Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Color of Hope

Aren’t they beautiful?  We have been watching the plumpy robin building her nest now for a few weeks.  I was so hoping she would lay her eggs.....and here they are!!
I’ll take a few yards of fabric in that blue, thanks, Mrs. Robin.  

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Blanket That Started it All

This beautiful blanket was knit by a very dear friend back in my home state.  This post is one to express my deep appreciation for a small act that has sent many ripples through many lives...because of one blanket.

 Almost nine years ago, I had my little guy, P.  When P was born, we discovered he needed a tracheostomy and g-tube because of a syndrome called Pierre Robin Sequence.  Basically, his tongue was in his airway because his jaw was so tiny.  He also had a cleft palate that was so large, you could see into his nasal passages from his mouth.  So.....began our journey of an intense, medically centered, special needs life.  Up to that point, we had been involved at the local children’s hospital because of my boys’ asthma, with lots of hospital stays.  This was just a primer for what was to come.  Our lives were sent into chaos with all of P’s special needs.  We were overwhelmed at the amount of intervention he needed, and I felt myself sinking into a sleep deprived anxiety ridden mood that was hard to shake.  While we rejoiced in P’s birth, and all of the wonder of his little being that far outshone his medical issues, we had to learn to take it one day at a time, or we weren’t going to make it.

One thing that helped was the kindness of others.  It was a balm to our souls, especially in the early days.  My friend, Katie, knitted this blanket for P before he was born.  When she gave it to me, I was so taken with its lovely pattern (a basket-weave) and it was so, so soft.  I marveled at her precision of stitches and realized it was a work of love.  The more I looked at it, wrapping our sweet P up, the more I wanted to be able to do something JUST LIKE IT!  I have some fearsome skills, most of them centered around my nursing degree, or using my mouth to speak words of great weight.....or is that being opinionated and bossy....anyway.....my skills at that time did NOT include being especially crafty.  I was beginning to be a decent cook, after discovering G’s severe food allergies.  But, I didn’t have something that was creative and life giving to me that was a handiwork of sorts.  I had just started scrapbooking the year before P was born, but I have to admit, it was hard to scrapbook at first for P.  Not because I wasn’t happy, but because I would go to the scrapbook store, and leave in tears.  I was having a hard time telling my story with all of the cutesy, easy peasy baby stuff......that wasn’t my life. I am sure scrapbook store owners wouldn’t buy stickers that scream, “Man, my life is INTENSE!!!”   “Some days I really look like I got those two hours of sleep!!”  I have since gotten over that, and can scrapbook just fine....my own way.

I mentioned to my brother one day that I would like to learn to knit.  I needed something to do while I stayed at home a lot, I reasoned, (not that I would ever be at a loss for something to do with a kid with a trach and three other littles.....and homeschooling), but, I knew I needed.....something.  My kind brother lived near a knit shop, and one day he popped in to ask if he could pay an instructor to go teach me how to knit at my house, given my situation with my new baby and such.  My brother has a lot of fearsome skills, too,  he is naturally very creative, and crazy smart.  He said, “Hey, while I am here, show me what is up with this knitting stuff, can you show me?”  They obliged, and he left, totally loving knitting, and paying for my surprise home lessons.  When Jane showed up a month later, on a cold October day, sleeting, very windy.....she brought sunshine into my house for two straight hours.  Those were hours of immense grace.  P slept in front of us, in his little car seat, all hooked up to his monitors and equipment...and my three littles watched a movie.....the house was quiet.  I learned to knit in those two hours under the best instructor.  Jane was kind and sweet, and determined that I would know the basics when she left......and I did.  It was magic.  I started a cream colored scarf, and fell in love with those two sticks and yarn.  I couldn’t believe I got it.  I was (and still am) very thankful that my brother was so thoughtful to take an idea and run with it.....and get me such a long lasting gift of a knitting lesson.

Did I mention that my brother moved to New York the following year.....and began working at some yarn shops....and designs for Vogue Knitting.....and has been on some knitting shows??
Knitting has really impacted his life, because of that sweet blanket......

I went on to knit like crazy.  I was a woman possessed.  I loved yarn, I loved looking forward to browsing local yarn shops....and I, too, eventually worked at one of our local yarn shops for a short stint, before we began another P surgery marathon season.  Yarn is such a sensory experience for me, so calming....I love looking at the pretty colors, the possibilities....so much to be excited about, I tell ya’!!  I took my yarn bag everywhere, to many appointments, to surgery waiting rooms....it calmed my nerves and let me focus on praying.....and breathing.....and getting through the moment.

So, fast forward several years.  I am sitting at the NICU bedside of my newest baby with PRS.....waiting for her to come home......knitting her the cutest cardigan, calming my nerves, praying, breathing......and thanking God for Katie’s kindness.  In the last eight years, I have taught several people to knit, including my dear friend, Angel, who is legally blind!!  She is a great knitter!!!!  I have taught a few groups of young girls to knit, I have even taught my boys.....and one opened an Etsy shop last year, selling his unique scarves.  S far surpasses me in skill, he just “knits patterns up” in his head, intricate patterns like this...

I love knitting.  I love the feel of yarn, and how it calms me down in the midst of chaos.  Knitting has also taught me to really look at creative pursuits as important....not just something to get done, someday....but to do today.  I wouldn’t have learned to sew, if it had not been my great experience with knitting...and I love to sew now as well!

Go learn how to knit.....check out You Tube for tutorials, there is a vast number of pictures and videos on line...check out your local yarn shop....my favorite in the world is Stitches N Scones....I don’t live in Indy anymore, but tell Molli I said, “Hi” if you stop in, it is a terrific shop!  I would really encourage you to knit for someone out there......someone who is going through a lot.  Even if it as simple as a scarf.....it will make a difference!

Thanks, Katie!  One little blanket....so many lives touched.

Knit Fearlessly!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Am Not Afraid of Messes

At least, rice messes made from my sweet girl, who can’t play in sand due to her trach.....so I spoil her and she plays in rice.  Shoes make a nice rice strainer, don’t you think?  The best part was when she laid in the rice, and started swimming through it...sending it six feet or more away....into the cracks of our hardwoods.

There have been a LOT of messes we have had to muddle through the last few weeks.  You heard about G’s pneumonia....and then he had ANOTHER reaction that needed epi.  Only it gets really messy.  It was at church.  Right after P’s First Holy Communion. P and G, who are both very allergic to milk, ate “Blessed Bread” distributed after Divine Liturgy was done.  (we go to an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy) BUT, the elderly lady who knows about the boys’ severe allergy, forgot, and put milk in the bread.  1/4 cup to be exact.  That was just enough to send us to the ER right after Liturgy was done, with two unhappy  and scared kids, one who just needed an epi shot on the church doorstep.  Unreal.  My poor little guy, P, had a short lived First Communion glow.....please pray for him, this was rather traumatic for him.  All are fine now, which is good, because I got severe bronchitis, laryngitis, and a sinus infection this weekend, and was laid out for the count...of three days....and although I am not quite back in fighting form yet, life moves rather quickly, and I am back running around, take frequent breaks to cough and catch my breath.

Do you see why I do not fear rice messes?  Lots more scary stuff out there than rice.

Over and out from the trenches,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!!

Happy Easter Octave, Friends!!

We are nursing some sick kids, one with pneumonia, the same poor guy who had an anaphylaxis Palm Sunday and ended up in the ER after I gave him epi at home....scary.   I usually don’t make big plans for Easter....because our lives are always a “fluid situation”.....up to Saturday afternoon, we still didn’t know where we were going for Mass, and ended up having to stay home because I was at a  Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic for my son.  We did split time the next day, and all who were healthy were able to attend lovely Liturgies.

I’m working on a skirt from a pattern, not sure if I have done it all right, but it has been a great learning experience!  I put in my first zipper!!  Woohoo!! I’m also knitting a new afghan.  It is from a Manos de Uruguay book, but I am using some acrylic yarn that is awesome!  Can’t wait to show this one, it is so fun to knit!! 

What are you working on??  (other than picking up those toys for the hundredth time, cooking, cleaning and laundry??)

I finished The Privilege of Being a Woman.  Go get a copy.  It is wonderful and very easy to get through at a brisk pace.  BUT, there are many passages you will want to re-read and savor.  Basically, Alice Von Hildebrand is refuting the feminist argument.  This is the first book I have read from this author, I will be reading more!!

God Bless you all!