Knitting + tacos + the last of the ice cream 

Joining Nicole from Frontier Dreams



 

I am now officially knitting shrug #3.  Got started Friday night, then on Saturday my dear husband took care of the kidlets while I went to my local yarn store and had several hours of uninterrupted knitting time.  It was so nice to get a fair amount done, and I’m now feeling a bit more confident about getting finished without a mad rush before the wedding on April 22.  I did figure out I made a mistake on shrug #1, which should be easy to fix, but I literally need to be making every minute count.

A row here, a row there.. during nap time, and sneaking in a few rows sitting on the front porch while the kids played outside riding bikes and carving various wooden utensils with knives.  It felt good to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and late afternoon breeze.

I’m still reading “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken, probably 2/3 through. It’s still gripping me, swirling in my mind and awakening, digging, convicting, and a whole host of other things that are good and hard at the same time.

I can’t wait to continue learning more about crochet… for now I have a sweet little coaster that I look at fondly and think of all the glorious crochet things in my future.

Tonight I made these Barbacoa Tacos and I have only one bad thing to say about this recipe.

There are no leftovers.

I mean, we licked the platter clean.  They reminded me so much of Chipotle, and seriously were so easy.  Just throw the meat and sauce in the crockpot, cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, shred meat, and cook again for a couple hours on low.  I  added chopped lettuce and stir-fried peppers and onions, (–I feel all frugal because these peppers had seriously saggy and wrinkly skin, and I used them anyways. They were just fine.  Yay for cleaning out the fridge!) chopped cilantro and onions, and then whizzed up some sour cream/lime juice/salt/sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Everyone else ate them on tortillas, and I didn’t bother – just ate mine bowl-style.

I don’t usually cook stuff like this very often… even though it was really easy.  My go-to suppers trend towards soups, eggs, pancakes, and spaghetti.  And hot dogs.  Cooking like I did today actually requires forethought.  As in, the meat must be gotten out in the morning, instead of at 4:30 thinking oh phooey, right, I need to fix supper for my family because in an hour or two they are going to want to eat.  Again.  

So …yay for today because. 1.) being frugal and using the peppers instead of throwing them to the chickens and 2.) having forethought. 

And yay for right now, because my dearies are all in bed, (not quiet yet, but in bed, nonetheless) I have a cup of Lady Gray tea beside me, and it’s the time of day when I can relax a bit, knit a few more rows, and enjoy the end of the day.

Oh. And also, there is this.   

I do believe I will, thank you. 

yarn along: continuing the shrug saga + just him and I


I’m sipping free Starbucks as I write, sitting in Infusion Room #1 at the hospital.  Mr. E is here for an infusion that helps his nephrotic syndrome go into a prolonged remission… which = much less prednisone, not to mention all the other things that go along with relapses.  After experiencing 3 of these relapses since January, we are very excited to come have his infusion.  He has had it twice before, and it basically means we spend the day here while he sits in a recliner and sleeps/eats/does schoolwork/listens to audiobooks.  So far the sleeping has been priority #1, due to Benadryl that they use to help with side effects of the infusion.  I am so thankful for the doctors who knew my son before I did… diagnosing him and walking with us through this syndrome.  They told me today that they are still hoping for him to outgrow it by adolescence.  We know God is in control, and simply coming up and being on this particular floor is sobering. This is where the children come who need chemotherapy.  Everything is bright and white and geared towards children.. they do an excellent job of making this a pretty place.  Yet we are here, thankful that one dose of medication seems to make it possible for us to visit rarely.  I’m pretty sure that this kind of easy is not commonly seen on this floor.

We got up at 5:30, and got here in time for his 9 am appointment, and we will probably be here til late afternoon.  I went across the road desparately in search of some coffee… and lo and behold, the hotel that has a sort-of Starbucks in it poured my coffee, gave me cream, and said — “We are actually closed – Enjoy!”  I was thrilled.

I’m hoping to get plenty of knitting done today… working hard to get this shrug done, and hoping to finish it within the next week.  I’m working on the thing that goes around the outside, forgetting what it’s called… duh.  Anyways it feels like it’s taking forever. As soon as that’s done, I’m on to the sleeves which won’t take any time at all.  I’m doing well on yarn – plenty left, but I’ll have to admit I’m a bit nervous just because I have a deadline… it’s for a wedding… I want it to look right… all those things. =)

I just started reading this book, “The Insanity of God“, by Nik Ripken.  I’ve heard that this book is amazing, and life-changing, and a perspective-shifter.  I can’t wait to dig in further. For starters – the author’s name isn’t his real name, and he has changed the names of the people whose story he tells as well.  They are in danger, they are the persecuted church, and he is attempting to give them a voice as well as protect them in the process.  But this book is a personal journey of the author’s faith and the way God revives it…

….

Thankfully we all seem to be feeling better after the Two Epic Weeks of Yuck... I am so. Thankful. For a full night’s sleep. Whew. Seriously.  Sleep is something I could wax poetic about right about now.  It is so great to see my children running around again and being silly and playing and even having the energy to fuss.  (Yes, I can’t believe I’m thankful for this?!)

Yesterday I spent the day with two dear friends… we have begun a tradition of getting together every two months for the day, no kids, since we all homeschool and random get-togethers just don’t happen anymore. It was so, SO good.  They came over to my house after all my munchkins walked up to grandma’s house for the day, and we enjoyed a cup of coffee before heading out to lunch.  We ate at a fun restaurant and shared bacon and blue cheese waffle fries, (yes, that’s a thing, and it was amazing) and laughed and talked about all the important and pressing things.  We solved several of the world’s problems, I’m pretty sure.  Plus we had a chance to talk about the things we are all going through…  and just encourage each other to keep on keeping on.  Each of us have different hard things, yet we each have a testimony of how God is working and smoothing us into His image.

Well, the infusion is halfway finished, Mr. E.’s working on his long division, and I’m thinking it’s time to stop blogging about knitting and pick up my needles and actually do it!  At least, that is, until more coffee calls my name… my first cup is empty and I just might have to go in search of more soon… = )

Joining Ginny from Small Things

{yarn along} : unhurried + little pink shrug take 2

Joining Ginny

I know, I know.  It’s kind of a rerun from last week.  But I did get started on a new shrug, which is exciting!  {My model for the sweater was into doing all sorts of crazy faces. If you hadn’t noticed already.} So all that is left on shrug take one is the button.  Something wooden, most likely.  Yesterday I got in a row or two while teaching long division.  And as I knitted and made one left and made one right I was thankful that teaching math comes in small bites.  (Whew.)

I love the feeling that comes when your child has that “Aha! ” moment!  Especially when you have explained the same things for the umpteenth squared time.  He got it.  And I could’ve danced around the room when he began to fly through those problems instead of laboring over each one.  This is just one reason I am so glad we homeschool.  It’s not easy, many days are hard, we are challenged with just the logistics of people in each other’s space for this many hours at a time.  Honestly, I’m challenged with this as much or more than anything.  I said I wouldn’t ever homeschool, (!! Ha! Never say never!) and yet now I can’t imagine anything else.  Well, I can imagine mornings having coffee with other moms and a quieter house.  But I can’t really imagine not having them here with me.

For all of the chaos and arguing, for all the weariness and too-often questioning myself and whether I am doing ok and hopefully not ruining my children, there are relationships being built at our kitchen table. There are memories being made while the forts are being built.  The traditions of stories and tea, (however irregular some of those traditions can be some weeks) are things I hope these little ones never forget.

Which brings me to the book I am reading, The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson.  Oh me, oh my.  This is my new favorite book.  The tag line alone caught my heart and made me exhale.   “A simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling”.  

Aaaahhhhh.

So the other night, I filled my bath with hot-as-I-could-stand and lots of bubbles, sank in, devoured part of it, set the book down, and promptly splashed just enough water out to get my nice, brand new sigh-of-relief-in-the-form-of-a-book nice and wet. Thankfully it’s not ruined, and I picked it up again yesterday.  This book is from a mama who has been there and done that with 8 children. And it, like Teaching from Rest did a year ago, is confirming so many things that God has already brought to my heart. Gentle learning environment. Keeping things simple.

This quote:

The latest trend to “educate early” is in direct opposition to nature. The child’s level of development plays a huge part in their ability to grasp whatever we are trying to teach them. ….If it’s interesting to them, they will learn so much more.   … In fact, studies show that in two or three years, a child can learn everything they need to know for success in high school and college.”


I love this –

“You have a God-given compass inside you when it comes to raising your children…”

Just as a sidenote – this woman has several children who are finished with school,  some who are in college and several whom she is teaching at home still. She speaks of their children who are in high school now being fully engaged with their education because they have had time to explore and discover.

When someone writes from experience, it gives so much meaning to to their words.  And she speaks of listening to her intuition.  Laying self-doubt aside. Being unhurried.  Not despairing over the seasons of making meals, changing diapers, and trying to keep the house falling apart, because children are always, always learning.  It may be that sitting down to read a book is the very best thing for the day. And the most necessary!

Yesterday we managed to get in our read-aloud we hadn’t picked up for awhile, “The Story of the Treasure Seekers” by Edith  and later on when the girls were napping we started our Story of the World we just got, and read about Lewis and Clark. We are also reading Seaman – a story about the dog that travelled on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The TruthQuest spiral bound book pictured is what I have been using for our history curriculum. It is excellent and gives chronological book recommendations throughout history, as well as brief overviews that are quite compelling.  Both Story of the World and Seaman are recommended (along with a whole HOST of other options).

It’s a beautiful Wednesday here… shining sun and children racing outside with bananas for a snack and plans to act out the Underground Railroad since Mr. J just devoured “The Drinking Gourd”  (by F.N. Monjo).  It  talks about slavery and a little boy who figures out that his home is a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that slaves are to follow the Drinking Gourd (Big Dipper) north to freedom.

There’s apple pie and more coffee in the coffee pot, if you don’t mind the scattered legos and laundry everywhere, stop in and we’ll knit and chat a bit! = )

{yarn along} :: little pink shrug + returning home

Joining Ginny                                                                                                                              


I’ve been working on the first of three little pink shrugs that will be worn by my girls and my niece for the upcoming wedding of my brother in law and soon-to-be sister in law. This one is completed except for a wooden button and blocking, and I’m ready to start on the second.  Wedding is in April… and I began this one the end of January. So I’m hoping that the combination of the familiarity of the second time around + about 2 months til the wedding will = getting them done on time.   I’m not overly worried about it, but I know I don’t have any extra wiggle room. The pattern is Miss Daisy, and it’s delightful to make.  I’m using Malabrigo Rios in English Garden, and the color is so girly and sweet it’s just a pleasure to work on.  Truly it’s a quick knit.  I’ve not worked on it constantly at all, and it’s really only taken about 3-4 weeks of sporadic knitting to get this one mostly finished.  They will wear them with little cream dresses that my sister in law is making.. and I was thrilled to be doing the knitting part and to let her do the sewing part.  Sewing is definitely something I’d like to get better at, and do more of… but I’d much rather sit down with my needles and yarn at this point. 

I’m almost finished with A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker.  It’s excellent.  The story line follows a young Bedouin woman who meets Jesus in a life-changing encounter.  I’m looking forward to the next one, A.D. 33.   The other book I’m reading, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, is a very interesting story about a man who walked the entire Appalachian Trail and journaled his experiences as he went.   It’s a kindle book, and was free, and it’s been a fun, mindless read. I’m not a hiker.  At all.  So I can’t fathom actually doing something like this for fun – I would much rather read about it, thank you very much.   

This morning we are home from a not-quite two week trip to California…. and I am on my 3rd cup of coffee.  It’s an absolute delight to sit in my very own chair, with the sunlight streaming warm onto the familiar quilt wrapped around my feet…  There really is nothing like coming home.  It was such a good trip.  Good to see friends and reconnect… to see my parents and brother and niece… to have the privilege of another few times beside my grandma.  I thought a lot about what home means and how interesting it is that California still feels like home, yet I came home last night and this is home.  I wish that it was possible to gather all of “my people” and have them be in one place.  All the family, all the kindred spirits, all the special people that have known me and that I have known my whole life. 

There is something so comforting about being around people who know your story, your roots, your family.  Who know what you were like when you were little (well, most of the time that’s comforting)….   It can be a challenge in all of life to find that balance between enjoyment of things without gripping onto them too tightly.  Holding loosely onto blessings.  Enjoying them for what they are.  Knowing that change comes, and it’s good to grow and learn. 

Last night we stopped to get a few essentials on our way home from the airport.  It had been a long day – up since 2:30, long flights, tired kids and tired us, a screaming 2 year old on the 2.5 hour drive home from the airport… disconnect and misunderstandings between my husband and I that had went on for too many days.   And as I walked through the familiar aisles of Walmart, a small reminder edged its way into my heart.   

Thank Me.

So I did.  

Small, seemingly insignificant things. 

Thank You that I am walking. 

Thank You for the bread in my shopping cart.  And whipping cream for my coffee in the morning.

Thank you for fresh oranges in our suitcases. 

Thank You that my children aren’t sick anymore.

Thank you for my husband.

Thank you for a safe trip home.

I got in the vehicle and we drove home, and I forgot about thankfulness for a bit while there were still annoyances and a tired 2 year old and a smelly garage from kittens when we got home. 

But then I remembered again. 

Thank you for my bed.

Thank you for the soft cheeks and sweet kisses.

Thank you for the words “Rock me, Mommy”.

Thank you for boyish excitement over being home.

Thank you for renewed friendship.

Thank you for a long-overdue talk with my husband.

It’s always a perspective-shifter.  And I seem to need the reminder on a very regular basis. (Which is possibly -no it IS why it’s a common theme in my blog posting. – Sorry for the redundancy, dear reader.)

It doesn’t automatically make all the yuck go away.  The 2 year old still screams, the communication issues are still there, there are still messes everywhere I look this morning.  But somehow, the light shifts on everything and the mercies and joys are glowing a bit more, rather than being hidden behind a cloud of mundane. 

Today I’m not rushing anything, I’m still savoring the memories of the last few weeks, and I look forward to cooking supper in my own kitchen this evening.  We aren’t doing school because my kidlets need to run and play and build blocks and Legos, and fix eggs and hold kitties. 

It’s good to be home.