yarn along

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Hello friends!

We were away last week to sunny California and I’ll share more about it soon, but for now, our regularly scheduled program of yarny things.

I barely did more than a few hours of knitting in the past week which is understandable because we were busy enjoying family and exploring in CA but also unfortunate because I’m working on a test knit that I do hope to have finished by the deadline in July.  I’m cruising along on it now and it feels good to see some progress.  So, I’m working on a test knit for Norah of FoxandFolk on instagram.  It is an absolutely darling button up cardigan with a peplum waist for Phoebe.  I tried it on her for fit yesterday and it is just going to be so, so sweet on her.  I really love knitting with Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, a yarn blend that is 50% wool + 50% alpaca.  It is so buttery soft, and having knit a few children’s sweaters and hats with it before, I have realized it is their favorite wool to wear because of its softness.  Noah’s last birthday sweater was knit with it and he wears it almost daily when he’s cold.  Anyway, gray may be a boring color but it will be so wearable for Phoebe!  And I’m realizing I need a gray cardigan for my wardrobe soon, too! 🙂

I also didn’t do much reading on the trip, but I am still slowly working through (affiliate link) The Artist’s Way, and hoping to make more progress in it soon.

What are you making or reading lately?

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

a summer rhythm

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We have finished up another year of school and it feels so good to do so!  Last week was our first full week off.  I found myself both happy with the wide open free schedule and also feeling a bit odd/paralyzed without our usual rhythms to ground the day.  I mean, there are some structures that remain in place, of course, like quiet times after lunch, morning and evening devotional time and such.  Last summer I remember hoping to do a lot of reading and hiking in the summer, yet finding that it got sort of choked out as we weren’t super intentional about it.  So I came up with a little loose and easy summer plan, because that’s about all I can handle.  Something very simple, flexible, and attainable, with the goal of providing space and motivation to do those summer things we don’t want to miss out on.  (If you follow me on instagram you’ve seen me sharing a snippet of our daily rhythm in my stories for the last week.)

It all just sort of came to me the other day, so I wrote down the few major things I want to accomplish each week with the kiddos, the things I hope to emphasize this summer.  I’m trying it out and the children are loving it so far.  The part of me that likes to just have the freedom to do whatever we feel like each day is revolting just a tiny bit, but at the same time, I know we can toss the schedule out of the window when we need to.  (Like this week, when we are busy prepping and packing for a sort of big trip coming up this weekend.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share my little idea/venture here with you in case anyone else would be helped by it, or spurred on to try your own little summer rhythm.  On weekday mornings we have been having “morning time” after breakfast, where we do some bible reading, singing, and catechism questions.  I’ve put together little simple binders for each of the children to compile the hymns we are learning (one a month), and anything else we are memorizing or using during this time.  After morning time is over, we are implementing our “morning focus,” each day centered around one theme.  After lunch it is quiet time for the older kids and nap time for the younger two, and the rest of the afternoon is generally free play time, because I firmly believe children need hours of open play/free time daily without the management of their every minute by an adult.

Sunday: worship + rest

This is pretty self-explanatory, but this day is devoted to worshipping with our church family and spending the rest of the day resting.  Rest could look like getting outside for a hike, or it could look like being lazy at home.  Whatever is needed.  For me, it usually means leaving the laundry unfolded and trying to minimize my time in the kitchen, while giving myself permission to take extra time to knit, read, nap, or get outside.

Monday: tend to home

Mondays are days my mind is usually busy with catching up on housework, bills, and such, after taking a rest day on Sunday.  I’d like to pull the kids into helping more with house work/chores and help us all to remember that tending to our home helps to ground us and gives us a nice place to come home to after our fun outings.  Part of life is setting aside a little bit of time to care for what has been entrusted to us, and I think making this our morning goal on Monday helps me feel more free mentally to do other activities during the week.

Tuesday: read

During this time, we just loaf around and enjoy either independent reading time with some music playing, or I will read to the children.

Wednesday: create

Making time for art, hand crafts, baking — these are things that so easily get choked out of our week during the school year because schoolwork and household chores take longer than expected.  Setting aside a morning devoted to the theme of MAKING something together is really freeing for me, to feel like we have time and room to do so.  The kids absolutely love when I pull out paints, or invite them to bake cookies with me.  I plan to do a fun little “knitting class,” embroidery, writing haiku, or woodworking project with them, too.  (I have really enjoyed using this book as a help for seasonal craft ideas to do together that are simple, like leaf pressing, rolling candles, etc.)  Also, just letting them tell me how they’d like to be creative.  I think it’s important to stir up all of our creative juices over the summer!

Thursday: serve

During this day we look for ways to serve one another and hopefully also serve our neighbors or community in some way.  This one requires a bit more forethought and planning for me potentially, and pushes us all a bit out of our comfort zone.  Last week we took cookies to a neighbor, recently we did a neighborhood road clean-up, and we’ll see what other little ways we can find to serve those around us and reach outside of our home a bit.  Maybe we’ll deliver vegetables and flowers from our garden to neighbors, take a meal to someone in need, or offer to help a neighbor with a yard work project.

Friday: explore + play

I for sure want to make hiking, river splashing, or pool time a weekly event at minimum this summer, so this day is for those sorts of adventures.  Of course, if the weather is better for a hike on a day other than Friday we can just switch things around.

Saturday: connect

We often do house projects, yard work, grocery shopping and errands on Saturday, but I’m hoping we can remember that Saturdays are a really good day to connect all together since Daddy is home for the day usually.  So our aim is to do something that day to connect even in the midst of the work we also need to accomplish, whether its play a game together, picnic, walk, ride bikes, hike, visit the farmers market, etc.

So, we are trying it out and doing it without a lot of pressure or guilt.  I’m hoping it helps give us room to squeeze in all the fun things we want to do this summer.  It has been helpful so far!  Do share any fun ideas you may have or ways you’re trying to be intentional this summer to enjoy time together and make time for the things that matter to your family.  And if you’re thinking of trying out something similar, let me know how it goes!

yarn along

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This week I’ve made a bit of progress on my antarktis shawl, but have also been working on finishing up some sweaters that are really close to being done.  I’m wanting to clear the plate so to speak, and it feels so good to finish up some projects!

I started (affiliate link) The Artist’s Way, something I’ve wanted to read for years.  It is really resonating so far, and I think I will need to purchase a copy so I can mark it up and take my time through it.  If any of you have read it, let me know your thoughts!  Happy June, everyone.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along + Nicole’s Crafting On.

words on the wind

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On Friday evening, Brandon took the older kids to a baseball game to see our local team play.  The tickets were complimentary and fireworks were happening after the game so of course everyone wanted to go.  I stayed home with Wren since the game would be starting at her bedtime, far too late to keep the little bird out.  (I tried to convince Brandon to take my camera and get some photos but no such luck.  Sorry!)  After everyone left she and I went out for a long walk and I savored the freedom of walking one little baby strapped snuggly in a stroller.  Able to go my pace and distance, we walked to a neighborhood close by that has a lovely, quiet little lake.  It has been unseasonably hot and dry here for a couple of weeks, but this night as we were walking the wind picked up and it was cool and blustery.  We went all around the lake and the streets up above it while the wind blew wild around us.  I felt myself unwinding in the quiet, able to think, able to listen.  It sounds odd to say, but as I thought about the people who lived in these homes and how nice it must be to live on the edge of a lake, I felt that someone there must be a writer.  I could feel the words on the wind.  I used to think of myself as a writer, writing words in journals (and poetry sometimes too) since my earliest years, writing and writing and writing.  Yet in this season of motherhood, it all feels so muddled.  Even as I type these words little ones interrupt and pull on me.  There are almost no times of day without those constant needs and interruptions except for evenings, when I feel totally fried and weary.  I don’t journal anymore, really.  My most tidy record of these days is this blog, and it is fairly intermittent lately, too.  The writing I used to do is more absent from this space.  I’ve been missing it, feeling like maybe I had it all wrong and I’m not a writer at all.  What kind of writer goes so long without really writing?  I mourn the loss, I think maybe its too late anyway.  And as I was walking along the edge of the lake, wind blowing wild through my hair, I could feel the words on the wind, flying just over my head, if only I could reach up and grab them with my fingers, but they flew by, just out of reach.  Maybe I only imagined it.

With the close of May, and the close of another school year, my mind clears a bit.  There is still the tying up of loose ends from this last year, testing to be scheduled, and the planning and researching that already must begin for our next year.  I can’t ever really turn that off, but I hope if I get some of it done early in the summer that my mind can rest. In the space in my brain that opens up after our homeschool year ends I find myself thinking about and returning to creativity.  I think I will stoke those flames a bit this summer.

June begins.  I find myself standing outside our little stand-alone garage with the peeling white paint, spraying water over bare dirt.  This side of the garage faces our neighbors home and borders our yard and theirs, and I imagine they wonder what on earth I am doing on this neglected side of our garage watering dirt.  I feel a little silly.  I defensively want to them them that I’ve planted sunflower seeds here and I can just see them waving tall in August heat, brightening up this little drab side of the building.  I’m full of hope that my daily watering will bring something beautiful out of this barren dirt.  I can see it just there, in my mind’s eye, and so I stand here and do this work though I look a fool.

I hope to show you those sunflowers one day, the fruit of toiling over scraggly dirt and neglected corners.  For now, photos of our garden.

 

yarn along

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We are having such hot, dry days here in western NC.  It feels like August or September heat and without the usual daily downpour and thunderstorm we are used to at this time of year.  It’s not my favorite kind of weather.  We’ve all felt more cooped up in the house because of it.  It just sort of takes it out of me, and I haven’t felt my usual creative juices flowing.  So I’m sorry for being a bit more absent from this space last week.  I don’t want to complain, we are thankful for lots of sunshine for sure.  But I wouldn’t mind a good thunderstorm and cooler weather!

I cast on today for another Antarktis shawl in Fibre Co Meadow.  This will be my fourth time knitting this pattern (and always right around the month of June!) and already I’m remembering the quiet rhythm of it.  I was just wearing my Antarktis this morning that I knit from Ginny’s special speckly yarn last year.  I have a couple other projects on the go, three sweaters/tops that are just on the cusp of being bound off, which will feel so good!  Hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon.  However, I couldn’t resist casting on this shawl.  The Fibre Co Meadow has to be one of my absolute favorite yarns.  And this color way, called Ladyslipper, is truly the most breathtaking aubergine.

I haven’t been reading much, admittedly, just for lack of time and focus, really.  I have, however, been reading the second Vanderbeeker book to Phoebe, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden.  We are so close to finishing our school year, just days away, and I feel so wiped from this year (and probably the heat, to boot).  It is nice to read something together, which we both so enjoy.

Anyway, how has your spring been?  And what are you making or reading lately?

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

spring energy

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These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago already.  My, how the days are flying by.  We have so enjoyed these spring days with cool weather and have all been outside as much as possible.  We’ve had a few short trips in the last month which is a bit uncharacteristic for us — a visit to Brandon’s parents in Myrtle Beach, SC, and an anniversary getaway to cabin in Banner Elk, NC.  In the midst of that hustle and bustle, we’ve felt that burst of spring energy (and exhaustion!) that everything seems to have this time of year.  You can nearly hear it if you listen close enough, the eagerness of shoots burrowing up from soil, the rustle of leaves sprouting out from limb.  It seems almost audible, the hurry of everything in nature to grow and produce.  I feel it, too, every spring, that sense that we are behind, that we need to hurry up and grow things.

We aim to improve and work on our small little garden spot every year.  This year, it was to put in soaker tubes for watering and to set up a rain catchment system to feed the soaker tubes.   We used an old barrel that was on our property when we moved in and it has worked really well thus far.  Also, we made more established walking paths between rows by laying landscape paper down and we are waiting on a drop off of (free) wood chips which we will cover the walking paths with in an effort to cut down on weeding.

We didn’t expand the garden area at all this year, but I did plant lavender and rosemary and a whole host of flower seed around the property.  Here’s to hoping it all comes up and does well!  Sunflowers, cosmos, bachelor buttons.  I have zinnia seeds as well but no more ground space, so I think I will plant a full raised bed of zinnias (maybe arugula too if its not too late to start it) because truly the zinnias brought me so much joy all last summer.  There are things to love about every season, to be sure, but summer is just not my favorite.  Keeping a garden and anticipating the growing of things helps me survive the summer heat, I’ve realized.

Brandon tackled a project for me updating/redoing our front door area (replacing the door and trim, painting, installing a new light fixture and house numbers) and we have quite a few other projects we hope to have time to work on this spring/summer.  Slowly, ever so slowly, plugging away on this little old home.

Also, I had Brandon take some photos of my finished Tales from the Isle of Purbeck shawl.  I finished it a little while ago but wanted to share it here with you.  I knit it with some local yarn from a nearby sheep farm I visited in the fall, so it just feels extra special.  Knitting is such a joy and comfort in these days where projects pile up and no end is in sight.  It is good for my sanity to work on small things and see them to completion.

Speaking of finishing, we are nearing the end of our third year homeschooling.  I feel so weary and I know the children do, too.  But I was reflecting this morning that I often think of summer break as just stopping and then in the fall picking up where we left off the previous year.  However I had to remind myself that no, in fact, I have successfully moved Phoebe through second grade and when we finish, she will be ready for 3rd grade.  And Noah will have completed Kindergarten.  I felt humbled and grateful to remember that — this isn’t just an endless work, though it is continuous and maybe the lines between grades are a bit fuzzier than in traditional schooling.  The years blur into one another and it all can feel a bit endless, but in fact, we are slowly plugging along and completing our work, bit by bit.

I hope you’re enjoying some of that spring energy today.  Maybe even some clover + chive tea made by chubby hands and offered to you in love.

a horse girl’s dreams come true

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I never want to forget the way she smiled.  How full and happy her heart was on April 23rd, the day she had been counting down toward for weeks in advance.  My mom offered to treat Phoebe to a horseback ride on the Biltmore Estate nearby, and of course an adult had to go with her so I also got in on the treat!  (I haven’t been on a horse since college I do believe, and it felt really good.)  It was one of the sweetest days of Phoebe’s life, so she says, and I was grateful to be able to snap a few photos to remember it by.  I hope to get a few printed for her bedroom. I was on a huge white horse named Pepper.  She rode a horse named Scout, and she still thinks and talks about him regularly.  She hopes he is well and wants to own a horse just like him when she’s grown up.  It makes a momma’s heart very full and grateful to see their child fulfill a long-held dream, and I am ever so grateful to my parents for their kindness and generosity in gifting us this unforgettable experience.  We are truly blessed beyond words to have parents who love on us and our children so well!  Thank you thank you thank you, mom. ❤