Sunday, December 30, 2018

Yopping Update #26 - She is here!

She arrived at 9:18am December 27th, 2018.  And don't they both look just perfect.

I haven't got to hold her yet because the hospital is not allowing any visitors due to a flu outbreak in Split, but thank goodness for texting and cell phones.

They should be home later today.   I can't wait to hold them both.

Knitting is a great way to pass the time while ones daughter is in labour.  I finished something for the baby, and for her daddy, and some tree ornaments for my daughter to hang on her tree when she gets home.

We haven't had Christmas yet because my daughter was put in hospital on Christmas Eve so when she gets home it will be Christmas and Baby and New Year's all rolled into one.

I saw this cute Santa trying to break into a restaurant window near our apartment.

We are doing well navigating the streets, stores, and restaurants near our house.  The seawall is only minutes from our door and it is a beautiful place to walk and enjoy a bijela kavu (white coffee) in the outdoor cafes.  When the sun is out it is so warm to sit outside and enjoy the view.

My husband and I went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  It started at 11:30 and ended at 1:20am.  It was the first time my husband has attended a mass with me.  Of course it was all in Croatian, and the church was filled to capacity.  I lit a candle for my daughter, and we were home and in bed by 2am.  Here is a picture of the nativity scene at the front of the church.

We were up at 7 to go visit her in the hospital for a couple of hours on Christmas Day and then home for a long afternoon nap.  On the 26th there was a concert at the church and afterwards a live reenactment of the Christmas birth.  The balcony of our apartment overlooked the square where Mary and Joseph, Jesus and the animals were on display.  We had VIP seats for certain.

Here is the crowd below us:

And here the kings are coming to visit the baby Jesus (who was a live baby!)

and of course the animals in the stable:

Then there was lots of chances for locals to get photos taken with the holy family:

After the show we spent some time with our son-in-law, and by 8pm he was getting messages from our daughter that labour was truly underway.  I went to bed about midnight and woke up at 4:30 to a message that her water had broken and things were well on the way.

After a few nervous texts with her husband, we fell back to sleep and woke up to the message and picture that opened this blog.  What a gift!

That night we went to her house where her husband's family had gathered to congratulate us all.  There was wine and a lot of laughter.  His family is so warm and welcoming to us.

Friday I spent doing laundry, and housework and knitting more little kits from my simply Knitting magazine.

I will have to get to a wool store sometime in the new year as I am running out of knitting to do!  Gasp.  I know, right?

So, we have a month to spend with our new grand-daughter before we head home.  It will be so hard to leave them:

Wishing all my readers the blessings of these twelve holy nights, and Peace to all in the coming year.

To follow other yoppers check out their stories here.

PS:  They are both home, and I can't stop gazing at her and her Mum.  A Christmas miracle and blessing for certain.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

It is dusk, Christmas Eve, in Kaštel Novi.

My daughter and son-in-law have been sent to the hospital and perhaps they will induce her tonight. 

We are waiting. 

My husband is making pie.  I am trying to knit and keep my mind occupied. 

But we are waiting. 

Waiting for a birth. 

Seems appropriate given the time of the year. 

That birth was auspicious.  Perhaps I think every birth is.

Why do our children come to us when they do and as who they are. 

These are deep mysterious questions to which I have no answers. 

I am surrounding her with light and calling on angels. 

That is what Mary and Joseph did oh so many years ago. 



I can't wait to hold my daughter as she holds her first baby. 

Babies are miracles. 

They are all miracles.

Whether or not they are accompanied by shepherds or magi, snow or sun, wealth or poverty. 

They are miracles because they have chosen the here and now to come to this earth and be part of this story. 

I will go to church tonight. 

I will pray tonight and wait for peace to cover me, my child, and all the earth.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Yopping Update #25 - Finished Objects

First things first - no baby yet.  Patience is a virtue.  Right?


I have finished my Hitchhiker:

And I got 42 points!

I also finished my dh's hobbit socks:

And my first little kit is done:  this cute raccoon bag charm complete with a pom pom and a tassel.

I also finished another present, but it can't be posted until sometime later this year.

It was a good week in Croatia.   Not far from us is this 1500 year old olive tree.

We also went with our daughter on Wednesday for one of her check-ups and the hospital has these beautiful statues in the wing of the hospital where births take place.

After her check-up we also found a restaurant that had.....drum roll please.....Gluten Free Pizza!

Today my husband and I ventured out on our own to finish our Christmas shopping.  We did very well and I am pleased with how my language lessons have been paying off.

Last night we went to a concert in the brce (square) in the next kaštela to ours.  It was the Croatian singer Dalmatino and it was so much fun to be in a crowd of Croats and they were ALL singing along to all the songs.  My husband was interviewed by Croatian TV, and a man sharing a table with us bought me a rose at the end of the evening.  We drank mulled wine, some absinthe and had a wonderful evening.

I have discovered a pekara (bakery) near our apartment and I have become slightly addicted to the chocolate croissants.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I will go to midnight mass in the church beside our apartment.  They are setting up a stable outside our window and I imagine Mary and Joseph will be there tomorrow evening.  We have some food prepared for tomorrow - no meat - only fish as is the tradition here.  My daughter's in-laws will join us for the evening - that is, of course, unless the baby decides to make an appearance.

My love and deepest Christmas wishes go to all of you, dear readers.

Stay tuned - I am sure there will be news of a special birth very very soon.

To follow my yopping buddies check out their posts here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bura Vjetar

Bura is blowing.   It makes the sky so blue and the sea (more) this amazing colour.  The sun (sunce) dances on the water like diamonds.  The wind (vjetar) is fresh and cool.  A perfect day.

After an hour walk we settled at the local Konoba (Cafe) for velika toplo (tall, hot coffee) and soak up the sun for an hour or more.

We are waiting.  Today is the due date, but we all know how first babies can be.  They come in their own time.

Last night we watched a Croatian movie (with English subtitles) and my daughter worked on knitting a little elephant while I worked on a little raccoon.   It was a peaceful evening.

Yesterday my dh and I explored on our own and we found a little pekara (bakery) where I used my Croatian to order us jedan burek i jedan čokoladni kroasan (one cheese pie and one chocolate croissant).

Fireworks are a big deal here for Christmas and New Year so there is lots of big bangs in the evenings. 

I have done laundry twice, and I am getting quite good at navigating the small grocery stores and veggie markets. 

As we all wait on this winter birth we are thankful for laughter and comfortable company.  As my eldest sister said 'If Mary could give birth in a stable, all will be well with my daughter's upcoming birth.'  I know she is surrounded by angels. 

The village is quiet - the locals greet us as we walk by - the whole village is waiting for the Canadian trudnica (pregnant woman) to give birth. 

I like it here.  I like walking on the stone streets as they wind around, and the stone buildings that we pass.  Hundreds and hundreds of years of history everywhere we look.  I feel at home here. 

We are next door to this beautiful church.  I plan to attend a service soon. 

The inscription on the door says 'Ucitelj je ovdje i zove te' - the teacher is here and he calls you.

I feel safe and loved when the church bells ring.  You can hear the bells of all seven Kašteli at dusk.  (They ring at dawn too, but I am fast asleep then).

My daughter says when the Bura wind blows it makes her happy and full of energy.  I can see why. 

I feel it too. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Yopping Update #24 - The answer is 42

No baby yet.

Lots of walks and good food.  A trip to Split to see the Christmas Lights:

and of course there has been some knitting.

I finally started a Hitchhiker:

I have 35 points.  I have to knit 42 points because 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything.



I will write more tomorrow.  We were at a BBQ all day and I am tooooo tired to wax eloquent. 

To follow other Yoppers check out their posts here.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Yopping Update #23 - Reporting from Croatia

We are here!   Mi smo ovdje!

Everything went like clockwork.  The flights all left on time and connections were made.  All of our luggage arrived with us.

And there she was - my beautiful girl and her beautiful belly walking towards us. We had been travelling for 24 hours when we got into their car and within a very few minutes we were at our new digs.

We have walked the seawalk twice:

And here is djedi (grandpa) serenading his daughter and grand-daughter to be

We are mostly turned around into our new time zone if you don't count our 2:30am - 5:30am wakeful periods.

We have had wonderful food both home-cooked by our sil and in the local Konobar and today we did a major grocery shop.  My croatian lessons are paying off (at least I can order water and white wine).

Today we visited a war memorial to honour the young men of the Kašteli who lost their lives during the war for independence between 1991 and 1995.  It was very moving.

There has been some knitting and I have finished one of my dh's socks and have started the second.

So here we are awaiting this winter birth. 

I send you all greetings from our home for the next seven weeks.

Laku noć.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yopping Update #22 - T-2

Well, it is down to the wire and we are flying in less than two days.  It has not been an easy week as my anxiety is in full swing and I have relied on Lorazapam a few times this week.  It will be all right in the end (and by the end I mean getting on the airplane on Tuesday).  If it is not all right it is not the end.  Right?  Right.

On the plus side I finally have some knitting I can show you - because my dh never reads this blog, and I can knit for him right under his nose and he never suspects a thing.  

I worked Monday and Tuesday, and since Wednesday we have been running errands for our trip.  

Today I had a simple errand - to return some shoes downtown - it should only have taken about 40 minutes.  I zipped over the bridge, down the causeway - easy peasy.  And then I saw the sign - 


I had a heck of a time finding parking but finally was able to finish the errand with a loss of an extra hour.  Then it was taking stuff to recycling plus buying some more oven cleaner (and toilet paper) as well as some weird part my husband needed at Rona. 

I got home two hours later than I expected, but the good news is all the errands were done and I had time to tidy up before our house-sitter arrived for some last minute instructions.  (I also had time to indulge in a Teen Burger wrapped in lettuce from A & W).

My husband and I are now sitting in the living room a little shell shocked from all the work, tired, but very happy with the young woman who will be looking after our house and the cat while we are away.  

Oh,, there are still some things to do:

Tear up boxes for recycling,
Put car and truck in storage.
Put cable and home phone on pause.
Let Visa know we are travelling. 
Write up instructions for the House Sitter.
Get my husband to pack his suitcase!
Finish cleaning the oven (see above).
R E L A X - hahahahahahaha

Last night a dear friend called with an impromptu dinner invite to a local restaurant.  We worked until 6:30 on our to-do list and then had a lovely, laughter filled dinner with great company.  We got home around 10:30, and finished moving the last of the basement totes to their designated places.  OMG you could roller skate in our basement if you wanted! (I don't, but one could.)

So that is it for me (literally).  Dinner, netflix and I am certain early to bed.   The next time you hear from me, dear Readers, it will be from abroad.  

I'll keep you all posted.  

To follow other Yoppers check out their madcap lives here

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Yopping Update #21 - Sewing things up

So I finally finished sewing together the onesie that I finished knitting back in August.  This included having to sew in a zipper.  It only took two tries!

I also finished the Surprise and it too was sewn up and completed last night. 

If you are on Ravelry you can see the finished pictures of the two Surprises.  Otherwise, dear Readers you will have to wait until after Christmas!

Other things sewed up this week:

1) I finished my teaching with the West Coast Institute.

2) I finished my three days of subbing in Grade Three on Friday.

3) I led my first Twelve Step Meeting as it was six months since I started attending the meetings.

We are continuing to de-clutter the basement - tomorrow we will make another dump run, and the installer has given us Tuesday as the day our bathroom will be done and the toilet will be back where it belongs (and out of the bathtub).

Tomorrow I head to the last session of mentoring 120 km from home and will be back on Tuesday (and I WILL have a bath in my new bathroom!)

Then we have exactly one week to get everything done that needs to be done before we leave to visit our daughter and await the arrival of our grandchild.

Oh my, it will be a busy week.

(And I have to go to the dentist - ugh, but also get my hair cut - yay)

On my needles I have a pair of socks for my dear husband, and one zodiac potholder.  I imagine that they will become my airplane knitting.

And of course I have to take some projects to knit for the seven weeks I am away.  I am thinking to take some little kits from my Simply Knitting magazine.

To follow the other intrepid yoppers go here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Yopping Update #20 - Should I? I Should.

Yes, it is Tuesday, and yes I am three days late with my update.

It has been quite the week.

Firstly I taught for five days at the teacher training institute, and while it was wonderful and everything went well, it was exhausting.

I did a little knitting on the surprise - and actually have finished all the knitting as of last night, but now it needs to be blocked and put together.

Will that happen anytime soon?

Probably not.

We are getting new floors installed and hit a snag today because the subfloor in the bathroom is rotten and needs replacing.  Finding someone available to do this on short notice has made today very stressful, but hopefully we are back on track as of tomorrow.

Except tomorrow I start subbing in Grade Three for three days.  I could cancel, but clearly we need the money for this little 'hitch' in the plan.  I am such a mercenary.

Last night we spent emptying the fridge and the pantry so the appliances could be moved for the above mentioned floors.

My stress level as been off the charts and my stomach is on a steady diet of Zantac  Oh joy.  Oh rapture! Not.

Also, now we don't have access to the kitchen for dinner tonight - so I guess sushi?

Thank goodness we have a second bathroom.  Currently our toilet is sitting in the bathtub.  Thank goodness the second bathroom has a shower.  Grade Three will appreciate that.

What does all this have to do with my title?

I have been struggling with all the shoulds I pile on myself.  I should go to the pool.  I should go for a walk.  I should blog. I should read blogs.  I should listen to podcasts. I should journal.  I should read that book.  I should study my Croatian.  I should go to bed earlier - and so it goes.  I have decided that what I should do is stop 'shoulding on myself'.  So there's that.

On the plus side all the cleaning of the basement and all the trips to the dump and recycling depot have resulted in lots of fitbit steps.  Yaaaay?

So at the moment I am sitting in the living room surrounded by my kitchen table and chairs and all the pantry jars and window sill plants.  The fridge and stove are on the back porch.  Did I mention the toilet is in the bathtub?  How is it that in the process of cleaning and decluttering it looks soooo much more cluttered and, well, not clean?

I am going to start another knitted present, so also a surprise Knitting is my lifeline when I can find the time to sit and unwind a bit. Here is some hemp for my next two projects.  One will be red and natural, the other blue and green.

Oh, and crying - that helps too.

However, whatever will be will be, and in two weeks I will be in the air heading to see my daughter and her very pregnant belly.  I am looking forward to this trip, just not to the getting ready to go part of the program.  Packing always makes me anxious.

I am sure my yopping buddies will have some cool projects to show you.

In the meantime I will show you the colours of the project I just finished.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Yopping Update #19 - More secret wips

There has been knitting this week on the mystery present - and I would guess I will finish it sometime in the coming week.  I have wound yarn to make two more zodiac double-knit pot-holders also for Christmas presents. 

I bought another suitcase on Thursday so it is laid out in the spare room and I have started to fill it with things I am taking on our trip.  The duffel bag is already filled with goodies for my daughter and the baby.  So much knitting! 

There is so much I want to bring her that I am afraid there will be little room for clothes for my dh and me.  Oh well.  There are stores in Croatia.  Right?

We have continued on our cleaning spree and last Wednesday we booked to have our kitchen and bathroom floors recovered.  The upstairs cupboards and drawers are all sorted and now we are tackling the dreaded basement.  There has already been two trips to the recycling depot and one trip to the dump not to mention donating items to the urban refurbish store and I have another big box ready for goodwill.  I also pulled up the ratty carpet on the basement stairs. Whew!  After thirty-six years in the same house there is a LOT to clear away. 

It will be wonderful to come home in January from our seven weeks away to a clean and de-cluttered house.

This coming Wednesday I start a five day teaching stint - teaching teachers-to-be.  I am looking forward to the teaching, but it does mean I have some serious prep to get to in the next two days! 

I have been journaling my 31 days of Self Love, but as yet it has just been between me and my hard copy journal.  I just don't feel ready at this time to put it out into the blog-o-sphere. I am using my favourite journal by Philip Simmons called "Learning to Fall".  It has so many inspiring thoughts.  Today's question: "Where do you need to slow down and take your time.?"  Oh my - in SO many areas. 

The highlight of my week had to have been the tea party I had with my honourary grand-daughters and their mom.  I had given them a tea set that had been my daughter's when she was younger. 

We made cookies and then had proper tea like proper little ladies!

That night I spent on their couch and the two girls decided to sleep on the floor beside me.  A delightful sleepover to be certain. 

Okay, now I really have to go do some prep.  I have fifteen hours of teaching ahead of me between Wednesday and Sunday.  Eek.  Wish me luck. 

To follow the other intrepid yoppers (who have probably done much more crafting this past week then I have) go here.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Yopping Update #18 - Lotsa Progress, No Pics

The Houlland is finished, but not blocked so pictures will come sometime in the future. 

The present that shall not be named or seen here until after Christmas is coming along very well and I would say at this point is about 40 percent complete.

Mostly this past week (besides working away for two days) I have been cleaning out cupboards and re-lining shelves and I am impressed with myself for doing it and the finished product.  I am on the last (and hardest) cupboard but will finish it on Wednesday when I get home. 

I have decided that I will not be turning the three baby doll fleeces I have into usable fibre, and the three bags just sit there in my closet and mock me - so they are being given away. I have kept enough to make a fairisle toque.

We took three bags of clothes to goodwill today, and five items to the re-furbish/re-use-it store.  Earlier this week we took a big old printer to the recycling center as well as two boxes of used and partial paint cans.  As I cleaned cupboards I put things I never use and never want to use in boxes and they went to goodwill as well.  I have a few trinkets for my honourary grand-daughters that I will give them tomorrow. 

Ah, it feels good to de-clutter. 

And, the kitchen is so tidy I even feel like cooking which is usually my dh's job. 

So now I have time to blog, and knit, and adjust to the time change that happened this weekend.  Ugh. It is so dark out now at only 5pm! 

I student of mine has come up with a journaling journey and has given 31 topics that revolve around the idea of '31 Days of Self Love'. 

There are 31 days before I go to see my daughter so it seemed like destiny is asking me to do some  writing (and not just fretting about what to pack, and are all my ducks in a row for the seven week trip).

Stay tuned - some of the writing may just end up posted here on my blog. 

To follow other bloggers you can see their progress here

Well, maybe just one pic:

This was our Hallowe'en door ready for the 30+ trick or treaters that visited us last Wednesday.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Yopping Update #17 - shhhh, it is a surprise

Houlland is almost finished!   The rows are whizzing by. 

I started a new project, but it can't be revealed until after Christmas - so there is that.

I have been cleaning cupboards, and getting rid of things that are just taking up space and I never use.  I have four boxes for good will with kitchen stuff and books.  And I have a couple of boxes wrapped up with things to give to  others who will appreciate them more than I do. 

It feels good. 

I tore up all the old cupboard liners on the bottom pots, pans and tupperware shelves and when I get home from teaching on Wednesday I will buy some new shelf liner.  It will look SO much better when I am done. 

I haven't forgotten that Wednesday is Halloween.  I have the candy in the cupboard and a pumpkin to carve on the front porch.  I will be ready for the little trick or treaters.

It has not been an easy week and you can read about that in my previous blog post. 

Things are starting to shift in an upwards direction since a) writing my blog, b) talking to my sponsor, c) talking to my sister, d) following my daughter's suggestion to turn off my phone and have a good cry, and e) having a lovely evening with my niece and her husband and their four delightful children. 

Hugs from grand nieces and grand nephews are certainly healing.  So are hugs from their mother and father!  I got to read stories, play with star wars characters, and learn all about the different characters in 'Littlest Pet Shop'.  I have soooo much to learn as I embark on this grand-parenting journey. 

I also was told by the five year old that we HAVE to watch 'The Greatest Showman'.  Who am I to argue with that recommendation.

It looks like we have found a house sitter for our adventure in December and January so we are just getting the house in order to leave it in the care of someone else.  No easy task. 

Otis (our cat) knows something is up so he is alternating between being more skittish than usual, and friendlier than usual. 

So that is it for me.

I am certain other yoppers did more yopping and less fretting.  You can follow their adventures here.