I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.
Saturday morning, we headed over to my in-laws' after breakfast and walked in to see that my SIL had made French press coffee. We sat on the porch, Cooper got bacon grease on his onesie, and he roamed and tried (successfully, at times) to eat potted flowers. We admired my MIL's sunflowers, growing ever taller, enjoyed the cool morning breeze, and just chatted. We went home just before lunch and the rest of the day was low-key, spent at home with fika and some knitting and lots of playing with a certain little boy. I've been wearing him in the carrier on days when he needs extra mama time, and reminding myself to cherish it. And that evening, when he was wild and roaming once again, his personal goals were to attempt to open the window in his room and to stand on tip toes to peek out. He was successful only on the latter count. ;)
Sunday brought a long-awaited visit from our dear friends Casey and Lauren. They live in the Indianapolis area, so seeing them in person is a treat. We were close several years ago before our move to Texas, and then have since recently reconnected, and it doesn't feel like the timing is coincidental in the slightest.
They arrived mid-morning, bearing yellow flowers and a sweet gift for us. Coop woke from his nap and overcame a bit of shyness to warm up quickly. Lauren and I made lunch of grass-fed hamburgers, bacon, fried eggs, and sauteed veggies, plus sauerkraut, etc., while the boys tended to and played with Coop and talked. Casey and Lauren washed dishes while Nicholas brewed coffee. And then they so generously took some beautiful family photos of us* near our home. We changed into play clothes and then all loaded into the truck to drive to the beach.
After driving for a time in queue, we parked and headed straight for the water, all four adults taking our chacos off to feel the water and sand on our feet. We carried Cooper, taking turns. We walked along the water to a more open area of the beach, then let Cooper play in the water, doing our best to minimize how much sand he was eating. Casey took him out a little bit further and he loved the water, even purposely splashing his face in multiple times. We walked some more, chatted about their growing family(!), snapped a few photos, and waded in the water which actually felt warm. And on the walk back, we took turns carrying a very sleepy Cooper. He rested his head on Lauren's shoulder and gripped a rock in his tiny hand all the way back to the truck, and for the entire drive home. Oh to see a Great Lake through a little boy's eyes, and to find such joy from a rock.
Back at home, supper was simple—a crockpot meal, specifically this pork, can't recommend it enough—but it did need a bit more cooking, so we threw it in the Instant Pot. The boys ate theirs plain and Lauren and I added a red cabbage slaw I prepped the night before with AVC, avocado oil mayo, salt, and dill. We drank sparkling water and chatted about food and growing families and life and just truly enjoyed the evening before they headed home.
I'm reminded of the seasons of friendships and how God allows friendships to influence and shape our hearts in the ways He wants them to be shaped. Some of my most dear friends in this season of young motherhood are friendships sustained long distance through the years, or begun in seasons when I wasn't feeling altogether friendly, but rather preoccupied, discontent, or longing for the next season. Some are friendships from years past, recently rekindled. It's these godly friends that help me see that my feet are in the flowers most days, and in the mud on some days. Friends who looked at me when I was so sick with Cooper and reminded me "This is the baby we prayed for!" Friends who offer godly counsel and help inspire healthy boundaries. Friends who bring joy into my life every week, even from across the country. A friend who happens to be my sister-in-law. Friends who go on walks and laugh when chaos ensues among the babies. Friends who call me to hope on sad days. My own mom who encourages me in motherhood over the phone. Friends who pray for and encourage and challenge me.
What an honor it is to get to walk into and through motherhood in the midst of community and friendship and family, near and far. Helping me relish the "almost-but-not-yet," and the very here and now of an August weekend, the refreshment and beauty of a Great Lake, the taste of coffee on the deck, and the sweetness of a little boy and his rock.
*Here is a link to their photography company, Love, Leon. Weddings, portraits, family, business, etc, based in Indianapolis area. Stunning work.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
This year, Christmas was simple and lovely. It can feel natural to rush past it, once December 25th has come and gone. But I want to linger a little, take note of some of my favorite tiny moments. 2020 will have it's own center stage for a full year, after all.