It’s hard to believe tomorrow makes two full weeks of baby mooning and yet it does and with it come a return to work and travel for the Mister and a return to normal (or some version of normal) for me and the littles. I’m giving us next week to settle into a new-ish normal and find some sort of rhythm with this new little babe and then (hopefully) gently ease back into the demands of life.

I’m not one for sharing the details of my birth stories but I’ll tell you this little girl was born under the blood moon. The birth was an easy and lovely tub birth and I’d like to think it was because we were covered in prayers and well wishes (thank you!).

the habit of being_10.09.14

This little girl has a double first name just like her big sister the wee lass, family names from the Irish side. And now that we have a new wee lass, we’ve been calling them by their middle names the Magnolia (the wee lass) and the Camellia (the new little bit).

Sorry for the blurry pic but you can see the Magnolia excitedly welcoming the Camellia for the first time. The Magnolia was very excited about this baby’s arrival and hasn’t strayed far from either of us since her arrival. When I came home from the hospital the Magnolia greeted us at the door with her arms up in the air saying, I hug her! I hug my baby! Fortunately for us, this is a calm and docile baby and she is quite happy to fall asleep in her siblings’ arms while being squeezed and kissed on.

the habit of being_oliver

The day before and the day of the Camellia’s birth, Dixie was very lethargic and weak. A few hours after I gave birth, my cousin texted to let us know Dixie had passed in the night. Try as she might, she had been so dehydrated and malnourished and despite our efforts at syringe feeding, etc. she couldn’t quite kick the infection. When Mister went home that morning he buried her and the kids said a few words. Long story short, there was a rescue kitten at the vet clinic where my cousin works in need of a home. She had mentioned it to us in passing, wondering if Dixie might want a playmate. The kids had enjoyed our two weeks with Dixie so much they decided it would be good to rescue this cat and so I came home from the hospital to meet Oliver. And damn, if he isn’t a cute and lively little guy.

the habit of being_9.12.14

Oliver’s favorite place to be is asleep next to either the Magnolia or the Camellia. Watching a movie at night with the baby in a milk coma in my lap, he curls up against her back and purrs himself asleep. He’s learned he can’t settle into the Magnolia’s bed until after she is asleep but once she’s out, he makes his way to her and makes himself right at home.

the habit of being_10.20.14

There has been knitting! There has been reading! There have been naps under our beloved and sprawling Magnolia tree! I’m pretty sure I haven’t been this rested in ages. In fact the only negatives to this baby moon is tomorrow’s appointment to excise the rest of the nasty ‘C’ word from my scalp. On the upside, they should be able to get the rest and I’ll hopefully be done with this and will henceforward wear a hat when I’m out (lesson learned). Plus, new baby snuggling makes everything better, right? And there’s this which I’ve been repeating from St. Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

May it all be well with you too!

  • so sorry about the kitty. you’re good people to care so. enjoy those sweet kiddos! and take care of yourself!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      sarah, if good people = soft spot for cuddly creatures, we are! ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Congratulations on the new additions to the family and good luck tomorrow. You’ll be in my thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Give yourself a month or nine to get back to regular. We only ge these teeny tinies for so long. She is so lovely to see and I think you may stepped in to genius territory getting all the others their own baby. Will be sending you best wishes tomorrow.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Brooke, the animals have helped and have entertained the kids to no end. The boys found a king snake so beside the kitten, there is that (can you sense my joy over the snake?).ReplyCancel

  • there’s a reason that traditionally in the Orthodox church we give the new Mother 40 days before returning to church. Keep resting, what a lot of changes and will light a lampada (oil lamp by an icon) for you! God bless little Camilla, she looks so sweet!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Elizabeth, I’ve always loved the idea of the 40 days…we’re definitely taking it easy and resting but with Mister returning to work/travel, it just won’t be quite so leisurely ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Congratulations Amanda- she is precious.
    I love her name :)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      ha camilla! and thank you! i can’t wait to post and show you the sweater i’m knitting her out of some of your yarn i’ve had in the stash!ReplyCancel

  • Oh amanda she is precious and perfect in every way, I love how you have a new big sister helping out as well. Oliver is a lucky cat and so was Dixie, you did give her love.i know all will be well with your scalp because I’ve prayed daily for it since the very first time you mentioned it.

    And your a knitter!!! Knit some hats for that sensitive head :)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Thank you, Karen! You and your prayers are much appreciated. xoReplyCancel

  • Congratulations. She is darling.ReplyCancel

  • Oh happiness! What a beautiful bundle of love. So wonderful to see this light of a girl in the arms of such an amazing mama. Blessed indeed sweet friend. XxooReplyCancel

  • Thank you for sharing your photos and words Amanda…just wonderful. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and yes to the hat from now on. Take care xxReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Ohhh that face! I could just eat her up. So sorry about sweet Dixie. She was lucky to have you all for her brief time in this world. Glad Oliver is working out so well and a welcome distraction. The king snake I’m afraid would have put me waaay over the edge. :-) Fingers crossed and good healing thoughts to you for tomorrow’s eviction of the scalp lesion.ReplyCancel

  • You and the mister make beautiful babies Amanda!
    You are always in my prayers and tomorrow I’ll be sending
    extra special thoughts your way.ReplyCancel

  • I’m so happy to read this update, sounds like you are settling into life with a new baby (and kitty!) so well and I’m glad.ReplyCancel

  • Congratulations! Glad the birth went smoothly and you’re settling into a new normal. Sorry about the little kitty. :(

    I’d love to do a tub birth but we’ll see. I have to make it there early enough to get in the tub though, so we’ll have to see.ReplyCancel

  • Bless your new baby girl and your beautiful family! She is so squishy and new … adorable. I bet she smells heavenly. I am so happy for you and your family, Amanda! Take care. xoReplyCancel

  • so lovely to read your words here. blessings to you and your family my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Felicia Jones

    There’s nothing better than cuddling a new baby. Enjoy these precious early days, Mama!ReplyCancel

  • Alicia

    Congratulations on such a beautiful little lady! She is absolutely positively perfect. Sorry about Dixie and the extra worries that surround the yucky c word.ReplyCancel

  • Huge congrats to you and family on your precious new member – how beautiful she is! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue the C saga.ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten

    Beautiful, beautiful. Enjoy this lovely time. XReplyCancel

the habit of being_dixie 10.3.14


The times they are busy. I found this sweet little kitten almost two weeks ago. She was on death’s door, weighed right at 2lbs, malnourished, dehydrated. A trip to the vet for fluids and some syringe feeding and now, she’s finally beginning to eat on her own. She loves being with us, around us, on us, in our laps and truth be told, she’s been a great distraction from the baby waiting game. She has won us over, even Mister. I came home from errands the other day to find him napping on the sofa, cat curled into the crook of this arm. She ate on her own for the first time the other night and the Red Bean and I (her two primary caregivers) actually did a victory dance. I think this means she’s staying and well, I’m glad because she is the sweetest little thing. We’ve named her Dixie Belle but call her Dixie. So friends, meet sweet Dixie.

The Red Bean celebrated her 13th birthday and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact I have a teenager. Especially when you consider how sweet and helpful she is and the infamous moodiness of the teen years has yet to rear its ugly head (not to jinx myself but fingers are duly crossed). In fact the only sign that we have a teen in the house is her ability to sleep well into the morning (I might be slightly envious).


the habit of being_reading 10.6.14


We (being the press, Anchor & Plume) released our second book last week, finished Issue 8 and sent it to the printer. And then I tucked into my spot on the sofa and buried my nose in reading something not work related. Escapism at its best.

The first book I read was I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl. Not sure how I ended up with this book in my stack of books to read but wow, what a devastating and miraculous story and a brutally honest look at the personal flaws that drove her to make the decisions she did. I then picked up Crossing to Safety and utterly lost myself in it. Such an incredibly crafted story about friendship and marriage. It gave me renewed hope that we may one day find a couple with whom we could be friends in the deep and meaningful ways the two couples in this story were. The story is wry and real, sympathetic, yet optimistic and full of grace.

The waiting on baby continues…


  • Ah, but any waiting would be time well spent reading ‘Crossing to Safety’ — it’s still definitely my best read of the year (and it’s been a good reading year!). Enjoy these days of anticipation — looking back that waiting always seems to be a magical time, even if it has its frustrations at the time! (And I had to do a lot of waiting for my little ones to decide to appear…)ReplyCancel

  • I never encountered the terrible teenage years in my home, just the sleeping that you mentioned and the never ending need to eat that came with each one of them. Actually I found the teenage years to be quite enjoyable, especially after the breastfeeding and diaper stage in which I never was able to rest.

    Happy 13 to your dear girl. My oldest and my youngest are 14 years apart, but to this day they are still close, something I wish for your babies.ReplyCancel

  • that waiting game is hard from what I understand. God bless and protect you!!!

    The second book sounds esp. intriguing.

    Many years to your 13 year old! I remember my 13th birthday… we were not as health conscious back then and went to a brand new McDonalds and I remember we found pennies in the parking lot…ReplyCancel

  • So nice to hear from you. This little story of your sweet kitten touched my heart, I just love stories like this. Does this make 2 kitties now? If I remember, another was rescued earlier this year?

    I hope this week brings your bundle of joy…the waiting is always the hardest but the patience so worth the wait. Holding your newborn is the greatest gift in the world. All those snuggle moments are priceless…

    Take care Amanda. I’ll be thinking of you.ReplyCancel

  • Bless your heart, Sarah. We have an abandoned cat also. Not sure how people can just leave an animal to fend for itself/die.

    Welcome to your forever home Dixie Belle. You sure are a precious little one!ReplyCancel

  • How wonderful that you saved the cat. Congratulations on the second book publishing as well. I’m so happy for you that Anchor and Plume has done so well!ReplyCancel

  • You are a woman of many talents, Amanda. Way to inspire us all!ReplyCancel

  • congrats on your addition of Dixie, she is lucky and is loved.

    Now onto your teenager….believe me when I say the stories are not all true about teenagers. Enjoy your teen years they are wonderful, exciting and fun.

    No midnight breast feedings, no shoe tying, no teeth brushing, no guessing when they need to go to the doctor… you can see I loved the teen years.

    have fun waiting for that sweet baby!!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Sweet kitty! Looks like she’s found the perfect home. Enjoy your babymoon! :-) Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    Happy Birthday, Red Bean!ReplyCancel

  • Our teen turns 14 next week. I remember 14! I really think that 11-13 are the really tricky years, but maybe that’s because they were tricky for me…your kitty is precious. So glad you rescued him. I have read Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and loved it. Checked out Crossing to Safety from the library….ReplyCancel

the habit of being_banville


“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things – new experiences, new emotions – and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.”
—John Banville, The Sea


I finished reading The Sea early this morning while the Nacho was in therapy and I’m sitting here in the caré this afternoon still thinking about it, still thinking about memory and its pull on us. Banville offers up a character study of Max, a middle-aged Irish man, and as Max probes his recollections, he reveals his most intimate feelings. Full of beautiful, finely wrought language, The Sea is a book that merits your attention with a slow and thorough reading.

I’ve amassed a rather tantalizing stack of books in anticipation of my upcoming babymoon. Dutiful reader that I am, I shall report back. In the meantime, happy reading!



  • and another one to add to my never ending list of reading. Dear sweet amanda, thank you for the ideas! babymoon, how quickly that delivery date has approached (for me).ReplyCancel

  • Katie

    May you have a wonderful babymoon soaking up all the sweet moments! Many blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • The Sea is in my stack to be read, now if I would just quit adding to it!

    Babymooning soon? My heart is filled with joy for you and your family Amanda.ReplyCancel

  • i thought of you this morning and was wondering how you were doing and if baby had made an appearance yet. i was also wondering what you’ve been reading.

    i finished This is Where I Leave You a few weeks ago, still thinking about it. i’m currently reading The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard, i’m slow going, but i am enjoying it.ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Love your babymoon term. :-) Enjoy the last few days and soaking it all in. I’m currently reading (thanks to you) Orphan Train.ReplyCancel

  • I was browsing for a new read last night, and I thought I should ask you. Of course I have two books in progress and a stack by my bed. I just wasn’t feeling in the mood for thoseReplyCancel

the habit of being_reading


I started reading She Rises yesterday (or maybe day before yesterday) and it was work. I can’t remember how this book initially popped onto my radar but apparently it did (I’m guessing it had a lot to do with the cover) but frankly, it isn’t working for me. I made the executive decision to skip ahead to the next book in the stack of books waiting to be read, Banville’s The Sea. I cracked the cover while waiting in line at the café this morning and was immediately drawn in. Really. The writing is exquisite and the poor barista had called my name several times before another customer in the queue gently tapped me on my shoulder and drew me back to the present moment.

I’ll be sure to check back in once I’m finished and let you know what I think. Until then, what are you reading?



  • I love books you can fall into so I hope it continues Amanda.

    I am still reading What Alice Forgot….the reviews are correct, it’s too long! It started out quite funny, but it took a bitter and catty turn which has continued on and on, sigh, I just want it finished.ReplyCancel

  • i finished Neil Gaiman’s Interworld this week (actually, he came up with the story, someone else wrote it) and it was not my favorite.

    but! i also finished This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Topper, and i loved it. so much. i handed it over to my husband for him to read and he’s enjoying it too.ReplyCancel

  • I’m in the middle of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland & wondering why I didn’t read anything of hers after The Interpreter of Maladies — so good! And a cafe & a good book sounds such a winning combination in these heavy with baby final weeks.ReplyCancel

  • I am very picky with what I read! Right now I am reading The Witches Craft, about the old ways (I’m Pagan), and the BB Los Angeles Murders, part of the Death Note series, which I adore.ReplyCancel

  • It’s okay to put a book away if it’s not working for you : ) Life is too short to read books that don’t resonate with your soul!

    I’m currently reading “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway and “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      lyssa, what an interesting combination! happy reading :)ReplyCancel

  • I can just picture you standing in line immersed in those first few pages, completely unaware of your name being called, that has happened to me! A great moment when you find a novel that captures your attention from the start.

    I’m currently slogging my way through The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Halfway into this and I’m still waiting for something to happen. Maybe I’m expecting too much, I don’t know…we’ll see.

    Thinking of you and the soon to be arrival of the wee bean, hope you are feeling great! Hearing that you have your dear friend around to help and give you space to rest brought a smile to my face. You certainly deserve to be pampered :o)

    P.S. Thank you for the offering of Wholly Ordinary. I’m enjoying this course so much!ReplyCancel

  • ooph, that book! I had to pick it up (She Rises) when I saw it at the library sometime last year because the cover just calls to you it’s so gorgeous. but the reading part…. yeah, that was a bit iffy. I did read it though- I enjoyed parts, was pretty ‘eh’ about most of it, and was left kinda thinking ‘huh’. all in all, not my favorite book of last year, for sure. I recently finished Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen and am halfway into Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Next up is The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. cheers~ReplyCancel

    • admin

      amanda, i hope you love the optimist’s daughter — classic eudora and one of my faves!ReplyCancel

  • Guns, Germs and Steel – not exactly light reading :) but very interesting. I’m just about finished with it.ReplyCancel

  • Cutting for Stone, which is excellent!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      glad to hear it, danielle! it popped onto my radar a few months back but i was unsure…i’ll add it to the list!ReplyCancel

  • Almost finished with Light Years, which I first saw here, and loving it.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      so happy to hear it, lisa! it’s definitely a long-standing favorite of mine.ReplyCancel

  • I was thinking I had become a finicky reader too. I keep starting books and either stopping after a couple of chapters or forcing myself to finish. If I keep at it I will have to stop buying my books and only rely on the library.
    I do love all the books you recommended so keep them comingReplyCancel

  • I have become a finicky reader as well. I go through quite a few books before I can find one that I am willing to spend my time on. I am currently reading Dante’s The Inferno and Firebird by Susanna Kearsely.ReplyCancel

  • Ha! I felt the same way about She Rises! I was drawn to it by the cover. I feel it had such potential, but there was just something missing in its execution. Maybe it would have been better if it focused on just one story.ReplyCancel

  • I love posts about favorite books; thanks for this! Just loved Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and of course inhaled the Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon (beloved and found on a list like this). Dreaming of cozy hours spent reading by a fire (or under a soft blanket); delicious Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • I just completed Me Before You. I started out not liking it, initially finding the main character to be subpar in regards to having an interesting personality, but as the story continued I was drawn in to the unconventional Pygmalion like story. Not a bad read!ReplyCancel

Lest you think I no longer knit, I do. I seem to have dropped the ball on photographing and posting about the hand knits though so today, a summer knitting wrap-up.


the habit of being_child


Child’s First Sock in Shell Pattern. Not the first time I’ve knit this but I love the pattern so what’s one more pair?

Processed with VSCOcam with h1 preset

Sunday Sweater for the Wee Lass in a pale pink.

the habit of being_puerperium


Puerperium. This might be for the upcoming baby. Will have to wait and see if the wee bean is a girl or boy. If not, a friend is having a girl a month after my due date.

Processed with VSCOcam with j1 preset

Another pair of longies.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

And I’m rippling for the baby. Also, rippling? Totally addictive.

  • Love them all!!!
    I’ve never made a ripple afghan. I think that might have to be one of my winter projects this year! :-)ReplyCancel

  • I LOVE that you will have a surprise baby. Boy or girl….I wonder! I knew you were knitting. Love the projects and I’m glad you snapped some photos :)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      I’m a big fan of surprises especially with babies! We did let the kids have a say this go around as to whether or not they wanted to know the gender before the baby’s arrival and they voted to be surprised :)ReplyCancel

  • Each of these is truly so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Such lovely makes ReplyCancel

  • The puerperium is one of the knits that make me ache for a baby I live it. The ripple is totally addictive I finished mine a couple of months ago and I already have yarn for the next oneReplyCancel

  • What fun! I love the sweater. :)ReplyCancel

  • Such beautiful pieces! Love your yarn choices. I’ve always heard knitting is calming, but I can only knit dish clothes and that stresses me out! I’m a be crocheter.ReplyCancel

  • You have been busy. I was wondering if you knew boy or girl so now I know it’s a surprise, the way it should be in my opinion.
    Hope you have cool air blowing on you.ReplyCancel

  • Simply beautiful work. I especially love those two sweaters. Colours and all! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lovely projects. Those ripples are wonderful – but I won’t be adding crochet to my crafting right now.ReplyCancel

  • lovely knitting! it’s so calming, hey? your knits are very lovely and neat!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie

    I love ever single piece. The longies are beyond precious.ReplyCancel

  • Bambi Beachbord

    Oh I adore those kitty buttons!!! It makes the pink of the sweater so much sweeter.ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful happy for you Amanda :)ReplyCancel