family life

yarn along…and a snag/P, H, F, R and the 4th



I have been doing a lot more reading than knitting lately. This is mainly because at some point in the last two weeks, one of my needles for the shawl project broke. Perils of using wooden needles I guess, but I prefer them anyway. I limped to the end of the row by switching out the broken size 6 needle with a new size 7 (interchangeable) but I don’t want to go on like that for the last ten rows. So in the meantime as I wait for my new set of size 6 interchangeable to arrive, I might just work on my other wip. I hope. The summer is slipping by much too fast.





It looks like the Luthien, Haus Meister’s wooden Annapolis Wherry Tandem rowboat, will at last be hitting the waters at a not-so-distant date.


He’s worked on this as and when he can, and while he would have loved to have her in the water two years ago, we’re happy that it will be this summer. He’s proud of his boat, and we’re proud of him.


He pieced together this “Star of Luthien,” an emblem Tolkien himself designed and left in one of his sketchbooks. Originally the boat was going to have my first and middle name, but I thought if he was going to put the star on the boat anyway, why not call it the Luthien? The vote passed unanimously.



A builder’s work is never done. As soon as the Luthien is finished, he’s going to begin the restoration of Thomson & Thompson, our 1960s Thompson motorboat that Rascal named after the bumbling detectives in the Tintin comic book series. The Thompson is also the place where the kids like to watch Dad work while he’s in the shop. And leave behind a cola can, apparently. Posey is smiling for Princess and Rascal, who were keeping her company as she maintained her perch there.


Trooper used to hate fireworks. Now he loves them.


While watching his Dad set off bottle rockets on July 4th, pre-haircut.


Laughing his head off at the ground display out front, July 5, post-haircut.


It takes fireworks to get my kids to line up for a picture. Fireworks, and grandparents.


Not pictured: Posey and Miss M, who had both fallen asleep before our July 5 fireworks from having been up partying past their bedtime on July 4.

Well, almost. And Miss M was NOT happy about being awakened by the pops of the firecrackers and cheers of her siblings.


(Real) 😉

The Everyday

{P, H, F, R} Baptism Edition




Good morning! I thought I’d try to check in again. Our mornings are more relaxed now that we’re very nearly finished with school (only a few more assignments and tests). I’m already revelling in the less hurried pace, although I know I’ll be welcoming it back at the end of next month when swim team is over and the humidity is too high for anyone to want to be outside longer than an hour. At that point the options seem to be interminable Netflix reruns of previously watched cartoons or Go Back to School. The latter is definitely the preferred option for me. Not sure about them. 😉 Of course, if my summer reading program idea takes off, we may start school in August instead of July . In any event, we’re happy to welcome summer around here.


Littlest was baptized on Saturday.  Both sets of grandparents were able to attend, as well as two aunts and a third aunt–my sister-in-law, Littlest’s official godmother–was able to watch via FaceTime!

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Littlest is the 13th to wear the heirloom christening gown, if I have my numbers right.


We’re still combining the pictures taken by different people on different cameras. So far this is the best one I’m in. 😉 My karate chop action is me waving Miss M away from the large statue of the Sacred Heart, off screen, because she was fascinated with the fact that Jesus looked realistic and had toes.


Father and some of the kids after the baptism.



Our swim team crew


The water table crew.

Water will feature largely in our summer memories this year.




One of my favorite Posey pictures, this month anyway.


The corgyn’s reaction to the “healthy weight management” food I had just poured into their shared bowl.

Merry, who needs it most, did eventually go eat some, and then Pippin followed.


I should have left my phone nearer some capable adult hands during the baptism. These are a sample of the pictures on my phone after our family event, courtesy of the Mischief Squad.

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The fine art of crafting

Yarn-Along, poolside week 1



Last week I turned the corner. I made it onto the Clue 5A page! Huzzah!


Right now I’m working on row 7, Clue 5A. This is where I’m going to be doing most of my knitting this summer, I hope. 🙂 Our neighborhood pool opened up and I have three swimmers signed up for the neighborhood swim team. This means practice nearly every day, and this year we have a reasonable chance of making most of those practices. I simply pack up the knitting bag, the towels, the water bottles, remind the kids to put on SHOES, bundle Littlest into her carseat and pop that onto the double stroller and then we head to the pool. I could so get used to this. The toddlers stay home, by the way, which is why I get some time to knit. Keeping Miss M from trying to join the swim team three years early partly prompted the decision. 😉 An Aunt home from college desperate for spare cash and willing to babysit was the other factor. 😉

Reading-wise, I’m joining in on Summer in the Little Oratory.


And on an unrelated light reading topic, I enjoyed Return of Zita the Spacegirl. I so needed that bit of humor during the ups and downs of Littlest’s first weeks home. It was a welcome relief from all the internet research I was doing on topics like Is It Thrush? and How Not to feel like a Heel because You’re Having to Formula Feed Your Baby. Fortunately the thrush is clearing up wonderfully and she’s been finally packing on weight so I’m breathing easier and haunting the internet much less.

Much less, of course, unless it’s an ambitious topic like this. 😉

The Everyday

{P, H, F, R} in our new normal


Well, I have a few weeks to catch up on, but if you’ve been keeping up you’ll see that the surprise arrival of Littlest has completely changed any plans we had for the month. She’ll be two weeks old tomorrow and I keep looking at the calendar and musing that if babies followed their predicted due dates then I would still have had a week to go, and she would probably have weighed over 10lbs at birth considering that she was only 2oz below 9lbs when she arrived. Now I’ve gotten to hold her, love her, share her with her adoring family, and I have some of my energy back plus I can bend over and even run again. Pluses all around!


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It was about a week after coming home before I walked over to our Mary garden in the front yard. The peonies are beginning to bloom and my Lafter roses from the Antique Rose Emporium are really taking off! In the wider circle of the bed the mint that over-wintered are spreading like crazy and the four blueberry bushes are actually berrying! My lavender plant overwintered as well and this year rewarded me with flowers.

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I hung them in my bathroom mainly so they would survive. Hanging herbs and flowers don’t survive anywhere a toddler can grab a chair.

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The Mary garden looked so lovely I used it as a background for Littlest’s birth announcement picture. I even included one of the Lafter roses that was starting to lose its petals.


Adding some pictures to our house. Actually the girls’ room has had these pictures in it since we moved them into the larger of the two kids’ bedrooms, but I never got a picture.

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These are stationery cards from Sarah Jane. They have all the months of the year but I singled out the girls’ birth months and put them in quick frames until I can do something better with them. Some of the girls were jealous that Littlest, being born in May, got the girl holding the flower bouquet. That would mainly be Princess, who being born in September gets the girl holding the lunchbox. 😉

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The girls make nice wall companions for Jill’s ballerina. 🙂

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Then I found this gem and knew I HAD to have it in my foyer.

Happy Funny

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Rascal drew this sign for the new baby’s homecoming. He was so excited he apparently forgot all the rules for capitals and punctuation.


Two weeks ago, Posey Pie seemed like such a tiny baby. Now she’s a giant one.

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Big enough to share our new acquisition with Littlest (and luckily enjoys it).

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I’m head over heels for this stroller. Part of it may be because I got it for only $14 thanks to carefully hoarded Amazon points, and part of it may be because it truly is the best double stroller I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned two others.


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Sunshine cut her hair again. Above her ear. She now has an official “pixie cut,” unless you’re asking Dino, who will just tell you she looks like a boy. So we don’t ask Dino. And actually, Sunshine looks pretty darn cute with that pixie cut, and it saves me time getting her out the door, so I’m reconciled.

The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along , the Easter edition



The “Dogwood Winter” passed and the weather has been beautiful ever since. This has its drawbacks as we make the valiant push to finish as much of the school year before Littlest makes her appearance. The “we” is questionable. I would love to be done right nowThey would just like to be outside. 😉


No chance of getting the family together for a group picture, but I did get my girlies before they changed into their play clothes.

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As usual my mother-in-law was a wizard with her sewing machine. Here’s Princess in her new Easter dress (as mentioned in an earlier post, the Oliver & S Garden Party dress, made with Sarah Jane Wee Wander fabric). Using an Oliver & S sewing book, Grandma also made a doll dress, and then a purse for Princess. The purse is adorably constructed from a panel of the Wee Wander line, which I will have to get a picture of later because it is just that cute.  Grandma actually made four of these dresses, two for my girls and two for my nieces on that side of the family, and then three matching doll dresses for my three “bigger” girlies.

Miss M wore the dress Grandma made for Princess last year, and there was enough of that fabric left in stash for a matching dress for Dolly, that Dolly did wear until the way home from church, obviously. 😉

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Sunshine’s dress was a favorite.

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Posey Pie wore the smocked pinafore and green dress that Grandma made for Princess when she was 1, and lent it much distinction. The boys, as you see, were already less formal by the time we got home. I tried to get Dino to wear a tie but it was enough for him to wear the white dress shirt with black slacks. “If I wear a tie,” he informs me, “I’ll be a prince! But I’m not! I’m a hobbit!” Working on this, working on this. Rascal served Mass so he didn’t wear the tie either. Trooper might have but I need to get one in a better size for my tall boy. Ah well, like I said, working on this.


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The dry sink in the foyer, Holy Saturday night (hence poor lighting).

On a side note, I have absolutely fallen in love with these icons. I never would have thought it of me, but it’s true.


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The kitchen table, Holy Saturday night. Rascal and Dino set this up before going to bed. Earlier in the day the three “middles”– Rascal, Dino, and Princess, spent some time coloring this craft from Lacy’s page at What amused me was their enthusiasm for filling the tableau with frightened Roman soldiers. It’s in keeping with our family rosary, when we announce the first Glorious Mystery, and Dino pipes up: “It’s the Resurrection, when Jesus rises from the dead and scares the Romans.”


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Lamb Cake Success!!! I used the recipes mentioned in this post–the last time I had a success–and tweaked the icing a bit. I used powdered sugar instead of granulated, warmed it slightly in a double boiler, then transferred it all to my trusty kitchenaid and let it do the whisking. Result shown above. Everyone enjoyed it, and also enjoyed Sunshine’s comment when she saw it: “Oh, I see the puppy!”

My Easter sheep-dog cake?


And here’s where I finally get to the YarnAlong…

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The longest row–row 13 of Clue 4B of the Follow-Your-Arrow shawl. Now that row is not hard, or longer than any other. It has just taken me two weeks to finish it! Now I’m on the purl row (14) before the next lace row (15). I am determined to finish this project before taking up another because I am afraid I won’t finish it otherwise. My next project is in potential right there on the right. I chose these three from my Easter yarn to be the blanket for Littlest. Cushy bulky cotton yarn–I can hardly wait to use it. You may think they’re funny colors for a baby girl, but I have an idea from a book on how they’ll fit in to the girliness around here. Stay tuned.

As for reading, P.G. Wodehouse’s Tales from St. Austin’s and then this excellent book pictured above that I was so glad to receive at the end of Holy Week! Huzzah!


Palm Sunday

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I should have posted this yesterday but then I wouldn’t have the adorable picture to put on the post. Lacy over at Catholic Icing made a great post about “10 things to do with your palms from Palm Sunday.”  I did the paper-spring project during Mass out of sheer necessity to keep the kiddos from using their palms as swords. I wove two wreaths and one long spring. Of course, if I hadn’t been a softie and allowed the zealous lady passing out the palms to give one to each and every one of my children, I wouldn’t have had the palm “fencing” in the pews.

(Lady passing out palms does not, by the way, think I will make it to my due date and also that I’m carrying low, hence a boy. Really, this is getting amusing. I should start taking bets).

The Everyday

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


Notice my {} keys work again? We finally got a new keyboard for the computer. That was just stubbornness on our part. But it is nice to have every key working again.



Morning sunrise this morning through the window next to the front door.


My dogwood blossoms out front. I took this on a cloudy day, though, but I really wanted Mom to see them since her visits will be after the blossoming time.


As the weather warmed I began to take stock of the children’s warm weather clothing. The year’s growth meant that Miss M inherited a good deal of Sunday dresses from Princess and Sunshine, who together share a wardrobe as they still wear the same sizes. I needed to do something for Princess and Sunshine until Grandma’s Easter dresses arrive (she’s finished sewing them, with matching doll dresses to boot. When I grow up I want to have that much time to sew. ;)), and luckily over the weekend I discovered a clearance at the Carter’s website.


Ironically, this was the dress I thought Princess would like, but when I laid them out for the girls to see, they each picked the ones I had imagined for the other. No matter, they’ll be sharing them all year. 😉


 They danced and twirled and wanted to stay in them all day, until I told Princess she couldn’t wear hers outside if she wanted to wear it on Palm Sunday. So she changed her clothes. Sunshine deferred going outside so she could wear her dress longer, in a spurt of pure girliness. Then she managed to get butter smeared on it because she saw me cooking in the kitchen. C’est la vie!



Posey Pie uses a knitted hat to pretend-wash our front storm door. This was during my attempt to stow away the winter gear.



Homemade herbal balms. Getting ready for the bumps/bruises/bug bite season. My sis and I have plans for these to be in our Etsy store later. Stay tuned!

family life · The fine art of crafting

February Wrap-up (YA & PHFR included)



When I sat down to blog this morning I couldn’t believe the last date on my post was February 13th. I felt sure there were about five posts missing. Then I realized that those were the times I meant to sit down and blog, and it never happened. February was one busy month, with an event for someone every weekend and two trips for some of us. Rascal and Haus Meister went to Virginia for the Baptism of our newest goddaughter, and I would dearly have loved to attend myself but we had to take Trooper to St. Louis for a follow-up the very next weekend, and two trips for the whole family in as many weeks is more than I think all of us could take. I know I was literally sick of take-out food by the end of the St. Louis weekend! Then there were the snow days that were fun to have but seemed to add more laundry to the mix as coats and hats and gloves and wet slushy towels piled up, and schedules to be rearranged. All this to say when the snow melted and the temperatures became Southern and balmy again, it was quite revitalizing and I stopped being grumpy. I am glad the kids had a bit of snow fun but I for one am so ready for our early Southern spring.

So now I shall try to wrap up the last few weeks of February.



My early flowers are coming up! Undeterred by the snows, they arrived right on schedule. We’re about to put the Old Haus back on the market after some freshening up so I hope the yard looks just as good over there. In any case, this was my knitting two weeks ago, when I last meant to link up to Yarn Along. I am currently on Row 9 Clue 4B so I have gotten quite a bit further on the Follow Your Arrow shawl, and I might be taking a quick break after this weekend to work on a special little project for a very special someone. I have to wait for one extra skein of yarn to arrive–why is it I always underestimate the amount of yarn I need? That makes me nervous about starting Haus Meister’s Icelandic wool sweater. 😉 Arabella was my latest Georgette Heyer read and I thought it was my last for a while, having reached Regency saturation point. However, my sister wanted me to read Regency Buck while I was in Indiana because it’s her new favorite, and although I thought the title sounded dumb I obliged her and I’m glad I did. Regency Buck was pretty funny, even if I think it could use a better title.

Mom’s Shalom is officially done because she had all the buttons required to finish it. The pattern calls for one button–and that I had–but I added three more button holes just in case Mom wanted more. I was aghast upon going through my button bag (no mean amount) to see I totally lacked three necessary buttons. So in a sense she finished her own sweater, and did me the honor of wearing it the weekend we visited.


Posey Pie liked her taste in color.

While at my parents’ house (where some of our kids stay while the rest of us go with Trooper to St. Louis), we picked up a quilt my grandmother had left out for me before she went to winter in the warmer climes. With visits to a daughter in Florida and a son in California, my grandma luckily managed to miss out on the Polar Vortex event! The quilt in question once belonged to my great-grandmother, and I like how it brightens the room. My usual white counterpane is in the dryer and when it is back I will probably keep this folded at the bottom of the bed, just because it is vintage. Not sure, though. It is cheerful.


I folded down the top a bit so you could see the rounded edges and the points. I always wanted to quilt, even when I was little. If Laura Ingalls could be piecing a nine-patch at three and four years old, why couldn’t I at 9? But somehow I haven’t tried quilting much yet. I won’t say I never will, because after all I didn’t expect to jump into knitting as much as I did. But probably not right now….



While in Indiana, Princess went sledding with Grandpa and her cousin. Rascal and Dino are there, too, somewhere. Probably exiting stage left. Rascal tried to use our old wooden sled–my childhood sled–as a bobsled. Dino proved his Southern roots by wanting to go back to the van where it was warm. I suspected as much so I sat there with him and knit a few rows.


Someone turned 11 months old on St. Valentine’s Day! She is such a big girl these days. She drinks regular milk from a cup (and doesn’t want a sippy lid!), eats all the solid food she can get her hands on, speed crawls, tries to climb on low surfaces, and has “conversations” with you.


Ironically back at the end of January I thought to myself that she and the new baby would be such twins because Posey didn’t seem to be in a big rush to become a toddler. She must have read my mind and set out to prove me wrong. She’d walk now if she were steadier.

She also is in the habit of yelling for things she wants. On a warmer day I was rummaging through the girls’ clothes to find a short sleeved shirt for Miss M and I pulled out a pink shoe that is waiting for Posey to grow into a little. Posey saw it and immediately began the “I WANT THAT” holler. Instantly my thoughts flashed back to 15 month old Princess, the day I bought her pink shoes and she hardly wore anything else while she fit into them.


Not sure that’s the case here. I think Posey thought they were edible.



Sunshine orders room service at the hotel in St. Louis. (We disconnected the phone prior to this)


Miss M gets ready for the warm weather days. No, I still haven’t painted the girls’ room. That is next week. 😉


Appalachian girls refusing to wear shoes. Yes, that is Miss M’s preferred method of swinging.



A year ago yesterday Pope Emeritus Benedict retired. I know somewhere I have pictures of us watching his helicopter depart and his arrival at the residence at Castel Gandolfo, but I couldn’t find them this morning. So here’s one I took of the doors of the Sistine Chapel closing for the conclave last March. Only a year ago. What a year!

The Everyday

(Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real)


My apologies to those of you who are sick of snow.

We’re happy to have had some more.

It didn’t come as quite a surprise this time, although it did pretty much shut the city down for two days. We lost power overnight but it was back on in time for coffee in the morning, so no complaints. 😉

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Rascal and Princess built snowmen as the real brunt of the snow began to fall around dinnertime last night.

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We woke to something like 5-6″ in our backyard.

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The “forest” behind our house was stunning.

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This is such an unusual sight I could hardly keep from taking pictures of the trees.

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Ahem. As you see.

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Before the snow melted–as it is, as  I type–the kids and Haus Meister went out front to build snowmen. That’s Haus Meister with the Toddler Mischief Squad.

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We also attempted a snowfort. It got 3 bucket loads high in places, but that picture wasn’t on my phone.

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Someone felt a little left out.

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So we took her for a turn about the yard.

It will be 61F next week. We enjoyed this possibly last snow.

The fine art of crafting

Yarn-Along on a Snowy Day

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I rushed outside as the snow began in earnest, well aware it might be next February before I had a chance to take an appropriate winter picture with my knitting. 😉 There’s something like 6″ on our back deck right now and the snow is going to continue overnight, only to sadly melt into a muddy morass before the weekend. So, pictured above is the Follow-Your-Arrow Shawl from the Knit-A-Long, several rows into Clue 2-A. No misfortunes happened to delay me this week, as opposed to last week. 😉 The “Feelin’ Superfine” bag was a birthday present Haus Meister gave me last month (he found it at, and is great at the moment for hiding the shawl out of mischief’s sights. Next to it was this week’s read and a rose from our Valentine bouquet. I put it there for color contrast but even as I did so I could hear Tom Hanks’ mocking voice from You’ve Got Mail: “No–it’s a crimson rose.” 😉

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A little more snowy detail. But then I got cold and ran in to shake everything dry.

There’s about 6″ of snow here on the ridge. The city is shutting down for the morning and Haus Meister’s office isn’t going to open. We’re going to have a lovely snow day tomorrow until it all melts in the 45F and sunshine we’re supposed to get, but it will be worth it!