What’s Next

Nov 29, 2017

There were so many small, but important thoughts I had today. A conversation with a friend that solidified and stitched together all these disconnected ideas I’ve had into something I’m equal parts so excited about and so clueless about some of the skill set required. But I’ve learned over and over that nothing motivates me to learn a new skill like a project I’m excited about, so here we go.

Write More

Nov 27, 2017

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with this space next year. I definitely want to keep writing and sharing here, but I think it’s going to be in a very different medium than my blabbering thoughts thrown together before hitting my pillow each night. I think I’ve got a pretty clear vision for what I want my 2018 blogging goal to be, but I’m not ready to share it yet, so instead I thought I’d give some honest insight and reflection about what it’s meant for me to keep this year’s goal: write on my blog every day in 2017.

I guess I should start by saying that, more than anything, it’s been a very positive experience. I really didn’t have a clear vision in mind of what my posts this year would be like. I just knew I wanted to write more. And what’s funny about that is that I’d say about 97% of what I’ve written on here this year has been some of the worst, sloppiest, most boring writing I’ve ever done in my life.

I’ve only sometimes re-read the posts to check for spelling/grammar/clarity of ideas communicated, which is especially terrible because most of the posts were written in a tired haze after 1 am. A lot of the posts have been lists. A lot were complaining about the discomforts of pregnancy. The vast majority were things I decided to write about there on the spot because I just had to write something to check off the box.

But.

A few were pieces of writing I actually really enjoyed crafting and sending out into the world.

And.

All those lists? The thrown-together, well-I’m-writing-something-might-as-well-think-out-loud lists? Those have actually propelled me into a lot of good actionable things this year. It’s crazy how just writing something down can validate that thought and make it real. Or how well list-making often focuses my mind and helps me recognize opportunities better when they come along.

Like, for example, I might never have enrolled in a sweater class if I hadn’t written down that it was something I wanted to learn. Not even so much in a mindset of like “I wrote it down so now I must do it,” but more like, “Yeah, that is something I’d like to do. Hmm, I wonder if that fabric & yarn shop I like has knitting classes. Oh they do. Oh, well, I don’t like these projects, but I’m interested in knitting a sweater. Oh and that class is on Saturdays when I could actually make that work. Hmm, well if a lot of their classes are on Sundays and this one is one I’m interested in and actually fits my schedule then maybe I should just go for it.” And then talk it through with my husband and hem and haw (ha?) over it a little longer and then, “Oh look they’re having a deal on classes. Ok yeah I’m gonna do this.” Click. Purchase. “Hi, I’m here for the sweater knitting class?”

So often I don’t recognize fully what it is I want or need until I say it out loud. Or, write it down.

Here’s something else I’ve gained (ok, at least a little) from writing here every day: I’m becoming a better writer. My voice is getting more–what’s the word?–stronger? clearer? more relaxed? Or maybe the answer is just more me. Not that all this necessarily shows in the trash I’ve been throwing at you daily here (sorry), but I confess I’ve also been doing some writing that I haven’t shared at all yet and I feel both more comfortable and confident in it than I did before.

And I’m going to wrap up in a minute now, but I also wanted to make it really transparent here that, while there have been a lot of positive things that have come as a result of writing here every day, in the moment I’ve mostly hated it. I think it was about Jan 2 when I first started regretting having made this goal and then I basically dragged myself through the year with both feet dragging behind through the dirt. But is there any other way through it? And, anyway, it was often the worst-written, least-thought-out posts that propelled me forward: the lists. So maybe it just goes to show that there’s a lot to be said for trash writing. And for honesty in the upward battle of betterment.

My husband asked me the other day how to become a better writer and I told him the thing I always hear other people say, which is to read more. And, yes, I agree with that and I do love reading other people’s writing, but the truer piece of advice I really ought to have given him was the one I’ve come to live by, which is: write more.

How else can you learn the way you like to write and what you like to share and what you don’t? How else but through all the muddled, terrible, embarrassing writing can the worthwhile bits emerge? And how else will you ever form the habit? For, to write is to think, far more than it ever is the matter of putting the letters down. To think in sentences and scenes and the sounds and sequences that feel right deep down. To think in poetry and spill it out in stories. Choosing words and letting words choose you. And one-upping the Neil Diamond fade out and just plain ending the thing.

Long term list of things I want to make

Nov 26, 2017

Often I make lists of things I want to accomplish that day or that week or in the near future, but here’s a list I’d love to complete that could take years. More a becoming I’m after, the memories I want my children and guests and friends and family to have in and under and around the makes. (And, it probably goes without saying, but of course this list is not comprehensive.) In no particular order…

  • Matching/coordinating hand-quilted quilts for the boys’ twin beds
  • Hand-quilted quilt for Olivia’s twin bed
  • Hand knit or crocheted blankets for each child’s bed
  • A sweater for Bryan
  • At least one sweater for each child
  • A big basketful of cozy quilts in the living room to curl up under

Digging the roots of our traditions another year deeper

Nov 24, 2017

The kids couldn’t wait. They breakfasted and played and got dressed and made their beds and brushed their teeth and cheered when we finally said it was time to go pick out a Christmas tree. It wasn’t a picturesque tree lot where we cut it down ourselves; it was just Costco and the friendly guy wearing work gloves standing at the back of the semi truck full of pre-wrapped trees who grabbed one and helped Bryan load it in our car. But for all the smiling and pointing and giggling the kids did we might as well have picked the best one on the lot. It was perfect.

We came home and brought up all the decorations from the basement and went to town. Nearly all the regular pictures and things came down and have since been replaced by a fresh dusting of holiday greetings all over the house. And finally, when Bryan had wrapped all the lights so expertly around the tree, it was time. I opened up all our bins of ornaments and called the kids in and they squealed and gasped over every single one they unwrapped. And we kept unwrapping and hanging years of funky old ornaments all over that tree until it was nearly as full as a Thanksgiving belly and when we stood back to admire our handiwork we all agreed–it was perfect.

And while I did haul near-empty storage boxes back down to the basement for a good long while after the kids went to bed, I simply can’t give any explanation for what I’ve ever done in my life to be blessed with such a wonderful husband and such sweet, bright children. More often than not our family is busy and tired and flowing from one change into another, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just perfect.

Speaking of gratitude

Nov 23, 2017

I had a thought this evening as I was inwardly bemoaning all the many inconveniences of breastfeeding: that, aside from its innumerable benefits and blessings, perhaps the one I treasure most is that snuggle time with my baby. As they start eating solids and nursing less and less I always feel so selfishly liberated by being tied down with fewer and fewer feedings. But. There always comes this moment when they’re done nursing or almost done and it occurs to me that they’re never coming back to snuggle with me that much ever again. It’s not just their diet that’s changed, but by this time they’re mobile and running around and no longer circling back to me every few hours for quiet time to snuggle up to me while I feel their dimpled little elbows. They get bigger. And while I can sincerely say I love and enjoy my eight year old just as much as my three year old and five month old and hallelujah there are good days ahead–I can’t help but find that one moment so grounding. To be running smiling and open-armed into the future with them, but just for that one present minute to feel them heavy and asleep in your arms, their cheeks warm and soft, their whole little body so peaceful and snuggled. If there’s anything about being a parent I’ve learned to do better now on my third child, it’s knowing that moment is coming. And soaking in those warm sleepy cheeks a few hundred extra times before it does.

Leap of faith

Nov 22, 2017

Welp, I got all the orders from last night packaged up (boy do I love me a good packaging sesh) and then took a leap of faith and ordered a bunch more wool felt and boxes for more kitties. Eeee. As my niece once so eloquently put it, I’m feeling very “nervicited.”

Sold out

Nov 21, 2017

Listed 47 kitties for sale in the shop this evening and they’ve already all sold out! I can hardly believe it. I’ve long felt that a good barometer for knowing whether something is good to sell/share is that you love it so much that you want everyone to have one, but also that you want to keep each and every one for yourself. I feel that way about fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and I’ve felt that way about these kitties from the very first one I made. I’m so excited and grateful to get to share them with so many. Can’t wait to get these kitties mailed out to their new friends and get started on some more!