From Art

Scrap Happy: Baby Book Edition

babybookdesk babybookbegin babyfavorite babytosie

I am some what surprised to announce that I finished not one, but two albums this weekend. Not only that, they are two baby books for two babies that are now four and seven, respectively. Ahem. Life hasn’t been crazy, at all. These are both albums from the now defunct Creative Memories line that are specifically made for 4 x 6 photos and are pre-formatted with spaces to write and record and the decorations already provided. I had not been very interested in these in the past, but after this weekend, they definitely have an appeal. I finally told two stories that had been waiting years to be told- total win in my book. I don’t even know if there are any companies that make albums like this now…the whole scrapbooking industry has collapsed since then. (le sigh.) I sat and did most of Josiah’s while watching football on Sunday. (My beloved Broncos won, hurrah!) I might have to find more of these, honestly. As much as I love the artistic side of making unique layouts, sometimes you just want to tell the story without worrying about the details, and these definitely fit the bill.

On a quieter note…

Scrapping Josiah’s birth was hard. Even seven years later. It is only now within the last year or so that I have realized how much trauma we underwent when we lost our baby, how traumatic and scary my pregnancy with Josiah was- so much so that I couldn’t really enjoy the pregnancy for what it was- an uncomplicated, beautiful, lovely pregnancy. I found it very difficult at the time to even be around pregnant women, so fresh the loss of our child was to me, and yet I was pregnant again, Glory to God…but everyone was terrified. My OB, my husband and I…we were all so uncertain. I had people telling me I should abort Josiah because obviously, coming so quickly after such a horrendous loss, there would be so many problems. He hid during many ultrasounds, making diagnoses uncertain…I think that is still what shocks me now. Josiah was born so beautiful and healthy and whole. No medical issues at the time. And had I done what everyone demanded I do…my word…this beautiful lovely soul, our monkey boy, who giggles like a maniac and lights up our whole home with his joyful exuberance, even now, as he suffers….it just. He is a gift from God, truly. He is our miracle child and continues to be so.

It was tremendously healing in ways I didn’t even expect to finally pull these photographs together and tell the story of his first year. I used to think I’d never be able to do it, so painful it was. It feels wonderful to be able to hand these books to their owners now, watch them discover their story.


autumnflowers drawing

I’ve been working on a piece in the wee smas of the day. I haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked this week, but it will come in its own good timing. It has taken me a long time to learn this, to slip into the small moments and use them as well as I can and then move on. It is a far more peaceful way of being, no longer under the gun of what can sometimes be my outlandish expectations.

There have been so many good things around the internet this week.

Molly Sabourin, Grace Here and Now– Just As I Am…

It’s natural when approaching unfamiliar territory to try and make sense of it by observing the natives. I did this when I was first pregnant and living in the city. The circles I ran in happened to be more alternative than traditional, medically speaking,  and the new mothers I saw regularly at my parish and La Leche League meetings were pro-homebirth, breastfeeding, babywearing and kelp eating. These devoted hippie mamas became my tribe. I adopted their philosophies, birthplans, and bohemian style. To me, they were the quinesstential definition of “maternal” and because of that limited perspective I assumed flowy skirts, baby slings and Birkenstocks were the required uniform for new-momness, and vegan lentil stew, kale salad, and honey sweetended carob brownies the required menu.

I have to say, this next post series was an article series that my husband and I could have used in our younger years-so much we had to learn the hard way. I deeply appreciate Bonnie’s willingness to be vulnerable and transparent about this so that others can learn!

Bonnie, A Knotted Life– Financial Hardships and Suprise Pregnancies: An Introduction…

…Yes, we are living this life because it’s the life we’ve chosen. We chose to take out student loans. We chose to pay for things with a credit card. We chose to not contracept or abort any of our babies. Travis chose to go into teaching and I chose to be a stay at home mom (Although daycare for five kids? It wouldn’t even be worth it for me to work!) We have chosen to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. We have chosen to make these sacrifices because we believe that in the end, no matter how hard things may be now (and how hard it is for even us to see it), it is worth it.

It’s worth it to choose life. It is worthwhile to choose life over death, over the impossibility of more life,  or over things and experiences. And it is worth it because life is worth living.

Could alternately be titled, (yet again) Why I Let My Children Read Harry Potter. (Okay, okay I confess to a little bit of snark with that comment.) I’m amazed at the people who refuse to read it or let their children read it “because of the evil of witchcraft” and yet have no problem with their children reading Narnia or Lord of the Rings. Good is good and bad is very bad and the evil literally wear their sins in their bodies, on their skins, and yet there is light and redemption….oh just go read the article. She’s talking about all sorts of fiction….

Kathleen Shumate for Story WarrenTrue Fiction

I have loved fiction longer than I can remember—“I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun”—and I have hope that the best stories will shape my children as they shaped me. True fiction furthers the Great Story and trains our imaginations to love and yearn for what is good. It is well worth our time.

One of the uncomfortable conversations I have with my children often, perfectly captured and explained.

Tony Woodlief for Image JournalThe Beast Without…

So in the spirit of practicing what I preach about considering how our actions incite others, I think on the conversations my children have overheard, in which I question someone’s motives, in which I denounce some political figure or corporate charlatan, in which I rail against the people tearing down Western civilization.

YES. YES. YES. Kort is on a roll this month, and this one I was getting all old-time gospel religion and hooting and shouting yes as a period for each sentence.

Kort Garrison, One Deep DrawerGood Enough is…Good Enough

I’ve got this idea in the back of my mind that things have to be perfect–the booklist complete, the supplies in hand, the house organized, dinner planned–before I can start.  It’s a fancy way of procrastinating.  It’s a fine way to give into the fear of failing or not quite measuring up.  It keeps me busy enough with the peripheral that I never actually get down to work.  And if affects my homeschooling and my paid work.

It seems I always end with John, but if something ain’t broke, why fix it? You do read him, don’t you? I’ve told you a thousand times about his poetry, so you have no excuse. The harder decision is to pick which one to share with you. This one…just oh. No words. Just read.

John Blase, String Bright the Gray

Yarn Along


It’s been a slow knitting and reading week. There hasn’t been much time. I’ve put in a few rows on each while waiting for something. I should sit down and figure the decrease again, because the gray one is decreasing oddly. I think I may have missed a stitch. I have barely scratched the surface of Wild in the Hollow, but I know it will be good. I’ve been reading Amber’s blog since its birth, and I trust her in the journey she is getting ready to take me on. I’ve been looking forward to the book’s release for a long, long time.

Sharing with Ginny.

Yarn Along


I am trying to finish my pillow cover…I was just about to begin the decrease when, distracted in the car, I dropped a bunch of stitches. Even with a lifeline in, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and thus had to frog it all the way back and begin again. I am determined!

I read All the Light We Cannot See on our travels through hills and curves and long long roads, next to the river, the wind whispering in the trees…there is no wonder why it won the Pulitzer. It will shatter you, knit you back together. I have no words but tears. Absolutely five stars.

Sharing with Ginny.

String me a line…


The knitting traveling plan is to replenish my rather bedraggled washcloth stack. I can knit it from memory without a pattern and without looking at it, which are both necessary for car knitting! I finished Counting By Sevens with a kleenex box at my side. Oh my word. It is so very good, but goodness you will need tissues! It’ll make you notice and love the family you have all around you.

Sharing with Ginny.

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