Thursday, October 16, 2014

Yarn Along

Today is a crisp fall day, with a gentle breeze and blue skies and lots of white wispy clouds. A beautiful day. A perfect day to wear a shawl. And it is upstairs blocking! Oh, it will look so lovely among all these leaves turning such vibrant colors. I can't wait for Sophie to receive it. Probably in a week or so.

I will tell you it was the most difficult knit I have attempted so far. The celtic knot cablework is 36 rows of anxious knitting, believe me. I did not want to have to make any repairs in that section, so I was extremely cautious, often recounting stitches several times before moving on. At the same time, though, watching those intertwining patterns emerge was so amazing. I mean, writing a pattern for that is simply mind boggling!

Reading has been more honestly listening. We travelled two weekends in a row and listened to several stories. After finishing Richard Peck's "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder", I found another of his stories at the library. "Here Lies the Librarian" was also a good tale, but whether it was the narrator or not, it wasn't quite as good as the others. I thought she could have given more life to the characters. "The Boxcar Children" series have been some of the kid's favorites. Right now, we are halfway through "Anne of Green Gables". Excepting Therese, who is very opinionated about most things, we all love it.

The pattern for the shawl can be found on Ravelry. Go visit Ginny's blog for more knitting and reading.

This is before blocking.

I am not very good at blocking. I had to use one of the mattresses since all the floors are marble and I don't have blocking mats. I am seeing the need for some though.

blocking on the bed

This last picture is from the ipad. Jack took it for me. I really like how the shawl turned out!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend photos

Since we started the school year, I have had little time to write. We have the first four weeks under our belts and we are slowly getting into a routine. I signed the kids up for a drama class and they love it. So once a week, we head out with a picnic lunch, our school books, and the ipad, and spend our day at the craft center on post. Therese's class is in the morning and the bigger kid's class is after lunch.

So, after a month, we were ready for a little fun this past weekend. We went to Garmisch and Ettal. God's handiwork is most impressive. Beauty was everywhere I looked. The weather was also perfect.

The hotel in Ettal.

The view from our balcony.

another view from the hotel

in the room, waiting to go to Garmisch. They tried watching cartoons in German, but opted for my ipad instead.

The view changed moment to moment. The same balcony view at a different time of day.

This was in the entrance to our building. The kids were fascinated. "How do you use it?" Jack asked.

The monastery dome across the street. The inside was breathtaking, and I will share that as soon as I figure out how to get photos from my phone.

Today we met with some friends and rode a cable car to the top of one of the mountains, Wank.

Miss Sassy

Enjoying the ride and the scenery

on top of the world

above the clouds

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yarn Along- the Pachyderm edition

Packing her carefully in a tissue-paper bed, straightening her ears one last time, I closed the box and drove to the post office so that she could begin her long journey from Germany to the west coast of the United States to a new little baby. This little elephant was knit with many prayers and lots of love. I heard yesterday that she made the trip safely and is with her new owner.

Once again, the pattern for this little sweetie was very detailed, just like the ones for her little bunny friends that I have made. I had such fun making the elephant.

I have been reading "A Long Way from Chicago" by Richard Peck to the kids. Oh my goodness! How had I not read this before? Grandma Dowdel is one of the most hilarious characters ever!

For my own reading, Amazon Prime sends me monthly free selections for my reader. I have never seen anything that sparked my interest until this month. It was historical fiction. "The Moonlight Palace" by Liz Rosenburg was a quick, good read. I needed something light to read while laying down with the kids, waiting for them to drift off into dreamland.

Now I am back to finishing up "Death Comes for the Archbishop", which I was supposed to have read for a book club by August 15. Oh, well, I see that I am not book club material. Deadlines are no good for this mama!

Now, go check out all the other knitting and reading over at Ginny's!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Short Cut

For months I have been measuring and measuring, hoping to see the magic number appear. Today was the day. I made the appointment. Excited, yet nervous, I drove to the salon. The stylist asked what we were doing.


 Before I could change my mind, she made a quick cut and there was no turning back. She did a wonderful job.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yarn Along and other things

I am joining in Ginny's yarn along today.

I have one project finished and on its way to the recipient. I will wait until it is received before I post pictures. The other project can be revealed, even though I am not finished. It is for Sophie. She saw it while I was visiting the states, so she knows what she will be getting eventually. I need quiet for her shawl because it is a lot of cables and twists and it would be easy to lose count. It is this pattern that I found on Ravelry. So far, a very well-written pattern.

What we have been reading/listening to is "Arthur and the Invisibles". It is read by Jim Dale and is most enjoyable. I am still working on "Death Comes for the Archbishop".

In other news, my sweet Anna turned 10 years old on Sunday. In the military world, this is big because you get your ID card on this birthday. Poor Anna had been looking forward to this day for quite some time. Not only did her birthday fall on a Sunday this year, it was a holiday weekend too, which meant the ID card center was closed on Monday.

 She was just as patient with getting her gifts. We arrived home after our 3 week trip to the states on Saturday. Not much opportunity to go shopping for her. She has two of the three gifts she wanted. Tomorrow, we will hopefully go buy the last present. A trip to Legoland is also in the works, though none of us is quite ready to get in a car and travel just yet.

In other unrelated news, Peter is getting creative when it comes to getting what he wants. Today, he twice sneaked to the kitchen and quietly pulled a chair to the counter to get the gum he wanted. He managed to eat about seven pieces of gum between the two stealthy manuevers. Do you think it could have any adverse effects? I will be finding a new 'hiding' place for the gum.

Lastly, if all goes well, we will start school on Monday. Morale is high right now. We will see if that is the same story on Monday morning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Our trip to the states and the kindness of strangers

Well now! What a long time since I sat down to write. I wanted to, really, because I didn't want to leave out anything, but traveling without my husband overseas left very little time to myself.

On August 7, we began our attempt to get on a Space A flight from Germany to the states. I had heard horror stories of people camped out for days, waiting. We were still in the middle of the "busy" season, so I knew our chances were small to get a flight on the first day. I packed our bags, but I didn't really think it would matter if I missed anything. I fully expected to come home and try again the next day. On the last flight out that day, we made the list. Only, its destination was California. The wrong coast. I had only a minute to decide. Tony said go and so we did.

The plane was a cargo plane but it did have regular airline seating inside, but little else. Including insulation. It was so loud that you could barely hear someone talking to you. It also got very cold seeing as how we flew over the North Pole! Lastly, it was very long. 13 hours long. And this is where the kindness of those around us began.

The young soldier who chose to sit next to the kids gave them gummy bears, his jacket, and his attention. That jacket, though, is what made the trip bearable. I had a sweater for myself, but the rest of the kids jackets were in the suitcase. I would snuggle one up in the jacket until they were asleep and then passed it along to one who was awake and cold.

When we landed, of course my phone would not work. Tony had planned to try and book us a room at the hotel on the AFB, but I had no way of knowing if he was successful. Another family on the flight offered to call the hotel and then delayed their own car ride home to drop us off at the hotel.

I booked a commercial flight for the next day out of Sacramento, but I had no idea how to get us there. I went to the lobby for some refreshments and a lady struck up a conversation with me. After telling her I had a flight in the morning, she handed me a business card for a shuttle service. I called, and he not only could take us, but he gave a 50% discount for families.

Now comes the really good and bad part. On that flight, one of my older children had an accident while waiting in line for the restroom. And it was not pee. And it was not an easy cleanup. As in, I had to throw away the pants, underwear and socks. It took 20 minutes inside the plane lavatory to clean up said child. They aren't really meant for two people, I can assure you. I asked the stewardess if they had any blankets I could wrap around my poor, embarrassed kid. Nope. I was near tears at this point. So I zipped up my cardigan sweater, tied it around embarrassed kid's waist and waited to land. I can also assure you that almost every store in the airport sells shirts. But no one sells pants. After searching for 30 minutes, I found a pair of men's pajama pants. The cost? $32. For pajama pants! I resigned myself to the loss of $32 and went to pay. The lady looked our sad situation and without saying a word, scanned a pair of socks instead and said "That will be $10, ma'am." I will admit I did shed a tear then.

My sister was waiting for us at the end of the connecting flight and we traveled onto my parent's house after spending a day with my sister.

I was really looking forward to a relaxing week at the beach, with my oldest daughter joining us. We had rented a separate little cottage about a mile from the rest of my family. I had pictured us spending our days with all the family and the evenings with my little family. The first day, however, changed all that. Sophie was jumping waves, when she stepped into a hole. In extreme pain, she was helped out of the water by my sister and BIL, where she immediately passed out. A trip to the ER showed no broken bones, but most likely a torn ACL. So for the rest of the week, she camped out on the couch at my parent's beach house and I toted the kids back and forth each night and morning.

I ended up accompanying Sophie back to school to help her get unpacked, since she is on crutches. I also stopped in to see my grandmother in WV on my way to Baltimore to try and get a flight home. I also stopped in to see my MIL. Tony's sister followed me to Andrews AFB to help me get on a plane. It was obvious by the number of people there that I was not getting on this flight. We picked up chinese food and headed back to my MIL's house. I drove to North Carolina the next day, only to have the flight cancelled. We spent the night at Ft. Bragg since there was another flight the next day. We got a shuttle to the airport in the afternoon and hung out with the other people hoping to fly. That little group of people quickly formed a bond while waiting. One man offered to pick up dinner for us when he went to get his own dinner. I cried tears of relief when my name was on the list. That man and his wife made the list too. We hugged. Then they called him back to the counter. They had a last minute change and could not fit them on the flight. I cried again.

Would I do this all again? Honestly, I don't know. The price was right and  I learned a lot of tricks to flying Space A that would make a second attempt much easier. It was definitely an adventure I will not soon forget.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Reflection

"Doctrine is well enough for the wise, Jean; but the miracle is something we can hold in our hands and love." - from Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.

The priest is speaking of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego.

This simple line spoke to me. I recently joined a Catholic Discussion Group on facebook at a friend's suggestion. It is a lovely group of women who are very knowledgable on doctrine and the discussions are most of the time very informative. But I have felt... lesser. I try to fully live my faith each day. It is a struggle for sure. From my view, it seems that others find it more in their nature to be holy, where for me, I desire it, but it seems against my nature. I struggle mightily to align my heart with the Father's will sometimes.

I think that is why I am drawn to Our Lady of Guadalupe. She came to Juan Diego, who was a simple man, trying to live a simple, holy life. He was not a learned scholar, nor did he try to be. (At least I don't think so) I long to have that child like faith, and some days I do, and just trust. Other days, I am consumed with anxiety and fear at the unknown, at not being able to make things the way I think they ought to be. This is a lifelong journey, I know. I picture myself on a forest path. Some parts are easy and beautiful and I stop to take in the beauty surrounding me, fully in awe and wonder. Some sections are uphill and arduous, the beauty is still there, but I have to put all my focus on the path, else I will stumble. I do stumble, lots of times, for I forget to watch where I place my feet and my heart.  Sometimes, I can't go any further. I need to rest and get my strength back. At these times, I lay down and rest in the strong arms of Jesus.

My sister-in-law gave me this picture of Our Lady.

I leave you with this quote from Death Comes for the Archbishop, which is the reply to the quote at the beginning of this post.

"Where there is great love there are always miracles," he said at length. "One might almost say that an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love. I do not see you as you really are, Joseph; I see you through my affection for you. The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always."