waiting

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It’s that time where I start to get texts and inquiries from people, where neighbors walk by and holler, “you still here?” and all those last minute projects feel so terribly crucial.  Every day it seems I make a little bit of progress mentally in checking things off my list to be ready for baby.  I’m just a few days away from my due date, but I’m feeling more peaceful about it all than I have with any of my other pregnancies.  Thats a gift from the Lord!  I had a ton of anxiety going into my birth with Philippa after such a traumatic delivery and recovery with Noah.  Because her birth went so much better, I’m feeling more at peace with how this one will go.  Of course, I say that and that could change as soon as labor actually begins!  Pray for me and with me that I would remain at peace, fixed and focused, and full of joy.  I’ve just been feeling more joy and excitement to meet this little one than anything else.  I’m treasuring these last days with her moving around quietly inside, knowing I may never experience this again.  And I’m enjoying good nights of solid rest, knowing those will evade me soon for some weeks.

I appreciate the little bursts of energy and motivation I have some days to get things accomplished that have been waiting for attention for months.  Reorganizing the open shelving in our kitchen.  Hanging new light fixtures as well as treasured photos that have been sitting in boxes since we moved in.  Giving all the kids hair cuts on the porch, and wishing I could squeeze in one for myself.  (I’m desperate enough to be tempted to cut my own.)  I love seeing the little basinet in our bedroom when I glance down the hall, knowing it will have new life in it again soon.  This new little person we don’t know yet, but soon won’t be able to imagine our lives without.  The bursts of energy do help to get projects done, but usually they are followed by days of increased tiredness.  It’s just the rhythm for now, and I’m being gentle with myself in it, for the most part.

Phoebe and I are still working diligently on school, but I can feel myself losing steam and motivation there.  Brandon is starting to take her to her weekly co-op so I can stay home with the littles and the change of schedule is a little weird for us, but also really neat to have him more involved in her schooling.  It’ll only be short-term as I recover from birth and keep the baby home for the first number of weeks.  My parents treated us to a really fancy date the other night, maybe the nicest restaurant we’ve ever eaten at, and we talked so much about our kids and schooling.  His thoughts and observations were really fun to hear and helpful to me, and made me feel like he’s getting a peek into my “work” that helps him understand a bit more of my world.  I love that he’s interested and truly enjoys doing schooling with Phoebe when he gets the chance, and that he has ideas and excitement for our future in it with all the kids.

My parents also gifted us a new BOB stroller which is so generous and helpful, and when they were watching the kids during our date the other night, they all brainstormed name ideas and wrote them all over the box.  Super cute, and I wanted to snap a picture of it so we don’t forget.  We still haven’t 100% decided on a name, I have literally so many I love (few that Brandon approves of, though), and I think as usual we’ll just need to meet her and see what fits.  But don’t give me suggestions!!  We want to name this little one. 🙂

This week has been up in the mid-seventies and sunny here in NC, and it feels so odd to me to be ready to welcome a baby in such weather!  All my babies thus far have been born in the deep middle of winter.  It’s fun and different this time.  I have a feeling this little one wants a March birthday.  I’ll keep you posted, but know that it may be quieter around the blog for a little bit!

signs of life

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Last Friday as well as today we’ve gone for little hikes because both days have been unseasonably warm, sunny, and beautiful.  Actually the last few days this week have been so spring-like and warm, it’s hard to believe it’s mid-February.  Part of me is enjoying it, because who can resist being outside on days like this?  Part of me is a bit sad.. it feels too early, and I still wanted a few more blustery winter days.  Maybe we’ll still have some.  I know everyone seems to love spring the most, and it is irresistible with its bright colors, blooms, sounds and abundance, but I still love dreary winter most of all.  I guess I was assuming this baby would be born in the midst of cold days and nights and somehow it feels wrong for everything to be so warm already.

Anyway, the children are loving it and have been outside as much as they are able during the day.  I’ve noticed the days slowly stretching longer and longer, and what a good effect it has on all of us to have a little more light to enjoy.

Last Friday we went for a short, easy hike at a place nearby called Jump Off Rock.  It was truly beautiful and a great picnic spot, so I was glad I had packed our lunch.  Afterwards the kids stretched out with bare toes in the sun and then climbed around the rocks, finding a little passageway/cave through them.

Our weeks have felt really busy lately, even though I can’t say we have a ton of “activities” going on, per say.  Weekly OB and chiropractor appointments for me, as well as trying to get in our weekly grocery trips (I usually go to at least 3 different stores), homeschool co-op, library trips, other random errands, and school work/house work seem to fill up our days to the full.  I’ve been nesting like crazy, too–working on finalizing things in Noah/baby’s room, like having Brandon make and hang those shelves for me (which I haven’t finished organizing quite yet), organizing boxes of stuff in the school room, etc.  You know, the important things.  Meanwhile, the car seat is still not installed in the car and I don’t have a hospital bag ready or anything like that.  We are delivering at a different hospital than we have with all the other children, and we still haven’t done a hospital visit.  I think we vaguely know where to go.  I’m still trying to knit a few items before baby comes, too.  I feel like my brain is all over the place and I only have 10 days left before due date.  Nothing much is happening yet and I feel mostly normal, just increasingly tired and big.  Something must have changed because now everywhere I go people look and smile and somehow know I’m due any day.  Lots of “ready to pop” comments from strangers.

I am trying to get as much school work done with Phoebe as I can before baby comes and throws a wrench in things.  I’m not sure exactly what we’ll be able to accomplish or how much time we’ll need to take off before I can get back in the rhythm with her, so I’m trying to diligently get in a good solid 4-5 days a week while I can.  She and I seem to have hit a hard spot with math, which has historically been her favorite subject, but as it gets harder she has been “dreading” it, she tells me.  We’ve started doing it first thing in the morning versus the copywork/language arts we normally focus on first thing, but it doesn’t seem to be making much difference.  Maybe having Brandon teach her and fill in a bit while I’m recovering with new baby will be refreshing for all of us?  Reading with her, history, science, art–these are all a breeze and enjoyable for both of us.  Hoping she and I can still spend a good bit of time snuggled up reading while new little baby girl sleeps.

Today we went to a local historic home, the Carl Sandberg home, which we have really enjoyed visiting in the spring/summer months for picnics and to see new baby goats.  With all the flu going around rampant in our area, I’ve been trying to avoid public places so our hikes and walks have been more in the woods and less at parks/playgrounds.  Our hike today was just lovely, and I told the children to be looking for signs of new life.  They saw a pilated woodpecker, new little buds forming, and heard lots of birds singing.  The first set of twin kid goats are due in about a month, so we’ll be back soon to see and play with them.  We’ve been seeing daffodils and crocuses pushing up through the soil on our neighborhood walks, too.  Just before I snapped that picture of the three of them holding hands, Noah had asked Phoebe, who had come back to me to tell me something, to keep having a little conversation with him, and they ran off holding hands.  A sweet little moment.  They spend a lot of time together and there is always a lot of friction between them because of it, but they really adore each other too.  Its always encouraging for me to see the good moments happen.  Don’t worry, the hike ended with its fair share of whining and weariness, and we squeezed in a library visit afterwards, which was probably pushing it being everyone was already “starving.”  But we survived and recovered this afternoon with naps + quiet time spent with fresh library books.

 

 

january

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A fresh new year—the ending of one year and the beginning of another makes us all pause, take note, consider, evaluate.  Even when we don’t want to, don’t have the energy to, or don’t believe in setting goals, intentions, or making resolutions–somehow we still in some way find ourselves reflective.  Even when we’re afraid all we say we will change and do and accomplish will inevitably fail, and all the ways we plan to better ourselves might end up like last year’s plans.  We still find ourselves wanting.  New Years resolutions–aren’t they filled with wanting?  And there’s nothing really wrong with that in some ways.  It’s natural for us to want to improve, change, increase, grow.  It’s good and right.  It’s the natural way for any living thing: to grow.

Yet I sometimes hear in all our New Years talk a lot of discontent.  We chatter on about the things we want to attain for ourselves this year, the things we think we need to have to be happier, more comfortable, more seen and known, contented, successful.  In this I think we have to be careful.  Yes, let us reflect, let us learn to number our days–but not for our own glory and renown, but for God’s glory and the sake of the kingdom.  Let us evaluate where in life we have gotten off track in regard to His purposes for us, and endeavor to readjust.

Gratitude is good and right, too–seeing what we already have, seeing all the gifts of God’s grace, seeing how far He has brought us and trusting Him to carry us all the way Home.  Remembering that truly we need far less than we think, remembering that our happiness comes not in our feeding our fleshly desires but in denying them.  In letting God fulfill us, satisfy us.  Remembering that if we are discontent today with all the bounty we have before us, we will still be discontent tomorrow even if we attain more.  Remembering that God alone is our good, our portion, our inheritance–and if we are in Christ, we always have Him, and that is enough.  There is always joy available to us, there is always grace as long as we have breath, there is always the opportunity to be content.

In the years before I was a mother, I often would spend a portion of New Years Eve and day journaling about the big moments of the closing year, and the things I felt God had done in me and in my life, and then recording where I found myself at that present time and the scripture I sensed God was highlighting for me for the coming year.  This season of motherhood and being late in my fourth pregnancy makes finding such uninterrupted time for journaling scarce.  Instead of feeling “behind” because I don’t have all my reflections and thoughts in order by the first of January, I’ve been taking the whole month of January as a time of reflection.

It’s been a sweet month in that way.  The rush of the holy holidays behind us, children’s birthdays done for a year, and now stretching before us a string of ordinary days.  Back to our common life.  Mornings spent mostly at home working on school, house work, small projects here and there, organizing, cooking, playing in the mud and snow, trips to the library, neighborhood walks, books on the couch, pizza on fridays.  Weekends spent cramming in as much time with daddy, to-do list items crossed off before baby comes, running errands, worship and rest.  There has been a lot of journaling, listening, reflecting in the early morning quiet, when the world is still hushed and dark and I sit with the scriptures and coffee.

But the beginning of this year was also hard.  Brandon worked the first two weeks straight without taking a day off, working late into the evenings, and it took a toll on us both.  During that time I was also sick with a head cold, as well as some other body grievances, and felt pretty wiped out and depleted.  Phoebe has had some major setbacks in her appetite and eating, which has caused me to do a good bit of revamping our usual staples, recipe testing, and recipe hunting, which is all very exhausting.  I’ve had my share of breakdowns over the last month, nights when I just end the day in a pool of tears.  So yes, January: back to the ordinary, which can be sweet, but also can feel like a slow plod forward with a summit far off in the distance, obscured by clouds.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my way and can’t remember what my course is supposed to be anyway.

It’s never too late to step back and take time, take stock.  Even if in your January there wasn’t much time for it, February is as good a time as any.

There are a few extra-biblical resources I would recommend to you if you’re looking for a few books to help you along the way.  These particular titles kept coming to mind throughout this past month, books that have grounded and inspired and set me on course.

  • The Songs of Jesus: A year of daily devotions in the Psalms by Tim Keller
    I believe this is the third or fourth year I’ve read through this devotional daily.  Some years ago I was studying the Psalms and bought this resource to help stay saturated in them, and I don’t know that I’ll ever really graduate from daily reading the Psalms.  This  book is helpful in that it is short and entirely feasible to squeeze in when you literally have moments to read before little children’s feet hit the floor.  It’s also one I frequently read aloud to Brandon or the kids if they are up early snuggling with me.
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson
    I read this years ago in college but am curious to re-read it lately.  This concept of our Christian lives being “a long  obedience in the same direction,” the endurance and seemingly slow returns of the Christian life rings true for me lately.  The world seems to be spinning ahead faster and faster, and we are a people more entitled and impatient than ever.  Yet if we do not remember and return to this reality, that our Christian lives will look more like a long obedience in one narrow direction, I believe we will lose heart and fall away.  We need encouragement in our endurance!  Also, this book happens to center around the Psalms of Ascent:  “I knew that following Jesus could never develop into a ‘long obedience’ without a deepening life of prayer and that the Psalms had always been the primary means by which Christians learned to pray everything they lived, and live everything they prayed over the long haul.” (Peterson)
  • Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson
    This book, combined with Emily Freeman’s book below, were two that gave me permission to pursue some dreams and passions and desires of my heart, to make room in my life for creative expression (this blog, photography, knitting, reading) and to see God’s purpose in it.  The two books together seemed to have a conversation in my soul that helped me discern more of my purpose, which was incredibly freeing and fruitful.
  • A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
    See above. 🙂
  • Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love by Jerry Bridges
    This one came to me a few years ago in a terrible season of battling a besetting sin.  I needed to understand how God’s grace was literally transforming me when I felt that I was making no headway.  This is just one of those books I think any Christian can benefit from reading at any time, but particularly those of us who just can’t seem to get beyond moralistic living, those of us who always come to God with our performance in our right hand, whether for good or ill.

I know many people choose a “word” for the year.  I find God often seems to choose a word for the year for me, a scripture.  (Sometimes I think we are skeptical that God speaks to us in this way, but I have found that if I ask Him to give me a word (scripture) over the coming year, a focus, a truth that He is planning to weave into the fabric of my life in those days–and then I wait for Him to answer–I find that He has always answered.  His primary means of speaking to us is through His Word, and He loves His Word (see Psalm 119) and delights to answer a cry from a heart hungry for His Word.  I think we can be confident that praying this is praying in accord with His will (1 Jn. 5:14)).

He seems to highlight and repeat a certain scripture to me, something that speaks to a current need or struggle or question.  This year, the word “peace” came up in my soul so unexpectedly.  We live in tumultuous times, yes, but in my own home and heart, there is a cry for peace!   And then, this scripture came up time and time again, everywhere I turned.  It will be my focus for the year 2018, and I leave it with you, too, as an encouragement onward in your own race!  I hope that in this new year, you and I both find ourselves walking a bit more closely with Jesus, growing in grace.

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21 esv

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her seventh

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Dear sweet phoebe girl

Seven years with you has both flown by and also seemed like a lifetime.  I can barely remember what our world was like without you in it.  You came and you brought so much light and joy to our home, you made us a family.  You were so small, wrinkly, and frail and we thought there was no way we should be entrusted to care for such a precious little bundle.

Year after year you have delighted and surprised us.  You have gone through so very much in this last year, probably one of your hardest years yet.  Watching you undergo your second and third endoscopy and colonoscopy, as well as doing the hardest elimination diet I’ve ever known for 3 full months–so tough that none of us even felt we could do it with you.  It was painful to watch, to walk through with you, the tears, the questions you would ask, hearing your sweet prayers asking God to heal your body.  And then finally, a glimmer of hope.  A clear endoscopy, but still elevated antibody levels in your blood.  By this year’s end, we finally got those numbers under control–so much work and so much “going without” for you, and I’m so proud of what you’ve had to endure.  It’s going to be a long road ahead for you, but you are the strongest, bravest, most positive little girl I know.  I think you’re going to do just fine.

In the process of all of that, we moved from our rental in with Grandpa and Rainey while we waited to find and then close on our house, then finally into our new home.  Lots of change and busyness, us trying to keep up with your schooling in the midst of it.  Summer came and we found out a new baby was on its way to us, and momma was pretty wiped out with sickness for the next few months.  Then, in the fall you began first grade!  You were so proud, telling everyone everywhere we went about it and how grown up you are now.

Its sort of ironic that you are the firstborn, and yet your birthday comes last in our string of holiday birthdays.  It’s so hard for you to wait until it’s finally your turn.  In the barely-there hints of morning light you came stumbling out of bed to see the house decorated for a day just for you, pink wrapping and homemade birthday banners strung up around all the christmas decorations.  We gave you the option to open all your gifts right away, knowing how hard it is for you to wait, but you wanted to do what Philippa and Noah did and open a few at breakfast and save the rest for later.  You opened the bonnet I knit for you, which you’ve been asking for for a long time.  It just fits, but maybe after a good blocking it’ll fit a bit better.  We also gave you a new dress for your Kaya doll (American girl doll) and some of her trading accessories for when she would go to trade her wares.  What fun it was last year to read through all the Kaya books with you, and we need to reread them!  You immediately had to dress her in her new things and you were so excited to have her with you all day long.

It was a rainy, gray day so we decided to go into town for a little walk.  It was the first time we’ve walked around in our little hometown and gone into all the shops that interest us.  It was really fun!  You pushed Kaya around everywhere and were so careful to keep her dry in the rain.  Later in the afternoon, you opened the rest of your gifts.  Your dresses and new pjs from grandparents.  We gave you your first real bible, now that you’re reading.  What a fun time your daddy and I had picking out just the right one for you at the bookstore.  I gave you the sweater I had knit for you, and you threw it on right away.  I love knitting for you because you enjoy it so.  I had also put together a little sewing kit for you–your own little scissors, needles, pack of floss, embroidery hoops and aida cloth.  You were so excited, as I thought you might be, and wanted to get started on it right away.

You wanted pizza for dinner and of course chocolate cake with strawberries.  What a sweet and joy-filled day, simple cozy and full.  It never feels adequate to sum up how we feel, but we love you so very much.  So very proud of you and excited to walk with you into this new year, wondering what it will hold.  How I treasure our morning snuggles, our tea and knitting time, reading together, cooking together.  Grow strong and true, my little girl.  Let go of what you can’t hold onto anyway.  Lean the full weight of who you are and your desires on your Savior.  He loves you more than we can imagine, He has a good plan, He is busy working it all out for your good and for His glory.  Run your race with joy, with hope, with faith, and keep those little eyes fixed on Him all the way.  We’re right here, cheering you on in every step.

Love you always and forever
xo
Mama

Noey’s day (5!)

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Your favorite foods are pizza (in your daddy’s footsteps), applesauce, cereal and pancakes, chips and popcorn.  You are still addicted to your dee-T (blankie) which is fine by me.  Rue the day you outgrow dee-T!  You are sensitive, careful, a tinkerer, loud and wiggly, bouncy and giggly, a lover of music (drums especially) and riding bikes.  You can’t wait to grow up and have a “real race car with a trailer behind it.”

This was maybe the most fun birthday we’ve had with you yet because you were actually excited about opening presents and didn’t mind us singing happy birthday to you since it was just us.  When you opened your playmobil “trash truck” (recycling) you said, “Yes!! Now we can go trashing all day!”  You held it up at the window for the trash men to see when they went by the next day, and they honked at you and gave a thumbs up.  It was a treat to see you build your lego airplane with daddy and I think you’re finally at the age where you really enjoy legos and playmobil.  It always surprises me how much you love your hand knits, and you wanted to put your new birthday sweater on right away.  I’m just glad it actually fit well!  You reminded me all day that you wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and that you wanted cereal for dinner.  I made spaghetti, which is another of your favorites, hoping to entice you with it, but in the end relented and let you have cereal.

I look forward to the adventures we’ll have in the coming year!  Welcoming a new baby with you as my big boy helper, spring and planting our garden, fall and your official start of school.  So many new things to come!  Your daddy and I adore you and thank God for you.  Happy 5th birthday!

Love,
Mom

winter rose

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Christmas morning dawned beautifully here.  The light did somehow seem different–rosy pink, fresh, full of new life.  The children were up not too early, mostly their usual time, while I was busy making coffee and grain-free cinnamon rolls.  I had saved a little frosting from Phoebe’s cake to put on top of the cinnamon rolls and they were heavenly.  We opened stockings first, giving them our usual things–socks, underwear, toothbrushes, candies and dried fruits, some purple sock yarn for phoebe, a toy car for noah, a bath toy turtle for philippa.  Just little items, over which they took such joy!  (As I’m typing this I just now remembered I forgot to tuck one little gift into Noah and Phoebe’s stocking!  Ahh!  My poor brain.  Lately I really feel worn down, brain tired.  It doesn’t bode well for starting school back up with phoebe next week.)  After stockings, we had breakfast and read the Christmas story from the scriptures, and then commenced opening gifts under the tree.

We told the children in the fall that the play gym we were working on for them would be their big christmas gift.  I had bought each of them a coloring book and a chalkboard slate (really actually need these for school), but otherwise we didn’t have presents for them to open Christmas morning.  They had a couple gifts from grandparents to open, and their Hape Mine Mountain train toy was a huge hit!  Brandon gifted me a Fringe Supply project bag which I love, and some sock yarn that I’ve been eyeing for awhile.  I bought him a warm Carhartt coat for work.  I did manage to finish knitting his beanie at midnight on Christmas Eve, just in the “nick” of time, as they say.  Brandon and I had been talking about getting a family gift of a kitty for the kids, but kept going back and forth about the timing and whether or not we really could afford to take on a pet right now.  It’s been years since we’ve had any pets and I admit, it’s been so nice!  I kept imagining a little white kitten in a box under the tree, and a few days before Christmas Brandon visited a local shelter and adopted one.  Some kind friends cat-sat her for us until Christmas Eve, and we kept her hidden in the sunroom while the kids slept.  We had them each open a part of the family gift–a set of bowls, a cat bed, a cat toy–and then they opened the box she was in.  Their reaction was quieter than we expected, I think they were shocked that there was a real live animal right in our living room.  Slowly the giggles and glee and squeals took over!  It’s been such a joy the last few days to see them interact with her, care for her, figure out how to pick her up carefully or get her to play with them.  We don’t know much of her backstory, but she is 3 months old and the shelter had named her Belmont, but the kids have decided to name her Winter Rose, and mostly are just calling her Rose. I am slowly warming up to her, too, kittens are just irresistible.  I am, however, holding to my position that she be an outside cat come spring.

After Christmas morning we had a small lunch and then headed out for a hike instead of putting kids down for naps.  It was absolutely freezing here, but I was especially craving some time out on the quiet parkway nearby, so we drove a short way up and hopped on the Mountain to Sea trail for a bit of a hike.  Despite my bad back pain (which has been the worst this pregnancy) it was still so nice to be out breathing fresh cold mountain air for a bit.  We came home and Brandon helped me make a simple Christmas dinner just for us–baked ham, scalloped potatoes, and a salad of mixed greens, citrus + pomegranate.  I had hoped to make a cherry pie for Brandon, but just didn’t have the energy to pull it off.  I will surprise him with one soon, he’s been waiting for one since Thanksgiving.  I’m feeling really weary after all the kid’s birthdays, holiday celebrations, and I’m looking forward to the next couple months which will hopefully be more quiet until baby comes in February.

It was a simple day spent together, and there was some quiet ache in the midst of all the beauty–the longing for things we can’t quite name that always seems to be stirred up on Christmas day.  The children were happy and we were tired and happy with them.  I think our Advent season this year was one of my favorites–as they get older, it is so rewarding to see them learn and understand and process.  It’s sad to let it go, and today I think I’ll begin packing away some of the decorations.  But our hearts are full from the time together and our minds are turning now to the new year and whatever hopeful things may be in store for us in it.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying these last few days of 2017, and that the year to come is full of hope and promise and joy for you!  I’ll be back to share pictures from Noah and Phoebe’s birthday soon.

first snow

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The “first” everything in this home is special, as we are still finding our way in these four walls.  Decorating the house for the Christmas season is new, finding new homes for old favorite decorations.

I’ve been looking forward to our first snow in this home for a long time, really since before we bought the home.  Last February we were out of our rental, living temporarily with my parents while waiting to close on this home, and we drove over one day to drive by the house on a snowy day.  The neighborhood was transformed, so quiet and pretty and white, and we couldn’t wait for the day when we’d be building snowmen in the yard and tracking footprints all over the yard in our own fresh snow.

The snow began early in the morning before the kids were up, and it just kept coming and coming, all day long.  We had a playdate at a friend’s house and had a blast playing in the snow together with them, stayed through lunch and then realized the roads were quite covered and we had better hurry home.  We slid around all the way, but made it safely.  I had the kids rest briefly but then we couldn’t bear to not be out playing in it all.  Daddy came home from work early with milk and a couple other provisions and we prepared to hunker down for the weekend.  We were prepared to lose power, as some other folks around us had, but miraculously we didn’t.  Church was canceled on Sunday but our roads were relatively clear by then, so we headed instead to our very favorite pottery place in a nearby town, where we have gone every Christmas season since before Phoebe was born.  They have an open house the second weekend of December usually, and you can get a free small pottery mug (per person) and they have hot cider, snacks and treats, live folksy music, and crafts for kids.  We often buy a little christmas ornament or something there to support them and it’s just one of the most Christmasy feeling things we look forward to doing during the season.  So festive and fun.  We try to get a picture every year in front of their cheery red door.

Otherwise, I’ve attempted to keep our December still and quiet.  Advent readings and Christmas hymns begin and end our days.  We’ve made yummy grain-free Christmas cookies (though I never got around to making icing for them) similar to these.  We decorated the tree one evening and remembered all our favorite ornaments.  I treasure the junky kid-made ornaments, especially the ones from last year that Phoebe made while in the hospital in Winston Salem waiting for her endoscopy procedure.  My, what can change in a year’s time.  Phoebe has been practicing for weeks at church to sing in the Christmas children’s choir, and she requested a solo.  They sang last Sunday and what a joy it was to see her do so well, and to see her making new friends at our new church home.

This week is busy with birthday celebrations and today will probably be our quietest day until after Christmas.  Phoebe turns 7 tomorrow and I still have a few things to do to prepare.  Mostly, I just can’t believe that teeny tiny baby girl has gotten so big, grown-up, sophisticated and smart.  Sob.  With little ones, our lives are filled with change even as we try to nail a few things down around us.

I hope your December has been cheerful and meaningful thus far, and that you are enjoying these last few days before Christmas.  If I don’t pop in here before then, Merry Christmas to you and yours!  May you find Jesus to be enough for you, the very fulness of joy, and every other good merely the overflow of His grace.