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Brilliantly Britain

Malabrigo March never fails to entice me, though this year I had to curb my participation due to the business of life (3 kids, house, writing, designing, and jewelry sales make for a busy Kelly).

Last year’s big Mal March undertaking was the Brilliance Pullover in Malabrigo Worsted, the lettuce colorway.  It was knitting up beautifully.

However, as the pack out and move back to the states approached, it got pushed to the back burner and then was forgotten about in lieu of other projects.

But as another Malabrigo March came and went and we approached the one year anniversary of our move home, it seemed only fitting to dig my Brilliance Pullover (aptly named my Brilliantly Britain) out and start working on her again.

The knitting itself is so soothing–I love that it’s simply knits and purls, with the ridges mixed up and creating a beautifully textured garment that my husband thinks looks like the most professional thing I’ve ever knit.

But as I prepare to knit the last few rounds, I find myself saddened by the concept.  It feels, in a way, like this is my last tie to our time in England.  The last remaining project that I cast on during our time there is about to be finished.

Has a year really gone by already?  It doesn’t seem possible.

Expect pictures of Brilliantly Britain soon…

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Depressed? Nah.

I’ve had some questions about how I’ve been feeling since Jessica arrived, and I thought it warranted a blog post.  The long story short is that I’ve suffered from bouts of major depression and anxiety since I was in high school, was diagnosed in college, and had a major episode during our stint overseas.  However, when we moved home from England last April and I found out I was pregnant, I quit my medication cold turkey (which, for the record, I don’t recommend…ever).

So here we are now, almost a year later.

I won’t lie and say it was always pretty.  Once I made it through the withdrawal, I suffered from a condition known as “first trimester.”  It wasn’t pretty.  But I don’t know if it was uglier for me than it was for any other women with two active children and a husband still overseas for seven more weeks.

Then, I suffered from a terrible bout of “it’s getting dark earlier.”  It did have me craving a Celexa, but I survived thanks to my fabulous husband and family.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I ran into “the end of pregnancy blues” that are often accompanied by a lack of sleep and severe exhaustion because you’re the size of a house.  But I actually think I managed to handle them pretty well.

Of course, after Jessica was born I was visited by “the baby blues.”  Been there, done that, wrote the book.

So that brings us to where we are today.  And I won’t lie and say that being a mother to three children (five and under) is easy.  There are days I starting counting down to bedtime (usually on my fingers, because my kids have sucked all the intelligence right out of me) shortly after we get up in the morning.  But overall, I’m feeling pretty good about life.

I’m loving every second of Jessica, and I know that’s helping.  The thought that she *might* be our last (my husband is feeling pretty “done” after three girls…I’m not convinced) gives me plenty of cause to cherish every second.  And I’m not sure if it’s because this is my third and Marcus and I have this parenting thing down, or if it’s because Jessica is such a good baby…but I feel pretty on top of things.

For the first time in a long time (ever?) I feel like I’ve got things under control.  I’m a good mom.  Not perfect, but good.  Some days I’m great.

So depressed?   Nah.

It hibernates.  Will it rear its ugly head again?  Perhaps.  Probably.  Maybe. One day.

And I’ll be ready.

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And Baby Makes Five…

…and apparently steals your blogging mojo.

Yep, you got it right–I’m pregnant with #3.

To clarify, I am pregnant with #3, living in America while my husband is still taking care of our house and lives in England, watching the girls, living with my mom, and trying to write in my free time.

Whew. Now I know where the rest of May went.

In anticipation of all the pregnancy questions that may be ruminating around in your head, here are some preemptive FAQs:

When are you due?
Baby #3 should arrive in early January. My due date is January 6th. But of course, we know all about those pesky due dates.

So wait, how far along does that make you?
I’m 9 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

Umm…aren’t their rules about telling people before the end of your first trimester?
There are. They were made up by women having their first baby, who don’t look pregnant until well into their second trimester. I am, however, having my third baby. That means I pretty much started to look pregnant the minute I conceived.

In addition, I’m pretty open about my life, and if something ever happened to my pregnancy, I’m sure I’d be writing about it anyway.

Are you hoping for a boy this time?
Who answers “yes” to this question? You set yourself up for nothing but potential disappointment and who wants to be disappointed with ANY healthy child?

On one hand, of course we’d love to see what our son would look like and what it would be like to have a boy. On the other hand, we’ve got this girl thing covered, and that’s pretty cool, too.

Are you going to find out what you are having?
Yes.

There are so few real surprises in life…why ruin the surprise of your child’s gender?
Seriously? Whether you find out and cry and hug your spouse in the ultrasound room, or find out in the delivery room, is it any less of a surprise? This argument always cracks me up. I like knowing, planning, and preparing. It’s part of the fun for me, my husband, and our family!

So, expect a few baby knits, baby woes, and baby joys in Kelly’s world from now on! It hasn’t been the easiest start to a pregnancy–I haven’t felt too badly, but it is hard being without my husband for these early weeks. Luckily, I’ve had help from family, which has made it much more manageable.

For those that are curious, I’ve also stopped taking my antidepressants. This was my choice, and didn’t come on the heels of any reading or doctor’s recommendation. In fact, I always said I’d never stop even if I did get pregnant again. However, when the “pregnant” flashed on my digital pregnancy test, I stopped my 40 mg of citalopram cold turkey (which I do NOT recommend). I’m not opposed to starting them again if I can’t go any longer, and I’m in open conversation with my midwife about my depression. But for now, though I am still suffering some, I am managing it well. Again, family support has been a huge help here.

I promise, pictures, knitting, life back in America, and the like will all follow in the not-so-distant future…I’ve missed blogging, and you! Give a shout-out in the comments section if you are here!

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Home

I’ve been back in America for two days. It’s only fair to offer you some deeply reflective post about our time overseas, our feelings about leaving, and our return home.

However, as I’m typing this on my new iPhone and preparing to run out the door for kiki’s bachelorette party, I’ll be brief.

Marcus, the girls, and I were truly blessed by the opportunity to live abroad. We grew as a family, in Christ, and as individuals because of our time overseas and the friends that became our family whole we loved there. There will never be the perfect words to express our love and thanks for that.

We return home, and it is just like coming home. But it’s us who’ve changed, and we know that we will carry the blessings of this experience with us always, ever changed by our time in England and our family there.

Whether you call it God’s will, providence, or karma, we know that this experience was in a bigger plan for our family and our future.

We’re home.

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The Final Brit Knits…

I can hardly believe that in just over three months we’ll be moving back to the states.  Our time here in the UK really has flown by.  We’re still trying to squeeze in a bit more traveling, and planning to enjoy the time that we have left with all of the wonderful friends we’ve made overseas.  I can’t believe that I’m casting on knitting projects now that could potentially see me through the rest of my time in the UK, depending on the rate at which I knit them (and how many other projects I cast on when startitis hits).

I’m knitting my “Back to the States” Vest.  It’s Stefanie Japel’s Back to School U-Neck Vest, in Cascade 220, Peony Heather.  I’m about 6 inches into the 8 1/2 inches of ribbing at the bottom of the vest, so I’m making decent progress.  It’s turning out lovely so far, and I’m excited to start the top of the vest for a bit more variety.

I’ve also been working on my mom’s second sock.  Barbara’s Blues should be done in plenty of time for her arrival and our trip to Cork in early March. They knit up beautifully and speedily in Claudia Handpainted Sport, in the Ingrid’s Blues colorway.

Of course, I know these won’t be the only projects I work on in the next three months.  But the realization has certainly hit me that the end of my Brit Knits is in sight.

Three months is going to fly by, I think.

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Going Home, Leaving Home

Today is the day.  The girls and I are flying alone together, for the first time ever, home to England, from home in Maryland.  I’m nervous and sad, but excited at the same time. 

That “picture worth a thousand words” quote keeps running through my head, and I am mentally picturing all the photographs we took on our trip, wondering if there is just one that could do the whole experience justice.

Since I can’t use the one of the girls running down the driveway playing, while naked, this is the best that I can do.

 Good-bye home.  Hello home.

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A-Travelin’ We Go!

And we’re off…again!

This time we are headed with friends for a weekend in the Lake District in Cumbria.  It’s about two hours away, and we will be staying in a caravan on beautiful Lake Windermere.  We are praying for nice weather, and hope to visit the World of Beatrix Potter and a few English Heritage sites in the area.

Other plans for the weekend:

  • Spend quality time with Hannah before she leaves to return to the states. 😦
  • Finish knitting the first sock of my DYO Sock Challenge!
  • Relax…try not to get stressed out about the girls not sleeping or being wild and excited while we are on holiday!
  • Go for a run (at least one).

That’s it.  I plan to return refreshed and smiling!  See you Monday!