Monday, December 30, 2013

from listening to abundance

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Starting in January I embraced the word listen. It was my word of the year. The word I meditated on, kept close to my heart and mind while going through motions and months and moments. The original intent of choosing the word was to remind myself to listen to the little and big voices within... to see where that took me. Looking back on all that was 2013 I can see that the word served me well. I listened to my inner hopes and dreams and workings more than in years past, and I also listened to those closest to me and I believe that helped to grow relationships and to deepen bonds. 

2013 was not an easy year. For us, like so many others, it was full of struggles. Health issues. Money issues. Life issues. But we made it through, mostly intact and holding onto what matters most. In 2013 I listened to my heart and in doing so I was able to let some things go. Maybe not in the most graceful ways, but I feel lighter going into 2014 than I have in years. I started my novel. I let go of things that hindered focus. I have listened to my deepest desires and have started to act upon them. I have spent time listening to my children, finding out more of what they need and how to help nurture their passions and loves. 

I am  not sad to see 2013 go. At all. Yes, there were incredible moments, but it was one of the more difficult years we've seen in a long, long time. And so I am ready for 2014, and have chosen a new word to focus on:

Abundance. 

I am ready to see the abundance that is in the world, in my life. I'm ready to look at life with a mindset of abundance and not scarcity. I'm ready to explore what the days can hold if I am open to the fullness of them. 

Are you choosing a word for 2014? I'd love to know what it is!

{I've been trying to change the comment format... to disqus but I'm not having much luck... I've never been good at responding to comments in the comment section, but if there's an email with your comment I'll email back :) }

Monday, December 23, 2013

Finding the magic

It is two days before Christmas. Or, as one child told me tonight {and he heard it on the news} it's less than 36 hours until Christmas. For real.

I'm torn this year. I'm torn between being content and feeling like we're all failing. I'm sure my mild obsession with Pinterest is somewhat to blame. Where we find links on how to have an all handmade Christmas, and stories about how commercialism is ruining Christmas, or how we can buy the best toys at the cheapest prices, customers crazed in the shops. We're told to believe in the reason for the season. The right reasons. I'm left feeling a bit hollow until I remember all of the ways to believe. And how magic brews in different ways, for different people, each family following their own traditions and who are we to judge? Who are we to compare in this everything is shared and liked and clicked on and how many people care about the pretty packages beneath my perfectly trimmed tree or perfectly worded persuasive essay world?

Just as I get sidelined with the "are we doing too much?" or "are we doing enough?" thoughts, I hear my children singing carols in the next room. Off key and with messed up lyrics. The sounds couldn't be sweeter. And then my daughter comes up to me and starts talking about baby Jesus and Santa and her eyes are filled with magic. I believe in that kind of magic. I also believe there is magic in the fresh snow, children laughing as they bound through uncharted snowy territory. There is holiness in stringing popcorn and cranberries into a garland, fingers pricked by needles countless times. There is something to be cherished in the moment when one child is searching for the perfect gift for his or her sibling, maybe a glow in the dark solar system book. Yes, there are grand gestures that can be made, and perspective and love kept in handmade gifts, but there is also magic in the perfect store bought gifts. My Little Pony, or a programmable robot, eyes twinkling as a wish is granted and the realization that Santa read their lists. Santa is magic. Christmas is magic. Snowflakes and babes in mangers and twinkle lights and wonder... they are all magic.

There is magic in all of it, big and small.
 From our house to yours, Merry Christmas.
I hope you find the magic, and believe in it greatly.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

fresh sand

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We beached it today. Drove the fifteen minutes to our little slice of heaven. The sky gave an incredible performance - dressed in the colors of the rainbow from the horizon line to the clouds. Pinks and reds and blues and greens and even yellows. There was one other person on the beach. One. A man as scruffy as the sea weed and drift wood beached from the surf. He looked at us, smiled and threw his arms in the air and said, "Where is everyone??" They were anywhere but there, in the pocket of warmth, protected by the sand dunes and cloud cover. 

Our footsteps made marks on the fresh from high tide sand. We drew lines in the sand with a shovel to remind us where we'd been, in case we forgot. In case we got lost on the expanse of the familiar wave drenched land.

Monday, December 2, 2013

miles of words

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my parents house, wrapped up in love and food and warmth. The days were cold, and I personally didn't step outside of their house for three days. We arrived in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, having traveled in the dark through sleet and rain to beat the bulk of the storm that made it's way to the east coast, and I couldn't bring myself to go anywhere until Saturday. And that was to the grocery store and for a brisk walk down the street. The kids were entertaining, my mom in her element of making a big turkey dinner for all of us. It was the first Thanksgiving we'd spent with them since Lucas and I were married, due to locations and air plane tickets and travel time... but now that they're within driving distance, it's possible. And it was lovely.

 During our time there, I completed NaNoWriMo. I'm processing. I'm giving myself some distance from my novel for the time being. I haven't even printed it out - but I will. And then the work will begin. Yesterday I had the thought that I wanted to rewrite the whole damn thing {which I might...} and in a brief moment of panic I thought maybe the months worth of work was for nothing. But. But it wasn't. November brought the writer back out in me. I enjoyed it so much, the writing. Making my daily word counts. And the story isn't terrible, the story can be worked into it's full potential. It just might need a whole other direction to work. Or maybe just depth. Or a change in tense. I'm not sure. Regardless, I'm farther along at this point than I was a month and a half ago, with just a few fleeting idea and not writing at all.

 I'm astonished that I finished the first shitty draft of my novel. In a month. I'm honest with myself, and know that much of what I wrote is going to get cut or transformed, but still, it's a draft. It's there. There are over 50 thousand words that I wrote. Miles of words. And I hope that that alone inspires someone who has been thinking about taking the NaNoWriMo plunge - or just the writing plunge in general. If I could do it, while dealing with Lyme, and birthdays, and homeschooling two kids, keeping up the house and cooking, and holidays and traveling, anyone who really wants to write can. And should.

 It's a little bittersweet, finishing something like NaNoWriMo. In one way it's the end, but in another it's truly just the beginning, which is a little intimidating and a little scary, but very exciting. There's probably something very symbolic about finishing that first draft at my parents house. But at this point my words are still tired and stretched thin, they are recovering from a marathon of sorts....

So for now, I'm going to veg out, read a few novels on my to read shelf, wait a week or so to get back to my novel, and get my Christmas spirit on for the month of December.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

what november looks like

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This is what the weekend has looked like. Words, read and written. Cozy blankets, warm tea. Wind blowing outside, snow flakes falling. This is what November looks like for me, its essence. 

That book, Tell The Wolves I'm Home, is one that I will not soon forget. I highly recommend it... I finished it within 24 hours. I cried rivers while reading, and then I had to turn to my own writing and spill words and I wasn't sure I was capable of the task. After reading such a well crafted novel... it was an intimidating feat. But the old saying is true, reading good books makes you a better writer. And so even though I hear all the time that people don't have time to read, make time. It makes you more thoughtful. Gives you depth. Makes the world seem smaller and larger all at once. We all have stories in us, and they deserve to not only be written, but read. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

mid November ramble

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It's mid November, can you believe it? I certainly can't. The other thing I can't believe? I've stuck with nanowrimo. As of today, I've written over 30,000 words (less than 20k to go before the end of the month!!) I'm confident that I'll do this. I'm also confident that what I'll end up with will be a very bare bones, surface level draft of a novel, and I can't wait to take it deeper in 2014. 

There's a few things that have happened this month. My son turned seven. SEVEN. Seriously... I don't know how that happened. One day he was all swaddled in a sweet little blanket, the next he's holding onto a skateboard and watching videos on Youtube on how to do skater tricks. There was a weekend visit from my parents, and then on his actual birthday we went with my inlaws to the Boston aquarium. There was some ray and shark petting {for real!}, turtle gazing, interacting with some crazy snake skins, it was a very exciting day. My daughter and I were diagnosed with Lyme disease last week {If you're on instagram or facebook, sorry for the repeats of all this!} We're fine, we're getting treatment, our cases were caught early so we should be just fine. But man, I'm tired. And she's a bit not herself. But it's good, we're getting better and our bodies are healing and life is starting to look fairly normal again! 

And through all of that, I kept writing. This is kind of huge. I've always been one who readily abandons things. Quite frankly the only things I've ever really stuck with are my marriage and motherhood. Two very good things to hold onto, but you get my point. It's a miracle I graduated college without changing majors. I'm going to start darting around subjects so let me preface this with, if you've been a long time follower you know from the last blog that I stopped drinking nearly four years ago. I've got a crazy addictive personality, and I used alcohol in the worst ways. I haven't written about it on this blog because it's not a struggle that I face every day. I call myself a recovering alcoholic more for my safety, so that I can't turn back one day and say "yeah, I'm done with that" because for my health and my families I know I never need to drink. Ever. {see, a safety net from abandoning being an alcoholic, I did learn from my mistakes!} But I'm not in AA, I don't have to fight urges every day, I've found some inner peace and life is really good. That being said, it's interesting to me that I can trace so many of the qualities I dislike about myself to when I started drinking. Like the abandoning of things, when they got hard. 

So, for example, this whole writing thing. Every time I got close to it, I'd push it away. I've wanted to write stories since I was tiny. I filled journal after journal with elaborated stories about my own life, and totally fictional stories as well. In college I had so many hopes of doing real writing. Any writing, and then, well, I got distracted. When I would start getting close to writing after I had kids, I'd start drinking. And now, what's super interesting, is that I distracted myself for the last two or three years with constant knitting. Weird, but I think it's true. I'm not saying I've been addicted to knitting, but I've definitely let myself get carried away with it instead of spending time on what I've always wanted to do. Knitting comes easily to me {unlike writing, damn it's hard...}, but I'm a project knitter, not a knit for the love of knitting knitter {I wish I was, but as I'm realizing... I'm not...} I've had to cut my knitting time back to hardly anything, and when I have picked up the needles it hasn't been as enjoyable as I remembered. I'll always knit, don't get me wrong, but I don't know that it will be nearly the amount that I have the last few years. 

Back to the real train of thought. This last month I've been writing in moderation. I say moderation, because there's a certain word count I strive for every day, and I don't want to burn out so I haven't really gone beyond that each day. Slow and steady has been my mantra. And folks, it has worked. I've never been a slow and steady person. This is a huge breakthrough, awakening, whatever you want to call it. 

I've got more thoughts on this, and how it all kind of relates to reading Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and how themes have been emerging from the tidbits about others lives that have given light to my own process and decisions my daily life... but I promised two little kids I'd read a few chapters of The Big Friendly Giant... But I had to get this out of my head. 

This November is going down in the books as being incredibly memorable. Inspired. Challenging. And maybe life changing. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

it's all happening

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On Friday I started writing my nanowrimo novel. This is for real, people. I just surpassed my word count for the third day in a row.

It's only been three days, but I've already learned so much.

I've learned that my process is to reread from start to finish what I've already written. I might change a word or two, fill in a blank - a name that I couldn't think of for example. And then I begin. I simply write. Sometimes {like today} it is slow, but it always comes if I show up. Things are happening. A story is coming together. Characters are shaping and themes are emerging.

I've also learned that a coffee shop writer I am not. I like to be at home, spread out, comfortable. Where I can pace about if I need to, head to the kitchen for leisurely snacks and water breaks. Curl up in my bed and sit in the bliss of flannel sheets and sip tea from a favorite mug.

I've learned that I feel as good after a writing session as I do after exercising. It's just a bummer that writing doesn't burn as many calories as a good work out...

I've learned that I have time for writing. MUCH more time than I realized. So much so that reaching my word count hasn't been an issue. On a school day, on a family outing day, on a day when I squandered an hour at a coffee shop by myself and then spent three hours chatting with a friend, came home and picked up the house and watched a football game and then, only after the kids went to bed, I found time to write. And I met my goal.

I've learned the more I write, the more I want to write.

I've learned that good or bad, this book is being written. The goal when I started was to reignite a love of writing, to start a practice, and it is happening. We watched Almost Famous on Friday night, and the phrase that keeps ringing in my ear is "It's all happening" and it truly is. The thing I've said I always wanted to do - I'm doing it. And it feels right. It feels good.

Stay tuned my friends, and get ready for various updates throughout the month. It's all happening...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

transitions

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It's cold all of a sudden. Two, or was it three..., weeks ago we were wearing shorts, dipping our feet in the ocean... plunging arms down to grab sand dollars, and now it is hide in bed because of the chill cold. Transitions have been sudden this year. They happen without us realizing it, no matter how close we look at each moment, how long an afternoon seems. At the end of the week November will be here, and with it comes Nanowrimo. To be honest, I hoped to transition into a month long writing experiment gracefully. But in reality, I have been hoarding my words, keeping them close, as if doing so will help me spill 50,000 onto the page next month. I've been slow to respond to emails, slow to write here, slow to write grocery lists... 

Diving into the serious writing life, the actual breathing life onto a page thing, is going to feel abrupt, I'm sure. I've lived with my main character for about a month, scribbling down few notes about her, but mostly playing out her life in my head. I have faith that the idea, the setting, the character, will all come together. 

Today has been designated a play day. A forget the math lessons and grammar day. The kids have been running about outside, bread has been baked, a walk in the woods is planned for the afternoon. A little girl has playing fairies on the docket, a boy has trains on the brain. We are stepping back, seeing where we are and what is in the future. We are indulging each other today, for changes are on the horizon and and we all need a bit of fresh air and the knowledge of what is important to propel us forward... holding onto what is only necessary and what brings us joy, while leaving the rest behind. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

'tis the season of gift knitting

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'Tis the season of gift knitting. I know some people detest knitting for others... but I am not one of those people. I love knitting from my heart. Each row, each stitch is full of hopes and wishes, prayers for the recipient. Knitting with someone in mind is almost like a mediation on the person. The knitting process becomes a walk down memory lane... movies play in my mind of sweet times with whoever I'm knitting for. And so, each year I always swear that next year I won't bite off quite so much Christmas knitting. But... every year I get giddy with making project lists because it is simply a joy to put so much thought into hand knit gifts. A joy to give to those who appreciate the time and skill each project takes. A joy to imagine a loved one opening and smiling and smoothing a pair of mitts or socks or a hat made just for them. Nothing is more special than bits of yarn knitted together to resemble a gift of warmth from ones heart. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

birthdays and sick days and country roads...

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That guy in the picture? It's his birthday today. He found that heart rock, handed it to me, and I saw the grin on his face as rolled his eyes and I aww'ed all over it. It sounds cliche, but he's our rock. In this house. He's the calm one. The sane one. The even tempered and under control one.

Since I wrote last we had my birthday, kids colds, mama colds, mama sinus crapola that turned into days on the couch and my guy taking care of it all. And he did it with ease. Like I said, he's our rock. Yesterday he finally went back to work, and {as I said on instagram} I had the same feeling I had the first day he went back to work after our first babe was born.... that how can I do this feeling. I remember sitting on the steps going from our kitchen the the second floor, the feel of the coarse carpet and the wiggle of the hand rail, holding a soft tiny baby and not being able to say much as Lucas made his lunch and walked out the door that day. I bawled. Cried my eyes out. I knew I could do it, but it's just better with him.We make a good team.

Yesterday, by the afternoon the kids and I were missing him something fierce. So we packed up and went for a quick trip to the beach to calm some nerves and just be. On the way there we listened to a cd Lucas made for me {the same one I mentioned in the last post!} and at one point I turned around and saw my girl belting out John Denver's Country Roads with all of her heart. She smiled and said "Mom, I think THIS is my FAVORITE song ever! Like Daddy!" Yup, like Daddy. I love that he loves John Denver. And I love that he has the song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros programmed as my ring tone on his phone. And I love that  he's ours and he holds us together simply by being him.

Happy birthday, Lucas :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

yarn, knitting, sheep, and conversation...

This weekend brought a long awaited for event... the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival! My dear friend and I had planned on this weekend for a girls weekend since spring. Needless to say, we were both very excited, and very ready, for this time together. And what a pleasure it was to spend some quality time with each other. I will say, bookending this trip with a gorgeous drive {even through the rain} that was filled with tunes from a mix cd my husband made for me was also a highlight... {High Fidelity anyone? The mix tape is alive and well as far as we are concerned!}

There was much yarn. Much food. Much conversation. Much exploring. And much knitting.  Always, much knitting!




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Monday, September 30, 2013

a little red house

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We came upon the orchard and the farm, the sun finally burned off the morning fog and the I pulled into the last parking spot and was overwhelmed by the feeling of home. It might have started on the few mile drive off the beaten path, when the car slowed and we ooh'ed and ahh'd over farm houses and fields with horses and goats and the colors of autumn in the trees. The colors of home.

I've been thinking and daydreaming about where we'll end up. Once we tire of renting and grow out of this space {hopefully not for another year or longer...} There are places where I say I want to visit, but really, I want to live in them all. Iceland. The mountains in New Hampshire. Montana. The west coast. On the beach somewhere. England. France {Provence...deep sigh...} I want to wake up in these places for multiple months, maybe years and do what we do, just... there.

And then this morning, hugging the backroad curves, all those feelings dissipated and my inner dialog went something along the lines of: "maybe I could simply visit all those other places, if home was here..."

Someday.

A little red house. A bunch of trees. Space for running and sitting and sipping warm drinks on cold end of September mornings.

Yes, someday.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

bagpipes, kilts, and highlands...

Last weekend we headed up to the White Mountains for the NH Highland Games. My husband's family is very proud of their Scottish heritage, and the kids had heard about the games since they were babies. This year, we finally took them, and it was a much anticipated event. As was the whole camping thing... since the last time we camped we were pretty much boo'd out of the campground due to a little girl of ours and her inability to sleep... so.. we were a little nervous about pitching our tent, and a whole lot excited for copious amounts of tartan and bagpipes!

Thankfully, our girl {and boy} slept the best that they've slept in a long, long time. And Saturday was a beautiful day in the mountains, breathtaking. My family might have gotten a bit tired of me saying at every turn "Mountains! Look at the mountains!" I seriously love mountains.

Lucas and I went to the games once or twice before we had kids, but this was the first time that I dawned the Cunningham tartan {thanks to my mother in law! She found a scarf for me to wear...} and I have to say, I felt a bit of pride. I've spent a good deal of time thinking about tradition, and family, and home, and coming from someplace. Growing up, our heritage wasn't really celebrated {besides my grandfather requesting warm German potato salad, and having pork and sauerkraut on New Years...} probably because most of my family is from all over the place! So the idea of celebrating your heritage is different for me, but I'm thrilled that my kids have the highlands in their blood and a Papa who wears his kilt, and mini kilts for them to wear whenever they want. So dawn the tartan, I will. And even though I'm Scottish only by marriage, I'll happily remind the kids of where they are from and teach them about their heritage. Plus, you really can't beat the sound of bagpipes.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

school days by the sea

This week school has looked like salt flats and low tide and hermit crab parties. It has looked like rock climbing and sea shell finding and digging for crabs. School has been sunshine and salt air and floating on a log in the surf. It has looked like leggins rolled up, bottoms of dresses soaked with sea water, translucent in the glare of the sun. There will be plenty of days for indoor school once the weather turns colder. But for now, it looks like sunbeams and sandy toes...
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{pictures courtesy of my mother...}

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

apple tradition

Every autumn my mother comes to visit. With her visits our days are full, spent outdoors when we can and filling up on New England charm and tradition and colors... yesterday we spent the day at the orchard across town. The pictures look the same every year, just the height of the children seems to change! This year they are taller and filled our bags faster and fuller than years past. Tradition. That's what this is. A timeless gift to pass along. 
 
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Monday, September 16, 2013

hair dancing in the wind



Yesterday I met a friend for tea first thing in the morning. I arrived at the coffee shop first and I sat with my pumpkin chai latte and a book, simultaneously people watching and glancing at words on the page. In the few minutes I waited, I couldn't help but feel a bit thrilled just to be sitting. Without keeping an eye on my babes. Without having to rush out and be somewhere. Not going through the drivethru, just sitting.

After my friend arrived we moved to the outdoor seating. We sat for a few hours, basking in the warmth of the September sun, talking about kids and parents and marriage...

I'm surprised, after nearly 7 years of motherhood, that I forget. I forget how important it is to go out in the world with just myself, or meet a friend. To get out and turn the music up in the car as loud as I want, windows down, hair dancing with the wind.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

from the loins of boredom...


 This week has brought the kind of quiet that my creative juices thrive on. Granted, the quiet came because of a touch of sickness that the grownups can't kick... but still... any week where there's little reason to leave the house is a good week in my books. Yes, the kids got bored. But isn't boredom what creativity is born from? Oooh, I like that... from the loins of boredom creativity is born... ;) 

Anyway. Maybe I do need to get out a bit... 

Back to my point. We had a quiet week, and we were able to get in some good school days and snuggle times and Batman watching. Maybe we watched Mary Poppins one afternoon. It was a quiet, good week. 

Sometimes we need a bit of quiet to refocus and learn what we want. I want more of this quiet. And more creativity. And I realized that I've felt a bit stuck since I said the whole "writing fiction is not for me" and I threw in the towel. I hate throwing in the towel, but I have a tendency to do that when things get hard. So today, mostly on a whim, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Yup. I'm signing up to write 50,000 words in November. That's a lot of words. 

But you know what? I can do it. I just need a push. So here's my push... sharing what I signed up to do, with you. Yes, I tend to clam up and stop writing when I put a label on it. Yes, I don't like to force myself into things. But I also know that I am lazy in my creativity. I am complacent. And I miss writing. 

So. Do I hope to have a sellable novel at the end of a month? Absolutely NOT. What I do hope to achieve is falling back in love with writing and creating a practice.

I just reread what I've written and by no means do I want to say I am terribly bored in life. I'm just... needing to do something for myself that is different than knitting a sweater {did I seriously just say that?} that is not curriculum based or household chores based, or related to anything I've ever done before.

Scary. But hopefully in a good way.
November is a while away, right? 
:)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

swells of September

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We're deep in the swells of September. The morning chills, the warm golden sunshine of the afternoon, the last few beach days and the beginning of crimson edges on leaves. The roundness and fullness of the days accumulate to peaceful slumbers and a constant sigh of content...



Friday, September 6, 2013

Across the ocean and back...

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{the journal was made by my talented friend Maegan... her shop is full of treasures!}

Just popping in quickly to share something... through the internet I've had the pleasure of connecting with people from all over the world! It's an amazing thing to find people doing the same things you do, across the ocean. There is a sense that the world is not quite so big and scary when we connect and share and find kindred spirits.

One such friend is Vibeke. Her blog, A butterfly in my hair, is a beautiful, calm place that I've grown to love. A while back she asked if I would participate in an conversation/interview of sorts on her blog... and of course I said yes! She has posted our words today, and I'd be thrilled if you would head over to take a look. We talk about everything from books to finding calm to knitting to writing... and more! Poke around her online home, Vibeke is a sweet soul, and I know you all will just love her!


Monday, September 2, 2013

pierced

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My girl got her ears pierced today. I had told her when she turned five, she could, and I would take her whenever she was ready. Today, she was ready. She held my hand and picked out sweet little heart shaped earrings. She talked with the lady behind the counter like it was nothing. She asked if it would hurt, said she was a little scared, but she really wanted it done. 

I whispered to her, "this was where grammy took me to get my ears pierced when I was young" and she looked deep in my eyes and smiled. I forget sometimes that sharing places from my youth gives us something sacred. We live a few towns south of where I grew up, far enough not to run into too many people, but close enough to frequent. 

She didn't cry one bit. Her eyes got a little watery, but she held my hand and took deep breaths and was fine. Proud and smiling, we walked around the mall that I walked around for years and years. Many of the same stores are there, many changed, but it still felt the same. If not smaller. But to her, it was huge. It was unexplored and vast and full of things to look at and touch. It's funny seeing things again through her eyes.

And so she's been initiated into the earring wearing club. My five year old. My little love with hearts on her ears! 


Friday, August 30, 2013

Community of differences

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An amazing thing always happens when I open up in this space and spread a little of my heart... others do the same. I can't tell you how many messages I received privately after the last post. How that post resonated with many. What is also pretty amazing is how so many of us connect and relate to feeling different. How there's comfort in talking about our differences and how by talking about what's hard we feel a bit free. Tthe little community that surrounds me {some online, but also in my circle of friends} seems to be built upon celebrating our differences and unique qualities. And I wonder why that can't happen more in the every day. Why our differences can't bring us together instead of separating. 

Happy weekend, friends. I'll end this with favorite quote:

"Be curious, no tjudgemental" ~ Walt Whitman


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On getting stuck in your own head...

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Today was a heavy day. School was fine, the kids were fine, I was just feeling heavy. My head. Sometimes I get all foggy and muddled and I can't get out of my own way. I fight with myself. I doubt myself. I get a little {a lot} grumpy. It happens. We all have days like this. 

My girl asked all day if we could go to the beach. All day. And I resisted. Until 3:30 and I had no excuse not to and so we went. It was hot and sunny at home. Hot. Sunny. And then we got down to the beach and it was so foggy I could barely see three cars ahead of me driving in. The fog was thick on the beach... but it was the most relaxing beach trip we've had all summer because the kids stayed close and not in the water and I just sat. With my thoughts. And kind of gave them to the wind and let them be taken out to sea. 

I realized this afternoon that much of what has been distressing me is that I'm very much aware of how different our family seems to be from many around us. From the status quo. How counter culture we tend to be. From homeschooling to how we feed our family to being underscheduled to just...being us. 

I like to think that everyone is different, that we are all doing what is best for our own families. And I think ultimately the only critic of what I am doing is me. I see what other families are doing and sometimes I just get tired of being different. Our way is right for us {and many others...I don't think we're that different...} and I by no means mean to preach to anyone about anything. Honestly. Mostly, what it comes down to, is I'm tired of certain things being hard because they are not the norm. Like finding real food that we can afford. Like keeping the food dyes and processed stuff to a minimum {if you want a crazy story about red #40, I've got a few... we try to keep the stuff to an absolute minimum because we know it changes the kids behaviors, but we realized it was in the kids toothpaste, found a dye free one, and my daughters sleep patterns have changed dramatically for the better. For real. This stuff is no joke!} Like not wishing our kids away at the beginning of the school year {except for a few moments here and there, let's be honest...}Like homeschooling. Like doing things because they feel like the natural thing to do, not because someone says we should.

Whew. I totally needed to get that off my chest. 

We're not being different just to be different. We're doing things differently because we can't unlearn what we know to be true and right for us. The intention is not to be different. The intention is to live the best way we know how for us. 

Maybe by waving our little freak flag, maybe others will too. And then those of us who don't try to keep up with the Jones's won't feel nearly as alone at times. 

So all of that, I threw out to sea. And for now I'll just keep on keepin' on. Do your thing, the rest will come naturally. So long as you don't get stuck in your own head for too long... 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stretched

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After a day and a half back into school, and can I just tell you? My brain is soooo tired! In a good way. In a "wow, what have we actually been doing all summer? How can my brain be mush?" sort of tired! But it's all good. We're all stretching into our roles again, breathing life into routines and finding ways to sneak some calm into our school days.

Truly, I forgot how much we all thrive on routine, on a bit of structure, and on learning. And man, my kids are smart! That's always an awesome fact to be reminded of.

{in the picture above, notice how my girl is showing off one side of her face? This is the side that got banged up on Saturday, but the opposite is now sporting a huge bruise as she met the wooden side of our living room chair in a crazy act of falling off of the couch and flying into the side of said chair..... but still. She's cute! She's also modeling a pair of mitts that just came off the needles, the pattern is from Two Little Plums, called Antiquity}

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday ramble...

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 And now we're here, the day before school starts. There's an apple pie in the oven, the air has changed, and autumn is within reach. I'll happily take it! 

I sat with our big stack of school books and my planner this afternoon. It didn't take long to get into the swing of writing out what I hope to get to this coming week. I filled in boxes with book titles and art project ideas, sharpened pencils and after the kids go to bed I will fill their art desk with new supplies and straighten our dining room/school room out a bit in preparation for the morning. 

We are ready for the school year. This homeschooling thing is less frightening than it was last year. Our second year in and I think the biggest thing I know now is not to over prepare. To leave lots of room for change, to not set specific "will do this many math pages..." because ultimately there will be a day that we fall behind or leap ahead, and if I have set numbers written down my head thinks we must do set numbers. 

This year, I know not to limit ourselves. 

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 In knitting news... I put a pattern out into the Ravelry world yesterday! I'm sure there are many "shoulds" in terms of releasing a pattern, and I'm sure you should do it on a weekday, but I wanted to get it off my plate before the start of school. I caught the designing bug, and am starting small. The pattern, Autumn Crisp Cuffs, is for a pair of boot cuffs. I wrote the pattern with directions for both bulky weight and worsted weight yarn. The cables are plaited, so they keep their integrity when stretched around the leg. 

 The worsted weight version {below} uses Quince and Co's Lark:
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 And the bulky weight version uses Lamb's Pride Bulky {though I would love to make a pair in Quince's Osprey!}
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Honestly, it was great fun to go through the process of creating a pattern, and then putting it out there! I would love to, and plan to, do more with bigger projects {shawls, eventually a sweater...} but realistically I think it will happen after the holidays.Or at least after the bulk of my holiday knitting is over, as I have quite a bit in my queue {plus a few knits for myself...} that I've been looking longingly at for quite some time. It's time to get a move on and let the needles fly! 

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The pie smells about done, and dinner is just around the corner. I'm ready for a quiet evening, looking at how big the kids have gotten, wondering how it is possible to have a first grader and a kindergartner! Oh yes, we will marvel, and then send them to bed with bellies full of apple pie and await the dawn of another school year...