We're experiencing another blast of arctic air this week. The temp this morning was 6 below. I am so glad that I don't have to go anywhere on days like this! The kids can't even really play outside because the winds are so wicked. And the snow in our yard is just a frozen, hard covering and not at all fun to play in. I found these pictures the other day of our family sledding back when Ella was around Silas' age. I think it is hilarious that we put her on a sled! I would NEVER do that with Silas. He's just a tiny baby, after all :)
Here's Maddie, at 3, pulling Ella, 8 mos.
Peter, 6 years old
Kate, 4 1/2 years old
Shall we call this Death by Lace? I've never done lace before and this mystery knit along is challenging me to say the least. I do not want to give up. But 3 rows forward, 2 rows back is getting old! Tonight I hope to spend some quiet focused time on it after the kids go to bed. I've been doing simple patterns for so long. I know it's time to learn something new and branch out a bit, but this has been frustrating. Knitting is supposed to be calming, right? Well, hopefully I'll get it soon and then I'm sure I'll feel quite accomplished. I do love the support and community on ravelry.com without which I would have surely given up already.
I haven't been reading very much because in my "spare" time I'm obsessed with figuring out my knitting. I did start this book last week though and it's quite fascinating. There is something really attractive about the idea of growing all of our own food. It's made me think we should move out to the country and get some chickens and have a huge garden. It sounds like such a quiet and peaceful life. Until you think about the work of it. And the dirt. And the living farther away from "civilization" again. So I think we'll stay put. We do plan to have a big garden this year though. The chickens will just have to remain a "dream." I think I like being clean to much too become a farmer.
I came across this picture the other day and it has been fun to reflect on what life was like last time we had a baby compared with now. In this picture Peter was just 6, Kate was 5, Maddie was 3, Ella was 1 1/2, and Charlotte was 4 months and I'm not sure we had really started thinking about adoption yet (that's my sister, here husband, and their oldest with us). My days were busy in a completely different way than they are now. I had to do almost everything myself during the day. Meaning, the kids' "help" wasn't always so helpful. Those were the days when people gave us strange looks everywhere we went because they couldn't imagine why anyone would want to have 5 kids in 6 years (people still give us strange looks but it's because they can't quite figure us out). I think we were at the point when many people say "enough already. no more babies. this is too much work." Well, we plugged onward and starting the adoption process sometime in the next year. That led to a period of waiting for our family to grow as we looked forward to bringing Teshome home. Then when Charlotte was 2 1/2, he was here and we were 8. Here's the first picture of all 8 of us.
We had a period of adjusting that was often painful, but also a great joy. Then 2 1/2 years later, Silas was born. At that point it had been 5 1/2 years since we had a baby and it is so amazing to me how different it is now than when we had so many "littles." It is so much easier to have a baby now that we have older children who are such a great help to me. And it is so incredibly beautiful to see the love they have for our precious baby. I have time to enjoy him in a different way than when everyone needed me for everything. I see this even in the little things. When I'm feeding him I can just watch him and enjoy those moments of him discovering new foods- instead of feeling like I need him to hurry up and finish so I can tackle the next thing. There's always someone available to help. All this to say, if you feel overwhelmed, it does get better. When we work at training the littles during those crazy years, before we know it they are a very important part of a home running smoothly. As our children grow and mature, we are seeing in so many ways how they truly are a blessing. Don't let the world's lies creep in and convince you that having a large family is too much work , too expensive, too much of a commitment, or will keep you from personal happiness. The rewards are far greater than a peaceful existence, travel to faraway places, earthly possessions, or anything else the world says that children get in the way of. We are storing up treasures in heaven and these treasures bring great joy and delight to our lives on this earth!
I'm not talking about chickens here. Although I do have them on the brain. More about that later. We've found ourselves indoors a lot more lately due to the very cold winter we're having. When it's not subzero the kids do go outside, but I'm happier inside with a hot mug of tea and some knitting needles in my hands. Finding games that everyone can enjoy, from Pete and I down to the littles is pretty tricky. Candyland? I'd rather iron. And that's saying a lot. Chutes and Ladders? No way. Our favorites these days are Dutch Blitz
(we bought the expansion set so that we can all play) and Sleeping queens (my sister got this for the girls for Christmas and they play it ALL the time). Dutch Blitz says it's for ages 8 and up, but Charlotte (5) and Ella (6) can totally play it so don't let that stop you from trying it if you're kids are younger than 8.
What are your game recommendations? We bought Apples to Apples and I don't love it. I'd like to try Made for Trade and Milles Borne.
For Christmas my parents gave our family a set of JC Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. My dad explained that for much of my youth that is what he used for our family devotions. While I don't SPECIFICALLY remember the books, I know the language of them permeated my soul as my dad read them to me. I know that the Lord used them to draw me to Himself and give me a desire for Him. Now it is a blessing to hear my husband read from them to me and the children each evening. It's like a short sermon every night, encouraging us in our walks with the Lord. First we listen to the passage from the Bible and then we listen to Ryle's words of explanation and then Pete always has questions for the children and more to add. Ryle has a gentle and yet convicting tone that I appreciate. I trust that the Holy Spirit will work in our children's hearts as they hear this teaching from their father each night. I highly recommend them as a great addition to your home library and daily reading if you don't already use them! Here's a link to where you can purchase them at a very reasonable price-
January 13. Another birthday. Another year of looking back in gratitude at the Lord's blessings and provision. I am humbled and awed by this life He has given me, so undeserving, yet living my little girl dreams. When I was little I wanted to be a mommy. I also loved playing school with my little cousins. Here I am, married to a Godly, sweet, faithful man, with a houseful of children- and "playing" school everyday!
Last week, still chilled from the arctic vortex, I made some leg warmers. They're simple and purple, and perfect as an added layer of warmth for me. I worked on Silas' sweater a bit. I also started my super fun mystery knit along. ( I think it's safe to post my close up picture of my very slow progress since everyone else doing it is probably already done with clue #1!!) I'ts a shawl pattern and I chose this beautiful light purple-y color called beebalm. Hopefully I'll be able to wear it to church this spring. I also picked up a book last week that I've had on my shelf for nearly 20 years and never actually read, Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. It's a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. I don't normally enjoy that kind of thing, but I was surprised to find myself really captivated by the story and I read it in about 4 days- which is pretty good considering that I haven't read a whole book in awhile. I used to finish books no matter how boring and painful, but I've gotten to the point that if I start something and don't like it, I don't waste my time with it.
Joining up with Ginny at Small Things, here's my current knitting project. It's a cardigan for Silas using this pattern from knitting pure and simple. I've knit their baby top down crew neck and this pattern is very similar- straightforward and simple which is just what I need! The yarn looks much better in person- the yellow is more of a gold and is a great contrast to the blues and grays. I'm doing the size 2-4 because I got sick of knitting things that barely fit his chunky body. I'm figuring this may not fit until next fall, but that's okay! As far as reading goes, I've got NOTHING! Terrible! We are heading to the library tomorrow though so that will change soon.
He's getting so big! It was fun to watch him tear into his Christmas gifts. Silas loves to wave and say "hi" in his own little way. It sounds a bit like "ha." He still doesn't say mama but he babbles, "da da da da" no problem. He has a fierce, wild little personality, very different from Peter- our only baby boy experience before him!