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...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Season of prep

We start school a week from today. A week! Part of me feels like I should be anxiously running around in circles prepping for our second year of homeschooling. The other part realizes that stressing makes me unhappy.... and so I'm doing some mental decluttering and mostly just knitting and day tripping and being and relaxing before getting out the planner and filling in the blanks.

And so, I'll leave you with a few photos...


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

five

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She turned five yesterday. The past few days have been a whirlwind of family and celebration and tea parties and Walden pond and go go go go. It has been all that she wanted and has been very much her. 

Last night she woke up in the middle of the night, and she and I snuck outside with blankets to snuggle on the porch and look up at the sky. For the second night in a row we tried to see a few shooting stars. But last night, as the air changed and a veil of clouds was drawn over the earth, we only saw the bigness of the universe. The smallness of us. She leaned her head back on my chest as she sat in my lap, smelling largely of summer and faintly of the Chinese food we had for dinner... and I felt her bigness. All of her five years was sitting right there in my lap. I remembered her smallness, too. The little fingers and toes, onesies and pacifiers and teeny tiny diapers. Her bald baby, and then toddler head. Her wild and sweet spirit that we met the moment she was born. 

She told me before her birthday that she was nervous about turning five. That she would miss being four, she missed when she was a baby. So I told her what I tell myself. Each day you are a day older. The numbers, they don't matter. You are you, you learn new things every day, and each day you grow a little and settle into you a bit more. She smiled, and said "Okay, mama." 

I will never get used to how fast these children grow. But what an honor, a gift, to watch them grow into themselves. 

A day into five, and five suits her. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday outing

Yesterday we packed up the kids, the big camera, a blanket, a Frisbee, books, snacks, and headed to a park a few minutes from our house. We found gardens in bloom, kids eager to learn how to use a camera, fresh air, and plenty of clouds which we all know are important for day dreaming! Below are a few snap shots; perhaps they will inspire and serve as a reminder that simple outings can be refreshing...

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 {picture below, by Fynn} 
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{We made a batch of Smore's bars, and we all LOVED them!} DSC_0096

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 {picture below, by Paige. Obviously she's got the whole photographer foot selfie thing down!} DSC_0132