I'm no expert knitter, by any means, but I surely don't LOOK like a complete newbie. I mean, is that the sort of thing that gives off an AURA? I was at Handworks Gallery the other day, searching for the perfect yarn to complete this afghan that seriously is taking me forever to complete. Amidst the thousands of balls of yarn and books about knitting and knitting paraphernalia, sat a woman wearing a sweater she probably knit herself, some wild, frizzy hair and an air of superiority. How long have you been knitting, she queried. Feeling like I was having an out of body experience, I found myself answering her nervously! I felt defensive as I said, "A couple of years." Would I have felt more comfortable if we were discussing sweaters at J Crew? Probably!
But walking into knitting stores always has that effect on me. While part of me is giddy over the untapped potential of the floor to ceiling wooden cubbies stuffed with balls of yarn in every imaginable texture and color...the other part of me is terrified. Not that I'll trip and knock over a display or pull out one ball of yarn and send the entire cubby rolling out onto the floor, although both of those things ARE always in the forefront of my mind. And probably will happen at some point.
I think it's because I feel largely as if I'm posing as a knitter. Like I'm not granola enough or something. Like my mind-set just isn't earthy or liberal enough. I'm not a vegan...I don't eat organic...I love to shop...I vote conservative...I know this may not make a lick of sense, because I normally feel pretty comfortable in just about any setting. And I feel intimidated by possibly one of the coziest environments you have ever walked into! What is it with me?
Here's something else that I wonder...am I the world's slowest knitter or possibly just the most distracted? The employee at the store was telling me how she knits these baby blankets in an hour and a half while she watches a movie. I was in awe. In an hour and a half, I might do a large number of things...knit a whole blanket NOT being counted among those things. Ever.
Let me put this into perspective for you. I learned to knit at the beginning of 2005, I think. So I'm approaching the 3 year mark. And I have completed two projects - one being the "starter" project that came with my "Learning to Knit" kit.
My sister Rachel taught me how to knit. And I'm a lefty, but I knit as a righty, so I have no idea if I'm making my life harder or easier. Anyway, my first real project was a scarf - albeit a complicated scarf. It took me over a year to knit this thing. I got pregnant and had a baby during the entire time I was knitting this scarf. In fact, I was so appalled by how long it was taking me, that I made it my mission to finish the scarf before my 12 weeks of maternity leave were up. I accomplished that goal, thank you very much. Granted, it was the middle of the spring and the need for a scarf had long passed. But it looked great hanging on the hook!
And because I am a glutton for punishment, my next project choice was a throw. Not just any throw...three strips of four blocks of different colors in different stitches, surrounded by different colored borders. I also am stubborn and have never done the whole gauge thing, so I ended up using twice the amount of yarn required to complete one square and have made this thing much longer than it was intended to be. But the colors are awesome! Hot pink, greyish blue, light pink, multi-pink and a creamy white. It will be beautiful and funky. If I ever finish it.
And I'm getting there. I'm two borders away from having everything knitted, then I just stitch the strips together. Sounds easy enough. So I wonder why it's taking me so dadgum long. Maybe because I knit in spurts. While Brooklyn's playing with Kyle, on our way to church, on road trips, in the bathroom if the mood hits me, never for 90 minute blocks, though.
I'm just wondering if everyone else is knitting much faster than me or if they just have nothing else to do. I may need to learn some tricks to picking up the pace. Or pick projects on a smaller scale. Any suggestions?
Yesterday marked the seventh year that Kyle and I have been married, and I just want to say that every second, every minute and hour, every trial, every time we had to just trust that God knew what He was doing, every time we laughed our heads off, every time we thought the same thing about something and knew it by just a glance, everything about the past 7 years has been incredible and I would do it all over in a second.
A crowd of people around the cliff’s edge Young at heart and age Daredevils, fearless, so far from ever considering What a risk even was or why it should affect them.
The black glass of the lake somewhere below Filled with the terrifying unknown of rocks Or creatures or fish or snakes or lake gooz
I wanted to jump so bad. Yet I hate more than Anything the feel of touching the bottom and What if I did
Out under the stars in the middle of the night On a lake that I had only just seen tonite Could I set aside my fears and just take the leap
There he was, glistening with the water from His previous launches off the cliff into the water His hand held out for mine
Was I up for it? Good question. I was. My feet leapt from the solid rock and The air tickled my face and hair and arms and legs and Suddenly the warm water enveloped my laughing Screeches and I was so glad I had taken his hand.
During the few days before the semester started, I discovered how delicious college life could be. A carload of new friends headed to the lake. In the middle of the night Because we could
Wearing our swimsuits under our shorts and tanktops, Crammed into the backseat of a Honda Singing along to the radio and Eating up the seconds with delight
Four people wedged into a seat designed for two Our limbs were overlapped and intertwined and I have never been so happy to be smushed
Seated beside me was someone with whom I had felt an instant connection A sharp, painful intake of realization That my ideal had materialized
The terror of a knowledge that I would Never be the same. And that I’d never again have that first look or Wonder what it would feel like to fall into that Place in your soul where you knew what it was To belong to another without meaning to
If I turned my head just a millimeter, I could practically Taste his skin But I was far too nervous to even dare to move So I laughed with everyone else at the giddiness of Being 17 and a freshman and alive and In a car headed to the cliffs to jump out into The great unknown.
Riding to the yarn store this afternoon, I fell into a trance. A combination of the CD playing, the sunlight filtering in and out of the tree branches into my windows, the rare occasion of being alone in my car, the steady click click passing of houses, cars, pedestrians, for sale signs...my driving became automatic and my mind fell into a rhythm. Approaching cars in the opposite lane and cars in front of me left a split second impression on me, as a poem rapidly unfolding by itself in my mind. A Chevrolet truck, three people sitting side by side, the window side passenger's arm draped over the middle seat passenger - no, make that two humans and a ceramic bust. The bust had the arm draped over its shoulder. The sound of my laughter startled me in my car. The rear end of the station wagon in front of me looked as though it had a Hitler-stash. The black slash of plastic handle cover was perfectly positioned below the lights...surely the designer saw that as the car rolled away from him. Guess not. The station wagon turned right onto a side street and my eyes defaulted to its replacement in my line of sight. Yep, a black Altima with a silver slash instead of black - still looks like a moustache. And what's this? The SUV now in front of me has a trailer hitch ledge with an instant backyard cookout - the charcoal grill strapped to the bucket containing charcoal bricketts and grill tools, next to the folded up umbrella. Again, my smile startled me.
The sound of hickory nuts crunching under my tires signals my turn into my driveway and once again, the sunlight filters through the wisteria through my sunroof and I put the car into park. Before the moment fades...I'll remember.
2 Samuel 6:14 talks about King David dancing before the Lord with all his might..leaping and whirling before the Lord...
Are we often compelled to display such emotion before the Lord? I have been very compelled lately. With the temperatures dropping and the air crisping up like bacon (ok, not the best simile), this season marks my favorite! I adore cold weather and colorful leaves....I love not having to water the lawn...I love seeing leaves pile up in my yard and am always the LAST to rake them. It's just a shame to me. What's better than a carpet of color? Beats me. Certainly not grass! I love wearing jeans and sweaters and feeling that thrill in the air that makes my blood move just a little faster in my veins! I LOVE IT!
I love that my neighbors and I are more likely to meet out in our front yards and chat. I love my neighbors - Helen, a grandmother who rents but I wish would buy, she loves to come over and visit and sample my cooking and discuss her job...Gordon, who's a diabetic and mows his yard just about every day. I've personally saved him from a diabetic coma at least four times. I do use my nursing degree every now and then! Helen, who is also a nurse, collaborates with me on keeping Gordon's blood sugar within normal levels. Russ, next door, has a house straight out of Architectural Digest and a dog named Rose. His partner, Dempsey, comes in every weekend and brings his dogs and my dogs yap their hellos through the fence. I love that they do garden projects just about every weekend and we make small talk while we work. I love that my neighbor Edie came and plugged her battery charger into my front porch socket when her side of the street's power went out. I love that she offered me her pick axe for my next flower bed project.
I love that the lake is just down the hill from my house and that, as I was driving down Snake Hill today, I rounded the corner and the lake just GLOWED! It was as though heaven was illuminating it from beneath - the water shimmered- the trees lining it dipped low and tried to touch their branches to the water as though they were dying of thirst - and the leaves have begun to change colors! The radiance of the whole scene made me slow the car and gasp with wonder! I KNEW what David felt! That incredible urge to leap and whirl before the Lord! Praise Him for His beautiful creation and indescribable glory and majesty!
You know what else makes me just leap and dance??? MIGRATING BIRDS!!! SERIOUSLY! Have you ever seen it? Look up! Kyle and I were doing some evening errands yesterday and there they were - like an air highway of birds. Floating along, bobbing and weaving on an unseen current that was taking them to their winter homes. Thousands upon thousands, stretching for miles. Kyle said Lynn spotted PELICANS migrating the other day. Wonder of wonders! How can anyone see these things and not believe that there is a God and HE's just FANTASTIC! Yes, I know, there are numerous All caps incidents because some things just MUST be capitalized.
So, look up, see the birds and marvel that they know how to migrate, where to migrate and when! Marvel at the cooler temperatures and the thrill you know it gives you! An excuse to make hot chocolate and snuggle under quilts! Praise Be to God for such small and yet enormous wonders! I feel very much like Walt Whitman, seeing miracles in absolutely everything. Praise be to our God! Your majesty exceeds my wildest imagination and I delight in your creation. Yet, mostly, I delight in You, clever Creator!
Why, who makes much of a miracle? As to me I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water, Or stand under the trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at table at dinner with the rest, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the field, Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring; These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle, The fishes that swim - the rocks - the motion of the waves - the ships with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
I wish we maintained this perfection of skin tone, this dewey translucence and sheer flawlessness forever! But alas, we have to look back at our own baby pictures to reassure ourselves that we did, at one time, possess such perfect skin. So rather than glower at my 30 year old skin in the mirror, I'll lose myself in the sweet soft, 20 month old skin of my baby girl (much like watching a movie and feeling like you are, in fact, the heroine- until you get back home and see that, nope, it's just plain ole you). For those of you who really want to feel bad, just click on the picture and watch the expanse of baby perfect skin expand to cover the monitor. Sigh.
Oh yes, there comes a time when every child discovers just how perfectly their fingers fit into their nostrils. I wonder if the pursuit of a boogie has anything to do with it or if their explorations just happen to stir up some unexpected goodies! And once you've discovered such stores up there, you're sure to go back for more! Unless that pesky mom of yours catches you and pulls your hand back. Well, she can't keep her eyes on me EVERY second....
One of my best friends gave Brooklyn this pj set which I believe is completely unrivaled in its cuteness. With the pants on, it's all you can do not to just gobble her up. So, in the interest of saving our child's life, we left her pants off. Just kidding. It just wasn't cool enough to go all out. Observe the poise with which she wears pearls with her jammies. I'm thinking she's gonna be a trendsetter. This picture contains several of her all time favorites: apples and jewelry. As you can see, the combination just made her explode with delight!
After shouldering my way through the masses of mothers and grandmothers at Duck Duck Goose and pawing through the numerous boxes of shoes trying to find something I just couldn't live without - I stumbled upon the perfect pair of red shoes for Brooklyn. The appropriate amount of funk and style to please her mom and her dad! And to mix and match with all kinds of things. She loves them, I love them, Kyle loves them. What more can you ask for? I think they paired rather well with her little white peasant dress! And all in all, the package was irresistible. I had to pull her into my lap and smother her with kisses and tickles.
Brooklyn somehow got it into her head that some things are meant to be ridden, whether it's logical or not. Where she got this, we aren't sure. We don't "ride" a lot of things around here. She tries riding the dogs, the cat (who has the good sense to bolt when she sees Brooklyn coming), her baby dolls, and on this particular occasion - her rabbit! What really makes me laugh is when she takes a truly tiny object, like a little Zebra from her Little People's Noah's Ark and tries to ride that. Right idea...wrong size!
After she rides her rabbit into the ground, she does reward it with a kiss.
This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that Kyle and I love to see: Brooklyn showing an interest in anything tennis-related! Never mind that she just loves to try on all my shoes, period (although I take great joy in that, too!). It's a good sign!
I was pleased to see that at such a young age, Brooklyn has already begun to master MultiTasking! She can hold her baby with one hand, rocking it and talking sweetly to it, while reading through her books with her other hand. What a valuable skill!
Although, when her Zaccheus book got really intense, baby did fall to the wayside. Well, a good story can do that to you!
It gives me great pleasure to announce to everyone that the Dennis family has another wedding on the horizon! My brother, Josh, proposed to his girlfriend, Lauren Orr, on September 27 and fortunately, she said Yes! As you can see from the attached pictures, Josh recruited "helpers" to set up the engagement surroundings. Mom, Linda Hargrave, Adam and Brooklyn were there with me to make sure all the candles were properly positioned, the lights strung from the wooden beams and the table properly set for a formal arrangement according to our etiquette courses in my MBA program. Yes, that was part of it.
There is an amazing story behind Josh and Lauren - the Lord truly brought them together! I met Lauren a few weeks before Melissa and Chad (my brother) got married. I immediately felt that she would be PERFECT for my brother Josh. One slight problem. She was engaged to be married within about 6 weeks. At Melissa's bridesmaid luncheon, I pondered the connection I felt with Lauren and mused aloud to her that she would be a fantastic sister, were she not getting married in a few weeks. Over the course of the weekend of Melissa and Chad's wedding, she had a chance to get to know Josh through the wedding party, and next thing I know, she's called off her wedding which was 3 weeks away. Over the next several months, Josh spent 6 weeks in Guatemala and Lauren processed everything that was happening in her heart and sorted out feelings. God worked independently on both Josh and Lauren to draw them closer to Him. Long story short, they are getting married in February!
Hey there. I'm Ashley - wife of Kyle, mother of 5: Brooklyn, August, Dorien, Wyeth and Wilder. New residents of Chicago, my favorite city in the world. We live in an old 1893 home that you'll hear all about as we fix it up and make it home. We are Christ followers, home-schoolers, adventure seekers, fun lovers, DIYers, creative souls and this blog is about our lives.