Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

You know what today is? That's right, it's the last day of February. So tomorrow? It's the first day of March. And you know what March is? It's the beginning of the end of SAD season. In March the sun shines with the same regularity and intensity that it does in September. September is a nice, calm month (minus all that running around for football, anyway) and by the end of March we've all got a spring back in our step and we're feeling hopeful again. (And hopefully I've been buried by work again. If you're running out of things to pray about at your house, pray for a nice big job to come my way. I'm kind of hoping for math myself, but I'm not feeling picky.)

I'm on the neck band for Max's sweater. I'm going to finish up a little job writing up reading cards and two sweaters this week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I got up at 5-ish and got to work on a small project. Submitted it at 7am, and then got to spend the rest of the day "not working." I took the twins to swimming, grabbed a few groceries, came home and put potatoes au gratin in the crockpot, then took a nap. Chris woke me an hour later and I truly didn't know my name, but I got up and wandered around the house until it all came back to me. Then we all went over to school, picked up three of the kids in the skiing program (the rest get there with their own parents), and headed over to Tussey Mountain. It was a good day of skiing and Chris took many pictures. I'm going to write a little article on the program for the school newsletter and hope that gets more people signing up next year.

We came home, ate, and now I'm putting all the kids to bed early because they're tired and gwouchy.

I heard from the community garden people. I officially have a plot number now--I appear to have landed one of the "organic" plots (this is in quotes as last year was the first year the land wasn't commercially farmed, so I imagine the land is still getting some stuff out of its system). This is fine with me--I could have gone either way--but since I don't have the money for chemicals, I'm good with being in the organic section. Remember, I get my horse manure on freecycle. A girl can't be too picky. They put up the soil test results from last fall and according to this, I should add a little Epsom salt to my plot in April. Hokay. That stuff is cheap.

Now, I want desperately to get an email saying that a new project, or three, is starting so that I can buy some grow lights (and you know, groceriesutilitiesmortgageblahblahblah) and start my tomatoes.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Goin' Bowlin'

So Chris took us all bowling today. Saturday afternoons are smoke free at the bowling alley, but they're also packed. Dawn and her son Zeb joined us (and Dawn's mother, who didn't bowl).

Everybody improved over the last time we played. Ben befriended the group of women next to us and offered them bowling lessons. They thought he was hilarious and darn-near adopted him before the afternoon was done.

One big (no pun intended) downside to bowling pictures, is that they inevitably involve shots of your back side. Maybe I should put this one on the fridge to motivate myself to stay on my diet.

Here's Chris in action:

And Max:

Milo, using the ball aiming device thingy. He's doing his victory dance there.


Zeb celebrating with his mom and with Ben:

Otherwise it was an ordinary Saturday with pumpkin muffins for breakfast, a big family pick-up-the-house activity, and a nice post-bowling nap for me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

On the Needles

I'm attempting an intervention on myself by posting all my works in progress on the Internet so I can be reminded why I do NOT need to go buying yarn for this sweater that Max wants or casting on for the nice summer hoodie in cotton that Ben requested.

First, the three items I didn't photograph--the Orenburg shawl--because that would just be depressing, and the afghan, because you can't outgrow an afghan, so it sits in a canvas bag by the green chair upstairs and when I want to knit long rows of garter stitch back and forth, I do. Otherwise, it doesn't weigh on my mind. And the Finnish Mittens--I've got one done and one to go and I don't want to photograph them until they're washed and blocked. And anyway, they're a Christmas 2007 present, too.

Next, the things that people could outgrow and soon:

There are the three sweater vests for church. I knit the small one larger than needed, so they'll fit just fine, but it's really hard to knit anything large enough for Max right now. He's growing so fast.

Next we have this sweater for Max. I just finished the right sleeve this afternoon and plan to pick up the stitches for the left sleeve after the kids are in bed.
Then we have this romper for baby Oliver. It's a very generously cut size 12 months, and it's in a cotton blend, so I think it'll fit him just fine for a few months if I can get it done in the next few months, but . . . I'm having second thoughts. I just don't love it as much as I thought I would. Of course the dangling strings don't help. It just looks like a big mess right now.
This is another striped sweater sized for the twins, but I think at the rate I'm going, I should finish it up and stick it in the gift pile. It'll be perfect for baby cousin Konrad in, oh, two years.

Here's Chris' sweater. Must be finished by Christmas 2007.

Oh, and here's another sweater for Milo:

Then here's the Faorese shawl (for me, doesn't have to be done anytime soon):
And here are three socks. The top left one is a swatch for making two pairs of striped socks for Ben and Milo. The top right is the start of a thick pair of socks for Chris in a gauge that won't take me a year to complete the socks. The center bottom socks are the ones I meant to have done for Christmas and which are now waiting for my LYS to find me a second skein of. That yarn has been discontinued.
Then just because I'm emptying the camera . . . photo of Ben and Milo playing a computer game together.
And photo of a cake I made for the fun of it earlier in the week.
Anyway, this weekend I think the sweater for Max is top priority. I can finish that sweater this week if I try. Maybe if I go in order of "things close to being done already" then O-bear's outfit would be next and then the sweater vests.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Singular Goal for Tomorrow

Is to return Max's football uniform. After a very bad scare on Wednesday in which we thought we'd accidentally thrown away his uniform--which would have meant owing the football people a ton of money--we discovered that well, yes, we HAD thrown it away, but in our trashcan, not at the dump (where Chris had done a run the day before). AND given its position (very bottom of the trashcan) it had been there the week BEFORE which meant it was just dumb luck that we still had it because that means that it's only because we both forgot that it was trash day last Thursday that we still had the stuff.

So I brought the bag back inside (why was I digging through the trash? Because the bear had and I had rebag a lot of it) and ran it all through the wash again and NOW I'm going to turn it in (like we should have three months ago).


Otherwise I have a wee bit of work to do (yay paying work!) and a lot of housecleaning (not so much with the yay!) and the goal of finishing Max's right sleeve before the weekend is out. Otherwise I expect it to be a quiet weekend. NEXT weekend we have a road trip to Philly to take Chris to the airport and swing by and see some cousins. All I really ask of early March is that the kids not get seriously ill.

In further athletic news, Ben had a breakthrough so huge that he can no longer be considered a YMCA beginning swimming flunkie. He floated on his back alone. Twice. And then he and his teacher made big cheering noises and waved victoriously at me through the YMCA swimming window. (It's 120 degrees in there with 95% humidity. I sit and knit on the other side of the glass.) Ben and Milo have both announced their intentions to graduate from Eel with this next round. This would make them Rays in early April. All of a sudden my dream of having two kids who can swim from one side of the pool to the other so that they can be on the 5 yr-old swim team this summer is once again achievable (thereby allowing me to have all three boys in the same activity at the same time, since the 10-yr-olds practice at the same time as the 5-yr-olds and have all their meets together).

In the meantime Ben announced that since he can float on his back alone, he can take his own shower thankyouverymuch, and put his own swim trunks in the spin-out-the-water machine. And so could Milo, said Milo, and that meant that it took us like 45 minutes to get out of the changing room after the 30 minute lesson. ::deep breath::

Off to finish dinner and feed people. (And perform an intervention. Chris has been painting all day and I think is on his fourth movie of the day.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today I worked on Chris' socks, Max's sweater, took the twins to swimming, started the next leg of dieting (whoo-hoo! I really want it to be the LAST leg, but we'll see how much progress I make before the next plateau), and supervised another Tuesday afternoon of skiing. Max made it off the bunny slope and onto the first real beginner slope and I saw him come down two of the three times he went down. He's got one more Tuesday of skiing and then he's done for the season. Which is good because it was in the mid-forties today and started raining as we were leaving. I'm sure we'll get that last day of skiing in, but I'm not exactly sure when it will be. It could be a few weeks away. The snow is melting fast.

The other day I printed out the state requirements for certification in Pennsylvania. Then I left them there on the printer. Ever since Max's school got approval for middle school I wonder what it would be like to have 20 kids maximum in the classroom. (The first year the class would be 13 or fewer students because of limitations the school agreed to in total enrollment for the school.) When I was getting my credential the first time around, it was my intention to teach middle school. I ended up in fourth grade and mostly stayed there. I don't have any immediate plans to do anything more than mull. I am very reluctant to go back under contract. Heck, I can't even AFFORD to go back into teaching until Chris is earning something regularly AND we're debt free except for the house.

So it really means nothing.

BUT, if two years from now I post on the blog that I decided to APPLY for that 8th grade position . . . I don't want y'all thinking it was some kind of hasty decision. And if two years from now I decide NOT to . . . well, I guess I don't want Max thinking I didn't give it some careful thought. Because he thought of it back when YSCP was still applying to get the middle grades. He said one day in the car on the way to or from school, I don't remember which, "You should think about teaching one of the new grades. Wouldn't that be cool?" And of course I can't really love him any more than I already do, but it was genuinely one of the sweetest things he could possibly say to me. The part of me that desperately misses homeschooling him had a good cry over it. And the part of me that genuinely misses teaching public school started tapping her pencil thoughtfully and the part of me that gets a little burned out writing curriculum was grateful for the excuse to daydream. But that's mostly what it is--a little daydream sitting on my printer waiting for me to find the time to look at it more carefully. And that is all I have to say about that.

Charlotte and I have figured out a way for me to go see the Harlot without going broke. The twins don't know it yet, but they get to come along for this one. It does involve us crashing at my Aunt Connie and Uncle Denny's house, but as long as their dog doesn't eat us and the twins don't love their old cat to death (literally), that should be nothing but fun. (Although I can't bring them anything canned as a host gift because they totally have everything I could give them.)

I got official word today that I have a 600 sq. ft. community garden plot this summer and I sent in my payment this afternoon, so now I'm just waiting to find out which plot is mine. Want to see the aerial photo of the gardens? Sure you do. Lookie :) This is where Max and I will be gardening this summer.

I signed up for the rototilling service they have, too. THAT totally ROCKS. We can start working in the garden in mid-April.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Accomplished Next to Nothing

This weekend was a total bust in terms of checking off things from my things to do list. I got Chris' flu on Saturday and was grouchy all day Saturday, had a rotten night of sleep Saturday night and sat in my green chair and barely moved on Sunday. I had intended to make great progress on Chris' sock (and actually, I did make good progress on it) but I was feeling badly about Milo not having any mittens (when he threw up in Grandpa's car last week the mittens were soiled and then accidentally thrown away. They were in a bag and I didn't see them there.) So I knit Milo a new pair of mittens and even though that's not very time consuming, I was just not a speedy person yesterday. So I got Milo's mittens done and about an inch of Chris's sock and watched Beauty and the Beast twice and Hoodwinked once and that was the day.

Today I feel a little better, but I have no big plans. I'm going to work on Chris' sock and nap and see if I can't feel 100% tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is having a party, I'm invited, and I can't go! We are scheduled to be way too broke that week. (But broke in a "at least all the bills are paid" way.)

Oh well, it's been so long since I was in NYC, that I'm sure I wouldn't know how to behave properly there anyway.

When I'm Not Tromping through The Snow

I'm thinking about my garden. I'll have two gardens this spring. I'll have the small one in the front yard--mostly lettuce, a few bean plants, and the cherry tomatoes. Then I'll have a large one at the community garden area. Lots of tomatoes there, some squash, and some corn.

I'm eager to start seeds, but luckily for my seeds (because they'd be doomed if I really started them this soon), I am short on cash and there's no money in the budget yet for dirt and warming mats and grow lights. But there will be! And I will plant and I will have seedlings and it will be spring :)

Not rushing things! Just enjoying the way time passes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

As If I Weren't a Workaholic

I turned in today the last of the work that I have done on the project that has supported my family since November of 2005. That sort of long-term project is rare in my business and more work will come. I'm ready for something in fifth grade now :) That was a long time to spend back in first grade. But now--a pause in work has opened before me. I worry over it. I fret. So, this weekend I am going to assume that God has intentionally created a work slowdown for me, here in the spring of 2007, so that I can spend more time with my sons and less time with my computer. This weekend I am going to remember that most of the clients I might want to email and harass about work are . . . at their own homes with their own families, and I might as well wait till Monday.

This weekend I am going to try to make big progress on Chris' remaining sock and Max's sweater. I'm going to read parts of The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball since Sunday's relief-society lesson is on that and it's been a few years since I last read it.

I'll clean off my desk and watch Beauty and the Beast with the kids (the only movie in this house that is mine).

I am not going to make Chris crazy by worrying and fretting over April's bills. I will accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can and pray a lot for guidance in knowing the difference.

I will try to enjoy this pause because if I *can* then this will be what my children remember of me when they are older--that I could and would stop and focus on them, and read with them, and sled with them, when the time called for it. I want that. I want them to know that when given the opportunity, I chose snow boots and a plastic sled over pointless worry and fear.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

::Deep, Satisfied Sigh::

Today went well. Anything that could go right, did. Everyone who needed a nap, got one. Everyone who needed to shovel the front walk three times in one day, did. I got more time than I really needed at shoveling the (unpaved) driveway, but no biggie. So I'll be a little sore tomorrow :) It's a "good" sore.

Noone threw up. The detailing guy who cleaned out Mom and Dad's car did a good job of it at a price so fair, it wasn't fair. The twins made snow angels and thrilled at going down the hill over and over with Grandma Donna and Grandpa Richard.

I got some work done. And lots of play done. And I am happy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day!!!

This is what it says on the school district web site for tomorrow:

This is what it says on accuweather:

I think we're in the 12-18 inches zone. >Sniff< I"m so proud! It's our very first Pennsylvania blizzard. Max has plugged his iPod into his iDog and is treating us all to the song Snow Day by Bleu. The twins are running around in circles and jumping on and off Ben's new sled. We're all so excited.

It was a good day, although a strange one. My parents arrived without harm after a LONG drive up from Baltimore. We all met at the State College diner and had a very nice lunch there (it was a rather good chicken salad actually). Then, I'd promised Max he could spend his valentine money that he got from my grandmother on a new sled (since the twins had already done so), so my parents offered to take the twins with them as they went back to their hotel and then met us at my house.

Well, things didn't quite go as planned. Max and I didn't run into any problems, but my parents got lost and Milo lost his lunch all over the back of the rental car. They made it back to my house (where I'd been starting to worry about them, and shoved the walk waiting to see them show up. Which is probably how I missed their first SOS call.

I got out the Hoover Steam Vac and did my best to try to fix the problem with the car, but the old Steam Vac is on its last legs and just doesn't have enough suction for the job anymore. I came back inside to find Mom and Dad looking jetlagged and in need of some good news. We came up with a plan involving a detailing place and a 9am appointment for tomorrow morning (assuming we can travel on the roads tomorrow morning) and then they drove back to their hotel, for, I imagine, a much needed nap.

Finding myself without any guests, I tabled the plans for potato and ham soup and made fish sticks for Ben and Max and rice for me and Milo (Chris has the stomach flu and is just doing his best to stay upright in the green chair--and I'm just not that big of a fan of fish sticks). Now I'm off to get some workwork done. Tomorrow will be a day of sledding. A day of hot chocolate. A . . . oh! And Valentine's Day! A day of small chocolates :)

Have a very merry snow day, everyone.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Snow is coming! Snow is coming!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Need a Snow Day!

I gotta call my parents though. I'm thinking maybe they should drive up Monday night after all.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ode to My Wood Pellet Stove

I love you.
I love you.
Oh, how I love you.
I hear the pellets
fall into the ceramic cup
plink plink plink plink plink.
And I sigh with relief.

I've cut the thermostat back to 62 degrees to keep the thing from running constantly. I only bought a ton and a half of wood pellets this winter! At this rate we'll have burned through them all by the end of February!

What's This?

Yesterday or Today there was a story at cbsnews claiming that the Republican party considers Hilary Clinton virtually unbeatable.

Here's one version not at cbs:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 -

What many conservatives regard as the nightmare scenario -- President Hillary Rodham Clinton -- is increasingly seen by veteran Republican politicians and strategists as a virtual inevitability. In GOP circles, the Democratic front-runner is seen as so strong, and the political climate for Republicans so hostile, that many influential voices -- including current and former lawmakers, and veterans of President Bush's campaigns -- have grown despairing. These partisans describe a political equivalent of the stages of grief, starting with denial, then resentment and ending with acceptance. -Politico


The main article (at Politico) is more specific about exactly what they see as HR Clinton's advantages--she's got a lot of money, her entourage is better organized and more experienced than anyone else's, and she has name recognition up there with Hershey and Kleenex.

Now, it's WAY too soon to be excited about this. I for one still have serious doubts about how electable she is and if I had to walk to the polls this evening, I'd put Obama on the ballot. But you know, if there's one thing I'm not afraid to admit it's that I don't understand exactly how the American Voting public works. I vote, and I know why I vote, but my guy doesn't usually get the office. Mr. President Clinton was a rare exception.

I guess you could say this is the first headline about the 2008 elections that caused me to stop and read the rest of the article. Otherwise, I've done nothing but skim the headlines. Anything else seemed premature.

Now that it's Wednesday I've had a flurry of work after taking most of Monday off (I didn't have an assignment, felt strongly that I should clean the house, but managed to avoid any actual action to that effect). The cold is hanging in there and we've had a two-hour delay every morning this week. This morning we just totally ran with that and missed preschool altogether.

Chris has space heater envy. He's concerned his may actually burn the house down at some point. I hope it doesn't. I will admit to having the superior pair of slippers. A bonus for having bigger feet than my grandmother. I got them when it turned out that they were too big for her feet. Who, come to think of it, turns 95 on Sunday. Only 57 more years and I'll be RIGHT there with her.

I need to get back to finishing my work project.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's So Cold

It's so cold, that even though you know it makes for poor blogging, you MUST comment on it. There is NOTHING fun about this kind of cold. It's run from the house to the car cold. It's warm up your truck 20 minutes before you intend to leave cold. It's "No, you can't play outside cold." It's "there's a two-hour delay for school" cold. It's "I AM wearing layers!" cold. It's "at this rate we'll run out of wood pellets before the end of the month!" cold.

It's cold people. And it's so totally going to waste. If we had a proper burst of moisture from the East, we could have a whopper of a blizzard! I only remember being in two blizzards. One was in Washington DC (78? 79?) and the other in Boston. I remember thinking they were really cool!!! Since I don't have to drive to work (and assuming we could somehow keep the electricity on here) I think I would STILL find a good blizzard cool. Just, oh, 20 to 24 inches overnight. That would be enough to make things nice and quiet for a few days.

But nothing remotely like that is in the forecast. It's just cold. cold cold cold.

Baby Boy Update

Sending him five hats of different sizes in hopes that a few fit. The update this morning is that he is doing much better than the doctors had anticipated--he's successfully down to LESS THAN HALF the amount of extra oxygen he needed the day before. PLEASE continue praying. I know it is making a difference.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Just for Crib Chick

We are totally slain by Hoodwinked. It has been watched at least 2 dozen times in the last few days. I refuse to admit how many times I've sat through it (and I've never made it all the way through NEMO, so that's saying something). Twitchy though, he's a little hard to understand :)

Honest Pretzels

Honest Pretzels is one of Molly Katzen's cookbooks for cooking with children. It also contains my absolute favorite waffle recipe. My only complaint with any of Molly's books is that they *never* contain nutrition information. Sometimes a girl wants to know just how much sodium is in her vegetarian masterpiece, you know? (Actually, I don't usually care about sodium, although Aunt Charlotte says that is a mistake. But I do sometimes count my calories and I do sometimes wonder just how many are in each one of these waffles.)

Anyway, it's a bit of work, but I've rewritten it here as a mix--so make the batch once and then if you're loving it, next time grind a bunch of your wheat in advance or open a big bag of flour. The biggest "time consumer" here is the difficulty in obtaining a quantity of quality whole wheat pastry flour without spending too much. I just go ahead and buy it in a 50 lb bag, make gobs of mixes, and then store what's left in a six-gallon bucket with one of those fancy spinning lids on it.

The mixes go in a separate six-gallon bucket. Sundays are waffle days. We have them either for lunch or dinner. With the mix, it's a simple and easy meal to put together. It would probably be more balanced with some ham or something, but we never bother. And I never get even one waffle ahead of whomever is at the table. It *should* make enough to freeze some for later in the week, but with my boys, it somehow never does. So without further ado, Cinnamon Waffle mix:

Put into each large ziplock storage bag:
2 cups unbleached white flour
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon

Make yourself a card (I set mine on top of the pile of mixes in the bucket and take it out each time you go to make the mix. At some point you'll have it committed to memory.) with the following information on it:

You'll need:
the bag of mix
2 tsp vinegar (any kind)
6 Tblsp melted butter
6 eggs
2 Tblsp sugar
3 cups milk
vegetable oil cooking spray
(waffle iron, an electric mixer, some mixing bowls)

1. Separate the eggs into yolk and whites. Set yolks aside. Whites go into mixing bowl. Add sugar to egg whites. Beat until they hold their shape. I move these into another bowl so I can use the mixer for the milk/vinegar step.
2. Preheat the waffle iron
3. Mix the yolks, vinegar, melted butter, and milk.
4. Mix the dry mix and liquids together. Don't stress about lumps.
5. Fold in egg whites with a spatula.
6. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray. Start cooking waffles.

Cook up all the batter. Let extras cool, then put them in a ziplock back in the freezer. Reheat in toaster oven at will.

These are especially good topped with apple sauce, but I love them so much plain, I regularly eat them with nothing on them at all.


Word is that 2-lb baby boy is exiting the honeymoon stage and entering the fighting stage. Let's keep praying. Specifically, we need him to be okay with less oxygen in his air. Too much oxygen is hard on a baby's lungs over the long haul. So we need to pray that his lungs mature "enough" this week to reduce the oxygen load. Thank you for joining me in this.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fasting, Prayer, and a 2-lb baby boy

It's fast and testimony Sunday tomorrow at church. I really like this particular tradition of my church, so I couldn't tell you why or how it was that I managed to go all of 2006 without fasting--but I did. I guess I was so wrapped up in trying to survive all the work I heaped on my own head that I couldn't keep straight which day of the week it was, much less which particular Sunday of the month it was. I would go to church and it would become clear that it was a testimony meeting and I would sigh . . . unprepared again.

It happened to me again on the 7th. I went to church and it was fast and testimony Sunday and I had eaten. I didn't feel too badly about eating because, honestly, it's not about eating. It's about fasting and growing closer to God--which involves not eating, but is not about eating or not eating. I just missed that feeling that you get when you go to a testimony meeting fasting. It brings you closer to God, and it also brings you closer into the fold of the congregation. Even though noone ever talks about eating or not eating on fast and testimony Sunday. (In fact, it's frowned upon.) So I decided on the 7th that somehow or other I would remember this Sunday.

(As an aside, my attendance last year fell to an all-time low since I reactivated five years ago. This was definitely because of my hyper-focus on work, made worse by the afternoon meeting time. When our ward returned to the morning meeting slot, I resolved to fix my poor attendance problem and the only Sunday I missed in January was the one where Milo was sick. COMPLETELY unrelated, I also decided that this was as good a time as any to try--really for the first time since I joined the church many, many years ago--to do an honest job of keeping the Sabbath. And while I was at it, I'd promised my Bishop that I would do something about my poor scripture reading habits. Which, if you're going to actually make the time to read the scriptures, you might as well fix your poor praying habits. Which, somehow, led to me doing night-time prayers with the twins--which seems to have rubbed off on Max and has led to HIM doing a few night-time prayers. ALL of this goes against my number one rule of habit change, which is don't change more than one bad habit at a time. Focusing on ONE thing at a time leads to a much better success rate. It's the folks with ten resolutions at the end of December that I just want to hug and say, "No, no. You're fine! You'll be fine. Just pick ONE. In a few months, pick ONE more, etc., etc." I'm 38 now. I've learned one or two things in this lifetime. "Don't bite off more than you can chew," is one of them. [I watched Milo eat a cupcake today and he--he has NOT learned this one yet.] But every time I sit down to think of which to let slide for now . . . I can't choose. I really feel BETTER for having gone to church. I am a better PERSON if I have a day of honest rest and focus on family and faith. Reading scripture makes me feel like my life has a greater PURPOSE than textbook writing and bill paying. Praying keeps me from feeling burdened by my blessings. And fasting--the feeling I get from fasting is like earning interest on all of that.)

So I did remember. I did remember although I still did a kind of messy job of applying the knowledge because the twins had a birthday party that didn't get over until 12:30, we didn't get home until 1:00, I didn't get to actually eat lunch myself until 2:30 . . . it was 4:00 when I knelt down to pray to begin my fast. But I immediately felt a WHOLE lot better after I did. Then, I went back to my computer, read the scripture for the day, and got back to work. During little work breaks, I cast on another preemie hat. And here--this was really the point of the whole post, but I felt it needed all the back story, the odd feeling of vulnerability I get when I want honestly to change but am fearful of . . . I don't know what--all that is mixed up in these thoughts--so I'm working on this preemie hat and I'm thinking, well, really PRAYING with every little stitch, about this tiny baby boy. I'm knitting for a 2-lb-er. A little boy. I know he is the only survivor of a set of triplets and that his mother lost most of her own kidney function during the pregnancy. That's all I know. His mother has a friend who loves her and this friend posted a request for knit preemie hats on a mothering board I frequent and I offered to send the ones I'd already knit for my Cousin-in-law and she sent me her address. But then I got out my tape measure and realized that as usual (since my children have freakishly large heads) I'd knit them bigger than I intended. They're probably going to be perfect for my cousin-in-law, whose baby is still safely in utero and probably already more than 2 lbs there. But I would need to quickly whip-up some new hats for a 2-lb baby boy. Unfortunately, the only honest-to-goodness deadline I had all week was yesterday, so I didn't have three hours to put aside to knit a hat--which is all it takes at the most to knit a hat this small. So I just finished the first hat during the birthday party and here I am working on the second hat.

And praying over this baby. So I wish I had a name for him, but we'll just call him 2-lb baby boy, and if you are praying and fasting or not fasting but still praying, I hope you'll include him in your prayers. His mother means for him to live and herself to heal enough to raise him. If God does not have some other purpose for this boy, I know He can and will hear our prayers. Join me in this prayer tonight? I want to send the mother hope and comfort. Whoever and wherever she is. I like that about God. He is not the Post Office. You can say, "I think you know who I mean," and He does.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I don't know where Ben picked up "Boo-ya!" but he did and he uses it enthusiastically and as frequently as possible. It came into great play this evening.

We went bowling. And if I wasn't a massive introvert who is now completely drained of a need to interact with my audience following hours of being "out in public," I'd give you the blow by blow. It was all funny, it was all good. So instead you get the summary.

I won. Yes, I did. I haven't bowled in YEARS and I bowled a 124 thanks to three strikes, two spares (the last frame included both a strike and a spare) and then a bunch of totally forgettable frames in between. I'd get a spare and then with the first ball of the next frame get, like, two. Chris and I spent most of the game being amazed at exactly how awkward you can feel hurling a marble ball down a slippery lane when you haven't played the game in eons.

Chris has his own ball. He couldn't use it. It was made for the skinny kid he was as a teenager. The big Double XL man he is now will need to drill out new holes if he's to use that ball again.
Nevertheless, he gamely tossed a 16 lb ball down the lane over and over. And like me, had mixed results. He was ahead for the first half, then I threw a nine by neatly finding the footing and the toss I had 22 years ago when I worked for a bowling alley and played a lot. I immediately lost it on the next frame, but I came close for most of the rest of the game and remembered why I thought the game was fun.

One thing that totally changed the game and gave us ALL artificially high scores was the fact that we were playing with Ben and Milo. So we had the bumpers up. We'd have ALL had at least a few gutter balls had we not had the bumpers up.

Ben and Milo? They got exactly the same score using two entirely different techniques. Ben wanted to throw the ball, which involved heaving the ball up to his chest, running at the alley, and then just plopping that sucker down and hoping it picked up some momentum during the run. There was only one time that it stopped rolling altogether. The rest of the time it DID make it down and usually managed to knock over some pins. Milo used the ball flinger--this metal contraption where you place the ball on the top and give it a shove and the ball rolls along these metal rails, picking up speed as it falls, and then does a fair job of getting to the other end. It's impossible to aim and what you knock down is totally luck. But it worked well enough. They scored 70. We thought it was hilarious that they got the same score because, you know, identical twins, blah blah blah--and they were dressed alike today, which is rare.

Max put on his game face and did his best, but the ball is heavy and Chris and I could explain the technique but were too rusty to SHOW him much, so he was happy just to come in third with an 86 or 88 or something.

Anyway, it was four boys, one girl, two diet cokes and a sprite to share, and about an hour of flinging the balls at the pins. A good time was had by all. Then, we headed over to the nearest pizza place (the bowling alley DOES sell pizza. It's not edible.) which has excellent pizza, moderately good service, and takes FOREVER to make a pizza. We splurged--in part because we had coupons for the bowling and only had to pay for the shoes. So I think we were there about two hours. There were at least four points in the evening where we vowed we had to blog "this" and now I can't remember any of them except for the twins getting the same score. And Ben yelling "Boo-ya!" every time he knocked down a single pin. And Milo doing victory dances.

By the time we got home we were all mostly ready for bed.

It's been a good week. A lot of bills got paid. It'll be awhile now before the mail man brings any more money, so after tonight's splurge, we're on budget lockdown. I need to finish up some work tomorrow morning and then get the twins to a birthday party. After that I'm cleaning and doing laundry. Sunday is a Fasting day at church and it's been so long since I participated I hope I can remember how.

It's only 9:30, but I'm off to bed while I still have the warm fuzzies from a wonderful evening spent with my husband and sons. They're such good kids. I'm so lucky to have them.