Thursday, September 29, 2011

Child Placket Sweater

Gracious heavens I nearly forgot to show off the knitting!

This is the child placket-neck sweater. It's a free pattern (of course!) and can be found on ravelry with additional (printable!) help from here. Joelle's directions are somewhat minimalist. I love the raglan shaping all the way up to the neck. The sweater looked very manly and proportionate on Matthias before he tore it off screaming, "No! Baby! 'Fias no Baby!" He knows what he likes.

I did not make the owl. I saw it in a store, and said disparagingly, "I could make that", determining to go home and make it. That evening I realized I could either stay up until 1 am and make an owl, or be a nice mother next day. I couldn't do both. 
Clay buttons from White Duck Pottery in Combermere. Quick! White Duck is going out of business! Angela, I told you I'd have the perfect project for those buttons! 

unblocked, still

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today I am grateful for:

—the incredible outpouring of love from this community of women, who held a "welcome baby" celebration for me this weekend.

I am truly overwhelmed by the love and generosity for this fourth baby, by the sheer volume of gifts from such busy, hardworking women, and by the evident joy for yet another new life in our family.

While I privately feel the exhilaration of welcoming our new baby, and my own little family is excited and prepared, I'm fully aware of how crazy it all appears from the outside.

These are women are mostly older than I, mothers of large families themselves, who have been childbearing for a lot of years. They are so wise, funny, and practical. They have suffered deeply, and yet laugh so easily. I am truly humbled by the love they showed me and by the wisdom and humour I learn from them.

—this great little soul, growing into a little boy: my love Matthias. 

The bathroom is a place of  rest and meditation for many of us. 

—pink champagne. Well, actually grape and cherry juice fermented with water kefir grains  for bubbly goodness. I'm doing experimental batches to have a really good brew ready for celebrating new baby.

—And a new favourite sandwich: slices of pear and mozzarella on croissant, with a little cinnamon and crabapple preserve (a gift from another fantastic woman in our community.) Just look what it's done to my belly!

magnatune. Baby and I and Matthias have been enjoying Boccherini and Vivaldi and beautiful Eastern vocal music.

In these tired, late days with their aches and pains and frantic busy-ness, there is so much beauty to keep us going!

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Nesting

My neighbour laughed at me outright the other day, as I was spray painting lawn furniture—"Didn't you do this last time you were nine months pregnant?"

spray painting and renovating

Of course! 38 weeks gestation is the biological cue to start painting furniture. When I was expecting Hugh I painted it all white, with Matthias it was red (from reading Carl Larsson). This time it's all black and sophisticated.

Except for the things I'm painting white... (yes, that's an ironing board getting painted. I tell you, people: it's bonkers)

Not to mention the clorox. Where does this instinct to bleach everything come from? I don't even believe in using bleach!

Just a few more walls, baby, and then you can come.

Soon baby! Soon my love!

This is the first year Will and I have been able to "put by" a little harvest. Just blanching and freezing so far. The tomato sauce gets eaten as fast as I can make it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby Matthias

How did this little boy get from here,

to here,

To here?

I'm always amazed at the way each new baby dovetails into our life. Since his birth, Matthias has been our constant delight with his strong spirit and his happy heart. Keep growing, Matthias, keep teaching us. Happy Birthday, my little love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Beautiful Day

In between the painting, the bleaching, the harvesting and food preparation, the renovation of furniture, the folding and refolding of baby clothes, and all the other frantic pre-baby "nesting," we are blessed with a quick visit from a beloved cousin from New Zealand.

Anna is a firefighter (or Fireman Girl, according to the boys) and triathlon gold medalist—at the international police and firefighter games: Way to go, Anna!

The boys were thrilled to see her pop her racing bike out of her car and assemble it in a couple seconds. Then she patiently shambled along at the unbelievably slow pace of Hugh and Willie's tiny bike wheels—which revolve for dear life to keep up with the big bikes!

We had a beautiful day finding fossils and climbing willow trees. Such a welcome rest, such a beautiful memory, such a wonderful young woman to bless our home right before baby comes!

Matthias and Anna blissed out.

God speed, Anna! We will miss you!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Katie, Uncle Ben, and hangers-on

We've been blessed to have a wonderful young woman living with us these past three weeks: Katie (or "Dee" as Matthias calls her) has become a very special person in our life. (Pictured here with my brother Ben, who's the special person in her life.)

I know I'm insanely lucky to have her, so I feel shy even mentioning it. I mean—my own personal nanny for three weeks! Her visit coincided with Will starting his PhD, the boys starting school, and me reaching the final countdown to the birth. It's made all these transitions possible, and even peaceful! I don't know what I'd do without her.

Probably a lot less painting. Thanks for everything Katie! We miss you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Painting the Stairs

note: edited to link back to Pretty Happy Funny Real from Leila's wise and funny blog. I found the whole escapade to be totally hilarious, as well as pretty, funny, and real.

I painted the stairs last night. I do love the classic, glossy, black-and-white steps. They're just right for the age and ahem decrepitude of our little house.

...with three children

Lots of touchups to do. Note to never use dollar-store paintbrushes again. 
However, this morning we discovered that it hadn't dried. Disaster! My family was stranded upstairs, and I was stranded downstairs. (I'd slept on the couch.) That's a lot of stairs between a pregnant woman and the bathroom. Will responded in an enterprising, if somewhat humourless, way...and rigged up a basket so I could send up breakfast.

the lowering basket

So far, everyone is having a lovely morning of play and philosophy reading, with the promise of watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang later when the fights begin. I am documenting it all from the safety of the couch. 

An emergency call for Plato and more salsa
Popcorn for breakfast, and school is cancelled!

And fortunately we have kind neighbours who will take pity on a pregnant woman and let her use their bathroom!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shed Chronicles- 2

I'm overdue for a little show-and-tell of Will's shed. We decided to turn it into a little study for Will, with a loft for guests. Will moved in before it was even finished. There's a lock on the inside—he's in heaven!

Will spread a concrete floor and arranged a little stoop from crushed chimney pots—which we just happened to have lying around. I'm going to sneak some moss in between those sharp edges, just to age it, you know?

 The flooring of the loft is some old boards from Will's junk pile collection. He planed them down just enough, and left some grey "aged" bits which is lovely though  hazardous to bare feet. A little finishing is still needed.

The man who did the plastering. (Hey cutie!) Outside the window are apples trees, comfrey, and squash vines. And the compost.

Windows were free on kijiji, which makes us all very happy. 

Bookshelves, and we're all ready to move in!
There is a very calm, peaceful, studious feel to this shed. As our friend John says, it just makes you want to sit down and learn an obscure language. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Day of School

So we've started real "school" and everyone is very happy, except mama who misses her boys so much. (Don't worry, I'm finding ways to pass the time!) Here are the two school boys, with Matthias in there like a dirty shirt. 

Seriously pumped.
Seriously annoyed because he wasn't allowed to stay.
Willie's lovely classroom. Willie is one of those gratifying children who like to sit quietly and do worksheets, so no worries there. And Hugh?

Hugh and Matthias in Hugh's Montessori classroom, which, after a tent on a North Pacific beach, would be my favourite place to live. These pictures were taken about five seconds after arriving. Hugh is in heaven.