Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn Along

I don't have anything new to report this week, just a bit of progress on my Nimue wrap.  It is going to need some blocking to make it look more wrap than scarf but I LOVE the cables.  It's a pattern that I have to watch pretty closely since it would be so easy to make an inattentive mistake but so far, I have only had one disaster and that was early on.  I LOVE cables and this rust colour will be a lovely thing to wear next fall.

I'm still reading The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith (from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series) and Found by Micha Boyett.  The Handsome Man's is o.k. - I love this series and this author but I'm tired enough that I don't get many pages in before I doze off.  I LOVE Found and feel a bit like I have finally found someone who feels the things that I do and it is so refreshing.  I haven't made much progress in it this week, though - I'm doing an online course right now and I am up to my eyeballs in teacher-related reading.  It's interesting but not really fun!

I'm liking up to Ginny over at Small Things and can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Little Joys

Wow, I'm exhausted!  On the other hand, for once in my life, I actually feel as if I am somewhat on top of things.  I know, it won't last but for now, it feels really good!  I'm trying to drink lots more water and be firm with myself about the fact that my light must be off by 10 p.m. and I must have the kids in bed by 8.  We haven't quite made the 8 p.m. but we've been much closer and we are also doing better for the increase in sleep.

I am reading Found by Micha Boyett and I am LOVING it!  Often, books connected to faith, while good for me, are somewhat hard going.  I wouldn't say this book is easy exactly but it speaks so much to me where I am at that I just have a hard time putting it down.  One of the practices she engages in to try and recapture the art of prayer is to read the psalms at set times each day.  While she aimed for 5, that's too many for me each day, so I am trying to begin and to end my day with a psalm.  On Monday morning, I read psalm one and it spoke to me in such a profound way.  I don't know exactly why it connected so much but I spent time, in the most intense times in my day, thinking of the image of the three thriving by the streams of water and it brought me such a sense of peace.  I adore it when I find a book about faith that means something so personally to me!

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Little Joys

The little joys for me today were the joys of home - things like standing at the kitchen counter cutting veggies for tomorrow with the late afternoon sun streaming in the window, making custard and banana for dessert as a special family treat to celebrate our last night together before going back to work, reading "The Kissing Hand" to prepare the kids for school tomorrow, making us a lovely fresh steak dinner and all the meal came from our farm share - pasture-fed humanely farmed beef, fresh mushrooms from the mushroom farm, baked potatoes and parsnips - I LOVE eating food that came directly from the farmer, all little things that made the day a bit more special and helped me to feel blessed.

 Dh did a terrific job grilling the steak tonight, despite the cold wind blowing outside
 Our delicious meal from the farm
 Our favourite family game - trying to make some sweet memories for the kids to take to school with them tomorrow




The most bittersweet part of the day involved Pk.  I noticed this afternoon that she was getting chippy with her brother and spacy with her piano work (and Dh was starting to get very frustrated with her).  I started to wonder whether it had anything to do with going back to school.  When I first asked, she said that all was well but at dinner, when I asked about what a great day at school would be like, it came to light that she is feeling very alone at recess.  Poor kiddo, she really is my daughter - I had small groups of very close friends (much like life now) but I always found the mad social whirl of a flock of girls very exhausting and stressful.  She has always had a best friend and they were in the same class and this year, they are not.  She misses this friend terribly and the best part about this friend was the lack of drama.  This year, the class seems driven by drama and she is really struggling.  It was so hard to see her pain but at the same time, it felt so good to be her "soft place to fall" (the one time you will hear me quote Dr. Phil - I love this idea).  We played games as a family, we joked, we did our cozy bedtime stories and we called Gran and had a chat, all of which seemed to help to soothe her nerves.  I want to make my aim from now until school finishes in June that home will be a place of comfort and rest for the kidlets, a respite from the frenzy of school for all of us.  It feels so good to be able to give the kids that safe place to go and the feeling of being loved.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring

I am so happy that spring is officially here!  Yesterday was the first official day and it was just perfect, the temperature was mild (for here in March, anyway) and while today cooled down, it was still comfortable for walking the dog, which is a nice change after the horribly cold January and February that we had.  I went up to my friend's farm today and we hiked it around in a way we haven't been able to do for ages due to the snow.  The dogs were absolutely filthy and so very happy!  Sorry I didn't get any photos, I need to take more.

We have only one more day of the March Break and then we are back at work.  I can't lie, I'm feeling rather nervous about it as the rumours are flying about a potential school strike at some point and the thought of that absolutely terrifies me.  Since Dh and I are both teachers, a strike would mean no money coming in at all and I don't know how we would cope.  We have tried to save some money but between kid's lessons, unexpected car troubles and the cost of living, we haven't put away anywhere near as much as I would have liked.  I'm trying to tell myself that we have had these strike threats so many times before and that so many people are dependent on schools for daycare that we wouldn't be out long.  For now, I'm just going to focus on the sunshine, the longer hours of daylight, on starting to get the garden going and working on knitting and reading and praying for the best.

It's funny, I always have a "bucket list" for each season except for spring.  We don't seem to have many "spring specific" activities other than the big Easter celebration (it really is a big deal for us both from a faith standpoint and from a life-events standpoint).  I was going to try to come up with a bucket list but it would seem too forced so my goal for this spring is just to spend lots of time outdoors, to have fun planning my garden and to enjoy my family.  Well, and maybe to bring some lilacs inside when they bloom - they have such a heavenly smell and they often blossom when I am in the midst of report card writing and I miss them.  Not this year!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Almost Over

How is it that this March Break is almost over?  One week passes us by so quickly.  For once, and this is such a rare thing for us, we didn't do much of anything.  We had an aborted trip to visit my parents-in-law (it was supposed to be 5 days but Pk's onset of sickness, which turned out to be due to over-exhaustion, brought us home after 2 days) and some shopping to do but otherwise, we were home.  We had two days that the kids didn't even get out of their jammies (although we did ask them to have a bath and get into new ones in the evening) and they were blissfully happy.  Pk was out at riding camp today and Lb spent the day hanging out with Dh and I and he was just so happy and relaxed.

Pondering it made me a bit sad.  We live in Ontario, in Canada, and we have a full-day kindergarten programme here that starts at age 4.  Lb seems to like it well enough and loves his teacher and talks a lot about school.  Lately, though, we have found him somewhat resistant to going and when we asked why, he said that there's too much work.  It's supposed to be a play-based programme (which it largely is) but based on the stack of worksheets that Lb brought home last week, clearly there is pencil and paper going on, too.  Seeing how happy and creative and affectionate he has been this week with the structure lifted really convinces me more than ever that 4 year olds shouldn't have to go to school all day.  I wish I had the option to stay home with him (yes, I know, there are many who would say that if I really wanted to, I could stay home but in the current economic climate and given how absolutely impossible it is to get into teaching here these days, I can't risk giving it up).  I wish Lb could spend much of his time playing outside, creating with his cars, building with blocks and climbing into my lap for a story whenever he wanted it.  For that matter, I wish that Pk, who is in grade 2, could have more of that kind of freedom as well.

We are not good at time.  My kids do too many lessons (but when we have brought up the subject of giving something up, there are tears - they both adore skating, Pk lives for horseback riding, they love Awana at the church and Dh and I are strong believers that they need to get a musical start).  Our schedule is tight and our weekends always seem to be taken up with social commitments and errands.  There was a time that we used to call Sundays "free days" - we went to church and that's it.  The computer and t.v. stayed off and we didn't use anything like a tablet.  I'm wondering whether we might need that as a kind of palate cleaner again.  The kids love that freedom and especially now that it's warming up, it will be so nice to go back to hiking as a family and being outside, working on our garden, playing and just hanging out.  As part of my year of "gentle", clearly I am going to need to work harder at finding that open time to just let us all be.  We have all thrived on it this week and we will be going back to school on Monday so much the better for it!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Our New Baby

Sh!  I am not telling anyone except for very close friends around here until she is actually here because I try not to get too excited in case things fall through.  She does have to get to Canada from California and all, so there are lots of possible complications.  I'm dying to show someone, though, so here she is:


Isn't she sweet?  We can't wait to have her arrive (despite the fact that I remember puppies turning our world upside down in the past!)

Yarn Along

I love the weekly Yarn Along hosted by Ginny at Small Things.  It's done so much to motivate me to knit!  I want to make sure that I have something to post and it keeps me on task.  Hooray!  I have three pregnant friends and I need to get going on baby blankets so this might provide me the motivation I need.

We went north to visit the inlaws this past weekend (the visit was supposed to be longer but Pk suffering a bout of what Dh's family calls "tummy wobbles" put paid to that).  Oh, well, that seems to be our lives these days.  On the plus side, 2 1/2 hours in the car each way did give me some knitting time and there are two new projects under way.

First of all, I finished my Guernsey Wrap.  I love how it has turned out.  It needs a bit of blocking but since it's a gift for next November or so, I think I'll have time.  I had a bunch of yarn left so I wanted to use it up.  I noticed several people had done the Reversatile cowl and it seemed a perfect car project.  It's almost done and I will probably give it to the same recipient as the wrap, since I hate wearing gray (I don't dislike the colour, it just looks terrible on me).

I have a question for anyone reading.  I am making this on a set of interchangeable needles on the cord and I am HATING them.  They keep coming unscrewed and even when they are just loose, they catch my yarn.  Am I the only person who has this problem?  Is there something I am missing?  It's driving me CRAZY!



I also started working on this lovely Nemue cabled wrap/scarf.  I love cables and I had a bunch of this colour left in Cascade Eco and it just seemed to go together well.  I love anything with cables and this is no exception.  It's a trickier pattern to read and I had to pull it out and start again when someone knocked my knitting and it got pulled and my attempt to rescue it didn't work but at least I am back as far as I had gotten.  It will definitely need good blocking when it's done.

 In terms of reading, I am still reading The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner (which is speaking to me more and more as I read and I think will have a big impact on my use of time), Found by Micha Boyett (which is shocking me at how much I love it - I wasn't sure it would speak to me when I saw it featured on the SheLoves book club but my oh my, do I ever feel "found" myself reading this book - she shares so much of what I have felt in my faith along the way).  For lighter, fun reading, I am enjoying The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith. I love his books, especially the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and the Isabel Dalhousie series.  There is a sweetness to his books that is in no way cloying and I just love them.  I have friends who hate them, though - his books are slow and reflective but I don't find them boring, I just wish I could meet these people myself!
I can't wait to see what everyone else is reading and stitching this week!