Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Contentment

I'm not talking about knitting and reading today, as is tradition on Wednesdays.  I'm still caught in the harvest days of working all day long, only to see what is left undone at the end of the day.  I must content myself with the fact that our days are full of good things.


Just last week, the 3 older kids went to their 4H meeting where our neighbor (who calls their homestead "Yustaboutapharm") taught them how to make wreathes and baskets.  This neighbor and I have been talking about her teaching me how to spin wool for over a year now, but we may have a tentative date planned now.  She keeps sheep and other animals, and always has fleece to play with.  Actually, she's the herbal tea expert in the area too, and I want to pick her brain on tea making as well.  Really, I just want to know everything that is inside her brain.  For now, we had to content ourselves with her showing us how to make wreathes and baskets.


Silje was the only one who finished her project, but the boys got some really big ideas, and were inspired to do some stick-related projects since.  Not only that, but they have a much greater appreciation to basket making now!  Silje made what our neighbor called a "kitchen wreath" which has herbs woven in it to dry.  It's beautiful and smells great.  Silje wants to keep it in her room, but I've convinced her to leave it downstairs for us all to smell and enjoy for just a little bit longer.



This morning I'm dragging the kids through chores and we haven't even started school yet.  I made some blueberry scones.  No one seems in a hurry.  Silje was out until about 10pm last night at a girl's Bible study that is a part of our homeschool group.  I let her sleep in.  I had to have a long talk with David, twice already this morning.  I have been working hard on not yelling at the kids as much, and just letting the weight of their decisions rest on their shoulders without me stopping them.  It's hard, because I see so much possibility in their days, but I cannot drag them through it.  I don't have the strength.  They must see it.  For example, I've been working on not yelling at them to hurry up and get in the car, but simply telling them it's time to go.  Sometimes they don't listen, and then they miss their activity, and don't get to see their friends.  That is really hard for me to see them not have things I want them to have.  But, now when I say it's time to go, they jump and get in the car.  They know that if they don't listen, they will miss out.

Sometimes I just don't understand why they don't see that I'm for them, and I need their help to give them good things.  They're gradually seeing it.  They're still just kids.  I suppose discipline, and learning important lessons are good gifts too.  I'm a big believer in natural consequences, but I'll admit, it's a really hard way to go as a parent, because it involves reigning in myself so much, when I want to sweep in and protect them from all discomfort.  I'm determined to raise kids who are aware that their actions effect others, and they are responsible for their choices.  Those are rarely comfortable lessons.



When Silje woke up this morning, she told me all about her study last night.  They spoke about contentment.  She said they learned about how they make pictures on billboards and magazines, and how they change those girls' beauty to sell things through make up artists and computer imaging.  They contrast that with how God talks about beauty, and finding contentment in our design.  This study is for mothers and daughters, and I was unable to go because of this harvest season.  Next month, though, might be a possibility.  I hope so, because Silje said it was fantastic.

Tomorrow is my "afternoon off" as I call it, where I have a weekly scheduled break from the kids and the household duties that just don't stop this time of year, as Knut can't be home to give me a break ever, and even requires a bit of extra effort from me to get food out to him.  I'll admit, I look forward to my afternoon off a lot lately.  I usually only go to a quiet place and work on the math and spreadsheets of my knitting patterns, but the opportunity to have an uninterrupted deep thought is just priceless to me right now.  It has been helping me not burnout, and to be more present while I'm home.

I felt so guilty when I first started having this scheduled break.  I know it sounds silly, but I love being at home with my kids, so I feel hypocritical to desire to be away from it.  I need reminding too, that I'm designed to have regular rest, and I must be content with that design as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm Blessed

I foolishly am writing this as I get up this morning and am drinking my coffee and waiting for the oatmeal to finish on the stove for the kids.  Brace yourself for some rambling and grammatical errors.

It feels like ages since I wrote an "I'm Blessed" post, when really it's been a week or two.

I've been blessed this last weekend, with 2 particular friends who saw me in my need, and quietly, simply helped me without any fanfare.  One friend texted me some encouragement when I reached out for some prayer.  What she said was so beyond perfect, and full of so much compassion.  I want to be like that.

Still another friend saw that I was hurting and helped me.  Our small group at church was meeting at her house and watching a movie, and she saw that I was trying to hold and rub my neck, and find some way to rest it.  She quietly warmed up a big rice bag, and just came up behind me and rested it on my shoulders.  Friends, it was heaven, and I didn't even have to ask.  Sometimes as a mother of 5, it feels like no one sees the hurt, and no one really cares.  They're just kids, you know.  So have some one see me, and not just offer help, but help without question, not only made my neck muscles melt, but my heart was so touched by it as well.  It was another needed reminder that I am not alone.

I want so badly to see people as these friends saw me, and just be there without any fuss.  Today, we trudge through the morning, all waking up an hour later than usual because the kids have been up late a lot, and the last thing I need is anyone getting sick so I let them sleep.  Knut left before I got up, as corn harvest has begun, but left a full coffee mug on the counter for me as always.  I'm blessed that I got to talk to him for awhile last night before bed, after our small group Bible study.  It was one of those good, deep theological discussions that made us both think.  I love having someone that I can ask the hard questions, and he can ask his hard questions back.

The colors here are beautiful, with all the trees changing, though the wind is slowly making them bare.  The weather is so ideal right now for harvest.  I'm so thankful for that.  I'm hurting so much today that I think I'll go see my chiropractor a few days early.  The very idea of working in my garden today, like I need to, makes me tighten up in my chest again.  I'm thankful the weather is holding, so I can take my time to get these things done.  I've been able to enjoy so many evenings, on the couch, working on my knitting this last week.  Also, I have been working with the best tech editor ever for my upcoming patterns.

So today I'm thankful for being given such a community.  Also I'm thankful I found my car keys.  Knut will be happy I didn't permanently lose yet another set.

In our stressful Mondays, will you take time to give thanks?  What are you grateful for today?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Harvest Time









Sorry, internet was out for a few days again.  It's basically impossible for me to blog from my phone, but there has been no lack of things to write about, nonetheless.

Everything is gorgeous right now, just so you know.  The colors of the changing trees are at their peak.  The weather is gorgeous, and last week the kids and I spent a lot of time trying to winterize the garden, and plant some more bulbs for next spring.  I felt bad, though, that we weren't getting as much school done as I thought we should, so this week we're getting a ton of schoolwork done, and I'm feeling bad that the garden isn't getting cleared.  We may just trade off and on like this for a few more weeks.  The weather seems to be holding for it.

Corn harvest is starting for Knut today.  That could likely mean I don't see him for another 3 weeks or so.  It's very common when the weather is ideal like this that his shift runs from 6am to 2am, and he comes home for a quick sleep and leaves before I wake up again, and I just see the indent on the pillow next to me, and a cup of coffee waiting for me in the kitchen, as signs that he was here.  They do still take Sundays off, though, so I'll see him then.  I may try to work out a harvest date and go visit him out on the tractor for awhile.  The older kids are anxious to go riding with him and Grandpa on the combine.  Corn harvest is by far the most fun harvest to go riding along.

My own little corn patch of strawberry colored popcorn is nearing ready to harvest.  We just pulled in our sunflower seeds and half of the black beans too.  I still have the other half of the black beans to harvest, and I'd like to plant garlic this fall still, where the black beans were.  Most of the tomato plants are pulled up now.  I have about half the carrots out, and none of the onions yet.  I didn't get my strawberries replanted and spread out earlier like I intended to, so I'll have to try to do that next year.  I didn't plan that out very well.

We may take a break of school and gardening and just make applesauce all week too.  That has to get done.  We may not be taking as much off during December as I like to, but we'll see how we're doing.  Silje and David especially have been getting such an enormous amount of schoolwork done on our school days...I've been so proud of them.  We're reading some great things, and doing some really fun science experiments.  I've started having us do some family exercise routines at the beginning of the school day, and it's really been helping us all with our focus during the day.  It's probably still the newness of it, but I'll take it.  Anything to help them focus!

Silje has been spending her free time getting her rabbits all set up for winter down in the barn.  She's worried they'll miss the fresh air, so she's putting on their harnesses as taking them for walks several times a day.  It's hilarious.  The cats follow her around and have no idea what to make of it.

Finally, I decided after much thought and counsel to break up this knitting collection I've been working on, and publish the patterns individually, as soon as they are ready.  So expect close to 4 patterns being published in the next month or so.  I may also have a giveaway coming as well.

Thanks for sticking with me!  Also, if you were wondering where I've been, you can always like my Facebook page (as I can update that from my phone), and get updates on what's going on when the blog goes silent.  Or...you can just know our internet went down again.  :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yarn Along


I'm still working on Silje's Ambrosia cardigan, which is coming along quickly, considering how little I've worked on it this week.  Gotta love bulky yarn!  I've also finished (besides weaving in ends) a pair of fingerless mittens for my pattern collection.  Right now I'm debating whether or not to release them in book form, or if I should just stick to releasing the PDFs of them individually like I have always done.  At any rate, they're nearly ready to photograph with the matching hat.

For those who are familiar with my patterns, my Lady Pearl just went live this week (FINALLY!!) and you can find a discount when you buy it together on Ravelry with the child's version: Little Pearl.

The kids and I were in town the other day, and very saddened to learn that one of our very favorite stores, (a Scandinavian import store) was closing so that the owner could move back to Norway.  The owner went to the same knitting group as me at one point, and I'm sad to see her go, but I know she wants to be closer to her daughter.  Pretty much everything was 40% or more, including the books.  Most of them were picked through by the time we got there, (I was sad all of the Elsa Beskow books were gone already) but I did see this book by Astrid Lindgren.  She's one of my kids' very favorite authors.  We are actually reading once again Children of Noisy Village once again during tea times, and of course, she was the creator of Pippi Longstocking.  I had not heard of this book, but I couldn't just leave it there so I brought it home, along with a children's biography of Astrid Lindgren (OK... and a bunch of other things...).

Silje and I have been taking turns reading it.  I think we're both enjoying it, but it's so very different than her other books, at least as far as subject matter, that it took me a little while longer than usual to get into.  Now that my head's getting wrapped around it, I'm getting pulled in quickly.  Silje is 60 pages ahead of me, though.  She really likes it, and is a much faster reader than I am, though I'm pretty sure it's because she has more reading time.  ;)

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Harvest Begins







Soy bean harvest started this week.  So far everything is going very well.  Knut's long hours have begun, and we're bringing food out to him at least once a day.  I'm having a tough time managing the enormous feat of getting food on the table, as we are so often in town these days, and when we are home, I'm working on harvesting my own little garden, and preserving what I can for the winter.  It leaves very little time for cooking...or laundry.  We're headed into birthday season in our house too, so I don't see any sign of catching up with some freezer meals put away anytime soon.

So what ends up happening is I spend several hours canning tomato sauce, only to serve macaroni and cheese from a box for supper.  I spent a lot of time yesterday just going through my recipes and finding all the ones I could that could be prepared in 30 minutes either in the morning (crock pot) or evening.

We did some driving today to pick up a pig at a butcher about an hour away.  Another homeschooling family in our circle has a 10 year old that raises pigs as a side project, and we bought half of one from him, and went to pick it up.  My freezers are now full of hams and bacon, and sausages, ribs, roast, etc.  We actually had to borrow freezer space from a neighbor.  I think in 3-4 weeks my freezers should be clear enough to get it back.  Sooner if I can find some time to clean one of the little ones out better.

There is such an enormity of things going on behind the scenes in our lives right now.  I went for a walk outside last night to take some pictures.  When decisions are to be made, and a lot is on my mind, I find that taking pictures is a great way to capture the beauty of the moment.  It allows me to take my mind off of things, and just see what God has given me for just that time.  It's just beautiful.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!  We'll be celebrating David's birthday, as well as one of my nephew's birthdays.  We'll have some company over, and keep plugging away at this garden produce. Don't forget to look for the beauty in each moment.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yarn Along


I started a new project yesterday.  The cable design that I was working on last week has been shelved.  I still love the design idea, but there are a few kinks to still work out, and I'm wondering about using a different yarn.  I don't mean to be snobbish, because I love the feel of that yarn, but it's 1/2 acrylic, and acrylic always, always, always makes my hands ache.  I couldn't make it past 2 rows without putting the project down it ached so badly.  So while I think of where to go from here, I'm doing another simple project to help my thoughts percolate some more.

I planned this purplish-blue bulky yarn for myself.  I was planning on making my Camille Cardigan, since the magazine kept my sample, and I genuinely designed something I really wanted for myself.  So that was the plan.  But...well, Silje has had her eye on this yarn ever since I got it.  She's often turned her nose up at the clothing I make for her, and it's been a few years since I've attempted it because of that.  Well, she misses it, I guess.  She's really been wanting me to make something for her.  She's always cold like me, and well...there's this pattern I've been wanting to knit since the second it came out, and would just look darling on her.  I think that casting on this project could make both her and me happy.

Also, she's getting so big that we're starting to borrow some clothes from each other.  My sweaters are still a bit big on her, but I can swipe her sweaters from time to time if needed.  It's odd really.  She's my daughter.  Anyway, I figured I'd make her with sweater with a little bit of "growing room" and maybe...in an emergency...I could borrow it from her.

Just every once in awhile, that is.

This cozy, cushy wool yarn will keep her very warm, and it's knitting up so fast (without the soreness) that this is just yesterday's sitting-in-the-car while the kids are in choir work.  It's so bulky it could easily be done next week.

I'm finishing up Johnny Tremain and still enjoying every second of it.  I know it's historical fiction, and I know how the Revolutionary War ends (obviously) but I'll admit I can't wait to find out how it ends.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the Prairie


Yesterday we got out to the Prairie for a class our community learning center is putting on for homeschoolers.  I love the programs they do out there, and their passion for getting kids outside.  Certain grades of the public school spend half of every day out here, outside on the prairie year round.  So the guides out here know so much, and make it really fun for the kids.  I love how everything out here is slowed down, and it's all about quiet observation.


I know they have these events for kids, but I grew tired, and a little embarrassed that my kids were always screaming and running and scaring off the wildlife.  So it's been awhile since we've been there.  The kids are so much older now, and our youngest is nearly 2, so I thought it might just be possible to pull off some activities at the learning center again.


Really, I did much better once I adjusted my expectations about how this was all going to go about 5 minutes into the class: I was going to chase Ingrid, and the 4 older kids would go along with the class.  Well, I chased her, and then stood by her when she insisted on playing with the gravel.  I should have taken my Ergo carrier out of the car, and just made her stay with us.  She would have done fine in there, as she does love a good snuggle.  Plus it was nap time for the 2 little girls.  Without the Ergo, though, I was left to drag her along kicking and screaming, or just letting her explore relatively close to where the wildlife class was going on.  I kept just letting her explore, because it was quieter and I didn't want her screaming to ruin the class for everyone.






I was actually with Ingrid so much, and the boys were so into the class, that I didn't get any pictures of them.  Solveig stayed with the group, and her friend and friend's mom who was along with the class as well.  I put Silje in charge of the clipboard to list all of the species they identified.




Ingrid love running up and down the dock to the pond.  It wasn't quiet...or slow.




When we got back to the classroom, Ingrid turned into the perfect student, and sat down with the rest of the group and listened to the guide tell the difference between bumble bees and honey bees.  We learned that there are 49 different species of bumble bees in North America alone, and 4 of those the learning center has been able to photograph and identify.  One of the species identified is classified as rare.  We learned that they are classified according to their tongues, and some of them carry pollen on their underbellies, and some species carry pollen on their legs.


Solveig and her friend made themselves at home too.



I left there hurting from holding Ingrid so much, and annoyed that the kids didn't realize that we had to get going to make it to piano lessons on time.  We did not leave there with a lot of grace, but once we all got a snack, I settled down a bit.  It was really my fault we left the learning center later than planned.  They had a gift shop with the most wonderful field guides for our area, and I had to peruse a bit, and ended up getting one for the kids on animal tracks.

We'll be back next month, certainly.  The kids just had a blast, and learned so much.  They cannot wait to go back next month to the untouched prairie.  I'm still continuing to get stronger, and my new chiropractor is working hard to get my neck better able to handle activities like this.  I keep telling myself it will keep getting easier.  Looking back at the pictures especially, I'm so glad that we did sign up for this class as a family.