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?

Comments

  1. Your post today had me gripped from beginning to end. While I am only 28 and I don’t have any children I feel I am currently having my own crisis on how I spend my time so your post really spoke to me. I always enjoy your yarn along however we all need to take a step back every now and then and just take our time for ourselves. I hope you can find a balance in your life that works for you and gives you the time you need for yourself.

  2. Thank You for all, Ginny.

  3. Just thank you for so many good memories, knitting ideas, and book selections. Best wishes for your future, I’ll be following you. (Sorry that sounds a little creepy…:) )

  4. Thank you Ginny for all the wonderful years of Yarn Along. I learned to knit in the spring of 2010 and was so nervous the first time I linked in, but I am glad I was “brave’, you and all the other wonderful souls have brought so much joy to my life over the years.
    Enjoy this new stage of your life, the 40’s are fun and just wait until your 50’s, it just keeps getting better.
    Much love to you and your beautiful family!!!

  5. Ginny, thank you for hosting the yarn along for so long. In times when I have struggled to write it has kept me ticking over. I hope to still check in here often. Love x

  6. Thank you for the years of bringing knitters together on Wednesdays. Over the past year, with my own children getting older and working full time, I haven’t been able to join in every Wednesday like I used to. And I always thought to myself, how is Ginny able to make time to post this and put together every week!!! We will still be here every week reading about your beautiful family. Thank you again for sharing your corner of the world with us. I so enjoy it.

  7. I feel a little relieved. The beauty of your life and your energy always overwhelm me, but the yarn along was a real killer – all of this….and you have time to knit [beautifully!] AND read!

    You were undoubtedly a great blessing to that woman…..but I’ve found that most conversations are not all that worthwhile, so as much as I can I wait in the car!

  8. It takes a lot of courage to change things that are no longer working for you. It’s hard to do, that I know. You really *are* in a new stage now – with teens + littles – and a new home – and sports – church – etc!! *** Thank you so much*** for the many years you hosted Yarn Along! I love the idea of keeping the #yarnalong hash tag on Instagram, great idea! I love your blog and your family, so glad you are still going to write here. I could tell that it was getting hard to do the Yarn Along weekly for you. You did such a good job over the years! I read a book _Present Over Perfect_ that helped me in the continued process of evaluation of life and what is the best thing I can do in it. It’s really not easy to evaluate things and sincerely appreciate your courage and honesty in changing what you are doing because of your own evaluation and realization of the season you are in! Sending a HUG your way, I know this is not an easy change, though truly the best one for you!

  9. I am much older than you are — 64, retired and babysitting my granddaughter three days a week. I don’t have the busy schedule you have but I want out of a group I joined when I first moved to VA. I belong to another group, my local Ruritan, that fulfills my service need and this other mostly social group has come to feel like a chore I don’t want to do. At any point in life I think it’s important periodically evaluate the way we spend our time and to let go of things that no longer work or bring joy or a sense of accomplishment. I came to your blog long after Yarn Along, so I won’t miss it, but I am happy to hear you’ll still be blogging.

  10. Yes, I can so relate. I think I have some alone time to do some task and then I am interrupted. I guess I need to stop thinking of it as my time. LOL. Seth driving. I remember my husband teaching my daughter to drive, and then came the day I was the passenger as she drove. I was so nervous and tight. SHe finally said, “Mom, you might be a little more comfortable if you unclench the sides of the seat.”

  11. Simple thank you for all your work for the past years doesn’t seem enough…but I offer my “complete Thank You to you, Ginny.

    I completely understand but will miss you greatly.

    your friend through knitting, Ravelry, and sharing your life with me/us.

    much love

  12. Ginny, I will miss the Yarn Along, but I totally understand your need to be more ‘free form’ right now. I am on the other side of where you are currently in life, with all of my kids (albeit only four) grown and out of the house. But the fifteen years or so between the eldest hitting the preteen years and the youngest going off to college were a busy whirlwind when I was kept on the run like you are now. Take a deep breath and hang on!! Now that my dh and I are ’empty nesters’ (at least until semester breaks from college), I’m learning a new rhythm to my days and there is more time for crafting again. I love reading your blog, both for the posts about the craziness of having a full young household, and for your insightful writings on wifedom, motherhood, and being a woman in general.

  13. Thank you for hosting Yarn Along for us! I believe stop something you did for that long time wasn’t an easy decision. Wishing you good luck 🙂
    Love,
    Hanni

  14. Hi Ginny,
    I can completely relate to all of this! I have 8 children just about the same ages as yours (mine are 1-14). I wish we were neighbors haha! I don’t know many people with large families. Most people I know don’t quite “get it!”

  15. Reading your post I was quite afraid that at the end you were going to say you don’t have time for it any more!!! So I was very relieved to hear it is only the Yarn Along! Your family feels like an extended one to me and it brightens my day when I see a post from you! Thank you for all the time & effort you have put into the Yarn Along all these years. Just keep us posted on what pretty projects you have going on. I’ve knit several of the ones you have knit & loved them. 💕

  16. I am sorry to read that you are stopping hosting the Yarn Along, I’ve really enjoyed taking part and discovering new blogs through it, but really support your decision and wish you all the best Ginny. I’ll still be reading your posts.

  17. Joyce F in Kansas says:

    My sister had 8 children. She took up piecing quilts while waiting for one or another of the kids at some sports practice; she made the most of that quiet time waiting. She kept a scrapbook of projects she had completed, from large quilts to small hangings. Not sure she counted pot holders as a project but she made some pretty ones of those too. Some of her quilts were displayed at her funeral dinner recently. I always enjoy seeing your knitting projects whether still on the needles or on your children so will look forward to future sharing.

  18. Ginny, you write the best posts! I totally understand your crazy life and how busy it is with kids all doing different activities. It will slow down, but not quite yet. Just make sure you take some time for yourself and are not always only playing the chauffeur, the cook, the maid, etc. You deserve time for YOU too!
    Love, love, as always, the pictures of your kids….they look like they are having fun and that is what is important!
    Take care, Monique

  19. I am sad to hear that the Wednesday Yarn Along will be no more. I enjoyed linking up to other blogs and having them come visit me. I understand that life gets busy and we need to figure out what is best for us and our family. I will check out the tuesday link up. Thank you for hosting all these years!

  20. I’ve only very recently discovered you on Instagram, and love your photos and writing. I see you’re reading Houselander. I’m reading her Way of the Cross – so inspiring and moving, would highly recommend. And like a reed, we need to be flexible to circumstances, but single minded in our Goal…
    Time? “All time belongs to God”!

  21. I shall miss the Wednesday ritual, but want to say thank you for all the work and pleasure Yarn Along has brought me. All the best in the future.

  22. Becky - TN says:

    Seems we are entering the same season, Ginny…though I’m a wee bit older (44 in June). This is a new Season, you are making a new normal. I have post-it notes scattered around the house with the words “SLOW DOWN”. I am asking myself a lot more questions..of myself these days.

    Yesterday, you were “love” to that woman. God needed you right there, at that time, for her. God Bless you!

    Read this yesterday and have been sharing. Helps when we have those days of wondering…or at moments like you had yesterday with that woman:

    Who are we, then, and what is our reason for existence? Sometimes the message escapes us in its simplicity. Jesus said, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike” (Mt 11:25). The Baltimore Catechism states who we are quite plainly: “We were made to the image and likeness of God … to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in heaven.” The spiritual master, Fr. Thomas Merton, wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”

  23. Bless you for the community you’ve fostered through the Yarn Alongs, and bless you just as much for knowing when to say goodbye for the good of you and your family. I’ll certainly miss you (and everyone else!) on Wednesdays to come. Have fun with the rest of your Find Your Fade!!

  24. Thank you so much for hosting Yarnalong and introducing me to so many fabulous crafters from around the world!

  25. Christy Hissong says:

    I see Beatrix, the body art queen, is offering a helping hand to the boys (and maybe joining in herself off-camera?)! And your “baby” is driving??? Mine will be all too soon (although he’s closer to Keats’ age) — feels like they’ve grown up together ;). Blessings on you and your sweet flock!

  26. Where did you get the cute wooden animals for the children to paint?

  27. I think I’ve been joining in, off and on, since 2010. I have “met” so many fellow knitters in that time, and I am not going to get through all the book suggestions, but that doesn’t matter. Thank you for hosting. I can fully appreciate the need for spontaneity with your blog posts. I have you on my reading list, so I’m looking forward to hearing more about your change in focus.

  28. I will miss your Yarn Along. It was the inspiration to get me back into knitting six years ago and that (knitting) has been a place of rest for me as we navigate our crazy chaotic life with soon-to-be ten kiddos. However, I totally “get” why you’re ready to move on! :). Thanks for all the fun years of Yarn Along. I will definitely continue to read along on your family’s adventures.

  29. Lori Ann says:

    Just keep letting us know what knitting you are working on! I have begun projects after seeing/reading about some of yours – esp. your new shawl! My son has been working through those vocabulary books for several years for home school – I find that I am learning right along with him as they are both interesting and fun! Thanks for all of your lovely text and photos – I so enjoy breaking up my morning with your blog!

  30. I love that you are using the vocabulary book – I just started a 7th grade math program myself in order to brush up on some *very* rusty skills! Good luck and enjoy every minute of all the chaos. It inspires the rest of us to relax into our own chaos and do the same!

  31. Ginny I see so many good things in you future, may you be blessed always and have love and happiness daily! Thank you for hosting diligently all these years and while we say goodbye to yarn along, we say hello to new life changes.

    seeing your son behind the wheel!!! now that is AMAZING. I loved the teen years and the chatting I did with my two. Watching them grow into adults and forming their own independent thoughts and decisions is a milestone. I remember being proud of their actions and patting myself on the back. And I remember wondering where they got a crazy idea from….(not me).

    I love my adult children and how they are how they are. Our job is to get them to adulthood.

  32. I am so sad to see the yarn along go, but I admire your courage to know when you need to step back from something. This is something I have been working on quite a bit lately, which actually caused me to step back from the yarn along a lot this past year – life seems to be going by so fast, and I need to stop and savor more. I have been joining in with the yarn along since I started my blog back in 2011, and have thoroughly enjoyed *meeting* so many wonderful women through your blog – it is full of encouragement, so thank you!

  33. Thank you for all your blogging and yarn alonging generosity. You’ve been an inspiration.

  34. Beautiful and wise as always! On a completely unrelated note, can I ask about bangs? My daughter is in her preteen years and wants bangs. I’m afraid of the upkeep and upcoming oily forehead/pimples. So, with one with and one without, what is your experience? I am sure with your full life, you would be an excellent judge. Thank you for any thoughts.

    • Beatrix has been bugging me for bangs for months. I would have preferred her not to have them, but I had bangs cut at my last haircut (mostly to try to hide some of my recent hair loss/regrowth) and that just fueled her fire even more. So I finally gave in and cut them for her. I guess my thought on all things kids and hair is that it isn’t worth arguing over. If she wants bangs, I’d let her. 🙂

  35. It was your Yarn Along that first inspired me to learn knitting all those years ago! Thank you for that! I hear you on the life changes and new realities. My oldest is only about to hit 13 and we don’t do many outside activities and still I feel it, most especially in that loss of down time in the evening… It’s definitely a change.

  36. Good decision, Ginny. Knitting is for a lifetime. This busy family buzz will also go by quickly. You have such a rich writer’s voice.

  37. I don’t know why (pregnancy hormones?!) but this post has me all emotional. I guess just thinking about your evolving life, which you always pull off with such grace and humour, has me reflecting too. I totally get your decision to step away from the Yarn Along and thank you for all these years hosting it, as I too enjoyed participating briefly (till my much less busy life took over and it just got dropped). I’m looking forward to enjoying your continued spontaneous blog posts. PS So love the pictures of you and the naughty paint stained imps (the new short haircuts have done little to discourage those urchins I am delighted to see!) x

  38. Good luck in the new era, dear Ginny!

  39. I’m fairly new to the Yarn Along, but I’ve loved it. I’m so sad that you’re not going to be hosting it anymore although I certainly understand. Best wishes to you in your new adventures. 🙂

    Would you post an update if anyone else decides to pick up the Yarn Along? If no one else volunteers and you don’t mind, I would be happy to do it. Thank you for creating such a wonderful community of knitters who love books. 🙂

  40. You are wise to take stock on your round-number birthday. I always say, “I can’t do everything all the time.” That is, when activities and responsibilities and new interests are added to my life, something has got to go to make room. As far as knitting goes, if you only show us garments you made in the past, being worn by your beautiful children, that will be a joy to me. I really enjoyed this post.

  41. Thanks for hosting the yarn along for so many years! While I wasn’t the most regular post-er, I really enjoyed the opportunity and also to be inspired by you and other knitters. All the best to you in this new blogging phase!

  42. “When will I learn that my time is not my own?” Yes, indeed. I wonder why at almost 46 and a mother of 9, I am just being struck by this statement. How selfish I can be to even expect that I should have any time that should be mine to begin with. While I do believe in self care, my work is my children and I really need to just stop everything and give them what I have selfishly been struggling to hold onto, my time. If, perhaps, I can just fall into it, much like into a soft and downy bed, and let the softness of it envelop me, I will be much more comfortable with it verses feeling resentful and hard. Thank you for your example. I do love it.

  43. I now have 4 teens, and an 11 yo currently in the house. Two teens have boyfriend/girlfriend, plus best friends and a son in law.

    My table? Is quite literally full.

    It’s not that I want to go back to baby days, that was its own kind of crazy/sleep deprevation…. but these days are busy. So much busier than they ever were before. Just like yours, with 4 teens in music, sports, thank God they’re good at keeping their own schedules. So, I get it.

  44. I am currently reading a book by Erin Loechran called Chasing Small. She is a blogger and many other things. She writes kind of a memoir on how difficult it was to live up to all that people thought she was – perfection. I applaud you for recognizing your limitations and needs. Good for you to take care of yourself in such a grown up manner.👏👏👏

  45. Genevieve says:

    My first baby was born in fall of 2010, and I yarned along while I could keep up with my own blog. I’ll miss it, and I really respect you for being able to determine what to hold and what to let go in your life. Your blog and your perspectives are really helpful to me. Thank you.

  46. Aw, I am realizing how big your kids are and how long I’ve been popping in on your blog. I feel like we’re old friends! I was always in awe of your knitting and loved the idea of the yarn-along, although I don’t knit much. I’m glad to see we’ll still hear from you!

  47. I’ve enjoyed the yarnalong, but I’m glad you’re able to reach for those good things (yarn and books and sharing them) when they call to you and put them down when they don’t. Thank you for hosting for so long!

  48. Cassandra says:

    I started reading your blog six years ago when my oldest was a toddler. At first I stuck around because your Bea reminded me of her but I came to appreciate so very many other things. Thank you.

  49. I will so miss the knit along, as your knitting always inspires me! But, I completely understand and I am only keep up with 3 kids. God bless!

  50. Ginny, you have totally inspired me with all of your beautiful knitting, photography, homesteading, yarn dying, homeschooling, etc etc. Every time I come to your blog I feel so refreshed! Something about the way you write gives me hope. I have always wondered how you do it all, and though I enjoy your knit along posts, I totally get it. I know for me, there have been times in my life where I’ve needed to step back from some commitment to make room for other things. I am glad for you! I hope you feel more free!

I love to hear from you!

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