totally lay and nurse comfortably with a hot water bottle kept in just the right spot.  I know, I tried.  The wee miss liked it too and drifted off quicker then usual.

I’ve been eyeing up the grey bamboo fleece for winter time when I’m always cold.  I think it must be like the equivalent of a teddy bear for grown ups girls.



What is it really like to have a large active family with a multitude of food allergies?  With in this house there is at least one person who can’t handle each of the following: eggs, dairy, gluten, corn, grains of any sort, legumes (all beans and peanuts), chocolate, mold in food (including fungi- in other words, mushrooms), almonds and potatoes.

Special feeding circumstances I have to contend with this week include; backpack food for children on a day long hike, back to back dance recitals, a potluck, group family day on the beach-including picnic lunch, and planning for a week long camping trip.

It’s currently 11:45 pm.  I’m sitting here with 24 lbs worth of sleeping baby on my back.  The older boys were kind enough to make some dairy free ice cream before going to bed.  It’s chilling for a special event tomorrow.  They do, however, seem to have neglected the cleaning up part.  I have strips of beef marinating in the fridge, mango slices (they were having a big blow out sale) and strawberry fruit leather drying in the dehydrator, I just took a crustless pumpkin pie out to cool and put some plantain based sesame bread sticks in to bake.  I still have to figure out what to pack for two little ones who will be away from home tomorrow.  They are supposed to bring “light, non-messy, nut free snacks”.  Graham crackers, pretzels or cheese sticks were suggested.  Uh-huh.

My advice to you?  Make babies that tolerate a wide range of foods.