"To think that we, who thought ourselves rich before, are made so much richer now."
Documenting the riches of our ordinary, "gets all blurred together," responsibility-filled, confusing (because when human hearts are involved there are always questions and there aren't always answers -- or at least clear and easy ones -- to them), inestimably precious, rich-in-joy, holy ground of daily life. One month at a time.
- Caleb's First Smoked Brisket / We stayed up well past midnight to taste it, and were so giddy together. It was fantastic.
- Just loving the 18-24-month-ish (and big-boy-4-year-old) stage so much. "Double Crown" fits Summer splendidly. Her baby goes with her everywhere. She's been an eating champ the last few weeks, which if you know us well, you know how hard her eating has been. She still nurses to sleep in my arms. And the sounds of my two loving and laughing is my heaven. I've felt, especially, recently a powerful force of love for these two... that my life is spent in and on theirs *so much.* That I can never be separated from my deep love for them. I'm enjoying motherhood very much, and so amazed at how there is grace for each new struggle. And grace to see each new wonder of daily life with them. Picking noses, cleaning them, planning for trips, watching them sleep, loading and unloading the stroller, being there when they fall apart, being there when they do *such* a good job. It's all so holy. Such an honor.
- The bond these two have is stunning. It reminds me more of what I've heard twins describe... "a next level connection." I had 'wanted' to have kids super close together (like 18 months apart) because it felt like that would almost ensure a special closeness. When these two were almost three years apart I wondered if that would impact their connection. Gosh, it surely did not. They are "their best" for each other. He is SUCH a loving big brother, and she is never kinder or more sensitive than when it involves him. He's so patient with her "spark," and she's so obsessed with all he does. And they just spend so much more time laughing than bickering. I'm grateful!
- Speaking of spark, this is one of my favorite Summer moments yet. A couple times a week I take the kids to the beach after I pick Rue up from school. It's our little tradition. For whatever reason, as we were leaving and Summer saw me carrying the beach bag, she INSISTED on carrying my purse for me. "JoJo do it!" It was filled pretty well, and just a bit too heavy for her. "But she persisted!" It took us ten minutes to take the normal one minute walk, her stopping every few steps to adjust, heave, wobble wobble wobble, drop, adjust, heave....! I encouraged her the whole way, offered to help (and was shot down), and listened to her groan and announce "Strong!" "Heavy!" "Oh no!" "Heaaaavvvy!" It's in these moments I have such vision for the woman she will be. Her strength scares me, I'd be lying to say it didn't. But it also *genuinely* inspires me. She puts her head down and does it. Caleb and I use the phrase "raising wildfire" and "taming a wild mustang" often. We pray we embolden and stabilize her well, because she has so much to offer with such beautiful strength.
- My besties and their boys came to Florida! A special six days of being "face to face," wigging out over foggy beaches, long late nights, Drawful, Old Fashioned's and wine, St. Petersburg, "Don SAY-sar!", a special exhibit at the fine art museum of original Star Wars costumes for my Star Warriors, a natural skin care "spa night", re-telling the same favorite stories, and discovering new things about each other. Will be a highlight of the year, I know. Love and miss you both. Let's meet in Minne next!
- We were invited for a little "staycation" up the road in Orlando with our dear Shorey/Baxter friends! Three generations of connection and sweetness... all the adults are such close friends, and the kids got along preciously. We are all enormous Disney fans, but they've grown quite a love for Universal Studios and it was meaningful to us to be able to visit with them for our first time ever (that Harry Potter area....! My word!!) Truly happy days (even when we all got the stomach flu!)
- To make a great thing even better, we had the joy of inviting the Shorey/Baxter bunch to our place for another leg of the trip. Hosting and "having people in my home" is one of my favorite things (even though I don't possess many of the skills generally considered to be hospitable ones...! I still love it, and love that even through weakness people are truly welcome). We got to have a big "dinner for 18" their first evening, and our close friends, the Ahlgren's, joined us! Then lots of beach, Tarpon Sponge Docks, Hellas and Greek food, stroller jaunts, sangria, and conversation. "Practically perfect in every way!"