Monday, September 21, 2015


Life with a new baby is mostly a blur, but there are many bright little moments too. Thank you, cameras, for freezing time for us so we can hang on to these for a little while.

Hermione is still tiny and precious. You'd think after five children we'd be getting tired of all this baby care, but honestly, I think it just gets sweeter. In fact, when I look back to how stressed out we were parenting our first child, I'd even venture to say that it's easier now.

Pause, to separate two screaming hellions, respectfully ask two children to return to their room for quiet reading time, and nurse starving infant.

Maybe not. 

I think that if you learn anything after 11 years, it's that time whooshes by too quickly. I'm even savouring (maybe more like toughing) the sleepless nights, knowing that all too soon Mio won't even want to cuddle any more. Rafe has already gone on strike. No more baby. Not even pats on the head. He is so cute yet so dignified, we're hard put to treat him with graveness...

I think we've permanently damaged his ego by pretending not hear him when he asks for a haircut. (This winter, Rafey, not yet...) I just can't bring myself to put scissors into his curls! Could you?

We have started home schooling again. What a monkey circus! Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing more harm than good. But Will is very encouraging, always pointing out that we have happy children. When I fret about the academics moving at a snail's pace, that is precisely the moment that a child comes to me and says, Hey mom, I'm memorizing the Periodic Table, or beg me to please, please read History to him! Or after months of fighting over math lessons, to find that a child can effortlessly calculate in real life. Then Will and I look at each other knowingly, as if to say, Don't you dare let on that this is educational! 

Will is writing his thesis proposal and cutting and stacking the winter's firewood, planning our fall renovations. (Our finances come and go in big chunks, so as soon as the student loans come in it's GO TIME). 

Real home schooling, not just pretending that creative play and all-day art is an academic achievement!

The last precious photos of Matthias pre-haircut and the first of the firewood.

Cozy log house..

Winter soon! We're learning to roll with the seasons. To acknowledge the glory of the present moment. To breathe deep when the chaos overwhelms us.

My winter's project is: learn to be a good house keeper and cut down on chaos. It's only taken eleven years and five children to realize that good housekeeping is possible, just counter-intuitive (for me). But it's never too late.

I've decided that the first step is to give away everybody else's stuff.

My other winter's project: re-visit the Plays of Shakespeare. I'm starting with Winter's Tale because there's a character named Hermione.

And speaking of Hermione...

Swoon! Sweet baby, I love you so much my heart will burst!

Friday, July 17, 2015


Hermione Anna Marigold
8 lb 8 oz
Born safely at home, in the water,
July 10, 2015
All is so very well!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

While We Wait

Oh, the making and doing, crafting and cleaning that's going on here! It's like the whole family has caught my nesting fever. I am ten days overdue, but not for lack of trying.

New lovely creations for new baby....

New skills....

New shelves....(thank you Will! Successfully crossed off list)

New chin-up bar....(this one must have been on Will's list)

Reaching it is a bit of a problem for the short people. Will basically has to hold them because even if they can do pull-ups on the monkey bars at the park, I have this rule about not falling to your death here. Not in my living room. Not before the baby comes.

New hammock...

Eeek! So exciting! This one I made myself. Seafaring Uncle and Auntie sent me a beautiful hammock from New Zealand when Raphael was born. (It's hanging in the living room) But I wanted an upstairs and a downstairs hammock. So after some reading online (there are lots of pictures of finished products, but very few instructions anywhere), studying it by eyeball, and a trip to the fabric store (3 yards of sturdy cotton) and the hardware store  (a spring, a ring, a carabiner, and a ring bolt for ceiling), I made a supersize one for our bedroom. 

I couldn't really find any step-by-step instructions online (best one is here), so I plan to make another one in the near future as a detailed tutorial. I'll make a page for it here on flying squirrel for anyone who's interested.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Yoga Chick

 We have adopted some chicks which cruel Mother Nature orphaned on our farm. I'm having a hard time not anthropomorphizing our animals, remembering they might only live a short while. Still, with such soothing company as Will doing yoga (I literally stumbled upon this scene in the early morning light....quiet music, forward stretch, chick...)

...and the tenderest love from a doting almost-four-year-old, 

and some knitted company...

...they might be with us for a while!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On Pentecost

Blessed art You O Christ Our God
You have revealed the fishermen as most wise
By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit
Through them You drew the world into Your net
O Lover of Man, Glory to You!
                       - Troparion for Pentecost

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Little fishes

 This was a little project I made for Rafe. All our children love the fishing game ubiquitous at outdoor play know, the little plastic rod and magnetic sea creatures in the kiddie pool. My older kids willingly line up with the toddlers to get their turn. We've gone through a few crappy little sets from the dollar-store, and always ended sweeping them into the bin.

Oh the plastic, all that plastic!

So I made some fabric fishes for Raphael for Christmas. Amazingly, they've lasted almost six months. They are lightly padded with cotton batting and quilted with a few large stitches of embroidery thread. A little magnet sits in it's nose, held in by a few stitches.

It keeps everyone busy on a rainy afternoon.