january mild

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What a mild winter it has been so far.  I feel a bit complain-y but I do miss a good cold/snowy cozy winter.  I hope we still have some of those days ahead.  Yesterday the warm sun felt so good and who could resist sitting out in it and basking in it in the middle of January?  Certainly not me.  I am a firm believer in taking the gifts of each day’s weather.  Still it feels unnatural to move from fall into spring.  I’m missing my old friend winter, the way she makes us crazy toward her end and ready for thawing soil, spring rain, vibrant color, and the smallest glimpses of new life.  It strikes me that maybe we just can’t fully enjoy the glories of spring without the quietude and bleakness of a long winter.

We’ve been back to our usual routines and though there’s always a rub to the mundane parts of life, there is a simplicity to it that feels healing.  Our mornings are full of books, writing, arithmetic, our afternoons full of time spent outdoors, music lessons, tutoring, or running household errands.  We had a fair bit of rain the last few days, and in the glorious sunshine that follows, I find myself wandering about the garden, starting to think about what we will grow this year.  I knit up a pair of baby bloomers for Wren.  They are knit top-down in yarn from local-to-me Bovidae Farm, with a sweet little lateral braid separating the rib and the squishy fisherman’s rib on the body.  They are simple and darling.  Wren seems to love anything I make for her, she loves dressing up and trying things on, so she is always game for new hand knits.  I snapped a few pictures of her this morning in the blustery morning air.  She was very busy tidying up her little house outside, bringing me all sorts of items the older children had left out there and throwing whatever else she didn’t want down the slide.  She is full of big feelings, this little one, one minute ecstatic and the next minute screaming her frustration.  In a little more than a month she will be two and I can hardly believe it.

ps. Wren is wearing the wiksten animal bonnet which I knit in naturally-dyed yarn, and in the earlier pictures she’s wearing her flax light sweater from her first birthday.  Yes, I’m already contemplating what her birthday sweater should be for this year. 🙂  I’m thinking about another Camilla Babe sweater in my own hand-dyed worsted eco yarn dyed with marigold.

a sweet Christmas

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Sweet Christmas.  With all our effort to minimize activity and slow the month down and savor each day, it still flew by in a flash.  It has come and gone, today being New Years Eve, and the next year crests just over the horizon.  How sweet the Christmas season is.  When the children woke up Christmas morning, they opened their stockings.  We filled them with dried fruit, a little bit of sweet treats, rainbow pencils, fun wooden animal pens from world market, a new pack of markers, a christmas ornament, naturally-dyed head scarves for the girls, bunny hair clips for wren, mood rings for Phoebe and Philippa, a new watch for Noah.  Wren got her own beeswax crayons and notebook, which she is so proud of.

Then we had breakfast and our last Advent reading from the book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.  (I was proud and excited to have found pumpkin and carrot muffins (cupcakes?) that were all natural and from a dedicated gluten-free facility for Christmas morning at a local health food store.)  After that we opened gifts.  As much as we try to slow the morning down so we can see everything and enjoy each present being opened, the children just can’t help rushing into it all.  They had some gifts from loved ones besides the ones we had chosen for them, so that made it feel quite abundant and full.  Truly, they have no idea how blessed they are, but then the same could be said of each of us, I am sure.

Noah and Philippa got some new lego, Phoebe got a table top easeland new art supplies. The older three all got nice large sketch books with a mini set of higher quality watercolor paints (for natural journaling, I hope).  Noah received the The Ology book, Philippa got Poppy and Vivaldi, and Phoebe got some new Horse Diaries books.  Wren got 1 is One by Tasha Tudor.  I gave Brandon New Morning Mercies and maybe secretly hope I can share it with him. 🙂  Wren received a Melissa and Doug barn (she has loved Philippa’s smaller horse barn) and also a wooden tricycle which can adapt to be a balance bike.  Not that we need another bike, really, but it is nice for her to have something just her own and something she can ride right away.  Noah received from us a sweet of K-Nex and a cd player for his room, as well as a lullaby cd for he and Wren.  Phoebe and Philippa also received a new lullaby cd for their room.  All the kiddos have been loving listening to peaceful music at night to help with bad dreams or for Phoebe when she isn’t feeling well (headaches and nausea have been happening more often lately).  We gave all of the kids Bird Bingo and a new puzzle as a family gift.  We have already played Bird Bingo so much and I can’t wait to add Bug Bingo and Ocean Bingo to our games one day.

I had hoped to knit a small item for each family member.  I managed to finish socks for Philippa, a slipped stitch tam for Phoebe, and a doe cap for Wren.  Noah’s socks are half done, and I have nothing in the works for Brandon just yet, but he never really wants anything.  I do hope to knit him some socks soon.  Maybe he will be swayed to prefer hand-knit socks if he just tries a pair. 🙂

Brandon and I had agreed not to buy presents for each other this year, maybe just a couple small things for stockings.  We needed to replace our living room rug and I was wanting to do a few other small things to spruce up our living room/entry area, so that was our gift to each other.

Anyway, although it felt like it whizzed past us, Christmas day was really fun and special.  Later that day we went over to my parent’s house nearby and gathered with all the siblings who were here.  I was even able to squeeze in a solo trail run on my favorite running trail in the woods and didn’t see another soul the whole time.  It completed my Christmas to get out in the woods and quiet.  My parents always make the most amazing feasts, and it was just cozy and special to be together with family.

The next morning we all went horseback riding as a family (well, except for Brandon who needed to work.)  I had hoped to take more pictures but I was riding while holding Wren on my lap a bit precariously so I only snapped a few.  It was adventurous and fun, and Noah, Phoebe, and Wren seemed to really love it.  Philippa rode on my mom’s lap and talked the whole way and then said she hated it when were done (with a big smile on her face).

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I hope you all had a merry Christmas and may it be a blessed and happy New Year + decade!

See you in 2020!

so this is nine

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Oh, all the big feelings over this girl.  Each of my children’s birthdays are special and emotional in their own ways, but this girl is and always will be the one to do things “first.”  God is so wise in placing her as the firstborn in our family, she has paved the way beautifully for the other children in her kindness, joy, helpfulness, love, and exuberance.  To know Phoebe is to love her, there’s just no argument there.  People tell me all the time that she makes others feel special, and I think that’s just exactly right.  It isn’t hard to celebrate this girl, but for this momma who just wants to slow this whole thing down a wee bit and hang on just a little longer to these sweet days, it comes with a tinge of sadness. Phoebe has grown up so much over the past year and there’s just no stopping this girl.  She can’t wait to be all grown up.

She’s traded in her love for dress-up with a deep abiding love for horses.  It’s her dream to own one, but she’s happy  just to see them.  To touch one or ride one is pretty epic.  She has slowly been collecting Breyer’s horses and plays so sweetly with them.  She has read the entire history of horses curriculum many times over, has memorized her horse handbook, and lately has been enjoying the Horse Diaries series immensely.  We purchased a few of them for her for Christmas, but also got her A Horse for Kate for her birthday, as well as a horse calendar.  She is becoming quite addicted to reading and devours her books in a day or two.  Every week I scour the library for more books on horses for her to read.

Her birthday sweater is called the Ghost Horse sweater and she really loves it, which makes it all worthwhile (it was quite a lot of feverish knitting).  She also got a pair of roller blades and she is so into them.  Anything we can do to keep motivating our children to be outside and moving!

I made creme brûlée for her, and she requested spaghetti for dinner (though she only eats the noodles plain).  Phoebe loves a good party, so we joined with all her local aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents for a celebration.  It was really sweet to celebrate her together with them.  They gave her sweet and meaningful presents too, and she really treasures it all.  She hopes to use some of the gift money she received to take some horseback riding lessons.

Phoebe girl, I adore you with all my heart.  Happy 9th birthday!  Last year to be in the single digits.  Let’s savor it.

 

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas, friends, family, and readers.  I so appreciate your following along with me here, your comments and support, encouragement and friendship.  I love sharing bits and pieces of our daily ordinary lives here with you through out the year.  Today, we are worn out after a fun, sweet and chaotic Christmas morning.  My heart is tender, thinking on the indescribable gift of God, Jesus, who made a way for us to come to Him in whatever place we may find ourselves.  We need a Savior, and He gave us our greatest need.  How will He not also along with Him freely give us all things?  What rest there is in that truth.

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas time, that He would reveal Himself specifically to you and me both today, and bless us with His presence.

XO
Martha

seven so soon

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My sweet, sweet boy.  In a house full of girls, it can be hard to be the one boy but he handles it so well.  Sometimes he needs some boy time for sure, but he plays well with his sisters.  It has been such a neat year watching him grow and develop and to see more of his personality shine through.  He has come a bit more out of his shell and often surprises me with his strength and bravery.  He loves to move, laugh, wiggle, and play and his energy is truly boundless.  All of my children are active and full of energy, but Noah’s boyishness shines through so often in his dire need for time to just run and jump and play wild outside.  On rainy days, he truly starts climbing walls and bouncing around like a ball.  He is such a delight to teach and flies through his school work, eager to learn and hungry always for more.  It is a true joy to watch, and I so desire to spur him on!  His hunger to learn has made him a voracious reader.  This year he really took off in his mountain biking, flipping on the trampoline, and in fishing.  He lost his first two bottom teeth this year too, and it has so changed his little appearance.  He treasures time alone with daddy and loves to help work in the garage, mow the lawn, and build things.  He loves music and began piano lessons this year, really enjoying learning and having time with his piano teacher.  He loves drawing and coloring.  Lately he’s really gotten into writing letters and he checks the mailbox daily to see if any of his pen-pals have sent him anything.  I see him growing spiritually, too, which blesses me endlessly.  I love to hear him laugh, it truly is the best.

Brandon built him a see-saw for his bike, as they’ve enjoyed some mountain biking together this past year and Noah really loves the sport, especially a see-saw feature at a local mountain biking area.  He actually had been helping Brandon build it over the last few weeks but didn’t know what it was.  It was so neat to see him be so surprised!  He played on it all day, in and out of the house either on the see-saw or riding his new roller blades around the house (I think I got a size too small so we will be exchanging them for a size up, so until then he is only wearing them inside).

We also gifted him his first real bible.  This is so special and he was pretty excited.  He has really excelled in reading this year and when we had family bible reading, it would be nice for him to have his own scripture to become familiar with.

I knit him a sweater of course, but this time he specified the design and the colors.  He really loves my sweaters and wears them constantly at home, which makes it always worthwhile to knit for him.  He had also asked this year for a doll, and Brandon and I felt a little uncertain about it and tried to persuade him otherwise.  But when I saw this waldorf-style doll called a “boy’s big friend” I felt like it would be a good choice for him.  I knit a little sweater for the doll (which he named James) with yarn leftover from Noah’s sweater.  Is it weird for him to have a doll?  I don’t know.  I think he just wants a little buddy to take care of and cart around, and he is a very nurturing boy.  But he also loves cars and trucks, biking and sword play like all boys.  I think it’s sweet that he wants a little someone to take care of and love.

He really developed a love for fishing this year, though we haven’t gotten to take him often.  I was inspired at the last moment to make his cake a little more fun and fancy by adding a few fishing details.  He really loved it.

Happy seventh birthday, my sweet treasured boy.  You are a delight and bring such joy to your parents!

December hush and December busy

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The tree was cut, a wreath was made, decorations slowly placed around the home.  Room was made for Christmas decorations, room made in our hearts, too, for meditating on the Christ-child, the Savior born to us.  There was early morning tree decorating before daddy left for work, because the children just couldn’t go another day without decorating the tree.  There were out-of-town grandparents who came to take Philippa to ride the Polar Express train, and to bring birthday/Christmas gifts for the grandchildren.  (Their grandma crocheted them each a special blanket with their favorite colors and special embellishments for each child like horses, phoebe flowers, dragons, and sail boats.)  We visited the local historic train museum with the grandparents as well and the children were fascinated with the huge train tables.  There were many practices for the Christmas pageant, then two performances, as well as choir practice and then a Christmas concert.  Then we finished up our last day of school, and this week our last round of piano practice and tutoring for Phoebe for the rest of the year.  I’m finishing the last rounds of shopping and preparing for birthdays and Christmas.  Only a few more days now until Christmas is upon us.  I’m thankful for the busy bursts of activity and the beautiful gatherings, feasting, and celebrating.  I’m thankful, too, for the quiet end of it all, the unhurried mornings staying late in our pajamas, with creative messes all around and extra cups of coffee.  I’m thankful for the daily advent readings, the singing of all the Christmas songs, the holy ache for the Savior to return and the ceaseless marveling that He came to us in the first place.  I can’t believe how quickly this month flies by now, when as a child I remember it dragging on so long.  I miss those childish days where the world was bright and new, full of wonder.  May we all recapture a bit of that this season and enjoy a restful and worshipful remainder of 2019.  Noah’s birthday is on Friday and then the holy-days are upon us soon after.  I’ll pop in here before year’s end I hope.  Sending warm wishes and love to each of you!

arbor vitae

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Another year, another trip to our favorite tree farm where we’ve cut a tree for the past several years.  As usual, it takes us hours as we romp around, snap pictures, play hide and seek, munch on snacks, and just generally pretend that this peaceful plot of land is ours.  It does something in my soul to see children running around in all this open quiet space, laughing, gathering found bits of nature to treasure. The weather was gloomy but beautiful for pictures.  It isn’t Christmas until we have our tree, and how nice it is to enjoy its light all Advent long.