Saturday, December 28, 2013

one shining moment

It's as delicate as a soap bubble. Fragile and glistening. Beautiful. It's a moment, one moment, one shining, glimmering moment and it happens almost every morning. I wake in my bed, Bubby curled into my shoulder, Wembley cuddled up to my legs, and...she's well. Everything is normal and as it should be. She's at home, drinking her tea, petting her dog, chatting with her husband.

All shall be well, and all shall be well...

It's a moment. One moment. And like a soap bubble it bursts and leaves behind reality, a reality in which she is in the ICU and I feel adrift. Because what am I to do when my anchor is lost at sea? I love her so.

We muddle through, amidst terror, remembering to laugh and eat and sleep and drink water, not only coffee. I desperately try not to become hopelessly intangled in a labyrinth of what-ifs. Because I do not know what tomorrow holds. I do not even know what today holds, only that I will hold my mother's hand, stroke her face, listen while she chats and find little moments of calm, shining bubbles of normal in the midst of complete and utter chaos.

And all manner of things shall be well.
~ Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

more hours for my days, please!

One of these days I will come up for air. Right now I am in the thick of getting stock sewn up and listed online and preparing for my first craft market on December 14 (it'll be awesome! If you're local you should totally come check it out!) and it's pretty much all I do. Yesterday Jon noted that he hadn't seen me at all yesterday. Really, it's been days since I had time to have any sort of conversation. It's madness.

Someday I will post actual content again, with photos and words and thoughts and stuff. Someday. I promise!


Sunday, September 29, 2013


Pinterest scores again: fallen leaves sewn together to make Michaelmas crowns
We celebrated our first Michaelmas this year. Today was the feast of Michael the Archangel, a feast day that, as a pair of bred-in-the-bone Presbyterians, neither Jon nor I had ever celebrated before or even really heard of before we embarked on the Waldorf journey. Last year we almost entirely neglected all the seasonal festivals that are such a key component of the Waldorf year. This year, though, I feel a little more solid on my feet with a better understanding not only of what the festivals are, but what they mean and why marking them is important. Also, I'm just more organized (finally).
gathering leaves
running away from Mommy: thank heavens for dead-end streets!
The feast of Michael the Archangel occurs one week past the equinox, one week past the tipping point of the year, from the day of perfect balance to the slow slip into darkness. The tales told for Michaelmas all incorporate the theme of good overcoming evil, of light overcoming darkness. The traditional story of St. George and the Dragon is a little more intense than is necessary for our girls at their ages, so we opted instead to tell the story of The Star Children. They've quite enjoyed the story, learning it immediately. 
gathering leaves in her new Urban Sprout corduroy tulip skirt
strolling through the leaves
Today was the feast day itself, and we made a loaf of gluten free dragon bread to have as part of our feast. The girls helped with decorating him with seeds and raisins for scales and eyes and did so enjoy devouring the dragon during our meal. While he was cooling and the rest of our feast was cooking we gathered leaves and made golden - more or less - crowns for the girls to wear during our Michaelmas feast. 
our gluten-free dragon, ready for the oven
leaf crowns
We told the story of The Star Children again at the end of dinner, the girls wearing their golden Michaelmas crowns, both of them pretending to fight with our partially-eaten dragon loaf, and recited some Michaelmas verses throughout the meal.
Golden crowns of leaves...possibly a little on the small side
golden crowns
Our dragon loaf
It's a slightly odd thing, beginning a tradition. It can feel a little forced or even hokey in its genesis, but it is lovely, also, to see how we have begun something that will continue in years to come, something that will grow and develop new meaning for us all as the girls age and mature.

Brave and true
Will I be
Each good deed
Sets me free
Each kind word
Makes me strong
I will fight
For the right
I will conquer the wrong

Michaelmas is over

autumn's promise

And suddenly autumn is here.

While mid-day is still hot, the sun still shining brightly down, early mornings, evenings and nights are cool. The duvets are on the beds, housecoats are once again in morning rotation, and socks are increasingly warranted.
walking the rails
It is a subtle shifting, a promise that the dog-days of summer will come to an end, a gentle warning that winter is coming and that it is time to make ready. Soak up the warmth and sun while you can, the aging summer tells us: colder, darker days are on their way.
into the corn field

ready for harvest
We heed its call. We revel in the last days of summer, while also looking ahead to the coolness of autumn and making plans. Apple picking, perhaps? Autumn cleaning (let's scrub those windows while it is warm enough to have them open!), sewing up warmer clothes to ensure our cool weather wardrobes are ready. Redecorating in autumn leaves and autumn colours.
Enter the corn

Scarlet walks with Daddy and Gran
Letting go of summer and its joys makes room for embracing the vibrancy of autumn. After months of bright sunlight and green on green, autumn in eastern Ontario is a glory of colours. While summer's colour is near the earth on flowering bushes and plants in gardens, autumn paints the canopy with an array of shades, a last burst of brilliance before the gathering dark approaching the solstice: something glorious to remember as we enter the dark months of the year.
damsel fly in the corn maze

As each season ages, I begin to look forward to the season's change, not only for the novelty but for the reminder of rhythm, the new breath that it represents. The final days of summer a great, desperate exhalation; the first days of autumn an awed gasp of inhalation.

sunny girl

Cumberland Museum train tracks

Sunday, August 25, 2013

a deep breath of calm

My girlies cuddled up on the couch together Saturday morning. Entirely spent after a long week away from each other each day, they took some time to reconnect, curled up under a blanket quietly watching The Littlest Hobo (any Canadian readers will likely remember the Hobo: it's actually the only television the girls watch). Still and calm. Sisterly love.

cuddled on the couch

Peanut had a fun week. She enjoyed herself, learned things, got to know more of the other children from the congregation, sang songs, played games...a fun time all-around. But as lovely as it was for her, it came at a cost. Thursday night was pretty dreadful; Friday afternoon at daycamp had multiple meltdowns. If a typical Waldorf day can be thought of in terms of gentle breathing, daycamp is the equivalent to a week of hyperventilation. No down-time, no self-direction, no eating (my goodness, this kid can't eat a bite when there is any distraction) and almost no hydration (ibid) left our high-spirited and sensitive little soul a little exhausted and rather out of sorts. And once again, it serves for us a confirmation that our decision is valid, that homeschooling is the wise choice for our Peanut, at least for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday was our day of calm, a bit of Sabbath-taking, reconnecting as a family, as a sisterly pair. We didn't leave the house and just focused on finding our breath.

Today, more Sabbath. We're opting to skip church this morning, instead having a late breakfast and a leisurely walk to the nearby farmer's market. We'll pick up some seasonal veggies, have a little lunch of some pretty epic samosas one of the vendors makes, enjoy the sunshine and generally take it easy. Another calm, deep breath.

Monday, August 19, 2013

homeschooling and sibling love

Just like last summer, Peanut is spending a week at a daycamp offered by our church. She's excited, she has two of her favourite church friends who will be with her all week, and she remembers having a great time last year. We're excited with her.

 Being down one child for the majority of each day is certainly strange. Bubby will get to enjoy some long walks alone with Jon or myself as we pick up her sister. She has unfettered access to the toys - no older sister "helpfully" directing her play - and lots of free cuddle time. The freedom seems to have gone to her head a bit: our normally pretty weird Bubby is now completely out to lunch. It's a whole lot of fun, honestly, watching just how strange she can really be. I think it will prove to be a very fun week for all.


Peanut's absence has got me thinking about school, though, and about one of the benefits of homeschooling that is infrequently discussed. How wonderful that our children who - as much as they may fight and argue, push and shove and hit and scream all-to-frequently - truly adore each other can spend their days together. Not only that, though, but Peanut has not yet learned to avoid younger children, to fear being perceived as a "baby" by virtue of playing with someone younger than she. This is a beautiful thing. Frequently she will come home from the park and remark to me about a new little friend she has made, telling me that the little girl or boy was very nice, or very cute, or very sweet, "just a little baby" while also telling me what fun she had playing with this child. No one has told her that such behaviour is considered odd, and for that I deeply thankful.

by Brown's Inlet

I want my children to appreciate people, full stop. People younger and older can make good friends, can make fun playmates, can make interesting companions. But traditional school can inadvertently send the message that it is appropriate to associate only within one twelve-month age span. Classmates may ridicule and shun those who entertain friendships from without their specific grade: I've certainly seen this myself. What I have never seen, however, is a homeschooled child react to younger or older children in such a manner, but instead have only ever seen home educated children welcome and embrace whatever playmates they encounter, regardless of age. Friends are chosen based on personality compatibility, rather than merely age or proximity. Perhaps worst of all, though, is watching siblings reject each other based on these same principles, because they are not the same age.


My daughters love each other immensely. Their love for one another is a fierce and wonderful love. Peanut is more distressed by Bubby's injuries - of which there have been many, in the past few months, including her own tooth through her upper lip - and is more deeply offended by any perceived slight or misdeed toward Bubby than even Bubby herself. And that is challenging and often infuriating - "Yes, Peanut I can take Bubby's toy if she is using it violently. No, screaming at me will not get her toy back for her." - and glorious and heartwarming. She wants so desperately to protect and care for her sister. And Bubby, likewise, wants to be with her Peanut, wants to bring Peanut her toys or books, things she knows Peanut likes to have near her or play with. They hug each other in greeting every morning. They tell stories with their Playmobil people together. They giggle - in excess, often - at the table. And while it is by-no-means perfect, it is wondrous. 

under the willow

Enrolling Peanut in school full-time would not guarantee an irreversible change to their relationship: I am certain of that. But I do appreciate that in choosing homeschooling, we have inadvertently avoided a scenario that may have threatened their burgeoning appreciation of one another. Because while Bubby is enjoying having the apartment to herself today, I expect elation when her big sister comes through the door this afternoon. She has, afterall, spent the majority of the afternoon singing songs about her.

telling stories

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Urban Sprout Clothing

A dear new friend of mine recently said that when she is trying to keep something inside, something her spirit is calling out for her to do, her body rebels. Illness and unwellness follow, a sort of pathetic irony of the body. Maybe that's what I was processing for these past months: the desire and the drive to create and to begin something, my attempts at fighting it pushing me to the point of spiritual unwellness and confusion.

Remember how I said that professional challenges have spurred our family to new opportunities? Well, this is mine. And it's pretty exciting, though a little daunting, to be quite honest with you. 

I'd like to introduce my new venture, my first Etsy shop.

Urban Sprout Clothing logo
18mo yellow cord swallow FULL FRONT
18mo yellow cord swallow CLOSEUP
12mo natural linen retro paisley bunny FULL FRONT
18mo green linen-cotton bunnies MODELLED
18mo green linen-cotton flower SIDE PHOTO

For literally years, I've had friends encouraging, urging, goading, and generally cajoling me into doing this. It's taken more than three years, an additional child, one move, one nerve-racking change of circumstance and much apprehension to finally get going. But now here we are, and I'm absolutely thrilled with this new opportunity.

The shop is still very new and not terribly full, but it's there, it exists, and I'm slowly going about the rather tricky business of building a name, a brand and gaining exposure. 

18mo green linen-cotton flower MODELLED

About the garments: currently I'm only offering dresses, though I have other plans in the works. The dresses are based on the idea that when we put a lot of time - or in the case of a purchaser, some money - into a garment, we want to really get our money's worth. A dress that is outgrown in a matter of months feels, to me, like a waste, so my dresses are designed and fit in such a way that they continue to be wearable and fit well for upwards of two years, possibly even more. The photos of the modelled dresses, for example, are 18mo size dresses worn by my 2 year old. They fit like a tunic, rather than a knee-length dress, and look great with leggings or jeans. She can even wear the 12mo size dresses as an apron top (and, toddler-willing, I'll manage to get some modelled shots of that someday soon). Longevity, comfort, and an uncommon sense of style are what I focus on for each and every garment I produce.

The blog isn't going to turn into one big advertisement for my shop, so not to fret about that. But since I write about our life, and this is now a central part of our family's life, I wanted to share. Urban Sprout Clothing has a Facebook page, as well as the Etsy shop: I am deeply appreciative of every follower we have. And if you follow me on Etsy, you'll get immediate updates whenever a new product is added to the shop.

18mo yellow cord swallow MODELLED

I can't even tell you how excited I am to have finally opened the shop, and I am so glad to be able to share that excitement with you.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Three months with no blogging.

It's interesting, really, how sometimes when I'm processing things I reach out, get verbose and hyperlexic and want to share share share. But sometimes not. Sometimes I process quietly, internally, intimately, personally. I share nothing. I work through whatever it is in my own head, often very slowly.

always laughing

Three months of slow, internal processing.

The craziest part is I can't even tell you precisely what it was I was processing. I just...was.

Lots has happened, yet everything feels very much the same. All the girls of the house are a year older: Bubby had her second birthday May 3rd, Peanut had her fifth on May 19th, and I rang in my thirty-third (yes, I'm airing my age on the internet: does that make me brave?) on June 22nd (and conflagration-free, too!). Even Wembley reached the ripe old age of eight in mid-May.

new headband and a new dress

Last year I struggled with Bubby's birthday. This year I journeyed toward it with a greater sense of calm, of acceptance. Time will go on, my children will continue to grow and age whether I would will it so or no. And they are glorious, these children of mine. They shine like stars and glow like beacons and every new ability and milestone is a mark of the wonder of them. If I spend too long looking backward at what we are leaving behind, I may miss seeing all that they are doing now and will do in the days to come, and what they do is so amazing, so hilarious, so fabulously silly and astonishing and brilliant that I would never want to miss a moment of it. So we move onward. Onward and upward, into the new.

what does this face mean? I have no idea
silly faces
early morning tea party

Just before my birthday, I had a personal realization as well. It occurred to me that after almost six years of retirement from dancing, I had gotten soft. My body had gotten soft. I had lost muscle mass and strength and I didn't like it. I also know that with my history of pregnancy induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, I am at a heightened risk of having hypertensive issues later in life, not to mention the family history of hypertension. And I vowed to myself, "No more." 

If you follow me on Pinterest, you likely noticed that I've started pinning a lot of exercise and strength training links. The fact is, I know that it will be a lot easier to establish a pattern of healthy, vigorous activity at the age of 33 than at 43 or 53 or or or... And all the better to try and stave off hypertension than to attempt to undo years of damage. In the past weeks I've discovered - to my great surprise - that I love high intensity interval training (HIIT) and I now try to fit in at least 12 minutes of it every day. Less than two months in, I can honestly say that I am stronger and fitter than I have likely ever been before, and without ever lacing up a running shoe - because try as I might, I cannot find the running love. I'm lifting, as well, and feeling good about the fact that I can carry a basket full of wet laundry more easily than before. 

At first I struggled with allowing our girls to see me working out, out of fear that I would encourage body image issues. Quickly, though, I realized that all I am doing - because I never, ever comment on my body or anyone else's - is modelling healthy activity levels for them. "Mommy is exercising! Mommy is getting strong!" is what I hear from Peanut many times a week. Hopefully, they are learning not that their body should look any particular way, but instead that strength and exercise are worthwhile and healthy, that movement and activity are enjoyable at any age and will help them to be fit and happy, lifelong.

Canada Day "soccer"
by Brown's Inlet, watching the ducks

The past three months have seen me take my first real henna clients, have seen me connect with other local women who are focussed on community-building, and have seen two short articles of mine published. It's been a time of transition in many other ways: our church community is seeking a new minister after almost fifteen years with one wonderful minister, a man I have been privileged to call friend, leader and mentor, who has encouraged me and spurred me in my writing and in my spiritual investigation. We miss him desperately, but as with my children, I know we need to look forward in hope rather than look back in sadness if we are to grow. Time marches on: we must march with it.

Our family has seen some transition, as well. Faced with professional challenges, both Jon and I have branched into new opportunities, new possibilities to help our family prosper and thrive. Moments of - frankly - terror, have given way to hopefulness and vision and renewed purpose. After all, we've been through some pretty challenging times and came through it stronger and better than ever. It's perhaps a little Pollyanna-esque, but we're choosing to view unexpected challenges as good opportunities and motivation to try new things. It's easy to be comfortable and stagnate when things are more-or-less simple: when things are not, what is there to lose?

Canada Day
a hilarious frog was under the willow tree at the Inlet
investigating the frog

With that in mind, I have some very important and special news to share with you. My in-real-life friends have been goading me - thank you! - to do this for literally years, and I am proud to have finally done it. I hope you'll enjoy reading about it.

picking dandelions

Saturday, May 11, 2013

eleven hundred days

Eleven hundred days. That's how long it took for me to get from this


to this.


There were two moves, a pregnancy, work-related nonsense, birth-related goodness (seriously: neither of my sister's children were even born when I cast on this thing!) and three entire years in between. That is madness! That is inexcusable. But it was worth the wait. Totally, absolutely, worth the wait.

The details ('cause once upon a time this was actually a knitting blog)

Pattern: The Katharine Hepburn Cardigan from IK's Lace Style
Yarn: Louet Gems, which happens to be the yarn suggested
Needles: cheapo Aero circulars in 3.5 and 3.75, the suggested sizes
Adaptations: not a one
Findings: mother-of-pearl buttons

Now let's have some more badly framed selfies, shall we?

Louet Gems is a gem of a yarn

almost too short...almost...

love this stitch pattern

cropped cardi

the back

It's perfect. Ok, it's almost too short. Almost. I might be able to block it out a little bit longer and eke out another half inch in the body, but I'm not complaining. No-sirree-bob. What became the running joke in the home-stretch of knitting this cardi was whether it would even fit. "Are you even the same size you were when you started? Hyuk hyuk hyuk!" I knew that I am, but still I started to worry that the negative ease I opted for when I chose the size I did would prove a little too negative. But it was not to worry: the size is just right.

I finished this two weeks ago, and since then it has been almost non-stop 25C+ days. Not precisely wool cardi weather. Today is grey and rainy and cool. I'm a very happy knitter, cuddled in my lovely acid yellow sweater. This cardigan is made of spring. Spring and unicorn hair and awesomeness.



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