all the rest

an early morning decision

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I woke at 5:30 this morning to the little rumble of his footsteps galloping into my bedroom. He jumped into bed with me and put his little arm right over my cheek. He played with my hair and started making what I can only describe as "boy noises" while I tried to feign sleep for a little while longer - a futile attempt to encourage him back into dreamland, as it turned out.

It was a watershed moment. I could choose to take the (albeit temporary) easier emotional reaction, which would have resulted in lots of huffy "tired mama noises" and an entitled sense of weariness and lack of patience that lasted throughout the day. (I know - oh too well - how the day would unfold, given this choice. I have chosen this path many times before. It's never pretty.)

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Instead, I chose another path today. One of less resistance. I am still tired. But I chose to enjoy those pre-dawn, warm, jumpy little fingers. I chose to breathe deeply through the sibling squabbles and smile instead of narrow my eyes. I chose to spend most of the day outside, allowing them to pursue their deep passions of climbing trees and shoveling gravel. 

I am still tired. But I chose to grab a frozen, homemade meal (oh, how I love batch cooking!) and thaw it for dinner tonight instead of cooking. Instead, I will work on measuring various items with Finn, who has just taped together three rulers, all the while "tasting" Lachlan's playdough baked goods.

It might end as a movie afternoon. I'm open to that. Anything to keep smiling.

I will, most certainly, fall asleep when they do. A day well lived. 


looking back on squam

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It was so good it was almost surreal, like a sweet dream gently nudged into wakefulness by the rooster's crow. The dream was fluid, the conversations were lucid and uninterrupted by the needs of the small people, unencumbered by The List that always barks at me from the sidelines like an over-zealous basketball coach.

In the dream, I was surrounded by my people. Friends who understood my passions, my ideals, and my reality. The food - oh, the divine food - which was summoned forth with nothing less than a magic wand at each and every meal, and dishes which were spiffied up by the dish faeries that don't seem to live near my house - it was certainly a dream, wasn't it?

Yes. A dream for which I am very grateful to have experienced. I am so thankful that I have a partner who fully supported me in this time of creative renewal, and who, along with my parents, surrounded my boys with love and much fun during my absence. Patrick had even done all the laundry while I was gone. Some sort of superdad, right? Mind you, it did take me a day to clean up after all of their fun, but at least we all had clean clothes!

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 I didn't realize until I returned home how very few photos I took while there. I was just enjoying myself and didn't think about documenting it. You can get a sense of the surroundings from Amanda. Here are just a few of the things that I made  - a spray that now resides in my herbal first aid kit, made under the tutelage of the gentle Holly Bellebuono, and Mama Acorn and Baby Sapling, made during my class with the spunky Phoebe Wahl

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How I love Phoebe's work! I've saved all of her illustrations that have appeared in Taproot - you can see some in our studio in this photo. I purchased her kitchen print at the Squam Art Fair and promptly put it up in a frame in our kitchen when I returned home. Finn said to me that very evening,"Mama, I love looking at that picture. I love how the little girl is playing while her Mama is making her cookies."  To me, that means two things: first, Phoebe has succeeded in creating a piece of art that is warm and inviting for all ages, and second, that Finn wishes that I'd make more cookies for him. Noted.

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I have a new crafting obsession - creating soft, posable figures around wire armatures. This doll is totally hand sewn and utterly spontaneous in her formation. She kind of emerged from my hands as her own little self, inspiring the kind of quizzical awe that mothers feel after birthing their child. "Oh, it's you who has been in there this whole time - I made you, but I didn't have a hand in any of these details. You turned out pretty darn cool regardless." 

I'm now equipped to make little animal soft sculptures, too. (Fingers crossed.) I'm thinking a mobile for baby girl might be nice. Finn has already put in his request for a dinosaur.

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Here I am at home again. Awake, and enjoying it. Squam was a rejuvenating and inspirational dream come true.


here we are

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It's been a while! Although I didn't intend to put the blog down for a nap, it ended up being a nice, long one and I think we've both emerged from a very refreshing sleep.

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I suppose it was only the blog that was napping, though. I spent that extra time being really present with these little boys, without a to-do list nipping at my heels. We gathered with friends. We played games. We did art. We planted our garden. I started going to our local Y three times a week and it's been the best decision that I've made in a long time. And we just celebrated my firstborn's fouth birthday, which is always my Mother's Day.

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I'm hoping that those of you who are mamas had a lovely weekend. This quote has provided me with clarity on my journey as of late. May you enjoy your art.

The art of mothering is teaching the art of living to children.

~Elaine Heffner

 



little brown eggs

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As if they had a calendar hanging in their coop, our hens decided that the day before the vernal equinox was the perfect time to lay their first handful of eggs.

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We're all delighted, especially the littlest among us, who claimed these mini-eggs as his own, no doubt due to the fact that they fit quite well in his hand. And look at those orange yolks! I suppose the ladies are getting great nutrition by pecking around our yard (and on our compost pile, which I think we'll rename the chicken pile, because they don't leave much food scraps behind.) 

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday, and it was a peaceful, slow day. Today Finn is sort of sick - had a fever last night - so we're laying low and spending the whole day at home. I realize how infrequently that happens. It's just the kind of day to plant some seeds in trays and eat leftovers.

Many of you have requested a series of posts on the activities that the boys are into nowadays that keep them happily busy around the house. I think that sounds like a great idea and I'll be putting together some photos/words for you. 

Warm Spring wishes!


a good bit of winter, just in the nick of time

Appalachian winter vacation

Appalachian winter vacation

Appalachian winter vacation

Appalachian winter vacation

Appalachian winter vacation

Appalachian winter vacation

Just returned from a week in the mountains in a cabin without an internet connection. It was just what we needed - a taste of real winter. Being snowed in takes on a whole new level of excitement with little ones around. There was much sledding (Finn says sledding is the most wonderful thing in his WHOLE LIFE.) There was game after game after game. There was plentiful "galimoto-ing," as the boys call it. 

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Being away from home without all of the independent activities I have set up at the house was intense yet enjoyable, especially with my dear husband at my side. I did have a tad bit of leisure time while there, and it was blissfully spent learning how to carve stamps. More on that tomorrow!

It's good to be back. It's full-blown springtime back at our house!


a week with boys + simplicity parenting

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Do you ever wake up one morning and realize both of your babies can talk like pirates? Shiver me timbers! AND they can both open the refrigerator door!

Parenting has changed me in ways both vast and immesurable. I started off this gig with some experience teaching 3-6 year-olds and a familiarity with Montessori philosophy. I use what I can from that past life of mine, whatever I can recall in the (very busy) moment that jives with my children's needs and interests. I embraced attachment parenting, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding. Then my second spent his first month in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit and had to be sent home having my pumped breastmilk fed to him through a tube that went directly into his stomach.

There is much I admire about Waldorf philosophy, but as you can see we have Legos. We have both playsilks and hand-me-down pirate costumes.

There's a delicate balance between opening up your heart and letting in the wisdom and goodness that a philosophy has to offer and getting stressed out and disheartened because you either don't have the energy or the situation to implement it perfectly in your family. You do what you can. And that is enough. The middle path is one of forgiveness and healthy compromise.

Of all the parenting philosophies with which I'm familiar, I find myself returning to, and finding comfort in, Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting. So often, I need to reign myself in from doing more, more, and then more. Make this learning material! Come up with a complicated meal plan! Figure out how to get more out of the daylight hours! My mind is constantly luring me out of the present moment and into the future. Simplicity Parenting encourages me to do less, to enjoy life right now as a family, to be present to the people in my life rather than things and schedules. I love the peace the book has encouraged in my family's life.

And I also love that Kim John Payne is offering a free spot to on of my readers in his Simplicity Parenting Home Study Practice Guide for anyone who's interested in taking the wisdom of the book and really opening to how it might positively affect your family. The course is eight weeks long, and I'm excited that Kim will be answering our questions and mentoring us through these two months. And ... there's a bonus session on how to deal with defiance and intervene in sibling put-downs.

You can learn more about the course here, which starts on January 22nd.

Sign up here, if your name doesn't get picked (disclaimer - I do receive a percentage of the sale as an affiliate, just letting you know!)

Comments will close on Wednesday evening, January 16th. Good luck!

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Comments are closed - congratulations to Erin!

 


the view from here

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sleepingbrother

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I didn't mean to be gone so long! A confluence of events - my parents sold my childhood home in California and were gone for a few weeks in December, then the holidays came and went - and through it all I struggled to find a place for myself. My writing, my photographing, my knitting, my yoga practice. None of it really happened this past month. Oh, yes - a lot of elving happened for sure - puppet making, needle felting ... little gifts for my boys. There were many moments of joy and laughter during my favorite season of the year.

However, it seems as though I am feeling a bit unmoored in my new role as full-time stay-at-home mama, not knowing how to fit in any time to get into a creative flow. Are any of you introverted mamas who need time for yourself but have a hard time making that need a reality? That's where I am right now. I'm hopeful that, with a few (albeit big) simplifying shifts, I can consistently set aside that time for nourishing myself. For now, in the few mornings a week when the boys are cared for by my parents, I tend to my pattern business. Management stuff. Emails. In short, not soul-quenching work.

I'm taking this one moment at a time, and am emerging into the new year with two words in mind: gratitude and simplicity. There's so much to be thankful for right now, and so little I really need to take on.

Also on my mind - Mary Frances, a kindred spirit, gave birth to her daughter Imogen just before Christmas. She was born with HLHS. (When Mary Frances and I talked on the phone, we joked that, perhaps, HLHS is caused by too much sewing!) Like Lachlan, Imogen is spending the bulk of her first month in the hospital post-surgery. Please keep this beautiful little one, her parents, and her big brothers in your thoughts and prayers.

Hugs,

Meg


a chat with fat quarter shop & hurricane relief

Thanks to Chelsey at the Fat Quarter Shop for stopping by to chat about my booth! The other first place booth winners are interviewed, too - and the Sew Liberated segment starts at 3:10.

And ...

I wanted to share with you that Mariah of Playful Learning is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of any of her (wonderful) e-courses to hurricane relief between now and November 20. Learn more here. How generous is that?!

Another opportunity to provide for those in the storm's path - donate quilts or blankets to keep folks warm - details on the Fat Quarter Shop's blog.


autumn snapshots

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Autumn started out with baby nakedness, though we seem to be in full-clad balaclava season now. (I love these hoods, and so do the boys - they keep their necks so cozy! I think some mama made knitted versions are called for.) In between quilt market preparations, we had a month full of apples, leaves crunching under foot, and seasonal art projects.

We made a weekend camping trip to the mountains to visit Sky Top Orchard and came back with baskets overflowing with ripe, red apples. We poured over The Artful Year: Autumn Crafts and Recipes, and loved our pumpkin waffles, pumpkin play dough, and other leaf-related art projects. We had friends over for a campfire and Lachlan tasted his first s'more (which he didn't finish - apparently he prefers spicy thai peanut and vegetable soup, the leftovers of which he gobbled up for breakfast the other day!)

My knitting needles are clicking away. All the winter clothes have been dug out from their summer hiding spots. Rays of golden light angle low and fall onto my typing fingers, through the bright windows in my studio, quiet for one more day before six little chicks make it their temporary home. 

Things are feeling just right.


hanging in there

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Hello dear friends ....

I'm so glad you loved our little calendar. Ironically, it's been tough to keep to these past two weeks. First the boys got sick, then the parents got sick. I've been thinking a lot about establishing a "normal" routine in our home, but we're not there yet! 

I've really missed being in this space. But, of course, I can't do it all, and since I my parents are on vacation and Quilt Market is fast approaching, something has to give. Shoulder shrug.

I'll be here when I can, but I've lined up some guest posts from now until the end of October, when my parents are back and Quilt Market in Houston is crossed of my list. My dear friend, Charlotte, whose children you've seen many times before playing with Finn and Lachlan, will be taking the reins for me starting next week. You'll love her as much as I do, I'm sure of it.

Until the time is right ... :)