Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Playing catch up.




I've been playing crafting catch up lately.  I don't know what it is but I feel this sudden, intense urge to finish all of my (many) works in progress.  I'm usually a one project wonder kind of girl...can't move on to something new until the old is finished.  So that rather large pile was starting to make me twitch!

I'm making good progress on the zombie themed cross stitch (pattern found here.) for my brother.  It was supposed to be his birthday gift...two years ago.  Oops.  He'll hopefully get it before his next birthday!

I've finished one quilt top for the girls' room and have all the cutting done for the second.  I find quilting to be rather tedious but I just love the finished project so I force myself to continue.  Hopefully one day, every bed in our house will be covered by a mama made quilt.

I've declared the hour after lunch (when my tiniest distraction is napping) to be craft hour.  The older three bring various projects to the table and we all craft together.  It's been so wonderful!

Joining up with Nicole for Crafting On.  I just love looking at everyone else's WIPs!  So many lovely projects.  It's pretty motivating! :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

I don't like playing with my kids.

How's that for an attention grabbing title?

It's true though.  You will not often find me on the floor, pushing cars along the car mat or outside climbing trees, or squished onto a tiny table drinking pretend tea.  I find it uncomfortable and awkward and...yes...boring.  I've tried to do it anyway because I was under the impression that that's what good parents do.  Kids are smarter than we give them credit though.  They totally saw through it and haven't really invited me to play with them since!

I felt bad about it for a long time.  I assumed that that is how one connects with their children.   Playing with kids is a great way to connect with them but it is not the only way.  Thank goodness.

Home schooling was the perfect solution for me.  Doing lessons together creates opportunities for us to really connect as we talk about what we're learning, find answers to questions together, work on solutions, play games, read books, etc.

We've been on summer break for a few weeks now and that time of connection has been lost to hours spent outside (them playing, me reading).  Summer is the perfect time to play all day long and that's what I planned for the kids.  But this week it struck me that I haven't really connected with my kids since we stopped schooling.  I am amazed at how I can be with them all day, everyday and yet, never really be with them, if that makes sense.  Physically, we are close but that's about it.  We have our moments, of course. But I like more than just a few minutes here and there.  I like to be very intentional about taking the time to be emotionally present with my children.  Since our summer was supposed to be about free play, I tried to join in.  I stink at playing though.  I know it and they know it.  It's just awkward.

So we're trying something new now.  I blocked off a chunk of the morning for activity time that we all do together.  Things that we all enjoy.  I think an important part of really connecting with your kids is to do something you will both like doing.  If you're spending the entire time trying to fake enthusiasm (or wondering when this eternal game of pirates will end...), you don't leave much head space for anything else.
















So we will bake, paint, draw, craft, hike, swim and probably bake some more.  Have I ever mentioned that I really love cake?

I know that in these activities, we will find lots to talk about. I know that they appreciate every minute that I intentionally set apart for them.  And I do too.  Because even though we've been living all together...I've really missed them these past few weeks!





























 I'll leave the playing to daddy.  He enjoys crawling on the ground like a dragon and taking them on magic carpet rides.  Probably because he's just a really tall child.  :)

What do you do to connect with your children?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

27.

I like birthdays.  I often joke about not wanting to get older but I'm actually really okay with it.  I like to celebrate the past year's accomplishments and triumphs and to reflect on failures and hard times.  And I really, really like cake.

This year was a little different (though my love of cake hasn't changed).  27 has felt more...official.  Like I'm really an adult and the time has come to make decisions about what I should be doing with my life.  This year I watched friends graduate from law school and med school. I've watched my friends climb the corporate ladder and become high powered career people.  And then I started to feel left behind.  Because being a stay at home mom doesn't really feel that glamorous.  

I'm the kind of person who likes to feel successful.  I like to work hard at something and see the fruits of my labour.  I like to be told when I'm doing a good job and I like the satisfaction that comes with completing tasks.  I started to feel like I was getting none of those things from my current profession.

I work hard but it can be hard to see the results of that work.   I've been teaching my kids to say "pardon me" instead of "what" for almost seven years.  We still average a 25% success rate on a good day. I don't get a lot of positive feedback.  I make three meals and one snack, from scratch, every day.  And every day, at least one person proclaims that the food is "disgusting" and refuses to eat it.  I do 3 loads of laundry and just as we get close to the bottom of the basket (which I honestly haven't seen in months), someone covers their clothes and their siblings in paint.  I started to get bogged down in these kinds of details.  And when I start to focus on the negative, I completely lose sight of the positive.  Its so easy to get stuck in a rut like that. 

So...I spent the day leading up to my 27th birthday thinking about all the things I haven't accomplished in my life.  

Then...my husband stayed up until midnight so he could be the first to wish me a happy birthday.  

My kids woke up extra early because they were so excited to give me 27 kisses.  

I got phone calls and text messages from people who love me all day! 

These things helped to shift my perspective and when I took a step back, I was able to see all that I have accomplished.  

I have been married for 5 and a half years to the most amazing man I know.  And I haven't scared him off yet!

I have carried and birthed four beautiful children.  I have kept them alive and watched them grow into compassionate, intelligent, funny little people (who remember to say "pardon me" 25% of the time!!).








I have bought a house and filled it with love and laughter. 

I have made the kinds of friends who don't get mad when I don't call for months and who love me even though I can't discuss current events with them because I'm so hopelessly out of touch.  

I have made it 27 years without ever wearing a pair of crocs.  

Those are some accomplishments to be proud of! 

So yes.  I have not finished the degree I started so long ago.  And even though it's been seven years, that still stings a little for me.  But I can't let that be the definition of who I am.  And I can't let other people's successes set the standard for my own.  I am called to be right here, raising my kids.  And that comes with its own long list of accomplishments that I have every right to be proud of.  

I may go back and finish my degree one day.  And I may not.  Either way, I will have lived a successful, happy, full life.  

So here's to living in the moment and being proud of who I am and what I do.  Here's to making changes if I'm feeling unhappy and to learning to accept those things I can't change.  





Here's to 27 wonderful years!


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rainbow Baby

"A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravage of the storm.  When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with the aftermath.  What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds."
(I searched but couldn't find who said this.)

The months after my miscarriage were some of the hardest times of my life.  Some days were easier than others and sometimes I would go many days without shedding a single tear. Then out of nowhere, sorrow would hit like a tsunami and I'd be dragged under the waves of grief again.  My children and my husband were so wonderful and loving and slowly but surely, I was able to drag myself out again and again.

In November, we discovered that I was pregnant again.  Those little pink lines, which had always been such a welcome sight in the past, brought a whole new set of emotions: more grief, guilt, panic.  Thankfully, those eventually gave way to joy and excitement.

And so we began to prepare for the arrival of the newest member of our family.

My pregnancy was fairly straight forward, with only a few hospital trips for IV fluids.  The nearly constant nausea and vomiting are something I've struggled with during every pregnancy and I'd like to say I'm almost used to it now!

Finally, two days after my 26th birthday, our baby girl arrived.

Ruby Norah Grace.
Rainbow baby indeed!  




She certainly is beautiful and full of light.  She was born into daddy's arms on our bathroom floor after only 55 minutes of labour.  She was the sweetest little baby and the tiniest of our four, though still with the familiar chubby cheeks and big, blue eyes.



She's now 10 months old and an absolute delight.  She has such a wonderful mix of everyone's personalities.  She has Brooklynn's sweet disposition, Weston's curiosity, Amelia's laugh and daddy's relaxed temperament.  She loves to ride on my back in the wrap and watch her siblings play.  She loves painting with food but isn't all that fond of eating it.  She smiles almost constantly and laughs at everything.  She is the perfect addition to our family.

I have not, nor will I ever forget the baby we lost.  I think of her often and still have moments of great sadness.  But the beauty and light that Ruby brought during that time of darkness was the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

I am so thankful.





Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Time Away

I've taken a long time away from this space.  I've never been good at keeping up with things and obviously this was no exception.

I thought writing a blog would be fun.  I wanted to fill it with fabulous and interesting posts.  To have tons of followers.  To have beautiful pictures and useful tutorials.   The thing is though, I'm not a fabulous or overly interesting person.  Most of what I have to say will be interesting to no one outside of my immediate family.  I'm not a photographer and I'm not talented or creative enough to teach people how to do things. And truthfully, I'm okay with that.  A year ago, I wasn't though.

I felt like I needed to have everything together, to fill this space with posts about wonderfully structured days spent crafting and baking and learning with my well dressed and always clean children.  I felt like I needed my days to be perfect so people would want to read about them.  That is the point of writing a blog, isn't it?

Here's the thing though. My days aren't perfect.  And the harder I try to make them perfect, the worse they are.

So as I realized this, I began to let go.  And do you know what I noticed?  Our days sure aren't perfect but they have a lot of perfect moments.  Those moments are never the ones I wrote down on my schedule for the day.  I didn't plan to spend two hours in front of the fire reading The Long Winter with my 6 year old while the little ones napped.  I certainly didn't schedule 45 minutes to chase a rogue chicken back into her coop in the dark (and spending that entire time laughing so hard my muscles ached).  These unplanned, often messy but oh so perfect moments are the ones I want to remember.  They're what make our life interesting and special.  They're the stories we'll tell at family dinners for years to come.







I'm back in this space with a new perspective.  I want to document these imperfect days exactly as they are: messy, cluttered and full of perfect moments.  They're the moments that are often forgotten in the haze of sleep deprivation and never ending laundry pile.  They're also the moments that deserve the most recognition.


A lot has changed since the last time I wrote and now I'm excited to share it all.  Because there's no pressure to make it look any different than it really is: beautifully imperfect.











Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Crafting On: Reunited


Since we lost the baby, I've had no desire to do anything creative.  In fact, I resented those knitting needles and the skeins of sweet baby wool.  I shoved it all away in a closet and busied myself with other things.  Then I noticed how frazzled I felt and how easily I became overwhelmed.  Crafting centers me.  I need to create and be creative.

So I've pulled out my fabric.  I dusted off the sewing machine and I sewed.  I pulled out my knitting needles and some generic and safe white wool to make some bloomers for Amelia.  I am still hiding from anything baby related...that will come in time.

I am happy that I am back at it.  I needed to complete a project.  That feeling when you finally finish something you've been working so hard on is healing.  So I chose a big project that I've been putting off for months and I finished it.

It was simple and repetitive, just enough to keep my mind busy.  And when I finished it, I was able to cuddle up with my new quilt, a bowl of fresh strawberries and a good book.  It was exactly what I needed.

(I had a better picture but I accidentally deleted it...and it has rained since.  The colours look so off here.  Sad.)


Finally joining up with Nicole for Crafting On again! 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Strawberries






Its strawberry season.  Probably one of my favourite times of the year.  You just can't beat a strawberry, picked fresh off the plant, still warm from the sunshine.  

I love taking the kids with us to the strawberry patch.  I think its so important for them to see where food comes from and for them to be involved in growing, harvesting and preserving it.  It gives them a real sense of satisfaction when they get to be involved and they're always more willing to eat something they've helped to make.  Strawberries are the most kid friendly of crops.  They can be involved in every stage.  In fact, they can whip up a batch of freezer jam with almost no help from me!

So now we've got many lovely Mason jars full of sweet strawberry jam, there are bags full of frozen strawberries saved for winter smoothies and there are sweet, sweet berries in my yogurt every morning.

Yum.