Summer's Lease

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date



It's the last day of August, we're in the middle of our teacher in-service week, and I'm about to switch out our pool bag for our football game bag. The girls have finished their summer workbooks, which I officially love. If you go to Flint you're going to hear ALL about how much I love them and how much I think you should do them come next May. 



We also finished our bedtime chapter book, The Horse and His Boy. We've been reading through the Chronicles of Narnia since Tristan was born...I've read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to every single one of my newborns (because you have to do SOMETHING while you're sitting and rocking baby for hours on end, and mine are all used to me reading aloud from the womb, so it calms them down) and this time the older girls got hooked in and wanted ALL the Narnia, all the time.

We didn't technically "finish" our summer bucket list, since there are a few things we didn't get to, but my OCD is surprisingly okay with this! I think because flipping out and trying to force activities just so I can check them off of my list isn't exactly summer-chill, which would kind of defeat the purpose. Where this mental health and clarity is coming from, I can't imagine! Probably it's largely thanks to the fact that Tristan, at seven months old, is STILL determined to be my non-sleeper, so I can't get all crazy and project-y during naptime. Naptime is my own sacred time to catch up a little on sleep, and let me tell you I have missed it hard already this week! 

Here is our list:



And here is (partially) what that looked like:



It was one for the books, y'all!

"Winds in the East, Mist Coming In...

Monday, August 15, 2016


...Like something is brewing, about to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before."



So, a weird thing about me! The weather affects my mood hard. All kinds of weather, all kinds of moods. Sort of like a frog barometer, but also sort of like a mood ring. Very much like a crazy person. But y'all. This weather right now! Having a rainy week with highs in the 80's in August? In TEXAS? Magical, right? Almost overnight we went from somewhat-successfully frying an egg on our sidewalk (it was really more like baking than frying) in 104 degree sunshine to playing in the rain with cousins until the thunder got too intense.

                              



I keep pulling up the weather app on my phone to gloat over the forecast. Is that weird? I think it might be weird, but there you go. It just feels so heavenly outside and it somehow kicks me into a different state of mind. The end of summer is suddenly more acceptable and I want to start thinking about school things and schedules and lists and everything. I can start thinking about it all, whereas before my mind just kept wandering away. 

                                                 

I'm not so crazy as to think that it won't heat back up, but I am crazy enough that the change in the weather was just the nudge I needed to get excited about resuming athletics and academics and all of that. This summer has been perfect, but I'm suddenly okay with it ending, and I wasn't until the temperature dropped. And happily, we still have this week and next week before inservice start at Flint, so there's this whole best-of-both-worlds thing going on right now. The kids and I spent an entire rainy morning snuggled up in bed watching movies (and eating Pop-Tarts, oh the crumbs on our sheets!) in our pajamas because why not!

                                     

Today we went swimming even though it was raining. There wasn't any lightning or anything, and my little crew thought it was THE coolest thing imaginable.

                  

                                    

But I won't pretend it was entirely for their benefit. One of my favorite things in the world these days is Tristan's poolside naps, and I'm not about to miss any if I can help it. Next summer he'll be too big for a morning nap, and I love our time snuggling while I stretch out and watch the girls swimming.

                     

I mean, just look.

                 

Pretty soon school will start and the pool will close and we'll have all kinds of new adventures...until then we're going to snuggle in the rain as much as possible while I make checklists and lesson plans up in my head.

Now We Are Six: Lainey-Girl Style

Thursday, August 4, 2016

This sweet girl turned six last week. My beautiful, tender-hearted, loving little old soul...isn't she perfection? 

               

Her actual birthday was a few days before her party, so we spent the day doing Lainey things. "It's kind of like I'm the boss for the day, isn't it?" she says. "Because I'm the birthday girl." Which is a big deal if you're always having to compromise on everything with a bossy older sister and a feisty little sister, I would imagine. We had funfetti pancakes with whipped cream and syrup and maraschino cherries and a happy birthday candle, then swimming with the whole gang, then lunch (chicken nuggets and french fries, as requested!) followed by HER choice of Netflix shows...then ice skating (well, wearing ice skates near the rink, if you want to get technical) and Starbucks with GiGi and Avalon, and later a big spaghetti dinner and a "kids movie night" viewing of Inside Out. And not even one little bitty tiny smidge of the dreaded Birthday Child Bratties that can be so easy to fall into when you're kind of like the boss for the day. Lainey-girl just basked in the privilege.

                    

Her actual party was on Saturday, at a fancy, girly tearoom. She got a bit overwhelmed and deer-in-the-headlights at all of the attention being focused on her when she was unwrapping presents, but only for a minute. The rest of the time was all sparkle-tastic! to use her description. 
















Bookworms and Beaches and Babies, Oh My!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tristan and I have been home from our Charleston adventure since Monday evening, but we had fun and it must be blogged! Regardless of the fact that if we're friends on Facebook you've probably already seen like, a hundred percent of these pictures! It doesn't matter! Just look at this delicious baby nerd of mine some more! Loooooook!



In a lot of ways it was kind of a crazy trip, what with room mix-ups and practically everyone in our group getting sick at different points, and trying to be all academic and focused while jiggling a five month old. But going on this trip was my birthday present from Aaron and I tried my best to enjoy every minute of it and not focus (ha! I think I probably whined more than the baby! THAT WAS MY BEST, OK I'M JUST WHINY ITS HOW I COPE) on annoying things sinus infections and sleep deprivation. And it was very enjoyable! 

I know it was definitely impractical, but I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving Tristan for a week. He flew like a champ again, really only fussing while my mom and I worked on getting him and all of our stuff situated before take-offs. And seriously? Traveling with a charming, flirtatious little baby is the best. My child looooooves people, and he turns on this grin that could light up a small town, melting hearts every which way. I'm reasonably certain that his smile is the reason we managed to get switched at the gate to a more convenient flight home. Totally made up for having to be THOROUGHLY patted down because I didn't want security opening up his pre-made formula.




We had some extra time in Charleston, which is so, so gorgeous. And humid! I thought I was plenty used to heat, living in Texas and all, but yeesh. Walking around downtown and looking at all those amazing Colonial-era buildings, I was a little bit in awe of the fact that people used to live in them without AC. And they wore lots and lots more clothes. Just...how?





Crazily, Jill and her family happened to be in Charleston the same week! When we realized this (thank you, Facebook!) we met up for coffee and let the boys play (read: babble and try to grab each others heads) while we fit four months worth of conversation into an hour and a half. It was awesome. 




The conference itself was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The theme this year was Home, which was perfect! I felt awfully stressed out on the first day because I didn't want Tristan to disturb anyone and I kept having to whisk him out (or pass him off to my mom) and listen to the talks from the foyer. I kept feeling guilty for every squawk he made AND every word that I missed, which didn't leave me any options, exactly. Then I remembered that I came here for FUN and should just enjoy the bits that I could hear and not worry about the rest. Much better that way, and I learned a lot in those bits and pieces anyway!
The third year apprentices had our graduation at the banquet on Friday night. I can't believe I'm officially finished with this program! I was so scared to attempt it and it's been just the best thing in the world for me. I've learned so much and connected with such wonderful people...and edged out of my cozy little comfort zone quite a bit at the same time!




After the conference ended a bunch of us headed out to a condo on one of the islands near Charleston for some beach R and R. I was so worn out from being sick and trying to make sure Tristan was well-behaved and everything that when we arrived I absolutely crashed. My mom took Tristan to the beach and I took a heavenly, glorious nap. I woke up a million hours later, the best kind of disoriented because where am I...hey, there's the ocean!



Actually, that kind of set the tone for the beach portion of the trip...I think I napped every time the baby did!



But we also spent plenty of time out by the water, and relaxing with some of my very favorite people. It was lovely!







And then we flew home and thanks to Tristan and his charming ways we got back hours and hours earlier than planned so I got to spend time with my baby girls before scrubbing them thoroughly ("Did you take plenty of baths while I was gone? Did you brush your teeth every day?" "Nope! Daddy didn't make us!" "OH YES I DID!") and tucking them in bed. 

Love Matters

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tristan and I (and my mama!) are in Charleston right now for the Circe conference, but the past week has been consumed with caretaking as all of my people have fallen to a stomach virus of epic proportions. I'm not the best nurse in the world by ANY means, but with everything that's been going on in the world lately, it's been hard to mind all the extra snuggles and nurturing they all needed. I've done a lot of rocking fitful babies while obsessively reading news articles online about all of the recent heartbreak. Full disclosure - I tend to peek at the news cautiously between my fingers, trying hard not to see anything too disturbing.  This, though, I just can't look away. And all of the arguments and opinions attached to each article, I'm compelled to read those too, until I feel totally lost. It's too hard to know what's real and right, isn't it? And even if you could know, could you express it the right way, without causing more anger and hurt and dissent? It doesn't seem likely, but I keep trying to anyway, in between scrubbing carpets and washing blankets and spraying Lysol everywhere.

(Can I be upset by Baton Rouge AND Dallas? Is that allowed? Because I am.)

I'm scared for our guys, out in the world. I keep scrolling through old pictures from the past four or so years, pictures of our different-looking, ever-changing, wonderful mess of a family. Cute pictures of big strong boys playing sweetly with sassy little girls, and of course it isn't always cute like that. We misunderstand each other, our expectations go unmet, we let each other down and hurt each other without even realizing we've done it. There is frustration and exhaustion and why-are-we-doing-this-anyway. There is leaving and coming back. There is a ton of gritty, personal, ugly heartbreak and mess that obviously doesn't belong on a blog, but obviously still goes on.

But. We can always choose love. In spite of all the obstacles, we can choose to love each other. Even when we've failed to make that choice a dozen times before. And when we'll fail to choose it a dozen times after. Even when we're scared or hurt or tired. We can always go on because love is always an option. I know this is true even when I can't know anything else. And these sweet pictures? They are still beautifully true. 


On Saturday morning I tucked Aaron in bed and set the kids up with basins and a movie so Tristan and I could run to the store for some medicine and ginger ale and crackers. Only, my van started overheating...and then it started billowing smoke...and then it stopped moving forward. So I was pulled halfway off of a main road and halfway (diagonally! Uphill!) onto a side street in a less-than-stellar neighborhood. And while I'm fumbling for my hazard lights and my cell phone (and let's be real here, trying not to cry) a couple of work van drivers that are mostly blocked in now start yelling and gesturing angrily at me. Because of course I am parking here in your way for fun. 

But then a couple of people came out of their house to help me while I waited for Aaron. The guy couldn't push my van up the hill by himself, but he was able to pull it back down onto the side of the main road where it was mostly out of the way. Then he paced alongside, making sure that traffic saw me and didn't sideswipe me, commenting all the while on how crazy it was that no one was stopping to help. Then four or five other guys joined up with him and managed to push the van back up the side street hill and totally out of anyone's way. They invited us to wait in their house, out of the heat, and we did, chatting about babies until Aaron and Dan arrived to work some sort of car magic. 

And you know what? We didn't hate each other or feel scared of each other because we were black and white. We were just a bunch of sweaty people laughing together about a ridiculous situation...just a bunch of kind-hearted guys helping out a clearly helpless chick, and that's it. Just regular humanity, I guess. I get that this doesn't actually mean anything, not really in the grand scheme of things. Any other day it would just be a normal little event. But after being up all night rocking sweet, sick babies and reading about death and hate, and feeling like the world is just an ugly, angry place? I really, really needed the balm of that normal little event. 

Quick Takes

Friday, July 1, 2016

1. If you were wondering what the best husband in the universe looks like, well, here you go:


2. He came home from open gym the other night, took the baby monitor away from me, and slept on the couch so I had a WHOLE ENTIRE NIGHT of completely undisturbed rest while he got up with Tristan over and over. It. Was. Amazing.

3. Our most recent science project was to make butter in a jar. We talked about the shocking revelation that butter does not, in fact, magically spring forth into the dairy aisle, but has to be made. We talked about how moving cream around very fast for a while will make all the fat molecules stick together and that eventually turns into butter. We poured cream in a jar and took turns shaking it to a pretty sweet dance mix that Aaron turned on.

4. It was the cutest science lesson/dance party ever, is what I'm saying.

                                

                                 

                                

5. At least it was until we were almost finished and the bottom of the mason jar just...broke off... and delicious fresh butter went everywhere. Mostly all over poor Jamie. The only person who really got to enjoy the fruits of our labor was the overweight beagle. Who only tolerates any of us because we might drop food.



6. Avalon was trying to work out some riddles last night and came across this head-scratcher: "I am tiny. I have three body parts and six legs. I am often a pest at picnics. What am I?" She had barely finished reading the clues before she got all excited and said, "OOOH, OOOH! It's an OCTOPUS!" We all stopped and stared at her for a second and then everyone burst out laughing hysterically. I think the visual image of a trail of octopi invading a picnic occurred to us all at the same time. I love laughing with my girls and having inside jokes with them. 

7. My little army of flying monkeys is up and about and wreaking havoc on the village now, so that's all I've got. Happy July! 











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