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.

bedroom tents!

Aaaaand just under the wire, she posts.

There isn’t time or clarity of mind enough to delve into anything too deep or profound tonight. How about photos of what went on while I was at a mother’s meeting? Only the most looked forward to event of the month! Ryan promised the boys that he would rig a tent in their bedroom, and then they would all watch a movie in their sleeping bags. Ack!! So exciting!!

tent master:

excited boy in background:

more excited boy in the background:

movies in a tent!

The sharing I heard tonight was also very good, and worth a great deal of rumination. Tomorrow, perhaps, I’ll do just that. Stay tuned.

thanksgiving

Our house is dressed for Thanksgiving. We read a book — at least one, thanks to their popularity! — almost every morning to learn more about the Pilgrims. Our verse memorization has been heavy on the “rejoice”, “praise”, and “be thankful” theme.

And every time I look up — I mean, really shake myself awake from the fog that so easily surrounds me each day — I just can’t get over how much I have to be thankful for. This is a good start. Just a start. But a really good one.

keeping busy

Going to the park with Olivia:

Dinner al fresco:

Painted closets, filled with the china I’ve been waiting and waiting to use:

No rugs, mish-mash place-holding furniture, no molding, BUT. Getting there:

Tucked in the corner, ready for a new little one:

miracle of spring

Plants amaze me. The fact that it all looks so, so dead, and then suddenly bursts forth into this miraculous display of life — it baffles my mind every single spring.

Of course, we had to wait an unusually long time for that bursting this year. My daffodils? Yeah. They spent weeks as courageous new leaves, with no sign at all that they would ever actually be flowers. But this week, we’ve made progress, and this was my kitchen table today:

There are so many beautiful varieties that are popping open: golden yellows and barely creams, big and small, orange trumpets, peach trumpets, red-rimmed trumpets — all so lovely.

Then there are all of the other miracles — hastas that I thought I’d (somehow!) lost have all popped up. The forsythia volunteer that I stuck in the ground actually bloomed. And the bee balm that I’d given up hope for last summer is not only back, but is thriving. Hollyhock, columbine, bleeding heart, day lilies, forget-me-not, myrtle, gloriosa daisies, cone flowers — they all survived!

And thanks to all of the years of gardening next to my mom, who sees it all with a spiritual lens, I can’t look at that amazing return of life without faith for seemingly-dead situations rising up in my own heart. Somehow, those budding plants are more than just the promise of a lovely summer garden: they’re a tangible reminder that life is God’s business. It’s what He does. Winter — even the longest, harshest, toughest winter the North Country can muster — can’t stop Him from bringing forth life.

tree time

We have a tree. It’s lit, strung, and ornamented. Of course, it’s currently on it’s second lighting/stringing/ornamenting, thanks to the tumble it took last evening. Not much is as disheartening as a Christmas tree laying flat on your living room floor, surrounded by glass casualties. *sigh*

But it’s standing again, huge and wild and beautiful. Monday morning, this tree was growing in our backyard, part of a quartet of pines, but my daddy’s saw turned the quartet into a duo, and we got ourselves free Christmas trees.

Yesterday, there was the organized chaos of a nana, two mamas, three aunties, an uncle, and countless cousins (I don’t dare say a number; I’ll most definitely leave one out!) in our family room, beautifying the tree. Ornaments that had been given the last few years, but had never had a tree on which to hang, were unwrapped and rediscovered and put in their rightful place. Memories of honeymoons, first Christmases, road trips with the family, grade school teachers, and many more were shared. Glass, felt, porcelain, cross-stitch, all in between rows of red and white beads. Sparkling birds are clipped to the ends of wild branches — branches which invited live birds only weeks ago.

And, of course, the almost-invisible wire that Ryan used to tie the tree last night at 10:30.

This morning, I got to watch my very own little boy run from his bedroom to see our very own tree for the very first time.

Our first Christmas here, in this wonderful home, sitting right in the midst of a beautiful winter wonderland.