Thursday, April 12, 2018

When You Are Stuck

I never had any intentions of quitting blogging. It just happened. I know now there wasn't any one reason, but a host of reasons put together. Combine the reasons, and blogging was one of the first things to go. In late October of 2017 after yet another visit to my nurse practitioner because I was feeling extremely tired, she suggested that I see a life coach, because I was healthy (despite being about 30 lbs overweight. Yup I am).

I was pretty excited to get started, but the first visit was not very encouraging. I actually left feeling even more frustrated with myself. I was overwhelmed with life. A asked me what I was doing that made me feel accomplished. She wanted to know what I did each day that made me feel good about myself. I didn't have an answer to that. Oh I did lots during the day and a lot of sitting doing nothing between getting the what I felt I must do's done, but none of it was anything that made me excited about my life. I was given homework for that week. I was to try to spend each day meditating for five minutes. I was a little leery at first. Meditate? Isn't that some new age thing? Actually, it isn't. It is just sitting completely quiet for five minutes focusing solely on your breathing and pushing away all the distractions that pop into your mind while sitting there. It results in bringing a little more clarity throughout the day.

After about three visits, I was feeling better about life. I was motivated in the mornings and the desire to sit and do nothing all day began to disappear. I had been stuck. I was in a rut. I lacked motivation to do anything for myself because whenever I did I felt like there were other more important things that I should be doing. The reason I didn't notice the feeling until almost November every year is due to stress. Having a house full of children in the summer -- especially our two youngest -- creates a large stressor for me. Truthfully I am not even aware of it, but my body is, and it takes almost two months for it to realize it doesn't have to be on high alert from dawn to bedtime anymore. Sounds crazy, I know, but our two youngest children are very high maintenance and cannot be left alone for more than ten minutes or so, as they tend to like to find trouble. This in turn causes me to have to keep an eye on them from the time they get up until they go to bed. It is a lot of work.

By the time they have all been back in school for almost two months, my body just wants to shut down completely. I felt tired all the time. A gave me ways to cope with the exhaustion and I have been feeling good. Some days I am legitimately tired because I went to bed to late. On the days that I do feel overtired, I give myself permission to just be and not feel guilty about it.

I am nervous about how I will handle the summer this year, but I will go to see A in June and perhaps again through July and August. This autumn I will at least know why I am so tired if I end up that way again and I can work through it.

In the end it was encouraging to know that I was simply -- stuck. Nothing major was wrong with me. I just needed to see myself as a person again. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that makes me aware of what my body and even my mind are telling me.

Now to figure out how to drop those thirty pounds!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fun with Yarn

I  still don't think I have found my creative niche per say, but I have sure discovered that I like to crochet. This year I deliberately did not set any goals anywhere in my life because last year I made several and following through with any of them amounted to nil. Not a single solitary goal was met. Pathetic. So this year no goal setting whatsoever. None.

However, as the new year progressed from January to February, I completed several crochet projects and concluded I needed to start expanding my repertoire of stitches from just the simple basic stitches to some more -- not necessarily more complicated -- but stitches with a little more thinking involved.


My first completed project was a temperature blanket. I started it in January of 2017. Each row was a colour that matched a temperature range of about 5 degrees. Once it was completed, it was HUGE. It is 365 rows, so I guess that makes sense. It is wide enough to fit a twin bed -- or should I say, a twin bed for a giant.




The left one is a lap blanket done in moss stitch. The middle one was completed in 2017 and the right one in February. They are both the granny stitch. They are also both baby blankets.




 This neckwarmer was finished in 2017 too, but I had to sew on the buttons. Hand sewing is not something I enjoy, so I put it off for months. Finally, I decided to just get er done! It is basically still a granny stitch except there are only two double stitches in each loop instead of three.



I call this my January Blues blanket for several reasons. The obvious two being that I began it in January and that is is in shades of blue/blue-green. There is a third reason, but it will eventually get a post of its own. This is a new stitch I learned called the V-stitch. You can now see why almost all my projects come complete with dog hair. 😏



This is my most recent blanket and the one that took me to the next level. Piecing. And a new stitch called corner to corner. Once I got the hang of it, I had a hard time putting this project down. After stitching it together, I learned that I should have blocked it first (a crochet term for dampening the yarn and pinning it into position until it dries. Somehow this causes the project to hold its shape). Credits for this project belong to Brittany who posted it at bhookedcrochet.


I have made three of these Wildwood cowls from the Unraveled Mitten in varying combinations of colours. They crochet up quickly and are great for using up leftover yarn. The first one is a little bit of a mess at the join, but it is hidden at the back so it isn't obvious. After the first one, I got the hang of it and the next two worked up perfectly.

Over the weekend I completed a number of headbands and started yet another blanket. I will post them once I have taken some photographs.

Friday, March 16, 2018

March Break 2018

We are generally not the type of people who go anywhere or do anything during spring break. Here are a few reasons why we don't: 1) I am so exhausted from the busyness of the normal winter activities that just thinking of packing and traveling with thousands of other people heading on vacation makes me even more tired, 2) it is way more expensive to travel during spring break season than other parts of the winter/early spring season, 3) our family is too big to be hotel conducive, and 4) not everyone in our family has their spring break at the same time anymore. Our two university students had theirs in February, and the five youngest were off this week. That being said, we ARE headed to Florida in April. We are pulling the five youngest from school for a week (we have never done this before 😐), renting a house and relaxing for a week. The two oldest will meet us in Florida a day or two after we arrive.

A week at home with no obligations and no expectations was more than I had hoped for! The girls all slept late. I slept a little late and then enjoyed a peaceful morning coffee each day while I crocheted, or read, or even watched some television. Then I would crochet some more, or go and sew. I also did a pile of ironing. In other words, I only did what I felt like doing all week. I haven't done something like that in years without feeling totally guilty. It was so fun!

The girls also spent time reading, watching some television, playing on the Wii, designing with perler beads, drawing, colouring. I don't think anyone went outside all week. I didn't really care though as the temperature has hovered around 0 degrees Celsius all week which makes it very damp. Plus it snowed. Every. Single. Day. Not that it accumulated because of the plus/minus zero temperature, but still. It is the middle of March. Oh well, the longer it stays like this, the later I will have to start mowing the lawn. 😁

Pictures are forthcoming.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Canadian Thanksgiving

It was a week ago already, and our gathering this year was small for various reasons. A funeral in another province, a child studying abroad, and some family dynamics that make the holidays difficult for a family member. We ended up celebrating with our children only. Nathanael's girlfriend Madi joined us too despite him being in Europe until late December. She arrived a little later than the rest of the crew who were at the mercy of parental drivers. I never did get a photo of us all at dinner. That was thrown off by live chatting with Nathanael. One of those moments where I am thankful for modern technology.

 Playing apples to apples while I get the food ready.

These two love the Wii!

 Some gentler disciplinary measures have this munchkin under my watchful eye.

 Someone is just hoping I will walk away from the table for a couple of minutes because that is all he would need to hoover down the entire dinner. 


A chat with my shaggy boy. We never knew he had curls like that! He sure didn't as a little guy. Poker straight and white blonde. 

Despite many changes again this year, we are blessed and have much to be thankful for.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Apple Picking

Two weeks ago was a PD Day. It's pretty nice to have all the girls home on the same day. I didn't know they would be, as three are in one school board and two are in another, but the PD Days match! Weather-wise, it was a strange day. Bright sun and then pouring and I mean pouring rain! After my wash on the line got rinsed not once, but twice, I decided I had better take it down.









 Yes, the one with the lovely smile on the far right is not one of mine.  We love having her over though!

 I can't get enough of the fall asters!

 Beautiful puffy autumn clouds.

 To storm clouds and rain in the distance!

And approaching very fast! We had to run to the store and still didn't make it before a good sprinkle got us!

What did we do with the apples we picked? Many were turned into pies and the ones that weren't were dried or simply eaten. Apple dumplings are still on the to make list. Maybe this weekend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Swimming in September

Usually the last days of swimming happen on Labour Day weekend -- provided the weather is good. There may be a few unseasonably warm days in the month yet, and even well into October, but usually, they are few and far between, or the nights are so cool that by the time the day gets hot before we know it, it starts cooling down again. Not so, this September. I think overall, it was warmer than the entire month of August.

So what do you do when the pool has been down since Labour Day weekend and there's one warm day after another? You hit the beach of course!

We went Friday evening and again Saturday afternoon. Even I went swimming! Only the second time all year.







 Leo says, give me the sand over the water any day!

 He actually liked being buried. Until I was out of his line of sight that is. He is so attached to me!


It was a great way to spend a late September weekend!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bad Hair Don't Care

Ever since we brought this little girl home, I have had issues with her hair. It is just weird hair. It always seems to look like it has split ends. Hardly gets wet when you run the shower head over it and is just plain wild!





We've gone from long to short to very short to long again. No matter the lang it is wild, frizzy, and a little untameable -- rather like her personality. 😊

Late in August, I decided I needed to do some searching to figure out if her hair was "normal" or if her early life somehow contributed to this crazy hair. It's normal. Normal in the sense that she has low porosity hair. This means the cuticles on her hair are very tight and do not absorb moisture easily. I am no expert on this yet, but I did learn, we have to treat her hair completely different than the rest of the family.

So now we only wash it once a week (which is likely still too often) and then condition it AFTER she is done showering. We squeeze as much moisture as we can out of her hair with a towel and then apply a conditioner with jojoba oil in it. Sometimes I will also add jojoba oil or sweet almond oil. If time allows, I pop a shower cap over it all, wrap it in a towel and let the heat from her head soften and open the cuticles so the product absorbs better and we get less frizz.



Before


After

You can see that it takes FOREVER to dry. We still don't have it all figured out, but it is certainly more manageable than it has been. Next up will be learning to do styles that she can keep in all week without having to do much to it until her next wash.

Funny thing is, at this point, she could still care less about how her hair looks. She is a bad hair don't care kinda girl! 

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