Thursday, December 14, 2017

Common Book

This one is for me, in process for perhaps months and just a place to . . .  catch-all on reading quotes - and a recounting of a new thing . . . (I think this is what would be put into a "common book"?)

The new thing: hand lettering. Novice stage, for sure, but oh so fun and the way it came to be I want to give voice to. The end of summer left me feeling tired and un-inspired. On the way to Tay/Kate's for donuts on Labor Day morning I asked Trev to pray for "a new thing", feeling an itch for a spark of something unknown. We're eating donuts and I see some framed hand-lettered words on their hutch and thought, "I love that. I could do that". And then we're leaving and Tay is talking about an online class he's taking and he was so excited . . . and so it all clicked and the minute we got home I went online to look for hand lettering classes and poof there was one happening in a few weeks. Register. Wait the few weeks. Go to the class - beautiful setting (candles, tunes, wine, materials), a mother/daughter duo adopted me at their table, I felt clumsy and then more confident and then realized I just need to enjoy the process and practice. So practicing I am and it's brought a lightness to the days. Grateful. Oh and -
Backing up, my friend Katy is an artist and master of words and has been encouraging me to "just do it" (write more). She gave me a book The Art of the Handwritten Note. Delightful, and fit this season's puzzle perfectly.

Recent Readings (well, not too recent now, this has been in process since summer) . . .

Twice in one week: writings on process cheese!
From Cork Dork (Bianca Bosker)
". . . I know, I know:  it's made with chemicals, and "cheese" is more a euphemism. But the mouthfeel is fantastic, it's the perfect smidge of saltiness to complement eggs . . . "

From Supper of the Lamb (Father Capon)

From Devotion (Dani Shapiro)
"Of course it's not possible to to take in every minute. It's hard to take in even a single minute"
"This was the way it had always been for me: all or nothing, I realized, invariably led to nothing"

"Even this, my son calling me Mommy - felt bittersweet. When would I be demoted to just plain mom? . . . I knew better, of course. I knew that trying to capture time - to hold on to anything at all - was not only useless, but a terrible waste. This moment was holy precisely because there was no other"

"I think of it as the edge of melancholy - at the same way I am easily cheered - in the best of times, untroubled times are the palace walls that protect our childhoods and allow us to move into our adult lives with confidence. And then we begin to understand how fragile life is. Is there some way I can do this life with my eyes open and my heart open and still love it . . . change is inevitable, change is happening right at this very minute"?

From Cork Dork (Bianca Bosker)
"Attaching a name to an odor makes the aroma more emotionally charged - it nails down the memory"

"Every person has the capacity to find and savor the soul that lives in wine - and in other sensory experiences, if you know to look for it . . . it begins with paying attention."

"Learning to cultivate (taste and smell) engages every part of us that elevates our reactions, endows our lives with meaning, and makes us human"

From The Mothers (Brit Bennett)
"A daughter grows older and draws nearer to her mother, until she gradually overlaps her like a sewing pattern . . ."
"'What does it feel like, being pregnant? . . . . It's strange, your body isn't your's anymore. And sometimes it's scary because I'll never be just me again. And sometimes it's nice because it's more than that' . . .  inside of her was a whole new person which was as miraculous as it was terrifying. Who would you be when you weren't just you anymore?"

Random: last year I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat - in one week in two different books, that book was referenced. Always makes me laugh. Oh reading.

From 11/22/63 (foray into Stephen King)
"Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief . . . but brevity makes sweetness, doesn't it? Yes, I think so. Because when the time is gone, you can never get it back." (this is parenting right now, all the sweet moments!)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Treats and Treats

Thought of the month . . . 
Joy is vulnerable. I read what's here, all the memories in 30 short days, and my heart can feel squeezed and I don't know what the feeling is. Deep joy, for sure. And then, vulnerable (this idea is simmering much as a result of some ideas from Daring Greatly). It's a choice to lean into the joy and feel the vulnerability - that such joy means the opposite is possible. That's being present, right? And of all things, as I write these sentences, I'm listening to a talk on C.S. Lewis, talking about joy - good reminders, the deep joy that can squeeze and feel so overwhelming, the sadness (he says the feeling is having an inconsolable longing that we yearn to experience yet have no control over) knowing joy can't last forever (here) - "the most probably explanation is that I was made for another place . . . these joys are only an echo of a tune we have not heard."

C.S. Lewis defined Joy: ". . . an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction". Hmm.

In re-reading My Antonia this month, this passage stirred the soul and seems to fit here now: "In the course of (many) crowded years one parts with many illusions. I did not wish to lose the early ones. Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again."

We're living the crowded and joyful and vulnerable years right now, watching the early memories unfold . . .

Sister/Cousin/mom connection time
Loved having J/C/E here for a couple of week days, getting to E better and having some for real mom chats, sprinkled with a bit of brother bonding. I think I'm a fan of week day visitors, looking for more, hmmm.

Get Away
Much anticipated by all (parents, grandparents, kids - I don't know who was most excited?). Trev and I have an odd history of planning a night away from home and . . .  having it . . . not happen. This time worked and we're already eager to do this again, i.e. trade houses, i.e. go to the cabin for a couple nights while g & g stay here with kids. Oh the rest. Oh the simple meals. Oh the sweet time by the water with music and pens and paper. A couple games, a quaint coffee shop, a wine expert helping serve us at dinner, Trev finding a sport coat at the thrift store, listening to our tunes. And everyone here had a blast too (oh the laughs and loves, treats and toys, cuddles and memories. They first wanted to go to Barnes and Noble to get toys, ha! They also made it through a forgot-school-shoes-mini-crisis, did the arboretum, Snuffy's with D/M/L/C fam . . .).

Coming home was sweet, AND I was instantly nostalgic for the weekend, Margie Hack nailed it in a passage I "happened" to read that week - From God in the Sink: 

Connection Rejection
It's a thing. Judah ignored me for about 2 days after we got back . . . oh my word. I try to not care, but hello I am who I am and I totally care. It reminds me of when the family dog pooped on my bed after I got married, that helped me to both understand and laugh.

MEA (Samantha's Birthday/Lucy QT/little homemaker)
5 straight days off of school, just enough sniffles and coughs to keep things quiet, lots of home time and imagining. Neighbor granddaughter Lucy was here and also sniffling, perfect! She joined us for the library, lunch, some raking, hair braiding. My fave was that Karis decided it was (doll) Samantha's birthday. We had a little tea party for her with snacks and candle and song. Precious. Oh and Karis sewed a button for me and also repaired Judah's pootsie. Contented sigh, we do always want our children to surpass us, right?

School Updates
Poppy - Judah's bestie (and the feeling is mutual, I met her parents)
"Mom, my school smells like graham crackers"
Pajamas/Pepin - on the same day, Judah got to wear his pj's to school and Karis got to road trip to Pepin, WI (Laura Ingalls!). I discovered when Judah got home that he went to school commando. Laughed.

Judah the Decorator
We went into his room after rest time one Sunday and . . . "I made patterns!" . . . with a TON of stickers from an activity book. Karis was so upset (oh sweet girl!), Trev and I were unfazed (2nd child).

Inaugural Family Bike Ride (aka Mom Knows How to Ride a Bike)
Because mom joins the fun now. Story: one Sunday me and K had some time with the boys went kayaking. I asked what she wanted to do, and she said, "A bike ride! But mom, I think maybe you'll be too wobbly? I mean, I go pretty fast". The girl didn't know I could ride a bike! Oh dear daughter. We biked to a lending library and she was quite impressed by my skill. Ha. So a couple weekends later we all headed out together. Mostly successful, only a few bandaids needed (which weren't along, which meant me biking back and driving to pick up the damaged party).

Inaugural Breakfast in Bed
Because Karis is hilarious and loves to "mommy" her little bro. She also makes Trev's weekend french press coffee now.

Resourceful Little Lady
Because, Karis continues to wow us. In school the teacher breezed over the part where Potiphar's wife seduces Joseph. So she asked Trev about it. And he also breezed over the question. So she went and read the story for herself and happily reported, "Oh dad, it's no big deal. She just asked Joseph to sleep with her!". Oh honey.

Moon Watcher
Because Judah is a night owl, one night he called me into his room (sweetest voice, "Oh Mommy! Oh Mommy!") and then led me to his window, "Look, I can see the moon!". Heart melt.

Bob Dylan/Not-bob-dylan
Trev went to Bob Dylan (yay!), couldn't find a sitter so I bailed (boo!). Worked out in the end, I went to a fancy PULSE gala at the Vikings Stadium and got to see Mac Powell (love!). The night of the Dylan concert, I read the below - crazy. And good and needed.

Away with Fam/Waterpark Weekend
Arrowood, 3rd time with this group at this place so it was super comfy and familiar and fun. Eats and treats and laughs and chats and shops and waterpark. Oh, and Billy Big Mouth Bass made an appearance to wake up anyone who was sleeping later than the majority (I gave him as a gift to Trev while dating, Bob turned into a torture tool and so it eventually found the trash . . . Bob was recently inspired to re-order and re-institute the tradition. A hoot - for those already awake).

Inaugural Family Halloween/Everyone-got-a-treat
Because, again, mom joins the fun now. In the past it's been a cousin-come-over holiday, and now everyone is all grown up (kind of) and into their own 'hoods. Anyway, One neighbor commented, "Oh you don't usually go with them on Halloween!" (reply: right, I'm usually staying warm and enjoying an adult beverage with other moms inside!) That morning I felt like momma-needs-a-treat-too, so Judah and I swung by the local hole in the wall best donut shop on the way to preschool. Score for a new tradition, delicious donut, free coffee, everyone there dressed up. Judah's costume dream came true by our resident daddy artist: Tow Truck Mater (p.s. Karis was quite concerned that it was being made out of beer boxes. Mom and Dad - zero concerned). Oh my, he was so proud. Wore it all day, everywhere, and at every door he donned, "I'm Tow Truck Mater! I have a Tow!". There was a sweet little preschool costume parade, oh the deliciousness. After school the kids and I cuddled and watched "Mater's Tall Tales", had chili with dad when he got home, geared up, headed out. Home for a little Sofia and candy sorting. Trev was wiped and went to bed the same time as the kids (read: 7:30!). The next morning he told me about his treat: he woke up at 10pm, finished watching Stranger Things till 1, was sleeping by 2. Oh my. Oh, and Karis thinks she saw "Peek-a-Boo" (stray cat in our yard) at one of the houses! Wild.

Other adventures
Silverwood Park, Arboretum, Depot Coffee Shop, Panera with cousins, losing teeth, Wednesday play date trades, making outdoor play food beautifully, meadow runs . . . sweet season

Media of the Month
Anam Cara, Daring Greatly, It's Won't Be Easy, My Antonia, 11/22/63
He is Given (and Bifrost Arts in general)
This is Us (as good as everyone said it is)

- "I wish I had a robot. Well, mom, I guess you're kind of like my robot!"
- "Now Judah, FEEL the music"
- "Well, I've never really seen them quarrel . . . " (talking about friends at school)
- "Oh Judah, you're just too cute"
- "Mom look! Judah can write a real 'J'!"
- "Mom that wasn't funny, why did you chuckle?"
- "I'm Tow Truck Mater!"
- "Hey mom, what do 'almond jollys'" taste like?" (oh too cute to correct her to "almond joy")

Judah Jabbers:
- "Mom do ladybugs make diseases? My sister said"
- "Hey mom, does it take a long time to make friends?"
- "I want daddy" (calling me into his room in the middle of the night) - when I said he's not there . . . "I don't need anything"
- "I always do not miss you at school"
- "Mommy, oh mommy!" (calling me into his room after being tucked in) "I can see the moon!"
- "Will my eyes still be blue in the morning?"
- "I had a dream about big strawberries, they were chasing me and Mitchell" (indeed, after reading an Elsa Beskow book that featured big strawberry characters)
- "Which things are supposed to be red? Lava monsters?"
- "Dad, what do pranksters do?"
- "WHO is putting me to bed?"
- "Is tomorrow after this day?"
- "Is two minutes long?"
- "Real?" (asking if I'm serious or joking)
- "Karis, mom and dad are teaching me to be a gentleman!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FanFair + Fortress vs. FOMO + First of 2nd

We love questions around here, and good thing - the kids as about a zillion a day (wonder where they learned that?). Two q's swirling in my mind lately:
"What are we saying 'yes' to?"

"What are we excited about?" 
(I'd love to hear your answers)

Fair Fun

Dan (you know, Dan in Real Life) has a song, "Prepare to be surprised". Well, my extreme enthusiasm about the fair is a big surprise. Let's be clear, I did not exactly love the fair itself - it's the bonding, memories in the making, decisions, meandering, delighting, glutton-ing together. Together! Getting a Monday "off" with my hub and watching him take the lead so wonderfully, the best. Here's what we did, for the record. 
Leave early, listen to Waylon Jennings on the way
Birthing barn
Big slide
Mini donuts/coffee
watched sheep dogs/sheep (ran into a friend from high school and his fam, watched with them. WILD!)
"Kidway" - dog rollercoaster, fun houses, bumper boats
Brats from "Cynthia's Sausage" (yum), corn dogs
Watched Dan Cole Common Man show (Trev's VERY favorite radio show). Karis did tug of war and got on the show. WILD! 
Dairy barn - soft serve cones and princess of the Milky Way butter carvings 
Gondola/ski lift ride to machinery hill (freaky)
Walked our way back - go into campers, sit on tractors . . . 
Sweet Martha's
4H Building 
Cheese curds/beer while watching end of Common Man show
Tattoos (of bugs. big nasty bugs, handed out by a woman in a bug suit).
HOME (listen to classical/opera on the way home)
taco salads and tattoo putting on
 We put them on after dinner.
(next year: matching family t-shirts, spend more time at the creative arts building, remember that momma loses steam and stops loving the cookie-to-kids-mouth-like-a-slot-machine around 1pm. Hmmm, maybe momma could go to creative arts building alone and leave the kids at the all you can drink milk)


Mother/daughter book club annual event. So meaningful, simple, beautiful. Games (moms for sure the most competitive), ordered in Chipotle, singing, praying over each girl, playing.

Growing up, kind of
Oh Judah, we have kept him young and Karis has observed a few times: "Judah sure seems to get what he wants when he cries". In an effort to treat him like the age he is (almost 5, what?!) we're starting small. Like, not reheating his food because he's been playing while the rest of us eat. One Saturday he went to rest time without lunch (no, we're done re-heating your food). He called me into his room to say:
"Ah, I just want you to apologize to me . . . ". Laughter. And then, "Well, I'm sorry I raised my voice, and we will not be reheating your food anymore".
Judah in his "snuggle fort" (using every single blanket and pillow in the house)

Plum Picking/Creative Endeavors
Karis and Lucy are such buds, so dear. And I couldn't let the peck of plums go to waste, so we tried our hand at plum jelly. Satisfying project and beautiful in a jar, if a bit tart.

School Starts
2nd Grade
Writing this in mid-October, it feels like . . . an afterthought, which means we're full on into routine (YAY!). Loving the routine. Karis's first day was sweet, the excitement in the building buoyed us all and I felt not sad this time. Judah started a couple weeks later, and he was just so ready that it was easy to let him go. Trev helped take him (with a stop at Bruegger's first).
Last minute scrubbing off tattoo

The end of summer had me feeling like saying no to lots and to build a little fortress around our family. Tired, ready/not ready to face the engagement that fall brings. And it made me ponder what it will mean when some of my family wants to say "yes" (for example, to the picnic/movie night at church) and half wants to say "no". Sometimes its as simple as the ones who want to go and the others stay back, but then there's FOMO! Such a real thing . . . around the corner was . . .

Minne-Revive/Ordination service
I went to a conference at our church, I'm also very excited about this. I wrote about it here.  Being there helped me to get back into fell-the-fortress mode, to remember to say "yes" when needed and find peace in the "no's", even when there's FOMO.
Bishop blessing the children

Well Check Wonders
We had to break up with our pediatric clinic, sniff sniff. While sad, I was still marveling at the fact that we can easily take for granted that whatever care we find will be very okay. I still was on the look out for some sweet comfort in the transition and sure enough at the new place was one of our old nurses. Such a wonder to me, when this metropolis seems small and also I remember that in my small concerns there's still attention and care. Grateful.

Sunset Catcher
Karis padded down after being tucked in one night to exclaim that I just had to look at the sunset. So we sat on the front step in our jammies and just chatted and I remembered the importance of being open to these moments. When I think the day is done, to keep my heart ready to connect and delight and make memories with this dear daughter.

Peek a Boo/Catty
We have a resident cat living under our deck. Judah named it Catty, Karis convinced him to consider "Peek a Boo", which seems about right because it peeks out now and then and we never really know when he's going to be here. Advice?

First Book Cry
Karis padded down another night and sobbed into my arms because someone died in one of her American Girl books. Oh, a good book cry.

Within ten days we took two trips to Bismarck and Trev took one to Montreal. All so sweet and special and full and fulfilling. Connecting with family always the best, especially in the spaces of celebration, and I'll always remember feeling the nearness of heaven at A's wedding. We even got a late night hotel stay (in an effort to get Trev to the airport in time on Sunday). Memories already of watching kids make pillow forts and wake up with puffy eyes.

Truth Telling (bites)
Twice in one week I told the truth and wish I'd fibbed. Karis and I went to the mall when she had a random Tuesday morning off (Judah in preschool). Oh the fun we had, finding jammies and opening the Disney store and coffee talks - we decided we could tell the truth to Judah AND not gloat. Didn't go so well. Meltdown, and the one thing he thought would help, "I NEED MY HOME POOTSIE" was not to be found. We rode the wave with humor and the storm passed, but really, I wish we'd fibbed. And then a few days later went to mail a book media mail and when the gal asked if there was a personal note I fessed up, "yeah, one sentence". Sorry, can't send it that way. Fib. Should I have?

Other September fun . . . Minnetonka Orchards, Westwood Nature Center, Bellacour baby shower with littles in tow running around the courtyard, IKEA with dear friends (the only way), free Chick Fil A with lots of kids, Karis and Trev going to The Hobbit with friends  . . . grateful.

It's the overview here, folks. Plenty of not perfect moments, as always. Trying to be present, live into fullness, always growing and learning and making so many mistakes and receiving so much grace.

- "Oh, I bet you did" (when I said we missed her when she went back to school)
- "Oh yeah, I want my belly to process the food in my tummy nicely" (getting a probiotic after eating a baconator from Wendy's)
- "My mind is basically like a big piece of notebook paper" (when I told her I like to write down quotes from books)
- "Mommy, these aren't just dreams, these are wants" (when talking about her birthday next year)
- "Well, as I always say, 'some is better than none!'") (when we had a short play date)
- "To tell you the truth . . ."
- "I must say . . . "
- "Mom, it seems like the Julie books are in my time - they have cars and TV! Is 1970 like my time?"
- Really into knock knock jokes
- "Well, it appears Judah gets what he wants when he cries!"
- "But mom, Judah doesn't have closed shoes, what's he going to do?" (on his first day of Preschool, she was quite concerned)
- "Now Judah when you tell people your name, say 'Judah', not 'Judah Robert Ryan'"
- "I wish Lauren was my sister"
- "Pastors have such neat stories about what God has done. I wonder if I'll ever have stories like that?" (we had a good convo that a lot of those stories come from struggle . . . and then talked about the stories she already has - such a sweet moment)
- "Can we still do 'dear sweet baby?'" (a little bedtime prayer my parents used to say to us . .  .I had stopped for a while and she missed it. So dear)
- "That was a bit of an awkward silence, I must say"
- "I feel bad for the frog. Judah's not the best frog keeper, you know"
- "We killed the worm so we're gonna have a funeral! Should we say nice things about it?"
- "Oh I'll be sad when Judah can read and doesn't want me to read to him anymore!"
- "Well, sorry not sorry!"
- "Oh at last, my favorite clothes of the day! (pajamas)

Judah Jabbers:
- "So I changed my mind, I think I wanna go to the monster truck show with daddy instead" (on mother/daughter retreat day)
- "Mom, can we go to London? I want to go tomorrow. Daddy said I could drive my car there"
- "Mommy, was it my last day with you at church?" (asked this many times . . . he usually comes to work with me there Thursdays and now will be in preschool. Sniff sniff. I'll miss him there)
- "Can you take me to ma-Kohls for my birthday, to get a toy?" (not sure how it came to be 'ma-Kohls'?)
-  "Mom, Mater is on Netflix" (fave lately is "Cars" and especially "Mater's Tall Tales")
- "Mom! The birds are playing tag with the airplane!"
- "Ohhh, I smell something sweet. Are you baking something yummy?" (indeed, cookies)
- "Mom, where is my sister?"
- Can climb over our fence with ease
- "Oh well I prefer to play booger man"
- "I gave daddy the tomato. He ate it all. in. one. GULP"
- "Hey dad, I like your underwear!"
- "Hey mommy, where's my sister?"
- "Mom, how did I get really cool?"

Friday, September 8, 2017

Robust August

Writing now from September, three weeks ago everyone I knew couldn't wait for school to arrive - and now, some of that number are lamenting summer's end (me among them). We had some whirlwind weekend trips, on those Sundays we'd look at each other and say, "What just happened?". That sums up summer. Looking back, I'm already nostalgic, and also amazed that most of what we set out to do happened (ya just never know!).

The August Chronicles, because someday the kids will love reminiscing (I hope)

VBS (and Lion)
The kids showed their bravery by going to a VBS at a new-to-them-didn't-know-anyone-church. Adults and children fully welcomed and got to know them throughout the week - delightful for all, they still rave about "Fun Maker Factory". I had reasonable expectations that 2 hours isn't much time and I resolved to just see where the time led - I worked on some writing, some pictures, some work. Ran a couple errands, and every day watched a bit of the movie Lion. Oh my, powerful. And moving and hard - there is a long beginning about a 5 year old boy getting very lost in India. Judah's age. I hugged them so close when picking them up after that. Highly recommend both this VBS and Lion - together if possible.

Harvest (pickles)
We pickled our cucumbers, so satisfying. Judah proudly picks tomatoes and brings them inside with such pride, "Mom, I got you a tomato" (huge smile from us both). Farmer boy.

Doll Picnics
This book was brilliant, one day neighbor-grandaughter-friend came over and the girls took it away making delights for their dolls. So sweet to peek in on them once in a while, lost in their own world (whilst Judah played with a frog, sticking it into the barrel of a watergun and having a big meltdown when he couldn't get it out).

Serenader of the month (and thoughts on Alexa)
Around here you can hear the croons of Josh Garrels, Red Mountain Church, Indelible Grace, Ray Lomantaign, John Mayer, Brandi Carlisle . . . all by speaking them into singing. We were given Alexa and it took me all of five minutes to fall in love with her. So many things. She listens to me better than anyone in my house, I feel so powerful giving her commands (politely, of course). "Alexa! Play . . .  Alexa! Off." Oh if I could wield such influence at large. My very fave is how much computer liberation Alexa has given me - no need to type up a change on pandora now, no need to get distracted when doing so. Freedom! It's also hilarious to watch the kids talk to her: "Alexa, tell me a joke! Play Red Mountain Church! How far is it to Bismarck?" Oh, and playing us the "Banana Pancakes" song while making them.

Wedding Weekend
On the road again to Fargo for cousin Siennah's wedding, a wonderful weekend of celebrating and connecting with lots of fam. The story for our fam was that Trev left our wedding clothes in Minneapolis, discovered when we pulled in tired and hungry to the hotel. I had a moment. Like, "need to have the reaction just because" moment, even though in my head I knew it would be fine (later got curious about why the strong reaction and realized that no clothes struck two tender chords for me: a dislike of both shopping and dressing up, along with not loving to do anything last minute . . . ). So, I made a scene, left my family in the parking lot, lamented to Uncle Vern in the lobby (he laughed, like "ha ha we've all been there"). And then of all things, my mom had brought a dress for me and it was perfect. Crazy! Provision. Judah's clothes were in my bag. Trev is an awesome shopper so went out and got things for himself and K (coming out the hero in the end, figures - ha!). In the end not a big deal, and also worth processing, pondering, remembering (Karis will certainly remember). 
Later a friend said she thought of texting me the following, but didn't because it didn't seem to make sense - but it totally did: 
"arrange the pieces as they come" from Virginia Wolfe
!!!!! In these moments, I wonder WHY do these things work out? I feel God's care and love in these details and I really do wonder WHY the attention? He is intricate. 

Ding Dong the Fish is Dead/Sculpture Garden
Judah's beta bit the gravel. Literally, face down in the gravel is where I found him perished. Curiously, Judah still tells people he has a beta fish (but doesn't mention its demise). Everything in me wanted to just go get a new one and pretend it didn't happen. Instead I did what seemed best: tell Karis first and let her grieve (she did: sobbed, "I just feel so bad for him!" When I asked, "Judah or the fish?" she paused and then bawled out, "Both!"Oh dear girl. And then we calmly told Judah together and he just kind of shrugged and asked if we could get a new one. NBD. I have nightmares about huge dead fish sitting on top of the fridge. The day it happened we had a great distraction at the sculpture garden.

One Monday night we headed to a game (at bedtime) with Uncle Stevie & Aunt Debbie. Karis went from tears of overwhelm (it was loud and we had several people ask us for money . . . ) to exclaims of awesomeness by the end. Will repeat for sure.

Weekend in Alex with brother J and his fam. The time was fast and fun. Elodie charmed us all with her sweet spirit, and Karis enjoyed some reading cuddles with Aunt Cassie. I got some qt with Cass too as we meandered the shops while sipping caffeine. They spoiled us with a walleye and garden produce meal, we all piled into the boat for an evening ride and the boys snuck away to fish (after ditching us to do solo bedtime, trouble makers). Savoring the memories already.

With dear friends-with-membership, an adventure and we did it all and got to see a leopard pee and growl, a bird show, sloth . . . highlight for both kids was the touching pool where their hands were grazed by a shark.

What, you don't know the acronym? Pig Ate My Pizza. The best. Met some dear friends at this precious place - I love them all, the people and place, and they loved each other and it was a matchmaker success. We toasted making it through a satisfying summer and being ready to head into the school year. Cheers.

Mouse in the House
One morning there was a little cute thing peeking up at me, and not scared of me at all. I was scared enough for us both and bolted upstairs.  The kids' reactions was so telling: Karis, "Oh no, did you close the door to the basement?" Judah, "Oh! Can I go see it? I'm going to put my gloves on and smoosh it with my crocs!". I tried to be all cool and brave, wondering if I could send Judah down to set traps (!). And then realized I'm not that person. Trev came home at noon and found the mouse (injured) under a crumpled sleeping bag (he literally was thinking about Ralph from The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Hero.

Fair Fun - deserving of its own post later.

Nature Walk (decorator)
Oh the cooler air, on the last day of August we walked the neighborhood and looked for deer and sang a little bit. Karis collected randomness and came home to create. I love her work. 

Daddy Work Day
The last summer "thing": visiting Trev at work and cashing in some kids meal freebies at Pizza Luce.

Books of the Month: What a Difference a Mom Makes, Magnolia Story, Commonwealth, Notes From a Small Island, Homegoing, Outlander (finally finished). Trevor's reading Moby Dick. Karis and I are going through Pinky Pye and Island Summer. A picture book we recently loved is This is What We Do

- "Grandpa has a website! And a pen with his name on it! My Grandpa's famous!" (when going through some office supplies he gave her)
- "Judah, I must admit you ARE bigger and faster than Strawberry Shortcake"

Judah Jabbers:
- "I don't have short shorts, only girls have short shorts"
- "Mommy, I just wanted to go to bed early at Siennah's wedding"
- "Well, I'm bigger than the tooth fairy"
- "Yeah, the lightning flashed in my room like a night light!"
- "Hey mom, did you know I'm bigger than fairies"
- "I just want to be modest" (said while pulling his shorts OFF)