Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Ally's Christmas Hat

The niece got a Christmas hat! I used this hat pattern by hello happy to create her bonnet. She loves it and I must make more! To get the super bulky yarn weight I used a strand of bulky yarn with a strand of fingering to make "super bulky". Hat only took about 3 hours. She and I are both pleased!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Homeschool and Isolation

As I prepare to homeschool, I am more and more aware of how little time I will have for other interests. When I became a mother, my circle shrank. At first I resented it. Here was this tiny human getting in the way of everything I wanted to do, everything I used to do—taking up all my “free time” with their diaper changes, cuddling, nursing, mother-needing desires. I struggled with feeling lost, with the weirdness that comes from losing part of myself. Assuming the insurmountable calling of parenthood is a life altering moment. Just like the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the girl becomes a mother. She can't be a caterpillar again. It is both beautiful and tragic.

Somewhere between my first and second baby, I grew to love motherhood. And now, as I am only a few weeks pregnant with my hopefully third baby (but seventh pregnancy) I am becoming again. I am changing because we have decided to home-school, and the insurmountable task of educating my children is bending and molding me to its shape. I don't know what I am becoming yet, but ask me in six years. I might know at that time.

I will learn to be my child's teacher, counselor, principle, nurse, gym instructor and cafeteria worker. These roles within school walls are filled each with a different person, but I, a mother—will do them all. I alone (at least in the beginning) will be responsible for seeing that my child learns.

It's terrifying. And also exhilarating.

I chose to home-school because we can afford it. We pinch pennies so I can stay home and I am glad we are blessed enough with my husbands job that there are pennies to pinch.

I choose to homeschool because my son is worth it. I don't want him confined to a desk from 9-3, with a half hour for recess. I don't want an education in four walls that will try and teach him with artificial experiences (textbooks, digital screens, worksheets) when we can go out and see and touch and interact with reality.

I know no school is perfect and mine will be far from so. But I also know that teaching is just an extension of parenting. I know can teach my child, and that being home with me and his siblings is far better then being lost in a class of 25 with one tired, underpaid teacher and some posters of fish.

Okay, I'm tired and underpaid too. But I have a chance. A chance to cultivate the wonder and beauty of adventure in my children by education them at home, listening to their needs and adapting a curriculum for them, creating games and structured play, and fostering a atmosphere of love and trust in our family.

And I am not giving that away.

So today I mourn my free time, which dwindled as I became a mother and is dwindling still farther as I become a homeschooler. My priorities will be teaching my kids, creating a flow to my day that includes cooking and cleaning, yet also instruction for my son and other children as they come of age. I am excited and I am sad. We used to go out in the morning, that time was for play dates. But the play dates will dwindle to weekends as our instruction begins.

It would be so easy to place my children in school and claim my free time. But my children are worth it, and I will learn to fall in love with homeschooling just as I fell in love with motherhood. I know this is the right path for my family. I know this is the right path for my son, who loves learning from me and naturally has already accepted me as his teacher. He is a wonder to teach. I am sure all my kids won't be as easy, nor perhaps will he always be, but for this anxious and questioning mother who feels inadequate to educate her son—he is a blessing and just what I need. God knew what he was doing when he placed this dream of self-education in my heart, and he knew what he was doing when he gave me my firstborn, Reuben. I need to trust him—he knows All. He will be enough for me and my family on this journey, and he will be the cornerstone of all my educational desires.

So, would you guys be interested in seeing my Kindergarten Charlotte Mason lesson plans? I'm starting Kindergarten with Reuben in April due to this pregnancy, so I can take a break when the baby comes. I'm creating weekly lesson plans for myself to follow so I can just easily grab and go and not worry about the planning stage when we are in the grind.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Anxiety and Surprises

I have been a mess of anxiety and stress for about six months. I don't know exactly what the issue is-- is it my heart problems and ongoing doctor visits? (I have something called “early beats in the lower chambers”) The stress of my husband working late? Beginning to home-school and make plans for next year while juggling housework and friends, family and fitness? My decreased bible reading and alone time with God? My mother is sick and my step brother died in a car accident, my step father and step sister are grieving. My sister is going through a tough time with her four kids and single parenting. 

A week ago I decided enough was enough. I was going to take steps to reduce my stress and limit my anxiety. I started reading my bible every day. I am saying “no” to going out too often and inviting friends to visit me instead. I cut off access to the internet (a major source of my mental health woes) and, after about two days of “withdrawl” I feel amazing. I no longer have those incessant nagging voices in my head that tell me I need to check my facebook notifications or update my Instagram. I have been reading books again and spending my time crocheting, knitting, and baking. I've felt closer to my actual, real life friends because I text them when I am lonely instead of blabbing on Facebook groups.

I have shrunk my world again and I feel so great. There is so much going on in my actual life that the media on the fringes are no longer helpful boons but annoyances and pressure.

The internet is a great place, but apparently I suck at having healthy boundaries.

I know I have said this all before.

Today I found out we are expecting again! Markey baby number three is due in October. I've already started praying for my labor and delivery. And for a safe pregnancy. If you can join me in praying, I would be ever so grateful!

I wonder if it's a boy or a girl? My gut instinct in boy. I can't believe I get to be blessed with another baby!!!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Gray Gloves

Another pair of lace fingerless gloves finished!! I made these in the round in a neutral color wool so they would "go with everything". You can find the pattern here.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Rainbow Gloves

I updated my crochet rainbow fingerless gloves pattern! I really am enjoying updating my patterns and pictures, it makes me feel professional and put together. Haha!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Re-knitting my first pattern

I knew it had to happen eventually; I would have to re-knit some of my first patterns, but this was the original. The first pattern I ever created!

I thought I would find many errors, but it knit up great and I love it!! I took some new pattern photos and made a PDF. I also reworked the pattern for the round, since when I created this I did not know how to knit in the round and thus knit it flat.

I love these gloves and will definitely wear them this fall! You can knit yourself a pair here if you are interested!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

a real gift guide for that mom in your life

  1. Free time. Please watch my darling angels while I go be alone somewhere. Don't text me.
  2. Gift cards to target. 
  3. Chocolate labeled "peas for little boys" or "very spicy mustard sauce". My kids know what a chocolate package looks like and I don't want to share, so slap a picture of veggies on it and we will be golden. 
  4. Noise canceling headphones
  5. Magical Sick-Away Sprinkle Salts. You know, that I can sprinkle on my kids food when they catch the flu so we don't have to go through that. 
  6. Mom-escape card. I'd love to see my toddler's face when I flourish this from my pocket. I'm sorry, Reuben, you can't whine here. I'm using my escape card, so take your complaining elsewhere and let mom drink her organic green tea in peace.
  7. Toy that does not make noise but entertains my children quietly for hours. 
  8. On second thought, toy that does not make messes but entertains my children quietly for hours.
  9. Husband that comes home and says "wow, you look super hot. But lets not have sex, lets just snuggle and then I'll do the dishes while you crochet. Also I bought you this organic yarn on the way home because you are amazing and you deserve to knit some washcloths." I can dream, right?
  10. Enjoy-A-Dinner family night package. Where everyone likes what I make and eats it with a smile on their face. 
Because we all know we don't need more starbucks gift cards and ugly sweaters....