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?

Amazon links are affiliate links.

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!

Amazon links are affiliate links.

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.

yarn along

Christmas season came and went in such a hurry it seems. I still have photos to share about our holiday season, but am finding it hard to make time to get on here and do so. I received a sweater’s quantity of peace fleece DK in the color way “sheplova mushroom” to knit a morchella cardigan. I watched for it on Christmas day and cast on sometime around then. I want this cardigan in my wardrobe so badly, and thought it would be more of a product knit versus a process knit, anticipating it would knit slowly and be a bit tedious. However I have been so, so enjoying the process of knitting this sweater. I can’t quite explain it. It’s just the only thing I want to work on and there’s something deeply comforting in returning to it at the beginnings of endings of my days. It’s familiar, easy, and such a long bit of knitting, yet the excitement to have the finished piece moves me continually forward. These are strange times we find ourselves in, and I must say I have been battling a lot of discouragement. Life for me lately is pared back down to the basics and my words feel few and also terribly small and unimportant, especially in the wider world of the internet. Maybe it’s a bit of an existential crisis. From what I gather, I think many of us are struggling a bit right now. I am finding grounding in the scriptures, in quiet spaces, in observing nature around me and spending time in it, in my knitting, in the company of trusted friends and loved ones.

I’m slowly making my way through Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark. I am mostly enjoying it, and am curious to see where the story goes, but I feel like I’m reading it very slowly. Have you read it? If so, what did you think? Some fiction has definitely been a welcome reprieve in the evening before bed.

How are you? Are you reading good books, making things with your hands?

Sending love to you today, friends, and trusting that the Light can overcome the darkness any one of us may be facing.

xo
Martha

December festivities

Forgive me while I catch up here on all the December happenings! It feels like I haven’t had a free day at home to do so all month. Today is the day before Phoebe’s birthday and I have wrapped all gifts and plan to make her birthday dessert today so that tomorrow can be a little less stressful.

The first two weeks of December were busy with wrapping up our last bits of school before taking a nice long break. Phoebe’s choir had a Christmas concert (done safely with social distancing and masks where needed) and it was something special to hear their beautiful voices and various girls’ instruments after such a year of isolation. A few days later Noah and Phoebe had a piano recital, their first one in person after a zoom spring recital. What a good experience for them to play their pieces in front of a (small) audience! My camera was acting up and I didn’t get many photos of Noah playing sadly.

The first weekend of December I threw a very small joint birthday party for Noah and Phoebe. Not one to usually do parties, I’m so glad we did. It was very sweet for them to have three of their close friends over (that we already regularly see). Phoebe wanted to have an American doll tea party, and I wonder if this might be the last year she is into dolls? She did all of the setup, made little place cards and assigned seats, while I prepared a few little snacks for the girls to enjoy. I think it was really fun! Meanwhile, Brandon met Noah’s friends at a nearby mini golf course and they played a round of mini golf together and had cupcakes there. I was bummed to not be able to be there, but the point was to give the kids some time with their friends and there was no other way to make two parties happen this month! I’m pretty pleased with how it all went.

Meanwhile, Brandon and I have started just a small update on our tiny master bathroom. We haven’t done anything to it since buying the home three years ago and it is quite an eyesore. I will share better “before and after” pictures once we finish this first phase of updating (these are all “before”). We hope to eventually remodel the bathroom entirely, but in the meantime I had a can of paint leftover from painting our front door and I felt that it would make a big difference just to repaint the wall above the tile in bathroom, change the mirror and light fixture and vanity. It’s going slowly because theres just not much time this month for working on it, so for now our bedroom is in a bit of a state of disarray. I don’t mind so much because it is so exciting to see improvements!

It has been good to have quieter, simpler days at home, free time to do crafts or adventures and stay in our pajamas all day. I’m still hoping to make some Christmas cookies together and get to organizing some closets and our school room before our break is over. Tomorrow is Phoebe’s birthday and I still need to share photos from Noah’s birthday. Busy, busy. If I don’t post before then, I pray your Christmas season is merry and bright, rich in love, peaceful, pierced with a particular joy that comes from slowing down, savoring God’s good gifts. I pray you can gather with a loved one or two and that whomever you spend Christmas with, you enjoy the gift of each other’s presence.

her birthday weekend {6 years old}

Let the festivities begin! December comes and I tend to feel like my blogging is just recording one big family celebration after another, be it birthdays, Thanksgiving, more birthdays, recitals, performances, more birthdays, and then finally Christmas just before all the New Year reflections and preparations. I never would have guessed how busy this time of year would become for our family but as God would have it, our holiday season is full of birthdays! So much celebrating and big feelings and thoughts to document, and I appreciate so much that some of you feel it and care to journey along with me.

With the arrival of Philippa’s birthday the busy season begins. I’m not much for busy and try to minimize it as much as possible, yet with young children it can’t be avoided entirely. I was grateful that there were a few days between Philippa’s birthday and Thanksgiving this year so I uncharacteristically felt up to attempting a very small birthday party. Usually I just don’t have the bandwidth to add that in but I’m glad to have made space and energy for it. Philippa invited two dear friends and her cousin bff and we had a small little gathering with family and friends. My plans to keep things relatively calm went well largely due to the fun sewing craft we did. I found this sweet woodlands animal sewing craft for the girls to do. Everything came ready to go with instructions for each creature. I had hoped to do this set with the ulterior motive of ending up with some pretty felt ornaments for our Christmas tree, but Brandon talked me out of it since they were geared toward ages 12 and up. I think the one we picked was really good for 5-6 year olds, and my older two enjoyed participating, too!

The next morning was her actual birthday and she requested her gifts be hidden around the house for her to find, which was great fun in the morning. We gifted her a few things she requested: a polaroid-type camera, a new dragon, a book of dragon stickers, her birthday sweater. As for her birthday sweater, she has worn it almost daily since her birthday. Success! It fits her well and she really seems to love it. I’m glad to finally have made her something that fits her taste. 🙂

She requested chicken soup and bread for her birthday dinner, a meal that everyone likes in our family. I made her the cake she requested also, with sprinkles on it. Philippa is a happy, easy-go-lucky, giggly, silly, and friend-to-all kind of girl who loves animals, dragons, forts and imaginative games. She loves playing with others and is easy to get along with, happy with whatever she’s doing for the most part. We’re so proud of her, her generosity with and love for others, her growing love for God, her tender heart.

We love you, Philippa Ruth. Happy 6th birthday. ❤

seasons

A few weeks ago now, I met up with my two best girlfriends from college at a central spot for a day of hiking + catching up with one another. It was such a restorative time. Time away from the usual bustle of family life and mothering duties, time spent in the quiet of nature in her brilliant glowing last-light of warm colors before surrendering to winter hues. Time spent sharing hearts, hearing about one another’s lives and journeys, and remembering the sweet college days when these hang outs were a regular occurrence. Lifelong friendships are a huge gift, one I don’t take lightly, and I count myself incredibly blessed to call these two particular women close friends. This year has been one of the hardest I’ve ever journeyed through personally, I know it has been hard for many of us. Yet it is not without its beauty and goodness, and for that, how can we not sing God’s praise? Even in the most barren ground, there is still some redeemable aspect, some beauty to be found. So I wanted to share with you these simple photos of a beautiful place at the most beautiful time of year. Fall is giving way to winter now, frosty mornings and bare scraggly branches scraping lightest blue sky. Seasons come and go, and there is relief in that knowing. ❤

respite

Ever since we visited this beautiful, quiet lakehouse last year we’ve been anticipating and hoping to return. We saved and planned, then held plans loosely as life came with interruptions and the world faced a pandemic. So we felt especially grateful and blessed to return to this place. This time we knew what to expect, how wonderful it would be. Did I mention how quiet it is? How good it was to ease into a different sort of rhythm, early sunrise mornings on the dock, late starlit evenings there, too. The peaceful sounds of crisp leaves and lapping water. Long stretches of time together without the usual bustle of schoolwork, activities, and work vying for our attention. We savored swimming, playing, fishing, knitting (for me), canoeing, exploring, reading, resting. It was a sweet and needful time of reconnecting with God, with each other, in the beauty of creation. It felt like summer’s last hurrah, the last of the sunscreen slathered on. The water was icy cold and yet it was refreshing when the sun was blazing. One night we had wild winds and freezing temperatures, which gave us the most stunning misty sunrise on the lake the next day. I couldn’t imagine getting back in that freezing mountain lake water then but by mid-morning it was toasty warm again. Such is fall in the mountains. Noah and Philippa fished and fished, and I was so disappointed for them that they never caught anything. Brandon caught the only two fish of the trip.

Still it was a happy time together, many sweet memories made in the sweet month of October with beautiful leaves changing all around. It couldn’t have been more needed after a year like this year, and I know so many of you understand. I hope you have been able to find respite, too. When Brandon and I paddled all around the lake with the children in the canoe it seemed so strange, all of us tucked neatly into this one little boat. All this love and noise and life contained in this one little vessel, so small in the world, Brandon and I carrying us forward, directing, safe-keeping. Their easy trust and childlike dependence, such a precious gift. Brandon and I, too, looking in dependence to our Father as we make our way in this wild world, hoping to do some good for Him in it all, carried by His grace.