june girls in their dresses

DSC_0014DSC_0018DSC_0003 (1)DSC_0029DSC_0032DSC_0043DSC_0052DSC_0054DSC_0053DSC_0040DSC_0026DSC_0062DSC_0066DSC_0069DSC_0070DSC_0071DSC_0075DSC_0077DSC_0079DSC_0083DSC_0084DSC_0090DSC_0088DSC_0094DSC_0097DSC_0100DSC_0101DSC_0021I actually got up a bit earlier than usual the other morning, alone in the house, drifting quietly over creaky floorboards to brew coffee.  After a little bit of reading I grabbed my coffee and camera and headed out to the garden, drawn by the light sparkling on the dew in every square of fence.  There has always been something about the early morning that speaks to me, that peculiar early morning light.  With an infant in the house and unpredictable nights, my habit of getting up before the children to have some time alone and in the quiet of the morning has been in flux.  I have felt so harried and easily irritable and just plain worn thin more often lately, and I commented to Brandon the other night that I think it’s due in part to the fact that my day begins with a barrage of needs and chatter, etc. etc.  I always underestimate how valuable that morning time is for me and my own sanity, and what a big difference it can make in a day.  I think I need to get back to protecting that morning time, attempt again to get to bed earlier so the waking isn’t so hard, and to continually remind myself that one early morning hour alone does more for my soul than an extra hour of sleep does for my body.

I’m sharing a couple of finished knits here.  It was a rainy + cool June morning the other day, a nice respite from the summer heat and a good excuse to pull on a cozy shawl.   Brandon took a few photos for me of my pure shawl knit in O-Wool Local yarn.   Also, I knit a girl’s bonnet for a girl close to Philippa’s age so I asked her to model it for me.  (She was reluctant and had to be bribed with a couple of chocolate chips.)  Not to be left out of a photo opportunity, Phoebe soon arrived on the scene in her bonnet and cardigan (that I knit for her awhile ago) so of course, I had to take a few photos of her as well.  I suppose it was a day for the girls to put on a dress and some knits for pictures.

 

yarn along

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I’m feeling a bit of the knitting woes.  I finished up three projects this week which is always really fun (to clear the slate, especially from some longer-standing projects) but at the same time I like to have at least one bigger knitting project that I can just pick up and work on when I need something mindless and relaxing.  I have yarn ready for my first brioche shawl project, but that is a technique that is new to me and so I’m swatching and trying to learn.  It’s really fun so far but I realized I will probably need to step down a needle size and I don’t have that needle size for a larger shawl project, so I will need to wait until I purchase something.  Ugh.  I also have had yarn ready to cast on another karen’s bonnet (for wren this time), so I started that as a quick project in the meantime, and realized I’ve made a mistake so I’m ripping a couple of rows back.  Anyway, it’s nothing big or worth complaining about but I am ready to have a project going thats “in the groove.”  I think knitters understand that. 🙂  At a homeschool conference I attended last week, someone quoted that “idle hands are the devils workshop” (Prov. 16:27) and I was laughing to myself, bouncing baby wren and wishing I could fit some knitting into the time I was spending sitting there.  That verse sounds like a knitter’s excuse.

I’ve barely read any more in my book, Wearing God, in the last week simply because of time, not because the book isn’t engaging!

Linking up with Nicole of Frontier Dreams.

yarn along

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I finished up the bonnet I was knitting last week but haven’t had time to block it or snap photos.  I cast on a Sunday Sweater for Wren for the fall.  It’s a bit early, I know, but I think it’ll be nice to have some things ready for the cooler weather in advance, especially since so many knitting requests come in during the fall/winter.  Not to mention all the winter birthdays we have plus Christmas.  The pattern is very clear and well-written and I’m loving it so far.  I’m knitting for the first time with the Lykke needles Brandon bought me for Mother’s Day and really enjoying them, although I feel like wooden needles pair so well with rustic yarns.  Also, the yarn is dying my needles blue which I’m hoping will come off?  If not, it’s not a big deal.  I love blue. 🙂

I’m still working through Wearing God (affiliate link) by Lauren Winner.  I feel like I get so little reading done lately.  So many things I want to read, so little time!  I think I may need to make mandatory reading hour for everyone in the house, myself included, so that I don’t feel guilty sitting down to read for a bit.  It’s hard to read in our bed at night like I normally do.  With Wren in our room I feel like turning on the light wakes her.  Anyway, I hope you make a little time this week for creative and life-giving things for yourself!

Linking up with Nicole of Frontier Dreams and Ginny of Small Things today. 

home and away

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“The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, ‘I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.’

‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl.  ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful.  There is no place like home.'”

-The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In a recent blog post I shared all about planting our garden, only to discover on this past Saturday morning that the bulk of what we had planted had been eaten by a family of groundhogs.  Our entire day Saturday was spent rectifying the situation, digging a 1 ft deep trench around the garden and putting up fencing.  It was an all-day slog, half of it done in pouring rain and in between nursing and napping babies and feeding children.  It was a ton of hard work and come Sunday, I just wanted to get out of the house.  It can be a point of tension for Brandon and I sometimes on the weekends–he, working outside of the home and eager to be home and rest and work on projects here.  I, working inside the home all week, eager to get out on the weekends and be refreshed elsewhere.  On Sunday he agreed to drive up to a favorite spot of mine on the parkway for a hike and picnic.  No sooner had we hiked to the top of the ridge and he took a few photos for me of my finished Timber cardigan, when the skies opened up and began pouring on us again.  We got back to the car muddy and soaked (again) and ended up eating our picnic in the car at a pretty overlook.  It was fun and refreshing.  But still, when it was all said and done everyone was eager to go home and get cleaned up.

It’s funny how our ordinary days can feel so gray and blah sometimes and we are eager for more beautiful country, but in the end there really is no place like home.  In the end most of our lives are lived in the ordinary moments, and it’s these I’m convinced we’ll look back on with the most fondness.  All the glory we didn’t realize was such until later. I think that’s why I teared up when I read that quote from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz while reading to the children.  Sometimes it feels like we aren’t doing enough, sometimes I feel like I’m not giving them enough, like I’m not enough.  Like these days are too gray and dreary for them compared to all the fancy and exciting things other families are able to do for their children.  I’m hoping that this proves true–that there’s no place like our home for them, our simple ordinary growing-up-together years.

We are wrapping up our final official day of school TODAY (!!!) and with tomorrow’s fresh new month begins our “summer break.”  Now, of course, I don’t plan to quit all things educational, but our schooling will look less like ploughing through the necessities and more like soaking in our curiosities.  I hope to do lots of reading on a blanket in the yard, lots of adventures and hikes and exploring.  Learning along the way, delving deep into whatever strikes our fancy.  Making time for crafts and fun, garden discoveries and kitchen experiments, field trips and camping.  Sadly, these are the things we have so little time for during ordinary school days.  I read a comment by a fellow homeschooling mom recently who said they don’t take breaks for summer because schooling is their way of life and they don’t feel the need to take a break from it.  I’m trying not to feel “less than” upon reading that.  The reality is, the last couple of months have been quite a challenge with Phoebe and getting our work done and she and I both need a break.  I don’t think a break or a shift into more passive learning is a bad thing or gives schooling a negative connotation.  The reality is, learning is hard work sometimes, and taking a break can be refreshing.  Just like escaping to the mountains for a rainy hike makes coming home all the sweeter.  I so want to recapture for her (and I!) the joy of learning and discovery and remind her that learning is a part of every facet of daily life.  But at 7 years old, I don’t feel the need to constantly call everything we do “school.”  I believe that giving the children a wealth and breadth of experience and information will enrich their minds and souls.  I still think they need long stretches of play, free time, time to explore, imagine, and discover on their own.  What better time than summer for such things?  So yes, we will keep practicing flashcards and we’ll keep reading books together, but mostly we are hoping for some fun and some adventures.

yarn along

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Currently knitting the sweetest little bonnet for a gift, but planning to make another one for Wren soon.  I’m playing a bit of a game of yarn chicken and I’m afraid I won’t win, but here’s to hoping!

Also, my copy of Wearing God (affiliate link) came in at the library and I can’t wait to get back into it.  I was reading it at our cabin getaway and I haven’t read anything by Lauren Winner before though I’ve heard authors I respect recommend her.  Anyway, it’s good so far.

I’m linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

planting days

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The last couple of weeks have been busy prepping and planning for our vegetable garden.  We had prepared the ground and then had about a week straight of nonstop rain, as did most of the eastern US I believe, and then we thought we better get things in the ground when we had a few sunny days while we were able.  We are very amateur gardeners really, and still learning a lot as we go.  Last year we did maybe a third of the plot we prepared this year and had an over-abundance of veggies.  (We had just moved into the home and rushed to get a few things in the ground.  Then I found out I was pregnant and was so super sick I couldn’t go near the garden or smell or even look at any of the produce from it.  So weird, I know, but when I’m pregnant all vegetables and basically anything food related make me sick. 😉  SO we ended up blessing our neighbors with all of our organic produce.)  This year we wanted to expand the garden and grow some new-to-us things, branch out a bit from our usual swiss chard, zucchini, herbs, cucumber and tomatoes.  We went a bit crazy at the garden store, as we usually do, finding things we were excited to grow.  Phoebe also wanted a square of the garden for her very own and when asked she mainly wanted to grow strawberries and flowers.  Her science segment for this part of the year has been plant life so this is perfect for some hands-on learning.  We’ve done a few things together from this book and then found this cookbook from the library, which has been fun to read together and pull some lessons from and also learn about as we plan what we want to grow.  Phoebe is the pickiest eater I’ve ever known and we’ve tried many things to get her to branch out in her eating (including occupational therapy, etc).  Growing our own food is somewhat of a necessity because of the cost of feeding a family of six on a mostly grain-free diet, but also we want our picky eaters to maybe be inspired to try eating the things they’ve grown themselves (one can hope!).  Last summer when I was spending most of my days alternately gagging and laying on the couch, noah and philippa spent hours every day in our tiny garden plot picking all our ripe produce for me.  I couldn’t believe how much they loved it and took ownership of it when I was laid out.

Phoebe and I planted a few things from seed which really intimidates me because I’ve never had great success from it.  I feel like planting from seed should be intuitive and primal but somehow I really fail at it.  Maybe this will be my year?!  I’ll keep you posted.  I had seeds for carrots, dwarf kale and purple top turnips, so phoebe and I planted those, along with a few pots of herbs.  They’ve been sprouting up abundantly and that’s been so neat for the kids to see!  And me!  Every time it feels like a curiosity–this tiny seed, buried in the dark soil, this miracle of tender sprout and leaf.  Now, for transplanting things and hoping they take off well from there.

Brandon and I spent much of last Sunday getting the bulk of it in the ground, and I’ve been sowing the remaining seeds with the children during the week when we’ve had bits of time.  We’ve planted a couple varieties of cucumber, some yellow squash and zucchini, green and red bell peppers, sugar snap peas and regular peas, sweet potato, a plethora of strawberry plants, swiss chard, beets, romaine lettuce, asparagus, fennel, basil, chives, oregano, sage, cilantro, (our thyme and rosemary came back from last year), marigolds and nasturtiums for pest control, and five different varieties of tomatoes.  Phoebe planted purple coneflowers and zinnias as well as strawberries in her corner of the garden.  All of the children have been so interested in helping plant and weed.

I wasn’t raised growing vegetable gardens so I don’t have much working knowledge, but I’ve always been interested and awed and somewhat mystified by it all.  Many summers when I was growing up we would drive up as a family to my extended family in Ontario, Canada and usually would spend a few days with my grandparents on their cozy little farm before heading up to the Muskoka lakes.  As soon as we would arrive usually we would take a walk through their extensive gardens, go visit my grandpa’s beehives and workshop where he extracted the honey.  I wish I had paid more attention to it all and asked more questions and soaked up more of their knowledge.  I felt somehow daunted by it all but drawn to it.  Already today I’ve seen all our sweet potatoes tender little leaves have been chewed off and a good portion of our lettuce plants too, so I think John the Rabbit has been visiting when the children have left the yard vacant.  Onto the task of protecting and nurturing all that we’ve planted and hoping for a happy yield!  Right now it is all looking so tidy and sweet, but it’ll be a lot of work and come July it’ll be downright unruly, I know.

yarn along

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My timber cardigan is currently blocking and I truly can’t wait for it to be dry and wearable (even though we are officially out of our cold weather months).  Since finishing it I have been working steadily on my pure shawl, hoping to finish it soon also.  It is now so bunched up on the needles I have no idea how large it is getting, since I added repeats to each section to make it a cozier bigger shawl.  It’ll be fun to bind off and let it spread its wings!  Hoping I didn’t go too crazy and end up making it into a blanket.  It’s a very simple, intuitive mindless knit which is wonderful at the end of these busy days when my brain feels fried.

I’m still reading Love in a Time of Homeschooling, and Phoebe and I are reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which I don’t believe I have ever read.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie growing up, but Phoebe was doing some copy work from the book in her writing curriculum and she was enchanted with the story so we’ll read it together.

Joining up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.  
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