Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Ally's Christmas Hat

The niece got a Christmas hat! I used this hat pattern by hello happy to create her bonnet. She loves it and I must make more! To get the super bulky yarn weight I used a strand of bulky yarn with a strand of fingering to make "super bulky". Hat only took about 3 hours. She and I are both pleased!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Homeschool and Isolation

As I prepare to homeschool, I am more and more aware of how little time I will have for other interests. When I became a mother, my circle shrank. At first I resented it. Here was this tiny human getting in the way of everything I wanted to do, everything I used to do—taking up all my “free time” with their diaper changes, cuddling, nursing, mother-needing desires. I struggled with feeling lost, with the weirdness that comes from losing part of myself. Assuming the insurmountable calling of parenthood is a life altering moment. Just like the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the girl becomes a mother. She can't be a caterpillar again. It is both beautiful and tragic.

Somewhere between my first and second baby, I grew to love motherhood. And now, as I am only a few weeks pregnant with my hopefully third baby (but seventh pregnancy) I am becoming again. I am changing because we have decided to home-school, and the insurmountable task of educating my children is bending and molding me to its shape. I don't know what I am becoming yet, but ask me in six years. I might know at that time.

I will learn to be my child's teacher, counselor, principle, nurse, gym instructor and cafeteria worker. These roles within school walls are filled each with a different person, but I, a mother—will do them all. I alone (at least in the beginning) will be responsible for seeing that my child learns.

It's terrifying. And also exhilarating.

I chose to home-school because we can afford it. We pinch pennies so I can stay home and I am glad we are blessed enough with my husbands job that there are pennies to pinch.

I choose to homeschool because my son is worth it. I don't want him confined to a desk from 9-3, with a half hour for recess. I don't want an education in four walls that will try and teach him with artificial experiences (textbooks, digital screens, worksheets) when we can go out and see and touch and interact with reality.

I know no school is perfect and mine will be far from so. But I also know that teaching is just an extension of parenting. I know can teach my child, and that being home with me and his siblings is far better then being lost in a class of 25 with one tired, underpaid teacher and some posters of fish.

Okay, I'm tired and underpaid too. But I have a chance. A chance to cultivate the wonder and beauty of adventure in my children by education them at home, listening to their needs and adapting a curriculum for them, creating games and structured play, and fostering a atmosphere of love and trust in our family.

And I am not giving that away.

So today I mourn my free time, which dwindled as I became a mother and is dwindling still farther as I become a homeschooler. My priorities will be teaching my kids, creating a flow to my day that includes cooking and cleaning, yet also instruction for my son and other children as they come of age. I am excited and I am sad. We used to go out in the morning, that time was for play dates. But the play dates will dwindle to weekends as our instruction begins.

It would be so easy to place my children in school and claim my free time. But my children are worth it, and I will learn to fall in love with homeschooling just as I fell in love with motherhood. I know this is the right path for my family. I know this is the right path for my son, who loves learning from me and naturally has already accepted me as his teacher. He is a wonder to teach. I am sure all my kids won't be as easy, nor perhaps will he always be, but for this anxious and questioning mother who feels inadequate to educate her son—he is a blessing and just what I need. God knew what he was doing when he placed this dream of self-education in my heart, and he knew what he was doing when he gave me my firstborn, Reuben. I need to trust him—he knows All. He will be enough for me and my family on this journey, and he will be the cornerstone of all my educational desires.

So, would you guys be interested in seeing my Kindergarten Charlotte Mason lesson plans? I'm starting Kindergarten with Reuben in April due to this pregnancy, so I can take a break when the baby comes. I'm creating weekly lesson plans for myself to follow so I can just easily grab and go and not worry about the planning stage when we are in the grind.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Anxiety and Surprises

I have been a mess of anxiety and stress for about six months. I don't know exactly what the issue is-- is it my heart problems and ongoing doctor visits? (I have something called “early beats in the lower chambers”) The stress of my husband working late? Beginning to home-school and make plans for next year while juggling housework and friends, family and fitness? My decreased bible reading and alone time with God? My mother is sick and my step brother died in a car accident, my step father and step sister are grieving. My sister is going through a tough time with her four kids and single parenting. 

A week ago I decided enough was enough. I was going to take steps to reduce my stress and limit my anxiety. I started reading my bible every day. I am saying “no” to going out too often and inviting friends to visit me instead. I cut off access to the internet (a major source of my mental health woes) and, after about two days of “withdrawl” I feel amazing. I no longer have those incessant nagging voices in my head that tell me I need to check my facebook notifications or update my Instagram. I have been reading books again and spending my time crocheting, knitting, and baking. I've felt closer to my actual, real life friends because I text them when I am lonely instead of blabbing on Facebook groups.

I have shrunk my world again and I feel so great. There is so much going on in my actual life that the media on the fringes are no longer helpful boons but annoyances and pressure.

The internet is a great place, but apparently I suck at having healthy boundaries.

I know I have said this all before.

Today I found out we are expecting again! Markey baby number three is due in October. I've already started praying for my labor and delivery. And for a safe pregnancy. If you can join me in praying, I would be ever so grateful!

I wonder if it's a boy or a girl? My gut instinct in boy. I can't believe I get to be blessed with another baby!!!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Gray Gloves

Another pair of lace fingerless gloves finished!! I made these in the round in a neutral color wool so they would "go with everything". You can find the pattern here.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Rainbow Gloves

I updated my crochet rainbow fingerless gloves pattern! I really am enjoying updating my patterns and pictures, it makes me feel professional and put together. Haha!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Re-knitting my first pattern

I knew it had to happen eventually; I would have to re-knit some of my first patterns, but this was the original. The first pattern I ever created!

I thought I would find many errors, but it knit up great and I love it!! I took some new pattern photos and made a PDF. I also reworked the pattern for the round, since when I created this I did not know how to knit in the round and thus knit it flat.

I love these gloves and will definitely wear them this fall! You can knit yourself a pair here if you are interested!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

a real gift guide for that mom in your life

  1. Free time. Please watch my darling angels while I go be alone somewhere. Don't text me.
  2. Gift cards to target. 
  3. Chocolate labeled "peas for little boys" or "very spicy mustard sauce". My kids know what a chocolate package looks like and I don't want to share, so slap a picture of veggies on it and we will be golden. 
  4. Noise canceling headphones
  5. Magical Sick-Away Sprinkle Salts. You know, that I can sprinkle on my kids food when they catch the flu so we don't have to go through that. 
  6. Mom-escape card. I'd love to see my toddler's face when I flourish this from my pocket. I'm sorry, Reuben, you can't whine here. I'm using my escape card, so take your complaining elsewhere and let mom drink her organic green tea in peace.
  7. Toy that does not make noise but entertains my children quietly for hours. 
  8. On second thought, toy that does not make messes but entertains my children quietly for hours.
  9. Husband that comes home and says "wow, you look super hot. But lets not have sex, lets just snuggle and then I'll do the dishes while you crochet. Also I bought you this organic yarn on the way home because you are amazing and you deserve to knit some washcloths." I can dream, right?
  10. Enjoy-A-Dinner family night package. Where everyone likes what I make and eats it with a smile on their face. 
Because we all know we don't need more starbucks gift cards and ugly sweaters....

Friday, November 29, 2019

Bear Cuffs

I redid the pictures for my bear boot cuff pattern! Aren't they cute? You can buy this crochet pattern here if interested. I used a very soft white wool for these, unlike my first pair that are brown! Would you wear cute bears on your feet?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

when your calling isn't your strength

I hear this advice all the time. "Don't know what to do with your life? Look to your interests and your strengths. God gave you gifts and he expects you to use them". I've even been told "you can figure out what God wants you to do by thinking of what you are good at".

I don't know if this advice is biblical or not, but it certainly doesn't apply to my life, or to many of the biblical characters I read about. Moses, for example, was not a eloquent speaker and certainly wasn't gifted in "returning to the scene of where he committed murder and speaking to his adopted brother about freeing all of his slaves". Yet he was called to do so, quiet boldly by the very voice of God out of a burning bush.

So what happens when God calls you to something that isn't a strength? What happens when God has a plan for you life that you are not happy with, and that does not bring you joy or fill you with purpose, and does not use the gifts he gave?

I think God does call us to many things that are not easy and that are not strengths already in our persons. He calls us sometimes to die of cancer. He calls many to be martyred in his name. He has plans and purposes for our lives that break us and drive us to him. And they are not easy, but those things can be our calling and our purpose for him.

God has called me to motherhood. If he had not, he would not have given me children to mother. I love my children, but on the best of days I struggle with feeling inadequate for the task ahead. I already harbor guilt in my heart over past parenting choices--things I wish I would have done different, or guilt from the times I yell at my children. I am exhausted and exist on bad days in a perpetually touched out state. I often struggle with unrealistic expectations, and I long to use my talents in creative endeavors and not feel such a slave to toddlers and hyperactive little boys.

In short, I don't feel at all equipped or called to motherhood. It is a hard grueling climb that forces me to abandon many of the things I love and cling to Christ because he is all I have. Yet I choose motherhood daily because God has called me to it, despite it not being a strength.

My calling right now is to be a mother. To try and be anything else is to abandon God's will for me. Yet it isn't my strength.

Life isn't about ease, it isn't about "Getting what I want" and "using my talents" even if that would bring me the most happiness. Life is about serving God and doing what he wants, and that fact brings me spiritual peace and joy. God is refining me by fire as I do a hard task of trying to follow him while raising strong willed sinners, even with myself still mired in sin. Life is hard, but God is good.

James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Sometimes your calling in life is not your strength or anything to do with what you might want. I would say that often this is the case, specifically with biblical characters. I mean, Job comes to mind-- what kind of person deserves that kind of suffering or would be equipped to deal with it? Only by the power of God did he make it through, by having faith and trusting in God.

I have faith in God and in his plan for my life and I will cling to him and mother onward.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Elf Leggings

These were painstaking to knit and honestly, I wouldn't do it again. But I love them, They are warm and cozy, and most of all DONE!

Monday, November 18, 2019


I made Rebekah a Christmas stocking! What do you think? It will nicely match Reuben's that I made in 2017. This will be her first year of receiving a Christmas stocking! I'm so excited!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Lace Gloves

I updated my lace gloves pattern with new pictures and a new PDF! Check it out if you are interested in crocheting some easy lace gloves!

Also, Reuben is now old enough at four years old to help me take pictures of my knitting and crochet. Can you see his toes in the last picture? This helps me SO MUCH because I don't have to use a tripod and camera remote!

Monday, November 4, 2019


It is getting cold here (finally) and I am trying to finish up a bit of my straggling projects. This scarf I started over a year ago and here it is, finally done!! And ready to wear.

Friday, November 1, 2019

God has given us all we need, the answer to every question

I often read the questions that worried women ask. I used to ask questions too. I've typed them up on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube. Some of the ones I've seen lately from a mired of women are:

Should I get my tubes tied? Is this biblical? 
Should I homeschool?
Should I vaccinate?
Can I work outside the home?
We can't afford to tithe, are we breaking God's command?
I have tattoos and I love getting them, now that I am saved should I continue?

A lot of the women end their comment with "I'm searching and praying for God to give me an answer so I can tell what I should do". Of course, each post receives 25 different responses with 25 different opinions attached! Should you get your tubes tied? Are you wondering if it is biblical? One woman will say it is wrong to use birth control because you should have as many babies as God wants and let him control your womb, where another will say she's been on birth control for years after her first baby and that using it is totally fine and biblical.

The thing is; there is no scriptural passage baring the use of condoms when having intercourse with your husband or wife. For many of the questions we ask, there isn't a clear cut answer. So what do you do when that is the case? Can you find out what the "right" thing to do by praying and hoping God gives you a sign?

I want to tell everyone that God HAS given us everything we need on this earth to figure out what to do with our lives. We DO have the answers.

God tells us how to live. He tells us our purpose is to glorify him and bring glory to his name, rather in our suffering or our work or our rest. Everything God does, he does for his name! (Psalm 19:1-4, Psalm 23:3, Ezekiel 20:9, Ezekiel 36:22-32, John 8:50, John 12:27-28,John 17:1, Romans 1:5, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 1:15-20)

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” 

When I have a question that I isn't outright spoken of in the bible, I address it in one of two ways. The first way is thinking of God's glory. So, for the use of birth control during sex, I would think: am I wanting to get on birth control for my glory or for Gods? It would totally depend on the person, of course, which is the frustrating thing about querying 700 ladies in a christian ministry group with a heart-felt plea. One person might know that for her, birth control would be selfish, while another would know her energy and life calling lies in a different direction than raising multiple children.

But there is no clear biblical answer about birth control. And that means no one can say "it is this way for EVERYONE". (unless you would like to leave me the verse down below) Anyway, God's word is perfect. You have to start there or you aren't a Christian. God's word holds everything we need for this life. It isn't flawed, God didn't leave out "and thou shall not sheathe thy mates penis in synesthetic casing" by mistake or something.

So why did he leave it out? He left it out because he expected us to all have different roles regarding the use of birth control and our own bodies. He left it out because it wasn't needed.

Do you have a question that fills you with guilt because you don't know what to do? God has an answer for you.

God says "Obey my 10 commandments and Glorify me". Does your question cause you to break one of the 10 commandments? Well, there's your answer. If it does not: ask yourself if you are seeking God's glory, or your own. Ask yourself what your motive is and if it is selfish in nature or part of God's plan for you life. All our actions should glorify God.

That is all you need to know. If you want to hear a sermon on this, I love this one by Paul Washer that really fleshes it out!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

hats and a scarf

I made Reuben and Rebekah some fall hats. Reuben picked out the colors. It was originally a hat just for him, but as soon as I cast off Becky would not let anyone wear it but her. So another hat was made, and a scarf out of the rest of the yarn. Happy fall!

Monday, October 21, 2019

I have a problem

I have noticed something.

Something I don't have a name for.

Something I am utterly baffled by.

Something that needs to change.

In short, I need help.

I have Adult Proximity Disorder.

Or perhaps I should call it Imposer Friend Syndrome? Instant Friend Attachment?

The problem is this. Every time I go to the gym, or to the grocery store...or even to the library or the park with my kids, I am apparently starving for adult interaction. I crave it.

And, my emotional vulnerability and lack of time for friendships...unhinges my mouth.

I talk.
I gush.
I word vomit everywhere.

It just all comes out. My frustrations over my kids. My changing body. The dishes. The laundry. The way I feel discontent and inadequate all the time. How tired I am. Because no one is sleeping. And I'm always tired. Why does no one sleep.

I usually say to much. To a stranger. At the park.

Yes, I'm THAT mom. 

Sometimes as I am unburdening my shriveled, starved little mom-heart out I see the person I am talking to just...disconnect. So I try to hold it in. I try to stop.

Once again, I am too much. Once again, I am not enough.

You know how the younger generation is all concerned about being ghosted? Like the boy or girl they are dating just never talks to them again, changes their number or just ignores their texts?

I am tired of being ghosted, but its not by teen boys. It's by other moms. Oh, I know we are all tired. I know we all have a million things to do. But when I can't tell if you are just being polite or if you actually want to be my friend, we have a problem. So many times I have tried to become friends with another mom and been, for lack of a better word, ghosted.

And I understand, I do. Because I have ghosted other women myself. I didn't mean too, but in between pregnancy and childbirth and one to two babies, I lost touch with a lot of people and I know it hurt them. I know they still hurt, because I also hurt.

We moms battle tantrums and angsty tweens while juggling our own mental problems, not to mention the rotation wheel that is housework, cooking, and husbands. But here is the thing. If you don't want to be my friend, its okay to just tell me. If you want to be my friend, but don't have time, that is okay too. Lets communicate. We can text. E-mail once a week. I don't want my friendship to be burden. I'm trying to do the same. To reach out when I'm feeling overwhelmed and anxious, not to fall inward into isolation

But we don't always communicate, do we. Sometimes I just shut down and instigate radio silence. Followed by a text a few weeks, sometimes months later that goes something like.......I'm so sorry, things have been crazy, how are you doing?

And things are crazy. Mom life is crazy.

And yes, sometimes that break of talking between friends extends so long that I don't know how to open communication again. And I ghost other moms. 

But what I am saying is, just like you need to learn how to break up with your boyfriend, we need to learn to "break up" as mom friends. Maybe that is the wrong term, because instead of breaking up and ghosting each other we should accept the spaces that children and illness and overwhelmed mom life brings to friendship and give each other grace. We need to stop the peer pressure. So many moms are introverts (spoiler, I am not) yet often feel the need to be "polite" and have "friends" and go "out" when what they really need is to stay home and be alone. And saying that should be okay. We push and push ourselves to have a active home life and have friends and make crafts with our kids and sex with our husbands on at least a semi-regular basis. But I find it hard to have my cake and eat it too, and not just because it contains gluten.

I think that is the thing behind the mom-ghosting. The "and". We try to have a home life "and" __________. Sometimes I can't even have a ordered existence within our four walls, much less without. And so I shut down, stop communicating, when I need to talk the most. The last four years since I became a mother have been the hardest and the most transformational for me as a person. And I'm not a butterfly, I'm some type of wet puddle.

I do need friends. I also need to stop venting to strangers. I find that last sentence highly amusing since here I am...blogging...but you are not a stranger, right? You love me and want to hear all about how I got rug burn in yoga class, and how I ate pizza for the first time in six years last week. It was delicious.

I miss just being alone in my own head and not having tiny humans to manage.  But I love them, even if they make me a bit crazy.

I don't even know what the point of this post is, it got lost somewhere between cake and friendship. Have a good night, friends.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


This is a video rendition of this blog post. It is about my goals in motherhood, my priorities and perspectives. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2019

What I learned in 8 years of marriage

I can't believe I have been married eight years! It feels like yesterday.

I have grown to love my husband more every day and appreciate him more and more. We now have two beautiful children and will begin homeschooling officially next year.

Marriage has been all I ever dreamed of and more. Every day I learn something about my husband—small things, like how the winkles around his eyes crinkle when he looks at me, or how cared and loved I feel when he does the dishes without asking. I love to watch him play with our wild kids in the evening when I am worn out. I look over the top of my book usually, as I rest on the couch as he romps around with Reuben and Rebekah on the floor.

I was thinking this past week that there is one big thing I have learned thus far in marriage. I didn't go into marriage with this, it came slowly. In fact, my expectations lay the opposite direction.

I went into marriage thinking that my spouse would be the best version of himself. In the past when he did something I perceived as wrong or if I saw sin in his life, I would be angry at him. His sins used to make me feel unloved, or not cared for. I would say things like “why did you do _______ don't you love me?” As if his love for me would keep him on the right track.

I don't think this way at all anymore.

I married a sinful man. I am a struggling, sinful woman (saved by grace) who married another struggling sinful man. We will struggle with sin the rest of our lives, and I—as my husband's wife—get an intimate view of not only my own sins now, but my spouse's as well.

I went into marriage expecting not to see his sins. I thought he would be on his best behavior all the time for me because that is what he was when we were dating. Now, after eight years of marriage I am not surprised when I find out my husband is struggling. I am no longer angry when he disobeys one of God's commandments. I expect it, actually. Yes. I expect my husband to sin.

We are fallen humans who will struggle with sin all our lives while we are here on this earth. My role, now, as Brian's wife isn't to get angry or point fingers at him when he does something wrong. My job is to come alongside him, uplift him spiritually, pray for him, counsel him—but most of all love him. Love him because that is what he needs as he personally struggles with his own sin against God.

Please note I am not talking about out of control, non-confessed sin in his life, or ongoing abuse situations. My husband is not systematically abusive. I am so thankful to have a safe marriage. If you are in an unsafe or abusive marriage, by all means I am not telling you to love your husband as he beats you. I would tell that woman to love her husband by not allowing him to hurt her or others.

Now when my husband sins or I see what I would deem a “personal failing” in his life, I support him instead of getting angry. I realize he is human and he is struggling. I recognize my own struggles as I see him struggle, and I become his biggest cheerleader. I no longer feel like he doesn't love me or care about me when he is disobeying God. I know he does love me, fiercely so. But his inward battle in his heart will never be over until he joins the kingdom of God. He is broken. I am broken.

My husband already has God telling him what he should and should not do. He doesn't need another person like me, his wife, to reiterate what God has already said. He needs another person there holding his hand, praying for him, and not leaving his side so that we can traverse together.

Thus we cling to God and try to make it through. I am here as another oarsman rowing in my husband's boat—our boat now, our marriage boat—trying to make it intact as we sail the storms and skirt the mirages that the open sea throws at us. I see us in a tiny vessel, barely big enough to hold our family, sailing the wide ocean with our lantern of God's light gleaming on the masts. One day we will make it home to heaven, but until then—expect dangerous waters. Expect sharks and leaky afts and thunderstorms.

Try to row with the man you married, not against him.

The war with own own flesh as we battle God's commands is a deeply personal one. I have had my husband try and help me with addictions in my own life and he was not able to. I had to meet those sins head on and only I, with God, can change myself. But my husband was there. He was cheering me on, letting me know he loved me even when I failed.

If my husband is a God-given lifeboat in this world, I want to be the same for him.

If we are going to struggle, lets struggle together.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Internet Addiction, Part Two

I had to tell my husband today that my internet addiction is stealing all my joy again. It isn't a pleasant thing to talk about. It isn't easy to look the man I married in the eyes and tell him I am struggling with staying off YouTube and Facebook, or that I feel crushing pressure to “keep up” with social media.

I had to tell him that lately, I had been using the internet like a drug. Did I have a bad day? I must need to binge watch YouTube. Are my kids driving me crazy? I can send them to their room and zone out on my phone for half an hour. Since we got the internet back after a five month hiatus I have more and more turned to it to give me a “fix” when I am stressed, tired, or anxious.

The internet has it all. Everything I need. Social interactions that are shallow and take time away from me that I should be spending with my family. My stress level skyrockets on facebook as I read the bickering and fighting over vaccines, and see the negativity that many people post about Trump, feminism and abortion.

Lets not forget the advertisements. Ads punch me in my gut. After seeing a few, I just know my house and closet are inferior and laughingly inadequate. I need that shirt. If I had it, I would be happy. But either I have to charge it to our credit card, or not buy it because $30 shirts are not in our budget.

Pictures let me know I am failing creating happy memories in my own home. Did someone I follow post a video on YouTube? It's a reminder that I am not posting as much as I should—I need to make some videos for my channel.

Now, this is not how I always feel about Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and blogging. This is just how I feel when I am using the internet as a crutch or when I am in a negative place mentally or emotionally. Instead of dealing with whatever I am going through, I internalize it and use the internet to distract me. That is not healthy for me and it has been slowly killing my joy again.

In short, I need life without the internet again. Desperately. My husband agrees. Whatever life stage I am in now, I am not able to use the internet healthily. But my husband still wants internet in our home so that he can work from home occasionally and use it to play some online games.

The plan we came up with and the thing I asked for is for him to change the internet password and just not tell me. I also removed the internet from my phone.

After three days I convinced him to give me the password. I thought—oh, I'll just log out after and not have my computer remember it. I'll just use the internet for the evening. Well, that worked for two nights and the third night I just left it connected. And that was when I realized my addiction goes deeper then even I can understand. I can't tackle this alone.

We reconfigured our idea. I will be taking at least three months off of home internet and will have to go to a coffee shop or other internet-friendly place if I would like access. This is good. This is what I need. Boundaries are good here. Oh, it's going to be rough—but I have done it before and I can do it again and I know it is good for me. I know I will grow and I know my anxiety and depression will lesson considerably after the adjustment period.

So, that is how I am doing. How are you?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Dragon Reborn

I finished the third book! Spoilers for the first three books from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series will be below.

This book follows Rand's journey to the Sword Callandor. Well, more specifically it follows everyone but Rand as he is not a main point of view in this book! I missed him. I think I get why the author is distancing us from Rand—he's supposed to be the Dragon Reborn and that holds a bit of awe and it's interesting to see this persona build though the eyes of others.

Perrin is one of the main male voices we hear throughout the third book. And yes, just like books one and two he is still whining about being able to hear wolves and nattering on about how little he understands women. Mat is also a main male voice. And bonus, he's finally cured of that cursed dagger! I got to know (and grow to like) him a lot better. He has a tricksters heart but a kind soul. I love how he helps people and how he jumps to go after Elayne when he overhears she is in trouble. I like his luck, and I like that he gets to travel with Thom.

Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene are still together. I can't tell you whose arc I like more—each one is woven intricately and perfectly and kept me on the edge of my seat from first page to last.

Basically, all the characters end up in Tear, a city-- helping Rand to Callandor (or assisting other secondary characters, like how Perrin goes after “his falcon” in the dream world).

I love seeing more of the Aiel in this third book. The characters meet various Aiel and as they were such mysteries in book one and two, I found myself curious as the ladies (N, E and E) and even Mat meet some.

I don't have many thoughts on this book because I read it a week ago and didn't take notes. I enjoyed it and thought it very fast paced. I missed Rand's voice, and I wish Min was in the novel (well she is talked of and is there a few times but not substantially). What is she off doing? How is she important? Does she really end up marrying Rand? I think so.

I thought the glimpses we get of the Forsaken very interesting. Especially how they are setting themselves up as high lords and dipping their toes into world politics. The Neverborn are also intriguing. I find myself wondering once again how one man built this much world. I can find no flaws in his books.

No wonder he needs so many books to flesh out his story. The depths of this tale are so realistic and amazing that it would need no less to do it service.

On to the forth book!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I have an Autoimmune Disease but I live like I don't?

I was listening to a podcast the other day by EYK. Martina was talking about her chronic illness, chronic pain, and also chronic depression, and how she has to make sure she modifies her life so that she doesn't shut down. She described the steps she takes to cope with her chronic illness and how she builds a ladder so she can function as well as she can in everyday life.

I have chronic gut issues. I have not slept through the night (except one time) since my daughter was born. I have some serious autoimmune diseases that I deal with on a daily basis, and yet, I realized as I listened to all the things Martina and her husband do to help her through her day--I try and live like I have no health problems. I put a lot of pressure on myself to maintain a normal life. I don't cut corners or modify my life with my autoimmune diseases and fatigue in mind.

This is perhaps the stupidest decision I have ever made in the last 7 years I have been actively battling against my autoimmune issues (and 4 years of limited sleep, with first Reuben and now Rebekah).

I will tell you that realizing and verbalizing this has taken a load off my shoulders. Now instead of saying "I am too tired" to go out when my husband asks, and feeling guilty about it, or pushing myself to go out because I don't know how to explain the complex reasons I feel I can't, I now say "I didn't sleep well last night because the baby woke up a lot and for my mental and emotional health I am going to stay home so I don't add more to my plate".

This has created worlds of positive communication in my marriage. I never knew how to say that last sentence or even put it into words until I listened to Martina say basically the same thing. My husband and I used to argue a lot because he would want to go out on the weekends but I would be so tired after a full week that I didn't want too. But I couldn't tell him why I didn't want too because I was so exhausted and didn't know how. This lack of information baffled my husband and usually he could push me to go out, thinking I needed motivation or encouragement. Thus I would go out and our excursion would be fun, but I would completely crash the rest of the day and sometime even the next day. I would have crippling anxiety and depression due to ignoring my bodies natural cues not to overexert myself. And my husband would be, in these times, forced to carry the majority of the childcare. 

I have two young children, one who still does not sleep through the night. I have serious autoimmune and food issues. And I need to start living like it. I need to say no. I need to take my limitations in hand as I make goals. I need to rest. In this season it is okay not to push myself and I don't need to feel bad about it.

I've made some changes the last few days and it's been refreshing. I feel slightly energized instead of drained all the time. And it's nice for me to be able to communicate why I can't do something and to loose the guilt attached to not maintaining "normal".

I'm not normal. This is my season and I need to adjust to it.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Adventures in Sleep Training

If you have read my blog you will know I make children that don't sleep. I have a few rare friends whose kids were sleeping through the night by 2 months. Taking a very nonacademic statistical analysis of half my friends shows that most kids sleep all night by eight months, with a few stragglers around 12-13 months old.

Becky is 20 months old. Reuben himself slept through the night around 2.3 years old when we night weaned, but I thought he was the anomaly because of his horrible allergies. (He also regressed to no longer sleeping through the night when Becky was born for twoish months so that was, as you can guess, just wonderful)

Most people who I tell of my sleepless woes seem to blame my parenting. But I know several moms who do almost the same thing I do--(by this I mean attachment parent and bed share) so please don't blame my parenting style for the no-sleep offspring problem. I had another friend tell me my kids don't sleep because I nurse; like breast milk is keeping my baby awake. I had make a visible effort not to roll my eyes at that one. 

Anyway, everyone thinks they have the answers for me. But the thing is each child is different. Doctors say sleep is developmental like walking and talking. Each kid hits this milestone at a different time when they and their bodies are ready. I can create nice sleep-inducing environments with blackout curtains and white noise machines and wear out the children with various outside activities, but I simply can't make a child sleep.  

I've learned to let go of my sleep expectations. I have come to an understanding that if my kid sleeps, great, and if not--I can be okay too. My child's lack of sleep does not mean I am a bad parent. I can let go of my feelings of frustration and shame that I can't get my child to sleep. If someone else's child is sleeping though the night it does not mean they are a better parent than I, just like when another's baby walks sooner or talks sooner. It's just developmental. I also had to learn to lower my expectations and my ability levels when I have not slept well a few nights in a row. I stay home. I cook easy meals like tuna and peanut butter and jelly. We do more television time. It was hard for me to learn to take it easy when I have not slept--I am a type A machine sometimes and can feel a lot of guilt and stress over "letting things go". I'm learning that I need to rest first, and worry about cleaning and cooking second on days I am tired.

Conversely, I am of the mind that babies sometimes need to be taught to sleep through the night. Sometimes they just are not learning it on their own and need some nudging. At 20 weeks I tried sleep training Becky by night weaning her, but I woke up at least every 45 minutes for about three days and that was not sustainable. I couldn't function, I was having anxiety and depression. I knew I needed sleep and thus, after a week's break, my husband took over training Becky while I slept on the couch. It took me one week to learn to sleep all the way through the night by myself again, after 21 months of waking up at least 3-5 times a night. 

Also, holy engorgement. I've had two plugged ducts due to night weaning.

But I finally feel human again! It took Becky seven days to learn to sleep through the night. The first time she did it was last night and unfortunately my husband and I did not get to enjoy deep sleep ourselves, because hubby has food poisoning and I was up helping him, or being woke by him. Poor husband. Now both of us are tired with hyper, well-slept children.

I am praying that Becky continues to sleep through the night and that my husband and I both can rest, too. The sleep adventures of raising small children are definitely some of the most difficult times I have encountered in this parenting journey. Through it all God has taught and stretched me like no other. He is good, and my blessings still abound even in this tired season.

So, when did your kids sleep through the night? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

More Gloves

I'm going back through my "old" knitting tutorials and remaking things so I can update the pictures. Better pictures, more customers. Honestly, some of my project and pattern photos are so bad I have almost just trashed the whole tutorial! These must be fixed!!

First project done. The Quick Fancy Gloves have been knit in bulky knit-picks wool and photos have been taken! You can buy this pattern if you are interested on Ravelry here!

I know I am not a "legit" photographer, but even I can take simi-good photos. And it is a skill I need if I am going to try selling things online! Any and all tips are appreciated.