Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A New Crisp Breeze

Tomorrow is the day that the Autumn edition of Rhythm of the Home comes out! In it you will find my wood burning gnome tutorial as well as my giveaway. Yep, that right I have a giveaway! Thank you for all your support and feedback. I am truly blessed to have this space.

Jonas and my mother. 

Loving the sound in Buxton

Our last days of Summer on the ferry ride to Ocracoke, NC.

Before Irene hit, we enjoyed our last hot summer picnic by the lake. Since then our days have noticeably been cooler and less humid. Trust me, I will not complain, however I am always sad to see Summer leave. The older I get the more I seem to prefer Autumn. I still feel the going-back-to-school rush that I got as a little girl when I noticed that first crisp breeze. Autumn also vividly reminds me of when I fell in love with my husband and of our long night walks in November. 

So as we enjoy the last wisps of Summer, I also welcome my old friend Autumn. With him I welcome many many changes, both exciting and a bit scary. But that is what I love about the changing of the seasons. No matter how well you know them, our walks through them year after year still forge a new exciting path. 


Before I end, I just want to thank all of you for thinking and praying for us and the East during Irene. We were without power for about three days, yard is a mess, and one tree is half fallen- however we are safe! 

During this ordeal, a few voices have risen up decrying the "hype" about the hurricane, and I feel a need to address that. We all experience nature differently based on where we live, what stage of life we are in, and how connected we all are to the world around us. 

For some in my community, Irene was a disaster. I think we'd be remiss in comparing one to storm to another, because again while Katrina was more catastrophic, Irene was just as heartbreaking to those whom experienced loss of life or property this time around. And by comparing these two storms, one can demean the legitimate loss of those whom suffered due to Irene. 

A young boy was crushed to death near to us, due to a tree falling on his bedroom. If I was his mother, Irene would have been the worst thing to ever happen to us. So with that being said, please friends let us all think before we publicly decry the media for covering Irene so much or 'making a big deal about it'. I am so thankful that it turned out to be weaker and shudder to think what it could have been if she had not and if we had not been prepared for the worse. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hiatus...again...thanks Irene

UPDATE AS OF TUESDAY: We survived! we were out of power for three days and have a half fallen tree- not to mention lots of branches, but otherwise we are well- the animals too whom weathered the storm in our garage. God is good, but we are still tired and weary. Off to bed. More to come in the morning! 

No real blog tonight my friends. We live in Virginia near the coast and as of tonight Hurricane Irene is projected to hit us Saturday. Needless to say I am preparing our home, animals, yard, and children for the storm. Please keep us and our Eastern seaboard in your thoughts and prayers this weekend. 

All the best, Nicole 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Vacation Post 1 of 3

Amid the vacation recovery, out of town visitors, Fall co-op planning, the earthquake and impending hurricane fears... I seem to have forgotten to tell you all about our vacation to Buxton last week! Silly me! 

Ironically though all vacationers to the Outer Banks- including Buxton- have been evacuated this week. Glad it wasn't us! 

We (my mother, little brother, Craig and the kids) stayed in a gorgeous cottage two lots back from the beach, named 'One Summer Dream'. All the cottages in the Outer Banks have a name and I love them. This was our first year in Buxton as well. The past 5 years we've been going to Hatteras and before that for about 45 years to Kill Devil Hills. So needless to say I was a bit wary of another new location but Buxton proved to be fabulous. Also it was not just my immediate family that was there. My mother's brothers and sisters also came down with my cousins and their kids. All 32 of us. A yearly tradition birthed by my late Grandparents! Good times were had by. 

Our cottage had three floors and was so high that we could see the ocean and sound side from our deck. We also were diagonal to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which was a special nighttime treat to see. Speaking of nighttime, the sky was so clear and the city was so dark that we could see the milkyway at night. Crazy. There was tons of wildlife where we were as well. Deer, raccoons (whom liked to visit and tear into our coolers), snakes...but also loads of seabirds, sea turtles, and fish (much to my husband's delight!) 

Needless to say words cannot do this place justice. It was hard to leave. The ocean was and is still very near and dear to my heart. Its where I feel closest to my creator and where we wrestled out quite a few issues in high school. Something about the ocean always puts me at peace even on his roughest days and mine as well. Next to God there is not a thing on this earth that I respect more than the ocean- yet I still gamble with him from time to time when I surf. The smells, the tastes, and the sound of the breeze through the sea oats and the waves pounding on the shore still lull me to sleep. I must still, as my father and uncle used to tell me, have salt water in my veins. 

So as this hurricane approaches, and I've seen quite a few in my short years growing up next to the ocean, I'd be remiss in not talking about my old friend. Be safe Eastcoasters. And do not for one second underestimate a hurricane's or the the ocean's power. Even on a calm day or as a category 1. 

My cousin Josh surfing. He is 6 years older than me and gave me my first surfboard 12 years ago! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

::right now::

A rich tradition birthed by Soulemama

Right Now, I am ...
:: reveling in these last few days of summer. Each year it seems to creep by more quickly and then end just as abruptly. 
:: realizing that today is the first time in six years that I have not had to go back to CNU, think about CNU, or prepare to go back to classes.   
:: feeling so grateful that I am done with my degree. But I must admit that I am sad as well. I do love to learn. 
:: also feeling satisfied that I was able to surf while on vacation after a two year hiatus. I think I did pretty well since I have two kids now. But most importantly I had fun. 
::appreciating the delightful and peaceful vacation that we had. I can't wait for next year. 
:: anticipating a lovely Autumn. My friend Anya and I will be doing a Waldorf homeschool co-op together and I am so excited. 
:: loving the eggs I am getting daily, plus they're huge now!
:: laughing at the birthday party we had tonight. I received a dragon and a pumpkin wrapped in a quilt form Deirdre with wooden ice cream cake to boot.  It was quite random and fun. I love her imagination. PS: My birthday is in November! 
:: enjoying a slow week start. I need to remember to slow down more often. 
:: thanking my mother for paying for our beach house vacation. She is quite a character and full of generosity. 
:: remembering that today six years ago was the first time I met my husband while he was perusing the freshman dorm rooms on move-in day. It all seems like a happy dream from a lifetime ago. We are so blessed. 
::wishing you and yours a bright and rich week! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday (or Saturday)  ritual birthed by SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

We're safe and home after a week long vacation in Hatteras NC! Now we are resting and will pick back up on Monday! Good night! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

They love Chris' dinosaur! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Letting Go

For a very long time I was a stressed person. Through most of high school I considered myself carefree and free spirited. I did well in school and I had a lot going on but I was never wound tight. If I did get stressed, I would go surfing or kick the soccer ball around and then things just seemed to work themselves out. 

And then my senior came along, bad things went down at home, I moved out and life became more burdensome. If you've read my past blogs, then you know my parents have dealt with substance abuse issues. So that is about as much as I will go into tonight on why I moved out. Seven years later and I still think its one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

After moving out and into early college I became wound pretty tight. I was in defense mode and just trying to get by. Getting by for me meant closing myself off and pushing through. Life had lost a bit of its luster for me. This is not to demean any of my life experiences from then until now, because truly I have lived great life, become closer to my creator, seen a good chunk of the world, and loved deeply and learned to lover deeper in the past seven years. However I was still wound pretty tight. 

I think it was this past winter when I started learning more about Waldorf that I reflected on where I lost myself. I found some old surfing photos and I wanted to get back to that carefree state more in my current daily life. Since then I think I have been making some great strides towards that end. One of those strides has been just going with the flow more. One of the things I love about Waldorf education is their emphasis on daily rhythms versus a schedule. Days have themes and a loose order but no arbitrary time slots and rigidness. If cooking with the kids takes longer, because well you all are having fun, then thats ok and the day will just run a little later. 

My children are creatures of habit, as all little ones tend to be. They need rhythm and having them gives them a sense of security in the universe-without the stress of a schedule. Hurrying all the time is detrimental to creativity  Trust me I know! 

So here is a prime example tonight. As we were tending to the animals after dinner and before bath, The kids got into the water and had a blast! The old Nicole would have gotten upset because now their clothes are wet and they're going to mess the floors up. Instead we had a hose bath tonight and stayed out for an hour.

Rich full memories were made tonight. I got to enjoy them and be engaged. No worrying here. Just going with the flow. 

Daily Verse or Quote: He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. – Proverbs 7:8-9 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Works in progress (WIP) Wednesday

Please excuse my Casper white legs. I am Irish so I come about it honestly! 

Today was a good day. After a busy morning of running around to some public relations for the non-profit mothers group that I volunteer with, I was able to relax and knit this afternoon. Earlier this Spring I began knitting an Elizabeth Zimmermann Tomten sweater. However after knitting it to the sleeves, I got bored as well as frustrated and did not knit for three months! I was so sad. Not mention I was quite busy with school and then the move. 

So taking some of Elizabeth's advice, I just started a new project and gave up on the sweater for now. It was not worth the frustration and boredom I was experiencing. I cannot force myself to do something that I do not want to do, especially when I naturally love it! I want knitting to be fun and relaxing for me. True Nicole time, and well it was turning into another chore. No thank you!    

So today I casted on a little knit gnome or as I call him a tomten. I am using a free pattern from Plain and Joyful Living found here. This is just as good a sweater right? So far I only have his legs done but I think I might finish him by tomorrow. I also plan on knitting some play apples and a pumpkin! In addition I am also working on some reclaimed wood blocks. I need a saw though so they are tabled for a few days. 

Well I am off to bed. I also had a great music filled night. By happenstance I walked in on an old French class friend playing an open mic night at our local coffee shop this evening. Total surprise. I love life. Its so rich and endlessly rewarding. 

Watching Mary Poppins while I finished baking! Love it! (FYI we are down to 15 minutes of TV a day from 1 hour a year ago! ) 

Daily Quote or Verse: 
I like to be surrounded by harmonies and fullness and richness and vitality. 
-Al Jardine of the Beach Boys 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Corners of my home: Dreamland

A Kinderkram mobile from Bella Luna Toys

Since I was a child I always had a 'dream' home and 'dream' room floating around in my head. Not that I was fixated on either, they were just nice little ideas and fantasies. Nothing that I pinned my hopes on, just fun. I have to say however that the house we're in now is pretty darn close to that dream home. However I'd still take that castle in Chamonix please fairy Godmother! 

After fixing up the FROG, I set about collecting items for the children's shared room. Their room is the closest reflection to my 'dream' room as a child- PLUS it actually has my old childhood furniture in it. Cool right?

As a child I was really into the ocean and that obsession has remained. I also, for the sake of full disclosure, was really into warrior princess types and since Cinderella did not do it for me I'd just modified the characters into my liking. Maybe that's where Deirdre gets her crazy imagination from? Oh I also was big into mermaids, gnomes, and faeries. I think I believed in them longer than I did in Santa. I also believe this played into why I studied folklore in college. Ah but again I digress...

SO my inspiration for the children's room was a good mix between my own dream room, their likes, and Waldorf. I kept a few items from their old room, got new comforters (just a comforter not a bedset), a rug, lambskins, canopies, mobiles, and wall art. That's it! I am very happy with the result. The rest of the items in the room were ones we already had. I bought no new furniture for their rooms. 

I wanted their room to be a simple dreamland. No toys and just a few books. Just a calm, warm, and loving place for them to rest their heads and snuggle. So far its been a success! So enjoy the photos of their room. Also thank you for reading.  Jenny K- you are not a small fry to me. I consider you a dear friend :) Thanks for being a part of my life. <3

Deirdre's Bed- the mobile is hanging at the foot of her bed

Fabric from their curtains: The Owl and the Pussycat, my favorite childhood book. Homemade my myself and Omi.

Her Kinderkram Moon Angel Mobile from Bella Luna Toys

Her wall art. A quote from the first book we ever read to her. We say this to her and Jonas every night before they go to bed! 

The other side of the room- Jonas! (His mobile is also hanging at the foot of the bed)

Jonas' big boy bed and packnplay. He sleeps in both, but primarily he naps in the packnplay. 

Jonas got the same wall art but in dark blue and red. 

Jonas' shooting star mobile. Also Kinderkram from Bella Luna Toys! 

The bed with all his lovies and babies! Jonas sleeps on top to the lambskin with just his knit blankies. 

Close up of his mobile! 

Daily Verse or Quote: 
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

Also dear friends, Craig and I have decided to open our home this year to a few children for a home preschool (Waldorf of course)! We are very excited. Please pray that if this is the Lord's will, that the right children would come our way and that this would be a loving and rich experience for all involved! I want to continue to stay home with the kids and this would help us continue to do so and not have it be too much of a stretch financially in our new house! Thank you! 

Blueberries for Sal

Today we went on our much missed family outing. Since Craig has been working crazy hours, we have not be able to go on our weekly family outings, much to Deirdre's chagrin. However today was the perfect day to do one. We've been in our new home for a week now and we are settled - so now let's go on an adventure! An adventure inspired by her favorite book, "Blueberries for Sal."

And off we went to the Pungo Blueberry Farms in Virginia Beach! It was a lovely family friendly place (restrooms, sheltered picnic areas, cold water, and wagons to help you carry the little ones around). The farm was also family owned and the really cared about their farm and its patrons. They even had a cute play blueberry figure! I will so come again next year!

The kids were in heaven, despite the heat. Deirdre actually picked some while singing a song about a blueberry gnome named bill whom was protecting her from the blueberry troll name grimace.

Jonas just ran from bush to bush stuffing his face. He was wild and having so much fun. We did not care how many berries he ate or how far he tarried, he was loving life and will surely remember this experience for years to come. Family fun.  

Bonne Nuit, Mes Amies