The Sum Of All The Little Pieces

I kind of don’t know where to start today, my friends. This past weekend had it all — a little stress, a little drama, some spinning, an injury, a lot of joy, an endangered species. You name it, we had it. And at the end of it all I awoke this morning a little bit tired, but feeling… well, feeling good.

Saturday was my day to get yard work done and I did. And how. As these things go with me, my plan to just mow the lawn and use the clippings as mulch quickly escalated to 2 additional landscaping jobs. Insert your eyeroll emoji right here. I need to learn how to pace myself better with the physical activity around the house. I’m cautious in recreation, but a total moron about it when it comes to house and yard work. It’s not great and I really need to plan better and learn to stop much earlier.img_6986

In any case, I’ll share one little happy spot in my yard. It was not bad to begin with, but a little spare with just a couple hostas. I added about a dozen more of different shapes and color patterns. It could still use some wood chips instead of the 4 wood chips still present from whenever the previous owners put down mulch and the bed of pine needles, but I will get there eventually. For now, I’m really just delighted that this should fill in and be a really pretty green spot.

Unfortunately about midway through this project something happened to my left foot. I suddenly had a very sharp pain smack in the center of it. Ouch! Of course, I went on to finish up the hosta bed and then some minor excavation on another front bed before this…


No wheel spinning for me Saturday evening, just a whole lot of ice! My husband dubbed it my “hosta injury” and we’ve since diagnosed what I did as “Hosta Foot” because painful as it was, it was super ridiculous. I had a rough Sunday morning, but by the end of the day I was walking fine and I can only feel it a bit still when I’m spinning. I’ve never been more excited that in 29days my new single treadle wheel will be shipping!

Sunday morning, however, I thankfully didn’t need to do a ton of walking as I was right here.


Catching these guys…


We just had a catch and release day, but it was a beautiful, peaceful spot and I really do enjoy fishing. We’d hoped to stay longer and fish for a family fish fry, but a combination of a poor attitude from our more & more independent-minded daughter and then rain sent us packing early. We’re generally a very happy bunch and work very hard to stay that way, so it can be especially trying and disheartening to address those unkind moments that can arise with a 9year-old who really wants to be in charge of her own life. I am wading through those uncertain waters of knowing when to de-escalate a situation with love and when to push back with hard and fast rules. It feels like it should be simple, but of course it is anything but simple. I suppose practice, unfortunately, will be a good — and hopefully swift — teacher. I had very little heart to spin as these kinds of things are mentally exhausting to me (and everyone I’m sure), but I did spent a little time in The Tower spinning with my spindle when we got home


It always comes back to these little things. And I am so thankful to have this type of release in my life that helps me to find my zen and my center through it all.  Exhausted from the day, we all went to sleep early and slept in Monday morning.

Mr Knitting Sarah had a rare 2 days off in a row and we were determined to make the most of day 2, to hopefully not spend it butting heads again. We had coffee, decided to take a trip down to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and had a clear discussion about expectations and how to have a good attitude even when you aren’t doing your favorite thing with a certain young lady. I had high hopes.

The adventure started out with the cutest welcoming party…


Or maybe he was the fiercest. I’m not sure. In any case, we stopped to help this little snapping turtle get across the road safely whether he was pleased or not. He certainly delighted us.

It was hot and muggy, but the air smelled wonderful.


I realize we go to a lot of places that look just like this and I wish I could better convey how unique each place is. If they all appear the same to you, dear readers, trust me when I say that they are not. Necedah NWR has a wonderful visitor center as well as some truly great trails available. The sun was blazing and the deer flies were abundant though, so we stuck to a relatively short trail that we thought would be breezy enough to make the bugs bearable.

The highlight of our hike was this little guy (or gal)…


Our son found this Karner Blue Butterfly. Our boy hung back on the trail and quietly observed for a few moments to be sure of the ID before calling us over. It’s an endangered species and he/she was the only one we found, so it felt like the most amazing treat. I was fortunate enough to spend a good half hour attempting to get this photo with my phone. He is only the size of a quarter and — as I mentioned — it was breezy so it was no small feat. I loved the time I had with him. In addition to this little wonder, we also saw a loon, catfish, teeny tiny baby catfish, loads of enormous bullfrog tadpoles, red-headed woodpeckers, and a family of trumpeter swans. Thanks to the heat and humidity we were drenched by the time we got back to the car, but it was so worth it.

W grabbed lunch and headed home where we relaxed with a movie and I did some spinning.


It was technically a rest day for the Tour de Fleece, but since I’d missed Saturday I decided to spin away. I’m about halfway through the first 8oz of this spin and I’m absolutely delighted by and smitten with it.

As I look over this long post, it strikes me that in our house it always comes back to the little things. Fishing. Spinning. A quarter-sized butterfly. Bullfrog tadpoles. A conversation with my daughter to try to find our way through her coming of age. A movie at home. Spinning again. Planting hostas. It may not be on a grand scale, but this life is definitely a grand one. It would have been easy to have given up on our second free day together after the disaster of the first, but if we had, we’d have missed the chance for our daughter to be a total delight, the thoughtful, patient, lovely young lady she can be. We’d have missed that little butterfly and the giant bullfrog tadpoles and the loon and that hilarious/ferocious baby snapping turtle. I will take all the ups and downs as long as we  can always remember to come back to the simple things. In the end, it’s the sum of all the little pieces — not one or two highs or lows — that makes life so grand.

11 thoughts on “The Sum Of All The Little Pieces”

  1. The hosta garden! I love it. It’s gorgeous and I love that it is tiered. As a person stumbling around and groaning today after marathon gardening, I get it! One slight misstep you don’t even know you took, and you’ll be down for the count. I am glad the injury didn’t last too long.

    The nature photos are amazing! As for your daughter, if she turns out to be anything like my independent one, it’ll be a couple years of this thing where you never know which daughter you are going to get from minute to minute, but then it’ll be a couple years of the best ever. We’ve loved 11 and 12. She’ll be 13 at the end of the month and showing no signs of stopping with the joy, brightness, and companionship she brings to our lives. As parents, we muddle through the tough stuff doing our best to be consistent, and then we get to reap the rewards. Your rewards are just around the corner, I promise. You can see them on the days she’s delightful. On the other days? Well, I just try to remember how difficult the world was to navigate during that time. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, and it’s amazing. All those things wrapped into one. (And yes, it is absolutely mentally and emotionally exhausting. We are so hard on ourselves as parents, even though this is clearly stuff that they, as people, have to go through to get to the other side of adulthood!)

    1. Isn’t that garden fantastic?! I’m so glad the previous owners put it in. It has some grading issues that I am working to resolve, but overall, I think it is wonderful. I think the added hostas will really make it perfect, too.

      Truly wise words on parenting. I try to be patient and keep the long-term goals in mind. She is exactly as you described — you don’t exactly know who will show up in any given moment. I remember one day this spring I was sitting with her at the table as she did homework and her pencil led broke and she just burst into tears. Poor kid! It really is hard sometimes to be 9!

  2. WOW, a serious adventure all around! The turtle is SO cute and the butterfly discovery is amazing – that would have made the entire trip for me. I love that you have the heart and patience to revel in the beauty of the small things in life – and that you’re teaching that to your children.

    Re: your daughter… There’s a gift and a curse to strong-willed children – when she’s grown, you’ll be so glad she has strength. You’re an amazing mom and will figure it out. As you saw on day 2, she’s a great kiddo. We have a sudo-granddaughter of 3 that we’re learning with – smart, funny, and OH so strong willed. God bless you mommas!

    1. Thank you!

      I was just telling a friend a little while ago that I’ve gotten better about not just reacting in the moment. My go-to response to anything emotional is a long, calm, draw-out, “Okay…” and then we start from a very simple point/question to move forward. Parenting is just all about evolving methods and communication skills as situations require. Some days are easier than others and that’s ok! I knew when I signed up for this gig it wouldn’t be a cakewalk!

  3. Sarah, this has helped me: It is precisely when our children are most unlovable that they need us to love them the most.

  4. I think that’s about the age my mother and I started using a notebook to “pass” notes. It allowed us to communicate without tone or rush. It was needed.
    We get along much better after 15 years and 1,500 miles between us.

    1. That’s a good idea! I will keep it in mind. I struggled with my parents until I settled down myself. Now we get along great and I’d actually love to have them closer. ❤ I think time and perspective and space help us a lot in these situations.

  5. This is such a fantastic post!!! I love the glimpses into your lives. We are headed north to our cabin and hopeful for a meal of sunnies.

    But me ears perked up! A new wheel! What are you getting? I’m wheel shopping to augment my old Louet S70. And, how much did you shop around d before the Lendrum? How did you decide on that one?

    1. Best of luck & enjoy your cabin life! We currently consider our house our north woods cabin – feels that way anyway since we just moved here!

      Yes! Feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to fill you in on the new wheel, the Lendrum decision and any other wheel questions you might have – knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com

  6. What a wonderful post! I am sorry you got hurt but glad you healed quickly. And the time with your family is a treasure, even when it’s not going well. So happy that day 2 was a success! And that you found a way to spin with no feet. 😉

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