Archives for March 2017

Sharing Gifts

As I scrolled through a preview of the photos in this post, I thought to myself, “Wow! All seven kids are in this post! That doesn’t usually happen.” Then I remembered that actually, there are eight of them. The weather seems like it has warmed up for good, and everyone is spending lots of time outdoors. The goats’ fence was completed, and a gate hung. Jonny is almost finished with his small chicken coop and we got it set up to house our chicks. Next up, he’ll work on our large portable coop. I’ve been working on spring playsilks, perfect for lining Easter baskets! I’ve also dyed a bit of yarn and I’ll be updating my shop on Friday, March 31st at 11 a.m. EST with the yarn, playsilks, and goat milk soap!

Keats and Gabe were both confirmed over the weekend. Jonny and I led their confirmation team through all the required service projects over the past year and a half, and we are pleased and somewhat relieved that the boys passed this milestone!

All three of our older boys attended a youth group over the weekend for the first time. To say that they didn’t like it would be an understatement. Afterwards, Seth shared with me all the reasons he’d rather not go back, convinced that it isn’t going to benefit him or his brothers. Today, in discussion with me and my friend Eve about it, she turned things around by asking Seth if he had thought about how he might benefit others by being there. “Have you thought about what you might have to offer them?” It totally stumped him. No, he hadn’t thought about that.  He didn’t argue, knowing she had made a valid point. Another friend and I exchanged glances, “Whoa–that was good.”  It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how we can get our kids involved in this or that, with only their benefit in mind. As parents we are constantly asking ourselves if we are making the right choices for the good of our children. Sometimes we might make the right choices, but for the wrong reasons. I need to step outside that mindset and work harder to remind each of my kids that they have gifts to offer. “It’s not just about you!” Yeah, youth group may not be their favorite thing, maybe they didn’t connect with anyone their first time. Maybe they don’t even want to right now. But what if there’s a kid there that could benefit from what one of my boys has to say? Tonight we got into another discussion about this and my boys all claimed that they don’t have any gifts to share. So I started naming their gifts. The little girls overheard, and of course they wanted me to tell them what I think their gifts are as well. I was a little surprised by how much they needed to hear these things. Sometimes we all need a reminder. Every single one of us has gifts we can share with others. Right now, I need to focus my gifts on helping my children uncover theirs and learn how to use them for the greater good. I’m definitely going to work on that.

Rolling with Change (and a farewell to the Yarn Along)

Small Things-0105

In the fall of 2010 I had five children, the oldest being a new ten year old. After my children were put to bed each night, I had at least a couple of quiet hours to knit, read, blog, or work on projects. I currently have three teenage sons in addition to five children ages 11 and under. Mabel, my youngest, is 9 months old. My teenagers stay up as late as I do, enjoying time with Jonny and me after the littles are in bed.

Life is quite different these days. I’m different. I’m turning 40 this year, which as clichéd as it is, has me feeling pretty introspective. I am evaluating who I am, where I am, and how I should be, and want to be, spending my time.

I’ve always preferred unstructured days and loose routines to schedules and a full calendar. Too much time out and about can be stressful for my introverted self. I try to aim for simplicity, but nothing is simple anymore. Raising a family isn’t simple. It’s really complicated!

Today I spent an hour at the DMV, returned home and had about 45 five minutes before going back out to piano lessons. While my kids were in their lessons, Mabel and I grocery shopped and went by Lowe’s to check on an appliance order (have I mentioned that we have been somewhat oven-less for awhile now?) After picking everyone up and driving back home, we had less than an hour before it was time for golf. Meanwhile, Jonny had a couple of kids at baseball practice. Most days aren’t quite so crazy, thankfully.

I got away with only two kids in sports for years, with both of them able to play on the same team. No more. Thankfully, I have three in golf, so we are still being “efficient” with our sports scheduling. In a large family, if even a few participate in sports or other activities, it doesn’t take long before you have a full calendar. So that is where I find myself now. It’s been an adjustment, but I am finding ways to make this new reality work.

Yesterday, Seth had a two hour golf class. Somehow everything lined up so that it was just the two of us. I carried some knitting along with a vocabulary workbook that I am studying. I was super excited to sit in the clubhouse, do my lesson, and then do some knitting. Not long after finishing with my vocabulary workbook, I found myself in a very unexpected conversation with a woman about ten years younger than me. We went from friendly small talk to her essentially telling me her life story. I set the shawl I’m working on aside, though her intensity made me want to hide my face in my knitting at times! She seemed to really need someone to listen to her, so I did. I’m not sure that she was looking for advice, but I didn’t hold back! I’m nearly forty. I give advice now. Who am I kidding. I’ve always given advice! Driving home, I kept thinking about how so often I plan things a certain way and they don’t work out. I thought that going to a golf course without any young children would pretty much guarantee a quiet couple of hours to myself. I’m learning again and again, that my time is not truly my own. I’m learning to accept and embrace that. I’m glad for that conversation. My knitting will always be there. I keep thinking about her, and hope I’ll see her again.

And somehow this all brings me to the Yarn Along…

In the fall of 2010 I started the Yarn Along. I can hardly believe that some of us have been doing this for more than six years! I’m so grateful to everyone who has “Yarned Along” and for the friendships that have sprung up surrounding it. However, after much thought, I have decided to stop hosting the Yarn Along here on my blog. Right now, in the stage of life I’m in, I need my blog to be something that is more spontaneous and maybe even unexpected in the same way that my conversation with that young woman was. I’ll continue to talk knitting and books, but I want to share here because I am feeling inspired to do so, not because it’s on the schedule. I hope that makes sense, and I hope you’ll understand. If you enjoy linking up, I would encourage you to join Nicole for her Keep Calm Craft on Tuesday link-up. And if you want to Yarn Along, please do so on Instagram! Just use the #yarnalong hashtag and share whenever you feel like it! Thank you all so much for being here. I truly appreciate you and all that you have shared over the years!

p.s. I have been craving some “desk work” and not of the sort that involves a keyboard. I’m working through this (affiliate links ahead) classical vocabulary workbook (yes, it’s for kids-don’t laugh at me!), and this word power book. I remember using the same word power book when I was a teenager. Don’t worry, I am not going to start throwing a bunch of big, fancy words around. I just need some mental exercise!

p.p.s. Seth is driving, and drove on the way to golf yesterday! He’s been learning to drive for awhile now, but not from me. Yesterday was my first time riding in the passenger seat with him at the wheel. That’s a pretty wild experience, being driven by your baby for the first time, isn’t it? Scary too!

p.p.p.s. I realize that I have offered no explanation for any of the photos in this post! Beatrix is wearing this sweater that I knit for her when she was two–still her favorite though it is too small, and Mabel is wearing another sweater that I knit for Bea, one of my earliest knitting projects. I recently discovered the Indestructibles books, and Mabel loves them. She likes sitting and looking at books now, which is so fun!

And, the little boys didn’t get to paint for much longer after they started painting their faces and bodies. When will they learn?