Monday, January 26, 2015

snowy days

We are finally receiving a fairly nice amount of snow. I know that I have friends who will read this and think I'm crazy, but I like snow. It's winter. It's cold. And it's absolutely dreary and gray without snow so I like when it snows. It's beautiful and bright and crisp and I love the crunch it makes under my boots when I'm out caring for the animals.

A few nights ago, I had shut the animals up for the night, letting Midi run and explore the dark just a little bit longer than I normally do. I felt the need to tarry there in the dark winter night. I just stood there, breathed in the cold air. It made me feel alive. I like to feel alive and invigorated. The big night sky spread out before me. The silence as the whole neighborhood was tucked warmly into their homes.

Then drawn to the twinkle lights of the porch, I took my place on a little bench we keep out year round and waited for Brad to come home from work. I thought about how I used to absolutely detest winter. The coming of winter would actually provoke feelings of anxiety and depression. I guess that God has helped me to embrace each of His seasons because I really do find myself loving all four of them. Yes, spring is still my favorite, but I'm finding little gifts in each of them as I learn to love the purpose of seasons.

And as I'm in each season, it's hard for me to imagine the other seasons. Hmmm... How to put this into words? These days, I bundle up tight in my down-coat, my gloves, a hat, a scarf, and my snow boots. I walk around the yard looking at my raised beds buried in the snow with bits of dead plants poking their dried little heads up out of the white. I see the tree swing covered in snow and frozen to the tree trunk. Then there's the grill that's been put to bed for the winter. And then I wonder how it will ever be possible for me to go outside in shorts and a t-shirt, you know, with all this snow and frigid air that's made itself at home. But, yet, I know that in a few shorts months, I will indeed be going outside without bundling up and the kids will be spending hours each day on that tree swing, and I'll be making our dinner out on the grill on the back deck almost every evening. I guess that's one of the blessings of living in an area with defined seasons.

Brad and I have kept ourselves very busy deep-cleaning and painting. It's been years since we painted our home, and our walls have been screaming for a fresh coat of paint. Part of this whole process has also been setting up a designated craft studio for me. This has been such an exciting thing for me as I've been dreaming about a space for all of my creative tools for quite a few years. I pulled all of my supplies and yarn out of our bedroom and closet over the weekend, and now our room feels so uncluttered and clean. It's a wonderful feeling. I really do function so much better with less stuff around me.

So now I will spend some time each day arranging (and rearranging) the things in my new room until I get everything just right. This will be the most fun part of setting this room up - finding little spaces to tuck away the things that make me feel happy and creative. Moving this from here to there until it's found it's little mean-to-be home. I want to savor this process. I'm so thankful for this space, and I just want to relish each little moment I have in getting it ready to be used.

Friday, January 9, 2015

warm inside

Oh how thankful I've been that we've had nothing on our calendar for this week. It's been frigid here, folks. It was zero degrees yesterday while I was out caring for the animals in the morning but the windchill was -16. Yikes. Let me just say that I've really been learning what it means to toughen up and trudge forward. Going out two or three times a day to take care of the animals when it's this cold is certainly a good way to condition oneself for frigid temperatures! But I certainly don't regret our decision to raise animals. They are so worth the suffering through the snow, wind, and chill.

Today the snow was blowing (literally blowing in sideways) and the kids were outside and playing in that blowing snow by 9 o'clock this morning. I took some pictures through the French doors, but that's all the farther I've ventured out today. Brad's working from home today so he was up early, taking care of the farm duties before he started work. I just love him to pieces.

With all of this cold weather, we have been doing a lot of reading. Ian received two series of books for Christmas. Both series were written by a Christian author by the name of Chuck Black. The first series is called The Kingdom Series and the second is called The Knights of Arrethtrae. Both series have six books each. Ian has read all of the Kingdom series and is on the last book in the Knights series. He has loved these books, devoured them really. I would really recommend them for tween boys. Here is a link to the first book in the Kingdom series, and a link to the first book in the Knights series.

Lily received a series called The Cobble Street Cousins by Cynthia Rylant. These are charming little books, perfect for girls ages seven to nine or so. They are short books, books for girls who are almost ready for full-length chapter books. Lily has really enjoyed them and has also been reading in most of her spare time. Once she finishes this series, we're already planned on purchasing The Lighthouse Family series books, also by Cynthia Rylant. We both also love the charming and endearing illustrations in Rylant's books.

I've been enjoying A Girl of the Limberlost. I'm reading it on my Kindle because this particular Kindle version is free. It's really drawn me in, and I'm quite enjoying reading again. It's been months since I've read for pleasure. I have been so busy with my business and school that it just hasn't been a priority, but it was a goal of mind for this new year to begin reading more again. It's been a good decision.

School is done for the day. The kids are back out in the snow again, and I'm about to make a cup of coffee and sit down to crochet for a bit. I really should clean, but that will come tomorrow. The tree comes down tomorrow, carpets get scrubbed (oh joy), and everything gets dusted and wiped down. It's going to be a whole family affair.

So for now, I'll sip coffee, crochet, and eventually get to making the icing for the yummy GF chocolate cake I made for dessert tonight. Sounds like a fine start to the weekend!

Monday, January 5, 2015


Well, I'm not going to lie and say that I'm not very much irritated that I'm still sick, two weeks after coming down with this awful cold. As the course usually goes, my colds almost inevitably turn into very painful sinus infections. And I always try to squeeze out just one more day before caving (one too many days later) from the severe facial pain and going to the doctor for an antibiotic.

I spent my Sunday morning knitting in an urgent care center, waiting to see the doctor, who then agreed that I did indeed need Augmentin. I squeezed two doses in yesterday, just so very desperate to end this pain. I so just wish I had a valve right now that I could turn to drain my sinuses and relieve the pain and pressure. That would be so awesome.

But enough with the complaining. 

Today is our first day back to our regular routine. Two weeks off. It was sooo nice. I enjoyed it immensely. Not having our school studies hanging over my head everyday was such a nice thing. I love homeschooling, but it is another duty in each of my days. A duty that I do joyfully most of the time. But I do have my moments. And I always love a break.

Lily made her first very own crocheted hat over the weekend. Can I just squeal with pride?! She's been wanting to crochet in the round for months, but I kept putting her request off, not knowing if she was ready. But Friday I threw that excuse out the front door and sat down with her. She caught on right away. She even successfully learned the magic loop. She worked on her hat Friday night and Saturday morning and had it finished before lunch. She did a great job. Did I mention that I am very proud of her?

I've been working on a custom sweater vest that I am doing for a friend. (This pattern to be exact.) The yarn I'm using is from one of her alpacas, and, oh my gosh, is it luxurious. You want to talk about perfect drape and softness? This here yarn has got all that and more. This is the biggest project I've ever been commissioned to do, and with life and all of the busyness of the last few months, it's taken me much longer to do than I anticipated. However, I just texted her yesterday to let her know I only have the edging and blocking left to do, and then the sweater will be hers. Oh happy day!

I'm also working on another Honey Cowl, also in 100% alpaca. (I just adore alpaca yarn.) This is the one I'm making for my mom. Also in the crochet/knit mix are some projects I'm working on for Lily's birthday next month. Everything we're giving her will be handmade by me. Well, I did buy one item at a little shop that was handmade but not by me. I told her that she was receiving all handmade gifts this year, and she is sooo excited, which made me even more excited to make them!

And as I know many others are heading back to work/school after extended holidays, have a fantastic day! Let's face this day with gusto!