Saturday, March 26, 2011

Knitting

I love to knit. It is something I am not naturally gifted at either. So instead of giving up I decided to learn, mostly by myself, how to do it better. The only person I know whom knits is my husband's Grandmother, Oma. When she is here she is very helpful but sadly she lives in Connecticut and we only see them 2-3 times a year. She taught me last summer how to purl and to do a knitted cast on. Of course since I did not knit regularly then I had to relearn both methods, but now I think I can call myself a knitter. 


To date I have knitted 5 scarves, 2 ducks, 2 bunnies, 1 goose, and 1 sheep. My goal is to take a class at our Parks and Rec center which claims to teach sweater knitting to beginners as well as learn to crochet this summer. All of this adds to my long term goal of being able to knit the kids sweaters-hats- or gloves by next winter. I realize that this is a lofty goal but I am not wanting to learn anything super fancy. I know all the basics now, I just want to be able to knit more useful things for my family. 


Three books that have helped me learn solo are: 

All About Knitting by Martingale & Co 


http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Knitting-Martingale-Co/dp/1564778983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301187373&sr=8-1-spell


This awesome guide to everything knitting was a sweet gift given to me by my mother in law. It has patterns for all levels and is just a great guide to have around when you run into patterns that confuse you. It basically is a knitting encyclopedia. 



Knitted Animals by Anne-dorthe Grigaff 


http://www.amazon.com/Knitted-Animals-Education-Anne-dorthe-Grigaff/dp/1903458684/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1301187412&sr=1-2-spell


I LOVE this book. All the projects in here are for beginners and the patterns are not in shorthand, so it is good practice. Anyone can do these and if you work your way through all the animals in the book, then you will learn all the stitches. 



Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages by Melanie Falick 


http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Knitting-Projects-all-Ages/dp/1579652417/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301187435&sr=1-1


This book is a great beginners guide. I like their illustration on the different stitches. It is very clear and easy to understand.


Youtube
http://cyberseams.com/how_to_cyberseams.php#knitting stitches and methods

So enjoy and maybe one night instead of just TV, you can knit too! Its fun and relaxing, I promise : )







Daily verse: And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:1-3 NIV







Thursday, March 24, 2011

Faithfulness and Random Acts

Recently I have been struggling with reconciling the changing relationships in my life. As we people change, so do our relationships. Fortunately most of these changes have been wonderful while others very hurtful. For longer than year now one of these has been weighting on my heart, and that weight has gotten a lot heavier in the past month. This caused me to question my worth, Jonas' worth, and my value as a daughter, wife, and mother. In the midst of praying over this, God gave me truly a supernatural peace and breakthrough in perspective on Tuesday. In addition to this he opened my eyes to other relationships in my life that have been growing in depth and love, among the most important my relationship with God and Craig, but also others.  One of those people is my friend Amanda. She has been such an inspiration and joy to be around. She is a true kindred spirit. God has put her in my life, as well as many others, in a pretty radical way when we first met.

 Six years ago in Fall 2005, I came to CNU completely independent from my parents as a result of domestic abuse from my father, whom I have since reconciled with. I also spent a large part of my senior year of high school on my own working and supporting myself due to abuses happening at home. So when I came to CNU I was very alone with no support network that I was in contact with (except for my Aunt Meeta and Uncle Bill, for whom I have the utmost love and  respect). I got a job on campus and worked overtime at it until pay check time came...

I was told then that they could not pay me unless I could get my birth certificate and social security card, both of which my mother had and refused to give me at the time. So here I was in the CNU Human Resources office crying and upset that I could not get paid due to my home issues...again. The worker there was so kind to me. She got me all the information I needed to get a new card and certificate. She comforted me. And then I walked out and never saw her again.. or so I thought. Not soon after this I began dating Craig and we starting attending our home group. There I meet so many loving and wonderful people, among them were the Smiths, Josh and Amanda. (plus now Payton and baby Jude)!

After six years of friendship, I consider Amanda a very close friend. We have had kids together and recently have gotten closer. It was not until a month ago over coffee that she told me she was that worker who helped me that day when I could not get paid and felt soo defeated. Her! I always considered her a blessing in my life but at that point I was convinced that God has purposefully put her in my life then and now. That realization just deepened my connection to her and our friendship.

I had always wonderer..

Random acts of kindness DO make a difference and leave a lasting legacy. So thank you Amanda for being my friend and allowing the Lord to use you in more ways than you know. 

I did get my cards back from my Mom, after talking to Amanda, which prompted me to see her. Soon after we reconciled and our relationship continues to improve!!!  I love my Mom :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Return of the Birds!

Since making our decision to not send Deirdre to preschool this Fall, we have begun a new home preschool program with her- in conjunction with weekly play dates and biweekly church 'preschool' for social interaction. The program we are using is wonderful and is also free. I discovered via the Bella Luna blog. The curriculum was created by an awesome crafter Mom and homeschooler whom runs a website called "Wee Folk Art". It is seasonally based and fits Deirdre's personality perfectly (with an added touch of detail and depth where needed from Mama). 


About three weeks ago Deirdre got her subscription renewal to "My Big Backyard" magazine and with it came a pair of binoculars. She was immediately in love with them. So we took to the yard to observe the birds. At this point however the birds were hiding, since it was still very cold out. Then, not a week or so later, she noticed that the birds had returned!!! She began spying them all on her own and hearing them. 


Needless to say the return of the birds has been fun and coincides with the first lesson in our new curriculum on birds! How neat? Deirdre now knows so much about them and the schooling is really enriching her time outdoors. We have been keeping a bird and garden journal as well as a nature collection too. I will post pictures tomorrow of them since I am on the laptop. 


Deirdre also can now draw bodies, limbs, and faces. This may not seem like a significant development, but it is. I am so proud of her since it really, as is the case with all of her milestones, of her of own making. I watched her practice the drawings, not without frustration and a few "but you draw them best Mommy", before she got it! She was sooo proud of herself and rightfully so. Her effort was commendable. 


Another reason why I enjoy this version of home preschool is that I can go at her pace, challenge her where needed, as well as spend more time on topics that interest her...and all for free. I realize that "having a break" is nice but I do not mind having her around in the least. I actually prefer to have her around, haha. 


I spend lots of time one on one with both my kids and I get my housework and homework done. We also are cloth diapering and those are working out great plus they're getting washed (another thing I am proud of myself for). Also I have been cooking about 5-6 nights a week (Craig cooks one and the other is leftovers) from scratch for a month plus. That is something I am proud of because I am not a "cook". Well let me rephrase that, it is not something I like nor does cooking come easily to me. But I can cook and do it tastefully. I am however an great baker. So the I need a break "to get more things done" argument is moot. But I digress...


Basically, with preschool, I do not see the value in paying to have a break from my child when I do not need it nor want it. I like being with her, teaching her, and it does not seem like a necessary service for her or us. My husband also works afternoons/evenings. He only gets to really see the kids during the day. If she was gone 2 to 3 times a week, that would severely cut into his time with her. So he was a fan so keeping her home immediately. The quality of education never came into the decision process for us either because well in addition to having taught at a preschool for 4 years, I  will have a degree in less than a month in history, education, and language :) So I feel more than qualified to teach her and I know I have so far and will continue to do it well. 


Last but certainly not least, we felt convicted to do this as a family and Craig did as our spiritual leader. We believe that this is what the Lord wants us to do and we prayerfully considered it. 


So I will leave you with this verse and pictures to follow. Please do understand this is what we feel is best for our child and family. I do not think other people who send their kiddos to preschool do not like to be around them- that is just simply an argument I had been told and I wanted to specifically address it here. To each their own and I think preschools can be great! Who knows what we will  decide next year when we revisit the topic?











Daily Verse: 

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

-2 Timothy 3:14-17

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wine and Oz

Tonight happens to be my hubby's and mine "special" evening- among others during an entire week- but with this one evening a week, we watch a movie and have a romantic wine dinner after the kids go to bed. Its lots of fun, trust me :)
So I have had my wine and it is bedtime as well as time to watch Craig's show Oz. So I will leave you this this daily verse: 



Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” 

–Luke 19:9-10 




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dandelions

Today was a relaxing day. Therefore this will be brief. Not only was church great, so was worship. Since Craig lead, I brought Deidre in to worship. Today the band tried out a new song, Dandelions by Five Iron Frenzy. It went fantastically and Deirdre loved it.


Regardless of what some people might think ( I personally believe we underestimate a child's perceptiveness and understanding) I am conceived that Deirdre knew that what Daddy was doing was praising the Lord and not just his normal singing. I know this because after naptime she played her version of "Dandelions" on her toy piano. The lyrics to her version were:


God loves dandelions and God loves me
Daddy loves dandelions and loves God and me
God loves (it) when I sing 


After many renditions of her song, she came up to me and informed me that she made God happy with her because she sang him her song  and that it was just for him. She also knew that "he watched me and clapped when I sang it". 


So I will leave you now with the Five Iron Frenzy lyrics to ponder on this week:


In a field of yellow flowers,
underneath the sun,
bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
boy with shoes undone.
He is young, so full of hope,
reveling in tiny dreams,
filling up, his arms with flowers,
right for giving any queen.

Running to her beaming bright,
while cradling his prize.
A flickering of yellow light,
within his mother's eyes.
She holds them to her heart,
keeping them where they'll be safe,
clasped within her very marrow,
dandelions in a vase.

She sees love, where anyone else would see weeds.
all hope is found.
Here is everything he needs.

Fathomless your endless mercy,
weight I could not lift.
Where do I fit in this puzzle,
what good are these gifts?
Not a martyr, or a saint,
scarcely can I struggle through.
All that I have ever wanted,
was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
create in me something clean.
Dandelions
you see flowers in these weeds.

Gently lifting hands to heaven,
softened by the sweetest hush,
a Father sings over his children,
loving them so very much.
More than words could warrant,
deeper than the darkest blue,
more than sacrifice could merit,
Lord, I give my heart to you. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Organized Simplicity

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have an awesome free stash of books right now that I am reading. One in particular is really syncing with me, and it is titled "Organized Simplicity". The premise of the book is that a not only is simplifying your life through organization and decluttering possible but doing so leads to a more meaningful and enjoyable way to live. 


Eureka! Someone figured it out for me. But what I love about this book is it is not a "just throw all you worldly possessions way" gig. Tsh (the author) explains realistic ways bit by bit on how to do so, ranging from being involved in fewer activities to green living. She then goes on to provide the reader with research on the American family, income, household size, ect. and how we as a society have changed over the past 50 years. As a result you can clearly see that while we as a society have become more wealthy and now own larger homes with more stuff, we also work twice as much as the rest of the world with a drastic decrease in contentedness. 


Because I am skeptic, I checked her sources and research. I have to say that it is sound in my mind and not just because I want to believe her. Trust me I LOVE my stuff. My stuff is a idol in my life and my consumerism is something I struggle with (but I am getting much better at thanks to  the Lord, my hubby, and my discipler!). I also do not like getting rid of it nor do I like slowing down. But her words and research are convicting me to continue and increase the decluttering process in our life. Two tangible things I (including Craig) have done recently towards that end is to not enroll DD in preschool this upcoming Fall and to purge our 'stuff' without going and getting new things. 


I will not hit all my reasons to not send her to preschool another time, but please understand that I have nothing against preschools. I think they are great- I worked in one for 4 years- but preschool is just not what we feel is right for our family and child right now. To each their own! 



So in short, go pick up Tsh's book if you need some motivation and conviction for a simpler life. It will inspire you. 



Tsh's blog: http://simplemom.net/






video

A baby Deirdre chasing ducks. Simple, free, unadulterated fun.


Daily Verse: 
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. -Mark 10:14-16

Sweet Moment: Today at bedtime when I was putting Jonas down, I pulled out the picture of the family which we look at almost nightly. I asked, like I aways do, where Mama, Dada, and Deirdre are. And tonight he pointed to each of us twice in different order!! It seems he does understands me more now besides just when I say "uh-oh"! 



Friday, March 18, 2011

Changing seasons and evolving homes!

Today and yesterday were glorious days! We are all very happy about Spring in my household. I love to be outdoors and so do my kids and husband. The only times I do not enjoy being outside is when there are droves of mosquitoes out or the sun is blistering (unless I am on the beach, then I can and will tolerate the heat-just give me a surfboard). Unfortunately for me during the summer around here, the heat and the pesky blood suckers coincide quite often. 


You see I am very pale, very sweet, and very Irish. I am convinced that there must not be any mosquitoes in Ireland because I am not evolutionarily cut out to survive around them. These three things combined make me a PRIME target for sunburn and thirsty mosquitoes. I also swear that it is not only hotter in Newport News but the mosquitoes are also worse here than in Virginia Beach (where primarily I grew up). But I digress, the point to this is not to bemoan things I cannot change. This blog is about change in truth. 


Since August of 2010 I have been back at CNU part-time finishing up my BA- which I am proud to say I will be done with this May. While being back I have had access to an awesome library with a free inter-library loan service. In turn I have been using this service, which I do pay for indirectly, to its fullest by checking out tons of books. Books about education, homemaking, knitting, and my kids which I otherwise could not get at my local library or afford to buy. 


Obviously there are some books I do not like and return right away, but I have checked out all the books on my Amazon wishlist (as of today) and I have gone to town. In particular I have learned how to knit better, make toys for my kids, the values of sustainable living, and most meaningful to our family yet- I have leaned more about Waldorf-Steiner education. 


While I am not going to seriously delve into how I am applying Waldorf to our daily lives in this blog tonight, I will say that it has finally given me a succinct mothering philosophy that resonates fully with me, my kids, and most importantly my love for God. 


So needless to say, as Spring swings into full force, more little changes and fine tuning will creep into our home for the better. From the extremely positive reactions I have seen with the changes I have made in the past four months, Waldorf seems to effortlessly mold into our home. 


Daily Verse: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.- Acts 17: 26-27


Spring Visitors

Telling me that she saw sprouts (see below photo)

Deirdre's Sprouts

My blueberries are flowering!!!

Duffy and Fluffy

A St. Patrick's Day gift

Rocking his Teething Necklace, and yes it does works! 
No ibuprofen needed for a week and two more teeth coming in!

Strolling her gnome babies

A sharing and self control activity. Yes this one works too and is fun. 

His favorite toy!

Love, kisses, and running noses!

Sweet Child Moment: After naptime we all went outside to play. While laying in the grass and staring at the clouds (which happed to look like lions according to Deirdre) Deirdre snuggled up to me and verbatim told me that she loved me and that I was the best Mommy in the 'whole sky'. Then she kissed my cheek.