I'm back in the baby and toddler stage again. It is so very different this time around! In some ways it's easier because I have so many willing (usually) helpers. Yet, it's harder in a lot of ways because there's more juggling. My days consist of constantly assessing which need to address first. It's a blessing to be needed by so many people, to hear, "mama, I need..." or "mama, can i..." But honestly, its hard too. Many needs means a lot of noise. It is tiring to the body and the brain! Obviously, a hungry newborn comes first. And a stinky or needy toddler is next. Some of the older kids are better than others at understanding that their schedule is subject to change depending what the little ones need! I guess in a way I've created monsters with my normal way of scheduling. They need to realize that schedules are useful, but that we aren't slaves to them, but must be flexible! On that same note I probably need to let go of the guilt that tells me I'm not doing a good job staying on top of school right now. This is a sweet time to enjoy. I want to hold Anneliese and just stare at her while she's little and that often means there's something else not getting done. I know that I need to be okay with that because I'll never get this time back. And I know that in the fall I'll be spending less time nursing, I'll be getting more sleep, and it will be all around easier to manage things. That's what I need to tell myself when I feel like I'm dropping these balls I'm trying to juggle.
It's a good time to remember Ecclesiastes 3, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..."
The night before Charlotte was born Peter hit the back of his head on his nightstand and ended up in the ER getting staples in his head. Apparently Silas wanted to "celebrate" a new sister the same way. Yesterday evening he fell of a chair and got a little gash in his head in exactly the same spot that Peter has his scar. Thankfully Pete hadn't left yet to get groceries or I wouldn't have had a way to get him to the ER. Along the way we stopped by a friend's house to see what she, as a nurse, thought of whether or not we should take him in. After looking at it she said she would so we kept driving to the hospital. By then he had stopped crying and was jabbering away. We were afraid we'd wait forever- you never know with hospitals! Thankfully the doctor took a look at it within 30 minutes. He explained that he'd put a couple of staples in and that heads heal very quickly. Since the little room was crowded with Pete, Silas, Anneliese and her carseat, and me, (and since I knew Pete would be better at handling the whole stapling business) I decided to take Anneliese and go out to the waiting room. As I sat there I prayed that our little man would be brave and not have too much pain. A little while later when Pete came out with him he was cheerful and it turns out that through the whole thing- scrubbing it clean, stapling- he didn't cry at all! And he thanked the doctor when it was over.
The whole thing was overwhelming for this postpartum mama. I am not good at being brave right after I have a baby. Hormones, lack of sleep, the responsibility of caring for another little one- all these things just make me wish I could put everyone in a bubble of safety. At this time I need to be more diligent in praying for the Lord to help me to trust in His care for us. When worry creeps in I need to fill my mind with scripture, meditate on God's goodness and His sovereignty, and rest in His promises. These babies all belong to him and in life they will have pain. I can't protect them from every hurt, sadness, or trouble. And so I must entrust them into the care of the One who made them and loves them even more than I do.
It's crazy to me that this handsome little guy is going to be 2 at the end of the month. He has brought so much delight and laughter to this family. Thankfully the older kids all really enjoy him. The novelty of a baby again after so many years didn't wear off as he grew. They love to play with him, teach him things, and just help with him in general. One of the older girls is always willing to give him a bath, help him get dressed, make him some lunch and clean him up. Being number 7 definitely does not mean getting less attention around here! As he becomes more little boy than baby, I'm thankful for glimpses of his little-ness and also his developing personality.
He still thinks mama's kisses are magic for owies. He has only a handful of words (unlike all of our other kids at this age) but he says mama 5 million times a day. He is a creature of habit and knows after we read his morning Bible story we go upstairs to brush our teeth and I dry my hair. He's good at picking up and likes things in their proper places. He loves to wrestle with his big brothers and doesn't seem to notice that they are quite a bit bigger. He loves to sit and look at books and he also loves to run around like a wild little thing and do things to make us laugh. He's tender hearted and has quite fallen in love with his baby sister.
She's here! Our little girl, Anneliese Jewel, was born at 2:30 pm on April 2. She is a healthy 9lbs, 13 oz (but delivered like an 11 pounder, according to my midwife, due to being posterior). We are so thankful to the Lord for this sweet blessing, for the opportunity to love and train up another one of His little ones.
I was going to take a break from knitting for awhile. Then I realized that not having a creative outlet makes me cranky. I'm already struggling with being more irritable than normal- I think this always happens at the end of pregnancy for me- please tell me I'm not alone. So I decided to knit this little bonnet. It went really fast so I may make another in white. I just need to do an I cord or some braids for the sides.
In a little over a week I made this striped blanket for the baby. It was inspired by the Purl Bee baby blanket, but I used a more affordable yarn (Lion Brand Vanna's Choice) and I cast on 130 stitches instead of 120. I enjoyed making it because it was totally mindless and I could do it during school and while I was tired which pretty much sums up any part of the day right now. It was very satisfying to complete a project quickly and have it ready for our baby girl!
Here are a couple of sweaters I am nearly finished with. I just need to block them and put buttons on one. The pink, gray, and white is the Baby Vertebrae. I've made this in 2 different sizes now and really enjoyed the process and the pattern. The other one is the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. She, and this pattern, are legends among knitters. And so I stayed away from it thinking it would be too hard. But then I bought the pattern from Schoolhousepress.com. In the pattern booklet you'll find her original version and also the row by row instructions that were written in order to simplify it (for knitters like me). I loved making it and I'm so excited to see it on the baby. I'm thinking about making one for Silas as well- in a color that I'd be happy to see on baby girl when she's a toddler too. I'm thinking a blue or brown. Or maybe gray.
Since finishing Tess of the Durbervilles I haven't really found a book I could get into. Plus I was obsessed with getting that blanket done! Just this week I started reading The Big Tiny. It's funny, I guess, considering that we're kind of a large family. But I do have a sort of fascination with tiny houses. So it's interesting to me to read about a woman who decided to simplify by downsizing. I think I could be a weekend tiny house dweller- maybe someday!
Joining Ginny's Yarn Along
My plan is to never teach math again pretty soon here. Once I'm done with the math I'm currently doing with Maddie and Teshome they'll be doing math with daddy (3rd grade math is about as far as I can go). Peter is basically my hero for dealing with these 2 at 8 am everyday.
He had just told them that if they didn't get a certain practice sheet done along with their regular daily worksheet they'll be doing math on Saturday. Charlotte is thrilled with that idea as you can see.
Four years ago today Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning for our family. It was the day that Pete and I went before a judge in Ethiopia committing to be Teshome's parents and waiting for the judge's approval. Later that afternoon we celebrated the judge's positive judgement and the fact that we had a new son! Since then, we've enjoyed the tradition of eating Ethiopian food to remember that special day. Some years we've gone out, but mostly we make injera and various stews at home. After several years of making it, I've found the recipe and method that works best for us. And it is Teshome approved which is the best test to pass! I'll admit it isn't as good or authentic as what we get when we go out for Ethiopian, but it is good and we've served it to many guests. I use the recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine, A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa. It's kind of a "cheater" version that uses club soda and yogurt to get the sour dough effect without actually going through the time and work of fermenting. However, I do add more club soda to it because otherwise it turns out way too thick. In case you're not familiar with Ethiopian food, it consists of a sort of spongy, sour dough flat bread made with teff flour that you use to pick up stews with. Our favorite stews are Doro Wat (a chicken stew), Tibbs (a spicy steak), and red lentils.
When I make the injera, I've learned how to get it nice and thin with the bubbles of air that make it close to authentic. You pour the batter onto a frying pan or griddle in a circle and then cover it with a pot lid that will allow steam to move around it. You do NOT want to flip it. Just check it every minute or so- it only takes a couple of minutes to cook- and take it off when the middle looks cooked through (not gooey). After I take it off the griddle I put it on a towel to cool. Then I stack it and wrap stacks of about 10 pieces in foil. It takes a couple of hours to make enough for our family so I usually make it the day before we plan to eat it and put it in the fridge. As long as it's completely wrapped in foil it will warm nicely in the oven (if it's not wrapped well it will get dried out)