School's Out!

comments: 49



















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:


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.


Janie Mones says: June 15, 2018 at 04:03 PM

She is an absolute DOLL... and a delightful model to show off all of the beautiful things you make for her. What a sweet blessing you have in her. ❤️

Lovely Portland days and all of your doings and goings. Enjoy!

My Dad loves Three Men In A Boat. When I read it, I hear him laughing with me.

Amelia looks great and so grown up! 5 years...WOW, it does go too fast.
I'm with you on the engines idling thing, WHY oh WHY? Do we not have enough pollution and this kind of pollution is so controllable! We went camping in a nick of time when our next door neighbor had their roof replaced. So glad to avoid that headache, literally, I get a migraine from those air hammers.
And it's hotter than hades here on the front range now and will remain like this through September-early October. I will be wailing with you again in July about the heat.
Have a great beginning of summer, stay cool and enjoy!

Lisa in Seattle says: June 15, 2018 at 05:56 PM

Your first day of summer vacation sounds lovely! So wise to ease gently into the between-time.

If you love "Wind in the Willows," please let me recommend to you Kij Johnson's "The River Bank." It's a perfectly voiced sequel to WitW - this time with the addition of a young lady mole authoress and her impetuous young rabbit companion.

It looks like we may hit 90 by the middle of next week, and Portland is always hotter than we are, so my condolences.

loved this as always! I can see why you would miss that preschool community, it sounded so nice! I do hope you find new friends at A's new school and that it is good, even if different! Wishing you peace and more good weather! God bless and keep you all!

I always enjoy seeing your blog pop to the top of my list and I know I'll have an enjoyable time catching up with what you and Mimi and Andy are up to. I so am loving watching her grow up. I am in love with Gypsy Caravans and it was fun to see the one in your book. Happy Father's Day, Andy!! I'm sure you'll get pampered by your girls this weekend. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I know dear Mim’s is adopted but I swear I can see some of Andy’s expressions in her face! And for Waldorf preschool and kindergarten, both my son (now 19) and myself, we both learned so much.

My baby (the last of four kids) just finished preschool too, and I’ve been thinking these last few weeks how much I’m going to miss the little kid stage. It’s not over yet, but some day it will be. The classroom with toys and a rug, not just desks and tables. A teacher who puts sunscreen on him if he gets too squirrelly for me. Classmates are “friends”—“We got a new friend in our class today!” Songs. Art projects. The little kid playground. Our big guy just graduated from high school, and we will have one in college and one in kindergarten next year, so the speed of it all kind of floors me. But we have another high-schooler and a seventh grader next year, and oh, middle school is hard (socially.) Preschool is so simple.

How beautifully you've written about pre-school. I know what you mean about the wrench of leaving people and places behind. Have you ever read the Moomin picture books with Amelia? I think you would love the artwork in them. Love your summer plan of lots of reading, I hope you find plenty of time for it. Also hate the sound of builders, so frustrating isn't it. Hope it all finishes soon for you. CJ xx

She will be fine,and she as grown so much bigger 😀

She is growing beautifully! The age progression from the beginning of the year to end is amazing! I love her new sweater. Andrea

Oh! Three Men in a Boat is so wonderful! One of my favorites. After you read it, I HIGHLY, even aggressively, recommend you read To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. It's the funniest, most charming time travel sci fi (!) homage to Three Men. Also please tell Andy, if he hasn't read it: Kate in Olympia says read To Say Nothing of the Dog. Can't wait for the new cross stitch!

Yes, there is something particularly special about the pre-kindergarten era as a whole. Such a sweet time in childhood ... watching children unfurl into themselves is a real joy ... And oh! 5 and the coming few years are also so much fun! What a blessing to have a little one :-) (my eldest is *married* gracious, but I still have teens at home. Also a joy and just as intense as the early years!).

Mimi just gets more and more beautiful. You’re such good parents.

I belong to a neighborhood book club that was started in 2004. We are lucky in that Connie Willis lives here and came to our bookclub to discuss her last book “Crosstalk”. She mentioned that “Three Men in a Boat” was one of her favorites.

I love the first days of summer vacation. They are leisurely and full of optimism!

It sounds like summer vacation is off to a great start! It's amazing how much Amelia has grown in the past school year. She is a precious little girl. I hope the weather stays nice and cool for you. I'd love a nice, cool day, as it about 90 degrees every day here and probably will be until late September or October... Ugh. I simply melt in this heat and humidity. I'd love to hear more about the awesome TV shows you've been watching, as I spend a lot of time inside escaping from the heat!

I'm glad other people get inspired by literature for knitting projects. Although my request to my good friend (and excellent knitter) was for a tea cozy just like the one Mrs. Beaver used in the Movie of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

My friend created a perfect tea cozy, which we call The Mrs. Beaver cozy. She ended up making one for herself but in her preferred pastels.

I get the noise grating on one's nerves thing. A house went up recently on the last bit of property in our forested area that did not have a house built on it. I could not believe how loud the building process was!

I had the pleasure of being in Oregon last weekend to visit my daughter and son-in-law. So wonderful! The cool rain was so beautiful, and then the sun on Monday, my last full day there. . .Now I am back to the heat of the SW, but not this morning--the remnants of a Pacific hurricane are giving us the same weather we had in Corvallis last weekend, though not quite as cool. What a blessing!

Mimi does indeed look ever so much older now. It is so wonderful to see and read about her growth, as always. I am so glad that she was in Waldorf preschool, and as a Waldorf teacher I so hope she is going on to Cedarwood or Portland Waldorf School? But of course you will have chosen whatever is right for her and your family as a whole. It is delightful to imagine all of the learning adventures that Mimi has before her, at home and at school!

Oh my goodness she has indeed grown a lot! Love the sweater you made for her. Marvelous illustration on that book. Thank you for sharing about the books. It would be great to hear about your tv shows. Take care!

We are guilty re-roofers at present. After 24 years we could no longer ignore the need for major work on our more than 100 year old original slate roof.
But we are piggy backing onto other noisy work which surrounds us as people are building multiple extensions and loft conversions. Hopefully we will all finish together and peace will descend. But gardeners are so noisy too with their leaf blowers and strimmers and powered lawn mowers.Not to mention chainsaws.
I'm as frustrated as you about idling engines, but especially the ice cream vans which park all day near playgrounds and scenic spots with their engines running. How are they allowed to do that? I know it's to keep the fridges running but there has to be a limit.

Oh my what a doll - she has grown so - I have watched her since she was born and reading your posts brings a smile each and every time. I have a grandson in the Chicago area will be turning 5 and I can't believe how fast they change - every visit getting into the car at Midway - I'm shocked at how different he looks. So glad you are able to document so much on your blog. Love your yarns and sweaters. I machine knit and would love to try some of your hand dyed yarns. Have a great Father's Day with Andy and Mimi.

You know my oldest is 15(!!!) and it is her group of preschool age friends and their moms that I am still the closest with. We still meet at parks for picnics (yes with Teens!!! the playground is now a lake for swimming vs a swing set but the fun is still the same). Although all the kids go to different schools, I bet your daughter and you will still share a bond with for years to come. Don't think of it as good bye, think of it as catch you later. And I love your yarns. The soft colors. I was going to make my son the light flax next but I cannot leave well enough alone and I am laying out a cable panel in the front adding the same panel in the back and 1 cable down the arm and the side. Such a versatile pattern!

Lynn Marie says: June 16, 2018 at 02:00 PM

Amelia is becoming so grown up---she is losing the baby fat in her face--becoming a young girl now!!! Excited to see the summer cross stitch kit. Thanks for the lovely post. ☺

Alicia, those three books are my very favourites. I have read Wind in the Willows in particular so many times. I am a grandma now and had the wonderful privilege of taking my six year old granddaughter to her first Joey Scout camp recently. It brought back memories of when my children were young and of the wonderful inclusive communities that evolve around them. It's the best of times. Enjoy your summer holiday.

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About Alicia Paulson


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