april in pictures

This spring is winning the award for Most Money Spent Heating Our House. To welcome May 1st, I turned up the thermostat. But rain or no rain, this month promises to be bursting with fun and activity. Before we launch into all of that, a quick bit of reflection. April was…

…days of routine at home,


(I love Beatrice’s drawings!)

…bringing the boys to their NYSSMA performance evaluation, where they both did superbly,


(I tried to get pictures of the boys getting ready to perform, but too many nerves to stand still and smile.)

…Easter celebrations!,

…a few mild days that found us running to be outdoors,

…food, of course,

…presbytery meetings at church, and William receiving prayer,

…and shuttling my four little thespians back and forth to rehearsals. Each drive finds them more and more and more excited to perform this coming weekend!

That’s it! April is done. A fresh page today (true, with many squares filled in already), that can be given completely to Him. He’s got a book, too, and all my days are written in it. Comfort and purpose.

november 21

The boys are obsessed with Monopoly.

This week has been Thanksgiving vacation, because I said so. Jameson was thrilled when I told him so on Monday morning, and ran off singing, “I don’t have to do any Ma-ath!” Of course, he then proceeded to set out Monopoly, and has been adding and subtracting ever since. Don’t tell him how much ma-ath he’s doing, okay?

Yes, three mornings in a row. Extending long into the day, when Mama allows. (And a “new” corner, after I went on a little rearranging spree last night.)

Two days of just trying to get things crossed off has resulted in… well, not much. Ha! But regardless of how much gets “done”, there is always living that happens. I think I’m really starting to learn and appreciate that fact. Of course, waking up to a house in a cloud really helps one to just focus on the things (and lives) right here. I think I could use a few more cloud-wrapped days!

Our little house on a hill is wrapped in cloud this morning.

I rearranged lamps last night. And bookshelves. Bringing “cozy” into our home is one of my favorite things, and the highlight of the colder, darker months. Summer living happens outside, and the house becomes nothing more than the refueling station. But now, in these short days and long nights, fireplaces and chairs with afghans and books readily at hand — those things shine. Of course, those things are only tools: What’s really happening is an invitation to come, be together, pause, laugh, talk, rest.

The sun, trying its best.

We are talking about thankfulness lately. (Of course.) Thankfulness is enjoying quite the rise in popularity, as t-shirts and throw pillows and cross-stitched wall hangings remind us to love friends, be thankful for friends, count our blessings, and generally be positive about life. This all reminds me of something I read several years ago: The thing about thankfulness is that it inherently requires a recipient. When the pillow encourages you to “be thankful for family and friends”, who is it you’re thanking?

I want my children to not just see me being positive about the good things in life, but to hear me thanking God for His many blessings. My thank yous need to be addressed to the Giver, not some black hole of positivism.

This song is a favorite, and I’ve been appreciating the reminder to be vocal with praise and thanks.

november 3

This girl.

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She’s quite the personality these days. Quiet, dabbling in “trouble”, trying to put on any shoe she finds, determined, belly-laughing, offering slobbery baby kisses to all of us all the time. We love her.

She’s my little doll. I love having a baby girl, but sometimes, as I’m holding her close and enjoying her cuddly warmth, I realize this baby doll is on her way to being a woman. And I am asked to play a large role in this shaping. My example will help her with definitions, understandings, values. For now, that means holding her gently, tending her faithfully, giving to her selflessly. This, Beatrice, is how a woman values life.

Precious.

blessings.

This was a fun week.

It was a week of sunshine. Lots and lots and lots of sunshine. Sunburns, freckles, sweaty heads. Scraped knees, black-bottomed feet, green-stained clothes. And just enough rain to sit and rest for a wonderful afternoon.

It was a week of gardening. Several up-with-the-sun mornings for me. Throw on work clothes, take my coffee outside, listen to birds while I turn sod: this is as summery as it gets to me. I love it. And now, five new rose bushes, a hydrangea, 1 lilac bush moved, 20 day lilies moved, ranunculus bulbs planted, lettuce thinned, yarrow and speedwell bought and planted, six hollyhocks of a new variety, and a smattering of hopeful seeds. Wow. That was a lot of work!

It was a week of learning. A friend and I put together a “discussion on natural childbirth.” Every time I dive into that topic, I’m freshly awed by the miracle of life. The whole thing is just amazing design — and a humbling privilege.

It was a week of play. Some weeks, the boys regularly wake on the wrong side of the bed. Other weeks, they wake up ready to pretend and laugh and play and share and just be the best kids ever. They came up with so many new games and activities this week, and it was refreshing for my soul to just watch and enjoy.

It was a week of growing. Beatrice has unwittingly discovered real, bonafide crawling. She still prefers a military crawl, but it won’t be long. She pulls herself almost to standing with the help of our ottoman, and happily navigates her way through the entire house. It’s so very much fun, but all so very much too soon.

Yes, exhaustion, frustration, uncertainty, overwhelmed moments. But really? Really?

I just am feeling very blessed.