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December and January Recap

It's been a long minute.  We left off with a room remodel...we're still working on finishing touches as the window hangings are being difficult.  Of course they are. :)

Here's what's been happening:

My oldest turned 8 and requested a S'mores Cake for her birthday.  Graham Cracker cake with milk chocolate ganache in the middle and on top of the layers, covered with fluffy marshmallow frosting and decorated with Hershey bars, largely based on this recipe with some tweaks. 

Christmas was a lovely break from school and work.  We went through Why Christmas? again for Advent, solidifying Luke 2 in our memories. My husband read A Christmas Carol  and The Secret Garden (apart from the new agey magic stuff, the latter is a wonderful story) aloud to the family.  I had a chance to do a little sewing and finished up a floating gathered shoulder sling made of Colimacon et Cie wrap fabric.  This fabric also has excellent wrapping properties and I highly recommend it for any babywearing project--it's one of the best values out there (especially when on sale like it is now through mid Feburary!).  This has become my go-to recommendation for someone with a little sewing skill (just need to be able to manage mostly straight lines! :) ) wanting to try a woven wrap or a ring sling on a budget. 

We were delighted to receive this enormous drying rack as a Christmas gift.  It easily holds a full load of laundry--awesome for when the cloth diaper covers and a bunch of sweaters need to dry.

Inspired (I think) by a train display they saw over Christmas and Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? (part of our preschool curriculum) my older kids made an elaborate Duplo train track and environment.  They included switchmen with substitutes sleeping in the small switch towers behind them, getting ready for their shifts.  :)

Babywearing continues to be an enjoyable and useful part of each day.  Although my 19 month old spends a lot of time toddling about the house and playing, she still loves to ride on my back.  Sometimes it's just for a rest and she snuggles up and goes to sleep.  Other times she chatters, giggles, or watches what I'm doing--folding laundry, cooking, schooling, etc. After over a year of wrapping a lot of the movements have become second nature.  I've enjoyed helping friends interested in wrapping and participating in online communities dedicated to the subject.

Connecting with other mamas all over the world through babywearing communities has been really fun, and I've gotten to know a few well enough that they've generously sent their wraps traveling to visit here.  I'm hosting a beautiful Didymos Mystic Petrol Hemp OS right now.  It's something of a legendary wrap within the wearing community, so I've nicknamed it Elvis while it's here. 

As is typical for our area, it's been cold and snowy these past two months, but when the sun was shining strong earlier this week I bundled up the kids and took them to the zoo.  I've never seen our zoo's animals so active!  We saw wolves tearing meat from a deer carcass, the tiger was pacing right up next to the fence, huffing with reserved power, the baboons were being fed, the otters were sliding down some snowy trails and doing back flips in the water, and we got right next to the lion with only the display glass in between.  What a joy! We had the zoo almost entirely to ourselves because apparently most people don't think of 26 degrees as ideal weather for this sort of thing.  :)  Not to over spiritualize, but it did make me think, as I perhaps never have before, that these animals--so obviously not displaying their magnificence for our sake--nevertheless sing of their Creator's handiwork. 

I'll be back soon with a recipe for Pakistani Kima, an easy hamburger curry that we think of as comfort food, but I'll end today with an insightful quote from a book I've begun reading about prayer,  Paul E. Miller's A Praying Life, and a few passages that have reminded me to run to the "fountain of living waters" this week. 

Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. Making prayer the center is like making conversation the center of a family mealtime.  In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it.  It freezes us, making us unsure of where to go.  Conversation is only the vehicle through which we experience one another.  Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book.  Getting to know a person, God, is the center.

Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
    declares the LORD,
    for my people have committed two evils:
    they have forsaken me,
        the fountain of living waters,
    and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
        broken cisterns that can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV)

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
        come to the waters;
    and he who has no money,
        come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without price.
    Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
        and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
    Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
        and delight yourselves in rich food.
    Incline your ear, and come to me;
        hear, that your soul may live;
    and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
        my steadfast, sure love for David.
(Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14 ESV)


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