Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving 15-19/30: Only a video can do it justice...

I could have gotten mad; instead, I said, "I should be thankful.  And grab the video camera."

15. This didn't happen over the weekend because my mom was visiting.  And her presence was sweet relief.  Professor and I went out shopping, we all enjoyed a Thanksgiving fellowship at church, the girls soaked up Grandma was good, good, good!

16. And as much as I adore my mom visiting, my kids act like crazy people when she's here.  GRANDMA!?!!!  WE'VE NEVER SEEN PEOPLE BEFORE; WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC; WANNA PUT ME TO BED?!  WELL, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO EARN IT!!!!!!  So, it's also lovely to get back to the routines of our quiet, little life...and {less} crazy children.

17.  And that brings us to the video.  First of all, I'm thankful that God is working on me--specifically in the anger department.  I used to have a dreadful temper; cousins, friends, my brother have been on the receiving end of it, and it's no fun.  Professor got it once and set me straight in the most comical and iron-sharpening-iron kind of way, which has made all the difference.  I am thankful my children have not known that side of me.

18.  The humor of life with small children.  Because really?  This mess didn't take much time to clean up, nobody was hurt, and the baby looks super cute all covered in homemade syrup.

19.  Indoor plumbing.  Think about it: we take our ability to turn on the tap and get cold or HOT water at a moment's notice completely for granted.  I am so thankful that I could plunk Scrunch in the tub, turn on the shower, and get her cleaned up in a minute without drawing, hauling, or heating water.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Twitterature :: November 2013

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.

Well, since today is Twitterature, I guess I'm thankful for books!  But seriously, I love me some books, and I am forever grateful for the resources available to me: the library, bookstores, friends' bookshelves, and even the interwebs.

Didn't get through much this month, but The Distraction Addiction was worth taking my time to read carefully.

The Read-Aloud Handbook

by Jim Trelease

Nothing really new to me, but great encouragement to keep reading to my kiddos--plus a great book list!

The Distraction Addiction

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Treasure trove of mindful tech-use techniques and great research on “contemplative computing”; definitely recommended!

And the one on my (digital) nightstand that really has me excited?

I'm on the launch team for Crystal Paine's latest!  Say Goodbye to Survival Mode will be released in January.  I received my advanced e-copy earlier this week, and let me tell you, based on the first five pages, I already know it's going to be good!

What have you been reading?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving 14/30: The Felonious Ham

Oh, friends.  I was thrilled when I found this coupon in my Facebook feed:

It was just too good, and I knew it would make the Thanksgiving list.  And with a church Thanksgiving fellowship coming up, I signed up to bring a ham--which I knew I could get for right around $10 at ALDI.

It would be a Thanksgiving miracle: free ham for my church!  The Lord hath smiled upon us.

At the register, I handed over my coupon with glee.  "I was so excited to find this coupon!  ALDI never has them, so..."

And then.  The cashier sighed.

"These are actually a scam."

My heart plummeted.  And then it shot back up and started racing: I was a coupon fraud!

The cashier explained that the company had decided to honor the coupon rather than face disgruntled customers, so my ham was still free.

And free is good, and free fits my budget...but I still felt like a criminal.

So, there you go, Faith Baptist Church: on Sunday you'll be eating a free, felonious ham.  And you'd better be thankful for it!

Thanksgiving 13/30: The Work of Child's Play

When we were busy doing apples, Pookie was busy, too: my friend had brought out a dollhouse, furniture, and dolls for Pook to play with in the living room--away from the mess and fray of apple processing.

And my daughter?  The wild one who's always into everything?  The one who brings me food I didn't know she could reach and fills the bathroom sink with water and cotton swabs when I'm not looking?

She was playing--deep play.  Roles and dialogue and furniture-just-so playing.  She has hit that stage in childhood, and it is good, good, good.

Please know that I don't just say that because it means she's quiet for long stretches (though I do enjoy it).  It is good because she is developing all kinds of skills and capacities as she plays, as shown in a study that revealed that imaginative play develops greater executive function.

But my favorite part?  It's when she informs me that she can't do x, y, or z with me, because she has important "work play" waiting for her.  Usually it involves the kitchen sink and a lot of water on the floor, but mess is a small price to pay for her efforts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanksgiving 6-12: Apples, quiet, and more...

Plenty to be thankful for in the last week!  These are mostly connected to events we've had--and have been very grateful for...

image via Sydney Millage's blog, Get Real:Farm Life in Iowa

6. Apples!  A dear friend had an abundance of apples, a free morning on her calendar, and enough graciousness to invite me (with two littles in tow) to her home to process apples.  I've got jars and jars full of applesauce (and even some apple pie filling!) plus two crisper drawers full of raw apples.  It's pretty apple-tastic.

7. A mentor.  This dear friend?  She speaks so much wisdom and love into my life, despite being the busiest person I know.  She amazes me, and she can amaze you, too, at her blog, Heart Quencher.

8. Library storytime boxes.  I wanted to "do school" with Pookie this year, but I've had trouble gaining any traction.  With these boxes, we take one home, read a bunch of stories on a given topic, play with a related toy, and use a rubber stamp as a jumping-off point.  We've discovered some great new stories this way!

9. The restorative power of an hour alone with a good book.
And a treat.  And a pop.  Even if it has to happen sitting in the car in the grocery store parking lot.

10. Angelina Ballerina, the musical.
What has two thumbs and scored fourth row seats?  This girl!

11. Wonderment in Pookie's eyes.
Which is the real reason the aforementioned ballerina mouse makes the list at all.  If I could bottle that wide-eyed look, I would.

12. Tired muscles.
Remember that California trip that I mentioned before?  I'll be packing a swimsuit, which means I've gone into last-ditch-effort workout mode.  It probably won't make much difference in a month, but the stretch and strain in my muscles feels good, and for that I am grateful.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thanksgiving 5/30: Singing

I used to spend hours--hours!--camped out in front of my parents' big stereo in the kitchen, putting on CDs and belting my heart out.

My poor little brother.


Anyway.  I realized I don't sing nearly as much as I used to; I'm working to remedy that.  Still, I've been thinking a lot about some voices that I love (and am grateful) to hear...

Older church men
It started with an eccentric gentleman who used to sing with his family band at school assemblies when I was very young.  Fast forward to my gap year between college and getting married, somehow we ended up in the same church!  Picture a darling moustache all curled up around the edges, then add a clear bluegrass voice leading "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus."

And the voices I've heard like his always get me the deepest: our pastor with his West Virginia twang, the gentleman who's hard to understand sometimes (except when he's singing a well-loved hymn), the man who fixes violins whose daughters so obviously garnered a love of music from his own...these are the voices that haunt me in the best possible way.

Gritty, soulful, Heaven-bound.

My daughter
The time change has been rough.  Yesterday, all I wanted to do was use the bathroom by myself, but the lock on the door didn't drown out the ruckus.  Oh those little fingers under the door...

I wanted to cry, but remembering that joy follows obedience, I sang the first thing that popped in my head--"Blessed Assurance."

And when I opened up the door?  Pookie joined in on the chorus.  And Scrunch stopped crying to clap along.

And peace reigned n the Jorgenson abode.

My husband
Whenever it's Professor's turn to calm a savage beast fussy babe, he turns to the old hymn book that floats around our house.  It never really worked in the night when babies just want to nurse, but I always let him try, just to hear him serenade our littles with Truth and Love.

Y'all, we are not American Idol material 'round here.  But Professor still opens up the hymn book and leads us--which is why Pookie could join in on "Blessed Assurance" or any other family favorites--because she is absorbing them bit by bit.

Hopefully, one day we'll have space for a piano, but even if we never do, we still have the old hymn book, and it's enough.

Whose voice most comforts you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Month of Thanks

Last November, I noticed a trend on Facebook: friends posting something they were thankful for each day.  Thirty days of gratitude.


Can I confess a pretty ungrateful heart?  I could hide behind sleeplessness and little people, but in the end, my attitude is my choice.

So, let's begin the remedy, shall we?  Four days in, here are four blessings beyond belief in my life...

1.  The baby poops.  We stopped nursing, started removing things from her diet, and finally, Scrunch poops like a champ, sleeps through the night, even naps.  Oh, and her eczema is clearing up.  And she's happier--way happier--which makes everyone else happy.  It's almost like meeting her real self for the first time.

2.  Professor's getting results.  Which means publishing in a higher-impact journal.  Which means more open doors.  Which can only be good from here.

3.  Work.  I'm using naptime these days to edit other people's work.  For money!  It's nice contributing to the family coffers, but even more so, it's nice to have a project with a beginning, middle, and end.  You know, unlike laundry and diapers and dishes.

4.  I'M GOING TO CALIFORNIA!!!!  This probably deserves a post unto itself, but Professor is going to a conference in December, and since his way is paid, we have enough for me to go along, too!  We haven't been out-of-state together (aside from going back to Minnesota) our entire marriage, so it'll be a real treat.

I'm feeling more thankful already...and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

What are you thankful for this month?

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