February Days Gone By

And so it happened, February has recently fallen off thecalendar, leaving a long list of memories in its wake.   It was a COLD month in Minnesota, with tonsof snow. 
Since it is winter, I supposethat’s exactly what we should be like; it’s just that every year it kind ofcatches us off guard.  The weather peoplestart forecasting big snowfalls and we get excited about it like we’re 10 again,until we wake up the next morning faced with piles and piles of snow that willeventually become piles and piles of dirty snow.  It’s rough getting old.  Somehow even as the snow gets dirtier and thewind chills more severe, my children see nothing but sparkling visions ofsnowmen and sledding.  Oh, to see theworld through the eyes of a 3 year old…It’s got to be a happy place and I often want to go there!

I started the month off with a bang, hanging with some fungirlfriends at our annual weekend away, scrapbooking.  I got sick of working on the same projectsyear after year without ever finishing them (baby books) so I decided to bringa much smaller project that I knew I could finish. 

I made alphabet books for each of my kids,with cute pics of them on every page, corresponding with a letter of thealphabet.  Cute and useful J But most of all, aproject I actually FINISHED! 
I came home from that retreat (with a happy husband, a cleanhouse and napping children!!!) and dove right in to prepping for 2 talks I wasgiving to the girls in our student ministry. I spent most of my time poured over books, while my kids watched every TVshow they ever dreamed of.  A freedom I’mstill trying to undo.

In the course of my prepping, I pulled out our wedding videoto use for an illustration, which led to my romance loving, princess obsessed,daughter laying eyes on my wedding dress for the first time and immediatelyasking me, “MOM, do you still have your dress? WHERE IS THAT DRESS???”  I hadsecretly been dreaming of this moment for years, never expecting it to come at3.5, but I think I did a little mental happy dance when I realized it wasindeed time to reveal my own inner princess and show her the dress I desperatelylong hope for her to wearsomeday! 
  And she didn’t disappoint.  There was squealing, some attempts attwirling, a general fascination with every detail (I hear ya sister, it wasgorgeous, wasn’t it??) and grinning from ear to ear! 
Until I told her we had to take it off and no, she couldn’twear it around the house.  Mostly becauseshe couldn’t take one step in it, let alone sashay and strike a pose for all tosee.  It was the day the music died inher heart.  There were tears. 

Shortly after we moved on from that incident, we beganthinking about Valentine’s Day and some sweet conversations ensued.  Ava picked up some glass hearts I put outevery year and she and I had a pretty significant talk about how dirty ourhearts are and how we can do nothing on our own to clean them up.  It’s a real problem that we’re all bornwith.  I explained that God loves us somuch however; that He came up with a solution for us and that was why He sentHis Son Jesus to die in our place.  Hisblood washes over our dirty hearts and makes them clean again, like neverbefore.  I never know how much of thatsinks in, but it’s come up ten times since then and every time she spottedthose glass hearts around the house, she proceeded to tell us (Or Carter, Orher dolls) that “God makes our hearts clean again!” and then Carter would chimein with “I want a keen heart too Mommy!”  

Precious.  May that always be thedesire of their actual hearts and may they live in the freedom and rest thatcomes only from entrusting Jesus to that saving work, not themselves. 
I began the work of what I’ve deemed “my motherhoodprivilege” and started serving them heart pancakes every day and presentingeverything in pink, red or purple.  Ilove holidays and I fully embrace every opportunity to decorate for it J
Due to a few huge snowfalls, we’ve been a little stir crazythis month.  And when I say “we” I meanTravis and the kids.  Honestly, I couldstay bundled up and toasty in my house day after day and be perfectlyhappy.  But I’m married to the greatadventurer and he cannot.  Carter appearsto be a carbon copy of his Daddy so far and Ava, well let’s just say not onlydoes she look like me, but she’s pretty happy to be at home lost in a world ofprincesses and imagination.  But even sheneeds some activity to work those wiggles out too!  So, God bless their Daddy, Travis hasdedicated hours and hours to riding his bike in the underground garage withthese two kamikaze drivers at his side! It’s become our favorite past time in the month of February and thoselittle bikes/cars/ride-on toys have logged hundreds of miles on theirodometers.  

Side note, isn’t it fun toremember a day when you were young and innocent, thinking you could drive a caryou liked forever?  Having no idea there’sa cruel underworld of maintenance, high mileage, and car dealerships???  Maybe that’s just the bitterness speakingafter a last minute, major car repair bill this month.  I digress J

In other news, Ava decided she was ready to tackle nap timewith her brother, as in she flat out kicked me out one afternoon so she could “puthim down” (you’d think we’d coin a different phrase than that one when referringto the work of getting one to sleep.  It’sall sorts of bad sounding).  I listenedto her “read” him 3 books, sing his favorite songs, and even lean over him topray.  It was all sweet and wonderfuluntil he decided to get out of his bed, just to torment her, and broke intohysterical laughter while she was so sweetly praying over him.  

Let’s just say I intervened at that point andreminded him of his sister’s kindness and also, my nearness should hedisrespect her again J it was darling.  And it lasted about 3 days before she wasflat over it, the struggle of getting him to just give in and go to sleep!  I’m with ya girlfriend…Finally someoneunderstands the pain of being a Mom sometimes! It hasn’t seemed to affect her willingness however when it’s her turnfor bedtime.  Funny how that works. 

Ava has seemingly inherited my love for cookbookreading.  She asked me if she could lookat the cupcake book and that led to an hour of entertainment for all.  Oh Ava, if only you knew the joy we couldshare in the years ahead!  Kitchen help that’sactually help.  A girl can dream, right??
Speaking of the kitchen, here’s a little treat Trav and Iindulged in this month.  Smoked Gouda,bacon, and apple slices, grilled, with avocado. If you haven’t tried it, you must. You’ll love me forever, I’m just sure of it. 

Valentine’s Day happened. I had grand plans to celebrate, but learned my cousin was diagnosed withbreast cancer that day and suddenly I felt like sprinkles in our pancakes andglitter crafts were meaningless.  So Icuddled in bed with my kids and cried while we watched a movie.  Because that seemed a lot happier??  I did manage to pull myself together and stepup my game when I learned my cousin was indeed making chocolate molten lava cakesfor her own kids, despite having her world rocked the day before.  So I made a cheesecake from scratch and cameup with a sweet dinner for us anyway. And hugged my valentines a little tighter. We celebrated.  And I read scripture about every 10 minutesto help my hurting heart.  There has beena lot of scripture in my life this month…

Somewhere in the month of February, Travis left for a winterretreat with the Junior High students and after a retreat of my own wascancelled that weekend, I stayed home with the kids.  And decided that I’d had enough of ourdisaster of a home, including the Christmas tree that was still up, because mydarling husband “loved the glow of it” and couldn’t  wouldn’t bring himself to help me take itdown.  Well, I showed him by enduring thework of it ALL BY MYSELF (wait, why did I think that was a good idea??) and inthe process, decided I was also going to re-arrange the living room and give ita major deep clean.  Because that soundslike fun in my twisted head.  So whileCarter napped and Ava tried to watch a movie (which was a real hardship for herwhen I paused it repeatedly so I could vacuum), I decided it would be the yearof angles.  Note, not angels, but angles.  I just needed something different for my souland for this reason, angles were the trick to keep my boat afloat.  I like it. I think we’ll keep it for a while. Or at least until Travis is gone for the weekend again and I’mbored.  I can’t make any promises J
One of the highlights of our month has been diving into anew small group of young families from our Church.  Between us, we have 8 kids, 4 years old andunder, with 1 more on the way!  Sogreat!!  We’ve met as couples, as girlsand as guys, and it’s been great.  Aneeded thing in our world.  We’reexcited.

Perhaps one of the highlights ofmy month (that I can’t believe I haven’t shared on the old blog yet) is thenews that I became a knitter!!!  Yep, Ijust declared that news.  Listen, I’mtainted when it comes to the definition of “news” when Beyoncé is featurednationally for weeks on end and I know more about Michelle Obama’s bangs, thanI do about senate hearings on gun control.  Anyway. I sat across from an extremely talentedfriend on our girls weekend away, and watched her knit and sew (that’s next onthe list, when I have room for a sewing machine) and promptly came homeinspired.  She whipped out this cute headband and then gave one to me later! 
I needed to learn how to knitand especially before our big road trip, where I envisioned myself knitting inthe car and sipping coffee with my darling husband, while the children nappedcontentedly in the back.  Isn’t itromantic to be in my head??  So I didwhat this generation does.  I you-tubedit.  Books on knitting, classes,tutorials from friends??  Ain’t nobodygot time for that!  I needed someinstantaneous instruction so I watched my favorite Norwegian instructor (note,the first video that looked entertaining and easy to understand) and beganknitting.  
It took me a whole day to getthe slip knot, casting on and the basic knit stitch down, but with every row Iadded I exclaimed “I’m doing it! I’m knitting!! I’m a knitter!!!”  It was a bigday.  I had no idea what I was doing,including the needles I chose or the knit I purchased.  As it turned out, I chose one of the harderyarns to work with (of course) simply because Ava and I loved the colors andthe varying texture seemed really fun (read: difficult).  
So there was lots of taking things apart inthe beginning and truly just learning as I went, but having now finished a fewthings, I’m a little more confident when I say “I knit.”  I will tell you a funny story though, only 2days after I started and I realized I really needed some different needles andsome easier yarn, I ventured to Michael’s with the kids in tow and beganbrowsing.  A woman came up to me andsaid, “Excuse me, I have no idea what I’m doing, you must crochet?  Do you know how to read these labels on theyarn?”  To which I promptly answered, “Ohno, I don’t crochet, I’m a knitter but I could probably figure out the labelfor you.”  And as the words left my mouthI started laughing, saying “Ok, actually I’m a knitter of two whole days, soreally I have no idea what I’m doing either! But I claimed that skill with some confidence didn’t I?”  We gota good laugh out of that, but I realized I already loved it so much I was beginningto identify myself with a tribe of knitters. Happily, I might add!  So,February marks the beginning of my knitting obsession and Travis referring tome as his “Knitty Bitty.”  This is oh soappropriate because I’ve become an old lady overnight.  All I want to do is drink coffee andknit.  I read to the kids while I knit,watch movies with the family while I knit, and while Travis reads in bed, Iknit JIt’s a beautiful thing people.  I justcan’t explain the compulsion in me that needs a creative outlet and a reason to“create” except to say that it’s God given in and therefore, you can’t call meweird.  I’m simply inspired! 
So there you have it, ourFebruary of fun, chronicled for generations to come.  Or for me to read in 5 years when I’m tryingto catch up on someone’s scrapbook!  Ican already guarantee that March is going to trump February for a millionreasons, so stay tuned friends.  I’m currentlywatching 10, 75 year olds do water aerobics from the balcony of this condo inFlorida, so believe me, March will be full of stories!  
Before this February post ends, just enjoy this little glimpse into the kids room.  While we were spending the last few days of the month prepping and packing for our trip, the kids were busy doing  this.  It's safe to say ALL of their toys have been played with!  

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