I love you, November. I know this still means highs in the 80s, but I take comfort in the fact that I’ve lived down here for so long now that the 70s make me want a light sweater. My boys know no other climate so when the temps hit 75 they’ve been breaking out their new hoodies in order to experience “the cozy.”
The past weeks have marked our return to the world of the parks. Hours of them playing and climbing outside. Hours of me not passing out from the heat. School is crammed into the early hours of the morning, so we can hit up the parks later in the day. I’m also trying to relish these last few months of running out with the kids and not needing to buckle, feed, or change any little people. I know I’m about to jump back into the world of carrying diapers, snacks, and strollers around and am excited about it. But running around parks chasing toddlers? I don’t miss that part.
I love that the past days’ weather has been cloudy and dark and quite windy. It feels (looks is perhaps a more fitting word) like November. Harry Potter movies find their way into the movie rotation this time of year. And this year? The kids get to join us for the first two movies. We always said we’d make them read them before they could watch them, but we were just too excited to let them have a peek at its world that we caved. But only for the first two…for now. And if you watch Harry while it’s dark and stormy outside, you also need hot chocolate or egg nog to go along with it. Cookies don’t hurt, either. So there’s been lots of that around here, too.
And November marks the four month countdown until Asa arrives. That means four months to remedy the situation of me only having 2 onesies, three sleepers, and some worn out blue and green diapers. But if he is willing to boldly rock some girly clothes and hot pink diapers, then I’m almost set.
Four years ago today Omar started his job here.
I didn’t take any pictures of the 15th of July 2009, but I don’t think they’d be very interesting. They would be pics of boxes, boxes, and more boxes because we were only here a couple of days before Omar started.
But when I think back on the past four very full, very good, very hard years, it’s this one you see here that pops into my head. She wasn’t around when we moved here and started a new job, so I think she qualifies as the biggest change in our lives since we moved here.
But she is very here now. In all her curly haired, sweet natured, bossy glory.
The boys were so much smaller, too, with squeakier voices and chubbier hands.
In some ways it feels like ages ago.
Four years from now Elisha will be 11. And that just blows my mind.
Omar and I have a running list of “Things They Did Not Teach Us In Seminary” (not that we really expected them to, but it would’ve been nice – ha). A lot of the list is serious. Things relating to counseling, finances, HR-like stuff, etc.
They also did not teach us about the more light-hearted side of things. The little perks.
Like deviled eggs. Lots and lots of deviled eggs. Omar and I joke that at all these new and hip restaurants that tout farm-to-table menus, you can easily spot the people who don’t go to church. They order the $4 a pop deviled eggs. Who pays that?! People who don’t attend church potlucks and get their deviled egg fix, that’s who.
Or funeral flowers. No joke. Soon after Omar started his first job out of seminary, I heard him plodding up the back steps to our apartment. I opened the door and saw two feet peeking out from under a tower of funeral flower arrangements. I was horrified. “What?! Why?! Noooo!!” Something just felt oddly wrong about it, especially when the flowers were still in those wreath-like arrangements on a stand. But now I’m over it, and once you pick them apart and gather them into separate little arrangements, all traces of the funeral are gone. And it’s free.
Summer is here. In all of its pool-filled, popsicle-dripping glory. Nights and mornings are still occasionally breezy and cool. The mosquitoes are lurking and the poincianas are blooming. I saw trucks selling lychees in Miami this week but have yet to see them pop up in our county.
School is winding its way down, but I don’t think I’ll bring it to a halt. We need the routine and activity. We’ve also hit a bit of a random mid-May school stride. The kids are eager and interested and soaking it all in. They’re particularly intrigued with the civics questions I’ve been asking them during Morning Time. They get about half of the questions I ask them (e.g. Who was the first president of the U.S.? What is the Constitution?) right and the other half hilariously wrong. They are fascinated with the presidential line of succession, but they’re still working out in their little heads how the whole president and vice president thing works. So when I start in on trying to explain the cabinet, their eyes glaze. For awhile Elisha kept saying that they should just keep having races because he thought the races actually involved the candidates riding elephants and donkeys and what’s the big deal with that? If only…
Sweets are being made, but they’re moving away from the baked variety and on to the frozen variety. Juices for popsicles are being experimented with. The ice cream maker has been dusted off for its annual appearance. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home has become our go-to ice cream book. The flavors and textures with her technique are great. Her recipes are some of the few homemade ice cream recipes where I finish a bite and don’t feel like I’ve just licked a stick of butter. First up this year were the pumpkin and five spice powder ice cream and the roasted rhubarb frozen yogurt. Both delicious and even loved by the little people.
In a girl who finally lost the battle against the “But I’m not tired!”
In a house of playing and scheming and running cousins
In walks by the lake and kids in trees
In realizing I have two issues of Mars Hill Audio that I haven’t listened to
In beautiful books
In books that minister to a soul that has been confused and in need of encouragement
In beautiful weather and late-March cold snaps
In kids reciting poetry
In boys discovering the world of Settlers
February and March have always seemed like the quiet months in my years. My birthday pops up in the middle of March but other than that, life is usually quite steady. This year, though? There were two trips to North Carolina in nine days – one planned, one not. One trip was bittersweet. Sadness and sweet friends and fellowship were all mixed together. The second trip was restful and full of encouraging conversation and good food and my friend’s sweet family.
And life here continued. Kids called me to tell me of lost and found stuffed animals, detailed (always detailed) events of their days, and all the great places Grandma and Grandma and Papi took them.
Now I’m back with no trips on the horizon for a few months. School has found its winter groove. Plans for first day of spring celebrations with the cousins are in the works. The caterpillars that decimated our butterfly plant have rewarded us with daily, sometimes hourly, transformations into butterflies. Everything marches on.
I think that I could live in south Florida for 50 years and still be shocked at how blue the water is here. Every time I walk up over a dock or a sand dune or a path and look out to the ocean it amazes me. And I will never get tired of taking pictures of little people running and jumping and crashing into sand and waves.
I make a banana cake while they make picture upon picture to fill up their school folders. They’re enamored with the three-hole punch. I’m enamored with the cream cheese frosting.
I read them Little House in the Big Woods while they interrupt me to pick out random words on the page to read back to me.
I listen to my boys recite Christina Rossetti’s The Caterpillar, and they listen to me recite the bible verse I’m trying to memorize. They’re a lot better at this whole memorization thing.
I write thank you notes while one writes a few lines from PInocchio and the other writes slanty Ks and Ns.
I am listening to Mars Hill Audio Volume 115 (great article on Ken Myers here), and they are listening to Jim Weiss telling the story of The Three Musketeers (lots of Jim Weiss stories are on Spotify, by the way). Together we are listening to repeat playings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
it was bound to have happened. there was no way that the sickness from three kids swirling in the air around me was going to leave me untouched. i tried. i tried to herbal, juice, rest, and chicken broth the thing away, but in the end it got me.
and so here i sit, drowning my sick sorrows in magazines and books and the fifteen or so channels we finally picked up from our rabbit ears when we found that sweet spot in the middle of the family room floor between the sofa and piano.
we needed to see if the vcr still worked so we popped in our wedding video for us to test and the kids to see. the boys thought grandpa’s uniform was cool, and lenna kept asking if we could watch curious george.
the rest of the day was spent tending to a sick boy, and to show solidarity among the sibling group, the other two got quite needy and needed tending to more than normal, too.
goodnight from these parts.
christmas music playing
today asher found an old bag/purse of mine that he realized he could use for toting around legos, nerf bullets, and random bits. i told him that i got it when i was about fifteen and used to use it all the time.
a little while later he walked into the kitchen with it slung across him and asked me the following: “mama, tell me again how you wore this when you were a kid. i need to know because i need to make sure i don’t wear it like you because you’re a girl. i need to wear it like a man-bag.”
my kid used the phrase man-bag. ha!
therethere was voting! and story time! and bbq!
everything felt rather exciting today. omar (oh so wisely) suggested that after completing 9 weeks of school i take a week off. today was the first “no school” day in a while.
in celebration i tried to make it my goal to say yes to as many of the suggestions the kids tossed my way (within reason…). head to story time? sure! wander the dollar section at target (that i almost always say no to because little hands grab at too much stuff)? sure! eat lunch out? sure! watch a movie? sure!
and did i send them to bed a little early with them none the wiser because it’s so dark out? yes!
my daughter loves to bring me my shoes when it’s time to go out.
she loves to open the refrigerator door and pull out random things she says she’s going to use for lunch.
she hovers while i’m getting ready in the morning to be sure she doesn’t miss the magical moment when the lip gloss comes out.
she sings happy birthday the second a match appears.
she talks to me through the wall from her room once she’s down for the night and in her crib.
and it’s during those times that we’re laughing at each other through the walls from different rooms that i realize she is growing up quite quickly.
sunny morning breakfast with omar. cool enough to be eaten with a scarf. the scarf came off as i found my way to what i thought would be a quiet library with a short line for early voting. everyone else thought the same thing.
warm afternoon lunch eaten on the run while on the hunt to buy the first jacket in over six or so years.
breezy evening dinner with husband and kids and parents and cousin. doors were open and boats were watched and the scarf wound its way back around me.