Friday, March 30, 2012

::this moment::no more popcorn

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.
Please stop by www.soulemama.com to share your own moment and to see others.
I wish you a weekend of bottomless bowls of popcorn!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wonder

Today all three of my children got to sleep in and spend a day at home with Nanny. I head off to work, and throughout the day I wonder what they might be up to back at the farm.
 My mom often takes pictures, and I can't help but think that she must have done these same things with me when I was a little girl: having tea parties in the back shed, befriending every cat that crossed our path,  stepping in puddles, dressing me in mismatched clothes and thrifted sweaters...


There is a place where I learned to do these things with my children and I'm coming to know that that place was in my own childhood, from my own mother.
I wonder what it is like for my mother to look upon this little face, so much like my own when I was little, from her blue eyes to her corona of fuzzy curls. She must seek and find traces of her children's faces in all of her grandchildren's faces. I wonder if she sees traces of her own face, or of the faces of her parents. It just goes on and on.

I wonder what it is like for her to arrive at a place in her life where once again she is closely bonded with small children who depend on and adore her, who feel as safe with her as they would if she were their mother. 

I am reminded to cherish each moment I have with them, reminded that there will be a time when I won't feel little hands on my face every day or little arms around my neck. There will be a time when I only have to feed myself, to plan adventures for myself, to make sure that only I myself am happy and comfortable. 

I am reminded to cherish each moment I have with her.

I know that when my turn comes, I'll want to spend every spare moment with my grandchildren, too. We'll have tea parties and adventures outside, and hopefully there will be a screen door to slam all day long and cats to love up and puddles to be stepped in.

My mother always says that she retired from nursing then came to work for me. When her friends marvel that she is so willing to give of her time, she tells them that she is paid in hugs and kisses. When she comes through the door in the morning and is greeted with squeals of delight, little running feet, and deep, lingering hugs, I know that we both have a sweet deal in this arrangement of sharing the care of my children.
Her photos of these marvellously ordinary moments of her day with her grandchildren tell me that she loves and sees them as I do, unconditionally and without bounds.


Mostly I wonder how I came to be so very blessed.

Yarn Along: March Sun and Wood Fires

The late-March sun pouring in the windows has conspired with the merry crackle of the woodstove to entice me to read and knit at the kitchen table day after day. When they can, the girls lure me away to read another installment of Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge tales. 


I don't know how I hadn't heard of this collection before now. I'm one of those people who adore cutaway pictures of animal homes, particularly if those animals have tiny things in tiny cupboards. Every story in this beautiful book delights with beautiful illustrations, and cutaways of home built inside trees, little sailboats, a seaside cottage, and so on. 


My children LOVE the stories of a community of mice that work together to celebrate seasonal events, and bake all kinds of wonderful things from seasonal foods. The author's attention to detail makes this a wonderful feast for the eyes. Fans of Beatrix Potter and Alison Utley of Little Grey Rabbit fame will adore this book. Get thee to a bookstore! I got our copy at Singing Pebble Books in Ottawa.
This is an extreme closeup; we've spent many happy times together studying the amazing details in the illustrations in The Complete Brambly Hedge.

For my own reading, I was craving strong female protagonists (inspired by my whirlwind romance with "The Hunger Games"). One of our library's staff recommended Graceling.  Katsa is an admirable character who struggles with her "Grace" (a special gift, indicated in children that have eyes of two different colours) for killing as she heads off on a dangerous mission with another "Graceling" (who happens to be a hot prince with nice muscles)...great stuff! Along the way, she learns more about her Grace, and herself, while learning to trust and love after a lifetime of distancing herself from everyone. 
I'm working on these Baby Fan fingerless gloves. I love it all; the yarn is Misti Alpaca, and the lace pattern easy to memorize (although I'll admit I had to rip out and restart more times than I care to remember, when I kept noticing that I was short some stitches). I'm picturing socks in the same pattern...


Thank you all for stopping by; please don't be hurt if I don't return the favour as Wednesday is a work day for me so I don't get a moment to browse your beautiful spaces! Please stop by www.gsheller.com to add your own Yarn Along, and to visit others!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Away

As fate would have it, my internet has been down since my last post. Am I missing it? Not really.

In the rhythm and busyness of my life, this feels right right now.

We've had unseasonably warm weather, so the Spring peepers have been serending each other in the pond, the tiger lilies are sticking their green noses through the earth, the chickens are reveling in the abundant bugs that have emerged, and my kids have been riding their bikes and squishing their bare toes in the mud.

Our kitchen, bedroom, and upstairs hallway are finally painted and I have so many plans for our home.

With some help, we've figured out how to alleviate some of our financial stress, so I'll be able to sleep a bit more at night.

I'm drumming on a regular basis now, and that has grounded me so solidly to Mother Earth I can only express my joy through that regular heartbeat of hands on a djembe.

I'm knitting some, reading a lot, and remembering how to just be joyfully with my children.

In short, I'm having such a nice time that I don't know when I'll be back. This space that held so much of my energy and heart and thoughts isn't a real space. My home is, and I'm experiencing a deep love of the people and places that are in my real world.

My children seem happier and I feel calmer. I don't need any other reasons to continue doing what I'm doing.

I'll be in touch when the spirit strikes me to do so. Until then, enjoy your Spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along: More Good Stuff

Hmm...now where have we seen these before? This past week saw another Puerperium Cardigan and Aviatrix Hat go on and come off the needles, a shower gift for my sister's friends. I used bits and bobs from my stash (the leftover Noro from the previous Puerperium, some cotton, and some cotton-merino). The sleeves on this one are a bit shorter, and I opted for mostly-cotton as the baby is due in May.

It's always fun to let go of what colours you think should go together, and just throw them together in odd ways. I'm quite pleased with the result!
I love these ceramic buttons, purchased at Wool Tyme in Ottawa; they add so much character for such a small detail!
The hat turned out larger than 0-6 weeks size, so this new baby will have a stylish knitted garment for Spring AND for Fall. Knitting is like that...you're never quite sure what you're going to end up with!

As for reading, I'm into Tim Wynne-Jones' The Uninvited. It's set in a fictional town that sounds an awful lot like the Perth area, so I can relate to the setting. It's part thriller, part family-drama, so I'm enjoying it though not reading it obsessively.

Stop by Small Things to join in this week's Yarn Along if you feel so inclined! I'm off for the next few days, so will check in next week if I don't manage to post again before the weekend.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goat Love...Yet Again

One thing I know about photography: you can't go wrong with barns, kids, rubber boots, and natural light. If you throw in some goats, you're destined to succeed.
We made the trip up to Opeongo Mountain Meadow yesterday to feed the (rapidly growing) kids, and brought Margot along this time. She's skittish around animals, so spent most of the visit on my hip.


Have I mentioned how much I love goats?

Lovely Laurie, the Goatswoman Extraordinaire, gave this mama's hip and arm a break so I could snap some more photos. The warm breeze, the spots of sunshine, the smells of hay and goat and mud, and my children's attire boosted my spirits with the promise of Spring.
Just let me know when you're sick of posts about goats, alright? I'm not likely to listen, as this is deep love, I tell you. But you can let me know, just the same!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

celebrating

 We've had lots of things to celebrate around here these days.
This girl hokey-pokeyed her way into her third year, with a Pink Party. 

Sometimes we celebrate the fact that we play princesses all day.

Celebrate colour and daily opportunities to create art? Why not!

We celebrate each loose tooth this kid has, even though at the moment he looks like Nanny McPhee when he smiles (with one snaggle-tooth hanging over his lip). It's hilarious and adorable.

Perhaps our biggest reason to celebrate? Margot had her annual cardiology check-up. Although her mitral valve continues to be wonky (that's the technical term, don't you know), it's not worse. The best words of the day were when her cardiologist said, "See you when you're five, Margot!"


I'm celebrating the fading of my addiction to spending time on the internet. I'm getting stuff done, and I don't feel like sharing every detail of it on my blog. I'm knitting and painting my kitchen and planning my garden and reading about root cellars.


Most of all, I'm remembering how rich my life was before Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and blogging took over my time. I'm playing Yahtzee with my kids in the evenings, writing letters to people I know and love, and falling asleep on the couch with a book on my chest. 


You may be seeing a bit less of me around here these days. 


I'm just too busy celebrating!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who is Joseph Kony?

I didn't know.


I do now. 


Please find thirty minutes to watch this video. It will inspire you, give you hope, and a plan for joining in a movement towards a better world. Then, share it.


Kony 2012

Learn more at www.kony2012.com


Stephanie

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yarn Along: Dreaming of Spring

Reading and knitting seem to go hand-in-hand; I haven't yet figured out how to do both at the same time, so until I do, I've been watching Weeds while knitting. 

I've finished one Puerperium Cardigan, and am on to the next, for my sister to give to a friend. It's one of those addictive little patterns, like the Baby Aviatrix or the Baby Surprise Jacket. Somehow, it's hard to stop at one! I've been making them with cotton/silk/wool blends from my stash; knitting with cotton is not my favourite, but seems right for babies born in Spring.
I'm reading various gardening books, dreaming my way through these late winter days. The snow still lies thick on the ground, but the forecast is calling for warmer days ahead, so hopefully we'll see the grass soon. 

One I reread every Spring is Janette Haase's  From Seed to Table. What I love about it is that she's a gardener in the Kingston area, which is only a few hours south of here; she grows and harvests the same things I can grow and harvest here. It's a wonderful year-round guide to growing a wonderful garden.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy is a perennial favourite. It's so full of beautiful ideas for children to get involved in gardening (including a pizza garden!). So far I haven't managed to do anything with it, but I dream of the Sunflower House as an outdoor play space for my children every year at this time. I think this is the year!


Pop over to Small Things to join in the Yarn Along.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Sweater for Olive

Having passed the childbearing torch on to my sisters-in-law, we were thrilled to welcome our newest niece last week. We haven't met little Olive yet, but of course, I've been knitting.
Sometimes the fates conspire to bring yarn and  pattern together in perfect harmony. This time, it was The Puerperium Cardigan in Noro's Chirimen.
 My mother questioned the wisdom of knitting a garment that may only be worn once or twice, instead of making something larger for the baby to wear next fall. 


I explained my reasoning. I imagine that a grown-up Olive will one day pull this wee little sweater from a box, and wonder that it ever fit her at all. I hope it will remind her of her beginning on this earth, and of the love with which we welcomed her birth.

Friday, March 2, 2012

::this moment::today, she is three

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. Three photos, one for each year of her life - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.


Happy Birthday, Margot Joy!

Visit www.soulemama.com to see more moments, and to share a link to your own!