springtime

A month of magic: from twiggy trees and yards of last year’s faded grass, gardens piled with wind-blown sticks and muck, there is the magical transformation of spring.

Leaves.
Emerald lawn.
Perennials waking to new life.

Over all, truest blue skies and softest white clouds.

Fox runs back and forth through our field, hunting for a little den of kits somewhere in our woods. Birds of so many varieties wake us before dawn, a dawn that comes earlier and earlier. Deer brazenly meander through field, somehow keenly aware that this is not the season for hunters.

The world awakes, every year.

This is an awakening I am often watching for so eagerly — but this year, it slips in all around me and takes me utterly by surprise. (Wearing wool socks more often than t-shirts may have something to do with that!)

*****

We turned to May and saw every calendar day of that first week marked PRODUCTION! My four children performed with our homeschool program’s high school musical, and it was the most wonderful experience for each of them. Jameson loved being a part and watching all the backstage workings from an up-close vantage point; Beatrice just loved the camaraderie; Fiona, it would seem, has a great love for this sort of thing and had every line and movement memorized; and William (in a larger role) was just wonderful. He was full of sparkle and life and energy, and worked so hard to do his very, very best all the time, despite how tired he may have been. I was incredibly blessed to watch him come to life up there, with his fellow cast members, in a way I’ve never seen before. The production itself was phenomenal and a testament to how much can be accomplished in a setting where parents and church pour into and value children.

*****

My dear mother in law also came for a visit, long enough for us to get used to her being here, living life with us! The kids were all so sad when she had to leave. The best moments (for me) were looking into the family room to see her sitting on the couch in conversation with a few of the kids, them happily telling her all about something or other, just so happy to be with her.

*****

And now, whew, where are we? Growing children, yearning soul, weed-filled gardens, filling forms for next academic year…

For now, today, just a pause.

I know there are so many things to do — needful things, hoped for things. But these last few days have slowed enough to just breathe, and rather than quickly cram with the next page of to-dos, I’m smiling and laughing and getting off that bad habit of a hamster wheel.

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.

March, in photos

I’m so glad for pictures! These months of busy but unspectacular days would be lost if it weren’t for pictures. (Lost to my memory, anyway. Not lost in their impact!)


Waiting for Daddy


Fiona’s fabulous drawings


<3


A shopping trip where I let the girls pick out birthday gifts for a friend — oh, the joy!


Sunrises


She is loving this new skill!


Learning to braid Fiona’s hair


NZ gear from the grands


Another year older = time to start some good habits.


Luther together for movie night


Cherry pie birthday traditions


My new vacuum comes completely apart for cleaning. AWESOME.


Blessing my two girls with fun new skirts from Mama’s sewing machine.


Birthday outing!


BFFs


Bubbles and babies.


Sometimes our friend Julie spoils us.


Illuminating our scriptures.

Untitled
Reading!


She loves her baby dolls.


And she loves her pretend friends.


March walks.


I just love these kids!


Outings with Cecily


Learning to bake independently


Sunshine and a blondie.


In denial about winter


What up.


The four amigos.


So sweet.

Untitled

Jameson performing for Grandparent’s Day — much of our months has been music for various things!

Untitled

Beatrice!

Untitled

William!

August 26: three now

On the 24th, I put my two-year-old Fiona to bed for the very last time.

Here she is at two:

And here she is at three:

I’m sure you can see the difference, which was apparently enormous, based on the way she floated through the day, standing a bit taller and playing with a bit more big-girl-ness. Even if you can’t quite see it, trust me, it was there. She felt it. (Aren’t birthdays just magical when you’re two-going-on-three?)

Or maybe it’s just the two and three part that is magical, because I truly love this age. Two years of watching a babbling, tripping, giggling, drooling baby mature into a full personality — a little person who is thinking, wondering, expressing, laughing, loving. I’m just in awe every time.

And totally in love.

We had bananas and graham cracker “cereal” for breakfast: her favorites.

She got to hold a new baby, another favorite. (Wow. Is he cute or what?)

I put pink flowers on her table. Pink is really the only color worth speaking of, you know.

And plenty of pink wrapping paper collecting on her gift table.

I wish I could have captured her face at a hundred different points of the day. When she watched the frosting for her cake slowly turn to pink in the mixer — glee! When her siblings showed her the presents Mama had set out — ecstasy! When Margaret and Aunt Beans and Vivian came — giggles and clapping! When Papa and Nana arrived just for her birthday — hands to her heart, face bursting with thankfulness.

She was the princess for the day, and we all happily enjoyed her radiance.

And as she laid in bed, very late for even a three year old, holding her brand new doll with the same wonder with which I remember doting over my most precious dolls, she said, “I just love her so much. Thank you, Mama.”

You can’t write a script better than that.

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?

August 22

I want to say that this has been a perfect Monday.

But what I would really mean is that this happened to be the kind of Monday I enjoy. I have had slews of other kinds of Mondays, and you know? My times are in His hands, He has written my days in His book, and there is perfect in those other Mondays because He is there.

I’m slow to learn that. I don’t always respond that way.

I’m trying.

It certainly helps to look up from my “perfect” Monday and ponder how many people are living vastly different lives at this moment. Bombs, guns, terror. Fear, pain, abuse. Loss, tragedy, grief. Confusion, depression, hurt.

He is there.

Emmanuel, my favorite of His names. He’s right here. And He is all — all — that we need.

*****

Up and at ’em — alone. My favorite way to start a day. Get everything humming. My spirit, my mind, my oven, my washer. It doesn’t happen often and it’s a gift.

The baby fell asleep as usual, and it was cool and breezy, and I spent two hours alone (“Are you bleeding? Is the bone broken? Go outside.“) starting to really map out the start of this year. Another gift that I had asked for but not banked on.

Sweet Cecily, asleep in her little nest on the floor, since laying down and nursing is her new (not negotiable) preference. Laying down twice a day doesn’t hurt me, either. God must know stuff.

Back to the kitchen for some more cooking-ahead. Cutting into tomatoes so dense and pink, I almost cried. Silly?, but I feel like I’m viewing something miraculous when I cut into these beautiful gems.

Sitting outside to write something, anything, on this little blog, and looking up to see this bit of sweetness. Yellow flowers, blue and white sky, navy polka dots, Goldilocks hair. I have so much beauty in my season.

August 6: Fiona

This morning I’m up bright and early with my little Goldilocks. We are watching the sunrise together. It’s fantastic, and she is even more so.

Nearly three, she is. One of my very favorite ages, learning how to laugh and joke and ask questions and be a little person.

This little person, it turns out, is pretty brave in the water. Crazy, actually. Watching her plunge with total abandon, come up sputtering and spitting and laughing, has been a highlight of my summer.

She is incredibly spunky, laughing and giggling all the time.

And suddenly she has an opinion about clothes, too. I love when a 2 year old has favorite clothes — such a reminder to me that they see life through different eyes than I do. It’s continually fascinating to me.

And so pretty. Wow! God makes such beautiful people. He really does.

My favorite thing about Fiona is the way she plays. Always with a baby doll somewhere, probably in a stroller loaded with blankets and “snacks”, probably walking that baby to “church” in the living room, or to “Aunt Weasa’s” at the fireplace, or on a really long walk to Meme’s pool. She loves being the mama, gently rocking her baby to sleep. Most of the day, she’s not really Fiona (she tells me); she’s Aunt Beans, and that baby is Vivian. (There’s always room for me to play, too, as Margaret’s grandma.)

But our baby is the one she loves best of all. Sweetest sisters.