Extra to extraordinary

I can’t tell you how much the littles and I are enjoying Sonlight’s Core 4/5. It truly has been the perfect speed for my combination of ages and stages. Stories and topics ranging from simple to complex, hands-on ideas, engaging characters to fall in love with– it’s all there. I was among the biggest scoffers when Sonlight announced programs for the younger set years ago, so this is me eating crow right now when I say that if you have kids in this target age, check it out. It may be a good fit for you, too.

But it is winter. And in the PNW, winter is grey, and long, and dull, and marked by a terrible inability to just go outside already. Now, left to my own devices, I would weather the long, wet dark quite well. I have a library card, a tea drawer, a yarn stash, and access to ravelry. What more could a girl want? If she’s the mother of children wiggly in both brain and body, a lot.

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On patience

I never aspired to be a special needs teacher. I wasn’t one of those girls in high school or college who felt a tug towards folks who need a little extra assistance. I am not detail oriented. I am not terribly organized. I’m really none of the things that you’d look for in a professional therapist or special ed teacher.

I’m a mom.

I’m a mom with a kid who learns differently.

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Someone in this house– I won’t say who– is currently straining the bounds of goodwill.

This person is small, so a good dollop of grace is being offered, but still … it–he— is exhausting.

There are constant questions. Constant activities. A constant flow of do, go, see.

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{Work in Progress Wednesday}

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

(work in progress: dress for Birdie’s Miss Maggie Rabbit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport sagebrush colorway)

We’d love to see your works in progress. Something that makes you feel rich–or at least not poor. Something you’re making. Something you’re doing (folding a pile of laundry–again?) Something you’re planning. Share in the comments!

Shared at KCCO.

Not broken

One of my favorite drinking glasses got a chip in it.

It was a gift– a set of four– from my in-laws. They are the kind of people who gift well, who look and look and do their best to put not just a token in a box, but a little bit of themselves, and, along with it, evidence of their love. My mother-in-law, especially, works hard to delight with her gifting. She knows, after all, what it is to be a mom. To expend most of your energy on others. To forget that your own hair hasn’t been cut in six months even as you make plans to trim that toddler’s bangs. She knows that inescapable denial of self, and she finds ways to make sure that on special days, even a Momma cannot forget that she is still a daughter, too.

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It’s messy

Birdie already knows that all good fairy tales– the ones where the rules are broken and reality is suspended and that pony can finally, finally tell you what’s on her mind–  all really good fairy tales start with “Once upon a time.” Those are the stories she really wants to hear these days. The ones where things are exactly how she wishes they were. A rainbow over every hill. Rivers sprinkled with glitter. Unlimited white bunnies that let you pat their ears without running away. Pink everything.

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These two.

Right now, they are best friends … and perfect enemies.

They play beautifully, pretending to be an owner looking for a lost puppy, or a baker bringing cakes to a favorite customer. When she wakes up, he is the first person she goes looking for (after Daddy, of course). When she is upstairs napping, he asks constantly when she’ll be back down, ready to be Bonnie to his Clyde. It is blissful, and beautiful and sweet and all the things that make Mommas and Daddies all at once proud and in love with parenting.

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On full quivers

If I could change one thing about the way I’m perceived as a mom of many, it wouldn’t be the intrusive, assumptive questions about my family size. It wouldn’t be the curious, wide eyes in the grocery store. It wouldn’t be the people who take time to manually count the number of kids following me through the library.

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Feeding the people {a 2 week menu with links}

Yeah, we’ve got a lot of mouths to feed. We also entertain a couple of times a week. Combine those two elements and you have a faint-worthy grocery bill. The “average” family of four (does this family actually exist?!?!) spent about $1,000 per month on food items at the grocery store each month in 2012. Our family, by rights, ought to more than double that figure. But we don’t even come close– not even with regular guests at our table.

Our biggest factor in savings is a no-brainer: we avoid pre-packaged foods. Our budget (and our bodies) are healthier thanks to foregoing much of what fills the center aisles of the typical grocery store. We make our own spice blends and seasonings at home. You’d be shocked at how easy it is to adapt a recipe that calls for “cream of _____” to a homemade version! We bake our own cookies, cakes, pies, etc. We don’t eat frozen meals or most convenience foods. What started as a way to keep our budget trim is now so ingrained as a preference that paying for an inferior product seems, well … not worth it.

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