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?

My March Girl

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Early last December, I placed an order for chicks. We’ve never ordered chicks so early before, but Larkspur had mentioned wanting her own flock and I thought that would make a perfect birthday gift for her. Her favorite chicken from our current flock was a mostly black Easter Egger (sadly lost to a predator last year) which led her to have a slight preference for black chickens. So when I went searching I stuck to all black breeds. I settled on black copper marans because of their deep chocolate colored eggs, and the fact that they seem special in general. I knew I was taking a risk choosing the breed and surprising Larkspur, so I was a little bit nervous. A couple of weeks later, she announced a desire for a flock of black copper marans at which point I began to feel a little bit proud of myself. Larkspur started stalking the My Pet Chicken website in January, making comments about the fact that the black copper marans were going to sell out. I played it cool, even after she started panicking at the fact that they had indeed sold out (for the year, at this point!). “I don’t know what to tell you, Sweetie.” I wasn’t about to tell her that I had everything covered, and had ordered chicks for her March birthday back in December.

There was no way to time things exactly perfectly, her birthday being on a Sunday this year, so the chicks arrived the week before her birthday. In addition to Larkspur’s chicks, I had ordered some for our family flock as well, which made sense because I was already paying for shipping. The box of chicks rode in Larkspur’s lap on the way home from the post office, and she begged me to tell her if any of them were black copper marans. Not until we arrived home with the box of chicks did I cave and tell her that yes, she was the owner of six black copper maran hens, and one rooster. Sadly, three days in, one of her chicks died, but the others are a week old now and doing well. Never have I been so anxious over a group of chicks! The one that died had me in fits of anxiety (it became clear about day two that it wasn’t super well). I gave her sugar water on the hour all day and even got up a couple of times in the night to care for her. Some chicks just don’t make it though, and I think she was just destined to be one of them. Thankfully, Larkspur took it pretty well and we are moving on with her flock of six.

Lark turned eleven on Saturday, which I can hardly believe, of course. Because it seems that we all suffer from this collective denial that our babies will continue to have birthdays every single year, growing up far more quickly than we expect. Per her request I braved sewing her a birthday dress for the first time in years. I made the Oliver + S Garden Party Dress in fabric that she chose herself. I worked on it all week long, an hour here, and an hour there. It must have taken me about six. But I think I could do it much more quickly next time. I hope there will be more sewing in my future. It would definitely make my girls happy. Lark really loves her dress, which of course makes me happy!

The chicks were her main gift this year, but I did buy her a feather field guide that she has been wanting for a long time along with a vintage apron and embroidered pillowcase I came across at a local shop. I took a photo of the inside of the field guide to show you how neat it is, if you are interested in feathers, of course. Larkspur collects feathers she finds outdoors and likes to try and figure out what species of birds they came from.

I failed to gather eleven candles to put in the banana pudding that Lark requests every year, so she ended up with two large beeswax tapers for her 11. It worked! Birthday success all around for my sweet girl.

p.s. After obsessing over yarn colors for weeks, I cast on for a Find Your Fade shawl. Details on my yarn and colors are in my Ravelry notes. Choosing the colors nearly drove me crazy, but now that I am actually knitting I can say it was totally worth it!

p.p.s. I shared one of those photos of Silas and Job on Instagram last week or so…I had to save them from Wattles, our rooster. They really didn’t need saving, just thought they did. And I don’t make the best savior, because I’m probably more afraid of him than they are. I have rooster phobia and can’t seem to conquer it! Luckily, we all survived that day, even Job’s monkey.