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And after that long pause between posts, I bring you, a new pattern! I’m very surprised I’ve had any creative drive whatsoever what with taking care of Andrew all day and all, but I’ve been blessed with some ideas here and there that I’m attempting to recreate in knitted form. The inspiration for this pattern came from the winter, and my utter dislike of getting a few inches of cold sheets on my leg when my pajama pants would ride up over my sock legs. Then, I’d have to squirm around and yank them down, only to have it happen the next time I shifted position. These Slouchy Sleepers are legwarmers that I wear over my socks and under my pajama pants, either with the purl "slouches" together, or pulled apart. This changes the thickness of the legwarmer, and also changes the length. You don’t just have to wear them at night though, if you love to sport legwarmers during the daylight and in plain sight, these will definitely draw some attention!

slouchysleeper

This pattern is available for purchase for the price of $4.00 USD on Ravelry, or via email, after the receiving of a PayPal payment. I don’t yet have a system set up to download from my website here unfortunately. Search for it on Ravelry by the pattern name of Slouchy Sleepers, or by searching my username, wcknitwit and shopping my pattern store.

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You can also find wcknitwit Designs on Facebook. All the information is on the wcKnitWit Designs tab at the top of this blog. Any questions, or for pattern, email me at: dragonfly85@live.ca

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In 12 days

In 12 days, Andrew will be 6 months old, and the first year of his life will have gone by in a flash. Let’s recap some of his changes, shall we?

Andrew was born on November 21, 2010 at 3:08 am. He was 6lbs 11oz.

In the first month, we experienced a lot. He was a very eager feeder, and he gained weight quickly. At one month old he already weighed 9 pounds.

The day before Andrew turned 2 months old I had an emergency surgery to remove my appendix, hence why there is no formal 2 months picture. He had his first shots (without me 😦 ) and his weight jumped up to 12’9.

Right around the 3 month mark, Andrew got really strong. You can see above that he could already sit up with support, but at 3 months he had complete control of his head, and we started him in the Jolly Jumper. He weighed 13’8, and was still growing like a weed.

At 4 months old, Andrew had started getting closer to laughing, and he would spend some time on his tummy, and he was finally moved over from his swing, which he used to sleep in (courtesy of me trying to comfort him when he was sick at 3 weeks old) to his crib, and was sleeping all by himself. He also started on rice pablum, as I could no longer completely supply him with everything he needed. He had his second round of shots, and weighed 14’14.

By 5 months old, Andrew made several leaps. The first was that he started reaching for toys, and actually playing with them. Secondly, he was sitting up on his own, supported by the nursing pillow. He was smiling everyday, interacting with people, and could communicate when he wanted to come back to Mom. He showed preference for certain toys, and was eating more pablum than ever before at dinner time, and was starting to reach for my food too. He weighed in at a whopping 15.6 pounds.

In the last couple of weeks since this last picture was taken, he has made even more strides towards independence. He has started on jarred vegetables, and so far has enjoyed butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots. He’s also tried a blend of green beans, peas, and apples and enjoyed that as well. So far his only dislike is for peas on their own, and really, I can’t blame him as I hate them myself. He can now turn over from back to front, and has done so a few times. He shows even more preference for certain toys, recognizes more faces than just Neil, Morgan and I, and loves to listen to himself talking. He can push himself onto his hands and knees, and even his hands and toes. He creeps, though mostly any direction except for forwards. He’s trying to pull himself up in his crib (so we’ll be moving that down rather shortly) and he’s asserting his idenpendence by trying to move around on his own and grab at the toys he wants. He laughs at least once a day, and loves to interact with people. Right now he’s weighing in at an even 16 pounds, but I’m sure that’ll jump up by the time we take him to the doctor in 2 weeks. He has been to the pool for the first time and loved it. My little guy is growing up so fast, it’s so hard to fathom! I’m sure by the 1 year post that I’ll have even more to say!

I’m afraid I don’t have much knitting news for you; I’ve finished the Luna Moth shawl for my friend Jessica and I’m close to finishing the Make-Up Socks, but no photos yet. I’m also working on a design that should be available, I hope, by the end of the month. I’m enjoying the increasing number of sunny days we are having, and I’m looking forward to warm weather again. I promise I’ll keep you updated, especially on the knitting front!

Before you go off reminding me how I said I’d never crochet again, I’d just like you to look at this picture:

Okay, ’nuff said? Good, I thought so too. So, on Thursday last week, I swallowed my pride, and let my mom teach me. I even started a flower chain scarf (Garden Scarf from Happy Hooker) for Morgan. In fact, I kind of like this crochet thing. I might make the sock monkey hat that goes with the sock monkey blanket too, just because I can and I think it’s cute. No shame over here, I’m head over heels for crochet, and I don’t care who knows it. Only, please don’t say “I told you so” because my family is already making me eat my words enough as it is.

Unfinishing.

Well, I think it’s safe to say that my bout of spring Startitis was a little less than fruitful. Not 3 weeks ago I had 3 pairs of socks on the go, 2 of which I showed you. The pink ones, the Pair of Hearts socks, were finished 1 month to the day before Silke’s birthday, and when she came over, I photographed them, and gave them to her. Thankfully they seem to fit quite well, and I’m very happy with how they turned out.

They were made out of Trekking, which is one of those yarns that I rarely think to work with when I see it in the yarn shops, but that when I do pick it up, I am smitten with it as I work. You would think this would eventually translate to me thinking to myself “Oooh! I like Trekking!” but sadly, so far it doesn’t seem to be sticking in my brain. Maybe noting it in the blog will work.

But that is where the finished projects end. My Make-Up socks lie uncomplete – the first one just needs to get the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off treatment, and the second is halfway through the foot. And my Irate Squirrel socks? Still only halfway through the first leg. Instead I’m working on the Luna Moth shawl for my best friend, also named Jessica, because this is a project I’m being paid to do. I’m not charging a large amount for the shawl, she paid for the yarn, and I think I get to go shopping for some roving after it’s done as my payment. I’m making it out of Knit Picks yarn in Gloss Dk, and it’s a super easy, quick, beautiful project so far. I’ve never knit a shawl in such a heavy weight before, and I love it. Jess wanted something neutral but dark to throw over her shoulders for warmth and style in places like church, so we chose Coast Grey as the color. It’ll go with anything she has, and it’ll look stunning on her. I’ll be sure to photograph the heck out of it when it’s finished.

In baby news, Andrew is 4 months now, and the changes happen everyday! His newest favorite discoveries are rolling onto his left side, grabbing his toes, sticking out his tongue, and he finally really, really enjoys laying at his baby gym. He can put himself to sleep when he’s mellow; all he needs is a soother, or some toys to stare at as he drifts off. He’s eating rice pablum, and he’s in his Exersaucer now, which he loves! My favorite thing to watch him do is stand up on his tippy-toes in it. He wobbles a bit back and forth as he tries to learn about balance, before either tipping backwards or forwards, then he usually makes a joyful sound (still no laughing yet) and starts grabbing at or banging at his toys. Here’s a few choice photos. And as always, if you want to view some videos, my YouTube.com channel is 85bluedragonfly.

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Well, happy knitting! Hopefully next time I post I’ll actually have some finished object shots to show you…

March Knitting

It’s March in the Fraser Valley of Beautiful British Columbia, and I think like most residents, I’m chomping at the bit to see some color in our world again. With some snow in February (usually a rare occurance here) and then a pile of rain, well, I was in dire need of some color, and I suppose my knitting is reflecting that. Pictured above, on the left, is Pair of Hearts socks, knit in Trekking for my friend Silke. It’s her birthday present on her request, and though at first I was cringing at the thought of making a pair of Barbie pink socks, I have to say, I think I might be a bit hard pressed to give these away. They are going to be way too big for me though, so I guess I’ll have no choice but to give them up in the end. On the right though are socks for me, Make-Up Socks from the Joy of Sox book, and knit in Stroll. It’s another tedious knit-through-the-back-of-the-loop sock, which I seem to be drawn to (asthetically) these days, but always end up cursing myself while I’m making it. When this pair is done, I’ll be done with ktbl patterns for a little while I think. That bind off needs to be picked back though; it was a kitchener bind off, and is just not stretchy enough. I’m going try Jenny’s Suprrisingly Stretchy Bind Off (which Cat Bordhi happens to be a fan of, check out her YouTube channel for a how-to video) which I hear rave reviews over.

I also made and finished in one evening the Fawn Earflap Hat from Boutique Knits, which I gifted to myself for Christmas with some Chapters gift cards. The pattern also calls for ribbons and buttons, which I debated over adding, but decided against it. I love the hat as it is. It was knit out of some Unique Sheep chunky yarn, and my mother, gotta love her, did the crocheted slip stitch around the edge and saved the world from hearing me curse like a sailor while I attempted it myself.

Notice also the Vancouver Canucks hoody, which was a Valentine’s gift from Neil. I forewent flowers for something that would not only last longer, but also make me feel like a true fan while I’m watching the game.

Andrew is doing very well, he’s three and a half months old, and growing like a weed. I wish I had some more pictures to add, but at this time, I don’t. I’ll take a few in the next couple of days to show you. He’s trying to sit up though, and as of this morning is now reaching occassionally for toys! He’ll be ready for the Exersaucer soon! Still no laugh, but he’s getting very, VERY close to that! I’ll be sure to get some on video when it happens. If you’d like to see videos of the little critter, head to my YouTube channel, 85bluedragonfly

Tata for now! Happy knitting, and hopefully, happy spring colors will be in full bloom soon!

During the “Week of the Great Andrew Sleeps” I was able to finish the stockings. Andrew spent a whole week in huge blocks of naps and nighttime sleeps, so much so that I was not only able to finish the first stocking, but start and finish the second! I wanted them done in time for my dad’s 50th birthday party, as I planned to wear them with my new charcoal grey pencil skirt. Well, finish them I did, on the day of the party no less, but they just didn’t go. I did of course, snap a picture of them.

I also realized that I never showed finished object photos of the Heartland Lace Shawl for my mother that caused me so many problems.

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Mom graciously modelled the shawl on Christmas, when she finally received it. It’s huge! I’m so glad it’s finished and with her though, she wears it so well!

Also, Andrew reached 3 months old, and of course, you know I had to take pictures. He’s 14 weeks old now, and is growing like a weed. He weighs 14 pounds, and has discovered his thumb, his fist, and that he can make noises with his mouth when he’s happy, not just upset. The time is going by so quickly, I’m constantly pulling out the camera to make sure I get it all!

   

I’ll continue to update you on his progress, as well as the progress of my knitting, as often as I can actually give you something to read. I’m working on two sock projects right now, the Irate Squirrel socks by VeryBusyMonkey, and the Make-Up Socks from the Joy of Sox book. I’m using KnitPicks yarns for both of them, Autumn Heather Palette for the former, and Stroll in Lantana for the latter. So far, very happy with both patterns – the former is a top down and the latter is a toe up, so I’m getting the best of both worlds. Once there’s something worth photographing, I’ll take a picture and show you. Well, back to work for me! There’s a mountain of dishes with my name written all over them.

Ahh…the joys of motherhood!

Road to Recovery

Well, since my last post, again a lot happened. The first of which is the bandages came off about a week and a half after my surgery, and everything is looking really good. My incisions are still a little swollen, and they are weirdly firm to the touch, but I am healing very well. Stil the occassional bit of pain if I get hit on any of them, but that’s going away very quickly.

Secondly, the Elinor Stockings are finally available on KnitPicks.com! For only $2.99 you can download the pattern, and the yarn suggested is Palette, which sells for only $1.99 a ball, and 3 are required for this project. You can download from Ravelry as well if you prefer, search wcknitwit to find my store.

In knitting news, I finished the feather and fan baby blanket I started when I was pregnant with Andrew. I thought about keeping it for him, but really, he has so many blankets that I decided it would be better served as a gift to Andrew’s Auntie Kim, who is pregnant with her first child, a younger boy cousin for Andrew. She’s due in May and she is like me, scooping up baby items with relish, so I knew she would like to get that early. She said she’s also constantly looking over the baby items and touching them, the way I did while I was expecting. The plain vanilla socks I knit out of Claudia’s Handpaints (a gift from Mom for Christmas) are now done. Started on Boxing Day and finished on Valentine’s Day. they are one of my favorite pairs of socks. The yarn was really nice to work with, and they feel great. I’m now working on my German Stockings by Cookie A. Since yesterday afternoon, I’ve finished the heel flap, heel turn, gusset, and now I’m working on the foot. They are one of the most intricate pairs of socks/stockings I’ve worked on, other than Twisted Tulip by Chrissy Gardiner. If you are experienced with knitting and socks, they are a must knit in my opinion, but if you’re a beginner, I don’t suggest attempting them yet. I’ll put up a picture once the first one is done, but it’s not worth photographing yet until it can be tried on, the detail has to be really stretched out.

Andrew is growing quickly for those wondering. So many strides have been made since my last post. He’s sleeping better and better at night, and he’s even slowly getting integrated into the crib finally!. He’s in the Jolly Jumper, and he’ll finally sit in his little seat, a contraption called a “Bumbo” and now will bring a toy up to his mouth to suck on it.

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He’s getting very, very strong with his legs and head. From a lying down position he’ll lift his head up and try to sit up, and his favorite thing in the world is to be stood up and look about the room. His favorite people right now are myself, his Dad, my Dad (he goes by Taid with Andrew) and my mom, his Grandma. He seems to know and respond to these people the most, but he will definitely respond to most smiley faces when he’s in a good mood.

If you’d like to find out more about wcKnitWit Designs, search us on Facebook and become a fan (and you can friend me there too, just include a message saying you know me from the blog), and also on Ravelry, also under wcknitwit. I may get enough time in the spring to start work on another design, but I won’t make any promises, little man takes up a lot of time!

Lots of news!

So first off, I must again apologize for my long absence – motherhood is going well, and keeping me busy, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Andrew has been the perfect addition to my life, even if it does mean that my knitting time is greatly reduced. I haven’t been completely without my hobby however; since December 26th, I’ve finished 1 sock, 1 sock for my sock blocker key chain, and I’ve worked dozens of repeats on the baby blanket that I started when I was still pregnant with Andrew. This blanket was intended for him, but since he has more blankets than we know what to do with right now, this one will go to his Aunt Kim, who is expecting her first child, a boy, in May!

But if the holidays weren’t a distraction enough, two new things were added to my plate recently that kept me from doing much knitting, and of course, making this post. The first is the collaboration with my mother on a memory book for my Dad for his 50th birthday. You would think that pulling together a few photos and slapping them into an albumn with a bit of embellishment would be a fairly easy task, but I forgot before we started how much we love everything to be perfect – let’s just say that it only took us all of January to come up with the perfect theme and method of photo arrangement and selection. Next week, we’ll be getting the actual prints and finding the perfect papers to use on each page, before we spend the rest of our time assembling the project. It has to be done by February 26th, and I have every confidence that we will finish.

That is, if I don’t have to go into the hospital for another emergency surgery! That’s right, 15 days ago I had my appendix out. I felt so good about escaping a C section with Andrew that when I learned I was going to be losing that useless organ, I got really upset. I didn’t want to have to deal with not breastfeeding him for a couple days, incisions healing, recovery time, all that garbage. And while I’m still fighting with what I can and can’t do (you’d be surprised how much core strength it takes to lift a baby and hold them for a long time),  I am now recovering quickly. Within the next two weeks the swelling around my incisions should fade, doing more should become easier, and lifting my baby and doing all the household chores should be doable (awww! =\) again.

The one thing I’m proud of though? Only 5 days after surgery, I was off of pain killers completely and exclusively breast feeding Andrew again. If I hadn’t had him, I would have continued taking my T3’s sporaticall for probably another week. I’m glad that getting him back onto the boob was my motivational factor, because it left me no time for moping, and only a little time to whine about the discomfort I was in.

But now enough about my life, because I have a knitting related announcement to make. I’ve been dropping hints for awhile about a new pattern coming out, and I wasn’t joking around. I finished my part of the sample just before Andrew was born, and my mother completed the other half quickly, and on short notice too soon after. This sample was for Knit Picks – they accepted my proposal for a pair of feminine stockings, and a little after Christmas I finished writing the pattern, and I sent everything in. They are now available on Ravelry for download, and will be very shortly available on Knit Picks as well. So, without further ado, the Elinor Stockings!

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These stockings are worked from the toe-up, have lace detailing on the outside of each leg, have an eyelet row which ribbon is strung through to tie them in place, and is finished with a picot trim on top. But to me, the best part of this pattern is it’s genius way of being able to make the stockings fit any leg – there is a formula (don’t worry, it’s EASY math, if you have a piece of paper or a calculator, you’ll be able to do it) to adjust the width, and they are worked to your own personal prefernce for length; no more worrying about thinner or thicker calves making the stockings wearable or not! No more playing around with given stitch counts! This pattern is available for only $2.99 right now Ravelry (search wcknitwit for a link to my shop and other patterns) and very shortly on KnitPicks.com!

Well, I hope everyone has a pleasant Valentine’s Day (I’m totally in love with Neil and all the extra work he’s been doing while I’m recovering, including when I was fresh out of the hospital getting up and feeding Andrew and rocking him to sleep before going back to bed, and then to work, so Valentine’s Day is feeling very important to me this year), and hopefully my next post won’t contain so much catching up, and will be merely be a continuation. Happy knitting!

Find wcKnitWit Designs on Facebook now! And find Jessica on Ravelry: wcknitwit And Twitter! @bluedragonfly85

But now

Reverb10: Part 2

Here is the second installment of the Reverb10 prompts, the last one will come out tomorrow, but I somehow think that it will be the most meaningful, and will probably deserve it’s own post, hence why I’m answering these ones today.

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? Travelling in 2010? Yeah right! The only place I really travelled to, other than a few surrounding cities to do some shopping was to my family cabins near Clinton, BC, and that was only overnight. It was by car, and the ride to the cabins was heart-in-throat scary after Neil’s dirtbike fell off the trailer and was dragged for several hundred feet. After getting some more straps about an hour and a half later we rested easy, and the remainder of the travelling was delightfully easy and forgetable. I would love to do some travelling this upcoming year, but I very much doubt that will happen with little Andrew in tow. I hope to make it to the cabins again at least twice this year, and hopefully for a few days each time, but other than that, I plan to have a relaxing 2011.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? Big surprise to many of you, I would choose Elinor. I love the way that name sounds, and the kind of imagery it inspires. It speaks of someone who is probably older, from another time even, and it embodies elegance, sophistication, and a certain amount of class and respect. I think of someone with a straight back, nice manners, and possibly a shawl over her shoulders who sips tea, reads books, and takes gentle walks outside in the garden of her beautiful British estate. I think to Jane Austen’s time, and to an era when people didn’t wear short skirts, and when rap music hadn’t been invented yet.

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? After spending a very sleepless night with Neil and Andrew our first day back from the hospital, my mother came over and gave us a hand with him. When she walked in, I came over to her in tears, upset that the reason he had been crying had been all my fault, and she put my fears to rest and explained that having a baby was going to be a guessing game a lot of the time, and that it was okay to make mistakes. That lesson has stayed with me, and I think I will hear her voice everytime I discover some new mistake or error I’ve made.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

I think this photo of me shows me fairly truly. I’m sitting down at my computer, with my eyes closed, enjoying the feel of the warmth of the sunshine on my skin for probably the first time that spring about 2 years ago. I was just starting to date Neil, and I knew I was totally head over heels in love with him. I think I look content, happy, and like I’m totally living in the moment. I try to live like that all the time, enjoying the happy moments, and even being truly present in the unhappy ones. There aren’t very many photos of me that aren’t staged or posed, and this one is the best of them.

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? Believe it or not, nachos from Boston Pizza. There was one date that Neil and I went on soon after we found out I was pregnant, and I was craving them. They tasted so good, and the conversation and the dreaming we did that night matched how I felt about those nachos and that date. They were exhilerating, delicious, and satisfactory.

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? It was one of my days off from work, and I decided to do a little journal writing. Shortly into it, I noticed how perfect that moment was – the house was absolutely quiet and still, it was sunny outside, but not too bright in the house, my tea was the perfect drinking temperature, and my journal was in just the right spot where it was completely and totally comfortable to write in. My pen was one of my favorite kinds, the black gelly ink kind that write smoothly, and I had an Earl Grey cupcake to munch on.

December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. What I want to achieve most in 2011 is being a good parent, and not just to Andrew. I have not always been the most patient person with Morgan, she can be very demanding on your attention and affection and I am sometimes too quick to react. I don’t think this is something I will ever completely “achieve.” There will always be a Mary Poppins-idealistic view of what a “good parent” is in my head, and I may never completely achieve it, but I will always aspire to it. 10 things I can do to get closer to achieving it are:

1) Be more patient. 2) Do more activities with Morgan that are focused solely on her. 3) Be more quick to praise, and less quick to scold. 4) Talk directly to the kids, not across the room or even from separate rooms. 5) Listen more. And remember to listen more to other people too, not just to the kids. 6) Stop setting such high expecations for myself. 7) Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and be less quick to be harsh about it, towards both the kids, and my spouse and myself. 8) Talk in a quieter voice when things get tense, and stop trying to top other people’s volume. 9) When the going gets tough, remove myself from the room until I can be calm. 10) Try to be less reactive, and more empathetic.

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. My defining moment was when Andrew was placed in my arms right after delivering him. My entire life changed in that instant, and I finally knew what it was to love unconditionally and completely. I could never go back to life without him, he completes my world, he completes ME.

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? When my two best friends, Chelsea and Jessica, wrote such beautiful things to me in the baby memory/advice book that I was given at the baby shower. Jessica called me her best friend, which I hadn’t heard from anyone in a long time, and Chelsea wrote that she had never seen me more sure of myself than when I was pregnant and preparing for the baby. The gift of love, support, and friendship was the best thing I ever got this year. But I must admit, Neil giving me a Wii for Christmas was pretty nice too (that man has a better idea of what’s in my head than I do, I swear!).

Reverb10

I came across this concept website while reading another blog, Tranquility Du Jour. Reverb10 is a daily prompt for the month of December, which you respond to in any way that you desire. You can do this privately, or like I am, publically on my blog. I love the concept, it’s a great way to reflect before 2011 is rung in. I’m coming to it late in the game, so I’m posting all the prompts up to this point in this post. Visit their website to learn more: http://www.reverb10.com/

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? My word for 2010: Change. I hope my word for 2011 will be: Balance.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? Quite frankly, I avoid my writing these days. My journal stays packed away in a drawer for the most part, and I can’t find my favorite pens when I do want to write. I can eliminate this block by putting my journal out in the open where I will see it, and the guilt of avoiding it will make me pick it up and write. I can also schedule a bit of writing time each day; Neil can take the baby for a few minutes while I vent out any frustrations, or simply record a few things that happened that day, and how they made me feel. I forget how much writing in my journal keeps me sane, so I should work it back into my life when I really need it the most.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). When I found out I was pregnant, it was the greatest moment all year. I was waiting the dreaded two minutes for the test to percolate, and I was avoiding looking at it as it sat on the kitchen table. I was sitting on the back of the couch, Morgan was playing in her room and I could hear her singing. It was March, and the wind was whipping things around, I could hear the “wooing” as it rushed past the house, and the jingle of my wind chime. I could taste my anxiety as I waited, and the house smelled like tea. When I saw that it was positive, I scooped Morgan up in a hug, and raced for the phone to call Neil. I didn’t stop shaking and squealing with excitement at various times all night.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? All I had to do was look at a pregnancy book, or touch my growing belly, or think about babies at all. The changes in my body amazed me, and I was in complete and utter awe at my ultrasounds and doctors appointments when I could see and hear the changes that were happening to my baby.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? I let go of my negative emotions about food. I have forever been worried about my weight and my size, and conscious of how being the size that I am affects other women who wish they were in my position. While I was pregnant, I took a vacation from those thoughts by eating what I wanted, when I wanted it, and the quantity that I wanted. I gained 35 pounds during my pregnancy, and it didn’t bother me a bit, in fact, it made me excited. After giving birth, I decided I needed to start eating healthier again (for baby and I) but I’ve allowed myself to have that food without guilt that people will think I’m trying to maintain a certain figure or look. I indulge with less guilt that people seeing me eat the stuff won’t be thinking “I hope it goes straight to her thighs.”

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? I made a stuffed knitted toy for my baby-to-be. I used wool yarn and a little bit of acrylic, my bamboo double pointed needles, a tapestry needle, and scissors. I want to keep knitting of course, but the time for that will open up as I get more and more comfortable with managing my time and my baby.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? I’ve recently reconnected with my sisters at TarValon.net in the Gray Ajah. After being absent from them during most of my pregnancy and then my birth, I came back in when there was some personal drama going on. I’m glad I came back then, because it made me remember how much I missed that closeness with them.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. What makes me different is the way I do things. I am a person of contradictions, I like action movies and video games where I can shoot people, but then I also love my antique tea cups, Victorian things, and beautiful images as well. I’m a loner for the most part, preferring to stay at home quietly, until it drives me nuts, then I can’t get enough of socialization for another period of time. This switch between one extreme and the other is what makes me different, and it makes me beautiful. I feel it is balanced, and helps make me a better person. My curly hair when everyone else is straightening theirs also makes me beautiful. I stand out where others blend in, and yet not offensively so. I love to read and I cultivate sophistication and class when others are shortening their skirts and lowering their necklines, and I apply makeup and accesories with a reseved hand, where others go overboard. I do not follow the trends, and I do not attempt to be like everyone else anymore. Being oneself is truly beautiful.

December 9 – Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. All the family gatherings I’ve been to have been exciting and good for my soul. Too many of them to describe, and the food and drink were not really memorable, but the advice I received from my aunts, grandmother, and parents during these events, the sense of belonging and love I felt while there, and the connections we all shared, that will never leave my memory.

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? The wisest decision I made was to look for work and stand up for myself to my boss when my hours were threatened. I made it clear that her lack of warning that my hours were going to drop dramatically, and my assertion that I was going to look for work and take another job if I had to made it clear to her that I wan’t okay with her behavior, and that I deserved better and was willing to go somewhere else to get it. It resulted in a lot more respect for me on her part, and a much better relationship between the two of us. I’m actually glad that nothing else panned out, and that I was able to remain at that job.

December 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 1. Drama 2. Disrespect 3. Imbalance 4. Stress 5. Lonliness 6. Laziness 7. Sickness 8. Attempting to do it all 9. Perfection 10. Taking things for granted 11. Blame

I will elminate these things by tackling them head on. Drama – handling it like an adult, or staying out of things. Loneliness – by getting out of the house, and connecting with my friends. Attempting to do it all – by asking for help, or demanding a little free time to do something that I want to do. Blame – By taking responsibility for the things I do wrong, and not holding wrong doings agains other people. How will this change my life? It will make it for the better, it will reduce my stress, and it will allow love to be cultivated, not just within my family, but within myself.

December 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? I felt it the most during my labour. Every muscle twitch, bone crack, movement and motion was made aware to me. I felt everything more keenly, and I was not really even able to control it. I had to deal with pain in a way I never had before, and rely on others for help. I felt more like me than I ever had before, and I had to deal with that, it was very overwhelming and liberating at the same time, letting others help me and do things for me when normally I have to do everything for myself.

December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? My next step is to take it one day at a time. My aspiration is to be the best mother that I can be, and I can only do it by taking it one day at a time. I need to forgive myself for my mistakes (like not burping the poor guy) and take on the new challenges with the same eagerness that I took on the first ones. I need to allow myself to feel emotions like doubt, anger, sadness, and confusion, absorb the emotion, deal with it, and then find a solution to it and move on and not let them get in my way or avoid them.

December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? Time to myself. That shower I have when Andrew is asleep or with his father, those moments I get to write in my journal when the hosue is peaceful and quiet, and those few minutes I take to sip my tea and just be with my thoughts for a few minutes, they are the most precious to me. I express my gratitude by allowing myself to take those moments everyday, despite how selfish I might feel initially when I start to do it.

December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. I want to remember every detail about my pregnancy and labour. I want to remember every day that I’ve had with Andrew, all those sounds, facial expessions, the hard times we had figuring each other out, and the joyful moments we’ve shared, like his smiles, how sweet he looks when he’s sleeping, and the way he looks for me when he’s hungry and being held by someone else. The relief he portrays so beautifully when he’s back in my arms is overwhelming – I feel so loved, so needed! I want to remember the talks I’ve had with my mom about family, and what it means to us, and our experiences and the emotions we’ve shared. Her advice has been indespensible. I want to remembe the way Morgan looked when she saw her brother for the first time, and the wondeful moments we’ve shared together as a family. I want to remember the hugs and kisses she’s given me, and the way she imitates how I take care of my baby on her dolls. I want to remember the feeling of support Neil gave me during my labour, and the love and caring he had for me right after. I want to remember that look in his eyes as he saw his son for the first time, and the look he gave me right after. I want to remember the love in all of his hugs, and how well he took care of me, especially in my last trimester as more and more things got difficult.

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? Andrea changed my perception by becoming my friend so quickly and easily. We spent an entire day together getting to know one another, and discovered how much we had in common, and the other times I saw her after that were just not enough. We keep in touch over the internet as much as possible, but its hard to be separated from her like this. Its sad that after making a friend like that, that she was gone so quickly, but I know that as her friend, I’m happy that she left, because she’s with the man that she loves, and who loves her. She made me realize that I had been too separate before from the people I connect with online, because to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t connecting with them as much as I should have. I’ve been making conscious efforts recently to get to know these women again, and I’m so happy that I have been given this glimpse once again.

December 17 – Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? I learned how much I withdraw when I’m upset at someone. I am never able to communicate when I get to that point, so I was able to have a conversation with Neil and tell him how to deal with me when I’m like that, so we can get somewhere. Despite how much I know I shouldn’t bottle things up, I do when I get to a certain point, unless that person takes some time to break down my wall. It’s not very strong or high, so it doesn’t take much time or effort. It’s amazing how good it feels to have the person you’re upset with make that effort to get right again in your books, and how good the make-up hug feels once the feelings have been aired.

December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? I want to try to go for my driver’s license again this year. It felt like a weight off my shoulders at first when I let my license expire in August, but over the last couple of months it’s felt like a hamper more than anything. I’m going to go and renew my L soon, and get back on the road, and try for my N again. There’s no shame in failure the first time, and there’s no shame in fear. What there is shame in is letting that fear control me. I need to grab this fear by the horns and face it, and the only way I’ll do that is by going out on the road again.

December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? Having a conversation with my mother soon after Uncle Bill’s funeral, and finding out that my aunt wasn’t mad at me afterall. She was upset about this time of the year, and I found out she wasn’t just pulling away from me, and isolating me, but she was actually pulling away from everyone and isolating herself. It wasn’t my fault, and I allowed myself to understand this and let those feelings of guilt and ownership go. I also have allowed myself to let go of the idea that I can be the one to bring her back. That is not my battle to fight, and it is not my responsibility. There are other people that need to talk to her first, and a lot of owning up to her own feelings that have to come from her, and not anyone else.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) See December 18, my driver’s license.

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? Not to take on too much at once, and to give myself time to do things on my own. I would advise myself not to take things personally, a 6 year old does not know the impact of her words or actions yet, and can’t take responsibility for them. I would advise myself to make time for my husband, and to try to get over that feeling of absolute depression surrounding my birthday – life is too short to hold onto those memories, and if I don’t like the ones I have, I should make new ones.

I’ll post the last 10 I think on New Year’s Eve… these have been eye-openers for me, and they’ve got me seriously thinking about my goals (notice, goals, not “resolutions”) are going to be for 2011. So much has changed in my life with Andrew coming into this world and changing mine so completely, that I feel the need to sit down and reflect on what I want for myself and for my son this upcoming year.