Saturday, March 9, 2013

Willow Oaks :: Our New Home




Hello Dear Friends!

We've been busy around here. It seems that the rumor of Spring is tempting our lazy winter bodies into bustling about a bit more than we're used to. With Spring on the horizon, let's just say that we're all in a better mood. This Winter has been hard, gray, cold and with little snow once again to show for it. Boo. I am not sure about you but it's only worth enduring the cold if there is a chance of snow in my mind at least. It also hasn't been the easiest year for me personally either. There is still a lot of healing that my soul has to do and well when everything around seems cold and dark literally- it's hard to shake the bad memories. Thankfully I am not alone on this journey physically or spiritually. I have tried to be more intentional about surrounding myself with uplifting friends and bright surroundings. We also changed our diets a bit and have been religious about at least 15 minutes outside everyday, no matter the weather (mama included).

With all of that in mind, I thought it was about time that I introduced you to our new home. You see back in December we moved from Blount Point- near the James River to our new home at Willow Oaks- near the York River! With that move came a few changes. We had to part with our poultry and most of our bunnies. It is a sore sore subject for me and I can't quite talk about it yet without tearing up. You see my poultry- my ladies- we're MY pets. When everything came tumbling down this Autumn, not only did I find myself totally overwhelmed but we also found out that we had to move due to an overlooked tax issue on our landlords part- both very unexpected and ill-timed. But amid that chaos- and let me just say for the record- the worst time in my life EVER- I found a sweet home for my ladies with a kindred chicken mother Christina (who goes to our church and lives close by!).

On a happier note, our new home is a blessing. It is just the right size with a nice little yard in a nice little neighborhood with a pool, pond, and willow trees. We also are a stone throw away from our secret lagoon. I can't wait for summer so we can visit that special place again. There are also some woods behind our yard and we spend lots of time exploring back there and finding new gnome hide-outs. We did get to keep two bunnies- Thomas and Unicorn- who have taken up residence in our backyard and garage. I am growing to love them quite a bit despite the fact that they don't lay eggs. (I'll forgive them) However they do follow me around begging for scraps just like my ladies.

Now on to the house. Remember my comment above about bright surroundings? Well our sweet home is bright for sure. Between the vaulted ceilings and big windows, we are not lacking in the warmth department. We also have a fireplace again too. I tried to simplify our possessions as much as possible so we thankfully had a huge purge before the move- and just recently donated another truck load to the thrift store last week from the garage. I highly recommend Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider if you're feeling boxed in by all the 'stuff' we accumulate.














My room and the children's room are still works in progress. But I feel happy with all the other rooms in the house and the yard. So here are a few photos of my favorite spots in the new house. I tried incorporate little bits of Waldorf into all of our rooms. Over the next few weeks, I will be more intentional about taking more photos. It also might help me clean more too!


Until next time- 
Cheers!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rhythm of the Home is Live! (and our Lenten Garden is in it!)


***Update: 1/2015***

Rhythm of the Home magazine is intermittently not working. Here is the link on my blog to the full article I did for them on Lenten Gardens! 

http://dotingondeirdre.blogspot.com/2012/02/lenten-garden-journey.html

***********


Hello friends!

I hope this finds you well. Here in Virginia our weather has been a mixed bag. I am happy o write that as I am typing here the sun is streaming through my window after many days of cold drizzly weather. We're working on our garden at the new house and things are coming along well. 

I thought I'd pop in and share with you the article I wrote for Rhythm of the Home's Spring edition on our Lenten Garden. I have come to look forward to writing a piece to share with ROTh readers every season or so. ROTH was one of the first resources I stumbled across on my Waldorf journey and it's sorta surreal to me now to think I have the privilege of writing for them.  

So enjoy the artier and all the other lovely pieces over there. I hope you all  get to have some Spring weather soon. I am all but too ready for it!

Cheers, 
Nicole



A gnome door- Deirdre is sure of it!



Friday, February 22, 2013

{this moment}

Jonas loving on his 3rd birthday present- his Waldorf balance board

{this moment} - A Friday ritual birthed by SouleMama. A *few* photos - a *few* 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.
. . . . . . . . . .

PS: If you want your own balance board- I highly recommend them- you can get one here from the lovely Sarah Baldwin at Bella Luna Toys. Also to boot the crafters of the board sent me a hand written thank you note for supporting them. Wow. You definitely don't get that care these days. It warms my heart knowing that we're supporting family business and people who put love into their work. 







Thursday, February 14, 2013

A 'Real' Hello





I can't believe two things. One, that it's already Valentine's Day and Winter is almost gone. And two, that I haven't blogged in almost five months. Wow. That has been the longest break I've taken since 2008. 

So where do I start? What has happened in five months? Well first let me explain a little bit about why exactly I took a break. The short of it is that life got intense. And intense in a bad way. This Autumn I found myself abruptly faced with the dissolution of my marriage to put it bluntly. It was a dark and heavy time. Honestly as I am writing this I can feel waves of pain wash over me as I think back to the end of September when things came unhinged. I can say with absolute certainty that I am not the same person as I am now before September 27th. In all sincerity, if it wasn't for my faith, my friends Chris and Anya, as well as my church family and other close friends, I don't think I would have made it- or we. Period. But as time has passed and things have come more into perspective so I feel like I can return back to this place and begin to open up my life again. 

My husband and I are still together and strong. I truly love him to the moon and back. I look back on both our lives and our marriage and I am quite convinced that there is nothing we cannot weather as long as we keep our eyes on God. However, please do not misunderstand me, I wish a thousand times over that I could erase this Autumn from my life story.  I wish I could erase the struggles and deep seated issues that my husband is dealing with. I wish I could erase my own- because let's face it- we all have them. And if I've learned anything over the past five months it's that I am not alone and that there is a larger purpose to this event in my life, my husband's life, my children's lives, and my friends' lives. Really in the end it is not about me. It's about God and the story that he is writing through us. (Thank you PCC WM for that nice line!)

I have always come to this place with the purpose of being real with you all. I feel that I can't do so without sharing this dark part of my Fall. However one of the other small things that helped me live and keep breathing were the little pockets of light I saw in my daily life around me. I am so thankful that God opened my heart and eyes to his love and joy around me. If anything thing, in the darkest moments, he gave me joy and a love of life I never thought possible. Who knew painting with my children or apple picking could bring my soul so much peace? I found him gently reminding me that his fields were still ripe for harvest and that he is not quite done with me or Craig yet. 

Over and over again I felt him come near to me. The further away I get from that time the more and more I see his provision so acutely. Also the further I get from it, the more I feel I can share. And through sharing I have found that literally I am not the only one whose marriage is struggling in the same terrible way. The shame that I carry and still continue to carry at times has helped keep me silent. Over and over again however instead of being met with condemnation, I have been met with love and close friends sharing stories of how they too are struggling in the same way. 

So dear reader- please do not feel like you are the only one struggling in life or in your marriage- or your parenting. I am convinced that there is a power at work in this fallen world that desires to keep us alone, isolated, and ashamed. One that whispers that there is something wrong with us, because why else would this happen to me or you? But that is not truth. Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. And we're all lost on this side of heaven. 

With that I'll leave you with some sweet pictures and some hope if you're struggling. I try to keep some privacy online but in real life I'm an open book. If you have a question about what has happened specifically, you need some love or help- PLEASE email me. Please, please, please- even if you're not a Christian. While my beliefs and church helped me through this please do not think that I am not just as here for you if we happen to have different beliefs. When it comes down to the nitty gritty of life struggles, the hurt runs just as deep and stings just as much regardless of who we are. 

Much Love, 
Nicole 







Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rhythm of the Home Is Live... and We're in it!

Hello dear long lost friends! 

I promise to be back to blogging soon. You see, since I last touched base we've been busy. Isn't funny how having a sick baby, tackling Jonas' speech issues, taking vacations, finding a new home (long story there...) planning and starting homeschool, oh and just LIFE in general seems to pile up on you like that? Obviously blogging went by the wayside! 

In addition to all that loveliness (which truly we are blessed-so I don't mind the busyness), I have been working on two articles for Rhythm of the Home's Autumn edition! It went live today so I thought I'd pop in here to share them with you as well as a few photos from our first day of Kindergarten this week (or as Deirdre insists on calling it kinder "garden"! 

Simple Knitted Apples-  http://rhythmofthehome.com/2012/09/simple-knitted-apples/

Celebrating Autumn: A Community Perspectivehttp://rhythmofthehome.com/2012/09/celebrating-autumn-a-community-perspective/ (my blurb and photo is the second one down) 

So enjoy the articles and photos. And also thank you for your support and encouragement. It is really nice to exercise my mind and heart when contributing to ROTH. 

Always, 
Nicole 










Friday, July 13, 2012

Speeding Along

I apologize for the double post, but blogger deleted my first draft of this blog! 
Dyeing play silks for the ocean sprite  swaps- see photos below. 



Wouldn't you know, it's mid-July already! It also means that summer is half over already. As a child July always seemed to speed by, much to my dismay. I was, and always will be, a beach girl. The ending of summer always was sad, since it meant less time near the sea. But in the same token, I loved getting back to school. School was an escape in itself from my tumultuous home life. 

On the subject of school, we still haven't made a firm decision yet for Deirdre. However, Jonas' speech assessment is in 12 days. Hopefully by then we will know more, as well as if school is in the future for him to help his speech vs. in home therapy. 

I spent some time in the book of James this week. I know that God is really speaking to me through chapter one. As I continue to meditate on it, I am hope it's specific application to my life will elucidate itself. Until then, I know I have asked God for wisdom and I believe that he will give it. I am not a wave on the ocean tossed about by the wind. I never have been

On the 4th of July we made firefly crafts from Kiwi Crate! And the even glowed! 

The kiddos on the 4th.  

I have been trying to soak up this time with the kids. Bit by bit I am getting out more. Bit by bit I am able to do more. I am starting to feel back to my old self, but a better more centered version. I also have been taking more time for myself, which means getting to the gym and waking up early for some quiet time. I have also been spending more time in the kitchen too. I am hoping to cut out more and more processed foods from our diet because for one it really is bad and two, it's expensive! Plus I do enjoy cooking as I have come to find out, especially since my little chef Jonas likes to help. Deirdre likes to bake more, she leaves the cooking for Jonas. Some of my more recent adventures have been making icecream, yogurt, fruit rolls, and just cooking more of our meals in general. 

We made ice cream on the 4th too. 


I also have been crafting a bit for the swap group I joined called bits of goodness. Here are my finished projects for the wizardry and summer swap. Being a part of this group is so much fun, plus my kiddos get great toys. 

Until next time, 
Nicole 


An ocean sprite, ocean silk, and mermaid table card.  
The sprite was wood burned. Then I dyed him with Stockmar watercolors. Then I finished him with shellac and added the wool roving wings. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grace Enough and Some Summer





Pool Playdate Party celebrating Summer at our house this past Friday

Our summer nature table


Dancing to music at a local summer concert

Ah it seems summer in in full swing here. Since my last blog (I believe it's been two weeks) we have been having lots of fun, with some tribulation. I think I am beginning to hit my stride with three children. Don't get me wrong, I have tough days. Days where I feel like I get nothing 'constructive' done. But I try not to let that get me down or define my day. In the end, loving and connecting with my children is more important than stressing myself out by cramming our schedules or cleaning like a maniac. A friend recently told me that as long as nothing is growing then we're doing OK, and so far that hasn't happened yet! 


And in all honesty I think now I have the perspective to know how fleeting these days are. I'd rather remember playing, cooking, and cuddling with my kids, than dusting. But that's just me. 


Right now my family is in an interesting state. We are trying to plan out our 'school' for the next year. Our intention was to home-school all the kids until at least the 1st grade, and we'd still like to do that. However in recent weeks, my husband and I have come to realize that Jonas is having some real issues with speech, versus just taking his time. I am not going to get into too many specifics because at this point we just don't know what exactly is going but we do knot that something is awry and that he needs help. Help that I alone cannot just give him. So he is going in for an assessment on July 22nd. 


In the meantime, my husband and I are in a big 'what if' stage. Since it is looking like Jonas is going to need us and our help a bit more, what about Deirdre... and homeschooling? Will I have the time to do it? What is best for her? What is best for Jonas? Oh yes and the baby? Ah, as you can see there are many questions. I think I change my mind 3 times a day about it all. Not to mention the whole gamut of emotions I am feeling about Jonas and the hardship he is going through. I had some really low points recently. Nothing brings you low like when your children experience hardship, as I am coming to find out. 


The upside is that it is just speech that Jonas is having trouble with. He understands everything we say, interacts, and is just such a loving fun guy. Last week we started potty training him and I am happy to say he is now trained, and he did it himself mostly! 


So all in all, things are going well. I am enjoying the kids and this time, even if I don't have all the answers and everything planned out. But then again, I never did before now either. I have faith that God has grace enough for me and my children and the Craig and I will make the best decision we can for them and our family. And quite frankly that's pretty freeing. 


So I'll leave you with some photos of the past 2 weeks. And please remember my family in your prayers. We could really use some discernment and peace. 

Until then, 
Nicole 

Making homemade icecream

Making pie-crust for our blueberry cream pie

Potty training, woo-hoo! Also yes Jonas got a much needed haircut in the past two weeks.