Daybook: January


Outside my window: snow.  Lots and lots of snow.  No running today.

In the kitchen: my friend Ruth’s 30-minute hamburger buns.  (Yeah, more bread.)  This will be my sole contribution to the dinner Sam is making.  Hooray.

I finished a full year of plans for 3-a-day meals.  (We would have eaten 3 meals a day whether I’d planned them monthly or not, but we certainly had better variety because of my planning.)  I haven’t felt the urge to go back to last January’s monthly plan, but I know it’s there for February if I want it.

On my reading table: Donald Westlake’s Don’t Ask.  He’s just the right speed for my brain right now, and he’s very, very funny.  We’re also listening to Dead End Norvelt.  I’m enjoying the book almost as much as I like listening to the children laughing at it.


On my mind: lots of numbers.  32 days till we move.  1 more night at the hospital.  (I’ll still take call there after the move, but I shouldn’t have to spend the night there every time.)  Two trucks, 6 men, and how many dollars?  A 4.5% rate unless we buy it down.  15 days until Jonah’s math class starts.

Enjoying: the paper-whites blooming on the table.  Fresh snow.  Watching SweetP play with her doll house.

In the school room:  We’re back in the swing of things, having finished our first semester on December 20.  That’s the first time in years that our first semester didn’t spread into January, and I find I’m relieved.  That gives us lots of wiggle room, and we should still finish by the end of May.

Regretting: whatever button I clicked that flooded our computer with malware.


Grateful for:

  • Superantispyware (see above)
  • Sam (see above)
  • the couch we found on clearance.  I think I’m also grateful for the recliner Jonah chose and the slouchy couch Owen found (loved that clearance room!).  The girls didn’t quite find the right things for their rooms yet.  They’re contemplating hammocks and desks.
  • the biography section at the library
  • the pool
  • these months with my parents


Praying for:  Dawn. Mandy. Amy.  Lori. Jerusha. Lisa.  For refugees and justice in South Sudan, Burma, and Syria.  For recovery in the Philippines and our friends ministering there.  Grace in the coming month.  Good weather on February 6.

Daybook: Just before Christmas


Outside my window: I woke up and put running clothes on, but it’s cold.  Really cold, and the snow on the ground doesn’t make for good footing.  Maybe my run will be inside today.

In the kitchen: not much.  We’re meeting friends for dinner tonight.  But we might be able to make the peppermint bark today.


In the schoolroom: It’s vacation! Hooray!  Of course, there are still four children to corral and keep entertained.  We have been missing our late-afternoon play times with friends coming home from school– there are none of those around here.  It makes the 4-6 p.m. crazies even worse.  One more thing to look forward to in our move…


We hit Mythbusters exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Art Museum (including Passport to Paris) and the Gates Planetarium during the past two weeks, before they would be crowded with vacationing children. For the record, the Mythbusters mechanical shark is on display.

Yes, that’s me behind all that Plexiglas.  No, I was not fast enough to dodge the paintball. And yes, I needed all that PPE.


Building a house of straw, sticks and bricks with Papa.  Will it hold when the big bag wolf blows?

About that move: thanks for asking.  Yes, we finally have a closing date: February 6.  That’s right.  Sandwiched between two overnight hospital calls, the Super Bowl (Go Broncos!) and the Winter Olympics, we have date for our move.  Someone forgot to order cabinets for the entire block, so when the contractor called to ask when the cupboards would be delivered, the cabinet company asked, “What cabinets?”  Today is 45 days, so we’re hoping to lock in a loan before the vagaries of the US economy play any more havoc with our hypothetical mortgage payment.


Handmade: There’s no sewing or knitting happening, but I have been busy.  Six-and-a half years ago (when I was pregnant with SweetP) my friends Eva and Dean were married, and I traveled to Seattle to celebrate with them.  Apparently I gabbled so much about my children (as I am wont to do) that Eva decided to give my daughters her doll house, which is a gorgeous handmade gingerbread affair with antique furniture like my great-grandmother’s crank phone and a pedal-foot sewing machine table and a piano.  I have been waiting for the right time to give it to her, and this is it, so I have been repairing it.  I can’t wait to see SweetP’s face.  Thanks, Eva!!


In my shoes: As soon as I announced my proposed running streak, I fell off the wagon.  I have nine days to run the ten miles left to go (to get to 1000 lifetime miles), so hopefully today will be include three… although that feels much longer on the inside track than on the road.  I did ski Thursday, with all four children, which is a post in itself if I ever recover enough to write about it.

What I’m reading: Isaiah.  Song in the Night by Bob Massie.  Harold and the Purple Crayon.


Grateful for: Mandy’s arrival home from the hospital.  My health insurance and my new doctor.  Advent, even if waiting is harder this year than before (you’d think all this practice would have made me good at it).  Fifteen children at children’s church yesterday (and all the adults who came to help me).

Friday night’s church worship concert.


Praying for: Mandy.  My back.  Lisa.  Anne.  Jerusha.  Refugees and those who minister among them. For patience in our home…

Daybook: mid-December

Outside my window: snowman Fred is dead.  His head fell off and he melted.
from Saturday’s walk by the stream

In the kitchen: chicken is marinating for dinner.  Lunches for our planetarium adventure are packed.  My dad is rattling around with the dishes.

For Advent: we have two advent calendars going– one weekly, one daily.  The kids are talking about yesterday’s sermon at church and yesterday’s youth class on the Creed.  Lots of good stuff there without my having to organize much. That’s a blessing this year.

from last year’s tree

On my mind: we’re looking ahead to this spring’s 30 hour famine.  I have two youth leaders willing to help: one with the event, one with a 5K run to raise money for it.  The youth seem excited about it, and I’m grateful.

very excited to be wearing dangly earrings from Aunt Meg

Reading: my own reading is fairly dead in the water lately.  I just can’t settle mentally enough to engage with a new book.  But we’re reading By the Shores of Silver Lake (Wilder) and Little Women (Alcott) right now, which are  both dear to me and will continue into the break ahead.  Right now that has to be enough.

In my shoes: I was looking at my running log this weekend and realized that I was 16 miles away from completing 1000 (lifetime) miles.  That’s 1000 miles in 30 months. Not earth-shattering, but a milestone for me. So I’ve committed to running a mile a day until Dec 31 to finish my 1000 before the end of the year.


yet another wise man joins the throng

In the schoolroom: Planetarium today with friends.  We will finish our first semester on Friday.  Given the challenges of this fall, I am very happy with that.

Grateful for: this weekend’s half nutcracker and dance recital. That the piano recital did not happen.  That Sam is feeling [much] better.  For Mandy’s improvement yesterday.  For the diversity and talent in our church’s music team– and their willingness to share with us.  For Jenn, who lovingly taught the children yesterday.

Praying for: grace.  There is such temptation to snip at each other over such petty things: who got which candy cane and whose coat sleeve is in whose space… we’re just tired and antsy.  (That’s the opposite of restful waiting.)  We need to slow it down.  But my parents are both feeling under the weather, so we’re trying to be scarce underfoot… so anyway, I praying for grace.  For Mandy.  For Jerusha.  For Sam.  For very, very cold Syrian refugees, and wet Filipino refugees and frightened Burmese refugees and refugees everywhere who really can’t settle.

{phfr}: St Nicholas Eve

Sorry about the blog silence here… I feel a little bit like I’m in a cast and can’t find my crutches.  Meanwhile, there are Christmas letters to write and piles of mail on my desk to dig out and kindergarten presentations on Guatemala (let alone my own processing of the trip), and we’re already halfway through the first week of Advent.

But that’s where the traditions come in to help us– my mom pulled out all her decorations (saving me the trouble of digging through the mountains of boxes) and set things up, and the children are off and running on their Advent traditions. I didn’t make it to Trader Joe’s for gold coins while we were in Chicago last week, but I did find two St Nicholas books at the library.  And we can probably manage a batch of sugar cookies cut into mitre hats.

So without further ado, I have a few photos of Advent doings around here.

Pretty:  My parents’ Christmas decorations. My favorite it the olive wood crèche.




Happy: I made these little Advent people (they’re just felt with beans and stuffing inside) when SweetP was a baby.  They were the first things she asked for when the other kids said it was Advent.


Funny: here’s what my medical assistant was making yesterday while I was seeing patients.


Real: Can you see how big Jonah’s hands are here? Just a week (or maybe 13 years) he was the baby lying on the floor giggling up at the Christmas tree. Now he’s the one we tap to decorate the top of the tree. Time’s a-flying, friends, so who cares about the mounds of stuff on the desk? Not I.


Capture more contentment in the context of every day life at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
round button chicken

Daybook: November 11

Out my window: the leaves are all down.  It makes for good crunching on our walks, but it’s getting cooler.

In the kitchen: we’re eating up leftovers in preparation for traveling. That means our lunches turn into random combinations of things like eggs and olives and mac & cheese and two bites of stew that someone already ate all the meat out of.

recent doll baptisms

In the schoolroom: we finished The Penderwicks last week (loved it!) and moved on to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s By the Shores of Silver Lake.  Plus the War of 1812 ended, so that’s a relief.  We’ve moved our morning reading time into my “bedroom” (a.k.a. unfinished basement) where the distractions are all packed in boxes.  Last week the boys got under the covers in my bed (another excuse not to make it first thing! hooray!) and the girls played with soft dough on a table Sam set up.  I think it will work for awhile.


On the needles: I confess to some anxiety.  I have a baby gift that is stalled, and a sweater I was working on last winter for spring… I need a good road trip (Guatemala won’t count since they roads are bumpy, or as SweetP says, “vomitaceous,” road.  I made that word up, but now she thinks it’s a real word)– maybe when we get back?

In the garden: we actually did some gardening for a neighbor this weekend.  It was very therapeutic.  I miss my garden.


On my mind:  ten thousand details.  Like how much cash to take and when is it better to pay in dollars or Quetzals? and will that raincoat be too warm? and how many books we can carry and evacuation insurance (just in case, you know?), and will that be enough DEET?  Thanks for praying for us.

Also, recent elections and conversations have me wondering whose job it is to care for the vulnerable (the sick elderly, the mentally ill, children)?  You know, all those people who can’t “pay their own way”.  Is it the Church’s job?  I think so, but we’re not getting it done.  Is it the government’s job? I think so, but they can’t manage it either, especially when we (the taxpayers) don’t want to pay for it.  Is it my job?  I think so, but there is so much need.  Am we doing enough?  I don’t think so.

this photo has nothing to do with the previous paragraph, but I thought you’d want to see it

Grateful: I really am grateful.  We have been praying for an opportunity to travel as a family, use our skills overseas, and give Sam the connections for some international research for years.  Persistent-widow style.

Praying for: Mandy.  Jerusha.  The Philippines and the dreadful tragedy there.  Our friends the Simons.  My parents.  Nate & family.  Lisa.

Daybook: mid-November


Out my window: this is the prettiest fall I can remember in a long time.  Trees I remember as dull brown are stunning reds and oranges.  Is it all the rain we had?  I don’t know, but I can’t get enough of it.

In the kitchen: it’s cold this week.  I’m planning soup and homemade bread, and for a change-up, a pumpkin-sausage pasta from Simply in Season.

On my mind: this week’s job is to get up to speed on low-resource prenatal care.  In Spanish.

In the school room: Jonah is persevering through his [tough] college statistics class.  I feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back.  We are listening to As Your Like It on CD in the car, after reading E. Nesbit’s summary. The kids are hanging with it and even enjoying parts, but I think Shakespeare is funnier on stage.  They’re missing a lot of the humor.

I’m reading: IMPAC’s Pregnancy, Childbirth, Postpartum and Newborn Care: A guide for essential practice — wait, that’s not what’s on your bedside table right now?  I’m also looking forward to some PG Wodehouse.

Grateful for:  progress on the house.  We are having our pre-drywall meeting today. I hope this means they are going to give us a closing date.


Yesterday’s church. I taught the children. They are amazing.

Thursday’s day of blessing at True Mountain Farm.  I was fed and rested and humored after an exhausting two days, and then we got to go hang out with my PRP.  What  a good day.



Healing for my body, and a run on Friday.  Hoping for another few this week…

Some writing opportunities opened up for me this week.  I am so grateful.

A lovely time with Christy over the weekend, with autumn leaves and sculpture and prayer.  It was a gift.


The release of Let Us Keep the Feast: Advent and Christmas.  I can’t wait to get my copy!

Praying for: Mandy. How to get more exercise.  Our trip (we leave in 11 days!)  Paul.  Our relationship with my parents.  Nate & his family.

Daybook: Late September

Out my window: snow.  Wet.  It’s a good day to snuggle of the couch with a good book.  Or three.

In the kitchen: I’m cooking fancy tonight to celebrate Sam’s birthday.  London broil, roasted rosemary potatoes and winter vegetables (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and beets). Maybe even a loaf of bread.  For lunch? No idea…


On my mind: I am wading through the strategic planning for the Guatemala project.  It’s a lot of material, a lot of variables, a lot of unknowns.

I am still processing (and enjoying) the honor of being at my friends’ delivery last week… it’s so different being there without being the one having to make the medical decisions. I am present at a very different level, and I wonder how I am supposed to apply that lesson to other areas of my life.


I am trying to recreate a budget around here.  It’s easy to let the unknowns of the future (interest rates, our final mortgage payment, etc.) be an excuse for not being a good steward of what we are spending right now.

In the school room: Moriah finished a math book and is moving on to the next without much fanfare, but wow, that girl is good at math.  And I’m really enjoying the songs Owen is playing on the piano.

The kids are asking why we’re not having an Adventure Day every week like I had planned.  Well, maybe because the roads to the mountains are washed out.  I need to come up with alternate plans.  Quick.


I’m reading: Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.  Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson.  IMPAC’s Pregnancy, Childbirth, Postpartum and Newborn Care: A guide for essential practice.

Grateful for:  many birthday wishes– thanks, all!  A great game of Capture the Flag in the mountains on Saturday.  Spontaneous, fantastic, fun.  I need to play more often.  All today’s photos are from the hike (this is Carter Lake). I even thought I had gotten our Christmas photo (two months early!!!) until I noticed that the composting toilet next to Jonah.


Praying for: Sam. Mandy. Jerusha. Refugees. The team in Guatemala.  Mary.  My children.