impossibleway: (God Jul)
This morning, the children actually woke up before I had set out the fruits and candy in their shoes.  Since it was before 6:00, I sent them back to bed.  We read some St. Nicholas stories while Mike and Laurel slept.  Clementines and chocolate coins joined Cream of Wheat for breakfast.

St. Nicholas Morning

The weather is decent for playing outside without being too bundled up, so the children have been enjoying the geodome climber that [livejournal.com profile] beanovich sent us.  She had a spare, of all things!  I had planned to get one, but never did--what a blessing!  It arrived while we were gone and Mike assembled it last Saturday.  Then it rained most of the week.  Any time is has been dry, they have been busy climbing and swinging.  You can see Willow's homemaking project below.

Geodome!

And now, it is time for me to get up and get some things done while Laurel sleeps and they play outside.  We are still keeping up with our school work and I also have plans to give the whole house a deep cleaning this week.  Wish me luck!
impossibleway: (Picking Blueberries)
Birthday Goodies

[livejournal.com profile] blakdove had said that she wanted to send me some yarn.  When a box from her arrived, it was strikingly heavy and rattled, which didn't seem at all like yarn.  Sure enough, it was a secret stash of candy and cookies that I would never buy with the children around--they would gobble them up in short order!  Mike has tried to stake a claim on the Oreos, so it's a good thing he travels.  Thank you, Tanya!
impossibleway: (Peace can do better)
Ginger gave me a Pyrex birthday.  Surely, thirty-two is the Pyrex Birthday.  She's become a big collector lately, so I sent her a picture of bread in Pyrex and Glasbake pans, saying that our family "loaves her dearly" on her birthday last week.

Birthday Loaves

At that same time, some lovely things were on their way to me,
a wonderful birthday surprise.

Daisy Bowls

I broke my largest avocado Spring Blossom bowl and asked her to find me a replacement.
Mike's mother gave me these bowls and I use them every single day.
The one that broke is the most-used size.
Sure enough, Ginger came through!

Gooseberries!

She also sent this sweet Gooseberries fridgie with a lid.
I put this dear little dish on my stove in my pink kitchen.
I had to put some gooseberries in it, of course, ever how small they may be.
I think the drought is lifting--my radishes have been cracking open!  .

All in all, my birthday was a simple day, which was more than enough.  I felt like I was walking uphill through molasses all day.  It was so hard for me to get things done.  Becky came for lunch and brough yarn.  I ran a couple errands with the children in the afternoon as Laurel napped.  Mike smoked ribs for me and took the children to collect butterfly weed while I enjoyed some time to tidy up in the quiet.  Not quite the fanfare of previous years (wienie roasts, if you recall), but good for me.  Birthdays just seem to be especially exhausting, no matter who has them!
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Window stars might become my new favorite gift for people.

DSC_1876.JPG

Who doesn't love seeing the colors through the light of a window?

DSC_1878.JPG

These two are gifts for some birthday girls in our lives who are celebrating in these early Summer days.  Willow wants to learn to fold some herself, so we'll give it a go next month as we start to make Christmas gifts.  It's always a fun challenge to see what we can make for Mike's family, the people who have everything.  I have largely abandoned giving canned gifts, preferring to share those with friends and family when they come to our home for a meal.  Window stars are pleasant to make, easy to mail, and beautiful.  It brightens me to walk past ours and gives me a moment to wonder.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams (and congratulate her on her forthcoming little one!).
impossibleway: (Boletes on the Ground)
Bucket of Morels

Spring is full of jobs to do.  There are things to do before the leaves get thick, before things start growing again in full force.  There are seeds to sort and start, new trees to plant, fields to prepare, and weeds to pull.  There are thick and uneven grasses to mow and dandelions celebrating in every yard.  We spent a good part of yesterday trimming back Don's raspberries and blackberries, even though that should have been done last summer.  Still, it was good to see the patch take shape and to be able to sort out new and old canes.  I think we'll be able to walk around the whole thing now!  While I worked, I thought of raspberry recipes that we could share with Enid--jam, pie, cobbler, and simple fresh berries.  I also found a baby bunny hiding in the tall grass and the children and I found seventeen morel mushrooms!  I have never seen so many.  We took them to someone who was happy to have them and I think I'm going to take another look today to see if there are more.
impossibleway: (Toadstool)
The Tomten and the Fox

[livejournal.com profile] blakdove made this dear Tomten.  Roan and Willow love the story so much that it has become part of the fabric of our family.  Recalling seeing the Alan Dart pattern years ago on the Knitting Iris blog, I knew it would be perfect for a Tomten.  Tanya knitted him up in a way that only a person who loves to make softies can do.  It's just not in me.  Mittens I will make, but Tomtens need special attention.  He's getting plenty now, snuggled up in bed with Roan, who is especially protective of him.

Willow made a little play of The Tomten and the Fox yesterday, complete with chicken and porridge.  She is into puppet shows and plays lately, having traded in her years and years of costumes for stuffed animal dioramas in multiple acts.  It is interesting to see her play shift in this way, all part of the natural shift from early to middle childhood that leaves me feeling a bit lost these days.  Six to seven, goodness.  It feels like just yesterday that she was three, and I am a person who usually watches time crawl by.

And now, to settle in with my own knitting after weeks off!  Roan has insisted upon his own Tomten hat and I must set to work!
impossibleway: (The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree)
Angel SnowflakeMy friend Susan and her girls make a little book each month and send it out.  It has crafts, thoughtful words, recipes, and an on-going story.  I have really come to look forward to its arrival.  It's better than any magazine that comes through the door.  This week, it arrived with a small starched and sparkly snowflake.  It is treasured, already.  I need beauty these days.

It feels so easy to collapse and wallow in the overwhelming uncertainty right now.  Will the children stay well?  Did I have chicken pox enough to count?  Will we get to go and visit Mike's family in two weeks?  I suppose that this is the year that I have learned (or begun to learn) that life keeps on, no matter what.  I remember moving into this little house and things just kept breaking.  I cried, the only thing I could think to do, and it was worthless.  The real only thing to do was to fix the problem and move forward.  I felt homeless for a long time.

So, I've decided to dwell in beauty this year and try to relish the strong, wild energy these children have.  Maybe that will keep us healthy?  My mind is so taxed with fears right now that I am often very tired at the end of the day, while they frolic on.  Time outside is absolutely in order today, for the use of their energy and the recovery of mine.  We won't go to the woods, how I wish we could, but we'll find Christmas in our neighborhood.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
I could say, time and again, that this year has been so hard for us.  We've found rock bottom, only to catch our breath and see that it's really a little further down.  There have been joys and triumphs, but we are tired.  This has been proven in Mike's diagnosis with shingles this week.  Please pray for our whole family in the coming weeks.  We need it.

Bottle Caps!

Some brightness to our cloudy days--the sun was out today and we healthy ones went to visit neighbors.  Arriving home, the mail came and there was a box of treasures for the children from Ginger and Larry.  Books for Roan and Laurel Mae and a collection of bottle caps for Willow.  There were other goodies, too, and it was so nice to have a surprise and feel loved from far away.

Roan and the Reindeer

We are taking the last of December day by day,  things have been so uncertain.  Other years that felt so hard, they have now become pale in comparison to this one.  We are in better places with each passing day, with each test.  All things must pass.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Grampie's KitchenA very special and big package arrived late Monday evening.  I entered an Elves & Angels giveaway on Facebook around Thanksgiving and won!  The prize was their newest and biggest kitchen.  I was completely surprised, for certain, and I was even the first entry.  It was nearly bedtime when the UPS truck pulled up and unloaded it.

Mike and I put it together while the children excitedly watched and handed out screws.  They come with DVDs now, so it was very easy to assemble.  Willow quickly filled it with their cooking tools and food.  The old kitchen will go to some friends of ours when their little girl gets a little older.  This one really suits the play of three children better and I would have never replaced the other one on my own.

HammeringYesterday morning, the children helped me to glue in the little plugs that cover the screw holes.  As it's been very cloudy and wet again, it's been hard to get good photos of nearly anything lately.  I deleted many photos that were blurry.  Someday my skills will improve.  Oh, well.  As you might expect, they also had all kinds of fun with the big box that it was packed in.  It became a giant pizza oven yesterday with our mushroom lamp as the industrial mixer.

Speaking of ovens and giant things, I'm betting ours is preheated.  Time to go make a German pancake!
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
Yellow the bracken,
golden the sheaves.
Rosy the apples,
crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside,
clouds blue and white.
Autumn good morning,
Summer goodnight.


~Traditional

Last day of Summer

It's 37° here, below forty for the first time since May, I think.  It's 63° in the house, but I have a warm breakfast planned.  The end of Summer has really felt like an end, which has been so nice.  Here is our dear girl in the sweater you sent, [livejournal.com profile] elizabethhas7.  Such wonderful timing and it has made her so cozy.  I have been bringing out more of the Fall clothes in the past week and, for once, the seasonal shift has not been met with resistance.  I have been working on modelling the importance of warmth to the children all year, in food and clothing, and they are happy to follow along in this chilly weather.
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
A sweater for Laurel Mae

A warm, wooly hug in the mail from [livejournal.com profile] elizabethhas7,
a sweet sweater for our dear girl who will be one in a month a half.
Never too early for birthday fun, I say!
Thank you so very much, our Hawaiian Elizabeth.
impossibleway: (Picking Blueberries)
Log HouseOh, the weather has shifted to Perfect here.  The nights are cool, the breezes have returned.  I mowed the whole yard today and didn't really get hot.  Laurel's in hats and two shirts, Roan has on long sleeves, and Willow's been reunited with her tights.  The Rose of Sharon hasn't had blooms on it for a week or so, signalling the true end of Summer in a few days.  It just feels so nice.

We're still waiting around here, waiting to know about Mike's unemployment and waiting to know the results of an interview he has this week.  He'll have a second interview for the same position some time soon.  We are praying, for certain, that it works out, as the position would mean many good things for our family.  There is still a lot of uncertainty in the air.  We are holding out okay, presently.  In the meanwhile, he's continuing on with being very busy in other pursuits of videography, web and graphic design, music and house painting.  Now, just to get him to tackle our porches. . .

I've been in a mood to bake bread lately, so I've tried out hamburger buns.  They were a hit, all around.  I've got some oatmeal bread for supper tonight.  [livejournal.com profile] blakdove sent a box with yarn and cookies, just as I was sending out a box to another friend with the wool animals and more cookies.  The package had been lost in the mail and one of my dear lanterns was crushed.  Thank goodness for strong paper!  I'm excited about the arrival of yarn--some for Willow to work with and maybe some for me to knit a creamy baby vest with.

Now, to get that bread in the oven and think about re-dyeing some faded playsilks.  I think I hear Mike walking up our street with the children.
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)
Dodecahedron lanternContinuing my pursuit of beauty, I made another lantern yesterday using our lighter weight paper (98lb.) that we painted on Monday.  It turned out just lovely.  The children were mystified and I think that I am, too.  It's a dodecahedron lantern.  I can't say that I got much else done yesterday, though.  I made soup and watered the broccoli and nursed Willow through a fever.  She and Roan were asleep early, so Mike and I sat up for a bit and watched Coloring with Block Crayons, another skill on my list for adding beauty.  It was a pleasant end to a long, disjointed day.

Things are filling up around here.  The hours are brimming with things for Mike to do and requests for his work: Painting, yard work, car repair, web design, meetings, videography, and extra time with daddy.  It is certain that his time between jobs will not be a vacation in any form.  I'm also feeling lots of arms around us, in prayer and in help.  Times like these can feel mighty lonely, but we are finding ourselves surrounded by loving friends (near and far) who want to help (and send yarn!).  I really want to thank you all for being so thoughtful and caring.  We're still waiting on some details to be sorted out, like unemployment, but we are feeling much brighter this week. 
impossibleway: (Peachy Pie)
Sourdough Biscuits

Mmm. . . Long-fermented sourdough biscuits made using kefir.  I think I need to get my starter out of the fridge and make some.  Pop on over the Walden Effect to see some of my favorite kefir recipes and enter for a chance to win some kefir grains!
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)
A Time to Keep

This arrived today, addressed to Willow.
I have a feeling it came from you, [livejournal.com profile] elizabethhas7.
Thank you! It's so sweet and really brightened the week!
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Down Down the Mountain

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.


~Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

[livejournal.com profile] elizabethhas7 is the best at finding things in secondhand shops, no two ways about it.  She has been sending us boxes in the mail for years now, each full of wonderful things.  Our friendship began with a prayer request that I sent her a note about and we've kept going, despite never meeting in person.  We've each added two children in that time.  I've knitted and made dolls for her and she's generously sent clothes, toys, books and shoes our way.  My kids are nearly always wearing Keen shoes because of her.

It's a gray evening here and a priority box stuffed full was just the thing to brighten up the end of quiet time.  It had three more pairs of shoes, clothes for each of the children and this book.  I remember her telling me about it awhile back and I guess she found a copy and sent it along to me.  Two children live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and dream of wearing shoes.  They grow turnips to sell, end up giving them away, and win a prize at the county fair with their very last turnip.  They get their shoes and share lots along the way.  A perfect story, well in keeping with our homeschooling these days: they go out into the world, have an adventure, and come back home, unchanged.

Enki is, likely, going out of business next month.  It's a funny thing, to be using a homeschool curriculum that will soon exist only on the secondhand market.  It feels disappointing, admittedly, to have found something that I really liked and to have it pulled out from under me.  Becky is in a similar place these days--the college she attended closed its doors.  Regardless of what the reasons are behind Enki's closure, I have learned a lot from it, perhaps lessons it didn't intend to teach.  I chose it because I was looking for one source for materials, and it was that, for certain.  I will hold onto the kindergarten materials and use them through all the years.  The songs and movements will become a part of the fabric of our family, the stuff of conversation when we reminisce around the dinner table.

Laurel loves VirginiaEnki arose, as far as I can tell, from a Waldorf teacher who just didn't sit well with Waldorf.  I can see a lot of parallels between the two.  It pulls on a lot of educational philosophies, but the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  It may be that she simply had the motivation and skills to collect a bunch of things already in existence, filter out some of the fluff, and put them into a philosophy that people could understand.  So, Enki has taught me how I can move forward with Waldorf and feel good about it.  I know now how to choose the materials to suit my family and our hopes for our children.  And we're only partway through our first kindergarten year.  I am so looking forward to the Fall when we start to do crafts and have more seasonal songs and verses.  There is so much left to do and learn.

That's a lot of what I've been up to these days--relearning the things we have forgotten as society has "advanced" and sorting out the mess that life continually cycles toward.  Storytelling skills, ways to be intuitive for the laboring mother, ways to talk to my children so that they will hear my words, how to help my husband be his best, how to make things my own, and how to simultaneously hold onto and reunite with who I was when I was little.  It's a lot, for sure, and my mind goes over it continually and causes me to struggle to be fully present all the time.  I'm working on that, too.  I have a much better grasp on how to live with young children, though I must continually hone my skills.  I can see great differences between days where I keep it together and ones where I do not.  Speaking of together, it might be time for a trip to the berry patch.
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)
What a trip.  We're still on it, presently, but I'm making a little time to settle down for a bit.  It has been so nice to visit with some friends.  I really needed it, selfish as it may sound, just some time with people face to face.  [livejournal.com profile] blakdove's girls were so sweet (and she was a wonderful host!) and we had to pry our children away.  Visiting with Ginger and Larry helped me to laugh like I haven't in a long time.  It was terribly hot and Mike spent much of his meal time in the car with the children.  I'm usually the one in that position, so it was nice to trade.  But the heat, I could happily trade it for the darkest day of Winter.

DSC_7500I always look to these times to be their own sort of adventure story that ends with us being home again, glad to return to our simple lives on our quiet street.  I look forward to being home again, which I think is what a trip away should promote.  Refreshment or, at least, a refocusing.  City living is truly not for me.  Living in town is a little funny when I think of my childhood in the country, but it's a small town--6,000 people or so.  It is enough for me.

Trips are a great chance for me to read, especially as I have fewer chores and the opportunity to be adjacent to my children's play.  I've been reading The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood today, skimming it to see if I want to take it home with me.  A lot of it reminds me of Simplicity Parenting, detailing the traps of modern life and ideas for coping with them.  Another section was on the history of domestic life, how labor-saving devices took the skill out of homekeeping and how the feminist movement furthered the disdain for the traditional realm of home.  Heavy, divisive things, of course.

Mike has a friend who thinks that the longer the he knows me, the more conservative I seem to him.  I don't think that is really the way to describe my choice to be at home with my children and protective of the domestic sphere.  I think of such values as traditional, natural, part of the order of things that ought not to be ignored.  It is not a political choice to treasure people and it is wrong to color it in that way.  I suppose I grew up in a world where being at home, being skilled in food preparation and preservation, was simply enough.

My mind gets a wonderful workout these days.  They are stretching and tiring, and sometimes I do feel burnt out.  I've been feeling that way a lot before this trip.  It's hard not to with several young children and a husband that works four jobs.  But, we are trying, I think, always growing and forming boundaries to help us do what needs to be done.  I know that I have grown a lot inside in the six years since I lost my job making maps.  That work stifled me, crushed my spirit, and felt rather like middle school.

Tomorrow, we start our drive home.  I am looking forward to settling into a hotel room as just us again.  I think it will help to bridge the transition from this busy world to the quiet one we are more accustomed to.  Usually, disruptions like trips away or guests bring a sort of crash when we come back to ourselves again.  I wonder what it will be like this time around.  Enki says much of life is about transitions.  I hear that.
impossibleway: (Willow in the Sling)
RoanWillow

We got a sweet package in the mail yesterday, loads of love from Hawaii and [livejournal.com profile] elizabethhas7.  We're excitedly waiting for our guests to arrive and the children are modelling some of the goodies from the box.   Much of it is for Summer and I know they will be excited when I bring it out.  It is a wonderful thing to pass along un-needed items to another family.

Muddy

Feb. 28th, 2014 06:34 am
impossibleway: (Northbound)
A box of chocolatesThis might be the muddiest Winter I can recall in some time.  Our own yard is worn bare in places and it makes me feel a little compulsive about not walking on those spots.  The thick Spring grass will fill in soon, I suppose.  Like the puddle in our driveway that never seems to evaporate, my thoughts feel muddy.  Like the strong winds that mark this time of year, I find myself tossed around and beaten.  I was sailing along fine and then, well, the wind went out of my sails.

This is not unlike two years ago when we were experiencing some very exciting times in regards to the possibility of a new private school in our community.  We started out with great enthusiasm and lost steam, quickly and painfully.  There was so much energy in that room on the morning of our first meeting, anything seemed possible.  I suppose I've been feeling that way again lately.  Some things have transpired lately that leave me with another familiar feeling--that of when our group lost its energy and fell apart.  Some peculiar changes in policy are leaving me questioning the curriculum that felt so right.  Much like when I stopped reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle after having visited Barbara Kingsolver's restaurant, I have lost some enthusiasm with my studies.

Times like these, I look to the more experienced people in my life, my mentors.  I called my dad and we had an interesting conversation about intellectual property, trademark infringement and what it means to truly own things.  You buy it, it's yours, you do what you want with it.  And we had to talk about kites, because it's my dad.  Then Susan and I had a chat about homeschooling.  She always has a way of easing me with her pleasant spirit and years of experience.  It gave me a lot to think about: whether it's necessary to purchase a curriculum of any kind, picking and choosing from a lot of philosophies to make one's own Magic Bullet (not sold in stores), trusting my children instead of fretting over what grade to put them in.  These are all things that I knew in my heart, but needed to be reminded of as the way grows foggy.

What is is about this time of year?  Always something big going on when the wind picks up.  Time to fly my own kite for a bit and see where it goes.
impossibleway: (Sunset)
Kefir Smoothies

Mmmmm, kefir smoothies!  We're smoothie-ing nearly every day lately.  Enter this giveaway for a chance to win one of two units of my kefir grains (and a book and t-shirt!) over at The Walden Effect.

Sigh.  I can see dandelions blooming in the background of this old photo.  Mrs. Thaw needs to sweep this leftover snow and ice on out of here!

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