5 November


...James had to get a filling (darn genetics -- my husband has had so many cavities and my own dad's teeth are even worse, despite conscientious oral hygiene). I love our pediatric dentist. He and his team are so good, and they're so sweet to our family.

...I voted.

...we went to the grocery store and John rode in the cart next to Fiona. I wouldn't have put him there except Fiona was tired and wanted to ride up top and I figured she'd give John something to lean against. 

...is Elisabeth's namesday/saint day/patronal feast day -- the feast of St. Elizabeth. She chose to have this salad for dinner and to go to candlelight mass later tonight with her daddy. So sweet.

* * *

One of these days soon, I will do a proper post on the computer. But phone posting is quick and handy!

5 November

5 November

3 November

I'm posting from my phone in my bedroom, where I've been confined for most of today, laying flat on my back as required by what I'm now referring to as my "broken back" (really injured tailbone). I'm not generally a very high-energy individual, but I'm also not a good invalid, and find it exceedingly dull.

So for now, enjoy some baby dancing and flapping. This is the most "talkative" baby I've ever had, but he seems to get stage fright whenever I start recording him, so we have almost no evidence of his many (frequently loud) conversations. Still, what a blessing it is to be able to record some of his babyhood. Sometimes, technology really is a blessing.

(There should be a video embedded below, hoping you can view it. It looks fine from our desktop but now isn't showing up on my phone.)



31 October

near our church

Thanks for your patience, friends, as I've worked out my crazy technical issues. (After 3 appointments with the genius bar, it turned out to be our cable connection after all....)

First off, the winner of the giveaway was Monica, who said: 

"It looks like a lovely book! Thanks for being so open in this space."

Monica, please send me your address at the email address in my left sidebar.

Now, on to some other things.


Happy Halloween! I'm so excited! I'm happy to say that we finished our costumes earlier this year than usual. Yesterday I fell down the stairs and I think I cracked my tailbone, so that was crazy and I feared we might not be able to finish the costumes because sitting is really painful for me! Fortunately, I was already ahead of where I usually am the day before Halloween (bad procrastinator that I usually am), and Elisabeth did the rest of the sewing for me! She was awesome. 


This October has been so golden and all the leaves I pass seem to look like little coins on their trees, making me think of this favorite poem by Elsa Beskow:

Golden, you are,
Golden sovereigns on your trees.
Golden guineas on your floor,
golden coins of leaves
that fall
for us to scuffle through
and rustle
and rattle
and hustle
and scrabble
and dabble
and paddle
as they fall
into an October carpet
which hides
our shoes.

our neighborhood

I think I'm going to give daily blogging in November a try again this year. Last year I just couldn't get through it, with first trimester sickness. It was feeling like too much, and since I hadn't announced my pregnancy to anyone at that point, it was just too hard, and feeling too much like quantity over quality. But this year, I'm hoping that nothing unexpected will pop up. It's always been so much fun for me and such a good habit. I should do it more! Ha!

See you...tomorrow!

11 October

Just a quick post to let you know that I haven't forgotten I need to select a winner for the book giveaway. I'm posting from my phone tonight because our Internet was out for several days and now the hard drive of our Mac is corrupted and it won't run. We have an appointment tomorrow so hopefully that can be sorted out, and quickly. It's still covered under warranty, fortunately. At 2.5 years old, it's still outlived any other computer we've had, though. See you soon!

27 August

so alert



like jewels

Our baby boy is now just past two months old. He has changed so much in these two months. We are getting lots of smiles and lots of little "chats" from him. He is our biggest two month old so far, at just over 13 pounds now. He is also a baby who has a high level of need for his mama. I've been spending my time just holding and nursing him most of the time, which is fine with me. He and I just need this.

Though the other day, after a long day of holding him, soothing his fussing, and feeling like nothing was helping, I told my husband I was taking a drive.

Driving can be as effective as therapy for me. I've known this about myself for a good 16 or 17 years. I can always clear my mind. Turning on the radio and hearing favorite songs by Dave Matthews Band, U2, and Radiohead back to back never hurts, either. And then there was a rainbow. Within an hour, I was home and feeling much more sane. I'm sure taking a walk could have a similar effect but we live in an older suburban neighborhood so it's not always the best place for clearing one's mind. Slipping out for a drive is just right for me.

Not much else is happening. These August days have been going by slowly. Hot, languid, just a bit too much. I'm so ready for autumn. My husband's classes start next week and he's nervous. I know he can do it. I just hope there's a job at the end of it!

4 June




fiona and millie



It occurred to me yesterday or so that this baby is really going to be born, and quite soon (in the next month, anyway). I haven't spent a lot of time preparing for the baby, or for his or her arrival. It has seemed kind of theoretical to me, and with three other children to focus on, it just hasn't been the central focus of my days. Which is perfectly fine, and probably made the time pass faster. But now, I realize, things are going to happen whether I'm ready or not. So we washed some baby clothes, and I lanolized diaper covers last night. I made a lasagna and a great big casserole for the freezer. Some things that I had thought sounded like good things to accomplish before baby are probably not going to happen, due to time and/or cost. But I think the basics will be in place. Of course, there are always the woolies that I've wanted (either to purchase or finally knit) with every baby and ended up telling myself "maybe next time" -- but with a summer baby, there isn't a lot of need for newborn woolies. Ah, well. I have knit a couple of things for this Junebaby of mine and I'll share those here as soon as they are dry from their blocking (happening now).

Tomorrow is my home visit with my midwives, that 36-week milestone that seems so momentous to a homebirther. It seems like once the home visit has happened, everything shifts into watching and waiting mode. (I tried doing a search so I could link to maybe an informational site about what the home visit is but only came up with forum threads. I was trying to explain to someone the other day about the home visit and how it seems like a big deal. Anyway, it's a prenatal appointment that's done at home, where you go over all the details of the birth, with everyone who is expected to be there for the birth. It's kind of an exciting appointment.)

This summer we have a neighbor girl with us during the week, which is such a good thing -- it keeps my kids busy and occupied, and that  is so helpful. And it's contributing a small amount of income for us, which I have to say is much appreciated.

James is going to start baseball at the rec center. He and Fiona will have swimming lessons, and there will be a day camp at our church, too. And then, the baby! I can't believe it. I really can't.

1 April


Light snow is in the forecast for tonight and later in the week. But just now I smelled the unmistakable scent of earth and sun and growing things that means spring is around the corner and I'm so excited!

Last week was busy and a little chaotic here. We had a ridiculous comedy of errors trying to get everything done that needed to be. And then we discovered Saturday afternoon that the puppy had destroyed all of my shoes -- and I do mean all of them -- within the preceding 24 hours. She's so sneaky. It's kind of funny but of course not that funny, too, because all of my shoes (and I am not a big shoe person, I only owned 5 pairs total) were expensive. I wear a size 12 and have plantar fasciitis (which is way better now than when it developed 8 years ago, thanks to wearing good shoes), so I have to be careful about what I wear on my feet, and of course, what I can get is pretty limited due to my size. (Being as tall as I am is mostly great, but the challenges come in when you are on the largest size of generally available shoes.)

Anyway, that was a bit of a digression. Friday night found us at our church's always breathtaking Good Friday service. We are blessed with what I am convinced to be the best music director of any church of any denomination I have ever witnessed. In three years, he has transformed our slightly rag-tag group of singers into an amazing choir, who perform beautiful pieces from Gregorian chant, to Thomas Tallis, to contemporary choral works. It's impossible not to be brought to tears with our music director's musical setting of the Reproaches. Being a musician, nerd, and highly religious individual, I fully admit to looking forward to this all year.

waiting for the Easter Vigil to begin

Saturday was, as always, a quiet day for us. We did some minimal prep for Easter dinner and then rested in the afternoon. After the alarming shoe discovery, we set out to the Easter Vigil. (One pair of shoes was intact enough that I could wear them with the addition of a grocery store insole.) It was extraordinarily beautiful. Fiona slept for about the first hour, but was up for the rest, and the other two children took turns sitting in the aisle so they could see better. They were all quiet and did beautifully the whole time. The Easter Vigil is long (about four hours at our church, this can vary), but so beautiful and transcendent. I wish I had better words, but I guess this will have to be enough. We got home at about 1:30am, and my husband had to be up at 6:00 to go play in a brass quintet at another church's services!

(Note: I made my dress, based on some basic ideas I saw on DIY Maternity, using fabric from Girl Charlee. I am not going to take full-body pictures of it because even though I like it, I don't feel the need to share full shots of my pregnant self on the internet. More about my rosary here.)

slow Easter morning

table setting

I love our dining room

lemon water


The rest of us spent a slow morning. Elisabeth and I gradually prepared our Easter dinner in spurts, between my resting and the children playing outside with sidewalk chalk and bubbles. 

My husband arrived home at about 1:00, and my brother and his wife arrived at 3:00 for dinner. It was a sunny, beautiful day, so restful and perfect. Keeping it simple and doing most of the prep in advance made it easy for me and my helpers. I never host holiday meals because generally that's the territory of my mom and mother-in-law, but this year it just worked out for us to stay home (with the addition of my brother and sister-in-law). It was so nice. I hope over time to have the chance to host a few more things!

Last night, I got my three overtired children and exhausted pregnant self into our pajamas at 6:00. I read each of them one chapter from their latest books. Fiona was asleep by 6:30, James by 7:00, and I think Elisabeth managed to hold out until 8:00 before falling asleep. They all slept in until 8 this morning, too, so it was well-needed rest!

Well, this is may be my rambliest and most pointless post ever, but I'm happy, so happy, that Easter has come -- I've been so looking forward to it this year! -- and that spring is around the corner. Soon enough, we'll be getting ready to welcome our baby. What a season of goodness lies ahead.

22 February

hotel knitting

hotel breakfast

hotel tea

When I was a little girl, every time we'd go to a new physician (which happened a handful of times -- retirements, moves, insurance changes), my mom would say, "Look at my daughter's tonsils. They are the size of large grapes. I don't think they are supposed to touch each other and inhibit her breathing every time she gets sick." The response was always the same: "Well, they are really big, but tonsillectomies have really fallen out of fashion."

Thirty years later, I still get sick more than most people I know. My kids catch a cold or two each winter; Fiona usually throws up a few times. My husband usually catches one serious bug and a couple of other minor ones, but he's a teacher -- he's exposed to "everything", right? It makes sense he'd catch a few more things than our healthy, homeschooled children. But I catch everything. And it lingers and lingers. 

Today, I'm on Day 14 of the worst cold I've had this season (and I've already had a few). It's probably going to progress to bronchitis. Last year, the year before, and a couple of years before that, I had bronchitis that progressed to pneumonia. (I understand and fully appreciate the reluctance to prescribe anitbiotics these days, with more and more antibiotic-resistant illnesses. But it's hard to get anyone to believe me that I probably need them, even when I have been coughing for 6 straight weeks. My children have never had antibiotics, so I'm not a "drug seeker". Ha!)

I don't know if it's really my tonsils. But I do know I have a long and irritating relationship with winter colds. And I am so tired of it. 

Two weekends ago, my husband and I had the chance to go to a nice hotel for a night (we had a gift certificate). My mom had the kids, and we were so excited to spend the evening out, enjoying dinner out, listening to live music at our favorite place, room service in the morning. Within a few minutes of checking into the hotel, I was hit with my cold symptoms from out of nowhere. We ended up staying in, I was asleep before 9:00, my husband had to run out to Walgreens for palliative measures. It wasn't fun. I'm tired of being sick.

I know, this is just a downer blog post right before the weekend. But I've got nothing else. I've spent the last two full weeks in bed, 4 of those days with serious laryngitis. My spirits are down.

I'm going to the doctor today. I hope they can do something for me. We have birthdays next week! I want to be well enough to enjoy them. 

{Oh! By the way! My blog has its own domain name now. You can get here via www.uncommon-grace.com now! The Typepad address still works as well. Please note the hyphen in the name. My "actual" domain is still owned by evil GoDaddy and they want over $4,000 for it!}

5 February


naughty dog

Today is a lovely, sunny, spring-like day. Being a rare day we don't have anything on the schedule, it's also turning into a lazy day.

It's been quiet, most of us on our own today. Elisabeth has been reading and practicing piano, James has been working on a few art projects and playing with his trains. Fiona has been sitting with me on the couch while I study for a test this week. There are so many -- so many! -- dishes to wash, and I want everyone to get outside and play. But mostly we've been having a nothing day, which is a good thing. 

Last summer in my towel post, I alluded to the fact that I have lots of opinions about bridal registries. I was surprised that a few people chimed in about wanting to hear what those were. Then the other day, Mackenzie and I started chatting about it, too. It seems like a funny thing to talk about in this space, since it's not my usual subject matter, but Mackenzie encouraged me to write about it since it's actually an interesting thing to think about. Anyway, I thought I might do a post about that this week. It seems funny and random, but also I think something that a lot of us could have done better back in the day -- maybe some brides-to-be would find it helpful. :)

For now, I'm back to my lazy day.

1 February


Wow! I had no intention of letting a whole month go by without a post. January is a tough month for me (like August) -- the transition times after a school break leave me feeling like we are limping along without a routine. We've also had a series of viruses run through our house. Thankfully, I think everyone is healthy now. Last night I slept with my mouth closed (like, because I could breathe through my nose) for the first time in a couple of weeks. That was nice. 


We've just been quietly hanging out, hoping for snow. It did snow one time in January, this past Monday. We got about 3 inches which was noteworthy for this sad, sad, dry winter we're having. I'm used to having a lot more snow than this! It seems disappointing.

puzzle 1

puzzle 2

puzzle 3

puzzle 4

The fun of a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle was discovered and everyone in the family has been variously addicted to working on it. It's nearly complete now (more than in these photos). My husband picked up another one the other day, which makes me grin.

reading together


The house is starting to feel a bit more settled. We've been here for about 8 1/2 months. We still need to get things up on the walls. And we need baseboards downstairs. Then there are the big projects that remain -- exterior paint, new windows and doors, moving the laundry room to the basement, updating the kitchen and bathrooms, re-installing the coat closet that was removed to make a shower in the powder room. (We don't need a main floor shower -- or a handicapped toilet -- like the last owners. But we sure do need a coat closet!) Someday there will be a sewing room with egress windows in the basement for me so that one of our children can have the fourth bedroom upstairs, but that's further down the road. And I dream of repairing the fireplace in the family room and putting in an efficient-burning insert. And maybe a small woodstove in the living room, someday. There is lots to do, but I'm beginning to feel more at home just as it is now. I feel that the living spaces are pretty, the bedrooms are spacious, we are comfortable. This house is just the right one for us. That feels reassuring, after the long search, choosing something that needed so much work, and so on. 

In one of the photos above, you can just see my completed Winterwoods sampler in a frame. The matte is too small for it so I'm going to change it out before I take another photo of it, but I am so happy to have it! It's perfect for the living room. 

I think that's about it for today. I'm so happy that it's February. Goodbye January slump! Hello birthday season!

18 November

Slipping this post in just before midnight, to say... Today was another glorious autumn day, spent reading, playing with our puppy, puppet shows, early bedtimes (for the children, anyway), knitting, hot chocolate, and a movie. So nice. I wish more days could be just like this one.

18 November

18 November

11 November


Well, I missed posting yesterday. It's the only time in a November blogging challenge that I've missed a post. Yesterday was a long day, spent trying to get my husband a new car which proved challenging. It was also bitterly cold and snowing for part of the day, which added to the car buying challenge. Later, we went to a housewarming party. More of the Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices were made. They are heavenly, people. Seriously.

In the end, not much snow accumulated, but the temperatures today remained icy cold. After church, I came home and ended up taking a lovely nap. The sun was warm even though it was so cold outside. 

outback of my youth

So, we're now bidding farewell to our Outback. We bought this car new in our first year of marriage. My husband pointed out that this year has marked an end of that era. The puppy we brought home that same year died only seven months ago, and now the car has called it quits, too. (Another thing: the tea kettle we got for our wedding got burned and destroyed since we moved in here. It's now been replaced with an inexpensive electric model which I actually like much better for where we are in life now. In the thank you note to the person who gave me the tea kettle for my bridal shower, I promised to keep it until one day when our future children would burn it up making hot chocolate. This is actually exactly what happened to my mom's tea kettle, when we were pre-teens making instant hot chocolate. The fate of my kettle was sealed not with hot chocolate, since we make that with milk in a saucepan, but boiling water for tea. Ah, well.)

OG firedancer sticker

Anyway, the Outback was actually my car for most of that time. I drove it until about 18 months ago. I love my bigger vehicle, not having to squeeze my kids three across, which always made me nervous with the carseats sort of jimmy-rigged in place. But I loved my Outback, too. It represented such a happy time in my life. My early marriage, my young motherhood. In the end, it's just a car, of course. And the time had really come to bid it farewell. But I'll miss it nonetheless.


The Outback was replaced with a used Prius. It has sort of high mileage but is otherwise in really good condition. The high mileage allowed us to be able to get a low payment on it, which is good since the timing of this is pretty bad. I've always liked blue cars, though my husband doesn't, so it's too bad it's his and not mine! We are most excited about the gas mileage, and of course, the hatchback style is perfect for all the instruments and gear my husband drives around with all the time. 

So, bittersweet things here. 

8 November

8 November

8 November

{Unrelated photos}

These last few days of chauffeuring my husband around have been, frankly, insane. He teaches at one school, has had meetings at another, is a part-time (one class, once a week) faculty member of a university, and teaches private lessons at a music store (whereas I do my private teaching at home; both have pros and cons). It has been pretty intense to get him back and forth to everything all over a large metropolitan area, all while keeping the rest of my crew fed and hydrated and brought to their few activities. He now has a car to borrow for a few days until we decide what to do about replacing his. Obviously this kind of thing never comes at a good time, and there is just so much to weigh. I am, frankly, exhausted.

7 November

Yarn Along with Ginny today!


Working on Elisabeth's sweater. I will make a Ravelry link for it later today, but right now I'm in a rush to get out the door. My husband's car broke down at work yesterday and I've been chauffering him so that I can have my car for the few things we need to get to. It's been hectic already and promises to continue to be so. He really needs a new car; our 13-year-old Outback has seen its best days come and go, by a long shot. I'm not sure what's going to happen with all that, but it's something we're going to need to address sooner than later.

Reading the Smitten Kitchen cookbook! Love, love, love!!! Smitten Kitchen is already my favorite cooking blog, and the cookbook is more of that goodness!

4 November

making the cowboy shirt

my yarn

These photos are from last week, from when I was working on costumes. I was looking through my photo files and thought they were pretty on this dreary Sunday afternoon.

End of Daylight Saving Time. I love it and hate it. Right at this moment, I kind of hate it. This morning, driving to the second day of the swim meet, I kind of loved it, since we drove there as the sun was rising rather than in the pitch black like yesterday. We are going to church this evening, which will interfere with my usual enjoyed early bedtime reset on the end of Daylight Saving Time. But actually, that's fine, because my children have been falling asleep pretty early, even considering our slightly later schedule lately. Most nights they've been asleep by 8:15, even with a later dinner. 

I cast on Elisabeth's sweater on Friday, and I'm desperately going to try to finish it by next week. We'll see. James's still needs sleeves but I discovered I don't have double pointed needles in the right size and I keep forgetting to get some. I know I could do the magic loop method with my circular needle, but I don't like the results I get. It might because I knit so loosely, but I end up with terrible laddering. Anyway, that's on the agenda this week. I have so many other finished knits that need to be photographed and shared, that's my goal for this month.

That's about it for this random weekend post. See you tomorrow!

2 November

Today was a day of things being checked off of lists: the piano tuner came, I ran about a million errands. It was one of those days where you're so focused on what needs to happen next that you don't really pause to think. Or even snap a picture. Tomorrow morning we have to leave for a swim meet at 6:00, and James has his final soccer game (a make-up game, last week's game was cancelled due to snow, which was too bad because we were already committed to tomorrow's swim meet). My husband will take James to his game since he hasn't been to one yet, and I'll be at the swim meet. I'm sad to miss James's last game, but I have a ton of pictures from the season to organize and then I'll share them here.

Lots of other stuff to talk about in the coming month. But for tonight, I'm going to knit a few more rows before calling it a night.

I hope you all have a great Saturday! See you here at some point tomorrow.

Nov 2, 2012

19 October



Week 4

I didn't finish Elisabeth's costume on Wednesday like I hoped, but I'm resolving to complete it by the end of Saturday, and James's on Sunday. (His is not as hard, since I don't have to figure it out as I go.) I haven't knit a stitch in the last few days. I have, however, completed a lot of the sampler because, well, I just can't stop! (Speaking of Alicia, I'm sure you heard her news! So, so, so exciting!)

Today is one of those days that's colder inside than outside, but even opening the windows doesn't seem to draw the warmer air in. We're all in slippers and I feel like I should be wearing gloves as I type this. 


I got some new yarn, from my supplier. It's like crack, this stuff. It'll be James's Christmas vest and I can't wait to knit it!

Other thoughts: I want glasses. Or at least reading glasses, which I don't need. One of my cello students quit on Monday in a kind of crappy way, which has had me down more than it should. We've been trying to keep Millie in all the time since we got an "anonymous" threat to her on our door last month. We've been mostly successful. (It was anonymous, but we know who did it. Neighbors can be strange.)

I think next week, I will post about our favorite things to have for lunch (including my spaetzle recipe). Care to join me? We can call it "Lunch Week". 

1 May

OK, so I failed at A Week in the Life. I don't know what happened, I just couldn't get into it! 

Anyway, we have been packing and packing and packing. I'll admit that pretty much all that's been accomplished is the basement (my sewing/craft room and the kids' toys, along with almost all of our books). I have been told by a reliable source that the craft space and toys are the two hardest areas in a house, because there's just so much stuff to deal with. So hopefully it's only going to get easier from here. 

Before, it was so messy you could hardly work. Now, it just seems lonely.

Packing up the thread. #PicFrame

Packing break. I don't know the last time we went out lunch just the two of us.

Packing up the fabric. I already have one of these tubs full of fabric to give away, too! I'm very proud of myself.

It always seems like when you start packing, things get messier, rather than tidier. I don't know why it is, because you'd think with things being packed away, there would be less mess. But now I remember from the last time we moved. It's kind of crazy!

I have, however, found some things that I thought we'd lost forever, so that has been fun and exciting, and I cleared out a whole ton of stuff that was the kind of last "random" stuff to get shoved into boxes on our last move (things that have just been sitting in boxes ever since then!) So, it's going pretty well, altogether. Moving is such an odyssey!

21 April

Oh, my poor little neglected blog. I have a milestone birthday to write about, and will, but for now at least wanted to pop in and let you all know how I'm doing. 

In the last 5 weeks, I've had three visits to the hospital and two surgeries for my kidney stone. It doesn't seem like a kidney stone should be that dramatic, but this one apparently was. There was a slight complication with my second surgery and I'm still not feeling that great. Hopefully by the end of next week, when I get my stent out, things should start to look up.

with lucy



Also, we lost our Lucy-dog on March 24. The grief I've experienced has been beyond words. In fact, I find myself speechless, even 4 weeks later, about what or how to express it. She was the most faithful, gentle dog, and it just makes my heart ache to think about her.

Finally, it looks like we are moving at the end of May! Such a bundle of mixed emotions there for me, too. I'm so excited about our new house, the potential there, about having a place of our own again after renting for the last 8 years. But it's always bittersweet to leave behind a place where you've lived and celebrated and struggled and just known so well for a long time. I love our current home's open floorplan, its ample storage (so many cabinets and cupboards all over this house), its huge yard, its old, tall, tall trees, and the wide open feel of the neighborhood (made possible by wide streets, large lots, and only one-story houses). I will also miss its convenient proximity to highways.

I will not miss having only two bedrooms for our entire family of five. I will not miss having no fireplace, the basement that floods when it rains, the tiny dining area, paying rent, a cantankerous property manager.

I'm scared and excited and nervous. And I can't wait to share our new space with you!

In the meantime, there is a 10-year-old in my house (?!), there's a bit more recovery for me, oh-so-many plans, and packing, and summer dreaming to do!

See you soon, friends.

25 January

I have been sick, sick, sick lately. Trying to lay low, but oh, it's been hard to keep up. It seems like we've had something scheduled most days; not much time for me to rest and try to recover. I ended up staying home sick from church on Sunday, something I haven't done in years.

I did upload the last nine days of my "366" photos today. I'm sharing some thoughts about the days on each of them. I feel like it's such an intimate way to share, even though Flickr as a whole is really so huge and public. But it's just one photo, just a few thoughts. So do click through, I love to hear from you, whether here or over there.