Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas came a little early...

I've been tearing up all morning long. I can't seem to stop the tears from coming. I put on my waterproof mascara this morning because I knew I'd be weepy all day. These are good tears. Our God is so good. This morning we had the privilege of attending the official adoption hearing of our god daughter.

About 7 years ago our close friends had a baby girl who was born in June with Edward's syndrome. She was tiny and precious. We called her our little fairy. She was only here with us for 6 months and then she went home to be with her heavenly father. I'll never forget that call early in December when my girlfriend called to say that Paige was gone. Needless to say, we were broken hearted. We've never really gotten over baby Paige. We probably never will.

A couple of years after Paige had been gone, my friend (her mother) said to me..."I just have this feeling that God's going to drop a baby on our doorstep one day." I smiled and listened and my heart twinged because I honestly thought the odds of that were very slim. I gave her adoption agency names and of course prayed for her and her family. They eventually decided to go through the state in the hopes of adopting. If you know anything about adoptions now a days they are horrendously expensive and the process is very lengthy. They didn' t want to go that route. The odds however, of adopting a baby through the state is very small. But, they felt that this was the route that they were to take.

In February of 2007 my girlfriend called me and said, "I have a baby girl here at the house, I picked her up this morning." My immediate thoughts were something along the lines of "Did you abduct her?!? What do you mean you have a baby girl?" She told me how she had gotten a call from the Department of Social Services and that they would be fostering this little bundle with the potential hope of adoption depending on how the whole situation went. The Department's goal is always reunification with the parents. We were thrilled and we loved her along with them and found ourselves falling head over heels in love with this sweet little girl who looked to be a perfect match for our friends. One day a couple of months into the whole fostering thing and my girlfriend and I were having coffee and she shared, "If we have to give her back, it will break my heart, but I'll keep loving her as long as I have her. I really believe that's what God want us to love and keep on loving." There have been long days since that cold February morning that they picked her up with nothing but the clothes on her tiny little self. But it was all so worth it, because today she became a legal member of their family. I say legal because she's been a part of them from the moment they picked her up. So we had ourselves a great big celebration this morning as Christmas came early in the form of a sweet little girl. God is so good, He took something that broke hearts and He has redeemed it for such good. When I look at the unconditional love that our friends have given I am so reminded of His unconditional love for us. Ray doesn't replace one could ever take the place of another. But God in His goodness graced our friend's (and our) lives with another little girl who needed the love of a family. Merry Christmas! May you experience His redeeming unconditional love this season for yourself!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

wrapping it up!

Thanks for all the sweater love. Your words made me beam. Honestly. Thanks for taking the time to leave such sweet, thoughtful comments. You all are great!

Just like at your house, things here are busy as we finish the holiday preparations, tape up the last of the presents, bake cookies and finish checking off our lists.
In the midst of the "got to do stuff" we went to some friend's house to decorate gingerbread houses. They had some kind of set up. They've been doing this for about a zillion years and they have it down to a science. Our hostess had stations set up for everyone to work on their gingerbread house. Since it was our first time being invited they made our gingerbread house pieces (from scratch) for us. All total they made 16 batches of gingerbread. Next year we bring our own! The entire time we were decorating, our hostess was making royal icing. She kept whipping up batches of icing and filling bags with tips for us to use. Everyone (there were about 22 people) quickly got into the construction and decorating of their homes. It was so much fun. Since everyone brought candy to share there were plenty of choices. The houses all turned out so unique and so creative. We were so excited to have been invited! We had a blast! Thanks to the P's for the great day!do you notice the mailbox on the right side? so cute!

these rock candies were so fun.

I've also finished the last of the hand knits that we're giving as gifts! Isn't that a song..."The last hat of Christmas"? Anyways...these are ready to be wrapped and sent to my nephews. You can find the details here.

Aren't these tags cute? I'm not sure my nephews (all teenage boys) will appreciate them the way I know you all will. I found them last year as a pdf on the web. I'll keep looking to see if I can find them... and then I'll post the link.

Tonight, coach will deliver these ornaments for his players. They were so easy and fun to make. If you have any last minute bulk gifts to do...go get yourself a paint pen and some ornaments, add a bow and you're done!

We've delivered our gifts to the neighbors and we're enjoying all that Christmas brings with it. I read this morning in my quiet time how we need to take the time to give a gift to ourselves this holiday season. It's not a selfish thing to think about gifting ourselves. Perhaps you need the gift of some quiet so you can reflect on the meaning of the season. Or maybe you need the gift of a reconciled relationship, or some time with a friend. Take time for yourself these last few days before Christmas...allow yourself to be blessed. By giving yourself gifts of peace and joy, you're allowing God to bless you with His grace and you're allowing Him to take care of you. Whatever your day looks like, I hope it is a blessed one! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


My February Lady Sweater is completely done! I put the buttons on last night and my daughter helped with the photos this morning. (thanks Maggie)
this is me on the way outside for some photos...I'm giddy with excitement!
I love this sweater! It feels great on and I'm sure I'll wear it lots this winter. It was a great pattern to follow and I would recommend it to anyone. The gull lace pattern is easy to read and memorize. I used a kfb increase on the yoke and if I were to do it again, I would leave out the eyelets on the yoke. I don't mind them horribly, but I think I'd prefer the sweater without them. This color looks a little washed's a much darker green than this.
Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing. I read on Ravelry that this sweater grows a lot when you block it and I would agree. I got an extra 2 1/2 inches on my sleeves after blocking. They turned out more 7/8 instead of 3/4 length sleeves...oh well. The other nice thing about this pattern is that because it is knit from the top down in one piece, you can try it on as you go. This is great because you can see how the sweater is looking on you and then you can add length to the body or the sleeves. When Kristyn and I were in my LYS a lady came in and we got to talking. She mentioned that she had just finished the FLS. She also added that she knit it in 2 weeks! Wow! Not me. Took me two months. But it was worth it. Love it.

Here's the knitty gritty:

Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne

Yarn: Ella Rae Classic Worsted in hunter green (I think it's more like a loden) I used 5 1/2 skeins

Needles: used size 7 circulars and bound off with size 9

Size: 41" bust - I did 20 lace repeats on both the body and the sleeves with 6 garter ridges at the edges.

Mods: only change was the kfb increase when knitting the yoke

Saturday, December 13, 2008

you know it's bad

On Friday, White's Ferry had some issues. White's Ferry is a privately owned ferry that offers transportation across the Potomac river between Maryland and Virginia. We use White's Ferry several times a year. But on Friday, during rush hour, the Gen. Jubal A. Early (that's the ferry's name) got stuck. Floating debris got the cables all clogged up and about 2 dozen passengers had to be taken off by rescue boats...while their vehicles remained on the ferry. Nobody was hurt...just delayed. Two hours later rescue workers were able to get the ferry back to land and the commuters were allowed to get into their vehicles and resume their commute.

My first thought after I heard the report was..."I bet they wished they had their knitting with them while they waited!" - You know it's bad when big chunks of time like that look like knitting opportunities!
photo by Barbara L. Salisbury/Washington Times

Here are a couple of things from my weekend that made me smile:

  • Spending time with my oldest as we traveled back and forth to a holiday tournament...she's such a great kid!
  • the truth of this verse: "Lord you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." Isaiah 26:12

  • listening to all 3 kids talk in English accents as they played Narnia on X-box.

  • a surprise decoration from my mom that looks great on my front step! (it's the tin sign with the candle)
  • a great big chunk of knitting time...finished sweater post is coming! Check back later this week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

magical transformation

"To set up a tree in the house, to bake special cookies, take time from work, set aside money, to gather in whomever we can of friends and family, to surround ourselves with special music of great power; these things create a radical change in what is ordinary in our lives. It is a magic time." John Vannorsdall-former Yale chaplain
I love to decorate my home. I greet each new season with new decorations and Christmas is definitely one of my favorite times of year. This year, I have a confession to make, I decorated early. I have this thing about not wanting to rush the holidays and I was making every effort not to crowd out or rush Thanksgiving...but I did decorate for Christmas during the week of Thanksgiving. (gasp!) I did so because when I looked ahead on my calendar I knew I wouldn't have the time to do so (the way I wanted to) after Thanksgiving...we had friends coming in from out of town, basketball tournaments and a Christmas play all on the schedule. I'm so glad I did this. My neighbor came over the day before Thanksgiving and saw some things hanging in the windows. "I hope those are turkeys and not wreaths", she said. We laughed because she knows how I am. She knows how much I like to decorate. The whole decorating thing takes time. I have a lot of Christmas decorations. Every room gets some kind of magical touch for the holidays. That kind of transformation takes time. I was glad to not have rushed through it. I really enjoyed having the ability to put up things at my leisure.
That makes me think about my knitting. Yes, this is a 'stitching' blog and I know some of you come here for the knitting. I have been knitting (really), but I don't have any finished products to show you. You see I'm in the process. I've been working on my February Lady Sweater since October. I'm on the sleeves but still not done. My mom has such wisdom and she's been encouraging me to enjoy the process. That's fine when the process takes a week or two, but when it stretches out longer than 2 months I find myself getting a bit impatient. But she's right. Life is all about enjoying the process. Allowing myself the mental space to sit back and enjoy where I am in whatever area is in process. Just like I really enjoyed my decorating, I want to enjoy (or at least not fight) the process of progress in other areas of my life. Including these never ending sleeves.

I saw a friend yesterday. We haven't talked in a's been a hard thing. When I saw her, she was driving into the parking lot that I happened to be driving out. I waved to her as our vehicles passed but she didn't even turn her head to look my way. I understand. She's in process too. Be patient with others and with yourself this holiday season. It's all a process and everyone's in different places along the way. God promises that He is in the business of 'transforming us from glory to glory". Transformation takes time. Be patient with each other...who knows which glory spot that person is on and which one they're headed to next. And enjoy the decorations! They totally remind us that this is a magical time!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Works for Me Wednesday!
I love know the things that you do from year to year. Traditions have a way of grounding you. In our family, they seem to be the things that the kids always remember as special. We have several different traditions in our house. Some are ones we've been doing a long time, like exchanging Christmas ornaments on Christmas Eve - just my guy and me. Other traditions are a bit newer, like reading a Christmas story together during the month of December. This year's book is KEEPING HOLIDAY. We've started a new tradition (for us) this year and that's our Jesse Tree. A Jesse Tree is actually an advent activity where every night we read a Bible selection. The Bible selection has an ornament that corresponds to it. After we read the scripture selection for the night and talk about it with the questions provided, the kids then hang the ornament on the Jesse Tree. (Our tree is actually a garland that I picked up for 2.99.) The name 'Jesse Tree' comes from Isaiah 11:1 "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." That verse actually begins the Advent season. We started with the Robbs on December 1st. It's been a great investment as the kids are getting glimpses of Jesus all the way through the Bible. I know we're already into the advent season, but this is something that I think you could easily pick up anywhere along the way. Don't let the fact that December is already underway stop you. Each scripture stands on it's own so you could really get started anywhere. If you're interested you can look here, for a free resource. You can look here for the ornament patterns. This year the kids just colored the patterns with colored pencils and then mounted them on black card stock. I attached a red ribbon to each one for hanging. For next year, there's already talk of making the ornaments out of felt. (we'll see)
Do you do any advent activities for yourself or with your family? If so, share what you're doing in the comments...I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I received a sale flyer in the mail (surprise) and the title on it was "What will you keepsake this holiday?". I think it was from Hallmark. There was something about that title that has stuck with me as I've been making my lists and checking them twice. I love Christmas and I love everything that goes along with it. I have this nagging thought though, that too many times I set aside the true meaning of the holiday for the imitation stuff that seems to become the pressing matter. I get side tracked with ornaments instead of adoring Him. Wrapping presents takes the place of being in His presence. The holiday parties crowd out the reflecting on the Holy. I guess that's true with so many things in life. The immediate often looms larger than the essential. So, I've been conscientiously trying to remind myself of the bigger picture. That the holiday we're in the process of preparing for is more than my gift lists and my to do list. It's about celebrating the coming of God's one and only Son for us. Christmas is about the most awesome present that we've ever been given.

While our friends were here for Thanksgiving, Kristyn brought with her a December Daily album that she had made. The original idea came from Ali. I fell in love with Kristyn's album and scraplifted her idea. (She was so gracious to allow me to be a copycat!) My original thought was not anything more than documenting the month of December and all that goes into the Spirit of the Season. However, as I've been thinking through each day and what I want to include on each page, the December Daily Album has become a keepsake album for me. It has caused me to look at each day and think about what tidbits I want to record and remember for the future. It's been a powerful reminder of "What will I keepsake from this day?" Working on the page for each day has caused me to celebrate the important in my ordinary days. So great! I'm going to start a flickr album where I'll add the pages as I complete them and if you're interested you can check them out. If not, I won't bore you with my keepsakes. But I encourage you to start your own. You can make one like mine (just cardboard covered pages and odds and ends) or simply get a spiral notebook and journal a tiny bit each day about the special in the ordinary. It's me.

To make your own December Daily album, just get a pack of Holiday scrapbook paper (or if you have a stash..use what you have). Mine is one of those packs that had some stickers with it from Joann's. I used this one. I used leftover cardboard, file folders, page protectors and assorted other things to make each page. Every page is different and each one has a number on it that corresponds to that date in the month of December. I decided to do a front and back for each date so I have 25 pages in my album. I might add some more after Christmas if I want to later. When I was done creating each page, I hole punched them and put them on binder rings. Kristyn found them in the embroidery section of Joann's (they're for your embroidery floss cards.) My front and back covers are heavier weight cardboard. (Almost all of the notepads in our house are now missing their back cover!) Anyways, that's it...if you create one, let me know how it goes. Enjoy your day and remember to look for the keepsakes along the way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

happy tired

Today finds me tired but happy. Too many late nights and early mornings...Our friends from Michigan came and spent some time with us after Thanksgiving. What a great way to kick off the holiday season. We had a wonderful visit. Whenever we're all together we try to cram as much visiting and activity into the time. There's always so much to catch up on and when the visit is over there's still more we wish we had time to do. I think that's good. We're always sad to say "see you later". God has been so good to bless us with friends that are "more like family than friends". Here are some of my favorite 'snippets' from our visit.
I'll be back soon with some projects and other things to share so be sure to check back in....for now I've got to get caught up on some things around here. The laundry pile is calling my name!!