Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sunbursts

"sunburst for pincushions, little hearts for a garland, and story"

I'm already longing for green grass and picnics. This winter has been far too cold for me, and it's always far too long. I guess that's my fault for living where I live, and I should get my snow shoes on and enjoy it, but it's been quite bitter this year. It makes me want to stay snug under my covers in the morning. I truly should have been a bear. I get so sleepy in the winter. Anyways, it is certainly good weather for crocheting and good weather for stories. We are reading "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils" right now for a bit of adventure on these chilly nights. I think we might finish it tonight. It would be fun to be turned into a gnome for a bit.

Anyways, Daddy decided it would be fun if he and Elsa throw stuffed animals at me, so I have I have to hide under the desk. 

What are you doing to keep yourself out of those dark winter caves?


Joining in this week with Yarn Along and KCCO over at Frontier Dreams.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

4/52 Sunday Night Pancakes


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2015"
Oona: the Pancake Princess strikes again
Elsa: in the middle of her record setting pancake dinner

*P.S. We were out of nearly everything so pancakes were our lazy solution. 

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

3/52 Umbrella Weather


 
"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2015"

Oona: ready for any weather
Elsa: never afraid to enjoy a good thing


http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Softening the Edges


Maybe it's the holiday overabundance, the bitter cold, or going to long without a break, but I've found myself falling into dark corners of late.  And perhaps it happens to me every winter, but I've been struggling to see the light in these darker days. I hit a low recently, and felt the power of all those negative emotions swimming around in me, poisoning the daylight and poisoning my interactions with those I love. It's a hard truth to realize when you step back and see that you are the one making things difficult for yourself. I try not to stay with anger too long, so today I decided I needed a different approach to just about everything. I've been very fatigued... sick kids, teething baby, lack of light, lack of sleep... all these things can ware at you. But it's no excuse for acting wretched. A little argument about something last night that was no one's fault and needn't have turned angry made me see that I needed to find balance again... teetering on the edge cannot last long when you have a family that needs you and loves you. I wrote on our white board this morning that I would try hard today not to yell because when I yell it hurts my little ones. This was difficult at first, but soon changed my frame of mind for every situation. I stopped trying to "get things done" and tried to find a balance that would make both me and the people that live me feel at peace. There were moments where tantrums broke out and I wanted very much to yell in response, collapse in a heap on the floor, throw things, eat ice cream, etc., but I tried my best to let the waves of anger and tension wash over me so that I could see more clearly what my role was in a given situation. I think, overall, it helped a lot. There were a few times where I felt my voice rise, but I don't think a yell. Perhaps some would see this as repressive, but honestly, I think anger and yelling feed more anger and yelling. When I consciously tried to keep my cool, it is amazing how different the world looks. I was also shocked at how much more connected I felt to my babies.... we could get through anything as long as Mama didn't cave to the strong emotions being whirled around. It's hard to sit still in a storm and wait for it to pass, but sometimes it really is the best thing you can do.


So we played, we baked, we read stories, we went in the snow. The sky was so grey and there was a thick fog over everything as the snow still fell, but it was quiet and beautiful and still. Yes, I still feel tired and worn, and perhaps a little melancholy... difficult feelings can always resurface. But I am going to try my little experiment again tomorrow. No yelling... (unless someone truly can't hear me, haha).

And I'm also going to put my children before the agenda... more things actually get done when I'm not fighting against their will. This is not to say I will do whatever they want, but I will try harder to bring them into what I do and be more responsive to their need for undivided attention. I also think I need to stop the cycle of negativity, by sitting down and listing all the best qualities of those nearest and dearest to me.  It's easy to get caught up in the ways we drive each other crazy. My change in attitude might not effect anyone else, but at least I can start to be at peace in myself again.

*P.S. I wrote these reflections last night, but a crying baby needed me, so I'm posting them here this morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2/52 Little Red Cheeks


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2015"

Elsa: looking adoringly at her new "kitty" snow leopard... I'm not sure which word she says more... "mommy" or "kitty"
Oona: family time putting together puzzles ... poor thing gets so rosy red in winter no matter how much lotion or salve we put on

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Handmade Christmas

Reindeer night gowns hastily whipped up Christmas Eve
How was your Christmas? I guess it was ages ago now. We still have one more to celebrate with Jake's mom (and maybe a fourth with my sister?), but so far our other two have been quite nice (as I'm sure the others will be!). I do so love the handmade part of Christmas, secretly wishing to one day have an all handmade/ homegrown Christmas when time and proper planning allow. But each year, more handmade items find there way into the mix... four stockings, the green one for Miss Elsa finished last year, I think, hang on our cast iron kitty hooks each year. I toyed with the idea of making two tiny ones for the kittens, but instead they got something far more enjoyable, a pine cone tied to a piece of wire! (Jake's idea)


 My big Christmas projects this year were two small gnome dollies for the girls. They are my first attempt at Waldorf style dolls, and I must say, they took far longer than I could have imagined for such little ladies with all the wild hair and clothes. They haven't played with them as much as I had hoped, but I think they are still overwhelmed by the overabundance of new things, and they do get some night time cuddles. At least I get to play with them. I do sometimes wish I was an elf at the North Pole with all those toys to make and play with.


I thought the stripey tights made out of a recyled t-shirt were a nice touch. I'd originally cut it up for this baby gown once upon a time.


The gnome hats were immediately removed, of course, because only grown ups seem to keep their hats on around here.


I wouldn't have gone any farther with the handmade stuff for the girls, but Oona did write this very sweet letter to Santa. So Daddy, knowing that Santa has much too much on his plate to make all the things children can dream of,  made the doll house dollies from last Christmas a table, two chairs, and two beds. ( Not everything, but close enough.) I couldn't resist adding some little felt balls to their Christmas tree to make things truly festive.


Jake's Dad brought many bits from his home in New Mexico, along with this handmade gift from one of the tribes out there, a little dream catcher that will go above Oona's bed when it's done adorning our tree.


There are a few more handmade gifts I'd like to share, but they have to be given first. And there our a few that got sent off in a rush, with no farewell photo.  I'm hoping to get started on some of next years gifts while I'm snuggled inside on these bitter cold winter days. If anyone wants to share any of their handmade holiday presents, feel free to leave a link in the comments. It's always fun to see what others are making!




Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

1/52 Slide

"A portrait of my girls once a week, every week in 2015."

Oona: she's always got both arms full and ready to have fun... I think four is going to be a good year
Elsa: on the look out, and looking a little less like a baby everyday... and those eyes are asking, "Can we get an indoor slide at home?"

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/ 

I guess I'm in for another year of the 52 project! Careful, it's habit forming! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dragon Fire


 The wild winds of the New Year are howling! I wish I could say that I have dragon fire in my belly and I'm ready to go, but the truth is, I'm feeling a bit worn out from the hustle bustle of the holidays. I've definitely slowed down a bit, enjoying hot coffee and family time and doing little else. Well that's not entirely true. We did venture out of the house on New Year's Eve to visit Burlington, VT while Jake's dad was in town. We visited a science museum with the kids and then stumbled upon a dragon parade while grabbing a cup of coffee. How lucky, indeed?! I'm hoping that I can take a bit of that light and creativity into this coming year. There is a lot I want to accomplish, make, do, and become. I'll need to find that dragon fire if I'm going to do any of it!

 
Speaking of fire, we did have an awful scare just after Christmas. Our pellet stove pipe on the store was knocked sideways by falling ice from the roof and sent sparks onto some ancient wood under the snow, causing the wall to catch fire. Fortunately, the smoke detector alerted us in the wee hours of the morning, and Jake and our dad's were able to put it out while my mom called the fire department and we got the kids out of the house. The only damage was to the clapboards on the stove wall. It truly made me grateful for all that we have, and especially that everyone was safe. It was good that we called the fire department, even though the fire was out, because they were able to use their detectors to tell if there was any fire still smoldering in the wall. Do make sure your smoke detectors are working... they can be annoying at times, but if our fire had gone on for much longer, the whole place (both store and home) could have gone up in flames.


So that's my cautionary tale for the new year, but mostly I'm just so glad everyone is okay. It makes you realize how quickly and without warning that you could lose everything. 


So, that being said, there is much to do. I have a word for the New Year, a word that makes me cringe a little, but it's something I need to focus on... "management"... ooo... what? Did I just say that word? Yes! Because so much in my life is willy nilly frilly silly and I need to get my ducks in a row, so that I can feel more at peace. This includes better management of my house, kids, money, relationships, and just about everything. It's time to stop tumbling through my days and make the most of them... well perhaps after a little bit more rest from the busy holidays.


Goals for the New Year:
- let go of more stuff
- try to take care of the little things as they happen, so they don't pile up
- bake more bread
- write more letters
- buy less
- make art
- sew
- start doing farmer's markets in the Spring
- grow more food and plant more flowers


Here's wishing you a year of joy and radiance and good food too!