summer fun

All the little moments, their childish messes and the general disarray of our home with busy little people constantly at play. These are things I don’t want to forget. Seasons will come and go and the phases they are currently in fade quietly into the next. I was putting wren to bed today and remembered how when she was first learning to talk she would wake up in the mornings and say first thing, “Goo’ morning mom!” in the voice she uses when she’s trying to sound big. I loved it so much that when I put her to bed at night I would always say, “And don’t forget to say ‘good morning mom’ when you wake up.” Before I could even finish saying it she would say “I not forget!” so fast and then I would tickle her. Then she began to tease me and say “I forget,” knowing she would be tickled. I still remind her when I put her to bed and she still says it every morning when she wakes up but now her little voice is different and she doesn’t say “I not forget” anymore and I so wish I had recorded it sometime on camera so that I can not forget. Now she will just say as fast as she can “Forget” and “sbasket” (which is how she says “basket”) just to get tickled as I’m putting her to bed. I love the little years. Hard as they have been at times they have brought so much joy and I don’t want them to end!

Phoebe did drama camp this summer. We were grateful it was offered! She had a great week and played the part of an evil knight in the play. She did a great job! I always admire the ease with which she is on stage performing in front of others. Noah and Philippa did a week of basketball camp (Crossfire Ministries). They were a little overwhelmed at the beginning and balked at going after the first day, but they learned a ton and had a really special week together. It sparked in both of a them a new love for the sport and they have been practicing their drills at home.

In other summer news, my sister and her children visited for about 2 1/2 weeks from British Columbia, Canada. It was a really fun time together reconnecting after three years of not seeing one another and a lot of changes and challenges in our families during that time. It was really precious to be with my niece and nephews, have a lot of pool time and play at my parents house together. We had a picnic one weekend and met my brother and his family there to meet their brand new adopted daughter, Eliana Joy. She was born two months premature and is so tiny in these photos. We loved getting to see her and hold her finally! And we look forward to doing so again soon. (I can’t share photos of her face yet until all things are final.) More summer fun to share in the next couple of posts, I’m trying to catch up after so much busyness and very little time to blog about it all.

I hope you are well and enjoying the final bits of summer!

fires and fireflies

Early July and humid summer nights when darkness comes slowly,
bringing the flicker of the firefly.
All across our yard we see them dance,
little girls in white gowns dancing after them.
Four little children each with their own jar,
squealing delight as they capture this gentle fire in their own glass lanterns.
The first fire of the summer in our new fire ring,
the first evening chasing fireflies.
All this light brightening up the dark, cheering hearts
and bringing quiet peace and joy.
And these precious, simple summer evenings
at home together while they are ten, eight, six, and three,
moments that blaze bright and then flicker away.

yarn along

We are nearing the end of July and a very hot week is predicted for us next week. I’ve been knitting away all the same, knowing soon my knitting time will be overtaken with sweaters for the kids fall/winter birthdays. I had some birthday money and was able to purchase some yarn for a couple sweaters for myself. After finishing the Misurina tee recently as well as the Ginny cardigan (still working on the belt for it), it was time to cast on a new garment! The snowy forest sweater was one I’ve wanted to knit since the design was published. You know how a garment just makes your heart stop a bit when you see it, something about the design calling to you? Well, that’s how this was. It’s my first time knitting a sweater with mohair held together with the yarn and it really is quite extravagant and luxurious. I was a little intimidate by the cable yoke because I haven’t done a ton of work with cables. It is working up so quickly and is really so very easy! I cannot wait to have this one to wear, at the same time I’m enjoying the process so much I don’t want it to end.

Meanwhile I’ve got a lot of other little projects on my needles that I’m working on here and there. I finished the first brambleberry sock and still haven’t cast on the second, need to soon. I knit some premie sized socks for my brand new niece who I hope to share more about soon, when all the adoption details are finalized. I cast on a summer tank for myself to use some cotton yarn I won in a giveaway last year. Will it be finished in time to wear during this summer? I hope so!

I’ve still been reading At Home in Mitford (affiliate link), very much so enjoying it. It’s just a delight to finally get into this series and to escape to Mitford at day’s end.

We’ve been busy lately with family in town, but I do hope to share a regular old blog post soon. What have you been up to in July? Are you in a bit of a heat wave like us? Are you inspired to be creative or to knit, or does the heat put a damper on that for you? What good books are you reading? Share if you’d like!

Blessings!
Martha

yarn along

July has started off cooler than I remember in years past, which has been welcome. Yesterday was a typical hot July day, today the clouds hang low and threaten rain. The rainy days are always a treat both because the watering of the garden is done and because the rain invites more rest. Our sunroom has a metal roof and it is the coziest spot to be in a thunderstorm.

It is so nice in the summer season to have a bit more time for relaxing, reading, and knitting, though I admit I have a hard time giving myself permission to do so. There is so much to catch up on in the summer months and I know how busy and tiring the school year is and how little energy I have for extra projects once school is underway. Anyway, I am enjoying the extra knitting time and trying to crank out projects that have been waiting in my brain for months. I have two sweater projects on the needles that are very nearly done, just sleeves to finish up. And two pairs of socks that are also about to be done. I cast on these brambleberries socks, lacey shortie socks perfect for summer. I wanted to cast these on about a year about but I guess that’s how long it takes me to get to projects on my wish list these days! I don’t mind a bit though, knitting is a slow craft. These socks are already proving to be an enjoyable knit. I forgot how quickly shortie socks go as you finish the cuff and go directly into the knitting the heel flap. I expect these will be off my needles quickly!

I finished reading Stillmeadow Seasons, a sweet and seasonal journal of sorts from the author’s farm over the course of a year. It was a lovely bedtime read, just what I’ve been needing lately. I found At Home in Mitford at a thrift store recently and have never read the series (I know, I’m very late to the party). It seemed like the right time to start it! I’m just a couple of chapters in but I already look forward to picking it up in the evenings.

I hope your July has started off well, with summertime projects and books at the ready.

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summer is for

Summer is for breathing, for catchup up, for catching all the spinning plates that seem to have fallen in the busy crush of the year.

Summer is for stepping back, of evaluating, re-examining, re-connecting. Summer is for celebrating, for sucking the marrow out of the bones.

Summer is for abundant strawberries made into an old favorite dessert, Strawberry Oat bars. Summer is the time for my birthday and we celebrated by spending a day in the woods and river in nearby Montreat, NC, staying for a picnic afterwards. Brandon built me a beautiful cedar box for my birthday to store my hand knit socks. I love it! Summer is for washing and tucking away everyone’s hand knits and cleaning closets + pantries.

Summer is for taking stock of the past school year, ruminating on what worked and didn’t work well, adjusting and beginning to dream about the new school year ahead. It is important for me to step back and refresh my soul in the space.

Meanwhile, as the pressure of school and extracurricular activities lifts, tasks, projects, and plans surface that have been lying dormant. There is mental room and energy to tackle that closet that has been bursting at the seams with scattered shoes and coats.

I knit slippers for my dad that needed to be fixed (the original pattern turned out way too large and floppy) years ago. Here I am finally picking them up and mending them in hopes of having them ready for Father’s Day (success!).

I scribble down jobs around the house on paper for chore charts I printed off and laminated last fall. Now maybe I can implement this simple chore system and have the kids practicing a new routine well before school picks up in the fall and our busy days begin again. Hopefully by then what is now new will be routine.

Sometimes, oftentimes, perfection is the enemy of good, or good enough at least. I want it all to be running smoothly and organized. But projects nearly always take longer than I anticipate, and if I can just slow down and let be what is, not giving up entirely because it isn’t all achievable, and instead welcome slow and steady progress, then slow and steady progress can be made.

I paint the corner of wall in our kitchen that has been a light icky shade of green since we moved in. It takes a full day in between other demands to get this section painted, the trim and the door still need to be painted. Another day I work on painting the new peg rail and pegs, and finally it’s ready for Brandon to hang. Every little step takes time, and every little step brings more pleasure than I expected.

Brandon works on clearing a space for a fire pit so we can dismantle the junky cinderblock fire pit that has been in the middle of our yard since we moved in. We still need to work on the fire pit in the center but it is already such a huge improvement!

Slowly this little old house is coming to be what we imagined and what feels like more of an expression of who we are.

And in the process of all the life happening in the midst–all the “interruptions” to our plans–we are learning to slow down. To see this moment. It’ll never come again. Tomorrow I will be older than I am today. So will my children. A year passes in days. Today is the end of June, the sweet and gentle beginning of summer.

yarn along

Welcome, June! Welcome, summer. I know, it’s technically not summer yet but it sure does feel like it. School is wrapped up for us, we went away for a long weekend to the beach, the heat and humidity have already increased dramatically, and our garden is starting to burst and produce. Does it feel like summer where you are?

I have been busy knitting on a few things but am trying to focus on my Kiiruna shawl since the knit-along I’m participating in with this is about to wrap up on the summer solstice. I’m just about done with the garter triangle of the shawl and ready to move onto the lace border. This yarn is so lovely! Even though warmer days are upon us, I plan to wrap up in this shawl in the early mornings in our sunroom where I read and start the day with candlelight and coffee.

I’ve been reading Stillmeadow Seasons upon recommendation of an instagram friend, Genialhearth. Over the years I have loved all the quotes she has shared from Gladys Taber and it is a quieting delight to settle into this book as I settle into bed at night.

What might you be reading and knitting or making lately?

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spring projects

These pictures are from the past several weeks and it is amazing how much has changed in our garden and in the natural world around us in that matter of time. The early blooms of the willow and the bradford pear have given way to green leaves. The lilac is almost ready to bloom. Daffodils, snowdrops, and crocuses are on their way out. My beautiful tulips and are mostly done. The forsythia lining the neighbors shed, just beginning to be visible in these pictures, has long since brilliantly bloomed and greened out. Now the peonies are beginning to grow, the bachelor’s buttons, mustard greens, and one little beet plant are growing rapidly in the garden. We’ve weeded and prepared the soil, and last weekend I spent the better part of Saturday shoveling compost over the garden and the other beds around our home. Coneflowers and poppies are beginning to come back, the flag iris, and the strawberries. Asparagus have already been sending up their shoots. Such a lively and vibrant time it is. Soon we will plant in the garden vegetables and herbs, but we’re waiting a few more weeks.

Meanwhile, we’ve been carrying on with school. It’s the time of year when we are all feeling really weary and ready for a hard stop. I’m grateful for the garden season which gives us a sense of freshness and an eagerness to learn outside in the growing of things. Philippa and I enjoyed working on her bird puzzle and Noah worked eagerly on his ocean anatomy puzzle. Wren actually helped a lot of with Noah’s puzzle and did surprisingly well finding pieces and putting it together. We’ve pulled out the paints a number of times on rainy days or just for fun. I try to be willing to pull out the paints whenever the kids ask, even though sometimes I don’t feel I have the energy for it. They love it and honestly create such beautiful little works of art. Next week we plan to take a week off for a late spring break and then we really only have a few more weeks until our school year should be done. The end is in sight! Not that I don’t love and cherish these times of learning together. But it is a lot of work for all of us and it’s always so good to step away for a bit.

Another project we began back in the fall but finished up earlier this spring was a small facelift in our bathroom. I’ll share some before and after photos below.

We still plan to fully gut this bathroom at some point, but in the meantime I just wanted to make a few changes to make it more our style. The janky medicine cabinet mirror/light drove me crazy and buzzed loudly whenever it was on. I didn’t love the shoddy paint job the previous owners had done. We had a bit of this dark evergreen paint left from painting our front door and so we used it in the bathroom which I really love. Brandon built the vanity from a piece of live-edge slab that he had, and I picked out the vessel sink and faucet (sink, faucet, light fixture and mirror all from Wayfair). Down the road when we do a bigger renovation of the shower and floor these pieces will still work in the space hopefully. We’re really happy with it and I’m buzzing with all that spring energy, wanting to tackle a lot of other projects around the house.

a happy Easter

Easter Sunday was extra special this year. Last year we didn’t gather with family or friends so the celebration that we felt this year was even greater. What a joy to be with other believers celebrating the risen Lord Jesus together! We joined my brother and his family at their church for an outdoor service because my niece, Athaelia, was going to be baptized. It’s just hard to beat that kind of joy, friends. It was a very sweet and memorable day!

After worship we gathered at my parent’s house for Easter lunch and the kids did a small egg hunt. My parents always do such phenomenal meals, this one was no exception. Roasted lamb with a citrusy fresh salad, roasted parsnips and potatoes. I made a gluten free carrot cake for dessert for the kids and my mom made creme brûlée. So delicious! Best of all was the reason for our gathering and the freedom to do so.

“May this shared meal, and our pleasure in it,
bear witness against the artifice and deceptions
of the prince of the darkness that would blind this world to hope.
May it strike at the root of the lie that
would drain life of meaning, and
the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.

May this our feast fall like a great hammer blow
against that brittle night,
shattering the gloom, reawakening our hearts,
stirring our imaginations, focusing our vision
on the kingdom of heaven that is to come,
on the kingdom of heave that is promised,
on the kingdom that is already,
indeed, among us,
For the resurrection of all good things
has already joyfully begun.”

(Excerpt from Every Moment Holy, A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends)

With full hearts, we headed back home where we had our own little egg hunt planned for the kids per usual. My favorite is when they sit on the ground afterward with all their loot and sort through their goodies. We snapped a quick family picture which I will treasure. The brilliant hues of new growth, the persistent reach of vibrant blooms, the smell of fresh grass and lilac on the warming breeze. It is so good to revel in these spring things.

From last Easter till now the Lord really has done a great work in my little family, and continues to bring new life to places that needed reviving. Truly,

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. (Psalm 126:3)

Happy Easter, friends. He is Risen! And no matter what else we are facing, no matter what else is true in our lives, this is true. Death is defeated, we have hope and life because of it.

yarn along

I’ve finished up a few projects lately, and cast on a couple, too. I’ve had the yarn to knit a Ginny sweater for awhile and since I am almost done with my morchella cardigan, it seemed good to cast on another garment. Everything is done on my morchella except sewing on the button band, which I’ve been putting off. I do intend to get done in the next couple of days. It has been really lovely to work with the nightshades yarn, I love the blue-black color and it is very soft and squishy.

Still reading mostly in Delighting in the Law of the Lord lately and finding it a great comfort and encouragement.

Do share with me what you’ve been reading and making lately if you want!

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catching up on Christmas

Hello!  

I didn’t mean to be away from this space for so long.  I have continually struggled to find time and energy to post lately.  I hope you can bear with me as I try to catch up on sharing a little of our Christmas day with you.  The best surprise of Christmas was waking up to snow!  If memory serves me well, the last white Christmas we had was when we brought Phoebe home from the hospital 10 years ago.  Our Christmas morning was sweet and always a little chaotic too, as children try to contain their excitement.  As I looked back over these photos, it made me smile seeing how they enjoyed one another.  We bought a book for each child and one toy item, as well as stocking stuffers.  We focused a bit more on family gifts this year, gifting them all a slackline kit, a special bird feeder that hopefully brings the birds a bit closer to our view, a rubbery road set to add to our trains/blocks collection, and a couple of puzzles. Everything was well loved.  I gave Brandon a drone, and he gifted me a sweater’s quantity of the loveliest rusty red yarn to knit a sweater I’ve had my eye on.  It was a treat to have some time to knit Christmas afternoon after all the children trotted off to add their toys to their rooms or take them outside to play.  

The Christmas season seemed to fly by even more so this year, a year where it seemed everyone wanted to hold onto it as long as possible.  We still have a few fairy lights and bottle brush trees around our house to brighten the bleakness of winter.  We have much to be grateful for even despite the tumultuous year behind us.