Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Porthos Socks & Ice Jam Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I finished my Porthos Socks, or my son's Porthos Socks, I should say, on Friday, just in time to give them to him for Meg's birthday.  ;-)  I hope he enjoys them!  They're really beautiful, soft & warm socks, which is thanks to the Sweet Georgia yarn more than my knitting.  It was great to work with.  I'll be making another pair out of the variegated toe yarn quite soon. 

I posted my book list for the year yesterday, but I hardly did any reading.  When I came home from dropping the kids at school in the morning, the whole day stretched before me, full of possibilities.  There was no nagging chore that had to be done, so I wrote my blog post.  Then I realized it was snowing, so I left early to pick up my kids---who were getting out 2 hours early---so I could swing by Target on the way to see if there were boots of any kind to protect their feet in the snow.  We were less prepared than usual for inclement weather.  Everyone had grown or their footwear had fallen apart!

Luckily, I found Meg & Pip each a pair of boots on clearance ($10.48!) that fit perfectly, and I drove through the blowing snow to their school.  Tom was supposed to get out at the same time (on the other side of town), and my husband and I were debating who would do that duty, when Tom called to say they were suddenly released at 12:15 instead of 1:15!  Fortunately, he could catch a ride with his girlfriend and her sister, and I would pick him up at her house, or she'd bring him to ours.

Most of my drive home was fine except for the last mile where we slowed to a 5 mph crawl.  The roads didn't seem that slick to me, but it was fine.  The 15 min. drive took 45 mins., but that was okay.  I kept getting texts from Tom that they were coming, but slowly.  The main road we live off has some big hills, and once they got to that road, they slowed to a crawl also.  Their 20 min. drive took 2 hours!  And then the girls had another "15 minutes" to their home which took 45 minutes.  In retrospect, we were extremely fortunate yesterday that the kids and I all made it home in a few hours!

I'm sure it's been on the news, but we have friends from school who didn't get home at all, and had to stay with friends after 8 hours on the road!  Another friend spent 11 hours trying to get home from 1 hour away.  He's a great guy and was helping lots of other drivers out of slick spots over the course of the day.  Others drove for 3 hours or more and then opted to walk the last 3 or 5 miles home in 17 degree weather.  I'm thrilled that my husband agreed to stay at the office where he is safe and warm, if not exactly well-fed.  It's possible he may not even make it back today unless the big hill outside his office becomes passable!

That said, all I read yesterday was Facebook and the news reports.  I knit all of 2 rows of the poncho I'm making.  I hope you read something better and got some knitting done!  I plan to do better today while the kids play in the snow.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow & Books

....How much snow are we really going to get?  My kids go to schools in 2 different counties.  One closes 2 hours early; the other has only cancelled afterschool activities.  I'm fine with that---otherwise I wouldn't be able to pick them both up simultaneously.

....Here's my To-Be-Read (TBR) shelf, or desk, as it were.

From left to right, they are:

Les Misérables, Victor Hugo.  I also discovered it is free on Kindle, so that's the one I'm actually reading.  It's much easier on the wrists!

Kindle.  That's my pink-covered Kindle next to Les Mis.  It contains a LOT of books, as you might expect.

Small Steps for Catholic Moms, Elizabeth Foss & Danielle Bean.  This is one of those books that you read daily with a prayer, a thought, and an action.  I try to read it at night, for the next day, and in the morning.

The Love Dare, Alex Kendrick.  I can't tell you much about this one.  I won it at a Mom's brunch where the focus was on marriage.  I've read only the first couple of "dares" and they do make a difference!  :-)

Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture, Teresa Tomeo.  I started reading this for a book club, but I didn't finish it in time for the meeting.  I'd really like to finish it because I hadn't gotten to the part where we try to fix the problem! 

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson.  This one was recommended by my son Brendan.  He loved it; I've read a little, and I haven't really gotten into it yet, but it did make me laugh out loud a few times!

Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux, Heather King.  Another one that needs to be finished.  {There's a theme here.  Maybe "finishing what I start" should have been another new Year's Resolution.}

The Life of St. Philip Neri, Gallonio.  Since he's Pip's patron saint, I'd like to read more about him.  I've read this one, but Gallonio was one of his pupils, so I think it will be good.

The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton.  I started this one...ahem...years ago.  I'm over half-finished.  I was enjoying it; I don't know why I stopped, unless I was just distracted.  As I get older, I begin to suspect that I have some mild ADD.

The Life of Faustina Kowalska, Sr. Sophia Michalenko.  I've read (most of) the Diary; I think this will be interesting.

The Way of Perfection, Teresa of Avila.  This is going to be the book that I take with me to weekly Adoration.

The Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos.
In this classic Catholic novel, Bernanos movingly recounts the life of a young French country priest who grows to understand his provincial parish while learning spiritual humility himself. Awarded the Grand Prix for Literature by the Academie Francaise, The Diary of a Country Priest was adapted into an acclaimed film by Robert Bresson. "A book of the utmost sensitiveness and is a work of deep, subtle and singularly encompassing art." — New York Times Book Review

Mr. Blue, Myles Connolly.
J. Blue is a young man who decides to take Christianity seriously, not as a chore but as a challenge. He spends his inherited wealth almost as soon as he gets it. He lives in a packing box on a New York City rooftop. He embraces the poor as his best friends and wisest companions, distrusts the promises of technology (except for the movies), and is fascinated by anything involving the wide expanse of God’s universe. He is the ultimate free spirit, it seems; but what is the source—and purpose—of his freedom? This novel about a contemporary St. Francis figure has delighted and inspired countless readers since it was first published in 1928.

A Child's History of England, Charles Dickens.  It looks deceptively small in that little, Everyman's edition, but the print is microscopic and the margins are small.  It's probably every bit as big as Les Mis down at the other end!  Meg had to read several excerpt from this for school, and I sort of fell in love with it.  I had to get it from the library.  Once it came, I realized that it was going to be too hard to read, but that it's also available for free on the the old Kindle.  So, it's on the shelf (for now) for show, but it's really hiding in my Kindle.  I've been reading that every night and enjoying it---though not making much progress.

G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, Dale Ahlquist.  A good introduction to Chesterton, but I'm dying to get past this and read his works.  To that end, I download a whole bunch that are free on Kindle!

Also not on the list are all the books that will be assigned this year for my book club.  I'm sure I'll let you know as I get to them.

For now, my morning spiritual reading is the Sermons of the Curé of Ars.  The first one, about Lukewarmness, was scary.  :-)

What do you think?  Have I bitten off way more than I can chew?  I think I have to start this project by getting over the idea that reading time is wasted time.  I certainly don't believe that where my kids are concerned.  I probably do other things that are worse time-wasters than read. Ahem.  

My brother tells me that I used to get in trouble as a child for reading too much.  I guess they wanted me to spend more time outside playing, certainly not watching tv.  I don't remember that at all.  Though I do remember devouring books that were definitely above my maturity level.

What are you reading?  Care to add to my list?  LOL.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chesterton on the Christian Ideal

Every weekend in 2014, we're digging into the prolific work of G.K. Chesterton with Amongst Lovely Things. Join us! All you need is a snippet- a short quote taken from anything he's written. Blog it and link up below, or share your snippet to the comments on this post.

You can add commentary or photos if you'd like (you know I can't ever resist adding a photo, myself!), but all you need is a snippet. Let's keep this thing simple! Reading even a few lines of Chesterton every week is bound to be profitable.


The Christian ideal has not been tried and 

found wanting; it has been found difficult 

and left untried.” – Chapter 5, What’sWrong With The World, 191

I thought I had heard this Chesterton quote as "The Catholic Church" not "The Christian ideal," but, be that as it may, it's still true.  Choosing the easy path is rarely the morally right one.  Or should I say that choosing the right path is rarely the easy one?  Following Christ always demands sacrifice. 

Over the years, people have said to me, time and time again, that they could never homeschool because it's too hard, or have 6 children, or whatever I've done that seems impressive.  All of those things came from choosing God's will instead of my own.    Many, many times I would have chosen an easier path, but I doubt I would have the same blessings had I done so.

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick 12th Birthday Takes!


My littlest girl, my littlest baby, who turns 12 today, with her late grandfather.
God rest his soul.


I don't know what we were doing.  She looks a bit like St. Michael the Archangel.  Just adorable.


All set for Halloween.  She has always liked makeup or face paint====you know how some kids freak out when you put anything on their faces?  Not her, which always surprised me.


I just think this is one of the cutest pics ever, especially with Pip's little photo-bomb!  We were in Colonial Williamsburg and it was 105 freaking-degrees, so we bought her the little cap to keep the sun off her head.  (I think I'd be thrilled with 105 degrees right now; I'm so tired of this cold.  11 this morning.  E. Lev. En.  in Atlanta.)


I don't know why I had the hankering to make this princess dress for halloween.  Normally I'm a "go see what you can find in the dress-up bin" kind of Mom.  But I loved making it, and she loved wearing it!  (She might have a bit of a princess complex.)


Don't go near her with a soda, because she will suck it all down in an instant!  She was so excited to get her own soda today at the grocery store for a birthday treat!


And now my precious baby is 12.  She's growing into a lovely young lady.  She's 5'1" with sherry-colored brown eyes, and she's as sweet as she can be.  Most of the time.  When she's not being a perfectly normal 12 year old.  She loves school and works hard at improving her grades and becoming a better friend.  What more could you ask for?

Happy birthday, Margie! 
(If you hang around here often, you'll know that's not her "everyday" nickname.  She has several.  ;-)  )


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cold Yarn Along

Above is the photo I meant to post last week, but never got around to.  I've made a bit more progress and am ready to start the toe in the new color.  

If you recall, or maybe I never told you, I used my sweet little scale that my husband gave me for Christmas to estimate the amount of yarn I needed.  I weighed the first sock on the needles (before the toe), then weighed one tiny needle & multiplied that by 4, so I could subtract the weight of the needles from the sock.   The original weight of the skein was 114g, sooo,

114g/2 = 57g

I knew when the first sock (minus the weight of the needles) reached 57g it was time to change to the other yarn and knit the toe.  On the second sock, the ball kept getting smaller and smaller, as they are wont to do when you're knitting. ;-)  But I made it to the same point on the second sock without running out!  

Look what's left of the skein!  I've never used a scale in knitting before, and I am so pleased that it worked so well, even though it's so tiny and we're working with pretty small weights.  Thanks, honey-bunch!

I'm still reading The Apostle of Common Sense as my first book for My Year of Chesterton.  I hope I'll have it finished for next week!  It's sort of a primer for Chesterton to ease me into his writing.

I wish I had knitted some mittens for this Polar Vortex.  It's cold, even down here in GA!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hellooooo! Is anybody home?

Yes, I'm still here, in case you were wondering.  One sweet person did email to ask if we'd been deathly ill or anything, but no.  I'm just trying to find my groove again now that the New Year is off and running.  I had had so many plans for the week after Christmas until school started on the 7th to get myself resolutioned up and organized.  But, alas, with my FIL's funeral, that week was completely shot from an organizational perspective.  

Photo for the Yarn Along post which didn't happen last week.  I'm approaching the end of that second sock (squee!) and I've started my Chesterton Reading Plan!  Go me.

It was, however, a good week for some perspective on family and service to others.  The whole experience played heavily into my New Year's Resolutions which I did make on January 16 during Adoration.  Better late than never, right?  In case you're interested, here are my resolutions for 2014:

  1. Daily prayer + spiritual reading first thing in the morning.
  2. Reading the Gospels (with Flocknote) was the original goal, but that has morphed into listening to the entire New Testament with the Truth & Life app I got for Christmas.
  3. Daily Mass at least once per week.
  4. Facilitating a Consoling the Heart of Jesus 10-week retreat.
  1. Following the Chesterton reading plan with a new Chesterton book each month.
  2. Organize my To Be Read shelf and gather some of the books that I've been planning to read for ages, so they're handy.  And read them this year.
  1. Exercise 4 days per week in addition to a long walk with the dog daily.  I'm going to get back to my video & DVD collection that's gathering dust.
  2. Do these back exercises daily.  My back is a pain in the neck!  I did these this morning and it was amazing how much better it felt!
  3. Lose 50 lbs. for my 50th birthday in August.  I hate putting that out there, but there it is for the whole internet to see.  I've given up coffee, caffeine, allllll sugars, all gluten grains, and I'll be keeping my carb count between 50-75g per day to keep feeding my thyroid and not end up with the situation I was in a few years ago.
  1. Get together with friends 2x per month.  
  2. Use the phone and call someone, especially family, weekly.  That doesn't sound like much, but I almost never talk on the phone anymore!
  3. Make sure to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy instead of thinking I'm too busy.  I'm really not anymore.

 I should probably bookmark this blog post so I can refer to my Resolutions on a regular basis for a little check up!  Share your resolutions or post in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes


It's Birthday Month here.  We celebrated Tom's 18th birthday on Monday (woohoo!), and now Pip turns 15 today.  My brother has a birthday in a few days, then Meg, then a niece, then my sister....It's crazy.  Fortunately I don't have to bake cakes for ALL of them!

See how mature he looks for 15?  ;-)

Did you make any New Year's Resolutions?  I didn't because plans of that sort were sadly derailed, but I tried to this morning during adoration.  You know how most resolutions involve losing weight or eating better?  It seems kind  of pointless to start in January because....hello?....Birthday Month!


Pip requested Monkey Bread for breakfast.  Diet resolutions of, say, losing 50 pounds for your 50th birthday are reallllllyyyyy hard to keep in the face of The Monkey!


One of my resolutions for the year is to be a much better friend and neighbor after seeing the outpouring of love and support for my mother-in-law and the family after my FIL's passing. People were just amazing and did a great job of keeping our huge family fed every day!  


Have you finished putting away your Christmas decorations?  We are getting there....very slowly. I like to think it's because I want to celebrate Christ's birth all year long, or at least until Candlemas.  But it's probably just because I'm lazy.

Yesterday I unpacked and repacked all the Christmas ornaments, pulling out a bunch that I don't like or don't know where they came from.  (I have way, way, WAY too many ornaments!)  Those are in a box for the kids to choose from.   We also got the tree out of the house and swept/vacuumed enough needles to make another tree!  I'll see if I can get more done today between gift-wrapping and cake-baking, unless I'm in a sugar coma (see QT #3).


I got my first Chesterton book yesterday, so I can begin the Chesterton Reading Plan this year. I'm starting with The Apostle of Common Sense, (it's about G.K. Chesterton, not by him) and I'm hoping to join Ginny in her Weekends with Chesterton, if I can get my blogging act together.  I was planning to start the reading plan this year, so it is serendipitous that Ginny is starting this.  I've never read any G.K. Chesterton and I'm looking forward to this.  How about you?  Have you read him?  Or do you want to join the book club?


It's gray and rainy here, so it's perfectly appropriate to post a picture of my epic Rainbow Pants from 1984.  I wish I could wear them.  Lol.  I loved these pants for their novelty and reversibility!  I got them at a trendy, $$$ shop when I spent the summer with my mom in NYC.  I thought I looked good, but the guy ogling me on the street who tripped over a deli sign on the sidewalk may have thought I was just....vibrant.

Have a great day!  Happy Friday!


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany Daybook


Outside my window...
It's partly cloudy with snow flurries drifting about.  Most Atlantans are probably disappointed that there's no snow.  They're not missing the black ice that was predicted, but the lack of snow is a letdown!  Fortunately, we got to experience a lovely snowfall in Virginia last week that, also fortunately, didn't interfere with any of the funeral-related travel or activities.

I am thinking...
As usual, about all the things that need to be done, and how to get them done.

I am thankful... thankful for the family and friends we connected with last week for my father-in-law's funeral.  Despite the sadness of the occasion, it was a wonderful visit with our large, loving family, and we are so grateful to have them in our lives.

From the school table...
Back to school tomorrow.  Organizing  and cleaning out binders today.

In the kitchen...
Birthday dinner for my 18 year-old!  He has requested chicken enchiladas and chocolate cake.

I am wearing...
Still in my flannel jammies and a big, cozy sweater.

What I’m doing with fiber...
Knitting socks.  I finished one and have a good start on the other.  I love the pattern (even though I generally despise socks) because it keeps me from getting bored.

I am going...
After I check the weather, I'll probably make a run to Trader Joe's since the pantry is pretty empty.

I am reading...
Les Miserables.  With everyone posting lists of what they read last year and what they intend to read this year, I'm itching to do the same thing.  But I probably won't considering the to-do list.  I do want to be more intentional about what I read this year, though.  I'm seriously considering joining Ginny's Chesterton Weekends because I've been interesting in starting to read Chesterton.  I even have the Chesterton Reading Plan on my toolbar!  What are you going to read this year?

I am hoping and praying...
for the soul of my father-in-law, for the peace and consolation of my mother-in-law and the rest of the family, and the souls of all the faithful departed.

I am looking forward to...
Right now, a clean house, dinner cooking, a cozy fire, and knitting time.  I guess I'll just keep looking forward to it as I work!

I am hearing on my ipod...
The soundtrack to Frozen.  Meg was playing YouTube videos constantly and singing all the songs, so I thought it would be easier this way.  And now she can listen on her iPod when I'm sick of hearing, "Do you wanna build a snowman?...."

Around the house...
Laundry.  Oh. my.  I didn't do laundry for 5 days, and even though 3 kids left immediately after we arrived home, and I'm doing laundry for only 5 people, the fact that all the bags on top of the car got soaked in the rain and fog makes it a much bigger job.

One of my favorite things...
Family time.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Just getting back into the groove is enough for me.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

I can't believe he's 18 today!

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