Tuesday, October 4, 2016

At home, in October












Autumn has arrived in a quick, sharp gust. It's often this way here, like someone flips a switch one day and suddenly summer ends. A storm will plow through, often from the northwest, with high winds, lowering clouds, spitting rain, and then it's fall. Just like that. Today was the perfect October day - crisp and bright. Things are happening out there - the leaves are changing and falling, the apples - the few we have left - have turned rosy on the outside, mealy and dry inside. The air smells different, especially early and late. Woodsmoke in the air is a fact of life now, along with darker mornings and evenings. There are almost no flowers left, aside from my one can't-kill-it yellow chrysanthemum and my roses, which languished in the hot, dry summer but came back with a vengeance in September. I'm clipping new ones every few days to bring inside for a Mason jar arrangement, adding whatever else is left out there. Right now, I have five roses, two sprigs of pyracantha berries, three cuttings from the mums and a sheaf of Russian sage. It makes a homey bouquet, nothing fancy. This time of year makes me happy in a way I can't really describe - I'm looking forward to so many things, I feel better and it shows.

I do feel better, it has to be said. I was having a very hard time for a few weeks, dealing with the relentless illness in our house, and just generally feeling rundown physically and mentally. It goes without saying that I don't take good enough care of myself and I know I need to change that. It isn't easy to make that kind of change, though, as I'm sure many of you would agree. There are just so many hours in a day and my needs always end up coming last. My husband tells me it's one of the things he loves about me and also one of the things he finds most frustrating about me - that I treat everyone better than I treat myself - and he's right. I know he is. I need to say no more often. I've made great strides in the past few years, though; I actively pursue hobbies now, including my crafts and my blog, which is more than I had not all that long ago. I think sometimes that my chosen lifestyle - longtime stay-at-home mom, partial homeschooler - makes it very easy to be isolated and to forget that I'm a person too. I'm working on it, trying to get out more and remember my own needs. I'm feeling better now than I have in a couple of months. It's amazing how everything seems so much worse when you're in the thick of a stressful situation, and especially when you aren't getting enough sleep.

I've started working on a new cross-stitch sampler, Alicia Paulson's My Sweetiepie ABC's (which seems to be out of stock in her online shop at the moment, or I'd offer a link). I'm enjoying it very much so far, as I have the two previous samplers by Alicia that I have stitched. This one is a very sweet, girly-themed design, which I'm stitching especially for my GB, as a Christmas present. I'm going to have it professionally framed to hang in her room, probably above her chest of drawers. She's the family member I make the most things for, in part because it's easier to find girly things to make, but also because she really seems to appreciate them. I also have plans for a mobile of sorts, involving crochet and beads. Yes! It's a cute idea I first saw on Pinterest and then tracked down on Ravelry, where there aren't really instructions, but I think I can figure it out. I'll share more about that soon, along with the sampler. I've finished four letters and their accompanying motifs. So sweet! I can't say enough good things about it, although my new glasses are definitely getting a workout.

Everyone else is doing all the fall things around here too, like working in the shop, which is delightful in spring and fall when the overhead door can stay open all day and the breeze seems to sweep the sawdust into a pile for you. The Bear and the smaller ones put together a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle over a week or so while everyone was feeling poorly. We're all enjoying video clips from Mr. Wizard's World on YouTube, but maybe especially me because it was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. The Bear and I have both been busier in the kitchen. I've got the slow-cooker working overtime on Mondays and Wednesdays, when we have afternoon activities and I have less time to cook. I'm dreading the day it stops working - it's 16 years old already - because I fear the newfangled digital kinds. I know this thing like the back of my hand. I have big plans for a new cookie recipe, maybe to try on Thursday afternoon - Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart. I know I'll need to cut down the chile powder for the young Bears, but a little will still be nice. I'm just imagining one with a cup of milky coffee.

I hope you're having a good week so far. Enjoy these beautiful early autumn days, my friends.

*******

Have you joined in with my Winter Project Link Party yet? If not, there's still time! The link-up will close on Saturday, October 8. Please join in by sharing a post about your current winter projects (or summer ones, if that's the time of year where you are).

22 comments:

  1. Remember my own needs...wise words my friend, and something I have forgotten over the summer but hope to improve upon now that fall is here.

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  2. it is a really hard balance; loving oneself and loving others; in a world that is selfish it's hard to understand what healthy self-care looks like; but it is real and important. I feel better in colder weather too and love Autumn. I hope your slow cooker lasts many years; I have a really old one from the 70's that still works and a newer one from the late 90's that also still works, so you have hope there! :)

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  3. Glad you are feeling better. Cooler weather is so much more invigorating. The joys of motherhood always seem to mean that mum is the last person to look after themselves , an age old problem. The sampler is looking good already. I'm having a lull between big projects at the moment although another pair of socks is just about to go on the needles. P.s don't worry about the slow cooker. Mine is 36 years old and still going strong :) B

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  4. I am so pleased that you are feeling better. You do need to take more time for yourself I say that to my own daughters all the time. I took me a lot of years to find the right balance. I so love the amazing colours of the Autumn leaves, your photos are the very essence of Autumn.

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  5. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better now. I often think there's a refreshing energy blowing through my life in autumn. It's like a new year for me. It's good that you recognise that you don't always look after yourself well enough, the first step I think. Now you just need to take a little more care and pamper yourself occasionally when you need to. I do love Alicia's samplers. She has a house one that I'm very keen on. Shamefully I have completely stalled on the one I have. But I'm in the process of finishing two quilts that have taken forever (that autumn energy you see) so maybe the sampler will be next. I think the problem is that late in the evening the light is low and I've taken out my contact lenses and it's tricky to see. I really must give it a go though. Great idea to use a slow cooker. I need to try something like that on our busy days - maybe something in a low oven. Enjoy the rest of the week Jennifer. CJ xx

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  6. I'm so glad you're feeling better, Jennifer. "Take time for yourself" is such a hard thing for mums to do but it really is worth it - for everyone! :o)

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  7. I'm happy hear you're feeling better, Jennifer. There always seems to be something that needs doing or sorting out for someone else, doesn't there and it's very easy to put your own needs on the back burner.

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  8. Wise words about caring for oneself, Jennifer. I am quite bad at that too, and going through a period of exhaustion right now from careless diet and exercise. I loved this post, so wise and full of Autumn feeling. The view of your mountain always appeals to me, such a beautiful part of the world. A perfect posy from your garden, like a little present to yourself, every time.

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  9. There's no denying autumn here either, I've had the heating on, it's come much cooler all of a sudden. Glad you're feeling better, it's so easy as a mum to forget to look after yourself but it's something we all need to do. I'm looking forward to seeing your sampler progress, I like the other Alicia Paulson's designs you've cross stitched previously so I'm sure this one will be just as lovely.

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  10. It is much harder to balance your time when there's still children to care for. Quitting my job is how I took care of myself. The stress and negative feelings it was causing just wasn't worth it. Now with both my boys away, my days are filled with whatever I want to do, and sometimes, that is nothing at all. I love staying home and don't feel isolated or lonely. People often ask me that. I can go out anytime and often have many opportunities to stay busy, but I don't want to fill all my time and all my days with constant busyness as that's when the stress comes back. Still warm here, but better. Waiting for those fresh, bright, crisp days of winter. :) Take care!

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  11. This was a wonderful, thought-provoking post Jennifer. I'm so glad things are looking better for you. It is important to have time for yourself. I love the new sampler that you're making from Alicia. You always make such beautiful things. Fall is here too, in fact I had to turn the furnace on yesterday for the first time . I never like to do that.

    For some reason blogger is not letting me post. It deletes everything I try to put up for the past three days. As long as it will let me keep my contacts on my side bar, I'll be visiting all of my friends, but I don't know when you'll see another post from me. I didn't want people to worry so thought I'd slip a note in here. Blogger strikes again!
    Blessings, Betsy

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  12. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. I like the first stitches in your AP sampler. I need to get my Vista House cross stitch going. I need to find my embroidery hoop I ordered from Alicia. You sure did get some fun snapshots. Enjoy your fall weather. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  13. The changing of the season seems to energize our house too - eager for those fall things like chili, hot apple sauce, racking leaves, hockey (for my little guy).

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  14. Mother's are always the last in line as far as far as taking care of themselves. I am glad you are at least trying to take some time for yourself, your husband is wise, listen to him and take some time every now and again on the weekend just for you. Glad you are feeling better and thanks for the reminder about the link up, I posted on my blog but then got busy and did not link up on yours.
    Meredith

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  15. I think these are your best photos yet. I particularly love the mountains and the flowers and the woodworking, so much texture I could almost run my fingers through those shavings and smell them. But my fave is the little bug by the hole in the apple.
    I'm glad you're feeling better, parenting makes it hard to put yourself anywhere other than care-giver I think, and answerable instantly to your children's needs, but as a wise woman once said to me many years ago, if you fall apart the rest of the house will too, so it's wise to take care of yourself x

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  16. I love the photos today! Autumn is looking very pretty in your area.
    I'm glad you're feeling better. I can relate to what you said, and I think a lot of women can. Even with my kids grown, I still don't take enough time and care of myself.

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  17. You have beautifully captured with your words and photos this wonderful season, and some of challenges you are experiencing in this season of your life, Jennifer. Have you ever tried to make a wreath using Pyracantha berries on a grapevine wreath? I have an artificial fall wreath that was given to me and I do enjoy its lovely fall colors, but I would love to use natural elements for a similar effect. Hoping you continue to feel better and better...and I still hope to fit in a Winter Project Post before the deadline. :) xx

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  18. I do hope you are all feeling better soon. It does drag you down when there's illness in the family. My slow cooker is 30 years old, and was second hand when we bought it. It's very solid and old fashioned, but is pressed into service most days making porridge over night, and then soup or a casserole for tea. I'm harvesting the pears today, so tomorrow I'll put some in the slow cooker. It makes lovely poached pears for tea. All the best- Karen

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  19. Your photos are gorgeous. It's been the same here - suddenly a cold wind blew in after lots of warm, sunny days with cool mornings and nights. We've been lighting the fire every evening. I'm pleased to see you've started your ABC's sampler - I haven't touched mine since I got back from our holiday and I want to get going on it again. I'm glad you're feeling better now - sounds like you've got into your autumn groove. :-) xx

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  20. I do so love this time of year - but not the illness that goes with it. I'm glad you're feeling better now at least. I know I'm often found soldiering on when really I should concentrate on cutting myself some slack. It's suddenly very autumnal here too. The heat has clicked on by itself a couple of early mornings this week and the washing isn't line drying as quite as quickly...I'm making the most of our dry days and being outside whilst I can. have a great weekend xx

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  21. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better (mentally and physically). I think it's all too common for moms to feel burned out. We are the caretakers of everything and everyone and we tend to put ourselves last. And then we feel resentful. And our bodies get rundown. However, we have to remember that if we don't take care of ourselves first and foremost, we aren't any good to our family either. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy, having some alone time, spending time with girlfriends (sans kids!), having a date night with the hubby, getting our hair cut and highlighted, painting our nails - whatever it takes for us to feel pretty - all are a must.

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  22. I am glad to hear you are feeling a bit better. I go through cycles like that too, when I can't be bothered eating properly (squashed banana on toast is not really a proper meal, I realise), and I feel permenantly tired, and a bit overwhelmed by life. I plod on, but its hard. Other times, amd mostly, I feel fine. Your autumnal photographs are very seasonal and evocative x

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