bookworms

As I type, Ruby is reading a chapter book to herself in bed, Ginger is picture reading (with lots of memorized phrases from the book) in her bed, John is flipping through a magazine on the couch and I am willing myself to finish this post before I check out the new books I brought home from the library today. We are definitely a family of readers and I couldn’t be prouder!

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Lounging at the library

Creating a cozy book nook while I unpack my classroom

Creating a cozy book nook while I unpack my classroom

Snuggling up to read with Richard Scarry

Snuggling up to read with Richard Scarry

We have consciously made reading and books of all kinds accessible to the girls from a very young age and built reading into all kinds of routines in our days. It calms, it connects, it makes us laugh. I’m so grateful we can all share it together.

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Link love: kid activities

Ahhh, summer. Our mornings are so much more relaxed these days, but there is also so much more time to fill!

Here are some sites to inspire:

photo by Kate from An Everyday Story for Playful Learning

photo by Kate from An Everyday Story for Playful Learning

I’ve linked to Playful Learning before, it’s a wonderful site full of authentic activities your children (and you!) will love to experience together. The page of Activities for Kids has all kinds of fun inspiration – from art activities to well being.

Did you press flowers as a kid? I did and loved finding forgotten flowers as I was reading the books I used to press months later. Here’s a little tutorial to walk you through the process.

photo by Skip to My Lou

photo by Skip to My Lou

Skip to My Lou is a fabulous resource of parenting activities – including tons of great gift ideas for teachers! I love this list of literature based activities, especially this lupine seed packet to partner with a reading of Miss Rumphius.

When the weather is beautiful, we like to move our everyday activities outdoors. The girls love to paint outside and the clean up couldn’t be easier. We love using natural materials for stamping or painting.

This just seems wrong, but the girls got sick this week. Ginger seems through the worst of it, but I’m still constantly worrying about Ruby’s cough. We use many of these home remedies for the girls to help them get through their funk. Fingers crossed they’ll be back to themselves quickly, especially because Grandma and Gramps are here!

Any fun activities or helpful sites you can share?

Mini-retreat

This past weekend, two of my closest friends that I’ve known since high school came to visit. We all turn 35 this year, so we wanted to get together. We live all over the country. The last time we were together was over 3 years ago. It’s been way too long.

Taken by Lourdes Irizarry slacklinedesign.com

Taken by Lourdes Irizarry slacklinedesign.com

I picked them up in Portland where we ate, shopped, recharged, and shopped some more. That pretty much sums up our weekend, actually. We ate our way through town, taking breaks to play legos and read books with the girls, and then back out for more food.

But there was so much more than that. These girls have been in my life longer than my husband. They know me deep down. There is no drama, no expectations, we just are. Together. These girls can give me one quick little look and it changes the way I think about things for days. This is so rare for me right now. I took a break from being a mother for the weekend. I was as off-duty as you can be when you’re still at home.

After driving back up to Portland to drop off the girls at the airport (and eat, and shop), I realized that I felt like a person again. Not just a mother. I needed this retreat time so desperately.

Of course, I love being a mother and would be miserable if I wasn’t, but it is crazy intense and never-ending. To have a break from it was so much fun! I left the weekend with memories, a stronger sense of myself, energy for my family, and some really cute clothes.

I’m hoping to plan some more get-away time soon. You should too!

Slow January

This month is always such a strange one for me. After all the busyness of the holidays and making, I just want to curl up with some hot tea and knit. I get a little cabin fever with the dark, cold, wet days too.

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But I also feel the pull to organize, resolve, and energize my life. These opposite energies are challenging to balance.

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We have sunshine today and I find myself following it around like a cat. I stand in a sunny window and soak it in. My oldest (well, not her age, just how long we’ve been friends) friend and I were inspired by Sarah and are sharing bits and pieces of our lives together via texts. I am treasuring this connection with my cross-country friend and the reminders to take notice and appreciate more in my own life.

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I love walking through this little path in the woods near our house. It’s in a neighborhood, but it is hilly and full of birds. I can get there quickly and lose myself in the mossiness of it all.

IMG_1794There is the constant lure of these needles and the calming simple stitches on them. About a week ago I started this sleeve for John’s sweater and am now about half-way done. This is good progress for me who only finds little bits of time to sneak in some knitting. There are talks with a friend to knit together and I cannot wait to make some real progress.

So far, I think we’re making January pretty cozy.

a letter to myself

Dear Megan,

Your life has been a little overwhelming lately. It has been consumed by plans and moving and crunching numbers. By play dates and naps and eating schedules. By diapers and breastfeeding and pregnancy.

But no more.

For most of the past 6 years, you have been pregnant or nursing. But no more. Your body is yours again. You need to take it back. And take back some of your time and spirit as well.

taken by John

The relationships in your life will grow as you become more fulfilled. You will grow. You are not taking something away from your family; you are adding it. You will be stronger, calmer, and happier. You will be modeling self-care.

It’s simple, really. Walk, run, continue to eat good food. Read. Write. Volunteer. Remember the summer in France when you were 19. You were all by yourself. You didn’t speak the language. You stayed with a family you’d never met in their tiny country village. You started every morning with yoga. You biked. You tried new things. You laughed at yourself. You drank too much wine. You cultivated new friendships.

Carve out a piece of that for yourself again. You are able-bodied. Make the most of this time. Create more space and beauty in your life.

Of course, you’ll still have school schedules and play dates and park trips to work around, but no longer in exclusion. The girls are becoming more independent, have a great foundation, and love to play on their own. John is supportive and shares responsibility. Find balance.

The aim of life is to live and to live is to be aware…joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

~Henry Miller