all the rest

finally

finally, snow!

finally, snow!

finally, snow!

finally, snow!

finally, snow!

finally, snow!

We were three mittens short. Yes, we were caught off guard, given the nearly seventy-degree weather we had on Saturday. No matter, I'm glad to see snow. We've had a seriously bizarre "winter" here. Oftentimes, I've found it hard to explain to Finn exactly what this supposed Winter is, especially compared to Autumn and Spring. I can't tell you how many times I've been told, "Mama, it's Summer!" as he traipsed about barefoot in the dirt.

I put on the Christmas music last night. I can't help it. 

Patrick was gone last week for work, and I got my chance to focus solely on the boys for a handful of days. It required a lot more forethought than I generally put into everyday happenings (bedtime, meals, getting out the door - all are much easier with another set of adult hands around!)but it was lovely. I even fell asleep between them around 8 p.m. each night. 

As I creak open the door of my office, I do so refreshed. I can hear Patrick and the boys roughhousing downstairs. Some sort of falling off a horse thing. Or maybe they're playing Wildebeest and Jaguar. In any case, there is shreaking and laughing in the soundtrack of my morning.

Feeling grateful this Monday.


partners

i love this man

Sometimes I go through my days thinking that I am a stay-at-home mom. Wishing, perhaps. Perhaps you think I'm a stay-at-home mom, too? Looking through my blog archives, it certainly seems like I spend all of my time focused on parenting.

But I don't.

I am a work-at-home mom, a title that comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Oh, sometimes I pine over the fact that motherhood will never be my only job - I really do. I wonder how I can balance this small business and homeschooling. Many women I know are incredible stay-at-home mamas, and I wonder if I will ever be able to dedicate that amount of time to my boys. 

i love this man

But ... then again ... from my boys' perspecitve, they have a stay-at-home mama and a stay-at-home daddy. One of us is always with them. So while Patrick and I may split a (more than) full-time job, our boys are lucky to have quality time with both of us. 

Co-parenting. Co-working. Co-cooking. Co-cleaning. Co-everything. Patrick and I are partners. Together, we will make the "homeschooling parent." Together, we make sure food is on the table, three meals a day. Together, we magange and build Sew Liberated. Together, we hold our family together through very tough circumstances. Together, we laugh. A lot.

i love this man

Love. It's more than a flutter of excitement in your heart. It's everything else, too.

i love this man

I love this guy.


the quiet

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I'm sure some of you have been wondering what's going on with my absense from this space. In emails and comments, some of you have made note of it. Of course, my visit with my Gram was precious - worth every moment of my absence here. But it's been more than just the week's visit, hasn't it? I've struggled for the past few months with writing regularly. Why am I quiet? 

Sometimes I ask myself the same question. I just haven't felt able to lose sleep in order to blog, especially since my days are so full with the boys while Patrick has his head buried in academia. This will change come the end of November, when our lives will return to normal. Normal! I can hardly believe it.

This year has been such an avalanche of stress. It started out with deciding where to treat Lachlan, as we vacillated between temporarily relocating to Philadelphia and staying at home. Then he was born. Whisked away after twenty minutes. Hooked up to monitors and given an IV. Two days later we kissed his perfect chest and, tears pouring down our faces, watched as they wheeled his bassinet to the operating room. A month in the hospital, we arrived home, worked ourselves to exhaustion, trying our best to make up for lost time, coming out with three new patterns, and hoping that the business would take care of itself when we went back to the hospital with our little one twelve short weeks later. Another open-heart surgery. Three weeks in the hospital. Our lease was up. We bought a house and started moving the weekend after Lachlan came home from the hospital. We could only afford a fixer-upper, and that's what we've been doing. Painting, living with subflooring and no handles on any cabinets. Loving it. Trying to spend time in the beautiful outdoors. Helping Finn to heal, helping him work through his anxiety. Worrying about a baby who didn't eat, and rejoicing when he decided he would. Fretting over Patrick's insane work schedule, which would allow him to make up for nearly a year of lost time in a mere three months. When Lachlan's g-tube came out, we hoped the hole would close on its own. Hour after hour, I change his tummy dressing, which is often soaked with milk. So are his clothes, which get changed many times a day. It didn't close.

Which brings us to now. Lachlan has a minor surgery scheduled for November 28th to close the hole in his stomach. He should be in in the morning and out by the afternoon, but you never know with those hospitals. They have a way of keeping you there for longer than you want to be. 

When we bring him home, life will actually be normal. Patrick will be done with his preliminaries. We can return to our pre-Lachlan work schedule, where we share caring for the boys and getting work things done. Lachlan won't be facing another surgery for several years. We are settling in our home. We might even have enough leisure time to put up a fence and start preparations for our garden. Sigh.

There has just been too much going on in my life to be here consistently. Life has been raw this past year. Beautiful moments? Of course. But it has been hard. And it's been hard for me, during the most difficult times, to be a contributing member of this community of inspiration, mindfulness, and beauty, when I feel my own life has been anything but. 

But then again, this community is also about support, about sharing, about kindred spirits. It would have been wrong of me to assume that you all didn't go through similar seasons of difficulty and change in your lives. When I did write here during those hard times, I felt surrounded by all that was good and human - knowing that suffering is universal, natural, and - most importantly - able to be overcome.

I just wanted to take the time today to say thank you again for reading my words - both sunshiny and serious - and for understanding (as I know you do) that this season of my life demanded a more quiet presence on my blog. I have needed the silence in order to grieve, heal, and just get through the days. 

I'll be here soon. I need to do some blog house-cleaning (lots of broken links, I hear) and I'll be experimenting with a new layout. I feel like brushing the dust from my shoulders and starting this December with a new look (and a new outlook.) 

Back to my quiet life for a bit longer. Another small surgery and a few more papers (for Patrick) and this race will be done.

 


simple slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Today was a big day. Finn's first day of {school,} although we don't call it that. It really is a beautiful place for him to play, a place for him to feel surrounded by love and a secure rhythm outside of our family home. It's just twice a week, but over the next few years we might extend that to three or four days per week. 

Although we plan on homeschooling our boys with a philosophy of discovery-based learning, it became apparent to me that Finn would benefit from a comforting home-outside-of-home during the times when Lachlan needs to be in the hospital (his third, and hopefully last, surgery will happen in three years or so, but we never know what the future may bring.) 

I was overjoyed to find a home-based program run by a lovely woman who is truly a child-whisperer. You know the kind? (And just for the record, although I love children, I am NOT a child whisperer!) It takes an almost otherworldly presence to be a child whisperer. She will be so good for Finn, I'm sure. 

She runs the program from her home, and one of the things she asks the children to have are a pair of simple slippers for inside play time. Slippers! Why, yes. That I can do. The cloth napkins for the lunch basket? Check! Sewing Mama springs out of her armchair and into action!

I made these last night in two hours or so. The pattern can be found here, and I chose to omit the owl face and instead used an (accidentally) felted baby sweater for the uppers. They are lined with a soft cotton fleece, and I used leather scraps for the soles. (Always remember to use a special leather needle when working with leather! It made sewing through all of those layers a cinch.)

He loves them. I have enough material to make him a pair for home as well. 

I just got a call from Patrick, who said that Finn wasn't in any hurry to leave. When getting in his car seat, he pointed back to his teacher's house and said, "I want to sleep there tonight." Well then. I guess he liked his first day! 

 


friday love list

A hodgepodge to kick off Labor Day weekend! 

I'm loving ...

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- this look. 

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- this art project. Mosaic stepping stones are the perfect craft for a two year-old.

- Speaking of projects for young ones, I really enjoyed perusing Play At Home Mom which I found via Rhythm of the Home's new Autumn edition.

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- using my great-grandmother's table runner, which she made (the word in our family is that I must have inherited a recessive crafty gene from her! Ha.)

- this book.

- and this one. 

- these slippers, which I'll be making for Finn this weekend.

Happy weekending!


a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

a farewell party

Despite the downed branches and power outages, we were thankful for one unexpected gift the hurricane left in its wake; our friends' out-of-town move was delayed, and Jeanne and Leah spent their last night in North Carolina with us before heading to their new home in Pennsylvania. Of course, a proper farewell party was thrown, and we were able to celebrate our friendship and that of our children over smores, lawnmower "rides", and a sing-a-long. 

It was, I dare say, a perfect afternoon and evening - the stuff of memories.  The best way to say goodbye.