So, recapping July?

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Well, hello there.  It’s been a while.  One hot dry day after another and suddenly, summer break was over for us and this beauty started first grade.

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We were–are–in “summer hibernation” anyway.  Too hot and humid to want to spend a ton of time outside, unless it’s neighborhood poolside! 😉  One night we had “Christmas in July” and turned on our DVD of London’s Nutcracker Ballet and the girls danced out their energy. 🙂

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Back on July 2, we went to the nearby Civil War Battlefield Park for a renactment cannon fire in honor of Independence Day.  This is one of our new family traditions.  It takes longer to drive our van up the mountain and find a van-friendly parking spot than the cannon program lasts, but it’s worth the experience.

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And the view.

These two lovelies handled the sound better this year. 🙂

My family came for a visit in time for Rosebud to come home from the NICU.  Unfortunately, my sister and brother-in-law and their kids had to leave the morning of her homecoming, but we had as pleasant a time with them as we could with all the hospital runs.

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Posey and her buddy, Grandpa Mark

 The kids enjoyed my parents’ stay through Independence Day, and Rosebud’s Baptism .  My Dad brought a little whirligig thingamabobber that really had the kids laughing.

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I’m looking forward to updating this picture very soon–that baby has grown!

I tried to get a one month picture with those ubiquitous month stickers that seem to be all the rage these days.  Of course, this was the best I could get on her actual monthaversary.

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I tried again the next day, but couldn’t find the sticker!

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But it’s a lovely picture of her.

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Our Rosebud.

Toward the end of the month, I finished a knitting project that we affectionately call Grumpy Bunny.

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Miss M asked me to make it for Rosebud while the baby was still in the hospital, and I’m glad I did, even if Rosebud takes little interest in it right now. 😉  When my kids actually request me to knit something, I’m always ready to oblige!

So passed July away.  We started back to school on August 8, homeschooling grades pre-K through 6.  Only three days in, but we’re glad to be back on routine.  There’s a lot going on this autumn for us, so I hope to keep this a little more updated. 🙂

Ending on a geeky note.

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Posey Pie decided, after I bought the Star Wars band-aids, that I had a lot of boo-boos on my arm.  I think I had maybe a mosquito bite. One. If that.

 

Yarn Along: Hats

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“Hello, world.  My mama has been busy the last eighteen days making hats for me.  Here’s a newsflash, though…. I’m not sure I like hats!  Or napping in my crib, either.”

Isn’t she a precious little Rosebud?  We think so.  She’s been home since the afternoon of the 4th and to be honest we can’t get enough of her.

And if she doesn’t like hats, no matter.  She’s got that hair.

The first hat I cast on (18 days ago), was the Coriolis Hat.  I had finished the newborn booties and wanted another project to quickly finish, whiling away the time.  I cast on the hat on Saturday evening, June 18. In the wee hours of Sunday morning I found it to be a soothing distraction while timing contractions. Sunday afternoon, my husband snapped an amusing picture of me knitting in the L & D room post-epidural.

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I finished it a few hours after our sweet daughter arrived!

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Knowing we were going to have to wait to bring her home, I began another hat while in the hospital.  My in-laws had given me a book purchased at the Dutch Oven Yarn Shoppe in Alanson, MI, a special place to the family  (well, the Dutch Oven Bakery, if not the Yarn Shoppe), so I cast on another hat from that book.

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The cookie was a consolation from Haus Meister, who got to go get artisan breakfast sandwiches from the coffee place in the lobby while I had hospital food. 😉

This past weekend, I finished the hat.  Here is how it will look when I’ve sewn on the flower and button.

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Hat: Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Sailor”

Flower: using up the skein of Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Blush”

It was nice in a way that I hadn’t sewn on the flower before she was discharged because it ended up matching the red & navy blue outfit she wore home from the hospital on July 4th.

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And here’s one of Rosebud today wearing Coriolis to her first pediatrician appointment (our pediatrician also enjoys knitting/crochet and always asks what I’m working on when I bring someone in).

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We haven’t slowed up our reading much, so here’s the latest reads in the family.

Haus Meister: The Hunt for Red October

Haus Frau: Force Ten from Navarone (ok, I liked both Navarone books by Alastair McLean. That author may make a spy novel reader out of me yet)

Trooper: was listening to “The Cottage at Bantry Bay” on Audible.

Rascal: Henry and the Paper Route

Dino: Nobody likes a Goblin (his new favorite Hatke book)

Princess: Simple Pictures are Best

Sunshine & Miss M: How to make an Apple Pie and see the World

 

 

 

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Waiting and then waiting….

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So our summer began and we had a routine of reading and playing. Princess and Miss M attended their annual summer day camp with our American Heritage Girls troop. It was Miss M’s first week away from parents or grandparents, and even though Princess was in the same park, they weren’t together all the time.  It was rocky on the first day, but by the fourth day she was quite a pro.

The boys had some school to wrap up, and even now, after this week off and next, there’s going to be worksheets as we get stuff done.  I’m enjoying the respite from a full schedule to rest, breathe a little, and begin to plan for the next school year.

Last Saturday I told Haus Meister I felt like a “broody old hen on a nest.” It was as if all I could do was focus on that July 10 due date.  Would she come before I finished knitting her booties? (No, I finished them on the 17th).  Would she come before or during the week my mom and sister planned to spend with us?  I couldn’t answer any of this.  So I found a hat pattern on Ravelry that I could make with the last skein of Knit Picks yarn that I used for the booties.  I cast it on the needles Saturday night.

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I finished the hat Sunday night, recovering in the hospital from the surprise arrival of our Rosebud.

Pretty Happy

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7lbs 10oz, 21″, 3:55pm on Father’s Day.

Yes, that’s right. Daddy’s Littlest Girl arrived on Father’s Day. I joked that she was vying for being the official Daddy’s Girl by becoming the best Father’s Day gift ever.

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Because someone asked, that’s not a tattoo on Haus Meister’s hand.  It’s Rosebud’s footprint.  The nurse gave him a footprint stamp after stamping the official paper. 😉

 Real but Happy.

Some Roses, even in June, need some extra help to fully bloom.  Rosebud had some fluid in her lungs so she is in the NICU for a little while.  These pictures are a little delayed, for she is no longer on her CPAP machine.

This is the same NICU where Trooper spent the first 119 days of his life.  We have met nurses and respiratory techs who remember him even now.  As he (understandably) would not voluntarily enter a hospital, it’s been hard to take him back for a visit, so it’s been nice to have a chance to give them a success story.  They are very impressed with the fact that he likes to go indoor rock-climbing!

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This picture is more recent, and was taken last evening when Rascal got to visit his baby sister again.  Her story parallels his more than the dramatic/traumatic story of  Trooper. Rascal had aspirated amniotic fluid at birth and also had to spend the first week of life in a special care nursery, in a different hospital, however.  Her baby pictures are following the same pattern: birth, CPAP machine, nasal cannula, and now we wait for her to be off of that.

We waited months to see her, and now we wait again to bring her home.  She’s worth every second of the wait.

I know I had not expected (based on reasons that I won’t go into since this blog is read by guys who won’t appreciate it,) that this pregnancy was a girl pregnancy. It didn’t feel like it. It resembled in many ways the early pregnancies with the boys.  But obviously even a veteran of ten pregnancies can be wrong on some counts.  I never wanted her to think that I was disappointed that she was a girl.  It’s irrational to think she would think that, but when you’re huge and hormonal it’s hard to be rational anyway. I covered my bases though. One of the first things I said to her after birth was a paraphrase of one of the loveliest lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s a girl. My girl. My girl that I’m proud of.”

Real Funny.

And while we wait, life totally goes on for everyone else. 😉

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Yarn Along in Pink & Books

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Knitting continues in full speed for Munchkin 2.   Her wee little outfits are wending their way from various online outlets (Memorial Day sales, anyone?!) and I was so happy to see that her booties will pretty well match her homecoming outfit.

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I’m also pleased to say after many a mistake, I seem to have found the hang of that little sock.  Hopefully the next will be finished quicker.  She’s not really in a hurry to show up, it seems, but I did ask her to hold off until I get the second bootie done, in any case.

This week’s reading:

Haus Meister: Guns of Navarone

Haus Frau: The Son Avenger.  I finished Undset’s Master of Hestviken series and all I can say is “WOW.”  I’m counting this one in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. So, June: A book you can read in a day.  I read this one in a day.  I couldn’t help it!

Trooper: Listening to Hilda VanStockum’s The Cottage at Bantry Bay on Audible.

Rascal: The Hardy Boys: Secret of the Caves

Dino & Sunshine:  Curious George visits the Dentist.  He read it out loud to her as she prepped for her first dental visit (found a great dentist who has a lot of patients on the autism spectrum).

Princess: Meet Josefina

Miss M: listened to Pinkalicious.

 

 

Yarn Along: Summer Reading

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Knitting! I’ve been knitting!  Last night I finished the Newborn Hat with a Touch of Lace, although I hope it shrinks because it seems I totally made it too large.  Serves me right; I didn’t exactly gauge it because, well, impatient.

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This morning I cast on the Perfect Fit Newborn Socks, both in Knit Picks Shine Sport Blush. I took it along to my OB appointment because I like to be the gal knitting in the ob/gyn office like you see in the 1950s-60s movies (“Pillow Talk” comes to mind).  I had the chance to see Munchkin 2 today and asked my doctor if it’s definitely “go” to still knit pink.

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He said, “Yep. Absolutely.”

I had had my doubts about that early sonogram.  This just hadn’t felt like a “girl” pregnancy.  However, clearly my intuition was wrong, and since it has rarely been right, who’s surprised?  😉

We simply just can’t wait to meet the newest Princess of the Haus, who already has our hearts in her tiny hands.

And now for books.

I’ve been keeping up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

January: A book published this year. “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo.

February: A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally Clarkson.

March: A book recommended by your BFF, sibling, etc: “Pistols for Two” by Georgette Heyer.

April: A book you’ve been meaning to read: “The Trim Healthy Mama Plan.”  I credit my pregnancy health–and passing the glucose screen–to this book.

May: A book that’s been banned: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Also May: A book that intimidates you: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.

Why in the world did that book intimidate? Because in the past several years every time I heard it highly recommended, it came with the caveat that I wouldn’t be able to put it down.  When do I have the time to read an non-put-downable Norse saga?!  So I avoided it. Until this year.  I was going to save it for the hospital since I anticipated at least a bit of down-time to read (and not aimlessly surf the internets on my phone), but then I opened it, and couldn’t put it down.  And for the record, I didn’t mind the Archer translation.

Other reads going on in the Haus:

Haus Meister: “A Man on the Moon” by Andrew Chaikin

Haus Frau: “The Snake Pit,” by Sigrid Undset.  Waiting for Book 3 to come in the mail, thank you Thrift Books!

Trooper: just finished “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis on Audible.  Unabridged with Michael York narrating.

Rascal: working on “St. Pius X, the Farm boy who became Pope” for his 4th Quarter Book Report.  He’s champing at the bit to read more Hardy Boys mysteries, though. 😉

Dino: writing a book summary of “Ox-Cart Man” for his 4th Quarter Reading to finish it off.

Princess: just finished “Betsy-Tacy” by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Sunshine: listened to “I’m a T-Rex

Miss M: listened to “Going to Town.”

Today some of us are going to our favorite buy-sell-trade bookstore to find more gems for summer reading!  We’ve been looking forward to this all month, especially as we are meeting friends there to share the joy.

 

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: One Morning in May

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

and some

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Happy May, and month of our Lady!

Someone had a birthday this month! Someone pretty and precocious!

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Our Little Bit is every bit of 2 now.  She celebrated with donuts on a Sunday with one set of grandparents, and strawberry shortcake on her actual birthday with the other set. And both times she was equally well pleased.

Happy

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Princess’ American Heritage Girl troop ended the year with a painting & popcorn party.

Then there’s my knitting.  I’m happy about knitting.  I’m happy about books.

But I haven’t been knitting much lately because I discovered these books. Also because it kept falling off the double pointed needles… or a toddler began to unravel it. I digress…

It’s hard to knit when every free moment of the evening was spent in medieval Norway.

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Project: Simple Newborn Hat with a Touch of Lace.

Happy, kind of funny, and real, too.

Our house projects continue to shape up and finish.

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Haus Meister made his semi-annual trip to IKEA on his way home from a business trip and found the new accessories for the bathroom (now beautifully blue and white).  We found the light fixture at our Lowes.  But as for the vanity, well, let’s just say someone decided to be helpful, ala Paddington

So there’s that to be finished.

Meanwhile, Haus Meister fixed up the paint in the boys’ room.  We still need to do behind the bunk bed and replace the trim, but the Paddington helper had “helped” in there as well so we wanted to catch up fast as it was a bit of an eyesore.

In an earlier post we mentioned that the walls matched the boys’ Trail Life calendar, so we thought of the three mountains in the Trail Life logo, and from there we decided to add a few more.

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(Plus a droid)

And a volcano (because I am pitiful at patching a wall).

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The boys are quite happy and excited about their room.

Two Chloes and the end of a Quest

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What luck! My phone upgrade garnered me the wonderful boon of a camera that actually went into FOCUS MODE, so ideally you won’t have to suffer through too many fuzzy pictures for a good long while….

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I thought to stage the knits alongside the daffodils, but it’s still Lent so the purple grape hyacinths it is.  The climate is totally unfair here in Deep South Land.  We get all the Easter glory very early and the bushes, trees, and flowerbeds are already celebrating.

Not to mention that it’s hard keeping the Easter dresses from the girls when it’s over 70 degrees on a Sunday (not LAST Sunday, though!) and their winter Hanna Anderssons aren’t quite comfortable anymore!

But I digress.

The lower sweater was my modified version of the Chloe pattern.  I didn’t do stripes or a ruffle, mainly because I knew Sunshine would wear it with pretty much anything and I thought keeping it plain would suit.  Also, I had three skeins of KnitPicks Billow in “Comfrey” that I’d gotten her for her birthday, ostensibly to be mittens, and I wanted to use it. I used two and a tiny bit over. 🙂  Now, I also say “modified version” because I added the increase stitches a little differently.  I would love to say I was being creative and artistic but the reality is I messed up even with the instructions in front of me, and to my extreme good fortune, it worked out all right.

The sweater on the needles is Princess’ “Chloe,” also in KnitPicks Billow but in “Clarity” Will I finish it by Easter?  Wait and see…. I’m infamous for my last minute holiday projects.

NOW….

 

 

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In January on one of these Yarn-Along posts, I mentioned I was going to find out where all the quotes came from on the clever and capital little mug I received from my parents last Christmas.  I said I’d read through as many Jane Austen novels as necessary to find them out.  I’ve already posted about some of them, and I was down to three.

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”  That’s in Emma.

“One cannot have too large a party.”  Also in Emma, as I thought, but the speaker was that ever social Mr. Weston.

Now the final quote had me stymied.  “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”  I joked at the time that it sounded like something from Batman Begins, mainly to tease my brother-in-law, who likes JA about as much as I like Batman.  Let me tell you, dear reader, that after rereading the five main novels in the past three months, I could not find this direct quote anywhere.

I did not feel like reading Lady Susan or the Juvenalia.  I did not feel like rereading JA’s letters.  Having read Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion back to back, I needed to take a break.

((So I reread The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer for the hundredth time, so I could sit back and laugh and not think too hard))

But it bothered me that I should have reached what ought to have been journey’s end and not have found so simple a quote as that.  So begrudgingly I turned to Google.  It lead me to Goodreads, which told me that quote came from Sense and Sensibility!

WHAT?!  That was the very first novel I read this winter! How had I missed it?!  With eyes primed to find those quotes, surely I hadn’t missed it…

I searched further down the Google rabbit trail, and discovered that once upon a time, not so long ago, someone else had done a similar search on another mug, and found out that the quote had come….

FROM A FILM ADAPTATION.

I call foul!  If you’re going to quote JA on a mug of novel quotations, quote her! Don’t quote someone’s modified version of her.

But now my quest is over, and I can go back to some serious reading.  And I do have some serious reading to occupy me during these days of the Triduum.  More next week.

 

 

Yarn Along: A Tale of Three Sweaters

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Firstly, I promise I’ll be back here soon with an update on the whirlwind that is Our Life. However, I also said I’d post a picture of Haus Meister in the sweater, so here we go, and as a bonus, I’m in it too, for once:us

Unfortunately, that looks like it was the only day he’s going to be able to wear it down here until November. 😉  Downside to living in the South; wool knitting is kind of overrated.  But so comfy when it gets that cold!

So onto the current knits.  After Armas was finished, I did indeed cast on the Evelyn sweater.  Because our weather was warming, I didn’t quite know if I felt like more wool (it’s Alafosslopi again, just a different dye lot), but the braided cable caught me and I was enjoying it.  It’s on the right in the picture below:

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But then! Easter is coming, and the charming dresses I found this weekend for my oldest daughters could use an adorable little shrug, no?  Enter the Chloe stage left, now on the needles for Sunshine in Knitpicks Billow.  I’m planning a lighter blue color for Princess, mainly because that’s what I have in my stash. 😉  So Evelyn will have to wait on Chloe.

Reading-wise, I finished “The Life Giving Home” and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’m rereading parts of it.  There’s a lot to think on, but it’s good.

Yarn Along — It’s Really Done! Plus a lot about books….

A few days ago I published a teaser about the Armas sweater, and while I don’t yet have a picture of my beloved wearing said “beloved” sweater (“Armas” is Finnish for “beloved,” if you haven’t actually read the Ravelry description), he did try it on and do I ever wish it were a COLD WINTER down here so I could see him wear it more often (cue starry eyed expression)!

However, the winter sun was kind enough to shine this afternoon and I snapped this picture.  I confess I am still preparing myself to block the sweater… I had a nightmare one night after working on the second sleeve that I accidentally felted it … I’m sort of afraid now to let water touch it… I mean, eighteen months in the knitting, heh heh heh….

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I’m in the post-project breathing phase.  I gauge-swatched for the Evelyn sweater, and should be posting about that in the next Yarn Along post I manage to write.

In the meantime, I have much to report about BOOKS.  For Christmas my mother gave our girls some of the “Shoe Books.”  Anyone who has seen “You’ve Got Mail” remembers the “Shoe Books” (in below video, skip to 2:24 or so).  I confess before the Christmas season was really over I read all three that we have (“Ballet Shoes“, “Skating Shoes“, and “Dancing Shoes“).  “Ballet Shoes” is my favorite, too.  Although, I never knew these books existed before the movie.  Same with the Betsy-Tacy series!  I was reading a book I’d bought for my girls’ home library when I found myself quoting out loud: “…whose name, I’m sorry to tell you, is Thelma.”  I love this movie.

Then there is my winter project to name that Austen quote’s source.  I have read “Pride & Prejudice,” “Northanger Abbey,” and I was reading “Sense and Sensibility” the week my sister called to say: “Did you hear that Col. Brandon died?! And by the way, happy birthday.”  I finished the book with the nostalgic memories of many a weekend spent with my sister watching and rewatching and rewatching again the classic “S & S” movie with Alan Rickman as THE HERO (sorry, Edward, but it isn’t you. You got out of a jam with considerable good luck.  We all like you immensely, but that’s true). Even ten years later or so, when the newer movie came out and gave Col. Brandon his due with a much larger role in the film, it wasn’t the same without Alan Rickman’s voice.

But I’m sharing this clip which doesn’t have him talking, because this song was in my head all day on my birthday after that phone call.

Rest in peace, Col. Brandon.

Now, on to those quotes.

“The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone” Definitely Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey…. And she has no heart to give, incidentally.

“A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”  Definitely Northanger Abbey.

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” I was wrong about this one. It’s from Emma. I’m nearly halfway through this novel at present but I actually have two reads on my bedside table at the moment.  It depends on what I feel like.

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”  Ok, the almighty Internet tells me that it belongs to Sense & Sensibility and it did indeed.  I thought it would be Marianne or Willoughby but it was, in fact, Edward.  Ironically, he says this as he visits the Dashwoods in Devonshire after having visited his secret fiancee.  And at the time he was saying this, he was pretty miserable.

Will you bear with me a moment more, dear reader?  I finally decided to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge.  I haven’t decided on all the titles I want to read, or the order I wish to read them, but I’ve got one done already.

January: A book published this year.  “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo.  My pantry never looked better after reading this one. 😉  Just don’t ask me about the corner cabinet. We’re getting there…

February (other current read): A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. I chose for this one “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally Clarkson.  It actually just arrived today and I’m working on the first chapter.  To be honest, I don’t go to our local library since I’m not “in city.” To get a library card at one time cost $50 for us non-citiers. So I decided to spend $50 on books I can keep and use our buy/sell/trade bookstore as an easy “library.”  If I pick out something we don’t want to keep, back it goes for credit.  Now, the general type of workers at the bookstore would probably suggest “Game of Thrones” for my reading pleasure, and that type of book just….isn’t. So I went with Elizabeth Foss’ recommendation via Facebook because let’s be honest, I get many book ideas from other moms on the internet.  You ladies are wonderful. 🙂  I had already pre-ordered the book, so I’m glad it was highly praised.

Now for a cup of tea.  Good night!

It’s done!

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I took this picture ten days ago for a Yarn Along post I never actually wrote.  Pictures are pending, but I am pleased as punch to proclaim that at long last, “Armas” is off the needles….

Now I’m going to enjoy a mug of coffee and heave another sigh of relief.