Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Post I: Habemus Papam!

I would not normally have used this phrase as a post title, but it seemed to go well with my next one, which I started a few days ago, before we had a new pope.

Which, we now have!

It was a day of great excitement in the Catholic world and in our house today! We plugged ourselves into the hotspot with the laptop and watched the live coverage of it on EWTN. Anja was VERY into it, while Greta mostly whined "I wish we were watching Aristocats instead." Haha. Maybe she'll appreciate it next time a new pope is elected!

Our new pope chose the name Francis, which, as you might recall, has been our "boy name" for all three of our children. I love St. Francis (of Assisi.) I have loved him since 6th grade when I first saw "Brother Sun, Sister Moon." (Go ahead and laugh!) I've always felt our little family to have a closeness to St. Francis. I love that St. Francis lived a life of simplicity and peace and love. I think he's the patron saint of hippies, but I'd have to look it up. (kidding.) Really though, all of the things he stood for in his life are things that we try, as a little family, to follow. Martin and I are not much into loud, public evangelization. We more choose the style of living the faith, and hoping that we bring people to the church that way. I try to keep in mind the simplicity of St. Francis and his life (okay, I don't go quite as far as he did, but I try to keep that spirit) in our own daily family life.

Pope Francis seems to have a sweetness about him that I think the whole world needs. He calls for brotherhood, something the world needs. On facebook, a friend posted something that said "He is going to remind us how much we all love Jesus together." I think that childlike approach to our faith is so important! We as people get so worked up! We get so haughty! We get so mean! We need to a little more love and a little more sweetness and humility. We all could be more like St. Francis.

Plus, I really like animals.

Anyway, I'm so happy with our new pope! Part of that also might have something to do with being more involved in it this time--when Benedict was elected everyone was still sad that JPII had died. I was just a single girl and I found out about it just by my mom calling me at work and telling me. Not really very exciting. Today, with the help of social media, it was so exciting! So fun! I loved sharing it with.... well, with Anja. While Greta was hollering about wanting to watch Aristocats. But anyway, I hope that Anja will always have at least a little snippet of memory of this day. Maybe she'll at least remember the celebratory pizza party we had up at my parents house later!!

Now, let us leave the Catholic world for our religious roots, featured in my next post topic:

Post II: Shalom Aleichem!

(And that's as far as the Jewishness of this post goes. I am kind of in love with Jewish culture, but this post topic isn't really about that... it's about a sweater.)

I think I've mentioned on here that Martin is currently enrolled in grad school. He's in his first semester working toward a masters degree in library science. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that it's a degree that will hopefully enable him to get better jobs in the future. The bad thing is that it takes up pretty much every ounce of free time he would otherwise have... which isn't really much, considering he has a full time job, three very small children and two needy dogs who need to be walked at least twice a day (darn you, jumpable fence!)

But there's this secret good thing that comes from him being in school: while he is slaving away every evening getting his assignments done, I am having some super productive time with my knitting needles. I've have made multiple hats, some toys and a sweater since he started school in January and I'm working on a shawl! Nevermind that that timeslot runs us until the wee hours of the morning every day.... who needs sleep, right?

The purple hat Elka is wearing in that middle picture on my last post was the one I knit for her (the free soulemama pattern on her blog--I made it smaller than the child-sized one, I *think* I cast on 42 stitches) and here is the one I made for myself:

(photo by anja)

I really love it and I wear it all the time! Which is great, because I've knit myself a lot of hats over the years and I wear most of them, oh, never.

And here is another item I may or may not end up wearing often... the Shalom Cardigan! A free pattern from Ravelry (I can't remember who created it!) I think I like it. But it does fit a little funny, mainly in the sleeves. Now, I was warned about this, but instead of following the advice and alterations I was given, i chose to work the pattern pretty much as it was written (I did take a number of rows out of the body and it still came out longer than I would have preferred) and so the sleeves are kind of.... well, I don't know how to explain it. It's just a very shawl-like sweater with really big arm holes. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. Since I used Cascade Eco-Wool for it and it only took one skein, I'm only out twenty bucks. I think I'm going to make it again a tad bit smaller.

 Now, you might be thinking "why did Annie post such a dorky looking picture of herself?" or,  "She could certainly work on improving her posture!" But before you judge, I'd like you to take note of the person in the background. Yeah, that guy across the street. Wandering around at 7:45 on a Saturday morning. He provides for the the perfect segue into my next post topic!, which is:


Remember all that stuff I said at the beginning of this post about St. Francis, and living a life of peace and love, for everyone? Yeah, just forget I said that for awhile.

So, sometimes I love my house. Really, I love it. I love our bedroom with it's slanty ceilings and goofy closet that always smells good. I love the green painted wooden floor on the landing and the painted stairs.  I love my pretty upstairs bathroom and I love the wood floors in my front room. I love the way the sun comes through my kitchen window right at the time of day when I'm needing some motivation to be in the kitchen to make dinner for my family. I love the crown molding in my front room and the brightness of that room with it's powder blue walls. I love that after five years I have a place for every Christmas decoration. I love all these things!

But then there are things I hate about this place. Like actually LIVING here. Things I hate include:
The noise.
The neighborhood.
The people in the neighborhood.
The people who are always screaming at each other in the neighborhood.
The fact that Anja wants to move to the country because one of her little friends told her about wishing on stars and she can't see any here in the city.
The neighborhood. (oh, did I already say that one?)
Calling Martin on the phone to talk about an article he emailed me about keeping sheep, only to say "oh, sorry, I have to call the police, some homeless guy is trying to get into our house. AGAIN."

Okay, so it didn't happen exactly like that, it was more like this:
Me: "Um... somebody's trying to get in the house."
Martin: "Who is it?? Get a gun!"
Me: "I dunno, it's some guy with a blue sock cap and a backpack."
Martin: "Get a gun! Call the police!"
Me: "What gun?"
Martin: "You need to call the police. Is he really trying to come in?"
Me: "Not really... he's just at the mud room door. He was wandering around in the sideyard and now he's at that door. The dogs are barking at him, it's okay."
Martin: "Get a gun! Call the police!"
Me: "It's okay. What gun? This big one?"
Me: "Oh, I think he went to the front of the house, hang on. It's okay."
Martin: "I'm coming home."
Me: "No, no, don't be silly. We're fine. I have this...which gun did you say it was? Where is it?"
Martin: "CALL THE POLICE!!!"

By the time I got back to the front of the house, the guy was on the sidewalk talking to a policeman. (I don't know who called the police, but it wasn't me.) They talked for a long time and then the guy disappeared and the policeman stuck around awhile. Then the neighbor came home and the policeman talked to her, so after he left, I zipped over to talk to her and evidently the guy was a schizophrenic who didn't have a violent history, but who wasn't doing well and was going door-to-door allegedly trying to sell "something." He didn't have a sales license, and the policeman said if he came around again to call them and they would take care of it.

And I'm not sure he was actually trying to get into our house, but the fact that I saw him wandering around at the side of our house (our house is very long and stretches waaaaay back to the alley) and that he was almost in our backyard made me think he was kind of up to no good. (I mean, we DO have a front door. And a kitchen door. Our house is very long and we have a lot of doors.)

And I'm sure he would not have hurt us if he had come into our house. But I would have had to get him out again. And frankly, I just feel like that shouldn't be something I have to worry about regularly.... you know, getting mentally ill people out of my house in the middle of the morning.

Oh, did I mention this isn't the first time someone's tried to get into our house? The last guy was drunk. We still see him around a lot. I'm sure I've blogged about him before. I'm sure I also blogged about the time the drunk guy walked into my sister's house (when I lived there, but I wasn't home.) He just walked right in, through the backyard and into my apartment. She told him to leave, and he did... but then he tried to come in the front door..... anyway, you get the picture. She lives just a few blocks away from me.

This all sounds very judgemental, I know. I need to show more compassion and love for these people. And you know, I feel like I did, before I had three kids. Before my thought was, "someone wants to get into our house. The baby is sleeping, Greta's naked, Anja's in her pajamas. What do I do?" But right now, this just is not where I want to be raising my kids. When I was single, the people of the neighborhood were good for interesting stories. Now I've got kids. Now I'm a mama bear.

And so, Martin has started applying to jobs that might take us farther away, to places where we can see the stars, have lots of barn cats, some sheep, some chickens. To places where my kids can run and I won't have to worry about them falling on a dirty needle. Where they can play without being stared at by some creep-o across the street. Where the outside air is actually fresher than the inside air, and not just full of bus fumes. Hopefully something will pan out. We will just have to wait and see!

Let's get back to peace and love to end this post. Let's end with a little Elka! :

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Knitting and Dancers and Crackers OH MY!

 greta, elka, anja
 greta, fixing me tea
 elka, in the car
 a hat for elka
this one anja took! it's called "my mama loves to knit"
 best crackers ever
anja at night

For those of you who have iphones, you probably have already figured this out, but OHMYGOSH, the iPhone camera is incredible! I even have a really nice camera, but the iPhone takes great pictures. Clear, with good focus and nice light. Now, I am by no means a photographer--not even in the slightest sense. I like taking pictures, and I like making my silly snapshots more fun on Instagram. But I am continually surprised by the quality of shot I can get with my phone. MY PHONE!!!! Wild.

Anja and Greta are taking a ballet class now. It's a class for 3 1/2-5 year olds and it is THE cutest thing I've ever seen. There are maybe 9 little girls in the class, most are 5 year olds, but they all wear the same tutus and tights and little shoes, and they all have their long, stringy 5 year old hair pulled back in ponytails and they all spend at least one small portion of the class looking around like they are confused by the idea of putting your arms in the air at an angle. (The teacher puts her arms up like a V, and all the little girls just put their arms straight up in the air, pressed against their ears. They just don't get it. It's so adorable.)

Martin's chugging along through grad school and I'm chugging right alongside him with my knitting. Haha. It's a little bit like when he worked his overnight job and I would stay up all night knitting. I made multiple sweaters during that time. I'm working on a "shalom cardigan" for myself right now, I've made a lot of hats and I'm making a "lark rise to candleford shawl" that I think will end up being exactly what I want.

We've been looking at houses and being continuously disappointed. In the past year we've made offers on three different houses and all of them have fallen through for different reasons. It's VERY frustrating. I told my friend Laura the other day, it's kind of like when you're single and you break it off with another boyfriend.... you don't really care about letting that one go because, clearly, he wasn't the one. But, OHMYGOLLY, when is the right one going to come along?!?! WHAT'S THE HOLDUP!?!? (This makes it sound like I've had a lot of boyfriends. That isn't true, but it is true that I was never too upset to see any of them go!) We know what we want and hope it's in our future soon. Until then, we'll just keep on waiting and checking in on

I am a boring person. Our evening is beginning now though.... so it's time to make a pot of coffee. Num num.