Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A different kind of holiday

Its been a while since I updated on my mom. Sadly, once she got over (if you can really call it that) the pneumonia episode and started the maintenance chemo, we soon learned that the cancer had taken a radical turn. The final stages were on the way. Less than a month ago we were told that her CA125 numbers had seriously jumped, more than quadrupled, actually. The oncologist didn't want to give a prognosis, but since mom and dad asked, he said his best guess is that she'd have about 3 months.

Mom is still hanging on at home, but the day to day care has gotten tougher. I jetted down last weekend and spent 4 full and treasured days with her. Since that time she has been faced with new struggles daily. Its sobering for me to consider how she was just 1 week ago while I was there, and compare it with what my dad is sharing with me now.

She is fighting, he believes, to make it through Christmas at home. And then he thinks she will be ready to go on to be with our Lord. No one can really know, only God, when her name on the Roll will be called. But she is ready. And has been a glorious testimony to peace... the peace that only comes from above. She has been strong and steady and sure through every step of this trial. She is focused on the prize, on the promise. I am so proud of her.

We ask that you pray for mercy and peace for my mother. I ask that you pray for rest for my brain, as I'm burdened with thoughts about how the next few weeks will play out with holiday travels, Santa for my kiddos, and what will happen with my mom in the mix. But surely... I can cope with the details, if she can cope with what the Lord has given her. She is amazing. She is a blessing. She is my hero.

The Battle Is Not Ours

The battle is not ours
We look to God above
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love

I will not be afraid
I will not run and hide
For there is nothing I can't face
when God is at my side
No, there is nothing I can't face
when God is at my side

The battle is not ours
We look to God above
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love ~

Friday, December 01, 2006


You know, I am just enjoying my knitting circle so much. Last night as we sat around the tables at Barnes & Noble one of the girls spontaneously spouted out, "I love you guys. Did I say that before?" It was so dear. And I think the majority of us feel the same way.

Sitting around that table are women of all ages, backgrounds, walks of life, stages of womanhood. But we all leave our own little worlds for a few hours each week to come together and share something we love. We appreciate each other for the things we have in common and the things we don't.

I'm fairly certain that if I'd met some of them under different circumstances, we'd not have clicked. Some of us are just that different. But the thing we all hold so valuable, time spent knitting things for those we love, brings us together and builds our friendships. Its just amazing. I'm so thankful to be a part of it.

He's just a regular guy!

We were at the mall yesterday and stopped by so Andrew could sit on Santa's lap and see him for the first time this holiday season. Andrew had stars in his eyes. This age, 4, is such a fantastic age for Santa... they really grasp the "magic" of it all.

While Andrew was on his lap rattling off his list, Santa did a little discrete yawn behind his white glove and I said, "Andrew I think Santa needs a nap." Santa said, "yes, I just had a yummy lunch, now I'd like to lay down and rest a while. Ho ho ho!!" (this was a great Santa). Andrew screwed his face around as he processed that. As we walked away, he asked me, "mom, why does Santa have lunch like we do?" I told him Santa was a regular person, just like us, who has a special job at Christmas time. His eyebrows raised up and his eyes got as big as saucers... he didn't say a word as we walked on. But I saw the light go on. It was so wonderful watching him take it all in.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Nana Report

After coming home from the hospital a few weeks ago, mom saw her oncologist and they decided on a low dose, weekly dose of chemo, instead of the high-powered dose every 3 weeks in cycle. So far, she's having a much easier time of it with Paxotere, this new chemo drug.

The newest hitch is that she found a lump in her breast last week. Yeah, crazy isn't it? Why can't my mom get some breaks??? On Tuesday of this week she went for a mammogram so we're hoping to hear back from that pretty quickly. Prayerfully it will just be a glad that is swollen or irritated, and NOT more malignancy.

One highlight to her week is that over the weekend my brother came up to visit with his 4 children. They stayed with mom and dad which is pretty rare and was a huge treat for mom and dad. Generally they say with my brother's ILs but his wife stayed behind for some job training so they got to stay with Nana and Papaw this trip. It was a delightful visit and mom was all a-buzz about the kiddos.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

5 years

5 yearsIn all the craziness of the last months travels and birthday and day to day life, Don and I managed to celebrate our 5th anniversary of marriage.

This photo was taken at one of the two adult-only moments we managed to squeak in last month, a wedding of one of Don's coworkers. It was an interesting day to say the least, but much needed time with my hubby. A couple weeks later, a week after our actual anniversary, we enjoyed celebrating our occasion by having dinner out. Alone. Date nights are so nice, we really should make an effort to do it more often. Of course, once you figure in the cost of a baby sitter and a real meal out in a non-smorgasboard environment, you're pushing the budget of a one income family of 5.

I love you, Don! Now more than ever! Thank you for being my eternal companion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Not so long ago I said 2 things that now seems just down right silly, regarding knitting. I said I am not the type to start something new before I finish knitting another. And I said I would probably never knit socks. Riiiiight. I have 3 bags planned for felting on the needles at the present time. And I have 2 skeins of Socks that Rock waiting in the wings for after holiday knitting is done.

Bucket BagI picked up this delicious wool yarn by Debbie Bliss while at Stitches last weekend. Its called Soho and is in colors of purple, pink and a nice variegated mix. The plan: Felted Bucket Bag I've just cast on the bottom yesterday. I'm a bit under the weather at the moment so I'm getting more "sit still" time that usual, so I've used that to knit a good bit. I'm very pleased with the progress as this one is a Christmas gift.

French Market Bag #2My second French Market Bag, I wanted this one to be in wintry colors as the first one definitely screams "fall!" I'm using Butterflies and Bullfrogs in Prairie by Lornas Lace, the yarn I picked up on the farm escapade last month. I plan on using it from just after Thanksgiving until the crocus bulbs begin pushing up their greens in mid-March.

Recycled alpaca on the moveAlso, the recycled alpaca from my good friend L is now on the move. I have only just cast on and worked a few rows in garter stitch for this lovely Baby's Got a Brand New Big Bag. Can't wait to see how it turns out. No hurry on this one as its not for Christmas.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunset Lancaster County

Sunset Lancaster County

I stepped out my back door last week to toss something into the trash and was greeted by this beautiful sunset across the Lancaster County sky.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Two Black Sheep

Wow, I'm so very honored! Two of my knitting circle buddies (Heather and Becky) have decided to open a yarn store here in Lancaster Co, PA in the next year. Heather asked for submissions for a store name, just for fun. I submitted a number of names, as did others in our stitch n bitch. She picked her favorites then opened a poll so knitters could vote for the favored name. Turns out I won the contest!!! I submitted The Black Sheep and it was a top voted choice. They have decided to name the store The Two Black Sheep. I'm so honored. Oh and I get a prize too! A skein of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts... only the most yummy sock yarn in the world!! Wahoo!

I wish the girls a fantastic success with their endeavor. I'm so proud of them. If you'd like to keep up with the goings on you can find them here:
The Two Black Sheep

Thursday, October 26, 2006

There's a Cello in my Toaster

And dice. Life is fun with a 1 year old. Dangerous but crazy fun too.

I was making some waffles for Andrew the other night and something inside the toast caught my eye when I went to get the waffles out. Something lavender and polka-dot. It was not food.

It was a little plastic dice piece. A junk toy from a vending machine at the mall. I keep my toaster on a shelf on the bottom of my kitchen island. Readily accessible. To everyone it seems.

There is something else down thereI called Don in to see the dice, sort of giggling under my breath knowing that we'd successfully escaped a fire. He looked in. And he said, "keep looking, there is something down there besides dice."

Sure enough, a little metal cello Christmas ornament rested on the bottom with the crumbs. I think we'd better keep an eye on the VCR and the disk drive.

Nana News

Mom's doc has given her an ok for discharge and she's going to come home from the hospital today. They successfully moved her from the nebulizer for breathing treatments to an inhaler. And got her on pills for an antibiotic instead of through the IV. She will continue on her oxygen, as she has since last summer.

She still gets out of breath when she gets up for anything, but the doc believes that is because the pneumonia is still clearing out, and because honestly, she is just whipped physically.

So she'll be home by this afternoon. Hooray!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ever feel like you've been in a vortex??

Not literally of course, but like you've been so sucked so deeply into your own schedule that life around your own personal borders seems to have passed you by?

I always did when I had a new infant. All 3 times, with each child, somewhere around 4 months or so it suddenly dawned on me that while I was so caught up new family dynamics the world was still going on. And it happened after my divorce too, I had about a year or downtime where I could see the hustle and bustle in the distance, but I wasn't part of it really.

In the last 2 weeks we've had so much stuffed into our family schedule, I've felt like the little metal ball inside a pinball machine just bouncing from one gig to the next. I knew there was a world out there, because we were doing things involving the world, driving cars, flying on airplanes, celebrating birthdays, going to hospitals... it was all living and breathing. But I could only focus on my children and who needed what, when. Whew.

And today its Monday. Its all done. And suddenly I'm back from my own little circus of activity. Its quiet now. I like quiet.

Happy 4th Birthday, Andrew!!!

I can't believe you're 4, my sweet baby boy!

We delighted in numerous celebrations over the last week. One Diego cake in Alabama. One set of cupcakes at Grandma and Dzaidzai's house on Saturday. A second Diego cake with friends at a bonfire and pumpkin patch event on Saturday night, and mini-cupcakes with preschool friends to boot! We didn't have an offical "party," but Andrew got to share his special day, and days for that matter, with all the people he loves. What a great opportunity to share the fun!

Bama Trip

Click the photo for a slideshow of all our Bama moments.

Andrew, Abi and I are back from a whirlwind trip to Alabama for 5 days. It was a bittersweet visit because even though we were there for a happy visit with my parents and Mary Grace, mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia while we were there. She keeps apologizing to me for that, the stinker. I mean, you really can't choose when you're ill can you? Wouldn't that be convenient??!?!

She is still in the hospital, which is imposing a break on her chemo. That is a relief but the chemois much needed of course. Meanwhile, mom is struggling with getting the congestion to go away, all the while struggling to get enough oxygen IN. I take for granted my own breathing. Until I saw her working to get bronchial spasms under control (which you can't really do it turns out), I never really thought of how scary it is to loose, or loose control over, your own breath. That was so hard to see. And even harder for her to endure.

We didn't have much time for any running around while there. My grandmom came to us to visit, at mom's, as I didn't have wheels this stay. I did manage to see a University of Alabama game, my alma mater, while there. A very dear girlfriend from North Alabama had tickets... she ditched her hubby and kidnapped me for the game. What a treat! They defeated Olde Miss in overtime, 26-23. Very cool! It was the first time I'd been to a game since I graduated in 1992. Rolllllll Tide Roll!!

We also celebrated Andrew's birthday a bit early, so he could share it with big sis Mary Grace, Nana, Papaw and Granny. It was a fun evening... we filled out bellies with papaw burgers, cake and shared lots of smiles and presents. Just lovely!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Unraveling the Alpaca

Alpaca Mosaic
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
My good friend Lauri gave me her gorgeous 100% alpaca sweater to recycle. Its fantastic, but just too hot to be worn very often and she hated to see it sit in her drawer winter after winter.

I wasn't sure I'd find the right end originally but I turned it inside out then stretched the neck and saw the yarn end moving inside where it had been woven in. Once I got it out, it quickly came apart.

The fair-isle color work around the neck had me a bit worried. But I was pleasantly surprised that it came apart so easily. I pulled a few yards out at a time, then wound each color separately so it didn't tangle.

Detail of fair-isle.

I've cast on and knitting around 120 stitches for a tote. I'm just going to wing it and see what I come up with, since I have no clue how much yardage there is. We'll see what it turns into.

Janene's Guide to Free and Easy Living

On my local playgroup message board someone posed the question "how do you keep on top of it all?" She is struggling with keeping the house clean, meals, caring for 3 children. You know, being a June Cleaver.
There were lots of answers and tips. But one really struck me, because we must have had the same Home Ec instructor. I thought her guide was blog worthy...

Janene's guide to free and easy living:

1) NEVER clean the house unless someone is coming over

2) NEVER have people over so you don't have to clean

3) Your only necessary accomplishment every day is to feed your kids and keep them healthfully clean. Not hygenically clean, heathfully clean. This means they are clean enough not to get sick. Everything else is negotiable

4) Your kids will remember love and attention 20 years from now, not your messy house

5) Life will only be this way for 5 more years, and then hopefully you can carve out 2 hours a day to do the stuff you feel guilty about not doing now while the kids are in school. Think about that. Only 5 years.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hoodie Model

Hoodie Model
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

As Andrew used to say from the highchair, "all done!"

Last night at the SnB I finished seaming the hoodie and wove in the yarn ends. It was so rewarding to finish my first garment (Abi's dress took the back burner since this was for spring) and be able to hold it up for my knitting buds to see. My confidence was bolstered with a round of "hoorays" and cheers. What a great group!

Hoodie Complete So its currently 47 degrees and we walk down to preschool in less than an hour! He will get to wear it this morning! I'm so excited! And he is too!

Pattern: Penny by Berroco

Yarn: Patons Shetland Chunky, Canyon

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Parade Route

I love this time of year. Here it is parade season so our local school band is gearing up for all the gigs they have over the next few months. We just happen to live on the same street as the middle school. So we get our own personal parade every M-F morning between 8:15 and 9am, as they practice. Marching band must be first period. LOL This year the song of choice is "When the Saints Go Marching In" which just makes you get up and march. Last year we enjoyed 3 months of Funkytown. Hahaha!

Here is a little clip of the kids enjoying their own little parade. They came by three times today!

The Marching Barons

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Luscious Lorna

Sounds like a call girl but its actually my newest yarn acquisition.

A knitting girlfriend, OCKKaren, has connections with a yarn shop that went out of business this spring. The owner and hand spinner of Yarn on the Farm, Joann Sadler, sold much of her inventory to a new shop owner. But what she retained, she's been offering to her friends at an amazing deal. Pretty much her cost.

Last night 8 of us knitters and our mascot, a very cool non-knitter who thinks we're fun, went over hill and dale out to the farm. Literally a farm, where Joann raises her own sheep. It was a leap back it time. She extended her amazing deal to us, since Karen knits with us in the SnB.

I scored 3 beautiful hanks of Lornas Lace from the Butterflies and Bullfrogs line, in the color Prairie. I can't wait to put it on the needles, but there is so much ahead of it. This will be my post-holiday knit. I'm really looking forward to it!

We rounded the evening out with Chicken Fried, Country Fried, Gravy drenched dinners and cream pies at Silk City Diner in Adamstown, PA. Or were we still in Stevens? Or maybe Reamstown? I don't know... all those places run together after a bit. Anyway... good, good stuff!

Wedding Washcloths

Washcloth Detail
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
Current project on the needles, well one set of needles: a wedding gift in progress.

Hubby's coworker is getting married on Saturday so Im making them a set of washcloths to match their towels (ivy and khaki). Using Country Sage Ombre, by Sugar & Creme.

Pattern from Knitting Pattern Central,
Raised Triangle Washcloth

I think we need some at home too!
Washcloth in Progress

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Can't Be Still!

Can't Be Still!
Originally uploaded by
I got the shoulders seamed up, using the kitchener stitch. I'm pleased with how that went. I had already bound them off as per the pattern but realized a whip stitch would make it look cruddy, so I un-bound them, then used the kitchener. That worked.

I guess it fits... not that this wiggle worm would let me see for more than a micro second. The length is good, and its nice and roomy for clothing underneath.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Headed to PreSchool

Like Daddy
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
Here's the boy this morning, all dressed "like daddy" and ready to go to school. He's so enthusiastic about school this year. He loves everything about it. Today he wanted me to tuck in his shirt "like daddy." I must admit, with the shirt in and his new hiking style sneaks on, he DOES look even more like daddy than usual. He's just getting so big.

Snail PuzzleAndrew is very much into kid arts now, and making all sorts of fun things. In his first week, last Wednesday, he brought home this snail puzzle he's made. He's finally, at almost 4, starting to fancy coloring and creating. And he's getting pretty good with the scissors now too, as you can see from his cuttings in this puzzle. We are loving all the creativity!

Along for the rideAnd here is little sis, Abi! Along for the ride on big brother's walk to PreSchool this morning. She loves her stroller... so impatient once I open it up. She likes roaming around Manheim just as much as her mama!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hoodie Progress

Hoodie progress
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
Here is Andrew's hoodie in progress. The back and front panels are complete. Now I'm moving up the first sleeve with 3 inches to go. This is a very fast knit, with Paton's Shetland Chunky at about 3.5 stitches per inch. Its very rewarding to knit something up so quickly. And with cool weather right around the corner, it should be done just in time to cover my guy's little head up for fall.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Shower with the Cowboy

Ever feel like you're not alone? I always do. Moms are very rarely alone. But every weekday morning during Abi's nap I desperately try to work in a quick shower so that the flies are not drawn to me when I head out for playdates or errands.

Today was one of those days. I did managed to have an express shower (moms, you know what I mean by express shower) before Abi woke up. While washing my hair I looked down to find I was not alone. Cowboy Woody was laying in the tub watching me. As well as his friends, 3 alligators, 2 frogs, a whole school of rubber fish and the entire alphabet of foamy letters. Well, all but K, and K was down in the kitchen after being discarded there by one of the kids.

I love all these little things that having children in the house brings. Sure we live in a state of constant clutter and messes. But they are only small once. These are
Signs Of Life as Stephen Curtis Chapman would say when he sings about crayons rolling around on the floorboard of his car, outerspace men sitting in his chair and bats and balls all over his yard.

Yesterday on the phone my mom said, "Wendy, I can really tell that you love staying home with your children." Yeah, mom, I do. I love it more than I've ever loved anything else in my life. I am so blessed. I'll take my shower with a cowboy any old day. And be happier because of it!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The Ride

Check the above link to see little miss Abicakes in action. If she slips off to the kitchen on her own, she's usually going for a spin on old Blue Dog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mud Pies

Muddy ManWe had a nice rain today, after many weeks of dry weather. So Andrew took the opportunity to play in the puddles when we got home from a trip to the mall. But playing in the puddles quickly turned into playing in the mud, then digging in the mud, then driving cars in the mud, then finally mud pies.

I wish I could make mudpies!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Scoops of Heaven

Grandma Reedy's Peach CobblerAhh, here it is in all its glory, Grandma Reedy's Peach Cobbler! I took the children to pick peaches at Cherry Hill Orchards on Thursday and we got 12 pounds, including a few early apples. I shared them with mom-in-law, as she's a fantastic pie maker.

Friday I peeled, seeded and sliced enough peaches for 3 cobblers. Two ziplocs went into the freezer, pre-measured for baking later. With the 3rd portion, I baked up Grandma's cobbler. Needless to say, Don was pretty happy to come home to pork chops for dinner and his grandma's cobbler.

We definitely plan to go back very soon so we can fill the freezer up with fruit for baking this winter. The fall apples will be ready in a few weeks at Cherry Hill so we'll be ready for some apple crisp!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My French Market Bag

French Market BagI am one very well pleased knitter. I love, love, love everything about how this project worked up and finished up with the felting process. Which, I might add, is pretty simple... just time consuming for the drying really.

I'll be using it mainly as a fall bag for myself... purse/diaper bag. But it will serve as my tote for knitting nights as well, until I can get another one made... which won't be too long. Hehee! But first, I must finish Abi's dress (not long now) and make something for a friend.

Hooray! The sense of accomplishing something is always nice, but making something that I can use daily... is pure pleasure.

Finished, before felting
FMB complete
and then drying
FMB drying

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Sorry, I have to felt my bag."

No longer is the excuse, "Sorry, I have to wash my hair." Heheee! My girlfriend called earlier to invite us over for a playdate and lunch at her house. And its a big deal for me to say no... because she is a very gracious host! But I stood there on the phone looking at my completed-not-yet-felted French Market Bag and said, "Sorry, I have to felt my bag. But we'll take a rain check!" The great thing is that she totally understands because though she's not a knitter, she comes to my knitting circle to hang out, chat and drink Starbucks with us while we SnB. LOL Oh girls, I have it bad!!!! Its all done up, and is on my son's T-ball post out back dripping! LOL I can't wait until the drippys are gone and its to the damp stage so I can shape it up and get it formed. Woowoo!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Uncommon ThreadsOn Saturday, I went on a yarn field trip with 3 women from my knitting circle. On the right is Margie (with her daughter), who taught me to knit over the winter!
While I didn't purchase a single thread of yarn, I did come home with so much! I have a much better knowledge now of just how yarns are spun and how they are constructed. It was an amazing day! Now, when I see a pattern I like and read the yarn requirements, I'll know much better what will work.
My favorite find of the day was the hand-dyed Merino wool by
Malabrigo, from a women's coop in Uruguay. It is the softest wool I've had my hands in!

Friday, August 11, 2006


Buddies in the SandAt the park with his buddy, B. Andrew was "saving" her all day, as he called it. Every time she'd toddle off into trouble, he'd go bring her back to her mom. It was very dear.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Knit Night

SnB Knit Night
Here's a great shot my girlfriend snapped from last Thursday's Knit Night at Barnes & Noble. I love this knitting circle!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Brown Bag Bottom

Brown Bag BottomI'm done with the increases (faints) for my French Market Bag Since I'm a new knitter, this was actually my first time to do increases. Well. I got quite the exercise in increasing! It was so nifty for me to see and understand how things can actually "grow." And I loved using double pointed needles for the first time. Very neat, and now I'm not leary of them any more.

Here's the bottom. Time to go up, up, up now to the sides, then the handles.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Grandma Reedy's Peach Cobbler

Via my mom-in-law, here is her mother's cobbler recipe. Peaches are on my shopping list to give this yummy recipe a try this week! My own mom always made cobblers in the summertime.

Grandma Reedy's Peach Cobbler

3 cups fresh sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 and 1/2 cups sifted enriched flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 well beaten egg

Arrange peaches in 8x8 greased baking pan.
Sprinkle with mixture of 1 cup sugar, extract, lemon juice and peel.
Heat in 375 degree oven while preparing batter.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Cut in shortening till mixture is like coarse crumbs.
Add egg and milk all at once and stir until flour is moistened.

Drop dough by spoonfuls over peaches, spread gently.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake in hot oven 35 minutes or till peaches are bubbly and top is nicely brown.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Morning, Glory!

Late in the summer, flowers start to droop their little faces and their greens begin their tired, dry descent down to the ground as hot weather drains them.

But we have hearty, faithful friends that take over our front
Glory Vinesporch during this hot season and they remind us how blessed we are. They come to camp out every summer and don't require a single thing from us... no blankes, no food, no water. The best kind of house guest! They quietly make make themselves comfy and set out the most glorious feast for our eyes with no requirements from their host family.

Our morning glories have been living on H street just as
Glory Pink long as we have. We moved in during early April 3 years ago... we planted then in early May the same year. And they always come back... no matter how busy we are or how much we sit and admire them. They always give us a smile as we take the kids out to play or rush past them to the car. They don't care much what we are doing, for they are doing just fine.

They also camp out with the neighbors now too, although
Glory Blue I'm not so sure they are as welcome at their homes (giggle) as they are in ours. These beauties are nothing if they are not prolific... and their family reunion each summer has grown beyond the small borders of our yard to the neighbors on each side. Whoops! Well, we like to share.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

5th grade, here she comes!

Today is my least favorite day of the year.

Don just left, headed for BWI with 2 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and my precious Mary Grace. I hate this day as much as I love the day in May when she arrives once school is out. MG starts school, the 5th grade, next Thursday. How can it be that my 1st baby girl is starting 5th grade? My, how time does fly.

She's headed back south after a nice full summer of fun. She left here with knitting on her lap... I'm so proud of her having the patience to learn and for sticking with it. She will never forget her newest art. And she may never put it down for that matter. This girl has the bug for knitting. I owe that to my dear friend Margie. She's going with a yarn stash that even I'm jealous of, again courtesy of Margie, and a brand new 29" #7 circular needle. She picked it out at AC Moore yesterday, telling me it would give her more flexibity to knit small projects, or larger projects in-the-round. It makes me beam with pride to hear her rattle off knitting jargon and anticipate that she will need that flexibility. She's such cool kid.

She's also headed back with a very fun new binder/satchel that we got yesterday at Target. We went out to lunch with girlfriends and their children. Then they also went along with us to Target for the hunt. We'd hoped to find an obnoxiously sparkly and very girly binder, but Target didn't have anything quite over the top. But MG managed to pick out a tasteful and VERY practical lipstick-pink double binder with a handle and strap option for carrying it. We picked up lots of add-ons too, including a silver sequined pencil compartment that hooks into the binder. I'm totally jealous. I always wanted some thing so cool. Of course we filled the pockets with new gel pins, colored pencils and mini-markers. It was quite the scene actually, me and my two girlfriends TELLING her what she needed. We were totally picking out what WE'D want if WE were still 10 years old. We were so puzzled why MG wouldn't go our way, then we all suddenly realized that we wanted her to have what we wanted. We're all still girls at heart, I suppose. Always will be.

So she's off. Another summer done. Another moment of her childhood X'ed off the little chalkboard I carry around in my heart. Sadness consumes me. I'd like to go to bed and cover my head up for the rest of the day. But these other little busy bees need me. So off I go to mommy the two I'm blessed to be with around the entire calendar. Today, despite my qualms with letting my big one go south once again, is just one more day in the life of my children. And another chance for me to help my children grow and learn and become strong little people.

Thanks to everyone who made this summer so special to my girly... and to those of you who are my crutches. I certainly couldn't do anything without your love and support.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gimme a break! Gimme a break!

Time to put the breaks on and sit back and re-evaluate again. I'm going to say, "whooooaa nelly" to my local playgroup, because honestly, I'm all played out. All thought out. All debated out. All worn out. While we can't leave his dear friends, I need to rest my weary head for a while.

The fall will soon be here and our schedule is going to be turned upside down anyway. Andrew will be in pre-school 3 mornings a week. I'm considering toddler gym again and my dear friend, L, reeeealllly wants me to join her at MOPS every other Tuesday. Its at a church close by and its for moms, where moms do activities and attend talks together while the children have surprised playtime with each other. Mommies play. Children play. Sounds good. Ahhhh. Time to shift gears.


Andrew has an ear infection. He's been sticking his head under the tub spout for fun during bathtime and now his eustation tubes are infected. The eardrums are fine. Crazy boy.

He told me this morning that his ear was sunburned, but I didn't think anything of it. Then this afternoon I heard him tell MG that his ears hurt down deep in the holes. Hello! That got mommy's attention. So I called the doc and we were seen right away.So now he's on Zithromax. Argh

Participating in a new drug study

Mom's doctors have signed her up for a new medical study for a cancer chemotherapy drug. Its still in the development stages, so she is participating in a blind study. She received her first part of it last Wednesday and then another one yesterday. She'll have several rounds of this sort of double-teamed series and then they will re-evaluate.

There is a possibility she might be receiving the placebo. If her numbers aren't coming down after a few weeks, the docs can contact the research company and ask for them to switch her to the actual drugs. I guess this is the process that must be followed, since its not an FDA approved pharmaceutical yet. The good news is that after the first two times going, she's had some side effects. So we are praying that it means she's getting the drugs and not the placebo. She had some shortness of breath, elevated BP and nausea... so we hope those icky things mean good things in the long run.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mommy Wars

Why are women so hard on each other? I am one... and I'm totally guilty of it. But why is it this way?

I travel in several mommy circles, in person and online, and there always seems to be some drama going on. What is it that keeps us stirred up? Just recently I've seen people take their toys and go home over the darndest things. Peanut butter, the raging breast feeding vs. forumla debate, who posts more often and contributes more to the group, junk food at playdates, moms having babies via Csection being treated as second class mommies.


I used to say that I hated working with women because they are so emotional and hormonal. And its just always true. Men were, at the very least, predictable. Even if you can't count on them to do the best job... you know they will shut up and work.

Isn't it hard enough work to be a parent and a wife? You have to be right all of the time too? Sigh.

My little cozy

Needles at homeYay, my yarn is here for my French Market Bag and I wanted to do a test felt of the yarn. Instead of just doing a swatch, my friend K suggested that I do a little needle cozy. She had done a few from patterns in Cat Bordi's book, Second Treasury of Magical Knitting so I gave it a go. I adore the way it turned out! So much so that I had trouble taking the needles out of the cozy to start my bag! Hahaha!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, my baby girl!

Forking it inAhhh... Abi is one. Its exciting and sad all wrapped up together. I'm so glad to see her happy and growing so healthy. But watching each day of her infancy tick away was enough to make me teary-eyed. Now she's a toddler and learning new things every day. This girly is just not happy to stay the same and revel in the familiar. She wants to know more and do more and strive for new things.

Mommy is not ready. But I don't think I have much of a choice in the matter!

Monday, July 17, 2006


This is NOT FUNNY! This is NOT funny! This little almost-one-year-old has an iron will. I can't count how many things I've taken her off the stairs today!

She is quite the contrast to her big brother, Cautious Andrew, who didn't attempt the stairs until he knew he could walk up and down them safely at 18 months old.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Current knits on the needle

I've got two things going right now, and one new knit I'll be starting next week. I'm so excited!

Abi's DressFirst, I've been working on this dress for Abi. Its 100% cotton, for fall. I just love it! I'm about 60% done now. After this 2nd set of polka dots, I'll knit up to the bodice. I can't wait to see her in it! I hope to be done with it by the middle of September. We shall see. Knitting is quite the challenge, with 3 kiddos on my heels.

Chunky ScarfI also have just started this fun and chunky yet skinny scarf for Mary Grace. Can you believe its only 4 stitches cast on? My girlfriend, M, gave me the yarn to use for something for MG. Its harder to work with that I anticipated, so I am knitting it together with this aqua cotton (Sugar n Cream) and its going much smoother.

Next week, our knitting circle is going to start this
French Market Bag as a knit-a-long. I can't wait! I'm picking out colors as we speak, but I can decide between shades of teal, orange, perwinkle or raspberry. Maybe one of each by the time I'm done? I mean, who can't use more than one market bag?!?! It will give me several new skills to master... knitting in the round on double pointed needles, felting and learning the kitchener stitch for seams.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Abi's walking!

CLICK HERE to see some of Abi's first steps. She started walking today! Hooray! Just a few weeks before her first birthday.

Oh, I can hardly believe my last baby is walking!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Nana News

After several months of rocking along rather nicely, mom had some bad news yesterday.

About a month ago she has a second
pleurodesis done after being admitted to the hospital for the procedure. It went very well and she was only in the hospital for 4 days. Her chest xrays since then have been promising, with no changes. Meaning the fluid didn't seem to be building back up.

Last week, after a few weeks of feeling a bit blue, she contacted the oncologists office for some tests and they sent her in for some bloodwork, including a
CA125, the marker for ovarian cells within your body. The last test just over a month ago, brought back the results of 68. But last week's test revealed an elevated number of 331.

We are all crushed with this news. You can imagine the range of emotions mom is dealing with. And there is just no outlet for her. Other than tears. And they just don't wash this away.

Please continue to pray for my sweet mama. We expect another round of tests, including a CT to look into the cause of the elevation. Its been since March that she's had any chemotherapy. Pray for her strength to find out what the next step of this year long battle will be. Pray for healing and comfort. Just please pray.

One bright note, which I'm so thankful for... a good friend called yesterday to offer them a trip to the Alabama coast, starting this weekend. They are going to gladly take them up on their offer. Pray that they can squeeze it in between the tests and what not. Mom REALLY needs to get her toes in the sugar white sands of
Gulf Shores. I wish I could lay on the beach with her and drink frozen daiquiris.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I love my family

My little nest of 5 I mean. And I'm not talking about the normal husband to wife and mom to kid sort of love. I mean I love how we all fit together. Like a little 5 piece puzzle, snapping into place to complete it. How we have so much fun together. How funny and goofy we are. How we're silly and giggle. How we have such an array of personalities and quirks within the 5 of us. I love how our children accept us, as parents, and don't question our rules (not that they always follow them). I love our routines and that they all know what to expect out of each day and how excited they get over the smallest things sometimes.

I just love the wholeness we share together. I love how Andrew dotes on MG. How MG just rolls her eyes when Andrew is being THREE. How Andrew is so cautious with small toys and not leaving them on the floor because Abi picks them up. How Abi cries for MG to stop and pick her up. I love looking at the 3 of them in the back of the car, all lined up and eager to go. And yes, even when they are poking and pulling at each other I snicker under my breath.

I love how Don fathers them. I love how he's so anal and meticulous about every little thing, even though it does drive me up a tree sometimes. Its because he wants the best for them always. I love how he gets down in the floor and lets them crawl all over him. How he naps with Andrew on his chest. How Abi cries for him if she hears for him in another part of the house.

I just love the whole little picture of our home and family. The noise, the mess, the smells, the exhaustion. I love it all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Road Trip!

roadtripMy girlfriend, K, snapped this picture when we were in the car a couple weeks back. She is a super star... she volunteered to ride with me and MG back down to Tennessee after spring break was done. It was SO nice to have someone in the car for the trip back. Its usually very somber for me, having to drop my big girl off then be alone in the car for 10 hours. But this go around, I had company. It was priceless, the things we shared on I-81. She is a treasure!

Anyway.... I adore this picture. MG is a ham as always. I love every single freckle on that sweet face. We had a blast! It was the goofiest weather ever. Sun, rain, snow, sun, sleet, fog. Nuts! The weather in the mountains during a front can do that I suppose. Crazy!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Birthday Bagel

Happy 36th birthday to me!

I'm celebrating my birthday today. And a lot of other things... over a lightly toasted, cathartic everything bagel and my yummy cuppa coffee. Life has been tough lately. I've had some personal struggles and had been feeling pretty yucky about myself. Its been 6 years since I've had such gray skies. But. God is good. Sometimes its not so fun how He pulls the rug out from under you. Yet He knows when you need it.

I had managed to take the keys from Him again. I was winding my way down my own path, having a great old time. When the car started crashing I just couldn't figure out why. But now, that the mess is cleaned up, I can clearly see that I'd put some things between us. He doesn't like that so much.

So, Happy Birthday Me! Its a sunny day!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Mom update

There have been a few new developments with mom this week. First of all, the Oncologist worked out a plan for a second series of treatments. Mom will receive 2 more chemotheraphys, starting with this coming Wednesday, then they will reassess, once more. While the news about the cancer still being present was a hard pill to swallow, there was an encouraging development with her CA125. The last one done with the chemo 6 weeks ago was still hovering around the 70 mark. Last week's sample came back with a result of 54. That is very encouraging news. The goal is 35. We are praying that these next two chemo series really wallop those stubborn cells.

Today, mom found out some very good news for me. She had the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene susceptibility test done. They drew bloodwork about 6 weeks ago and sent it off to some special lab somewhere. It checks those two specific genes, which are mutated IF you are a carrier of the inherited version of Ovarian Cancer.

Mom was negative for both. This is a huge relief for her. It doesn't effect her illness or treatment one bit. But what it means is that she can not "give" me or any of her grand daughters the increased likelihood for getting ovarian cancer. Since my grandmother also had ovarian cancer (her mom) we were really thinking it might be a family thing.

Mom was filled with positive emotion telling me how happy she is that she hasn't messed things up for us. I told her even if she carried it it would be her fault, but I know what she means. She realizes she can't change things for herself, but is so happy to know that she hasn't passed on an illness to me and the 3 grand daughters in our family.

Today was a good day for her. And for me!


Sleeping late, going to bed early, warm cups of tea, naps on the sofa. Sounds good right? But not when its all in the honor of our house guest, Mr. Nasty Virus.

Yuck! This house is full of sickos. With the exception of Abi so far, the rest of us are battling a booger of a germ! It started with Andrew on Sunday and he's had 5 days of very high fever, no appetite, lethargy and a terrible cough. The doc diagnosed him with acute bronchitis. Don started with it on Monday, then me on Tuesday night. I'm in the middle of the worst of it now, while Don and Andrew are in the home stretch. If Abi makes it out of this healthy it truly will be a miracle.

My goal is to get this nastiness out of here by tomorrow around midnight, because Mary Grace will be arriving for Spring Break. And I don't want her precious week here to be filled with ickies! We have things to do and fun to be had! How I'm going to do that is unclear, but I'm going to do my best!

Keep us in your prayers!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ahhhhh.... fresh air!

Its 7:46am and 60 degrees! In Pennsylvania no less! Weeee! Oh, you just gotta love the early signs of spring. I know this day is a gift, and we have more cold before we get real spring, but whew. What a blessing.

I just opened doors and windows up to air the house out. This is one of my favorite days each year. The day we can turn off the heat for a whole day and let the breeze stir. It does a body good! The crocus bulbs are opening up, the daffodils greens are peeping up an inch or two. Ahhhh indeed!

We will definitely be taking a walk to the park today. Andrew will have that outside kid smell by the time daddy comes home from work. Oh, the scrubbing he'll need tonight. I can't wait to sit Abi on a blanket and put a sun hat on her little head.