We had a great Halloween but I guess that's over now by several weeks. I blinked and a few weeks went by and I have all these pictures to sift through and share but no time to do it. I haven't even been knitting that much...in part because the weather has turned so biting cold that my fingers are cold and stiff.
I have a lot of "projects" going. I invited my friend Lucy over to learn how to can applesauce so that was a busy and fun Friday last week - 25 quarts of applesauce all sealed up and waiting to accompany yummy soups in the cold of January and February. Home canned fruits, especially, add a little light to those long post-Christmas months before the growing season of sun and wind arrives. I am so thankful to my mom and her friends for teaching me over the years how to dive in and preserve foods, it's really fun. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't bother, but I really do.
I had been talking about rearranging our tiny bedroom for weeks and Jesse decided that Sunday morning was the time, so I stopped everything and made a big mess in our room, moving every single piece of furniture that we had crammed in there. Actually we eliminated one "nightstand" (a collapsible TV tray that was filling for a nightstand). I like the rearrangement, it looks much more inviting than it has for the past two years, and it is a good thing to actually like walking into one's own bedroom.
I feel behind a lot right now, and I'm not sure why, but I just know that by the time I sit down in the evenings lately, I have been on my feet nonstop for 12 hours and still have so much that needs doing, even the bare minimum of toy picking up and laundry isn't always finished by the time I collapse, so I can't even think about finding the camera cord and looking at pictures- Even though my children are such beauties that it is fun to look back over the days and remember all the things I am thankful for. I always like when I do make the effort.
My friend Heather was loaned a steam juicer and given a few 5-gallon buckets of Concord grapes, and she could only get through about half before passing them on to me, so right now there are grapes steaming away on the stove. I love the "pop!" "pop!" that rings from the kitchen as the processed jars cool and seal. There is not much in the world that sounds nicer than sealing jars of deliciousness. All the family (excepting Rosie) joined in and the girls loved pulling the grapes off the stems with me before bedtime. That will be a memory I cherish, all the smiles and the sticky grape faces and how Millie put one grape in the bowl for every three she popped in her mouth. And how the spiders that kept appearing in the buckets of grapes became beautiful friends instead of scary creatures. And how delighted my children were at the plink plink of grapes dropping in the metal bowl on the kitchen floor as they pulled them off the bunch. "Momma, I'm poppin' em in!"
But man, am I tired. It is a good tired that comes of hard work in the kitchen, of a nature walk with our Kingdom Kids through the arboretum this afternoon, of caring for house and family and animals, and of chasing my littlest munchkins around to keep them out of trouble.
I just purchased Ann Voskamp's new book of Christmas devotions for my Kindle, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. I haven't read beyond the introduction as it starts on the first of December but I am looking forward to reading through that, since her One Thousand Gifts has had a huge impact on my life in forming the habit of thankfulness. My little gratitude journal sits in the bathroom and every time I walk in there, whether to use the bathroom, pick up a towel, wipe the sink, I try to write something down that I am thankful for, even the hard things.