Friday, December 23, 2011

It looks like Christmas

For the first time in a long time, Christmas has been more about the waiting, the looking, the anticipation this year. Though the to-do list remains, it doesn't weigh on my heart and mind nearly as much as the 8-pound baby boy we celebrate. He continues to clear a path to the manger...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For the kids, by the kids

We have something on a Christmas tradition around our house – one I'd like to see the end of, quite frankly. It goes like this: around December 23 or 24, Abigail decides she wants to do some Christmas shopping and buys gifts for her parents and siblings. So Toby takes her out, fighting last minute crowds, to try to find something meaningful and inexpensive. Then, the other kids realize what's going on and they want to go shopping too, but there is no way either of us is willing to head back out into the fray. Therefore, they are somewhat disgruntled.
I had a different idea this year: what if they started making gifts ahead of time? They all liked the idea, so I met with each of them individually to see what they wanted to make. Some of their ideas were pretty off the wall, but with some guidance, they've each come up with some cute gift plans for their siblings that they can do mostly by themselves.
Abigail has made Anna and Ellie each a scarf. Honestly, I don't think it gets much easier than this, folks. We measured a piece of remnant fleece from JoAnn's, cut and fringed. It took us maybe 15 minutes to do both. If you've got any really last minute gifts to give, let it be this!

 Anna's made a dolly scarf for Abi (well, for the doll, really, but you get the point) and some mittens for Ellie. The mittens were basically a matter of borrowing a pair of Ellie's gloves and tracing the pattern onto an old sweater, cutting and sewing. Because Anna's not too experienced with the sewing machine yet, I helped with the stitching. The other thing she made was this little hat for Dan. While again I did the machine work, she cut out the little star and did the hand sewing. This is what takes most of the time, anyway.

I think I'm most excited about Noah's gifts. For Abi and Anna, he's made knitting needles! So cute! Helpfully, the girls do actually knit, and I think they'll really like these. We took some wooden dowels that I had set aside in my craft closet (originally bought at JoAnn's, I believe) and gave them a gentle sanding. Then we rubbed them down with some leather wax. Once Noah chose the buttons he thought the girls would like from my button collection, I used the hot glue gun to stick them on. To be honest, I've seen this done with polymer clay, which would probably work better, but I really wanted to stick with what I had on hand for this one. I'm really happy with how it all turned out!

Clearly, we have more to do, but I'm pleased with the "jump" we got on things, relatively speaking. I'm looking forward to seeing what else their creative juices inspire.
So, how does everyone else handle joy of sibling gifting? Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Knitting

Slowly but surely, we're getting there...
Dan's vest is complete:
The pattern is Kid's Vest from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Yarn is the wonderful-to-work-with Spud & Chloe Sweater, color Chipmunk. Perfect.
I'm currently working on a matching one for Noah. I'm not sure I'll finish in time, but we'll see how it goes.
A sweater that even the fuss-budget likes!

Pattern is Drive Thru, downloaded on ravelry. Yarn is all Cascade 220 Heathers.
I had to modify it quite a bit: Abi is such a skinny minny that I made it up for size 8, which fits her perfectly around the body, but left the waist and arms very short. I added about six inches ( six inches!!) to the length for both the body and arms. Love.

I'm still working on Toby's Man Vest, and I don't think I'll finish before Christmas. Now that I'm at the final stages of finishing the neck and armholes, I'm running out of yarn. I'm not confident that I've got enough to finish, but I'm that somehow it'll last. Who knows - the widow's oil didn't run out, so maybe God will sustain my yarn supply? Knitting in faith, this is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

For the little girls...

...there are a couple new items that might be of interest... the shop.

Multitude Mondays

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17
  • Seeing Ellie really swimming on her own
  • Seeing Anna really give her best at public speaking
  • fun Christmas parties
  • our new Senior Pastor!
  • celebrating my Mom's 60th birthday at her surprise party - that was actually a surprise!
  • watching the kids play Red Rover from my spot by the fire
  • how the big kids so often let the little kids win
  • babies that sleep in your arms
  • the end of Christmas shopping
  • waking up early in a cold, quiet house
  • fresh coffee


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finding the counter

I have years of experience battling the paper pile. I think most people do, and most people wage war on it in a number of ways. Me, I've long used the "Pile and Hide" tactic: the one where it sits and grows and breeds until company comes over and you quickly sweep it all undercover until it can be weeded through. Then, of course, you realize that this is multi-phased operation, since you eventually unearth it all and have to go through old mail, overdue bills and forgotten invitations (and this may take a while).
Needless to say, this method was not ensuring much success. In fact, it seemed to be working as a double agent - the problem only ever got worse, instead of better. But one day, I was looking at Pintrest and found an idea. (I don't remember who did it, but I'm sure you could find it if you really wanted to.) I took the idea, went for a shopping trip to Target, made a few little tweaks of my own, and this is what I came up with:

Contained within my handy-dandy counter file are about 10 or so files suited to my needs: "For Action" (for bills to be paid or anything that needs to be dealt with), "For Filing" (since our filing cabinet is in another room, it seemed sensible to have a holding place for all those papers), "Homeschool" (to keep track of our current curriculum, possible future curriculum details, and any extra school-related forms), & "Sales and Circulars" (for all the sale & coupons that come through the mail - those that I might actually use, that is) to name a few. I also keep in the box my Thankful journal, my weekly/monthly planner (when it's not in my bag) and my "Brain" - basically a glorified daily to-do list in a composition book.

Honestly, it makes me happy. I like the feeling of having a place for it all, and a place I can find it all in to boot. It's been easy to keep in order, too. When a file gets a little thick, I go through and deal with it, whether that means throwing out old stuff, using the current or moving the "keepers" to a permanent file.
As it turns out, I seem to have found a counter top under all that mess. I had almost forgotten it was there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Multitude Monday

In no particular order:
* Toby staying home from work to care for me and the kids when I didn't feel well
* Only being in bed for a day before feeling lots better
* doing some Christmas-gift making with the kids
* being invited to a friends' house for dinner, and having a wonderful time!
* taking the kids to see the Abingdon Lights (if you're local, try to visit!)
* frost on the ground
* a good doctor's report for a friend
* money to cover the bills, and then some
* remembering how He reached out for me...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trying to Breathe

It's happening.

Despite doing my best to keep on top of all that comes with the Christmas season and all that we've turned it into, I'm gasping for air.

I don't yet feel like there's no time (I think I've got another couple weeks before that feeling slides in), but it's more that everything's happening at once. In a family of 5 children, 3 of which are homeschooling, there's a general, everyday sense of keeping those juggling balls in the air, but adding in the extra shopping, the extra cooking, the extra self-imposed craft deadlines (how's that for a joykill?), the parties and events, the decorating, and the determination to do fun things with the kids rather than sidelining them for my whirling-dervish routine, has steadily been working at edging out the whole purpose of why we do this.

And why do we do this? Not the "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"- this, but the crazy-this? Is Jesus the reason I make myself crazy with the to-do list? Not really. He never asked for all this, never suggested that the calendar overflow along with the cup. I think I do it because I like it. I like seeing people, cooking, making things for myself and others, and trying to make this time of year special. But I'm finding that when it's all about me, what I'd like to accomplish and do, then it's no longer about Jesus. And, I have to face it; I'm not a worthy substitute.

So, am I going to stop the world and get off for a while? I don't think so. After all, I really do enjoy a lot of what I'm doing. But I'm going to be more selective, weighing the worth of my investments to their eventual payoff. Part of me wants my kids to say when they are grown, "Christmas, growing up, was really fun and full of excitement", but if that's all they say, then I've essentially humanized the holiday and lost its wonder and power. What I'd love to hear is, "Part of the reason I love Christmas now is because my parents showed me the joy of Jesus". If I'm not careful, what they'll really say is, "My mom made Christmas an exercise in chaos and the need for anger management because of overestimating her abilities and underestimating the need for peace." Who wants that?

I want to see Jesus this Christmas. I want to look expectantly to Christmas morning, not for stuff under the tree, but for the baby who came to save me from all the nonsense I would attach to His birthday, and so much more. I want my kids to see Jesus, too – to find Him more wonderful than the tree and the lights and the gifts. So everything I do to make this time special must point to Him, since He really is the reason for this season. I'm confident He'll fill my lungs with breath and my heart with the love I need for this task.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Multitude Mondays

In these crazy days leading up to Christmas, fraught with all we need and would like to do, I'm finding it necessary to pause, take a deep breath, and whisper thanks for all He has provided. In the doing, I remember what and whom I am celebrating...

  • an early Christmas gift - a new laptop
  • my Care Group (church home group)
  • a freshly organized cupboard (finally finding things - can't beat it!)
  • both girls gave impromptu speeches without distress (a major grace, this!)
  • the Christmas tree is up and decorated!
  • the nice men our housing association sent to take care of a precarious dead pine behind our property
  • having a really nice mail man
  • the ability to do so much shopping online
  • a smooth dentist visit for my big girl
  • playing games with a neighbor
  • having a laugh at Toby's work Christmas party

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My MItts

Most women I know suffer from cold hands to some extent. And while cold hands mean a warm heart, I'd rather have both warm hands and a warm heart, thanks. So when I saw this pattern for fingerless mitts made from a minuscule amount of yarn, I had to give it a try.
 For me, they are just right. I had the leftover Malabrigo from my sweater and cowl, so there was no shopping involved - a bonus at this time of year. One thing I really like is that neither the wrist nor finger ribbing is too long, and they fit beautifully under long sleeves. With some other versions I've made, the "wrist" area actually goes halfway up my arm, which doesn't sit comfortably under sleeves. Maybe I'm just fussy, but I'm not down with that.
Contrary to popular belief, I haven't found fingerless mittens to leave your fingers cold and your hands hot - they seem to lend an all-over warmth while leaving your fingers free for using your iPhone or iPad, or delivering the mail (if you're my mom). Or knitting, of course.
Soft, warm, squishy mitts. Love.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Multitude Mondays

what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 8:4
I've recently been finding myself humbled by so many needs and circumstances around me that I have never had to deal with, trials I've not yet had to face. It leads me to wonder why - who am I that I should be spared such things? My only answer is that it has been God's desire not to send these difficulties my way yet. When trial does come, with His help, may I continue to thank Him, for He has dealt kindly with me...
  • I've had 5 healthy pregnancies, labors and children
  • None in our home have chronic illnesses
  • None of the kids have ever been to the NICU
  • None of us have ever been a serious car accident
  • We have never suffered unemployment
  • We've never had problems in the buying or selling of a house
  • None of us have serious allergies
  • We have yet to experience real persecution

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trying to Savor

It's been several late nights and early mornings, now, complete with often getting up in the night to soothe a poorly child. Then came chores this morning, including my least favorite - vacuuming. It got done without incident, and it does always feel good to have a clean floor. Then, I moved some books downstairs to the shelves in my workroom, and it happened - with a spectacular crash, both shelves laden with books, papers, printer, and glass jars full of knitting and sewing tools ripped off the wall. I was there to watch it, to catch some of it, and to be totally rattled by it - it took a large mug of hot, sweet tea to stop my hands shaking. Amazingly, nothing was broken, not even the glass jars! It's been a morning of slowly tidying up and putting things to rights, while still trying to keep the kids out of mischief and doing their work.
Needless to say, by the time lunch was done, I was tired. Desperate for a nap. Dan was still awake, which is not only rare, but it makes naps dangerous, though I was confident that since everyone else was quietly reading, he seemed happy to join them. (Dumb, I know)
I had gotten comfy and warm under my covers when I heard the not-so-little pitter-patter (or thump-clump) of little feet. Then little giggles. Then the bed bumped and wobbled as the littlest Gayner made his way under the covers next to me, whispering little "Hi"s. He was so excited to be in the big bed and under the covers that he kept wiggling and kicking, leaning over to give kisses.

It's not what I'd planned - I was so tired. And I confess, I was thankful when Abigail came in a little later to collect him so that I could get a 15-minute nap. But my baby's not a baby anymore - he's a toddler. These cuddle-and-kisses times won't last forever. And while so very often, I put off the sitting-down-and-resting together times because there always seems to be so much to do, I'm also glad that this time, I made the choice to savor my little boy, rather than turf him out. I pray that I would get better at making the right choice - the choice to savor them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Multitude Mondays

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
And here I am, looking for God's will for me, when here it is, all the time, written down in black and white...
  • the church Men's Retreat, and all the men that were able to go
  • getting together with friends for a movie night
  • having kids' friends over for crafting (I tried to stay out of it!)
  • lots of new yarn arriving, with the promise of lots of knitting to do!
  • enjoying a fire and Red Rover in the yard with the kids
  • hanging-on coughs that are starting to lose their grip
  • seeing brothers and sisters in the Lord serving each other, in large and small ways
  • dozing with a child in a comfy armchair
  • listening to another Penderwick story on CD
  • key lime pie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Five-Fingers Chores

A while back, I was asking some other homeschool moms for advice. I have long struggled with how to approach my kids' daily devotional times:  should I make them or just allow some time and hope they make a good choice? Should I tell them what to read and check up on them or let them read what they want? And the biggest conundrum - what time of day is all this supposed to happen?

In steps wisdom, in the form of my wonderful friend Donna, whose opinion I take very seriously - she has 9 kids worth of experience behind her. She introduced me to the Five-Fingers Chores:
Every morning, each child has four chores or responsibilities to take care of before they can eat breakfast - they must read their Bibles and pray, take care of their rooms, take care of their bodies, and then they may eat. Each step is marked or symbolized by a finger to make it easy for kids to remember. For instance, reading the Bible is the most important thing, so it's linked with your most important digit, the thumb. The index finger is prayer, followed by taking care of your body at the middle finger, the ring finger being caring for your room. By the time they've completed these four fingers, their whole hand is ready to pick up some food and eat!

The very next morning, I explained the concept to the kids, followed by having them each trace their hands on a sheet of paper and labeling each finger accordingly and hanging them up in strategic places around the house. It took a few days to catch on, but in less than 2 weeks even Ellie, who tends to wake up offended that her breakfast and juice isn't ready and waiting at 6.30am, needed no reminders to spend time looking at her picture Bible and getting dressed.

Honestly, it's totally changed the way our mornings run. Previously, everyone was turning up at different times and expecting to be waited on, plus I was trying to get my husband fed and out the door. Now, they know breakfast isn't happening until their five fingers are complete, which gives me extra time to get breakfast ready, and I'm not breathing down their necks to "get moving and spend some time with Jesus already!".

So, there you have it. Excellent principles, tried and tested for you. Anyone else out there have any helpful morning routines their families use? Any massive failures?  Everyone likes to hear about those...

Multitude Mondays, a day late

A house full of poorly children seem to have a way of dominating the time, don't they? But they also seem to have a knack for inspiring extra affection from even the grumpiest of souls (ahem), not to mention many reasons to recognize God's goodness and faithfulness in our lives.
  • The Sovereign Grace Pastor's Conference and the wonderful preaching we heard there
  • seeing old friends and meeting some new ones
  • a fearless grandma who kept all 5 kids alive!
  • even though the kids have been under the weather, they've all been in surprisingly good spirits
  • the ability to conveniently take children to the doctor, when much of the world has no such opportunity
  • such a nice doctor, too!
  • a very first blood draw for one of the kids was very easy and virtually pain-free
  • the ability to listen to a message online even when I can't be at church
  • my sweet husband leaving church early and doing fun Sunday-school activities with the kids
  • a new, and free, iPhone!
  • kids slowly beginning to feel better
  • lots of reading time
  • lots of knitting time
  • lots of down time, at home, where I belong

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Conference Cowl

This is it (I think) - the last completed project update!
It was a great project. I had a ball of Malabrigo Rios left over from my Estelle and I needed a project that was interesting but not too involved to take along to the Sovereign Grace Pastor's Conference. This pattern and this yarn made for a beautiful pair.

I began on the car-ride down to Gaithersburg and finished the day we came home. Perfect.

Plus, I learned two things:
1. Blocking is so important. I already knew this, but the reminder was helpful. When it was first finished and I put it on, it looked like a large, blue caterpillar was attacking me. It was more than a little snug around my neck, and I was preparing to give it away. But once home and suitably blocked, the fibers really r  e  l  a  x  e  d, and there was a lovely drape to it. No more(wo)man-eating caterpillars here.

2. When you drop your yarn in the middle of a meeting and the ball rolls under the dozen or so rows in front of you, several things will happen: the yarn will pick up dust and fluff, people will turn and look at you, you will want the floor to open up and swallow you whole, you will have to ask a patient man to throw that ball of yarn back behind his feet so you can get to it, he will look at you like you have 3 heads as you scrabble about on the floor, you will feel like an utter moron, and you may never live it down. I'll get back to you on the last one.
For real. 

Baby set

Such a cute set, and a nice project to work on.

 Having made both before helps with speed, but having to rip out the sweater twice before getting beyond the second button does not.

 Abi helped sew up the booties, so I can officially call it a joint effort.
I don't know what to say about that pen cap (other than that it is obvious I do not use Photoshop), but all the info is on my Ravelry page.

Gorilla legs

That's what Toby calls these little soakers - the wool is rather...hairy, so I suppose it suits.
 I love them, though. He's warm and cozy, with plenty of growing room. And of course, they make the perfect cloth diaper cover - no leaks and no smell.

 Even though I did run out of yarn right before the end and had to substitute with another black yarn for the last inch of the second leg. A non-hairy yarn.
 No, we'll not discuss that. We'll simply enjoy the fact that they fit, they do their job and they're finished.
Check here for more details.

Another hat!

This one was mine. Seriously. I'd had my eye on using this yarn for a while - it's so soft and just...yummy. But it was very much not the right gauge, nor was I using the correct needle size, for my own noggin. But it fit this little noodle very well...

 Yeah, I know the photos are blurry. I defy you to get one in focus some days - I couldn't pay him to keep still!
Visit the Ravelry page for pattern and yarn details.

Annette needs a hat, too

 Another "A" name, but not another child - this is Abigail's American Girl doll, so kindly gifted to her by friends. We've been busy making her some clothes, and I'm working at using up some of the ends-of-yarn balls from previous projects. I had enough purple cotton for a little cap.
Rubbish picture - taken in a dark hallway at night, while children sleep. Helpful making info found here.

Sock Hat

I'm not particularly fond of making Anna hats, since she tends to lose them, without much remorse, I might add. Still the child needs a hat, and I've had this handspun sock yarn I bought off ebay for so long, I figured I'd put it to good use on her head...

 She seems to like it. Maybe she'll hang on to this one a while.

Pattern details on my Ravelry page.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Multitude Mondays

What a week - so many things planned, then missed or cancelled due to illness. Not what I would have arranged, had I the choice, but Isaiah 55 reminds me of the truth - a truth I need to remember so much that it's engraved in my wedding band:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And so, my list of thankfulness this week includes:
  • This verse!
  • His good purposes in sickness
  • a chance to snuggle with a poorly baby
  • getting a new haircut
  • a new carpet to replace the flood-damaged one!
  • a generous bonus from the Man's work
  • my mom coming to visit
  • making a roaring fire in the fire pit and spending all afternoon enjoying the warmth
  • swing set restoration now under way
  • a perfect autumnal afternoon
  • my first workout in too long!
  • napping babies

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lying low

My kids are not altogether well at the moment.
Daniel seems to have come down with the chicken pox. I have no idea where he may have picked it up (like a bad penny). It's certainly not the worst thing for him to have it at his age - he's little enough that though you can't explain to him why he shouldn't scratch, he's also not too inclined to do so, combined with the fact that his most affected area is under a diaper, and thus unreachable. Still - poor lad. He's definitely not a stoic, but is sharing his discomfort with all.
Abi is also not well. Nothing specific, just a general malaise (how often do I get to use that word??). She can function for a while, then lays down and reads or even sleeps. She's not terribly interested in food, though she has yet to turn down any Halloween candy. And for the record, I'm pretty sure she doesn't have the pox - she had them when she was about Dan's age, so I reckon she's probably safe.
The other kids are okay, health wise, for the moment. Noah had the chicken pox vaccine when he was little, so he's unlikely to get it, but Anna and Ellie haven't had it (the virus or vaccine), so I'm kind of waiting to see if they come out with little rose gardens of their own. But when two out of the five are out of commission for a while, it seems to make everyone a little more subdued.
This makes for a slower pace for sure, but I'm convinced it's not altogether a terrible thing. Of course, I would prefer my children to be happy and healthy - who wouldn't? But while the afternoons are quieter a little longer to accommodate the longer naps and outings have to be missed, we'll make the best of it. Lego creations are flourishing, goodies are being cooked and baked, books are being read, and snuggly little bodies that are usually so busy are cuddling up for naps on Mommy's lap. Not a bad thing at all.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Multitude Mondays

God is so kind to our family, He really is. In so many ways, little and large, He is faithful to show is care and provision to my family and I...
  • going shopping with a birthday gift card
  • sewing with my girls
  • listening to and applying a good sermon
  • meeting a new couple at church
  • hearing God speak through His Word
  • surviving a Wegman's trip with 5 children!
  • finishing a great, big book - so good
  • crazy snow in October??
  • the Man, baking some yummy biscotti
  • a relaxing visit with friends

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Progress

Several projects on the needles - first, it's this sweater, made for a grandma to give to her new granddaughter. I'm working feverishly to see that it's done in time to send it to California. I'm also praying that I've got enough yarn and won't need to order extra! It's coming together in good time, though - it's always helpful when you've got experience with a pattern. With it will go a pair of these really cute booties. 

Next, it's this vest for the Man. It's a great pattern, very classic, but with the little yarn and little needles (size 3!), it's slow going. Fortunately, it's pretty mindless at this point, which means it comes with me and gets worked on when I have to think about other things. I'm hoping it'll be a Christmas gift, but if it's late, I'll have his birthday gift all sorted out!

Finally, a new pair of longies for Dan, just like before. He still wears the old ones to bed, but they're more like britches, now. I really like these on babies - they're warm, cute and work well with cloth or disposable diapers. They're great for overnight, since they keep the kickier kids warm. I was going for black in the hopes that not too much mud and mess will show when he wanders outside in them...Shame about all the white dog hair they'll pick up, though!
So, that's some of what's keeping me busy at the moment. Anyone else got their "making" hats on?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Multitude Mondays

After my concern about going camping without the Man, I am very happy to report that I had a wonderful, though cold, time! Lit my first fire, erected a was great! I would definitely do it again, though will definitely bring more fleece next time - it was 40 degrees! So thankful for stepping outside of that comfort zone...
  • my Care Group
  • all the teenage helpers that came camping, to make things so much fun
  • hanging out around the campfire
  • napping at home with Dan in my arms
  • having dinner cooked for me
  • spending time with hilarious babies at church
  • pastors around the world, serving their churches so faithfully
  • lots of laundry being done
  • the family bonfire
  • finding Halloween costumes
  • having Anna remind us all to bring our needs to God in prayer
  • unlimited books from the library!
  • family read alouds
  • the feeling of taking one's socks and shoes off at the end of a busy day

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going camping

On Friday night, I will be one amongst the 24 mothers and daughters going camping. As part of the Keepers at Home group that runs at our church, we decided one of the things we'd like to do with the girls is go camping, mainly for their fun and enjoyment, as well as for the opportunity for them to earn a badge for it. I'm in two minds about it, I must admit.
See, we are campers. I am happy to identify myself that way, and I really do enjoy it - from being a little cold to waking up early with the birds and really needing that first cup of coffee/tea by the fire. I love the cooking out, the kids wandering through the woods, the crackle of the campfire. But there are parts that I am not so fond of - the part that I'm in right now - the packing.
I normally don't mind packing for trips too much, but camping is different. Not only does it all have to fit in the car, but if I forget something small but crucial, it will mean the trip might just be miserable. Plus, with a camping trip, you've got to bring things that you don't normally bring on vacation, things like a kettle, lantern, and toilet paper. Ugh.
Plus, I tend to put off packing the "details" - anything that is not major equipment or clothes - until the last minute, whereupon I begin "panic packing". Does anyone else do this? I'm not sure if I or someone else will need it, but it might come in handy/I'm not sure if I've already packed it so I'll grab another, just in case/Oh, I almost forgot this!
There is one other concern here, and it's pretty big: Toby's not going. Moms and girls only. So, not only am I not going with the real camper in the family, I am also responsible for all our gear, which I only sort of know how to handle. Usually, when we camp as a family, my expertise falls in the "keep the kids alive" and "do what I'm told" categories. Now I have to erect and refold the tent correctly, learn how to light the lantern, and judging by comments from other moms, be prepared to light the campfire. So not in my comfort zone...
Having said all that, I know that once I'm there with my friends, we will have fun. The girls will have a blast, which is the main thing, and these women are great. We'll have so much fun together, having a laugh and most likely a blunder or two. It will be a good, stretching occasion for all of us, but I would like the record to show that it was I who suggested we stay in cabins.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Multitude Mondays

Friday morning was interesting - wind and rain, followed by bright sun, repeat. During one of the wind and rain cycles, I stood at the window, marvelling at how the rain was coming down, just in time to see an old dead pine come crashing into our yard. Though it crashed through part of the kids' swing set, nothing else was damaged beyond some cosmetics. Amazing, considering that it actually hit the house and landed right next to a window and almost on top of our air conditioning unit. Most importantly, everyone is safe and sound. God is merciful.
  • the power God exerts through forces of nature
  • a very helpful insurance company, who gave us a check for repairs the damages the day it all happened!
  • very kind and helpful men with chainsaws
  • chatting with dear friends on skype
  • getting to know other moms at swim school
  • having lunch and games with friends after church
  • a clean closet
  • cookies in the cupboard
  • making plans for Christmas
  • being called, loved and kept by God (Jude 1b)

Friday, October 14, 2011