School's Out!

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Yep, it happened — preschool ended. Preschool is over. I took it hard. Not so much because I mourn the loss of baby days (I really don't) or have a hard time seeing my girl grow up (I really don't). I really love watching this beautiful, curious, hilarious, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little creature grow and change and climb and talk and write and read and do things for herself, more and more and more every single day. I have absolutely loved aged five, and I feel like I love each year even more than the one before, quite honestly! But I have found the end of preschool a little bit difficult because, I don't know, I just liked it. I liked the place and I loved the other kids and the other parents, and I loved our little after-school hang-out group, and our little school-yard playground, and our picnic table, and our mom-convos, and the dramas, and the boo-boos, and the monkey-bar feats, and the worry over the stupid unlocked gate (grrrr) and the lead dust (grrrr), and the hiding in the camellia tree that drove me insane, and the tears more often than not when it was time to leave (and let it be known that we were almost always the last to leave as it was). I'm going to miss our friends and my flails and my rants and their patience and the laughing and the sometimes crying, and the potlucks and the lantern walks and the birthday celebrations and the shady wall on which I sat with ivy poking into my back while knitting a thousand rows. I'm going to miss my friends and the things I learned from them. Most everyone is going to different kindergartens next year. We have only one acquaintance at our new school, and although I think it is a lovely place and I know we'll make friends and hopefully we’ll love it, these two years of preschool have been magical for me. Watching Mimi get off to such a great start has been a dream. And I'm just so grateful for that experience.

***

Conversation after taking Amelia to meet the admissions director and tour her new school last week, during which she was nonchalant and inscrutable, saying hardly a word (though her eyes were just darting everywhere), and after which she got into the car and immediately fell fast asleep:

Me: “Did you like your new school?”
Her: “Yeah.”
Me: “Oh good! I’m glad you liked it! I thought it was wonderful!”
Her: “Mm-hmm. Yeah.”
Me: “Were you a little nervous? I always get a little nervous when I go somewhere for the first time, and meet new people for the first time. . . .”
Her [looking at me like I am insane]: “No.”
Me: "You weren't nervous?"
Her: "No."
Me: “Oh! Oh, well, that’s good. Wasn’t D. [admissions director] so nice?”
Her: “Yes!!! She was! Mom, she was as nice as . . . FROSTING!!!”

***

I will confess that the first morning of summer vacation Amelia and I just laid around in bed, binge-watching cartoons and drinking coffee and eating bananas and surfing Instagram until practically eleven o'clock, and we never do this. It was wonderful. Then we fed the birds and cleaned the house a bit and went out to lunch and went to the grocery store, and all of it did have a perfectly leisurely quality I am not used to. There was mint growing outside of the Thai restaurant we frequent and we asked Wassana if we could pick some and she said yes; we stopped and got lemons and an English cucumber and I made cucumber simple syrup and squeezed the lemons and mixed up a really great cucumber lemonade with mint, sweet and cool. The weather here has been PERFECT. Coldish and cloudyish and only a little bit sunnyish, perfect for sitting outside and birdwatching in the front yard, or reading on the chairs, or playing with the neighbors' guinea pigs at 5:00 p.m., an hour that will be so blazing hot by next month I won't be able to stand it.

Construction projects in the neighborhood are still ongoing. No sooner did one wrap than another porta-potty appeared on another lawn and another project started, at the third of the four properties that border ours. This time, roof replacement. The sound of summer: Nail guns, compressors, banging, guys talking, trucks beeping, trucks IDLING (seriously, whyyyyyyyyy? why are you idling?????), power saws ripping, high-screeching things doing I-know-not-what. I never thought I'd be like this, but I literally growl when it all starts getting going around 8 a.m. every morning. I am becoming my father. My father was just exactly like this about noise. DNA is no joke, people. I try to tell you.

Buried deep in my office on Andy's days off (like today), I label yarn and work on cross-stitch charts and stick new labels on new things I'm excited to show you soon. The next installation of my seasonal cross-stitch series (called Summer Storm) is finished and I'm very excited about it. I'll start taking pre-orders for that next week. The distributor has plenty of fabric in stock, so we'll take as many orders as there are orderers. Mid-summer is not the best time in the world to launch new things, but ah well. This is where I'm at in my life, so hopefully it'll be okay. Andy is going to start pulling embroidery floss for me next week and we should be able to ship this one by mid-July for sure. Then I'll have one more coming, for autumn.

I've been putting my hand-dyed yarn through its paces. I finished Amelia's Flax Light sweater in my own hand-dyed merino sport (that's the one with the garter stitch on the sleeves; Andy wants one now) and my lord, do I ever love that base. It is the absolute perfect yarn for me. It's sturdy but soft and it has a bit of halo but not too much. Agh. I'm happy with it. I started another sweater for Amelia out of the same, this time based on Rat's sweater in the Inga Moore–illustrated Wind in the Willows (which the illustrations above are from, and which is part of my own personal non-depressing summer reading list, which also includes Three Men in a Boat [one of Andy's favorites] and Diary of a Nobody, which I've read before and which I absolutely adore. Thank you for the suggestions, too! I'm planning to do a lot of reading this summer, so I'm thrilled with them). I also made Amelia a little skater skirt (it started out as the dress in my last post) using one of the three fingering bases I will be dyeing yarn on, this one made in the United States from 90% superwash Targhee wool and 10% nylon. I machine-washed the skirt on hot and dried it on high heat and I honestly couldn't believe how much it softened up. Wow. No wonder people like superwash. I mean, there's a whole debate. I never machine-wash knitwear, myself, and still don't really recommend it but . . . it worked. Anyway, more on me and my yarns and thoughts about yarn soon. I feel like I'm taming an octopus with all of these things I've got going on, but slowly they are all coming together and I'll be officially blathering even more about them soon. I still need to put all three of these new knits on my Ravelry page, sorry.

Also, I need to tell you about all of the awesome shows on TV I've been watching while knitting but I don't have any more time today.

For now, I mean, just look:

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First day of school this year | Last day of school this year. Look how much older she looks. Maybe I actually will cry, I don't know.

49 comments

What becautiful things you have been making.

I feel the same way about 4. I LOVE the age 4. So sweet and affectionate, Such delight in just being who they are, the foot print and judgement not yet having made a mark on their personalities. The hundreds of giggles a day. Just so very beautiful.

Xx

Mary Anne says: June 16, 2018 at 07:21 PM

You need to buy yourself some big furry earmuffs for coping with the construction noise in your neighbourhood. I have the same issue with neighbourhood noise and although the earmuffs do not deaden the sound, they mute it subtly and also give me a feeling of being in control of the situation (besides being soft and fluffy and not too warm). I bought mine from amazon. Wishing you a peaceful, quiet summer.

Shelley Noble says: June 16, 2018 at 07:29 PM

Lovely. Lovely. Lovely! The photos, the words, the honesty, all so lovely. You are life-enriching.

Strawberry shortcake looks yummy! Do you have a recipe you'd be willing to share for the shortcake biscuit?

Patti Smith says: June 17, 2018 at 01:48 PM

I have seen her since she was a baby and my when I saw her last day of school picture I had tears in my eyes. Such a beautiful little girl. You made me feel like I was 10 years old again and looking forward to all the neat things the beginning of summer held. Such a great time of life. I look back on my own memories with such good feelings. I am so happy you share the wonderful life Mimi has with you both. I just love your blog and writing.

Ruth THORNE says: June 17, 2018 at 03:57 PM

I literally stared at that picture at the start of your post, she has grown so much, and so beautiful! Enjoy your vacation.

I just discovered Inga Moore. Her A House in the Woods is so lovely. I echo Kate: read To Say Nothing About the Dog by Connie Willis. I’ve read it several times, will read it several more times and laugh every time.

The first and last day of school comparison pictures are adorable. There is a pronounced difference. Maybe it's the change in the rounded cheeks, I think.

I was so happy that I had eaten before I saw your wonderful photos of food. They always get me. Usually there's not much food in my house, but this time, I did happen to eat before I checked your blog. So I could enjoy the photos without having scrounge through my cabinets looking for food.

Your knitted sweaters are so beautiful. I love to see them. Thank you again for the lovely glimpse of your days.

I so enjoyed this post, words and pictures. My daughter is seven now and I totally agree with you that every year does seem better than the one before, even though I feel a little sad at the speed of passing time every birthday. I do think these little kid days are so wonderful, they are so very much themselves without worrying about what other people think or expect of them.
I adore Inga Moore’s artwork. Have you seen “The Secret Garden” illustrated by her? So beautiful. Also for some good reading I recommend “Elizabeth and her German Garden” by Elizabeth Von Arnim and the Cazelet series by Elizabeth Jane Howard, wonderful books about an English family from around late 1930s onwards. The first is “The Light Years”, there are five in all.
I love the knitted jumper! And I am really looking forward to the new cross stitch kit.

Preschool can be a magical place. I teach and partly for the secret reason that I love how the start of school in September allows me to relive my childhood each year. It’s an insulted little community for a time and i love the moments. What a great mom you are to that blessed little one. And after so many years I still LOVE reading this blog.💛

I would love to try your hand dyed yarn! What colors are you using in the second sweater you
just started? Love those colors!! Love your blog and everything you make! I have purchased
some of the Nature spun sport weight yarn before. Stocking up on those colors you sell!

Oh so many years ago when the last of my children finished their last day of preschool I, too, was very sad. I was telling the wonderful teacher and teaching assistant how sad I was that it was all coming to an end; and they told me that I could always come and be a volunteer next year. I thought for just a second and said No Thanks and walked away. :-) True story. It is an end of an era and there's a definitely a sadness to it but there's glory and excitement in moving forward.

Nicki Machin says: June 19, 2018 at 07:00 AM

That conversation with Amelia just cracked me up, gah I miss those kind of conversations! Love her Weekender so much. Andy is not alone in wanting one, it's on my Ravelry list. I've just finished my second ever sweater (and this one fits) so who knows maybe I can actually manage it!

goodness, i love the way your pictures document the season. i haven't even had perfectly ripe strawberries yet, but looking at that picture i feel like i have to go find them today... like now... lol!

Karen Martindale says: June 19, 2018 at 03:17 PM

You have listed my favourable books....I think if you have not read 'Milly, Molly, Mandy' then you so should. It's by Joyce Lankaster Brisley. Try googling it and look at images. It's the drawings as much as the writing. Cant attach a photo here.
If you like that then try 'The Family from One End St.' Eva Garnet. Again the illustrations are wonderful.
Know the pain of each school move, sigh! Keep brave!

So cute! And gosh, I really want to know what good tv you’ve found because I haven’t found any!

Oh, she's growing up, And she's beautiful!

I just found your blog and I love it! Such great photos and your knitting and sewing is wonderful 💖

Loved these last two posts....so poignant and understandable. such lovely photos as always but particularly in these posts. such a tender time for you.

Lovely words, and knitting, and berries. But the picture on the porch, ooh the framing!! I'm wondering how I can make my porch so lovely but, oh yes, I don't have one!

When my last "graduated" from elementary school (16 years and 3 kids later) I was so damn glad to be done and yet heartbroken at the same time. These are very special days and times. Embrace. As someone recently posted. We only get 18 summers with our kids. SOBERTING thought! Enjoy the summer.

I am SUCH a fan of your blog, really, everything about you and your style! It's about time I posted a comment. You've inspired me in so many ways creatively. My first time doing embroidery was with your more recent Christmas pattern and I fell in LOVE with embroidery right then. Now I'm working on your sunshine afghan. First time crocheting and I love it!! I noticed the spring and winter are sold out - will you be restocking these at any point? Cheers :) ~Jillian

Oh my goodness, I've not been here in a little while and it was a right shock to see Amelia so grown up and finished pre-school! Man, don't they do so much growing at five. My little one is five now and started school in January (we are a bit topsy-turvy to your school years here in Australia!) and I felt very much the same as you about her in the transition to school, but I am grateful to say school and its community was pretty next level amazing.

Incidentally, this is the first time I've ever commented, despite following along with you here since your baby was a real BABY. Years! And I've loved every minute x

Diesels (which many work truck/contractor trucks are) are weird. There is a lot more wear-and-tear from starting/stopping them than with non-diesels. They also might have after-market auxiliary power outlets for machines that need the vehicle to be running otherwise you run down the battery.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.