Friday, April 17, 2015

Organizing the School Books

It's that time of year again, when I'm ordering my curriculum for the next year, so I have a few months to go over it and make some unrealistic, idyllic plans for the coming Fall.  Springtime is like a second Christmas around here, with the UPS man delivering books quite often, as I order from a variety of sources now.  We have always been a whole-book type school.  We all prefer reading whole books and discussing them rather than excerpts and workbooks and problems.  This classical method of teaching is very non-consumable, so everything gets passed down to the next kid.  Workbooks entered the school system when curriculum publishers needed to raise their stock value, by adding workbooks that needed to be purchased every year.  Honestly, a good book will do for a variety of things by itself.  We don't buys stacks of workbooks, though we go through our fair share of paper.  We do some workbooks in math, but that's pretty much it.  With this book-heavy method, the bookshelves become a pretty big monster to tame.

I'm spending time organizing all of the school books, which is becoming a massive task.  Each year I modify my organizational system at least a little bit, but luckily this year not a lot of rearranging needed to be done.  I love how I have it set up now, and I thought I'd share.

Back when we started homeschooling, Silje was in 1st grade.  I planned to have a 1st grade bookshelf, a 2nd grade bookshelf, and so on.  It sounded so simple.  I like simple.  Silje is a bottomless pit for books.  She craves books more than food, I think, so her reading selection is quite large.  We pick a small handful of books to discuss each year, but for the most part, I just set her loose on them.  I used to require that she read a chapter a day of a book of my choice, but she quickly got bored with that and now I assign her a book for every week, or what makes sense for that particular book.

It was a beautiful organizational system until I realized that my other kids aren't exactly like Silje. David struggled learning to read, and while he likes books now, there's no way I could convince him to read as much as Silje.  When every book was a struggle, I didn't want to make his entire education a struggle.  I'm really fine with that, because he learns very differently.  He does more building and inventing while listening to audio books, or in the quiet.  Now we have a third different kid in Elias, who is loving his new book time, but is really shy about it.  He's in that tender time where the love of books is still being kindled, and while he likes it now, he's not nearly ready to be "set loose" to the bookshelf.

My organizational system by grade level hit a snafu when it I realized that David wouldn't read as many or the same books as his big sister.  I couldn't just work down the line on the shelf.  We started studying the typical classical trivium, studying history on a 4 year cycle.  1st grade was ancient history.  Well, when David was in 1st grade, we were onto the Renaissance as a family, and the old books of Silje's didn't apply.  Not only that, but I had purchased 3rd grade level books for her when she was in 1st grade, and David read at a 1st grade level in 1st grade.  You could see how confusing this was.  Nothing was matching up at all.  I didn't want to teach 2-3 different history classes.  I wanted to teach 1 in a 1-room-schoolhouse fashion.  Like I said, I like things simple.

So I changed my bookshelf to reflect subjects rather than grade levels.  Now when we are studying ancient history, I look through the shelf and just pull of books that each kid might get excited about in regard to Egypt or Rome.  I can customize our learning that way.  The series The Story of the World keeps us on a main track altogether for what basic story or people group we are studying, and I pull of supplement books from the shelf that fits the level and interest for that child.

Poetry and arts are now grouped together.  Math and science are grouped together.  All of the biographies are next to history.  As far as readers, I have them organized according to who has read them, and very loosely by subject if they are historical based readers.  (I have a tough time knowing where historical fiction belongs, but I put them in the reader section for now.)  I have started marking to remind me who has read what.  When Silje finishes a book, I put a little "S" on the inside cover.  If David reads it, it gets an "D" and so on.  There are now a few read-alouds that have an "E" on them as Elias participated in that one.  I have two "S" names in our family, so when Solveig starts school she will probably be a "J" for her middle name, or "So" if she prefers.

Now when I'm picking out a read aloud book, I can quickly reference who has heard it before.  Sometimes if the older kids have read it, they really pump up the smaller kids with anticipation to how fun it will be.  I have a shelf of books that I want Elias to work through, a shelf I want David to work through, and several shelves for Silje.  Actually she reads from pretty much any shelf.  I no longer have them organized as read-alouds or independent readers.  I decide which it will be off the cuff, depending on the day, season, and child...and of course depending on the book.  This ability to be flexible has been life-giving.  I love that freedom, and it's really when homeschooling started clicking, both for me and for my kids.

Really, what has happened in this whole process these last 2 years, is that I have let go of the "box curriculum" of so many books that need to be read on certain dates throughout the year.  They are great to start with because they feel "safe."  When I started homeschooling, the very idea of leaving the teaching schedule would have terrified me, as though I were "messing up" somehow.  It's taken me a few years (I'm a slow learner) to realize that my goals are bigger, yet simpler than that.  Those box curriculum schedules began feeling like unnecessary red-tape.  I want my kids to love books, and I want learning to be a constant.  So as long as they are learning, I don't care how many books they "x" off their list.  This was a huge paradigm shift from when I would keep a strict schedule of their reading, and push hard when their interest was low.  We sure crossed off a lot of books back then...books they don't remember at all.  Reading is required everyday.  How much reading depends on the day...and how good the book is.  When I stock the shelves with only great stories, it makes it easier.

Now, even my initially reluctant reader gets excited when headed to the bookshelf.  "What sort of adventure do I want to go on today?" he thinks.  Usually I pull off 2-3 choices that I recommend try.  We've built up a trust enough that he knows that if I pick it, it must be good.  I usually give Silje a choice between 2 books as well, but if she continually rejects a book, it becomes a read aloud that I will read to her for our special time together.  That nearly always redeems prejudgments on a book.

As our kids get older, and new books are added to our shelves, I'm sure I'll have to modify this system further, but for now, it's been working beautifully.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Big Mouse Adventure

We've been dealing with a mouse problem.  I hate to say it, but we've had.  We had a mouse problems a few years ago.  Knut usually set out poison in the barn and unfinished basement, and it wasn't a problem...until one day I was cleaning out the kids' toy boxes and saw the mice had nested piles of the poison in the corners of each and every cubby basket.  I freaked out, as you can imagine. Then, even though I've never been a cat person, we got a bunch of the sweetest, most social barn cats from a friend of a friend to replace the poison.  We haven't seen a mouse since.  Sure, we see evidence they leave behind in the unfinished parts of the basement, or outside, but for the most part, we can pretend they aren't there.

Until this Spring.  I've seen the cats play with mice pretty much constantly outside lately.  I've seen 3 mice come out into the open in our house in the last 2 weeks.  Also, the back hall closet had some...movement.  We'd be sitting in the den, watching a movie, and we'd hear them squeaking, running around, etc.  It gives me shivers just to think about it.  I knew it needed a good clean out, but I was afraid if I cleaned it out I'd find...well, mice.  Live. Mice.  And I don't like to find them.  I stand on tables around them...not go out of my way to find where they live.

So Knut got these super awesome traps, and we set them in the closet and then he'd check them twice a day, and for the last week or so, there was at least one mouse found there at each check.  That's every 12 hours we were catching at least 1 mouse.  I figured we'd get rid of all of them, THEN I'd clean it out when the coast was clear.

I know I'm a scaredy cat.  I admit that openly.

But yesterday, Knut cleaned out the traps when he got up in the morning.  Then while we were eating breakfast, we heard both traps go off.  I was so grossed out at the consistency we were catching them, I said "That's it!  That's it!  We are cleaning it out TODAY!"  I was planning on doing it this weekend, but I couldn't live with them in there anymore.  I was planning on doing some cooking for the rest of our busy week, and get a few projects done.  All of it was canceled.  The mice needed to be evicted.

So obviously, I paid one of my kids to do it.  David's my big strong man of the house when Knut is planting the fields during spring work.  Then we broke house rules and brought a series of barn cats inside to supervise his work.  Only 1 of the 3 cats we chose to bring inside showed any interest in chasing the mice that we found.  The other 2 were overfed...and they have barely touched the food we give them lately.  There's been a lot of mice in the barn too.  But I don't live there.

It's what we get living yards from the farm's grain bins, I guess.  It's just been a bad spring in that department.  We are down to only 5 cats right now too, and the mice problem is really more under control when we are between 8-10.  We think one of our cats, Midnight, might be pregnant right now, so...I hope so.  Believe me, I've asked the humane society for cats, multiple times, but they say cats aren't for chasing mice, and they will only give out declawed, inside cats that sit around all day.  Those cats sound bored.  Our cats have all sorts of fun.  We feed them and take care of them.  They get a ton of affection from multiple people in our family.  They just have a job to do...and they love to do it.  We have a philosophy that animals are happiest when they are doing what they were bred to do.  Missy is happiest outside chasing predators.  She is constantly scanning the horizon for threats.  It fills her heart with joy.  You can see it all over her face.  Lena is a companion dog, and is happiest when toddlers are using her as a pillow, or playing fetch.  The chickens like to eat bugs and scratching the dirt.  So we don't keep them in a room and feed them specially formulated food, and cut their beaks off because they can get bored and peck each other like commercial operations.  We let them all over the yard to dig for bugs, and eat all the ticks we seem to breed there.  They are so happy and don't bug each other, and I really think it effects the quality of our eggs.  Our cats are hunters.  I cannot imagine them being happy not hunting.  It's all about respecting the animal.

Mice have the job of dying.  I have no sympathy for them.  I know God created them too, but...I just can't.  They're food for cats.  That's their purpose in my mind.

We've also learned that animals are essential to avoiding chemicals.  If we didn't have free range chickens, we would spend hundreds of dollars a year spraying for ticks in the yard.  Before chickens, we picked 2 ticks off our kids a day.  Since we got chickens a few years ago, we see 1-2 a year.  If we didn't have cats, we'd have to go back to putting poison everywhere and find it in the kids' toy boxes again.  If we didn't have Missy, the chickens couldn't range and find ticks.  If we didn't have Lena, we'd have to buy real floor pillows.

Well, once everything was out, and everything was vacuumed up, David decided he didn't want to do anymore.  He was so overwhelmed with the mess.  The closet contents were spewed across 2 rooms in all of it's mouse chewed/pooped glory.  I rubbed some essential oils that deter mice all over the floor and baseboards of the closet.  We took a trip (it ended up being 2 trips) to town to get plastic tubs to put everything in.  This closet under the stairs stores the bulk flour, wheat, rice, oatmeal, etc. for the family.  One half bag of flour was ruined, but the rest of the food was untouched because it was actually stored better.  They're all in tubs now anyway.  Some of the Christmas boxes were chewed through, and several party things, and a hodgepodge of items were chewed through.  I threw away about a 1/3 of the closet's content because the mice had ruined it in some fashion.  So today we have to take a trip to the dump.  (We don't get trash pick up way out here.  We try to recycle as much as we can to avoid trips to the dump, but this stuff seriously needs to go.)  Everything got crazy clean before  it went back into storage, and I think I cleaned the rooms I was sorting through all this stuff in about 4 times after it was all gone.

The good news is that I had to get rid of so much stuff that my vacuum fits in there again.  So that's a bonus.

And this morning?  The traps were full again.  So I guess the cats missed a few.  Actually, I think we'll be catching them for awhile, but with an aggressively clean space, they'll start running out of food options.  I hope.  I'm not ready for an inside cat yet.  Don't tell Silje, but this event has nearly brought me there.  That's how traumatizing it's been.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yarn Along

My Norsk Cloak has come to a short standstill as I ran out of yet another color of yarn.  In the mean time, I thought I'd swatch something pretty in the soft red/pink that didn't make it into the final version of the Norsk Cloak.  It ended up getting ripped up and terrible.  So then I looked in my stash for this lovely lace weight pretty yarn to make myself a summery shawl.  All those swatches failed too. I learned, once again, that I hate working lace patterns that needs concentration on both the right and wrong side.  I much prefer concentration on the right side, and then just purl the whole wrong side.  I don't have the brainpower, or patience to do some lace patterns I want to do.  So this week for my yarn along, I'm just showing you yarn that is doing nothing.

I've also put aside my current reading to go over the Shakespeare curriculum I'm putting together for this Fall.  We will work through How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare (which is not directed to homeschoolers at all, by the way.  It's just for parents.)  I heard the author speak on the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, and he said the Young Reader's Shakespeare versions of plays are his favorite for introducing the stories of Shakespeare, and would be a nice companion to learning the language of Shakespeare in his book.  So we got a few of those.  I have never read "A Midsummer Night's Dream" before if you can believe it.  It's painfully funny.  I know my kids will like it, but there are so many story lines going on at the same time that we may make some sort of visual/poster to sort out the various stories as we are reading them.  A guide, a few books, and some make-as-we-go posters.  That's about what that curriculum is going to look like.

Also, before I forget, I have to announce the winner of last week's giveaway for the ebook package Teaching from Rest!!

Rafflecopter drew a random winner and that is: Erin Russell!!  

The ebook will be delivered to your email shortly, directly from the author herself.  Congratulations!

I'd love to encourage others who didn't win to check out the book anyway.  It is seriously worth it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Delightful Quiet

Sickness hit our house again, as Silje and David were up sick early, early Sunday morning.  It continued into the late morning.  So once again, I stayed home from church.

Normally I feel trapped when I miss my time there, but the last few weeks I have been running everywhere with the kids.  A day at home with just the 2 oldest kids was...


It was delightfully quiet.  I actually sat and folded laundry, (and I rarely do chores on Sunday) just because I was so delighted to do it.  It was just fun to sit and put a big pile of chaos into order.

I went for a walk.  The silence of the house made the noise of the outdoors stand out.  The songbirds have returned from winter, and there were birds on the still-bare branches everywhere.

So while I don't like it when anyone in my house is sick, and I don't like missing the fellowship and worship of Sunday services, there was a silver lining to yesterday.

Everyone felt great yesterday, and we are actually having our best week of school in months.  I've been busy taking in lots of new curriculum for next year, and subsequently have about 3 different posts on homeschooling lined up.  I think the fresh books gave us all some fresh wind, even though we aren't using them yet.  It was just a reboot to remembering what we are doing and why we are doing it.  I'll try to spread them out a bit so those who have no interest in homeschooling don't get overly bored.  I get pretty excited about it, though.  I can get pretty nerdy like that.

Along those lines, I'm starting to wonder if Elias will have some reading issues like David.  He's still too young to be evaluated.  He's over 6, but you have to be 7 before you are diagnosed with anything.  I'm not certain, but I'm keeping my eyes open.  While David had attention and visual issues, I'm wondering if Elias has visual and auditory issues.  He's struggling but in a very unique way to how David did.  Reading up on it, I found out that if one child is diagnosed with a learning issue under the umbrella term of "dyslexia" which covers a wide range of learning issues, siblings have a 40% chance of being diagnosed as well.

I must say, the idea of addressing this makes me feel very tired.  Like I said, I'm not sure, I just have suspicions.  He still has time to develop a bit more.  I'm spending a lot of extra school time with him lately just to watch him a little more intentionally while he's trying to learn.

Also, I should remind you that the giveaway for the free e-book on teaching from rest is done tonight at midnight, and I'll announce the winner tomorrow.  Don't miss out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yarn Along GIVEAWAY!

I'm still working on my "Norsk Cloak" for my knitting project.  This is really becoming a marathon project, but I'm still, still enjoying it.  I can't wait to wear this.  I still haven't figured out what knitting project will come after this, so I'm in no hurry to finish this by any deadline.  I want the pattern ready to publish this Fall, so that leaves me a bit of time.  I have a feeling, though, that time will go faster than I anticipate.

Ingrid is still taking ages to fall asleep.  She still climbs out of bed and runs around like a madman whenever we turn our back.  It's really been good for my reading, as I continue to be forced to sit and wait with her to drift off.  During nap time I bring Lord of the Rings with me, and in the evening when it's much darker, I have read an ebook from my iPhone that I've been drooling over for awhile.  It's called Teaching from Rest and can I say this author is inside my head?  As you know, I've been writing a bit on our calling to rest and our design for rest.  This author wrote everything I wish I had written.  I just have nothing more to add to what she has said.  I feel like anything more I write on the topic of rest would just plagiarize this.  So just read this.

I think that homeschooling can be so work intensive.  Therefore, it drifts into the "works based" side of faith.  The problem is, we cannot be dependent on our works, and if we continue to depend on our works, we will continue to live in discouragement and exhaustion.

Are you exhausted?

Then this book is for you.  It talks about teaching, mothering, homeschooling, from a state of rest.  Even when no one will let you rest.  This is not written from an idealistic, rose-colored-glasses standpoint of the author, as she wrote it when she had 6 little kids, the youngest 3 being under the age of 2.  (Her youngest are twins.)  Her understanding of the impossibility of our job is deep.

This book has been balm for my soul.  It's the gospel for homeschooling moms.  How do we achieve rest when God has called us to a job that leaves no room for that?  Sarah is Catholic, and I'm Lutheran, but there is an unmistakable unity in her message: God is enough.  I could shout "Amen!" to every page of this book.

You'll have to read it to find out.  I wrote the author, and gushed how much I'm moved by her book, and she offered to give a copy away to one of you readers.  So if you want this "full package" ebook, which comes with an audio companion with some conversations with some really smart people, and a printable companion journal, just sign up below.  There are a few ways to sign up.  You can visit and "like" either Sarah or my Facebook pages (or both).  You can sign up for email notifications on this blog (the invent your own option), or you can simply leave a comment to this post.  You can do one or all.  The giveaway will run until next Tuesday night at midnight.  Sarah will email the winner the links to download her amazing book.  If you already follow Sarah or myself of Facebook, or are already on the email list, you still get credit for that.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

I've also become an affiliate with Sarah, so if you don't win, or just want the book right now, you can click to her book through this site and Sarah will give me a portion of that sale.  If you are remotely interested, check it out.  (Sorry about the unaligned placement of the blog to the right.  My OCD is being driven mad right now about that but I'm finally starting up a blog migration.  It will all get fixed in due time.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Blessings

I had a great Easter.  Did you?  The church service hit my heart so deeply.  The music, the songs...everything.  I didn't do any "Lent activities" this year besides an occasional sermon, and I really didn't feel prepared for Easter Sunday.  And yet, the message "He is risen" just hit so close to home that I found myself welling up in tears over it at random times during the service.

He is risen.  He is risen indeed.  And that makes all the difference.  I have heard this message so many times I couldn't count.  And yet, it hits me hard every time anyway.  

The afternoon had one downside.  Knut's youngest brother and his wife had their 1st child just a month ago.  I have not seen her yet.  I have not held her little body, or smelled her fuzzy head, or heard her little baby grunts except via electronic devices.  My sweet new niece was supposed to ride a few hours with her parents to the family Easter celebration yesterday, but her mother, this brand new mommy, had the audacity to go to the emergency room with intense pain last week and went home on Saturday, weighing one gallbladder lighter.  I know.  How dare her?  Didn't she new I'm aching to hold this girl?

So I had to settle with hanging out with my own 5 children, and 9 of my other nieces and nephews.  (Well, actually 1 niece and 8 nephews were there.  Silje and David are the oldest of the cousins on both sides.  The rest are about 2nd grade on down, and mostly boys.  It's a bit loud.  And active.  Just a bit.)  So if you do the math, that's 14 small children/toddlers/babies, and we were missing the newborn.

I also learned after nearly 13 years of marriage, something new about my husband.  I always start eating a chocolate bunny starting with the ears, and he always starts with the tail.  I cannot believe I never knew that before.

Moving on...

I had a moment of frustration last week, as I was stomping through the house in some sort of tizzy because everywhere I looked there was messes.  I was stepping over messes, sweeping up messes, bumping into messes.  It was interfering with the flow of the day, and the food I was trying to cook.

I can think about a thousand ways to handle the situation better than I did.  It was basically handled through very loud grumbling and complaining.  "Why am I the only one to see this mess?  Do you guys not have eyes?  Don't you see this bookshelf is dumped out?  Do you not see your sweatshirt that has been laying here for days?  Does this table look like a trashcan to you?  This isn't where trash goes.  Don't just set it on the table.  Guys!!  I'm not going to wash these socks if they never make it into the hamper!!  You have to see your messes.  Why am I the only one who sees this?"

Ahem.  I'll be honest, messes make me rant when they build up.  My kids hate when I rant.  I hate it too.

I tried to settle myself down and be honest with them.  "Guys, I am really trying to get ahold of my stress, and I get really stressed out when this house gets this messy.  I don't like having people over when it's like this, and I just don't like living like this."

Silje was trying to comfort me, and said, "Don't worry mom.  We don't even notice the mess.  It's not as bad as you say."

Let's just say I didn't feel comforted.

In fact, I may have ranted a bit more.

Don't worry Mom, we don't even notice this mess you are trying to train us to clean.  It's invisible.  What mess?

I actually stopped the ranting before I went further, and just stewed.

They don't notice the mess.

It doesn't bother them.

Don't get me wrong, I want my kids to grow up to be one of those people who just dives into helping.  I want them to pick up trash that isn't theirs.  Just because they see it.  One of my first jobs at a summer camp had a saying, "If you see it, you own it."  That was in reference to jobs, not stuff.  If you see a job, it's your job.  Don't leave it for the person behind you.  What resulted is one of the most well-run camps I have ever encountered.

I know that I'm on the right side of wanting to train them in life skills.  I know it is good to teach them how to clean.  I know it's not fun for either of us sometimes, but it's good training.  It's good.

And yet, the more I simmered (aka ranted inside my head), the more I saw the beauty in Silje's words.

They don't notice.

It doesn't bother them.

Their joy is not wrapped up in how clean this house is.  

There it is.  I think that's what she meant.  It's something that I've been repeating to myself over and over.  My kids' joy isn't wrapped up in a pristine house.  They just like hanging out with me.  I'm getting through to them about so many other, way more important things.  They love playing board games.  They like looking at bugs.  They enjoy the moment.  They get excited over pretty much everything.

I am not ruining them, or their childhood with my messy house.  Life will go on if the floor isn't swept.  That's why we got a dog, anyway.  She can clean up the food the toddler threw on the floor.  She does a pretty decent job on the oatmeal on the chairs too.

I will continue to train them, but I also need to remember where a clean house needs to be on my priority list.  It surely needs to be on the list.  But not at the expense of trampling things higher on the list to get it.  And joy shouldn't be wrapped up in a clean house.  A clean house is a sterile house.  Sterile means no life.

In fact one of the definitions of sterile is: producing little or no vegetation.  Unfruitful.  We have a house full of life.

In fact, there was this bacteria we were growing that...

Never mind.  You get the drift.

I'm blessed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yarn Along

I'm still working on my "Norsk Cloak" as I'm now calling it.  I'm actually starting to see the end in sight, an I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I cannot wait to see it finished, but on the other hand, I have such a pile up of finished items already that need writing that I'm in no hurry to add to it.

I've gone further in Lord of the Rings.  Ingrid is still having a tough time getting to sleep with her newfound skill of leaving her bed whenever she feels like it.  It's one bright side to her not sleeping well.  I just hafta sit in her room so she doesn't climb out of her crib.  This is the only thing I can do then.

My schedule is sweeping me up, friends, and I'm not sure what to think about it.  I may sound discouraged, but in reality it's just been a bad attitude.  I can't do the things I want to do.  Our time at home I'm frantically trying to catch up on home things, and all these little pockets of time I could do "my" things are disappearing.  And yet, my family is thriving more.  My time at the YMCA while they are doing their activities there has been making me stronger, physically, and I haven't felt stronger in a long, long time.  There have definitely been perks to this busy-ness.

It's April now.  I had another knitting pattern I planned to have out by Easter, but I still can't seem to get the sleeve caps right on it.  I don't have any time to figure it out.  It's on hold.  Everything is on hold.  I'm slowly realizing that I may not get a chance to get another pattern out until this Fall.  That shouldn't bother me but it does.  I feel like my life is not my own right now, and I feel like I'm surrounded by people who would say "duh!" to that statement.  Nearly 11 years into this mom job, I can be pretty stubborn.

Most of all, I feel like this thing, this "knitting pattern" thing is holding this stress over my head that wouldn't exist otherwise.  There is an incredible amount of good things going on in my life right now.  The problem is, is that I look at my schedule, and I wouldn't change a thing...besides add more hours.

The weather around here has just been delightful.  Yesterday I took a walk through the garden, and found the strawberry heirloom popcorn I grew last year, but left in the garden because I had hit my yearly-garden-burnout, and corn keeps pretty good.  There were a small handful of cobs that were moldy, but for the most part all of it was still good.  The fine weather, and reminder of garden work ahead made me realize that these last few weeks have brought us out of the hibernation season (my favorite season of the year).  We are so desperately in need for this sun and fresh air.  We have chicks in the barn, seedlings under lights in the basement, a mommy cat with a bulging tummy of kittens and the chickens have returned to laying at full speed.  We are entering this life-giving growing season.

It's such a fun season.

It's just not a good sit by the fire and get "work" done season.  Well, at least not yet.  I'm probably going to continue to try to get my "knitting business" things done, and at the same time not let it rob me of joy when it doesn't.  I'm not sure that's the best of plans, but at this point, it's all I got.