April 23, 2014

Ten Random Things

Moment captured by my daughter.
Good morning!  I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend and are enjoying your week thus far.  Our week, here at Front Forty, is going well, however, it has been quite busy.  The Littles are taking a spring vacation (the schools in our state are on April break, and even though we homeschool, we decided that a break was in order for us as well); track season is in full swing, and spring chores, both inside and out, are calling to both Hubby and me.  I haven't had much of an opportunity for blogging or use of my computer, not to mention, our internet has been quite patchy the past few days.  I am popping in quickly, while the Littles are building dams in the water that is running through our driveway, hoping to publish this post before my internet conks out on me again. 

I have been inspired by Annie of Knitsofacto to write a "random things" post.  They can be lots of fun, and I so enjoyed reading Annie's list that I decided to take her up on her suggestion of posting my own list.

 1.  Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers share the same birthday, March 17...same year as well.

 2.  My plans after college were to work with children in the inner city (New York City).  I never thought I would be living in the country (in the same town I grew up in), homesteading with ten children of my own.

 3. Playing a game of  hide-and-go seek as a young girl, I once thought I had found the perfect hiding spot behind an old, rusty snow plow I found in the woods, only to be found rather quickly after letting out a blood curdling screech after realizing I had crouched down upon a coiled up snake (not poisonous, of course).

 4.  I am very afraid of heights...can't even get past the third rung of a ladder.

 5.  A paternal relative was once involved in saving the life of King Henry VIII, and another paternal relative, Joseph "Handkerchief" Moody was thought to be the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "The Minister's Black Veil".

 6.  I love cats.

 7.  In high school I ran track and field, competing in the triple jump, the long jump, the 100m race, and the 4x100 relay (and I wasn't too bad at it).

 8.  After eight years of piano lessons, I still can't play the piano.

 9.  The diamond in my engagement ring fell out if it's setting, and my daughter found it one year later in our driveway.

10. As a little girl, I asked my parents if I could have at least one brother or sister.  My mother told me to bring my request to God...I ended up with nine of them.

April 18, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

Happy Easter!

April 16, 2014

Homemade Birthday Gifts

I finished Rosie's birthday sweater just in time. She already knew about it because she chose the yarn, Quince and Co.'s Lark in Rosa Rugosa.  She had no idea she shared a name with the colorway when she chose it, but we both agreed that the name was quite appropriate for her new sweater and have been calling it the "Rosa Rugosa Sweater".  She was so excited about finally getting to see if finished.  She wore it all day on her birthday, to bed that night, and again the next day. I sewed a dress to go with it, using my new Marie pattern from Citronille. It was an easy little pattern to sew, taking less than an hour from start to finish. I love the simple lines of it and am already planning more "Marie" dresses for summer.  I also made an itty, bitty dress and sweater from the left over fabric and yarn...

and a nightgown for...
Miss Maggie Rabbit, of course.

I have been eyeing Alicia Paulson's sweet little rabbit softie pattern for quite some time, and I decided it was finally time to make one for Rosa-mae. I'm so glad I did because it was love at first sight.  She hasn't let Miss Maggie Rabbit out of her sight (well, actually she informed me the other day that she has named her Daisy). The sweater coat was also made from one of Alicia's patterns, and I have plans to make this sweet little knitted dress; I just didn't have time before her birthday.
My mom made Rosa-mae three cotton nightgowns a few years ago.  They have been through thick and thin with her...seeing Rosie through hospital stays, lazy all-day pj days at home, 4th of July sparklers after dark on the lawn, and, of course, good old fashioned snuggles in bed...and she still loves wearing them.  One is made from a lovely vintage rosebud fabric, and I had a few scraps Mom had given to me, just enough to make Miss Maggie, errrr...Daisy a matching nightie. 

And finally two more dresses made from another lovely Citronille pattern, Suzanne.  Using elastic thread, I shirred the entire neck of one and the neck edges of the sleeves on the other.  Rosa's little shoulders are quite narrow, and I was afraid she would be bothered by the sleeves sliding down.  I love this simple little pattern and look forward to  making Little #9 a few of them for summer.  This pattern is great for multi-season dressing as one can easily layer with long sleeves and leggings or tights when the weather is cooler. 

I had fun making Rosa's gifts this year, and it's so rewarding to see her happily grabbing for the toys I have made and choosing to wear the clothes I have sewn.

Linking with Nicole and Ginny.

April 14, 2014

The Crocus

Saturday was such a beautiful day here in our corner, and I discovered something extra special in my garden along the south-west side of our house where the snow has begun to melt.  The fields are still covered in layers of snow and ice, and the driveway is lined with dirty, melting, mushy piles of snow, but tucked up close to the house is a glorious wave of color, a little oasis in the midst of the muddy, slushy mess, a sign that winter is over...my crocuses. 
The crocuses have become one of my favorite flowers...such tender little flowers with iron wills, pushing their delicate noses through the snow into the harsh cold temperatures of the New England spring; unaffected, they open their little faces to the sun and smile at the world around them.  I love this quote from the book I am currently reading, Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim,
"Things came up there and grew and flowered exactly as my gardening books said they should do; and in front of me, in the gay orchard, things that nobody ever troubled about or cultivated or noticed throve joyously beneath the trees, -- daffodils thrusting their spears through the grass, crocuses peeping out inquiringly, snowdrops uncovering their small cold faces when the first shivering spring days came."

The Crocus

by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

 Beneath the sunny autumn sky
With gold leaves dropping round,
We sought, my little friend and I,
The consecrated ground,
Where, calm beneath the holy cross,
O'ershadowed by sweet skies,
Sleeps tranquilly that youthful form,
Those blue unclouded eyes.
Around the soft, green swelling mound
We scooped the earth away,
And buried deep the crocus-bulbs
Against a coming day.
"These roots are dry, and brown, and sere;
Why plant them here?" he said,
"To leave them, all the winter long,
So desolate and dead."
"Dear child, within each sere dead form
There sleeps a living flower,
And angel-like it shall arise
In spring's returning hour."
Ah, deeper down -- cold, dark, and chill --
We buried our heart's flower,
But angel-like shall he arise
In spring's immortal hour.
In blue and yellow from its grave
Springs up the crocus fair,
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes,
Those sunny waves of hair.
Not for a fading summer's morn,
Not for a fleeting hour,
But for an endless age of bliss,
Shall rise our heart's dear flower.

April 11, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

I could not limit "this moment" to only one photo.  I had to share a couple more in order to show the true excitment of the moment; one photo simply would not have been enough.  

The excitment of being able to fill your weakened lungs with enough oxygen to blow out eight candles, in fact, being able to blow all of  your birthday candles out on your own for the very first time...a priceless moment!

Photos were all taken by my daughter.

April 9, 2014

Little #6

Hubby and I have been blessed with ten wonderful children, seven of whom are adopted.  One of our children suffers from severe, undiagnosed, interstitial lung disease.  She requires oxygen and a feeding tube, is steroid dependent, and may someday require a lung transplant.   In spite of her medical issues, she is a loving child that has taught us immeasurably about God’s love and tender mercies.
As a parent, I tell my children every day I love them, but to hear my child say, unsolicited, “I love you, Mommy” is a reward that far surpasses almost anything else.
One night our precious little one became very sick and was life-flighted to a major medical center two hours away.  All night, she fought for her life with doctors hovering over her, not daring to leave her side.  Hooked up to tubes and devices that would help her breathe more easily,  she lay in my arms, unable to respond to the words I whispered in her ear of how much I loved her.  I couldn’t count the times I prayed that night, asking God to spare our precious daughter's life.
After 24 hours, our little one's breathing eased slightly, and her body relaxed enough to allow her to sleep.  I momentarily closed my eyes, knowing we were over the worst of it, and thanked God for His healing mercies.  I then felt a tender hand touch my cheek; I opened my eyes to see my daughter's big brown eyes looking up at me and heard her quietly whisper, “I love you, Mommy, so very much.”

Although I have chosen not to disclose my children's names, for some reason, I feel compelled to share Little #6's name with you on this special day.  Little Rosa-mae is turning eight years old.  She has filled our lives with so much joy, and it has been the greatest calling to be this little Angel's mother. Not a person can meet her without smiling. Her tender, gentle ways are a blessing to all, and her insight and peace regarding life and death is beyond the years of even the wisest of adults. In spite of her own struggles, she remains compassionate and caring and is always looking for some way to cheer another. Just the other night she followed me into the laundry room and said, "Mama, I feel so sorry for my baby sister (Little #9)."  I asked her what made her feel that way, and she replied, "...because she has an allergy to peanuts and I don't have to worry about that.  Poor little girl.  It must be so hard not to be able to eat everything that the rest of us can."  Little Rosie, who depends on a feeding tube in order to get enough calories to sustain her tiny little body was concerned that her baby sister couldn't enjoy all the foods that the rest of us could.  I wish sometimes that I could see others through the eyes of Rosa-mae and feel the same compassion she has for those around her.

Each and every birthday is a miracle, and celebrating her first was such a milestone.  It is hard to believe seven years have passed since that first year of life celebration.  We continue to hope and pray that she is blessed with many, many more.  
Happy Birthday, sweet Rosa-mae!

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