Saturday, October 20, 2012

This moment: Shades in the Kitchen

This moment; a Friday (and sometimes a Saturday) ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Breath

The other day I had one of those rare moments when I was able to....breath. It wasn't anything drastic or even unusual. I just went for a walk. I wasn't even alone, Kyle was walking ahead a bit towing Alex in the wagon. Colton and Adelina stayed back at my in-laws house to play and be fawned over. 
We just strolled up the road. The initial goal in my mind that I am still trying to shed the excess baby weight, and a mile of brisk walking would bring me that much closer to my goal. 
But, as we walked a strange thing started to happen. As I looked at the road below and in front of me I suddenly began to notice I really look down a lot. Normally my eyes don't catch anything spectacular, the pavement or dirt below my feet. Maybe some grass or weeds. But, even on this dreary day I was seeing something spectacular. Dots of gold, yellow, auburn, the occasional green and crimson flashed by. I felt my steps slow. They were just leaves...Maple, oak and sassafras mostly. But they seemed illuminated against the wet pavement. Each laid out showing off their beautiful outlines. 
I felt the first exhale....My pace steadied and I watched the colors pass.
I inhaled....and I felt my chin lift, I could see the road ahead now, long and straight, gently rising up the hill ahead. Kyle and Alex were far ahead of me. It was the most alone I had felt in weeks
I exhaled... I felt my thoughts float away. 
I inhaled... The air I took in was heavy with water, wind, musty leaves....
I exhaled.... I could see left and right. Into the forest, the dark trees like pillars to their leafy canopy, the floor a golden carpet of freshly fallen leaves. Non of them disturbed. I wanted to walk there to get lost in that beautiful forest room, but I also did not want to disturb it. I walked on.
I inhaled...My ears opened, above the rumble of the wagon ahead, I began to hear the rain drops dripping from the trees, the sound of the breeze through the wet leaves, I heard the creek of a tree branch above. 
My pace now was that of a sight see'er, I just wanted to drink in these moments. I was actually here. Gone were the thoughts of stress that had clouded my mind, gone was the chatter of children and family that hung on every nerve. I forgot my reason to come on this walk.
The release of it and the weight of it nearly bringing me to tears.
As I exhaled, I offered my breath to carry a prayer to heaven. I thanked God for this walk for this moment. 
My thoughts flooded with the peace only God can give. 
My soul quieted..
I inhaled....
For that moment it was just me and the wet road, God and the trees.
I breathed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Moment: First Smiles

This moment; a Friday (or this week a Saturday  ritual.) A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Here at Home

October 1st was a momentous occasion at our house, as this date marked the beginning of our first official school year. Of course this may seem a bit late to some, but given that I just had a baby at the end of August, I felt it best to give myself at least a 6 week maternity leave. Having this kind of flexibility is truly one of the great benefits of schooling at home.
So, what did our week entail? Well, just like any first week of school we sort of eased into it. It has and will continue to take some adjusting and tweaking as we find our family rhythm for adding school subjects to our day. But thus far some of the positives have been, having the added structure of things to accomplish  does seem to break up the pattern of the day. I will admit that there has been some struggle, for me and the kids as we juggle and shuffle our routine. But, by weeks end I was definitely starting to feel some clarity (though I have a very, very long way to go. )
So, what can I share about how we are approaching this school year? Well, Colton is our main focus as he is of kindergarten age. But, since Alex likes to do everything big brother does I am trying to include him as much as he wishes. But, I also am trying to remember to let him float as needed. This has been a bit of a tedious dance but, I am sure as time goes on we will figure it out. 
I am working mostly on just the core subjects with Colton. Bible, Reading, math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Art. This all sounds so ridged and formal. But, reality is we take a much more laid back approach to it all. For instance; Bible, is reading from our Story bible mostly, with maybe some follow up questions or a craft. Colton really wants to learn to read, for that we are using; The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (This is not a reading for dummies book) but a simple well thought out approach to teaching reading. We are supplementing that with some Hooked on Phonics work book pages, and some basic handwriting practice. 
The other five core subjects, Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Art are covered in our Five in a Row curriculum. I really love the concept of Five in a Row. It is a unit studies approach, so we read a story from the reading list every day for the week. Then follow it with one of the subjects, applying it to the story we just read. I think the best part of this program is that I get to revisit some of the great classic stories from my child hood. Some treasured, some newly remembered, and some will be new to us completely.

  This week was The Story of Ping. We had a great time finding China and the Yangtze river on the world map. Another day we discussed what "Literature" was and the difference between fiction and non-fiction works. Colton wanted to write his own fictional piece and we had a great time doing that. We also counted Ping's family in Starburst Candy (and yes, I let each kid eat one) We also counted our family, and discussed the difference in family size. We did many other things as well, relating to the story, but these were our favorite activities.
And while this main curriculum and subjects outline our formal school day, what was even more fun was the hours following. Spending time doing some structured learning, seems to be giving way to hunger to know more and more. In the hours following, we often take time to look up things of interest. Colton loves snakes, and so the Copper head was of great interest the other day. Colton also wanted to know what our brain looks like. For all of these instances I am very grateful for the internet, which supplies me with more resources than my own faculties possess. There is also increasingly detailed works of art being churned out daily. Which reminds me ....I must work on an Art display area....
Anyway, This is what our first week looked like. It encompassed all of the emotions, energy, and patience I possess. It required inspiration from outside sources and encouragement from other moms who are walking with me or have gone before me. (Those of whom I am ever so grateful!)  
Above all, I am so thankful that I have the privilege of taking such a prominent role in my child's education this year. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

This Moment...

      Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fresh off the Needles: A Tunic for Adelina

I did it! I finished my first knitting project fro Adelina. It wasn't too difficult, I only had to visit YouTube a few times. Even better it is finished before Adelina has outgrown it!
I first saw this pattern on Soule Mama's blog. I instantly fell in love, and since at that time I knew a little girl was in my future, I promptly ordered the pattern from Ravelry. I made made it in the 9 months size, figuring it would fit baby girl right around six months which will land us right in the middle of winter.
I used the same soft merino wool that I used to make a sweater for the boys with a couple years ago. I love this wool, I purchased it at our local fiber festival. It is from local sheep, and hand spun and dyed into a very nice sport weight. You can find all of my ravelry project notes (here).
I can't wait for little girl to grow so she can wear it. But, then again no need to rush...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In the pumpkin Patch

Few places are more glorious in this country than Michigan in the fall, and this fall is no exception. Beautiful colors are popping up more every day, it is breezy but still comfortable and sunny. Perfect for playing out doors, and for pumpkin picking.
While it may seem a bit early to visit the pumpkin patch, but since my dear cousins, one of which is visiting from Alaska, were already heading out there. we loaded up our kiddo's and made a trip to Gull Meadows to pick pumpkins. 

What a beautiful journey it was. I do believe it was the most fun I have had all year. And if my kiddos are any indication, with bellies full of fresh donuts and apple cider and from their sleepy faces on the trip home ....well, they had a good time too. 

And what of the pumpkins you ask? Well, they were put to good use and carved according to each kiddo's specifications. Colton wanted a bat, and Alex a dog.
And so, for the first time ever we have animal jack-o-lanterns on our porch. And some very fond memories in our hearts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Reality of Life...

Lovely picture, eh? I honestly found it very striking. This is my reality a month post-partem. 
I just wanted to share a bit of my experience as a mother of three little ones. I admit I was warned, having three children is completely different than having two. Of course you know that the addition of another child means the addition of another life, personality, and a shake up in the family order. But, that is really another post entirely. What I want to write about is the one thing I have found in common following the birth of each of my children.
It is the little known or talked about period following birth. It is that time of adjustment that seems to linger on, and on, and on... following any addition to a family. 
I remember well preceding the birth of my oldest Colton, that I figured that 6 weeks would be more than enough time to adjust and get in the swing of things....However, twelve weeks later I finally returned to work....part-time. I realize I was blessed to have very flexible employers and a husband who was very supportive. (I know this is not always possible.)
But, still in that time I realized just how much pressure our culture puts on us woman to always have it "all together". Celebrities have their pre-baby bodies back just days or weeks after birth. there is a huge cultural push to get back to work as soon as possible. Even within our own circles there is a bit of competition it seems to get back on track before anyone else. 
So, imagine my surprise when Colton was six weeks old, I had no desire to leave my baby with anyone (even his beloved Grandparents.) And at twelve weeks I was still reluctant, and at six months I was setting my sights on leaving the business world entirely. 
And on the sidelines I had one more even bigger surprise, the fact that I was having some serious trouble just finding a morning routine that worked. It seemed I needed two additional hours to get myself and baby out the door...for any reason. 
Then 3 1/2 years later when we had our second child, Alex. I needed to add one additional hour to get our family ready and out the door. And that I rarely got out of my pj's, and cooking dinner....lets just say, the crock pot became my best friend. 
And so here I am with my precious new baby girl, and contrary to the logic that with more children finding a routine or rhythm would get easier, I am exactly where I was after I had my first two children. In my pj's, sleepily moving from one feeding to the next, one diaper change to the next, find one lost toy, and rocking a little bundle, and feeding a toddler, and changing a diaper. Then before I know it, it is 1pm and we are finally ready to go for our morning walk. Which we quickly squeeze in just before nap time. Or maybe we skip nap time because our walk got started later and took longer than we thought it would and now its time to start dinner. Yes, the boys are watching a movie. I still may or may not have gotten that elusive shower, and dinner may or may not be pancakes, or PB&J.
But there is hope. This season does not last forever,  I remind myself that we have not truly lost our routine or rhythm, it is just adjusting. It takes time, and for this moment I am reminded how precious these mellow days are. They are fleeting, we will soon be running a full tilt again. This precious babe will be on the move sooner than later. And it seems that somewhere around six months I will feel human again.
So, amidst the cultural push to press on at break neck pace I remind myself to allow for some grace, for me, for my family and anyone else who feels this pressure.
It is a golden time.