Recently Off The Needles: Baby Kimono

Back in February, my lovely friends Mel and Daniel announced that they were pregnant and expecting their first baby. They shared their story of infertility and their IVF journey to get to where they are. You can read that here.

I decided that I would cast on a cardigan or something along those lines. Mostly because a cardigan would pack a bit smaller than a blanket and would travel a little better from the UK to Australia.

I finished quite a while ago but finally got it into the mail about two weeks ago and as it’s arrived as it’s final destination, I thought I’d share the picture.

The pattern is the Baby Kimono Pattern by Elizabeth Jarvis. It’s available on Ravelry. It’s a really easy pattern to follow as it’s pretty much almost knitted all in one piece (I think it’s just the second arm that’s knitted separately and then joined on but it’s really easy to do).

Monthly Review: May

This month’s Monthly Review. Do you write a similar post? I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. You can see others here.

Highlights

  • I had a number of exciting meetings throughout May talking about new ideas and things that are going to happen. One meeting was with my ex-colleague. I was so nervous I had butterflies the size of Pterodactyls or something! I dashed from one thing to another that day and really felt like I never had any time to process what was going on!
  • Dad and I went out for Brunch at The Longholme, here in Bedford. We took part in a Walking Quiz during the Easter Holiday and we won the selfie competition that was part of the quiz. (Our winning selfie is here. Yes, Jaxon is wearing his Christmas jumper!)
  • Chris and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary. He was trying to meet a deadline for work stuff, so we went out for tea on the Thursday before our anniversary with Jaxon and decided that we’d put a pin in official celebrations and come back to them when needed. The Saturday rolled around and as Chris said dinner was ready there was a ring at the doorbell. Chris had organised at the last minute for his sister to come to babysit while we went out. We went to the cinema to see The Hustle. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was still good. I’m a massive Anne Hathaway fan but feel like Rebel Wilson plays the same character in a different outfit sometimes.
  • My lovely friend Rachael asked if I would man her bookshop for the day. OHYGOODNESS! That’s like being trusted with her baby for the day. I worked in a well-known High Street Bookshop for my Work Experience when I was 15 but that was the last time I worked in a Bookshop. Well, on the whole, I think it went okay and I got over my nerves after a couple of customers. They did come back though when I had a couple of customers come in one after the other asking for recommendations and I couldn’t think straight! Well, I hope the ones that I did recommend found a loving home!
  • That same day we were off to see the UK Touring Cast’s version of Les Miserables at Milton Keynes Theatre. We had dinner at Bella Italia first then headed around to the theatre. Our seats were the front row of the Upper Circle which was an amazing view, especially for the Barricade bits. (I can’t find the trailer for that one but we’re going to see the Staged Concert in London later this year so you can see the trailer for that here).
  • Having been to the theatre, we drove home singing along to the soundtrack at the top of our lungs. When my Mum tried to start a conversation, my brother just got louder – it was so funny! I dropped everyone home and headed home to bed. I got up the following morning not feeling right, but right enough to still go serve on the team liked I’d committed to at church. When I got home I snuggled on the sofa while Jaxon played and waited for the feeling to pass. Chris arrived home and we discussed about when we needed to leave for Spud’s birthday party. He asked me a question and I knew I needed to get to the loo or sink quickly – either way I couldn’t stay sat where I was. Well, that was it, anything I’d eaten came back up and I was certainly not going anywhere other than my bed! Chris was amazing and took Jaxon to the party even though he didn’t really know anyone there. I ended up sleeping on and off for 15 hours in the end once you add up that I slept on and off all afternoon and then pretty much solidly between midnight and about 7 am. I missed knitting group on Monday and cancelled some work I was due to do on Tuesday. We were sure it was food poisoning rather than a stomach bug but in case it was a bug, I decided I needed to stay home.
  • Then with it being half term at the end of May, we were on holiday for a week – yeah!!

Projects Worked on in May

  • Pink Floral Baby Blanket – this was delivered to the receiver at the beginning of June. The Mummy of the receiver shared a lovely photo with me of it being used. The cropped version was shared on IG here.
  • Blues and Greens Granny Square Blanket – this one is going to take me a bit longer but it’s getting there.
  • Juniper Tee by Truly Hooked – It feels like I started this ages ago! I completed a bit more in May but it’s then got put on hold after I lost the other yarn I was going to use to complete it! NO!

Books Read in May

  • 6 Caledon Street by D. van de Merwe
  • The Cottage at Hope Cove by Hannah Ellis
  • Escape to Oakbrook Farm by Hannah Ellis
  • Summer at the Old Boathouse by Hannah Ellis
  • Whispers at the Bluebell Inn by Hannah Ellis
  • The House at Lavender Lane by Hannah Ellis
  • Friends Like These by Hannah Ellis
  • Christmas with Friends by Hannah Ellis
  • My Kind of Perfect by Hannah Ellis
  • A Friend in Need by Hannah Ellis
  • Beyond the Lens by Hannah Ellis (in progress)

(Thank you to Amazon Kindle Unlimited and going camping for a week! Yes I found an author that I liked and had to read all her books pretty much!)

Series Watched

(Not full seasons btw!)

  • iZombie (Season 5 started in May)
  • Tiny House Nation (New show that started on Netflix)
  • Chicago Fire
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • 911 (Mum told me this was the first one I had to watch when I got home!)

Films watched

  • Wine Country
  • The Hustle

Top Posts Viewed in May

Goals for June

  • Catch up on blogging and try to get some posts scheduled ahead of time.
  • Keep up the reading (maybe not at the same pace as in May but at least clear a few off the list!)
  • Keep my Bullet Journal going – it definitely works better for me and is more flexible to fit what I need to go in there.
  • Exercise more and eat healthier (I’m attempting #100DaysofSweat with YesTheory)

Eight Forty Four

Eight forty four is when my Mum rang me a few Saturdays ago.

I thought she was calling to talk about going to the Craft Fair at church. No, her call was more urgent and life changing. Grandad had passed away in the small hours of the morning.

He’d not been entirely right for a while and back in November-ish, Dad had a very matter of fact conversation with us. The doctors had said that Grandad could have weeks but that would be it. Six months later and he was still going but after being admitted to hospital about 10 days ago, it was sort of the beginning of the end.

Four generations: Grandad, Dad, Jaxon and I at Jaxon’s Dedication
Four generations: Grandad, Dad, Jaxon and I at Jaxon’s Dedication

Jaxon, Chris and I had been sat in bed chatting and playing games on my iPad. So when Mum’s tone was serious, I rolled over and sat up on my side of the bed. Chris knew by my tone and body language that something was up. 

I got off the phone and said I needed to go to the hospital if he could look after Jaxon. Unlike Grandma who was unconscious when we’d get the call that she didn’t have long left, Grandad had already gone. I wasn’t really sure about going to the hospital. My brother and cousins had decided that they weren’t going to go (or couldn’t go for various reasons) but I decided in the end I needed to go, even if it was just to support Dad while he and his siblings made the necessary decisions and plans that were needed. 

Chris and Jaxon took me to the hospital and I headed through the hospital to the lifts. I got to the lifts and as I got in the lift, Mum dashed in behind me, she’d been waiting for me in the corridor but I think I’d been in a bubble and sort of missed her as I went past. We headed up to the ward and Dad had come to meet us.

Dad walked Mum and I to the relatives room and my Aunt grabbed and gave me a squeezy hug and told me “It would be okay. Grandad was now with Grandma” We sat in a “relatives room” for a little bit chatting about what had happened etc. We talked about how Grandad had been telling the nurses all about his Great-Grandbabies – he’s got four boys and he was so proud of that fact! (Jaxon is the eldest and the most recent addition arrived just a few months ago) Dad then asked did I want to go and see Grandad. He warned me that it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight and I could leave whenever I wanted to and if I changed my mind I didn’t have to go and see him. I did go and see him. It was good to say goodbye but it was a bit strange. After all the soul of what made him Grandad was no longer there. That had gone and it was just his body left. We went back to the relatives room and then chatted some more. Dad spoke to my Uncle on the phone and they discussed various bits. Between my Uncle being away for work and my cousin being away for work, fitting in the funeral was going to be a challenge but they’d figure it out. In the end my Uncle said to book it and he’d figure out work around it. With it being a Saturday, a lot of the legal bits couldn’t be dealt with until Monday so we decided to head home. Chris had taken Jaxon out for breakfast after they’d dropped me off at the hospital so I headed home to an empty house. I decided I’d still go up to church for the craft fair and went to get my bike out. I figured the head space of cycling up there might be good. It wasn’t that easy in the end and I had to walk my bike back home again just in time for the boys to be home with the car! So I switched to the car and headed up to church, I chatted to a few of my friends who had stalls there and then headed back to the car. I drove along the road that church is on and decided I needed to go and see my other Grandma and Grandad. I just needed to go and put my arms around them and give them a big hug while I could. In the end, I sat on Grandma’s sofa and had a cry. She held my hand and talked to me about all sorts of things. I told her how I’d been talking about her at Community Group and stories she’d tell me about God providing when her and Grandad needed it.

So that was the beginning of April, then we headed towards the end of April for the funeral. The service would be on the Monday after my birthday at the Crematorium, we’d then go for lunch together after. I got Jaxon up and took him to school then came home and didn’t do a lot. I didn’t have time to go to knitting group – I tried to figure out if I could do both but I would have to leave knitting group almost as soon as I had arrived so that I could be at the Crematorium in time. The service was lovely (Well as lovely as a funeral can be). I cried lots through it, I’d forgotten to bring any tissues so ended up using the sleeve of my cardigan at least to wipe my eyes. (Oops!) The service ended with Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise. I got to meet my Cousin’s son for the first time which was lovely and got to catch up with other family members – just wish it had been on a happier occasion.

I started this post back at the beginning of April, I tried to put into words what I was feeling but I’m not always sure it came out clearly and so I kept saving it as a draft and then leaving it there for a bit. So now we’re in May and I’m adding some more thoughts to it and hitting publish.

Dear Friends (on Mother’s Day)

Dear Friend, today I know you’re wondering if that person to have a family with, will ever cross paths with you.

Dear Friend, today I know you’re questioning the next negative pregnancy test in a long line of failed attempts, wondering if you’ll *ever* get to be a Mum.

Dear Friend, today I know your heart is aching because as much as in your head and heart you want to be a Mum, your health or your circumstances mean that you’re not able to be a Mum.

Dear Friend, today I know you’re mourning the loss of the baby you’d hoped would be part of your family, maybe you never got to meet them other than a scan or maybe you didn’t even get that. Maybe you got to hold your sweet child for minutes, hours or longer but now they are no longer here to cuddle and kiss.

Dear Friend, today I know you may sit and miss your own Mum. Maybe she was a huge part in your life and now leaves a big hole.

Dear Friend, today I know that maybe your Mum wasn’t ever part of your life and you miss her for the what ifs so much it aches.

Dear Friend, today I know that maybe although your Mum was part of your life, maybe it would have been better for her not to be there at all.

Dear Friend, today I know it’ll be hard either because your Mum is in another country or maybe on another continent or maybe you’re a Mum and your children are far from home.

Dear Friend, today I know you might be missing your Mum because the path your life took doesn’t line up with what your Mum wanted for your life.

Dear Friends, today I know you might be avoiding church so you don’t have to deal with what Mother’s Day brings to some churches, or maybe you’ve battened down the hatches and you’re not leaving your bed so today can be skipped and ignored.

Dear Friends who have been my “Second Mums”, thank you for adopting me and taking me along on this journey of life. Thank you for hugging me when I’ve cried, feeding me when I’m hungry, giving me a drink when I’m thirsty. Thank you for looking out for me along the way.

Dear Friends, I wish I had a magic wand or something to answer your prayers and wishes but I don’t. I do however have hugs for those who need them. I have shoulders to be cried on. I’m not going to win a Michelin Star and it might just be a frozen pizza or microwaved pasta but you know that if you come to mine and need feeding I’m on the case. I’ll never win Bake Off but I’ll track down or make some cake or biscuits if the situation calls for it. I don’t drink tea or coffee but if that’s your beverage of choice you can bet the kettle will be on for a cuppa. (And at the moment if wine is your beverage of choice I can actually do a glass of that!)

Dear Friends, today will be hard for some of you maybe for the reason above or maybe it’s something else but if you know me in person, come find me, I’ve got a hug and a smile for you.

Friends you are lovely. Share the love, spread some happy, let’s celebrate our friends, those who encourage us along like sisters or those who take us under their wings like a mother.

Drawing by Mari Andrew

Monthly Review: February

Highlights

  • Started the month with a Skype call with a new client. That was exciting. Another meeting with a client/friend, just needing some help finding her way around WordPress so it was just a couple of quick questions but it was good to have a little catch up too. And then another couple of meetings around current work and new work. Just hope this continues.
  • The Mummies from school went out for dinner. It was a lovely little gathering. It was great to get to know a few of the mums a bit better than just the small talk we do around the school gates.
  • Jaxon’s school had a special little party to celebrate Chinese New Year as they’d been learning about it. We had some food and they sang a song (unfortunately I missed that bit as I was running behind)
  • We had snow forecasted then the following week it was like 16/17C and we could go out without our coats – crazy times!
  • Jaxon had a Parents Consultation which was good to hear what he’s been doing at school. It was good to chat to his teacher and clarify some bits around the work Jaxon is set home with each week.
  • We had a week off from school as it was half term. Chris was able to take Tuesday off work and have Jaxon while I was in Birmingham (Part One is here, Part Two is still coming!). Our Sidekick was really good too and was able to babysit Jaxon while Chris came to the station to get me.
  • Also did practical things like changing broadband provider and finally got the energy supplier changed. I had an eye test too. The lady was super helpful. I didn’t need new glasses but my prescription has changed fractionally so she wanted me to keep an eye (haha!) on it and if my sight changes at all to go back even if my test isn’t due.

Top Posts Viewed in February

Goals Set for February – and the Progress

  • Continue with walking 1000 miles challenge. So February’s target was 76.9 miles. With Chris working from home at the moment, I’ve had the car more which is great but does mean I haven’t been walking as many miles a usual. According to Fitbit, I completed 89.14 miles – this would be total rather than just going out for specific walks. I’ve slacked off a bit this month but hopefully, I can get that back in March.
  • Clear more WIPs from the knitting/crochet pile. I got up to the lace section on the Northern Lights Shawl and it just wasn’t working. Somewhere along a repeat I got it wrong so I tried un-doing it to start that bit again but it really wasn’t agreeing with me so I ended up frogging the whole thing and trying a different pattern instead. It’s a shame given how many hours of knitting had already gone into it but the new project knitted up quicker so I’m getting there on those two. I didn’t do much work on the Stormy Skies Jumper but hopefully I can come back to that in March if there’s time.

Goals for March

  • Continue with walking 1000 miles challenge. Try to get over 100 miles in the month again.
  • Give blood
  • Work on #40Acts for Lent.
  • Clear more WIPS from the knitting/crochet pile.
  • Find patterns that can be used as stashbusters.