Well all right then.
I'll do it.
Give me a week or two for everyday posts while I collect my thoughts, and then we'll finish what we started.
Well all right then.
I'll do it.
Give me a week or two for everyday posts while I collect my thoughts, and then we'll finish what we started.
Some days are hard.
Some days my children have misplaced their good attitudes and kind manners. Some days they don't want to help or participate or cooperate.
Some days are all resistance.
Sometimes as a parent it's hard to find the loving words. And the patience. Sometimes it's hard to keep my cool. To not raise my voice. To not resort to simply being the boss and choosing more old-school "because I said so" parenting energy, or inching towards punishment and reward.
Yes. Sometimes it's hard to practice what I preach.
But I'm trying everyday to keep at it and parent they way that I believe. I keep inching towards becoming the mom I want to be.
Sure, I slip. But as soon as I recognize it (or find the capacity to change my path) I return to what feels right.
Last week I was at the lake with my kids. A mom, struggling to keep up with two toddlers and two dogs in the company of an un-supportive boyfriend turned to me with an exhausted look on her face. "Why don't you have to yell at your kids to get them to do what you want?"
My heart was breaking for her. She was working so hard. I told her that my kids were older than hers and that we'd found our groove. 5 and 9 is not 3 and 4. Not by a long shot. I acknowledged that toddlers were a lot of work and then she ran off down the beach, chasing a child or a dog while her boyfriend baited his hook and smirked at her rushing about.
Before we left I told her that she deserved more respect. Because she does. She deserved to have support. Compassion. Connection.
We all deserve these things. And as mothers it is vital. If not from our partners (if we have one), if not from our extended family, if not from our community that surrouds us - at least from the communities that we find or create elsewhere.
Last week I peeked around at the peaceful parenting conversations going on in our More Peaceful Parenting Facebook Group and was so inspired by the support and love that you are offering each other there.You are talking about big and personal struggles, and you are being met with grace and love and wisdom. I'm so glad.
As some of you have noticed, I quit the More Peaceful Parenting series her on the blog. When things got a little strained last month I felt a bit too vulnerable to write about parenting - a topic that seems to stir up a lot of energy and emotion.
And now I'm wondering if that has let you down.
Today I want you to tell me if you'd like the peaceful parenting series to continue. Was it helpful for you? Do you want more tools or have you had enough? Or do you prefer things a bit more light over here?
I've intentionally kept the subjects more superficial here during the past few weeks, but what about now? Should we dig back in? Are you wanting more?
Tell me what you think. I'm listening.
My sewing machine got a little dusty this winter. After I moved my sewing room to the basement last fall I couldn't bare the underground temps for long. I gave up on sewing for the better part of the season. Knitting filled the void and I hardly missed my other hobby.
But now it's hot. That wool yarn is feeling heavy on my lap. And that cold basement is downright lovely.
We had a wedding to attend this weekend. I made four large napkins as a gift. The couple has more modern taste, so I tried my darnedest to make patchwork look mod. (Is that possible? I don't know. I hope I pulled it off.)
These were a little hard to give away. I fell in love with them somewhere along the way. Maybe the colors. Maybe the new fabric. (New fabric! I never buy new fabric.) Maybe the near-modness of them.
I made two coordinating pairs, one with a patchwork strip on a simple grey, and one with large blocks of black, grey, and orange.
At the last minute I added a gift tag, in an attempt at humor. It reads, "I made these. So you're stuck with them."
Unless of course they want to give them back. Because I'd be okay with that too.
Speaking of weddings (and therefore proposals), have you seen this yet?
I've watched it three times and cried every time. Best proposal ever. This could turn an earthworm into into a hopeless romantic. I mean really. The world is a better place for this being on YouTube. That's my two cents anyway.
Well good morning.
Last night I was up late. But like every morning, I still woke at 5 am. So I've had two cups of black tea (I don't normally do caffeine) and my thoughts are all over the map.
Let's run with it. The following will be random, but that's how I'm rolling today.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
My garden is so happy, I could almost hear the collective sigh of flowers and veggies as the young plants soaked in that rain. Standing out in the garden this morning felt so good with wet grass and soil beneath my feet. Rain! Finally.
Sage, Lupine and I have spent the past two days gardening despite the heat and the dry soil. Lupine has been having considerable flower envy as we walk around town, ("Look mama! They have peonies. And poppies! Oh, and irises! I love irises. Oh, mama - they have LUPINES!" And then appreciation turns to tears and I carry her home. We talk about how pretty the flowers are but I say no, we won't plant roses here. We're moving. Really. I think so anyway. And then she cries a little more.
So I took her to the greenhouse this week and we picked out some annuals to brighten up a bland corner of our yard. This girl is ready for some acres of soil to dig in, but for now we've still got our yard, and for that I am truly grateful.
Sage is more of a succulents kid, so he planted a copper box with some plants from his collection. I got in the spirit with a galvanized tray centerpiece for our picnic table of herbs. Oregano, rosemary, and - of course - sage. There is something so satisfying about containers.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
And then I discovered that our freezer was unplugged.
I will spare you the photographs.
I have an uncle who once buried a full, broken chest freezer in his yard because he couldn't bear to clean out all of the stinking, decaying food. Had I waited a week to discover mine I may have considered renting a backhoe. Okay, not really, but I can understand the sentiment.
My freezer was nearly empty (small blessing) and I discovered it while everything was still cold, though thawed (large blessing).
And today we'll be roasting two turkeys we bought in the fall. Yes. Two. Enormous turkeys.
There were bags and bags of no-longer-frozen vegetables from last summer's garden. And a few containers of homemade cheeses. And some chicken livers. I couldn't bear to toss or compost it all so into the food processor it went (one container after another) and then back into the freezer. I'll add some raw meat and feed it to the dogs. I'm glad the food I worked so hard to put by last fall will be consumed by someone, even if that someone is canine.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
And now we roll into the weekend. I'll spend tomorrow selling soap at the farmer's market and likely spend the Sunday and Monday off-line, digging in the garden.
Wow. That was totally random. Thanks for sticking with me to the end.
Have a magical weekend, friends.
It has been ages since I've shared a finished knitting project with you. There has been plenty of casting off, but for some reason I just don't get around to photographing those projects very often.
This spring I cast off my Lupine's shawl.
I've had it in my Ravelry favorites for ages. But I didn't cast it on until a friend (who found it in my favorites) knit one. Hers was stunning so I decided to go for it.
As it turns out I am not a fan of knitting lace on size two needles. (Who knew?)
It was quiet torture for me, by no fault of the lovely (and truly simple) design. But every few rows I'd count my stitches and be off by several on one side. And always the same side! I'm not a perfectionist (thank goodness or I'd have given up on this project just a few days in) so I'd throw a few stitches in here and there to bring it back up the the right number.
But then a few rows later I was off again.
I gave up on the lace one repeat short of what the pattern dictated and called it good enough. I think it looks great as is, albeit shorter (and less perfect) than it was intended. I won't be knitting another one. I just can't do tiny lace.
Oh, and the color! Remember my desire to bust through my yarn stash? This was the project I cast on after this post. An unobtrusive grey sock yarn, varagated with light blue, white, and dark grey.
We dyed it with two packs of kool aid (cherry and raspberry I believe). I had no idea what color it would turn out which was risky/fun. (I know what you're thinking. "She's so crazy!" Okay. Maybe not. Yeah, that's about as wild as I get over here.)
As it turns out, we got a muted cranberry-raspberry color. I like it enough, but didn't go gaga for it.
Lupine, however, did. As soon as it came out of the dye pot she fell in love with it, so I gave it to her. I did make her promise to share it with me, but 9 out of 10 days she wears it, not me.
As for the rest of her outfit (in case you were wondering), it's homemade too.
I sewed these last year when I was on an Etsy kick, selling kids clothes and Waldorf dolls. This was my prototype in fabric that I kind of hated. I was just using it so as to not waste any fabric that I liked.
But somehow that dusty blue and rose has grown on me so much since then then. And now I love it. Truly love it. (The floral print came from my mom's 1980's stash, from something ruffly she made for my sister.)
Unfortunately (for those who are wondering) no there isn't a pattern. There is a slim chance that I could be convinced (someday) to work one up for you but I don't want to promise that quite yet.
The top was inspired by this one and the skirt was inspired by her obsession with twirling when she was four. It is two full circles, connected at the waist and trimmed with vintage thrift-store cotton lace.
Because of the generous sizing she's going into her second year of it fitting beautifully. Two years for one mama made makes me very happy.
What else makes me very happy? That she loves it so much that she squealed when we took it out of the summer clothes box in the basement last week. That's the best reward of mama-made.
And for the record, twirly or not, this skirt is great for wearing while catching barn kittens. I see one now. Run!
My contribution today post is about road-tripping with children, inspired by this adventure. (After re-living that trip through the writing of this post, I am itching for another adventure. I am scheming another trip with my family. And soon!)
Every few weeks I'll share a homeschooling-related post over on Simple Homeschool.
You can find my first post here.
Please pardon the extended silence. Have you missed me? I've missed you back.
There are lots of reasons I've been quiet. In fact, I almost charged right through today without posting too, but I thought you might start to fret.
The silence has been a result of several things, like being off-line through most of my Sunday-Monday weekend, shaking off a little stomach bug, two days of travel, and living more in the here and now. As much as I love sharing with you, lately I have little desire to log onto my computer and sit down behind this screen.
I'm just having so much more fun out of this office, living my real life that it takes some mindful focus to come back inside and sit down. This change has been huge for me. It's sinking in now (less wrestling with myself to stay offline, more convincing myself to log-on and do some work). It has been transformative.
As I get accostum to less screen time I'll be working to find my balance of how and when I write. Bear with me while I sort it out.
I've also decided that enough is enough with the foot-dragging I've done on writing my book. I'm carving out time to write every week. Starting now! Because it's important to me. More book writing means less blog writing. I hope you'll understand.
This in no way means I won't be here. I will be. It just won't be quite as predictable as before. I'll post, and then I won't for a couple of days. And repeat. But in the end I'll have a book to share with you, which feels like a very big and important deal. To me anyway.
The photos above are unrelated. Sage had a friend sleep over last night, and they laid their sleeping bags out in the grass and star-gazed/UFO-searched until 10 PM, hours after Sage's normal bedtime. These two kids were alive to the here and now. Present. Soaking it in.
What more could we want out of life?
So what keeps me busy when I'm not checking the on-line world every twelve minutes?
Life. It's been delicious.
Let's start with time with my kids. Quality time. Uninterrupted, un-distracted time. Yeah, that.
That computer. It was/is a bugger for me. While my friends and my mom will attest to the fact that I rarely - if ever - answer my phone, I was always making a to-do list in my head of work I could attend to at any moment, if I could just "hop on the computer for a quick second." And when I sat down at my desk there were other distractions popping up and hooking me in. I'm not doing that now. At least I'm trying not to.
And so time with my kids is different than before.
I'm not feeling bored when we play together. Really, not at all. (This is new.) Also both children are more engaged in the work that we're doing together (like cooking, cleaning, or other chores). It's almost as though I'm more present with what they want from me, so they are more present with what I want from them.
Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but that's how it feels anyway. And they are more mellow now when I move away from the togetherness for a break. As in: I can sit down and drink a cup of tea without someone climbing on me.
Coincidences? I doubt it.
As always, we were busy in the kitchen today. But instead of researching ten crazy new recipes and making one, we're just making stuff. Constantly. And I get around to the cleaning-up part faster than I did before, with nowhere to wander off to for distraction.
Today's experiments included homemade cheese (this recipe), and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants lemon mead (in the crock above). In the jar is another shooting-from-the-hip (rhubarb) mead, now in its second fermentation. (Both were inspired by fruit t'je from Wild Fermentation.) Lupine also talked me into making our grain-free flat bread so that we could have sandwiches for lunch.
We ate lunch outside and stayed out until dinner time.
The afternoon had us drifting between biking, painting, gardening, fence building, fire-making, and laying in the grass (depending on who you were watching). Aaaaah. So good. Thank you, May, for finally bringing some late spring weather and wonder our way.
And yes, Lupine is lighting matches. (You might recall she's also been cutting with a sharp knife since age two.) She burned her way through most of the box of matches today - one by one - before we went in for the night.
Why let a five-year old light matches? Because she's learning. About the elements. About friction. About safety. About what will - and what will not - burn. To allow her to trust herself. And show her that I trust her too. To empower. I could go on and on.
I'm also not the "Be careful!" sort of parent. Getting hurt is often an important lesson too. No, that doesn't mean I'll let my child play in traffic. But a small risk like her playing with fire while I work nearby is in line with how we live and learn.
At one point I actually heard myself say to her, "I know you want to climb on the roof with Sagie. Why don't you keep playing with matches until he comes down?" Yup. That's how we roll over here. (For the record, it was the playhouse roof he was climbing. Because he can only climb on the house roof with a grown-up. Ahem.)
But I digress.
I also finally planted my garden today. Tomatoes, beans, kohlrabi, broccoli, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, and zucchini. For the first time in my life the task was bitter sweet. You see, I didn't think I'd garden here this year. Because we were moving. Remember?
It felt good just the same to get my hands in the earth and set out a few rows of veggies. I suspect I'll still be here to harvest them come August, but then again, you never know. Maybe I'll leave this place with beans on the vine. I'd be okay with that.
All-in-all, logging off has been good for us. So good.
That being said, one bit of balance I'm striving for is allowing myself some time on-line. Guilt-free. Because I don't think it's wrong or evil or somehow bad to veg out now and then. Really. I get it.
But as you may have noticed, I tend to be an all-or-nothing girl. I do it or I don't. But I'm slowly learning moderation. A little internet is fine for me. As long as I indulge mindfully. As long as I am awake to the trade-offs.
So that's where I'm at. 15 minutes on Pinterest, fine. 15 minutes, five times a day, not fine. Moderation. Perspective. Priorities.
Because real-life is still far more delicious than on-line. No matter how seductive that screen may be.
I'm seeing that clearly now.
How's it working for you? Are you feeling more conscious about your screen time, or more connected during your days? Tell me what you know.
Two nights ago I had a realization. Or a recollection I suppose.
Something that we all know on some level, yet something that I need to remind myself of. Because I tend to forget. Remember, forget. Remember, forget.
What I realized was: All that I have is this moment.
How do I choose to spend it?
I want to spend today fully alive. Drinking it in and living it fully - not just going through the motions. Living. Joyfully. Passionately. Awake and alive with all that I have. I want the full messy, sticky, juicyness of now.
Because now is everything.
The ugly and the beautiful, the sweet and the bitter, the whole of this life.
I want the real deal. All of it. Today.
Choosing to remember this simple fact could change almost everything that isn't working in my life. Because it would change my perspective and my awareness. I want to live with this knowledge everyday. I want it to shape me.
Yes, I live fully most everyday. But not most of everyday. I lose time and drift away and let distraction lead me time and again. Sometimes I fall asleep at the wheel (so to speak) and don't notice all that is passing me by. The beauty. The magic. The ordinary, everyday pleasures of now.
Distraction. It devours my days.
What about you?
We're so distracted sometimes that we can't hear the voices of our children, our partners, or even ourselves over the chatter in our minds or the screen in our hands.
Sometimes we're not even here, even thought we are.
So I started with the obvious. I turned off the computer.
This step is huge. (For me anyway.) I unplugged. And I convinced myself that nothing happening on this box was better or more seductive or more exciting than a single thing going on in my kitchen, my backyard, or with my family.
Because what I have is always more real and worthwhile than what distracts me from it.
So I turned off the computer but I also turned off my love affair with it.
The computer serves a purpose. It inspires. It educates. It entertains. It connects. But in my world its power is greater than the good that it delivers. We need to make the leap from its constant presence to it's more judicious, mindful use.
We need to wake up and decide how and when we choose to plug in.
So the computer was off. And then we ate dinner outside. I made eye-contact with my husband and laughed with my kids. We talked. A lot. And lingered around the table. After dinner we got into the truck and headed to the country to dream our country dream again before sleep.
When we got home I chose to leave the computer off and crawl into bed early with my kids. I slept long and woke up feeling alive. Present. And joyful. And ready for the moments that make up this day.
In the morning I cranked out my work as quickly as I could and then powered off the computer again. I vowed to leave it be until late afternoon when I had another block of work time scheduled. And I did.
In truth, I hardly thought of it. I just was. Alive. In the simple now of my day.
Instead of bouncing between my family and the screen, I did the things I always do, but with more presence of mind. I...
~read books to my children,
~hung laundry in the sun,
~ate lunch outside,
~sanded some furniture for refinishing,
~played with my puppy,
~canned rhubarb ketchup,
~went searching for tadpoles,
~headed to the farm for milk,
~read more books,
~and was present. All day. Fully, joyfully present. In my now.
I did not...
~wonder what was happening on Facebook,
...or in my inbox,
...or here on the blog,
~need to research a recipe,
~or cave to the distraction. I did not miss anything. It was quite the opposite.
So today I'm going for it again. I'm logging off. Powering down. Because my email will still be here tonight when I check in. We'll be in the kitchen, at the library, and out looking for tadpoles again. Because that is living. And I want living more than another good idea or another distraction from this day.
As a bonus, I'm going to model healthier behaviors to my kids. And while I''m at it I'll be more grounded, present, and alive in this day.
Because today is all I've got.
Will you join me and live more in the now, starting today?
My Mother's Day was indeed better than my birthday. (And I was so immersed in my lounging that I didn't take a photo all weekend, except some funny ones below that I'll share in a moment.)
But really. Such bliss.
When I got up I was greeted with handmade cards from my kids and a latte from my man. (Pete made me not one, not two, but three exquisite decaf lattes throughout the morning.) And then they made fruit and yogurt parfaits for breakfast in my beloved cabbage glasses.
And then he left. With the kids. And the puppy. For hours. They drove to the country and took a creekside hike while I stayed home (sipping that last latte) playing with some art supplies I picked up over the weekend. (More on that later in the week.) They came home and Pete harvested lettuce from the garden (squeal!) and made a chicken salad with fresh buttermilk dressing for lunch, which we ate outside in the sunshine.
Does it get any better than that? Well yes, actually, it does.
When they came home from their hike they brought a huge trout, found freshly deceased with a head wound (perhaps from a heron). Lupine was beside herself, running around with this gigantic fish in her hands. (I suspect this girl will get into either fishing or science for a good part of her childhood.)
Pete hosted a spontaneous science class for the neighborhood, Fish Dissection and Anatomy 101, with some of our favorite people from the block - kids and adults. We were a mixed bunch, as we usually are around here - homeschoolers and school-families, ominvores and a vegetarian, squeamish and not. (For the record, the vegetarian was perhaps the least squeamish of all, aside from Lupine.) What a crazy scene we were for passing cars!
Because really, it isn't Mother's day until you cut the head off of a trout.
In the afternoon I took a bath and then a two hour nap and then got up and sewed a few seams on the curtains I am making for our camper. Oh, and they brought me flowers twice, wildflowers from their hike and then a bouquet from the coop. And I took a two-hour nap. And then he cooked dinner. And it was fantastic. How sweet is my family? Love over love with honey on top.
Yes, Pete. You rocked it. I didn't wash a dish or cook a meal or even make my own coffee all day long. And after the last few weeks that was just what I needed.
So today I am a different person, steeped in the gratitude of so much love. And ready to wash some dishes.
Also in honor of Mother's day, I posted something for my mom yesterday (in case you missed it), and also re-read this post. It brought back that time so fresh and vibrant like it was yesterday. And while I was reading it Sage walked into the room, so tall and almost ten-years-old to show me a project he's been working on. He glanced at the screen and the photo of him in the sling and me reading that post all teary-eyed, and he smiled and walked away.
Oh, my. Ten years is a long time. I love him more every day.
So for all the mamas: (a day late, but nonetheless...) You are changing the world. You are doing it right. And your kids are blessed by your unwavering love.
Sending hugs to you all today.
Welcome! I'm glad you stopped by. While I love to share, all text and images are © Rachel Jepson Wolf 2008-2013 . Thank you for respecting my work and this copyright. Feel free to link in to any posts from your blog, Pinterest or other social media, but please do not copy text or images from this website without my permission. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.