I made a cover for the television, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ hopefully. Reducing the screen time for the family, simplifying every day a little bit further and encouraging creative play.
Annabelle’s quilt is nearly finished now. That’s what it looks like, except it now has a navy blue binding partially attached (hand stitching is time consuming!)
A new ring sling I sewed, using rings from the great folks at Sling Rings - safe, pretty aluminum rings meant specifically for use in babywearing. I can’t wait to wear the new baby girl in it.
Annabelle, helping me bake bread. I give her some water and flour in a small cup with a spoon and she follows the steps alongside me, stirring when I stir, kneading when I knead and even periodically sprinkling flour. It’s one of my favourite chores to do with her :)
I’m plugging away at NaNoWriMo, my story is getting weirder and weirder and I’m running out of steam a little bit with everything else that’s going on. No harm in taking some time to do other things, I figure. I should take advantage of the little free time I do have at the moment because in the next month I’m going to have more constraints on my time and physical energy than ever before!
In addition to all of this, I’ve found the perfect giant wool sweater to make my own pair of swants with (hell yes, this is happening), I’ve begun cutting fabric for quilt #2, I’m planning on making some new dolls, I have one more hat to knit for Christmas for my dear brother-in-law and I’m making plans for more clothing and toys in the coming months. My dear friend Barbara from back home mailed me a serger and as soon as it comes back from the repair man (slight damage during shipping) I’m set!
All of this creating has been really very good for me, helping me stay distracted in these last few weeks of pregnancy. I’m 35 weeks along now, which means should I go into pre-term labour I can safely deliver in our local health facility rather than being transferred to the NICU in Edmonton to give birth.
I’ve been working on a lot of these projects alongside my very good friend Jess, and we’ve been able to egg each other on to finish. I’m so thankful for her, and for the distractions from my discomfort!
Happiness truly is handmade.
Alright. I’m shaking a bit as I type this because I am just that excited right now. Even the dreary day I’ve had cannot squash my enthusiasm right now.
I’m going to do NaNoWriMo as mentioned in my last post, but I finally, FINALLY, finally have a rough plot/system/character idea in my brain. I’m so excited about it that I haven’t even written any of it down yet. This is happening though, guys!
I’ve tried in vain to convince my friends to join me, but they’re all understandably either uncomfortably pregnant or incredibly busy with handmaking gifts or other commitments. My darling Elyse, my soul sister, my long-distance life-partner mentioned an interest in writing alongside me this year, and I just shot her a text about it to remind her, so here’s hoping I’m not lone-wolfing this whole undertaking this year!
I am well-equipped.
I’ve got my laptop outfitted with Libre Office and Dropbox. I have my iPad with its own tiny keyboard and a word-processing app that syncs automatically to Dropbox and manually to Google Drive, so I can do the bulk of my typing comfortably from the couch. I have headphones in case of mood music emergencies that tend to arise if I get lost and forget where I’m going with a scene. I have my wordcount spreadsheets ready to go. I have yet to find my writing totem/mascot and I don’t have any snacks yet.. but all in good time. I feel like I can take a breath and savour the calm before the storm a bit here because I know roughly how I’m going to tackle this as soon as midnight on the 31st hits.
There is something about November every year, about the idea of pounding out something substantial before the end of 2013 alongside hundreds of thousands of dreamers that gets me giddy. I know I’m not alone in this! I’m a writer among writers, making my creative passions a priority!
[PS - If you're joining in, add me as a buddy on the website so we can keep track of one another!]
Been busy lately with us all having the stomach flu, and healing from that. We went with friends to a cabin over Thanksgiving weekend and it was paradise – a woodstove for heat, a beautiful lakeview, no electricity or running water – just bliss, a total of 6 dogs and 6 children running around having a blast and getting dirty. I really needed this little trip. This was our view, day and night:
My sweet Chakra in my arms, completely pooched from being chased around by 5 other dogs and children much bigger than she – what a trooper!
I’m still working on Annabelle’s quilt top (which is almost finished and ready to assemble to the batting and the backing!!). I’ve retired my Aidez sweater for the time being to knit some more instant-gratification things and some gifts, so right now I’m knitting some convertible mitten/gloves I’ve affectionately nicknamed my Homeless Mittens, in a lovely dark brick colour. I’ve sewn a few gifts, too.
I’m 32 weeeks pregnant now, and our little baby has been threatening to make an early appearance lately, much in the same way Annabelle did at about this point. I’m finding I have to keep my physical activity in check a bit more, and keep vigilant watch over how hydrated I’ve been to keep the contractions in check. It’s been a blessing and a curse because on the one hand, the crafting time has been wonderfully productive, and on the other hand I have this overwhelming urge to clean and purge everything, and organize what is left and I’ve not been able to be as effective at that as I’d like.
NaNoWriMo is coming! National Novel Writing Month, every November, is well on its way and everyone is preparing their novel outlines and writing tools.
I have absolutely no ideas for this year. I really want to participate but holy moly do I still have a lot to do around here. I had a great time and wrote a whole bunch last year – it’s a great challenge that I love trying. I think maybe I’ll go for it, do what I can, and just use all the good writing mojo that everyone is pumping out to keep me going. I have a pretty good idea of how much of my day is really just distraction, and it’s pretty lame how much time is wasted each day doing dumb things like refreshing the same webpages over and over expecting something new, screwing about on facebook…
Maybe I can do this. Plus, the kickoff will be something fun to do the night of Halloween. We don’t get any trick-or-treaters because our driveway is quite long, dark and well-treed. We’ll likely be home fairly early from whatever shenanigans we get up to with Annabelle, too.
1667 words/day isn’t that much, right? You know, on top of handmade Yuletide gifts, caring for the weretoddler, napping and preparing the food I’ll need for the first month after the new baby is born, and let’s not forget baking bread and all the other upkeep of the home I do.
Now to come up with a story to write.
I’ve been trying to immortalize these last few ‘only child’ weeks with this sweet girl.
I’ve started a ‘something out of nothing’ quilt – using only fabric I’ve purchased from the thrift store (except the green leafy fabric, which was scraps I had left over), I’ve made 15 blocks like this one, with borders and lattice. It will be about twin-bed sized, for Annabelle for Christmas. I’ve never quilted before, so I’m very excited about this!
Annabelle and I are enjoying nature walks together and with our friends, carrying along a gathering basket for autumn treasures we find. I found a small backpack for her at a thrift store that she loves to wear.
The great toy purge! Behold – four baskets in the tiny human’s bedroom: assorted blocks, small animals and peg dolls, books in rotation and the few dolls and teddy bears she has. The only things missing are a (very) few stuffed animals, musical instruments and puppets that live in the living room and the learning toys that are brought out occasionally – flash cards, sewing cards, small early reader books, library books and the like.
There were some sticks I collected. And I tried to start weaving a basket. And then I ran out of sticks. So there’s that…
An army of bread! So much bread! I baked 8 loaves in one day and intend on doing so almost every weekend until the new baby arrives, to help us build up a stock in our freezer. When winter has come and it is regularly below freezing, the surplus of loaves can live in a Rubbermaid tub on our back deck, while the deep freeze is filled with easily heated meals to help with the exhaustion of a new baby and toddler. :P
Annabelle’s room got some new curtains! I spent $4 on materials – two dollars for a thick double flat sheet I found at the thrift store and two dollars for wide bias tape for the hidden loops on the back. I’m very proud of them! Now to finish up the trim in there and we’ll be golden :P
And so, in addition to all of this, I’ve been sleeping as much as I can, doing lots of reading about birth (still on the fence about freebirthing instead of going to the hospital here) and enjoying the company of great friends. It’s been bliss, really.
Happy October, friends.
I’ve been out enjoying the last bits of summer warmth to be had around here with Annabelle and her friends.
It’s starting to chill off fast, and soon our activities are to be all indoors! I’m on the lookout for some simple early-literacy home-school curriculum that we can work on inside, especially to use while our new baby naps so that Annabelle can have some individual attention and be entertained as well.
And so, between super-fun outdoor adventures into the sweater weather, working on our budget and getting ready to put away bread and dinners into the freezer for when the sweet baby arrives, I have been busy, and neglecting my writing.
I do so enjoy reading all of your blogs and commenting when I can, and I haven’t forgotten about you. The roundness of my tummy compels me onward to get things ready.
You’ll see, I’ll get Alex to snap a photo. It’s a wonder I can even bend over or tie my shoes.
I’ve been thinking often lately about how we as humans used to live – in groups, in communities, in extended family units closely knit to one another. We had tribes. Not even too long ago, when one family needed help to raise a barn, to build a fence, to care for livestock, there were people there you could count on – because you were there for them too, and that was how everyone prospered and survived.
Then something happened, and we split apart. It became a sign of weakness to ask for help, and people are now less inclined to ‘meddle’ in the lives of others. I think greed became a big part of it, worrying that your neighbour wanted (or was getting) more than you were. Entitlement, working for one’s self, all of these things have contributed, I think, to us growing apart.
It’s a strange feeling, though, to have a small child, and to recognize the need for that little person to meet people, learn how to be a friend and care for others, and then to see in yourself a pull towards those people, too.
It’s almost alarming, to enjoy spending time with another family, and to have your heart swell to see the children interact (usually running around stark naked in someone’s backyard) and then to find that society dictates that you deal with your own problems – your own metaphorical barn-raisings – independent of others because to do otherwise is considered ‘needy’ or pathetic.
My friend Jess shared this article the other day that really struck a chord in me. Motherhood, raising a family, all of it is hard enough without an expectation that we do it all alone.
So I’m trying to find my tribe, I guess.
I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately – about time spent on work, on leisure, what the purpose of a hobby is and should be, and about the importance of being with your family.
Prior to having children, I used to love playing computer games, posting for hours on end on forums dedicated to nothing more than just wasting time. It was easy because we had just moved to a place with an obscenely long, cold winter, and we didn’t have any friends. So, my husband and I contented ourselves with immersing ourselves in a game. Screens of all kinds were in our field of view from the end of the work-day until we fell asleep, every day, for years.
It was no life at all. Since Annabelle has been born, I’ve learned how important it is to be present physically. Children learn first by interacting with the world in whatever way their bodies can, and I wanted to set an example. Summer makes that easy, it’s warm, colourful and there are so many things to explore – winter is a completely different story, here.
But I’m excited all the same. I’m collecting some ideas and plans for crafting, playdates, weekly potluck dinners with friends, and all kinds of fun to be had on days where it’s impossibly cold outside.
It’s almost like this week, with the coming chill in the air and the growing life in my belly that there’s a renewed dedication to pursue the life we want – living on less, simply, focussing on relationships, remaining present with one another and continuing to creatively learn about the world. There is nothing we can’t do.
We went on a short adventure the other morning all together – myself, Annabelle and two great friends along with their children, three beautiful kids aged 2-3. After playing in the dirt and sand (Annabelle having eaten more than her fair share) we went on a short walk down the trail, stopping to climb rocks in a stream bed, say hello to squirrels until we crossed a small wooden bridge over a pond and came back. It was pure bliss to be with two women who seem to get it, you know? They understand and believe similarly to me about striving for a simpler life, and it makes my heart soar to spend time with them.
I was laying across the front seat of the truck just willing the Braxton Hicks contractions to stop. They’re so frequent lately, once every 20 minutes or so for a couple hours every night, and a few every day if I’m too active. Alex and Annabelle were finishing up at the checkout and I couldn’t comfortably walk around anymore, so I started the truck and the air conditioning and just laid down. I was in the hospital for seven days with pre-term labour symptoms at 33 weeks when I was pregnant with Annabelle and I definitely don’t want to be doing that again, so I have to really take it easy. Lots of water, lots of rest, lots of good food. Our hospital here isn’t equipped to care for a baby born prior to 35 weeks gestation, and I absolutely cannot be transferred to the city when I have a husband who needs to work and a toddler who needs me. This baby girl had better stick around.
And so, yesterday it began. I was suddenly wanting, needing to go through everything we own and purge anything that is not conducive to our lifestyle now. Like our lives depended on it. My anxiety about how much needs to be done was sky-rocketing. I was getting stressed and snapping at my loved ones, so I put myself to bed for an hour.
In true Kaitlin fashion, it’s list making time.
I’m going to systematically map out our home into the zones where things have collected – a living room shelf, two small hall closets, the cupboards and the bedroom closets, as well as laundry that needs to be caught up on (and clothing to be purged) and my art studio in the basement that needs to be tended to. I also want to take an inventory of our pantry and freezers.
One at a time, because that’s all I’m physically able to do at the moment, I will go through and tackle it all, keeping in mind the last time an object was used, whether it is necessary or brings us closer to our goals of a practical, minimalist, simple life.
This is happening. It’s going to be slow, but everything in our home will be something we actually need or actively use.
I’m tired of ‘organizing’ over and over again, when I should be minimizing!
I’ve been busy busy busy since Annabelle has been feeling better. The yardwork for the end of the year is getting done and I’m scrambling with my friends to get a new parenting group started, as our current group has suddenly and completely dissolved. Ah, yes, yet another wonderful thing for me to take on! <3
Gotta get my organizing hat on!
This week, my favourites are:
I’ve been making a whole lot of new friends this week and finding all kinds of fresh blogs to read – here are just a few: