SQT: Small triumphs

Seven nearly-random observations about life on 8/11/17.

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  1. I just made a record-fast trip to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. I brought approximately 80 pounds of school books to prep for lessons (starting school in 10 days! ack!) and then only made it through one before they called me.  I am happy to report that my photo is marginally better than the one I had taken 13 years ago, immediately after my worst haircut ever. (It was a “short shag” and is the only haircut I’ve ever gone back to have fixed after the fact.)
  2. When I got home I realized I’m flying to my uncle’s funeral tomorrow and have no driver’s license (for up to 30 days.) Thank goodness my passport is current.
  3. Our farmers are donating a full share of vegetables to our refugee friends. It had taken so long for her to call me I’d given up, but instead it’s just been a busy year. (I can relate to that.) So starting next week, they’ll be getting delicious yumminess like this: image.  Hooray!
  4. Owen’s godmother was in town and took him out to brunch. It has been such a blessing over the years to have my children’s godparents to share in the care of and prayer for our children. (As an added bonus, I got to spend time with her too, after brunch.)
  5. I have been following the IAAF track and field world championships, mostly on youtube. (If you know a better way to do it without cable, please let me know.)  The most impressive thing I’ve seen so far is the sprint finish (after 26 miles!) of the women’s marathon.  (That’s a youtube link.)  Those women are amazing.
  6. We spent yesterday in the mountains with my friend Christine and her kids. She and I have been friends since medical school (24 years now).  Even though the kids are getting older, all of mine rearranged work and other schedules so we could spend the day together. (Side note: it still startles me that the kids’ calendars are as busy as mine.)
  7. I know I came across as an Instant Pot skeptic on my recent post.  However, I just hard-boiled a dozen eggs (start to finish, 22 minutes, so only slightly faster than on the stove) which were the easiest-to-peel eggs I’ve ever made.  I thought I had tried all the tricks on how to make a fresh hen’s egg peelable, and none had worked till now.  The Instant Pot made the perfect hard-boiled egg.

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I really, really hope Owen is standing on a rock.

Check out Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

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Daybook: St Nicholas Day

Out my window: It’s cold. A storm is blowing in, and it smells like snow. Sam bought a heated water reservoir for the chickens, though, so hopefully none of us will have to thaw their water today.

In the liturgical year: It’s St Nicholas Day so the shoes, full of Dove chocolates and ornaments, are lined up by the fireplace. Normally I put Trader Joe’s chocolate coins in them, but it didn’t happen this year. I don’t think the children will mind. #chocolate.

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Maybe I should have vacuumed before snapping this photo.

Last year I was able to get my paws on my favorite St Nicholas book, The Baker’s Dozen. The children were asking for it yesterday, but I saved it for today.

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Around the house: Sam put up the twinkle lights this weekend, and our refugee friends came over to decorate our tree and have dinner.  It was a blast.  Jonah suggested we play Snorta (we’re always looking for games that don’t require reading) and everyone was laughing.
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My reading/praying chair is right there next to the tree. It needs a light for easier reading, but it’s bathed in the scent of the fir tree. I’m trying to figure out how to replicate that for the rest of the year without resorting to hanging a pine tree car air freshener from the ceiling.

In the school room: We’ve almost finished our first semester.  The next two weeks of school are lighter, but we should have time to wrap up The World of Christopher Columbus and Sons and The Mysterious Benedict Society, and read some of our Christmas books.

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Christmas books

Grateful: for the kids’ school choir performances last weekend.  Somehow their teacher pulls together 3 days of once-a-week school rehearsals into a super concert.  Owen had a solo (a teaser from the musical they’re doing in February) and rocked it, and the girls had a blast.

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The Great Salt Lake, one of many weird things between here and California

We celebrated Sam’s year of health (it’s been a year since his healing, can you believe it!) with a Thanksgiving road trip to California, and the only mishap we had in our 18-year old minivan was a burnt out headlight (for which the officer, after looking at my bedraggled just-drove-15-hours family, gave me only a warning).

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California Thanksgiving football game

For our new niece, who is healthy and arrived safely a week ago.  Hooray!

And finally, I’m grateful that my physical therapist gave me permission to start a couch-to-5K program yesterday.  My fitness (and my sanity) are almost completely gone, but my foot is doing so much better.  Time to get the rest of me back to health.

Praying for: for my patients, who are trying to make plans in case a January 21st deportation separates their families.  For Mandy, Ruth, Eileen, Christine and DB.  For our friends ministering in the Philippines and Fiji.  For the discipline of quiet this Advent to pray

Happy Birthday to Me!

In our house something breaks (or is broken) approximately every 7 seconds.  And it kills me to have to replace a perfectly good thing that was broken because my children someone was careless.  I’ve posted on the minor triumph of doing a repair myself. Sometimes it goes awry, such as when I popped my phone into a bag of rice to dry it out.  But more often than not, I have success at least for a time. I have twice replaced the cracked back glass on an iPhoneI am the queen of finding replacement parts online (think coffee maker carafe, food processor bowl, blender lid) and would a thousand times rather repair what I have than get a new one.

Approximately a year ago, we were on our way home from vacation, and I brought a tall cup of tea in my cup-with-a-lid onto the plane.  It took me about five minutes to pour the entire contents into my backpack.  Miraculously, my computer stayed completely dry, but the camera absorbed about 16 ounces of tea with milk.  I tried the bag of rice, the hairdryer, paper towels, and letting it sit open in the dry Colorado air. I replaced the battery pack.  All to no avail.

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Five seconds before the accident. Can anyone identify this movie?  I can’t. Should my then-7-year-old have been watching it? Probably not.

I almost bought a new camera before our trip last month and then decided I was still mad at myself for ruining the last one.  I finally  gave the broken one  to Phoebe to use as a toy camera and used my phone’s camera in London.

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Not bad for a phone camera.

On my birthday last week, Phoebe came to take a “birthday picture” of me with the broken camera.  We both knew this was all make-believe.  I posed, she pushed the on button, and the camera turned on.  Then she pushed the shutter button, and it took my photo.  Not only that, but the photos taken immediately before the drowning were still on the memory card.  Happy birthday to me!!

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No, this is not my birthday cake.  This is the 15-month old previously unseen photo of a birthday cake from 2015, but it still makes me hungry.

Autumn Rhythms

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We are a month back from our trip, and I feel like our autumn schedule is finally becoming routine. With dance and swim team each four times a week, voice lessons, piano lessons, three weekly online classes, meetings for the library’s teen advisory board, weekly physical therapy and school, it’s taken us a bit to fall into a rhythm.

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The calendar in my phone looks like a crazy quilt, with all sorts of overlapping blue and green and red squares.  What’s helping is a sit-down each weekend to plan the next week on paper.

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There are little pockets of autumn beauty in the week as well.  My porch is exactly the right temperature (and quiet!) for a quiet time between our read-aloud hour and lunch.  The roses are blooming like nobody’s business, and our burning bushes are finally burning.  Sam added two trees to our postage-stamp of a yard: one redbud and one apple.

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I’m learning to make a short walk through the garden part of my autumn rhythm. Smell the roses. Admire the chrysanthemums. Thank the chickens and the peach tree for the bounty they gave us this summer.

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I am learning to make gratitude and marvel parts of my fall rhythm. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

5th Runniversary

With our 20th wedding anniversary coming up next month, it seems silly to be celebrating my 5th runniversary.  But it feels significant to me.

I started running after getting the knee surgery Sam had been after me about for years.  I didn’t get the surgery so I could run, but so I could move.  My pain had been enough that I had limited my activity more and more, until even walking up the stairs was a challenge some days.  That was not where I wanted to be.  There are plenty of people who don’t have a choice about that, but I did.  So I had the surgery and 12 weeks of PT, and when I was cleared to run, I did.

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The view on a recent run.

No matter my mood before I set out (grumpy, tired, sad, fearful) it doesn’t take long for me to realize how blessed I am that I can move.  Smell the sweet Linden trees in bloom. Taste the sweat on my skin. Breathe. See the mountains and feel the sunlight on my face. Hear the birds.
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I wish that for you, friends.  Whatever your thing is, that thing you do that makes you feel glad to be alive, I wish it for you today.  Thanks for celebrating with me.

Grateful: school this year

Sam and I jumped straight from “phew, we finished!” into “what’s next?”

The kids, however, are hoping to savor their accomplishments  for a few minutes.  And by accomplishments, I don’t mean their grades or test scores.  What they are most excited about:

Phoebe learned how to ride her bike.

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Moriah learned to make all kinds of baked goods and expanded her dog walking business to four days a week.

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Owen taught courses in computer programming using Scratch at the public library. (And somehow I refrained from sneaking in to photograph it.)

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Jonah had an adventure in China.

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I am thrilled by the perseverance each of them showed along the way.  What I love about home schooling is not when something comes easily, but being able to watch them confront a challenge and figure out the way through it.

Being present with them is an honor, and I am so grateful that we had this year of school together (even if I didn’t get to go to China.)