Even though it is not feeling very spring-like, I’m clearing the nature table in anticipation for spring.
Whenever she decides to arrive.
Monday, 25 March 2013
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
No sooner had I written that last post, than my grandmother passed away. I don’t usually like to talk about such personal things in this space, but I feel so compelled to do something.
Grief. It has hovered over my home so much in the last year, I can hardly breathe from its heavy burden. It sneaks up on you when you are brushing your teeth or reading a story to the children. And having two young children around, I can’t really pause for a breath. I love them and I want them around, but they don’t get it. So we go on.
That’s surely what my grandmother did. She saw love, loss, pain, joy and peace in her 84 years. I can only imagine how much of it she had in a home with a husband and five children.
I’m coming up on my 40th year here on this planet, and while I don’t consider myself exactly an expert, there is one thing I have learned: life goes on.
Whether you want it to or not.
So I go on. One foot in front of the other. One breath at a time.
She was a crochet-er, my grandmother. She kept her hands busy. Making afghans for family members and new babies. Even though I’m a knitter, I’ve always felt a connection to her through our love of yarn.
How ironic that I started a new baby sweater on the day she passed. Some dear friends are expecting their first, and I am knitting the baby boy a sweater. To keep my hands busy and to welcome new life. As Elizabeth Zimmerman says in her book Knitting Without Tears, “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crisis.”
Monday, 18 March 2013
If this blog were a journal, I’d be buying a new Moleskine.
I used to beat myself up for not finishing journals. And then I realized that sometimes, I just outgrow them. That sometimes, I was not the same person who had started the journal and that I just needed a fresh start.
I’ve been quiet in this space lately, but not in my head. I’ve got plenty to say, but I don’t know where to begin. I’m feeling a transformation. I’m freshening up my home (new paint), freshening up my thinking, and hopefully freshening up this space. And why not? It’s Spring!
So here’s to new beginnings.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
We are not much for partying on New Year’s Eve. Even in our younger days, we preferred to spend a quiet evening at home. While trying to instill a sense of the passage of time with the kids, I thought it might be fun to mark the occasion with a celebration. Since the winter solstice zipped past us with little fanfare, I decided to do our usual advent spiral on New Year’s instead. A spiral walk is a powerful experience any time of the year, why not one to mark a new year?!
I took down our holiday tree, and The Daddy took it outside and removed all the branches from it. I simply laid the branches in a spiral pattern and The Girl and I decorated it with pretty leaves, glitter and glass beads. A tree stump placed in the middle served as a resting spot for our apple candles.
We talked a bit about what it means to set an intention, as a way to mindfully accomplish a personal goal. I’m not much of a believer in New Year’s resolutions, but the idea of setting an intention for the year is something that resonates with me. So I chose my Word of the Year as “GROW.” The Girl chose “LOVE.” and The Boy chose “FOCUS.” All really great intentions!
We took turns walking the spiral slowly and mindfully, setting our candles on the stump as we reached the center. When we were finished, we had a nice fire with sparklers, s’mores, champagne, and music. The kids even felt inspired to compose poetry on the spot!
It was a perfect, enchanting evening. Happy New Year!
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
For years, I’ve been keeping my children’s birthday parties sweet and simple, and that’s worked for us. However, when The Boy turned four, I threw him a huge “Knights and Princesses” party, complete with handmade tunics and princess hats, a dragon pinata, and nearly every person (adults and children alike) in full costume. It was loads of fun, and after getting a new baby sister, I felt he deserved it.
With The Girl having her birthday right after the chaos of the holidays, it always sneaks up on me. No matter how many times I tell myself to get ready for it beforehand, I never seem to get it together. So with only a few weeks to plan, I decided that it was time for The Girl to have a big, super-blowout party. Since she loves all things fairy, I decided upon an “Enchanted Forest” theme. To prepare, I made magic wands with this tutorial, (and I forgot to take pictures of them!) and felt masks for all the kids, using this template.
We found an old box of feather masks, and with some fairy wings from the dollar store, our costume station was complete. Each child was then able to make their own costume once they arrived.
We made bubble wands (tutorial here).
One of our guests even came with his magic kit and performed a show for us!
We had a tree-stump cake, with five rings of course!
The kids searched for fairy treasure in the yard.
And for the adults there was great conversation, bubbly drinks, and music making.
It truly was an enchanted party.
Thursday, 6 December 2012
St. Nicholas paid us a visit last night!
Each year I share Christine Natale’s stories of St. Nicholas in the days leading up to the festival. This year, The Boy remembered quite well each story, and the lesson in each. The yearly rhythm of festivals resonates deeply within him–a fact that brings me great joy, and reminds me why I do this year after year.
And even though St. Nicholas brings many of the same things each year: a tangerine, a golden nut, chocolate coins, and a crystal, he also has a few tricks up his sleeve.
This year he also brought each child a Lego minifigure and a new paintbrush. For my budding artist, he brought a set of Lyra chalks. For my fantastic reader (new to chapter books), he brought a copy of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (a favorite of ours).
And apparently St. Nicholas did really well in putting not only a few crystals in each shoe, but also a piece of amber, which was a big hit.
I find that around the holidays, when things can tend to get hectic, that the children and I can relax into the familiarity of the festival and really savor and appreciate these special moments. In the midst of the commercialism of the holidays, it’s nice to impart a little bit of humility and tradition into our celebrating.
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Back when we were preparing for our Paris trip, I made these stones for the kids. It was to be the longest we had been away from each other, and I was a bit concerned about them getting homesick or missing Mom and Dad.
I simply took two lovely smooth stones and painted on them with a paint pen. Then I found each child individually and took them away for some one-on-one time. I presented the stone and said something along the lines of, “While we’re apart, we might miss each other, so let’s fill this stone with our love for each other. Let’s hold the stone and hug each other, filling the stone with our love.” We then packed the stone in their backpack to bring along to Grandma and Grandpa’s.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much each of them loved this idea.
Turns out that they didn’t miss us terribly, but I like the think the stones gave them a bit of comfort. And I have seen them around from time to time since we arrived back home.
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
I’ve always been a bit of a fiber junkie. I love it all: thread, fabric and yarn. I tried my hand at spinning back in 2010, but I just didn’t have the time to devote to it, and it got pushed to the “someday” file.
One day recently I was ordering some wool batting for a new Waldorf doll, and discovered that West Earl Mill sells wool roving for spinning at an incredibly good price. On a whim, I ordered half a pound. And that half a pound got me through the awkwardness of early spinning. I’ve been at it a few months now and I am completely smitten.
So smitten in fact, that when I’m not spinning, I’m reading about spinning, or watching videos about spinning. And when I’m not doing that, I’m knitting, of course. My poor Featherweight is gathering dust.
I’m a woman obsessed.
Soon, I had to have a second spindle. I purchased a hand-turned Kundert, and I love it. It make quite a difference in my spinning at once. So I felt brave enough to spin the wool that Erin gifted me long ago. I spun 114 yards of the most gorgeous soft white yarn. I’m dreaming of the hat I’m going to knit from it. And I’ll probably keep it white because it’s the most perfect shade of white imaginable.
Then I tried my hand at the gray wool Erin sent. Swoon. Gray! Barber pole!
Of course, it was only a matter of time before I started dreaming of a spinning wheel. Days and days of research led me to the Lendrum Original. And so this past weekend, I took the leap and ordered it.
It’s set to arrive on Friday and I am beside myself waiting. Thank goodness I have some knitting to keep me busy.
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
We had yet another lovely Martinmas this year. Keeping it the same from year to year makes it easy on mama and gives a feeling of anticipation, comfort, and familiarity to the kids.
Same lanterns, same stories, same location, and same dinner. It was all delightfully predictable.
The weather was cool and crisp. Absolutely perfect for a sunset stroll through the woods.
Another lovely festival spent communing with nature and each other.
Monday, 26 November 2012
We had a lovely holiday weekend filled with sunsets, parties, turkey, and relaxing.
Our nature table is overflowing, and it’s hard to believe that I’ll be clearing it for Advent soon.
But for now, I am trying to squeeze out the last bit of enjoyment that I can out of Thanksgiving and autumn.
So very Thankful.
(Corn doll tutorial here. They were really fun and easy to make.)