Reflections and Intentions

Christmas Eve 2015
2015 was a good year. We wrestled through diet changes and getting the help that Pickle needed. We learned flexibility as a family as I worked a more intense schedule in the fall. We adventured together and individually through travel, areas of study, and life lessons. We learned that Sweet Potato loves chicken wings from Chinese restaurants and eating meat off the bone. We discovered that Pickle has the sweetest personality when she isn't sick. David grew professionally and I dusted off my academic brain. We settled into a new church and are reaping the blessings of belonging to the family of God. We completed our 2015 in 2015 challenge, exceeding it by approximately 35 items. We shared ourselves, started serving the body, launched a few new friendships, renewed a few old friendships, and mourned the loss of a couple friendships. It was a year of stretching and unexpected newness and a solid unwavering reminder that He is our Good Shepherd.

2016 has started and with it our Family Intentions of pursuing learning, wellness and reducing our waste.

Learning: About the world, each other and God.
Pickle is using her imagination fully. She now refers consistently to David as "Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight". She is often Baby Princess Leia and occasionally R2-D2 or Jane Banks (from Mary Poppins). When she is "Jane", I am Mary Poppins and must respond to my new name and refer to her as "Jane". Sweet Potato has hinted she is moving out of the everything-must-be-Star-Wars phase and into a more faerie, princess, enchanted world phase. The Disney versions can stay away. We've got this covered with actual fairy tales and Sparkle Stories thank. you. very. much. [This Mama may have banished the names "Elsa" and "Anna" recently.] 

Princess Leia Butterfly with her blaster gun and
Jedi Panda with her lightsaber.
As we started back into school this week, it hit me full force that Sweet Potato will soon have completed K/1st grade. She's motoring through this school year and I'm doing my best to keep the curriculum coming at a pace that suits and challenges. She continues steady improvement in reading and math just comes naturally for her. She's expressed more interest in crafts and drawing, asks about taking dance again at least once a week [oy vey!], and really wants to sink her teeth into science and the natural world. Meanwhile, ideas are swirling in my head for next year as we double our class size from 1 to 2. :-) An elementary schooler and a preschooler. Hard to imagine.

Reducing: What comes in and how we curate our lives.
At this moment, the upcoming year looks pretty quiet in comparison to last year. I know it'll fill up with wonderful life giving memories soon enough. Our family goal this year is to watch how much we bring into the house. We have a system for moving things out, but we want to be intentional about what comes inside in the first place. For the third year running, I am vowing to knit from my stash. Thanks to friends and their babies, I'm making headway... sorta. I need a snow week to really motor through some projects. Also, I have a lot of yarn -- even after giving a trash bag full to a friend! This is also the year I will tackle all those photos!

We are also working hard to avoid food waste. At this stage of parenting and within our culture, it seems a given that kids won't eat everything. This is also a challenge for me, the primary cook and food purveyor, to use up all we have in the refrigerator, freezers and pantries. And yes, one of my goals is to consolidate as much of my pantries together. It's working just going to take some time and diligence on my part!

Wellness: Eating, being, and becoming.
We will continue with our primarily gluten and dairy free diet regardless of what the doctor says at Pickle's appointment in February. We feel so much better as a family and I think have found a way to make it work realistically for us. Travel remains tricky, but I'm finally enjoying meal planning again. We're also currently supplementing with Iodine but that [and maybe the meal plans too] deserve their own post.

Tree climbing in the dark. Loads of fun!
I'm excited with what I'm learning about our bodies and nutrition. I also fully accept that we are living a food lifestyle far, far outside the norm. Despite the work and lack of instant gratification, the improvement in all of us physically has been amazing. It has also been a lesson for me in confronting my pride and letting go of our grocery budget. Our budget has doubled but gone are the tummy aches and intestinal issues for me, the fevers and inflammation for Pickle, the crazy unpredictable emotional mood swings for Sweet Potato, and significant extra weight for David. We have a lot of learning to do and it is a journey, but one we are deeply grateful to be experiencing.

As C. S. Lewis so aptly penned, "There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind." I'm looking forward to what's ahead!

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