Children, Crafting, Friends, knitting

The Holy Grail of Knitting Patterns

I learned to knit when I put my children through Waldorf school. My poor son hated knitting and would offer to trade me chores for my knitting his flute bag. I loved it. He did not understand.

I decided the first year that I’d learned to knit fairly well that I’d make them stuffed animals. I bought an adorable pattern on Ravelry, ordered beautiful yarn for each of them and sat down to whip them right out.

elijah

Holy hannah… they were made with tiny needles and there were stitches I’d never seen and didn’t make sense to read. I got the first half done and ended up with a blue trunk/head object that looked like blue fuzzy scrotum. Ugh.

I’d already fantasized about  a darling matching set of hand-knit Elijah elephants dangling out of stockings on Christmas eve/morning. I knew I didn’t have time to spend the time getting them done by the holiday, so I started to search for someone that could make them. I Googled “knit animals, knit toys and knit for children… and found the most amazing and inspirational woman.

Julie Williams, of Little Cotton Rabbits.

Her blog popped up and I fell in love with her little English garden. I grew to admire her as I read about her knitting peacefully with her Autistic son. I loved how she spoke about her daughter. Most of all?

lcrgang

I wanted one of her little animals so badly I was considering bribing someone who won to let me buy theirs. Julie was a mother and woman first and the demand for her beautiful creations far exceeded how many she could produce. People stole her ideas left and right and still, and whilst defending herself; she did the best she could to knit as many as possible. People began to complain the sales were rigged and whined that they were being intentionally denied an opportunity to have a coveted Little Cotton Rabbit. She would list them randomly and it was the basically the luck of who got there… but there did seem to be people who sat and did nothing but hit the refresh button in anticipation of her listing one for sale. I remember reading a comment from a woman that had three of them. I was instantly bitter and could not believe she would continue snatching the treasures up while some of us didn’t even have ONE yet! I realized I was obsessed.

bunny

I was never lucky enough to win the opportunity to buy one.

She finally had to resort to using a random number generator to choose who got to the chance to buy one. I gave up.  She’s been the first link in my computer for years.

My ex got married a few years ago and my daughter was nervous about her first trip on an airplane without me. She was clingy weepy about it and I wanted to send something small and made with love to comfort her in my absence. I sat down with my needles and copied the bunny I coveted, to the best of my ability. It was absolute hell, but Bailey the Bunny was exactly what my baby girl needed to feel safe. I sprayed her tummy with my perfume and wrapped her in her suitcase. She loved her and I swore I’d never make another one…. until my favorite Aunt had a baby girl. I used the beloved Alpaca yarn I’d had stashed for a special project, and Vera the bunny was sent off with great love.

bailey

I’ve tweaked my pattern over the years, but I always felt a little… wrong about the whole thing.

I’d absolutely copied her pattern as best I could- and it wasn’t to cheat her or avoid paying for something. I couldn’t buy one…. and she didn’t sell the pattern.

Bailey and Vera were gifts of great love and SO hard to knit… but more than that- I’d loved those cotton bunnies for so many years and wanted my little girls to have one.

Along those lines, I’m making all of my Christmas gifts this year and I’m determined to knit something for everyone. I would love to knit everyone something special, though I can’t imagine being able to pull it off this year.  I tucked a sleepy baby in my bathrobe and sat down with my tea this morning to look at patterns on Ravelry. I clicked on the Little Cotton Rabbits page and nearly fell off of my chair.

You can buy the bunny pattern.

bunnyforsale

You can buy the dress pattern.

dresses4sale

There is a Santa Claus.

I bought them immediately and opened directly to the foot, which is knitting purgatory. Baby Quinn’s bunny still only has one leg. I read the instructions and nearly cried. It’s so perfectly neat and beautifully simple. Just like everything I’ve seen about Julie.

I’m both honored and excited to share this link. Go buy this pattern and fill the lives of the little ones you love…

With REAL Little Cotton Rabbits.

I’m still so excited I feel like Santa came early… and seeing the little foxes lets me know that someday… if I’m patient and wait my turn…

She’s going to sell the elephant pattern too.

I’m beside myself with geeky knitter joy that I can actually make my babylove a REAL rabbit, just like the beautiful creations Julie’s made that have evaded capture.

Now I can give my darling knitter friend S the link to the REAL pattern… because I still can’t find one of the 5 post-it notes I wrote my borrowed pattern on.

I’m so incredibly happy to be able to support such a wonderful woman. I have 2 bunnies already started and I’m happiest most of all that two of them will be dangling out of stockings this year!!!

omgcute

Friends, Happiness, Love, Truth

Whole

broken

I talked to a friend today about feeling broken. It’s human nature to take things that hurt, personally. If I know one thing well, it’s disappointment.

I really have been through hell the past two years. Hell… and I’m talking about the hardcore bitch version of hell, not the painted-on-hands princess sort of idea of what hell may be like. Envision having a bad day, a few hundred times over… That was me. Resiliency had become my uniform. I’d perfected the art of accepting anything and expecting nothing.

I’ve stepped up to the plate again and again after being blown out of the water and devastated by another bad experience. I left plenty of baggage behind while continuing to search for love and happiness. The problem with love and happiness is that it isn’t hiding, and you can’t find it. The problem with real honest-to-goodness committed love is that it has to find you.

That quote that says “Women who chase men, only catch the slow ones”? That’s the gospel.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies with me and who I choose if the pattern is always repeating. I see a charming snake of a disinterested cheater/liar smile at me and now know that my racing heart is the universe telling me to RUN. My taste is bad so I am choosing to no longer sit at the table.

Some men are equally as vulnerable as we are. Shitty women are just as poisonously bad as shitty men and there are some scary bitches that could make a sympathetic victim out of the biggest douche bag. I know a few… and one in particular came to mind today. I’m reminded again that some men experience the same things we do. They have soft spots, tender feelings and just as much desire as we do to love someone. We need to be just as careful with them as we want them to be with us.

The women that talk about their husband like he’s the best thing since sliced bread? They’re married to one of those nice guys. They’re loved by a healthy man who safeguards her happiness as much as his own. That’s all it takes. I know some very happily married women. It’s awesome and I’m proud. I point to them when I teach my kids about what marriage should look like.

Unfortunately and more often than not… nice girls end up loving the guy who can be the biggest asshole while simultaneously making her feel the most unwanted or insecure… and nice men end up loving the black widow sort of entrails-eating women we don’t like either. Ask any woman. We all know a woman who’s skeletons make us feel SO much better about our own full closet. I may have done some crazy shit in my time, but I know a few women who’s secrets make me blush and that’s saying something.

What it really boils down to is this: there are some really bad people out there. There are some really great people too. I know a few men that give me absolute faith in their gender. My happily married friends are inspirational.  My baby sister loves and is adored by, her husband. I know the finest women.

Sadly enough… if you don’t play the games, you lose the war. It’s tragic, pathetic and unavoidable.

The world is full of broken people but if you’re attracted to people who break you, you need to love yourself enough to be alone until that changes.

Feeling broken sucks and unfortunately there are people in the world who approach love like a contest, a lottery or a war. Save yourself. Just say no to anyone who doesn’t have the best intentions where your heart is concerned.

I’m healing from the disappointment of being wrong, again. Until I can have faith in men again and believe I could love one that tells the truth, I’m ruling out men entirely. I brought a whole bunch of baggage with me this time and I’m blissfully happily single as a result.

Relationships are supposed to feel good and add to your life and that’s not my experience anymore. I’d rather take another walk with my baby. Catch a movie with my teenaged daughter. I’d rather sew the baby a quiet book to play with and learn from. I’d rather plant my garlic.

Basically I’d rather love the people who love me back and not waste any of the time I could be spending with friends on someone who isn’t making the same investment.

I’m single, but I’m whole- not broken. I’m alone, but not lonely. Finally smart, but not naive.

Join me 🙂

Blogging, Family, Friends, Halloween, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!, Yarden

Grandma

I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

Children, Family, Friends, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!

And then there was Baby.

I watched my due date come and go. It really didn’t matter that I was due on my birthday because I wanted a baby more than anything. Cake was nice… but I’d have given a limb for some bone crushing contractions and a shared birthday.

It wasn’t to be… and the 5th came and went with a nice dinner on my parent’s houseboat on the lake, a pretty sunset and my best friend and lovely Little Red.

I sunk into my overdue status with exasperation. Still perfectly healthy but frustrated by my inability to do as much as I wanted to get done in the garden and battling devastating heartburn. The 6th ticked by without so much as a contraction. The 7th was equally uneventful. I had to relinquish my darling daughter to her dad the afternoon of the 8th and I watched her get out of the car and walk up to the house with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. I’d gotten to the point that I was feeling awfully lonely waiting impatiently for the baby on my own. I blew her a kiss and wiped my tears… and drove home to resign myself to be the first woman to be pregnant forever.

6:00 PM

My dear Miss Classy, my best friend in the world stopped by on her way home from work after I sent her a “I’M SO BORED” text whining about my eternal gestation and inability to weed the carrots. She hugged me, assured me I would not be pregnant forever and she would indeed come out eventually. We laughed and I realized I was having contractions. They were insignificant, but noticeable. It’d been 13 years since I’d felt one, but I noticed the rhythmic tightening. I laughed and mentioned them offhandedly. She went home to make dinner and relax. I went out to weed the dreaded carrots after a dose of Zantac.

I got three feet into the carrot patch when the mosquitos began feasting on me. I realized after I started to truly get pissed off about the mosquitos, that I was having more contractions. I smiled widely and struggled to keep going. After another 2 feet… I gave up and came inside. I fired up the fancy pink iPhone contraction timer my Little Red had loaded on my phone and started timing them.

Twelve minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute. Easy… not painful… and I had some things to get done if it was an indication that the baby might come that night.

8:30 PM

I called Miss Classy.

J- I think I’m in labor. I know I’ve said it forever, but I think tonight’s the night. Seriously. Don’t panic.

MC- I’m not panicking. Do you want me to come now?

J- Nooooo. I’m going to mop and maybe go back out to weed the carrots some more. I need to bleach the sinks again and I’d really love to shave my legs.

MC- Ok, well call me and keep me updated. I love you. Hooray!!!

I got off the phone and turned the music on to dance with my unborn baby girl one more time. The dogs barked excitedly. The cat meowed at me for more cat food. I decided to take a shower.

I called the midwife first.

J- I’m in labor!!! I’m the happiest person in pain, ever!

M- Should I come check you?

J- No, I’m going to mop and make something to eat, I’ll call you when it gets intense.

M- Hooray! We are so excited! We’ve been looking forward to this birth so much! I’ll call the other midwife!

J- No rush, I’m just enjoying it finally being the day!

I hung up and texted to see if my Little Red could come on over.

J- I think it’s the night… can LR come over soon?

X- Sure! They just went to the store, is 45 minutes ok?

J- Absolutely! See you soon!

I called my mama.

J- I’m in labor!!!!

M- OH! I’ll come now!

J- No I’m fine, I’m just excited! I’ll call you when it gets serious. Love you!

M- I love you baby. Congratulations!

As much as I try to deny it…I’m a closet high maintenance girl. I shave… everything. Now that said, there are certain things that are more difficult during pregnancy and shaving is at the top of that list. So I took my time, got a new blade out and shaved. I put my favorite lotion on. Slipped into my favorite clothes and smiled at every contraction… now coming every 5 minutes according to the fancy timer.

9:30 PM

I decided to change my sheets, and was too out of breath. I was hot and my back hurt. I called my dear Miss Classy.
As soon as I heard her voice I started to cry.

J- I think I need you.

MC- I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon.

I called my mom next.

J- Mommy.

M- I’m turning the water off and getting out of my garden clothes. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.

J- I don’t think I can do this.

M- Don’t be silly, of course you can. I love you. I’ll see you soon.

I sent a text to my ex-hubby.

J- Coming soon?

and they arrived in minutes.

I called the midwife.

J- Hi… I don’t know if I’m being wimpy or if I just forgot after 13 years… but this is worse than I remember it and I think you should come check me. I’m sorry if it’s a false alarm.

MW- I’ll come right now. Don’t apologize, I’m happy to see you. Are you out of breath?

J- … … …

MW- Are you having a contraction?

J- Mmmhmmm.

In three minutes, she was walking up to my front door, little midwife bag in hand. I was overjoyed to see her. She was smiling and looked happy and serene.

I was hit by a contraction as soon as she stepped inside the door and I leaned against the edge of my bed and counted backwards from 70. Not sure why… but anything to focus and relax. I smiled at her and she looked a little more concerned. She checked my blood pressure, my pulse and baby Quinn’s heart rate. Then she actually checked me and I saw the surprise flash across her face.

MW- Oh. Honey. You’re already dilated to an 8… closer to an 8 1/2. You don’t have time to fill the birth tub.

J- I’m having her in the bath tub then.

I didn’t wait for an answer, just walked to my sparkling bleach-y clean bathroom and started the water. Another monster contraction, and I saw my Little Red walk in, smiling proudly. I knew in my heart of hearts that the most important thing in my life was to show this young lady love of mine that birth is natural, that women can handle pain effectively, and that birth can be peaceful and on your own terms. She sat down on the toilet seat and I sunk into the water, giggling.

J- Are you worried? Are you afraid? Is it too much? Are you ok?

LR- Don’t be silly. I’m fine. Are you ok? Is it bad? I’m sorry it hurts.

J- It’s the most rewarding pain in the world. I learned that with you and your brother. This pain has the biggest payoff imaginable. I”m sorry if it gets scary. I’m probably going to scream. Hitting a certain tone in your throat helps ease the pain of the contraction. I’m sorry if it scares you.

LR- Mama you can do this and it’s ok if you scream. I would too. I believe in you.

I had another contraction and my dear midwife sat on the edge of the bathtub and checked me, telling me to warn her when I felt pressure… a pressure I was already feeling.

MW- You’re full term so you’re going to be pushing longer than you did before.

J- I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with my son, and 3 times with my daughter.

MW- I’m just preparing you.

And then the vortex opened and sucked me in.

I turned the other way and put my hands on the cool porcelain. I closed my eyes and thought of my dear Grandma Afton, who my baby daughter was going to be named after. She was fearless and feisty. She was the first red haired green eyed woman in my life who told me from infancy that the rules didn’t apply to me. She was the first person to push me to be better than I thought I wanted to be. Waves of excruciating pain tore through me and I forced my hands into relaxed open palms and pictured her sitting next to me, laughing at my doubting myself.

MW- Sink into the water. Breathe. Relax. Believe. You’ve got this.

I heard my grandma laugh.

I squeezed my eyes shut hoping she’d say something to help me survive the impending crash of another contraction.

I heard my dear friend Vera threaten me.

V- Don’t you dare name that baby after me. I hate my name.

I laughed and smiled at my Little Red, who was laughing back at me and shaking her head. The next contraction hit me and my eyes closed again for the last time and I began to push.

I listened only for the voice of my midwife. The woman captain of my lost and tortured ship fighting its way through the biggest storm on record. I heard her guide me. I asked for my dear friend, who put a towel under my head and a cold washcloth on my forehead.

MW- Push right here. Good. Ok, now blow… don’t push… breath… her head is almost out.

J- OUCH OUCH OUCH

MW- Breathe… now push. Now wait. Her head is out, you have to wait for the next contraction.

J- I can’t. I don’t want to have another contraction. I’ll push her out without it.

MW- NO. Wait. Ok, you’re having another one, PUSH.

I felt her leave me. I was momentarily sad. She was like a mermaid in the water and my midwife guided her deftly onto my chest… where I opened my eyes.

10:50 PM  8 lbs 4 ounces, 20″ long

Sweet baby girl ❤️

QVA

There she was. My little beauty. All wide eyes and alert with her tiny hand extended and her fingers curling around the center of my sports bra.

I smiled at the beautiful women I’d chosen to support and love me through the hardest battle us women fight, and they were all beaming and cooing at the bubble gum pink newborn resting on my chest under my favorite towels.

Looking up at me with dusky blue newborn eyes and the promise of more love than I ever dared to hope for.

There she was. At last.

happybirthdayQNaturally made and delivered, at home ♥

Food, Friends, Truth, Whine/Rant

The little things they fail to mention…

In the midst of the painfully uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, there are a few things they fail to mention in the millions of parenting books I’ve borrowed from the library. Most of these details are old news since this is my third baby, but one of them is completely new to me.

Graphic dreams.

Sigh. I’ve had some WILD dreams the duration of my pregnancy, beginning at 16 weeks when I had nightmares of accidentally cooking kittens every night for a week. I was sick over it and finally sat down with my midwife and confessed in horror.

J- I accidentally boiled a kitten in my sleep last night. I was so mortified when I woke up I could hardly look at anyone.

M- It’s completely normal. When you’re pregnant, you wake up in the middle of your REM sleep cycle and you wake up frequently so you remember more of your dreams. The increased estrogen only makes them more realistic.

So I tried to chalk it up to nocturnal insanity brought on by the increased estrogen of growing a baby girl. Until I hit about 20 weeks and started having graphic sexual dreams. Constantly. Trying to shake them was of no use, and this was by no means a vanilla sort of experience.

A quick 15 minute nap turned into skin tingling torture by way of his teeth and misuse of kitchen utensils.

I woke up a dozen times in the middle of the night with beads of sweat on the back of my neck, having escaped from the restraints I’d been tied in… by a friend of mine.

Yeah… oops… they’re never with my boyfriend- and never from experience. I’ve never dated or so much as kissed the poor victim at the center of my unintentional fantasy life. He’s the most respectful guy I know and I would die, die, DIE… if he knew what my subconscious has made him do. The jealousy I deal with from my baby-daddy is already unbearable and I don’t dare add another name to his list of friends I’m not allowed to have. I’ve tried everything to shake it… but as soon as I close my eyes… there he is again.

He told me once how tired he was and I know I turned fifty shades of red just thinking of the long night he’d had at my house, while feeling wholeheartedly guilty and incapable of controlling or curtailing it.

His voice sounds strange in my ears anymore because he’s said some unbelievable things to me in the last 6 months, lol…

My midwife does her best to comfort me while assuring me it’s completely normal. She suggested I Google it so I could see what she meant, and sure enough… I am not the only one.

I do what I can. I watch murderous television and children’s movies. I try my best to put it out of my mind, for fear I’ll make the situation worse. I’ve only told a few of my closest friends who laugh mercilessly and beg for details.

He’s smiling and I’m not pregnant. He’s swinging a spatula at me and I’m breathless and giggling, trying my best to stop smiling while he chases me through the house with the best of carnal intentions… ignoring my shrieking laughter. Gahhhh make it stop!

My poor perfection… the dream guy who extends his already ridiculous hours into my subconscious acrobatics routine nightly while being none the wiser.

I can’t complain too much… it sure beats the heartburn and insomnia… but I may never be able to look him in the face again after last night.