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Baby Rainbow Sweater and Pixie Hat

I’ve known how to knit and crochet for many years. I find it to be a relaxing activity to pick up at the end of the day. Perfect for feeling productive while binge watching TV. However, despite my many years of practice, I have very little to show for it. I’m great at starting a project and losing steam before it is finished.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

So I’m really proud of this sweater.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

I followed the Eliose Sweater pattern that you can find here, just modifying the colors a little. To go with it made a little pixie hat based on this pattern. The hat was very easy and quick, which was nice after spending so much time on the sweater. I made the sweater just a tad on the big side so Poppy should be able to wear it through the winter and into the spring.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

These are going down as projects 5&6 in my 31 Projects goal.

Gettin’ my KonMari On: Clothes

So, as I’ve mentioned, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up several months ago. At the time I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I have small kids, and a husband who wasn’t really thrilled with the idea, and plenty of other things going on. Making it a reality just didn’t feel like something I could do.

But our house is small and our stuff is plentiful and I kept finding myself frustrated at the situation. Anytime we got something new it felt like a monumental feat to make space for it. Finding infrequently used items was becoming more difficult. The garage was becoming unusable. It was time to KonMari this house.

Now the author, Marie Kondo, has a very specific method and order to do the tidying. While skeptical of some of the specifics, I figured if I don’t do it the way she says I’ll never know for sure if it works or not.

So I started with the first category: clothes. This is my closet before:

closet before

Compared to many closets, mine is pretty pared down. Since discovering the concept of the capsule wardrobe I’ve really tried to embrace the idea of fewer clothes and this past summer I was able to slim down my wardrobe pretty significantly. But I knew there were still some things that didn’t need to be in there.

And here is everything out of the closet and on the bed.

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Marie Kondo says you have to put everything out on the floor (or bed, in this case) and touch each item to decide if it’s something that “sparks joy.” If it does, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you get rid of it. I was a little skeptical of Marie Kondo’s insistence that I ask “Does this spark joy” for everything in my closet. I don’t often think that hard about how I feel about my clothes. But it turned out to be a pretty helpful question.

Old ratty t-shirts that I kept around in case I needed them (For what? Painting? Repairing the car? Some other activity that I never do?), socks with holes, a random assortment of tank tops that I kept for layering even though they didn’t fit that well. None of these things sparked joy.

Surprisingly, I also discovered that there were several other perfectly nice things that didn’t spark joy either. Shirts that were pretty, but always full of static, or that felt scratchy, or that I just never had occasion to wear. If I don’t feel like I can crawl around on the floor in it, I don’t want to wear it.

So I did what Marie Kondo said and went though every item. I ended up with two garbage bags of things to donate.

The next step was to put everything away. Marie Kondo spends a lot of time describing how clothes should be folded and stored. Another thing I rolled my eyes at a little while reading the book. But she says that a large percentage of people’s storage problems would be solved if they would only learn to fold properly. I decided if I’m going to do this method I might as well do it right.

So here are my drawers:

clothes folded the KonMari way

Just as I expected, folding all those clothes is a pain.

But …

closet after the KonMari method

What!? What?! Look at that empty closet! I have a handful of hanging clothes on the one side, but most of it is just empty space. I am envisioning craft storage, my own little work space, maybe even a drop down desk! I haven’t had a good space for my crafts and projects since my children were born. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!

Who knows. Maybe this really is life changing.


Linking up with Tina and the other ladies at Tuesday Talk.

These Days // 22

Hello friends! (Acquaintances? Complete strangers?) It’s been a few weeks. Or months. The holidays were FULL and we are just now starting to settle back down and find some space, literally and figuratively.

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Here are some highlights:

Celebrating: All the things! Poppy turned one. (ONE!!) Chris also got a year older. There were also multiple celebrations of Christmas with various combinations of family members. Is it a blessing or a curse that about 3/4 of the gift giving I have to do in a year happens in the span of 3 weeks?

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Traveling: a lot! This Christmas took us on the longest trip we’ve taken as a family of four. Or maybe ever. Two solid weeks of visiting family. Long, but worth it. My extended family all live quite a ways away, so we got to see many of them for the first time in years.

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With my grandparents.

Clearing: out the Christmas decor. I love decorating for Christmas and the added cheer our Christmas tree brings to the living room. But I also love how much more spacious our house feels once it’s gone.

christmas lights

Building: some new habits. We’ve started off the new year trying to get some more solid routines down for our family. We are building them up slowly, but the changes we’ve made so far have been good. My favorites? Making sure I’m dressed and ready before breakfast and a toy cleanup time before dinner. Little things, but they are making certain parts of our day a lot less harried.

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Recovering: from a cold that hit all of us toward the end of our trip. It made some more miserable than others, but we all seem to be mostly back to normal now. I think I need to look into some immune boosting supplements. Right now, if one person in the family gets sick, it feels like a two week process for it to pass through the whole family and make its way out the door. It would be nice to nip it in the bud a lot faster than that. Any suggestions?

I’m hopeful that the new year will bring a bit more time for blogging. I already have several post drafts in the works and even more post thoughts in my head. We shall see!

Until then!

These Days // 21

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Happy Fall everyone! Here’s what’s happening around here these days.

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wearing: a cute new headband from Lady Alexandra’s Etsy shop. Tina from Go Big or Go Home is hosting a giveaway from this shop on her blog this weekend, and since she doesn’t have a little girl she asked if Poppy would model the headband. I must say, Poppy rocked the photo shoot. To see more of her showing off the headband and to enter the giveaway, be sure to check out Tina’s blog!

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celebrating: my birthday earlier this month! It was lovely and low-key and included a cupcake castle.

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practicing: wearing my baby on my back. It’s still a little nerve wracking to try to get her back there, but we’re getting better and Poppy laughs whenever I try the Santa Toss.

moving: all over! After several months of pushing up and pivoting and accidentally scooting backwards, Poppy has finally figured out how to move forward! She’s using this new skill to go after all the things we had previously kept out of her reach.

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waking: up early. At least for me. I’ve signed up for the Hello Mornings challenge for the next six weeks and I’m trying to start my days more positive and prepared. I’ve successfully made it through two whole days! If you care to follow how I’m doing, I’m trying to post each morning to my new Instagram account. I’ll also post other things I’m doing and previews of what’s coming up on the blog, so be sure to check it out!

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loving: each other. I’ve probably mentioned this several times already, but watching these two become friends and love each other is probably my favorite thing ever.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

So, my baby has Down Syndrome

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My baby came into the world as most do. Amid anticipation and pain, a flurry of excitement, exhaustion, relief, happiness, smiles, cuddles and kisses. I like to think that I am capable of being objective and realistic when it comes to my children, so I don’t mean to offend anyone else when I say that I’m pretty sure she was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. Our time in the hospital was fairly lovely, as far as hospital visits go. She caught on to nursing quickly and stayed peaceful and content. I loved to just sit and stare at her cute little face. I made note of a tiny pinprick of a dent next to her ear just in case the hospital’s obsessive identification band checking should fail us and they hand me the wrong baby. Not that we were separated that often. Aside from the morning doctor’s visit in the nursery and a few extra visits to the warmer because she had a bit of trouble keeping her temperature up, little Penelope stayed by my side.

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Chris and I woke up on the last morning in the hospital ready to get home and settle into our life as a family of four. Determined to be home for lunch, we packed up bags and filled out paperwork at a level of efficiency that we haven’t been able to match since. As we were finishing up breakfast the doctor came by to give us a report of his morning checkup. It was then that we heard the news. The doctor had observed several physical characteristics that indicated that our baby could have Down Syndrome. He rattled off a list of indicators. Chris and I asked a few questions I think. We were told that we could get the blood test at her first checkup the next day and would hopefully have an official diagnosis within a week. He was positive and kind and promised to follow up with us. We thanked him and were left to absorb the news over what was left of our dry toast and eggs.


It’s taken me eight months to write this post. I’m not sure why, exactly. I think I just wanted to make sure I gave an accurate and true representation of what this diagnosis means to us. I also want to make sure that it’s a source of encouragement and hope to anyone who may come across it who is faced with a similar situation. A source of encouragement and hope without discounting the wide range of emotions a parent might feel when they find out their child has Down syndrome. I’ve read many posts like this one. The parents in these posts have felt many things: disbelief, shock, anger, fear, bitterness, guilt, grief. But in the end there’s always acceptance, gratitude, resolve, and of course, love.

That’s not exactly my story though. My process of wading through these emotions has felt much gentler than anything else I’ve read. It’s been surrounded by an overall feeling of peace. Maybe it’s my personality. More than likely it’s my God.


Once the doctor left I think I cried a bit. But then Penelope came back from the nursery and it was time for me to be a mama and get her dressed for the trip home. Chris and I didn’t really talk about it again until we were safely in the car. Then I think I cried some more. About what, I’m not sure. Some of it was fear of the unknown. Much of it was adjusting to a new vision for my daughter’s future than the one I had previously had. I think most of all I worried that her life was going to be so much more difficult than what I wanted for her.

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And Chris, who I’m sure was feeling much of these same things but didn’t have the postpartum hormones to deal with and also had to keep his eyes dry so he could drive, said the most steadying thing. He said, “She’s still the same baby. We may have some new information about her, but she hasn’t changed.”

Maybe this subtle shift in perception doesn’t feel as profound to you. But to me, that was just what I need to hear right then.


My mom and sister were at home with Charlie waiting for us. I had dried my tears by then and turned my focus to settling in and helping Charlie adjust to a new sister in the family. Chris got the task of breaking the news to my mom and sister because, as stated above, he didn’t have postpartum hormones. It’s times like these that I’m thankful to have an introverted family. Big news is generally received politely and without a lot of comment. And since no one says much until all the thoughts and emotions have had time to settle down and organize themselves inside the thinker’s head, there is much less chance of anyone saying anything stupid or upsetting. So we told them and they said “Oh. Ok.” and we moved on.


Later that day we sent out an email to a few close friends asking for prayer. We still weren’t sure what to do with this information and were just trying not to freak out. She may not have it after all, we kept telling ourselves. But I think those prayers are what made all the difference. I’d heard before of the “peace that passes understanding” but had never really thought about what those words meant. But as we moved through the next couple of days and weeks, that’s what I experienced. Even though there were lots of reasons to be stressed or to worry or to feel emotionally distraught, I didn’t. I still had my moments where I mourned for the vision of the future I had had for her. But they were brief and cathartic and left me feeling more accepting of the future that God obviously had for her. When people would ask how we were doing I could honestly say that we were doing well.


In the week or so between hearing from the doctor that he thought she might have Down syndrome and getting the results of the genetic test back, I spent a lot of time staring at my baby, trying to decide if I thought it was true or not. The doctor sounded so certain. But every time I looked at her I would just think, I don’t see it. I don’t see anything wrong with her.

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And God must have been there with me because he spoke to me. He said something that I think I will remember and carry with me for the rest of my life.

He said — It’s a doctor’s job to see the things that might be wrong. But you are not her doctor. You’re her mother. It’s your job to see her.

Since then I’ve realized that that is probably the most important thing I can give her. That I can give all my children. The world may look at her as if something is wrong with her. That she’s at a disadvantage. That she is someone to feel sorry for. But I have determined that I will not see her the way the world sees her. I will see her for who she really is. For who God made her to be. I will see all the wonderful, unique, made-that-way-on-purpose qualities that God has given her and celebrate those things. I’m her mother. That’s my job.


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Now at eight months out, Down syndrome often doesn’t feel like a big deal. We’ve been blessed with a very healthy child. None of the extra test or checkups have revealed any health problems to be concerned with. Her development is lagging somewhat behind other children her age, but she’s making steady progress and we have weekly therapy appointments to help build up those muscles. She’s a girl who lets people know what she wants and seems to have a fairly determined personality, so I don’t think she’s going to let too much get in her way in life. She loves her family and has the best smile. She and Charlie are best friends, a fact that routinely makes my heart melt.


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Some might think that it would be reasonable to wish she didn’t have Down syndrome. But that wouldn’t be true. That would be like wishing I had a different child.

It’s not like God made this amazing person and then slapped on a disability. He just made an amazing person who, just like my brown hair and short stature, Down syndrome is just a part of the equation. It is literally at the very core of who she is. It is within every cell in her body. Before she was even conceived, there was an extra chromosome, hanging out, waiting to become a part of our little girl.