impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
It's a dark and cloudy morning, with just a hint of rain in the air.  I'm hoping for a real shower to get my gardens jump-started.  There are still squash, pumpkins, watermelons, and beans to sprout.  Here are some clicks for this quiet morning when everyone(!) is at home and in bed.
Now, it's time to get started.  I hear the rumble of little feet!
impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
July 2014 Nature TableHere are a few clicks for the end of July.  Enjoy!

*Adventures in the Simple Life :: On Eustace Conway and his ride across America.  Really, really cool stuff here.  And to think his preserve is just over an hour away.
*Stopping Societal Violence :: Simple things for a more peaceful world.  It's always the simple that makes a big difference.
*Stephen Gaskin, Founder of The Farm :: His obituary.  If he hadn't loaded up all those people on a caravan of buses, Ina May might not have found her calling.
*Movies in the Internet Archive :: You can find all these for free on the Wayback Machine.  Some pretty kitschy stuff.
*What is the outdoor classroom? :: I think many of these would be easy to do at home.  We are blessed to live five minutes from the woods.
*The Library that Target Built :: Um, no thanks.
*Recreating the Family Unit :: Lots of good ideas here, honestly, things that have been natural for our family.  I'd consider this to be a good response to the things circulating out there about us all missing out on "community."  It is what you make it, folks.
*Caroline's Crayons :: Lots of delightful hand-drawn stories.
*Calming Lavender Cloud Dough :: I don't normally go for stuff like this, but it does look fun.
*Because it's hard :: On play-based learning.  Makes me want to put together a balance beam for the children.
*Living in Season :: Looks like lots of good stuff here for various seasonal celebrations.  I haven't had much time to look around.

And with that, it's time to start the day.  We're taking to the woods and taking down the Christmas in July tree.  Maybe.
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Beauty is the moment of transition, as if the forms were just ready to flow into other forms.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, as excerpted from the Enki Homeschool Teaching Guides

The angel hovers tenderlyThe Enki materials say that much of life lies in the transitions and seeks to ease them in family life.  They're there, we just have to pay careful attention and honor them.  So, we sing a familiar song to cue the next activity and we allow the transitions to move deliberately.  I hum while I get the last of supper ready, we sing as we get ready for our walk, I sing a song while I pull down the shades.  This was something we did a little of before we chose Enki, finding songs from Seven Times the Sun and putting them in at the hard parts of the day, morning and evening.  I must say, things do pass more easily now and I'm certain it's not just Willow's ever-increasing age.

I've been thinking a lot about this as I've worked to ease the transition for Katherine and her family from baby-on-the-inside to baby-on-the-outside.  We often see birth as the great big end to pregnancy.  It's a big event that takes us weeks (or months!) to recover from, so it seems right to treat it as an end.  The only thing is that there is a beginning right on the other side of it.  One big change followed by a tremendous change.  So, I'm thinking it's not an end after all.  Birth must be the transition between inside and outside, heaven and earth.  It's a pause between the in-breath and the out-breath of old life and new life.

Perhaps viewing birth this way will help me to serve future moms that ask for my help.  I, too, remember being completely shocked by the first six weeks after birth.  Nothing prepared me for it.  We talked some about meals and breastfeeding, as we should have, but it just didn't sink in.  I couldn't believe how out-of-sorts I felt, how overwhelmed I was.  My mind had to work on a completely new way of thinking.  I'm turning over the idea of prompting moms to think about the birth as a true transition.  It's big and strong and heavy, but it's not the end.  It's the place where things shift onto the next thing.  There's a golden few days and then the new life together takes flight.
impossibleway: (Northbound)
Quiet TimeOh, what a week.  Whew.  I hardly know where to begin. Baby waiting Monday, a baby in the wee hours of Tuesday running very little sleep, a return to normalcy yesterday and the beginning of postpartum doula work today.  Helping new parents find their way is heavy, heavy stuff.  It's easy to sound like the together mama to one who is doing everything for the first time, but I surely remember feeling completely overwhelmed and inept.  I still feel that way sometimes, especially as I navigate childcare and schedules and my own introverted nature (with the ironic desire to serve others).

The one thing that has been constant through it all, blessedly, has been quiet time.  Having been a TV-free quiet period for three months, we've all come to depend on it as a time to recharge.  I remember the first few weeks, how deliberate it had to be in order to make it work.  I'd lay out mats, get out special quiet time things to play with and we'd put on Pippi.  There's less of that now, as we've found our places within the new rhythm.  Roan usually wants me to sit on the couch and read with him.  Willow works at some contracting activity like playing with small figures or coloring.  We listen to Sparkle Stories (as there are lots of free ones and I've bought a few) and Roan generally goes to sleep.  Laurel is nearly always sleeping.

My mind is worn now, scattered as I try to finish chores and put food on my family.  Potential future clients loom out there in periphery.  Mike has vacation time coming up next week.  I am looking forward to it.
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
Walnut Baby

Feeling hopeful today, with my little girl in arms, who entered our world eight months ago.  And for our dear friend who just may be having her little one today.  This little treasure just arrived in the mail for her.  It may be a long evening ahead, but it will be a joy to share their transforming experience!
impossibleway: (Hooded Girly with Basket)
I kept putting if off and June got away from me.  Oh, well.  Here they are!

*Cleaning Thoughts On All The Stuff—Where Past Meets Present Meets Future :: On keeping clutter down for the years ahead.  Amen to that!
*WPA Posters Celebrate National Parks :: Love these posters.  I have a small collection of Forest Service propaganda--so much good stuff and a shame to see it go.  I sure wish we gave the same level of attention (and funds!) to the parks and forests that we used to.
*Needle-Felted Owl Tutorial :: This is so sweet.  Might have to make a couple for Christmas.
*Paper Bowls with Flowers :: You'll need to translate this page.  These use pressed flowers and are very pretty.
*A Beautiful Day in May: The Birth of Matilda :: A baby born in a car and the photographer was there!
*Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods :: On preserving nature versus letting kids really be outside.  I remember being horrified as a boy pulled a bunch of moss off a large rock when I was Ranger Brandy.  I suppose I teach my children to have fun and step gently.
*The Over-Protected Child :: On the benefits of risky play and a new/old sort of playground called The Land.
June Nature Pile*Is Grit Stifling Our Creativity? :: I've often had similar thoughts about living frugally versus living in poverty.  There is a point where it is no longer fun to get blood from turnips or invent new ways to make something from nothing.
*Sleep, Naptime and Bedtime :: Lots of good articles here for helping children transition into and out of rest times.  We've been washing and massaging our feet each night and the children really enjoy it.
*What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get A Living Wage? :: Food for thought.
*Your Baby's Call of the Wild :: Benefits of letting babies be outside on the ground.  Laurel has always loved being outside.  Grumpy energy just blows away.
*Park and Recreation Structures :: Online version of historic books on park and forest architecture.  I'm so glad this is available for free.  I've always admired the stone bridges, stairways, shelters and amphitheaters around here.
*The REAL reason children fidget :: Getting enough movement in our days has gone a very long way to restoring good spirits and order to our home.  Well, order as it exists when people are building and experimenting all day.
*Why you never truly leave high school :: This is a long article, but it surely is thought-provoking.  I don't think I care to revisit my high school years.  I have only one lasting friendship from that time.
*Creating Your Own Forest or Farm Homsechool Kindergarten Experience :: Get outside lots, always.  I went out in all weather as a child.  I was alone, but I still had lots of fun.  I remember wearing my dad's rubber boots and having them sucked off by the mud for the first time.
*Wee Closer Cowl :: This is sweet.
*WHAT THE FINNS KNOW: “Friluftsliv” Gets Big Results in Finland’s Schools :: Time to play and time to be outside, essential to learning.  I remember being told I should be a teacher when I was Ranger Brandy.  I said I wanted to work in some sort of outside school.  I had no idea what was ahead.
*Calendula Salve :: We are definitely making this in the Fall.  I just love the smell of the Weleda baby products.  My calendula is mighty small right now, though.
*The play deficit :: On the recent history of play in the US, creativity, and schools.
*To Boost Attendance, Milkwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music and Gym :: Isn't that novel?
*Why Kids Need Fewer Toys :: I know I sound like a broken record, but this would be a wonderful, succinct list to share with people who want to know more.
*Making a curvy board :: This is a neat project, but certainly not one to be taken up in the home workshop.
*Movement for Childhood :: I look forward to looking around more here.  Someday.  This blog post has taken me about 7 hours.
*We said "No car pictures" :: On cars in Cuba.  Very interesting!  My parents have classic cars that could be my inheritance someday.
*Strangers in Our Homes: TV and Our Children's Minds :: This is certainly a good reminder when I start to slip a little more TV in here and there to give myself a break.

Time to turn this thing off and knit!
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
We live in a place where North and South meet. It is entirely possible to find a chilly spot in the middle of Summer. Miss Laurel is wearing a hat right now, in fact. With a friend due in just over a month, I made her a tiny pilot cap. "Are their heads really this small?" Yes, my dear, they are. So small and sweet and in need of warmth.

Lil Bean Pilot

I also copied one of my favorite baby cards to go along with it, this picture by Ruth Elsasser. Becky's nails match it perfectly, I think.

Ruth Elsasser copy

For more crafting visit Frontier Dreams!
impossibleway: (Large-Flowered Trillium)
I suppose I went to look at the trilliums today, but I didn't manage to get a good picture of them.  I think I was too busy walking and talking and having a good time.  It was breezy and sunny, warm in the valley and cool at the lake.

Wood anemone

I did see a wood anemone, though.

Fiddlehead

And a fern uncurling.

On the R rock

We discovered that the rock Roan always seems to sit on has an "R" on it.
How appropriate for our boy, due to turn three on Sunday.
This rock is the boundary marker for Russell and Smyth Counties.

Climbing

Willow spent some of the time convinced we would fall off the trail,
but she did manage to integrate with her body (as the Enki people would say)
and have a fabulous time climbing the very tall rock.

Clarissa Explains it All

I call this her Clarissa Explains It All Outfit.
Mighty proud of it, she is.

Bundled up

Katherine snuggled up to Laurel on the shore of Laurel Bed Lake.
The wind was pretty strong and we were glad for extra hats, mittens and blankets.

Katherine by the lake

She's just over 29 weeks pregnant right now, due a week after my birthday.
She's my next doula client and I am honored to watch her grow, inside and out.

Partridge berries and teaberry leaf

I picked a bunch of partridge berries and one teaberry leaf
so Katherine could see how much it tasted like teaberry gum.

Downy Serviceberry

I caught a downy service berry branch in the wind and snapped its picture.
Their white flowers dot the hillsides this time of year, the first of the wild trees to bloom.

Goodness, it just occurred to me that Roan is GOING TO BE THREE ON SUNDAY.  I need to dig out my felt for a birthday crown!
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
AngieWe had our final postpartum visit on Monday and another chapter of our lives with these wonderful women closed.  It has me thinking back to the other final visits, of course.  Our comfort level with each other is much higher now, though we surely were close five years ago.  We have inside jokes now and go back and forth about whether there will be a fourth Nichols baby.  I tell them about a Phantom Baby that lives at our house, one that I feel compelled to check on even while I'm holding Laurel.  They tell me that means they'll be seeing me again, and they'd really like to.  They've practically begged me to have another baby.

A final once over of Laurel and me finds us in good health.  Angie says I've healed well and it looks almost as if I haven't even had a baby, my strength is so well recovered.  Laurel borders on too heavy for the sling scale at 12 lbs. 4 oz.  Angie, Christie and Christine fight over holding her and I declare Angie a Baby Hog.  And she is.  She's always been like that.  We linger a long time, not really knowing what to do next.  It is good to move forward.  I always enjoy the progression of time, but I surely will miss them.  As we leave, another expectant couple waiting their turn, as always, I jokingly tell Angie I'll see her in 21 months.  Only time will tell.

Christine
impossibleway: (Willow in the Sling)
Weighing InIt was snowing hard as we left to go to our fourish-week postpartum appointment yesterday.  The forecast said it wouldn't accumulate and it didn't, but we were a little nervous.  Angie was making tea when we arrived.  She and Christie drank so much during my labor and the first home visits.  We enjoy a sort of ease with them now that has been years in the making, five whole years.  Angie gave me a sweet Christmas gift, a quilted potholder she was frantically sewing before we arrived.  I think I'm going to take her some sun-dried tomatoes next time and some pie filling for Christie.

After my baby is born, it takes me awhile to call him or her by the name we've chosen.  It's always been that way.  I don't really know why.  Perhaps it takes time for me to connect the person I carried inside for all those months with the person I hold in my arms and care for.  Maybe it is because we keep the name choice fairly quiet during my pregnancy.  Either way, I am just now settling into calling the New Baby by her true name, Laurel Mae, even though I said her name over and over in the relief that came with her birth.  It's so sweet to hear Roan say her name.

Laurel is a sweet girl, for sure, and fits in well.  Evenings are challenging for her, but if I put her in a wrap, she gets through with very little fussing.  Supper is always a wild time, isn't it?  She very much likes to be touching me while she sleeps, so I have to carefully sneak away if I want to roll over.  She's a morning person, even more than Roan, and my quiet time after I get up is very limited or absent.  Riding in the car isn't an issue presently, as it was for Roan.  We'd have to stop frequently to calm him,  Of course, Laurel has Willow sitting right next to her to give her attention and a pacifier (called the "thingy part" around here), if needed.  Willow also reports in as to whether she's awake or asleep as we travel.

I love this photo of Laurel being weighed yesterday.  She's up to 10 lbs. 10 oz.  All of my children have been weighed on that scale and all of them have peed on it at one time or another.  Memories.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
Making Christmas CardsIt's cold today, terribly cold and windy.  I had the shades up for a time and then pulled them back down.  The ice storm that was predicted hasn't arrived.  Instead, it's just rained off and on all day.  We made Christmas cards yesterday, just seven or eight to send to a few people.  There's one for our mailman--Willow said she thinks he's Santa Claus.  I don't know if she understands how mail order works, but she does know that he brings packages to us.  I drew the trees and Willow decorated them.  It's our version of a coloring page, more open-ended without the sappy designs.

The laundry is drying in front of the heat vents, a sign of the coldness and also my own feeling that my postpartum healing is basically complete.  I'm feeling really good and I feel so blessed.  I feel like I've been surrounded by lots of love and caring the past ten or so months--you friends out there who have given kind words and wonderful packages of baby goodies, midwives who have supported me and cheered me on, family members who have been there at just the times I needed someone to help out in one way or another.  It's all worked out really well.

The Christmas Spirit came over me yesterday and we completed more decorating.  It is feeling more like Christmas around here, even though we don't have a tree yet.  We may try to rustle one up tomorrow or during the coming weekend.  Mike's overwhelmed at work and he's often working over or skipping breaks.  It baffles me that a pharmacy can be so full of shoppers this time of year.  I've never felt moved to go to one for my Christmas shopping, but I just cozy up to my computer and compare prices without the crowds.

I have a feeling Laurel Mae will be up soon (she growls in her sleep), so I better stop here.  But, that girl, she is growing too fast.  I've never really thought that with the other two.  I'm trying to soak it in, for sure.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Laurel Mae


Born at home on Thursday, November 7th, at 10:18 PM. She was 7lbs. 3oz. and 22.5 inches long, our longest baby.  Mike had her birthday and weight exactly right.  She and I are doing all the things people ought to do in these early days, being very normal and eating well.  Our children return home today to meet their new sister.  I am so very glad to turn a new page.
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
November Nature Table

There is some satisfaction in getting to put away all the Halloween things today.  We had been looking at many of them since August!  That reminds me, I need to get the shirts and socks out of the drawers.  Today, now that I'm pretty much better, I'm tending to the loose ends that could have sat for a few weeks, but won't now.  I cleaned the lower kitchen cabinets and worked at degreasing the stove hood.  I cleaned the drip tray for the dish rack.  I dusted all the furniture and moved some lamps around to light the way for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.  I got out the lanterns for Martinmas and some books that are more appropriate for the next few weeks--Ox Cart Man and Spot's Thanksgiving.

Mike is at home to stay now.  His hours were given away at work and his last day was Monday.  We'd really rather him work, but we've been enjoying the time all together, too.  We went to Boone yesterday and saw beautiful Fall color along the way.  Of course, it was impossible for me to properly photograph, but it is better to really experience things than to always document them for some other person or time.  There were many bare branches, too, reminding me of the Winter ahead.  I'm not quite ready for it, but I know that it will be different from previous ones.

The nature table takes on a stark look now, as does the rest of the house.  I emptied out all the collected nature bits, as I do from time to time, in favor of collecting new things that reflect what's happening outside now.  I'm really trying to simplify things around here and anticipate the next few weeks (whenever they start) of things being topsy turvy and not quite settled.  So much little baby stuff has emerged from storage and I need a cushion to absorb the shock while everything finds its place again.  Family arrives for Thanksgiving on November 23rd and Mike will go back to work shortly after the official holiday.  I'm a little overwhelmed and a little at peace.
impossibleway: (Northbound)
In the streetlightI can feel myself pulling in these last couple days.  The cold has taken some of my motivation, but also it's just getting closer to the true moment when everything will change.  I've gone through many moods in the past while: anger, desperation, impatience, disappointment, relief, and hope.  My cold is progressing well, if colds do such things, and I don't have a cough to keep me up at night.  I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be a day of breathing easier and feeling less pressure in my head.

Angie asked me today what I'm doing for exercise and I said, "Sitting on the couch and knitting."  Perfect.  Just the thing to do right now.  I'm only doing the basics--meals, only a little extra tidying, laundry, self care.  My body has thanked me for it, too.  I've had much less soreness and the contractions slowed for the days that I was sickest and most concerned about labor.  They've picked up a little today, but nothing serious yet.  Mike has made the birth announcement up with tomorrow's date on it.  I think that's a bit optimistic, but I truly have no idea.

In quiet moments in the night when I'm the only person awake, I tell Laurel that she can come whenever she's ready, that we are ready to meet her.  Her movements are slowing and Angie says that means things are getting close.  It also means that my heart worries a little about her and won't feel quite settled until she's in my arms.  God's timing is best, of course, and it was quite obvious that I needed some lessons in patience for a pregnancy that has been extremely healthy.  Now, I really am ready, I think, for the work and the bliss.
impossibleway: (Warning)
A little practical, a little ridiculous this week.

2.5 year old mittens

2.5 year old mittens for my almost-two-and-a-half-year-old.
These were knit in the round, with a few stitches added to the thumb and hand.
I'm adding a string because we nearly lost one just minutes after I finished it.

Size 2 Puerperium

Beyond Puerperium in the 2 year old size.
I bought a ridiculous amount of yarn for this, twice as much, thinking 50g was 50yds.
Oh, well.
And the other project, dusted with corn starch and powdered sugar.

Purple

Yarn for my thrummed mittens, my most ridiculous project to date.

Homemade marshmallows

And homemade marshmallows, after having watched Alton Brown make them.
This feels kind of ridiculous, too.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams!
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
Back of the Dragon

We've reached the quota-filling phase now.  Things are starting to become antsy and so we do ridiculous things to kill time, like taking a four-hour drive that covers around 100 miles.  That's what we did yesterday, riding over several ridges over to Tazewell, which had long been on Mike's list of places to go.  Well, we've been now and we all survived that trip in pretty good spirits and with no swollen ankles.  Check!  It seems every pregnancy has some sort of epic drive at its end and this was that.  The Fall color was gorgeous, though, and it's a shame the road was so curvy and there were so few appropriately-place turnouts.

There was frost Sunday and Monday mornings, though it is is the forties right now.  The wind has been ushering the possibility of snow for tonight and tomorrow, so I've said that I'm going to have the baby tomorrow.  If I don't, I have other plans to help pass the time.  I'll make a big dish of baked beans and sew some skirts for Willow, if the back porch isn't too cold.  Maybe, I should do the skirts today.  My yarn arrived and I've cast on for Roan's sweater, trying my hand at a big Puerperium first, since I apparently ordered twice as much as I needed.  So much for that yarn shortage I was having. . .

Lake Views

Oct. 19th, 2013 07:09 am
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
I keep looking back at where I was five years ago at this time.  Oh, the waiting.  And now, doing it all over again.  It's different this time, of course, and the things that my body is doing seem more dramatic.  I could tell the time when the baby was engaging at the start of this week and now the practice work is becoming less like practice with each day.  Last night, I even went so far as to lay out clothes for the children, but I was trying to ignore things and away they went.  And here I am.

Lakeview

And here we were yesterday.

Cookies!

It was in the low forties and breezy at Laurel Bed Lake.
I brought cookies and hot soup and that was a very good idea!

Feet View

I did not bring a coat for myself, unfortunately, but there was a blanket in the car.
We walked around a bit and decided to look out of the car while we ate our soup and the sun warmed us a bit.

Red Maple

The sun was surely strong, but the wind let us know that Summer really is gone.
Roan stepped out only for a bit, lured by the pursuit of partridge berries.
So far, he's been really good about knowing what kinds are for people and what kinds are for birds.

Ferns

My shadow looms a little in this picture, but I suppose there is a certain sense of something looming in almost everything we do.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
Glade Mountain RoadIt's extremely foggy this morning and everyone is miraculously sleeping in.  Both children were troubled by bad dreams in the night, and Roan woke when I did, puttered around and went back to bed.  I'll take the slow start.  I think this week has been a little wearing, or it has been for me.  Weekly prenatals do help to pass the time, but it's a half-day affair for us.  I'll be going alone on Monday and I'm looking forward to the simplicity of it.

Let's see. . . I drove over Glade Mountain yesterday.  It was super wet, but this is a good road for wet.  It has gravel over most of the surfaces and the bare spots are on more level ground.  The road was terribly bumpy for about four miles, though, and I really wanted to turn around or find a magic wand.  Bumpy roads do inspire lots of contractions, but they are subsiding when things smooth out.  For now.  I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the forest.  Everything was on fire with color, even the little plants on the ground.  Lots of gold and some areas that were entirely red.  The sassafras was nearly blaze orange, the bright color that hunters wear.

Today we go to Laurel Bed Lake with thermoses of hot soup and cheese and crackers.  It will be chilly, for sure, but I think it's time to start feeling cold again.  I think the first killing frost will arrive on Sunday night.  Full moon tonight, though.  I hope this fog blows away.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
As much as I want time to fly right now, I can't let Fall get away from me without some proper enjoyment.  The mountains are in full color while the valleys will peak some time next week.  We've got our list of places to go and today we checked one off.  We hurried through the breakfast dishes and left lunch brewing in the crockpot to go to Comer's Rock.  Having recently read about Wistman's Wood, this place came to mind and I knew we needed to go.

Willow on the trail

It's a short walk, with a fair number of steep stone stairs to climb.  Willow led the way and I counted it as good exercise for the day.  The road there and back could also be a good induction technique!

Autumn ridge

Ahh, yes, a great view with that same blueberry bush that always manages to share with the bears and not me.

Looking out

The trees up top are short and bent giving a gnarly, grey landscape in the Winter.

Mike

And Mike had to do his usual--stand on a small rocky ledge and take pictures.

Roan's inspection

Roan stuck close to me, blessedly, and we looked for fun on steadier ground.

Tiny lichen

These little lichens might have been the highlight.

Leaves on the trail

Next stop, Laurel Bed Lake on Friday.  Have to get to my girl's namesake lake!

Rocks

Convenient thing that we have a lot of gravel roads to travel in the next week.

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