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

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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?

Wild and Slow

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We are in the home stretch of animal and creature moving. The bees are here! Jonny and Gabe moved them late one night last week. We kept them confined for a couple of days before releasing them, and placed obstacles in front of their entrances to force them to re-orientate. Hopefully all will be well with them. We’re having stupid crazy weather here, and after all this warmth, it will be freezing and even snowing this week. SIGH, SIGH, GROAN.

We typically do everything backwards because I am on the compulsive side (maybe, a little) and Jonny supports me in that. (ha!) So, he will be frantically working to finish our big portable chicken coop this week after work each day. In the cold. I really thought it was going to be warm. I should have taken the groundhog seriously!

In all our years of keeping chickens we have never had any “fancy” ones. I don’t know if cochins are considered fancy, but those feathered feet seem pretty fancy to me. Our little blue cochin chick is the cutest thing ever, and she’s so calm! We’ve got a couple little Brahma’s too. Seth and I have been a little obsessive about chicks this year. We want one of every kind. Not happening, but we do have more breeds of chicks than we have in the past.

I took my little boys for real haircuts last week. They are such wild, messy little guys, and in addition to wanting to neaten them up a bit (Job actually had gum stuck in his hair) I want it to be easy to check them for ticks. (Still waiting on Silas’ recent bloodwork results). The woman cutting Silas’ hair made me promise that I wouldn’t cry if she cut it short, and then commented on their good behavior. She then started to compliment me and my parenting skills. I set her straight. Those boys are so crazy, and were mainly behaving because I promised them burgers and fries afterwards! It was a lot of fun to have a date with just the two of them. After we ate, I took them to the library. I want to make this a regular thing for the three of us, despite having to work really, really hard to keep them in line while we were checking out our books. I honestly can’t remember if Seth and Keats had this much energy when they were little. I do know that I am more than ten years older now and that makes such a difference. I am much slower to lose my temper with my little guys now, but I am also much slower in general. Slow can be good, I think, as long as I don’t need to chase anyone down.