The air is crisper in the mornings, leaves on some trees just barely tinged with red and gold, a few eager leaves already fallen, begging to be crunched on the sidewalk. It's not truly fall yet, I realize, but the wonderful in-between has very much arrived. I don't want to wish away summer, but in the same breath, I am always excited for autumn.
It's been some time since my last "life lately" post, so, to catch up, here are some things I may have forgotten to mention over the last several weeks:
Trips to a still-functioning farm-turned-park with all the appeal of blue skies, cool breezes, goats and turkeys and sheep, and of course, tractors.
My friend Molly visited a few weeks ago. We sat on the three season porch and talked for a long time (Cooper took a great nap that day). It made me nostalgic, but mostly thankful for the early days of our friendship, pre-motherhood, where we met for coffee and to discuss our bible reading at various coffee shops in Austin every Saturday morning. It's always a blessing to give you a hug and have you in our home.
Listening to jazz, Fleet Foxes, Jose Gonzalez, Chris Renzema, mehro, and a sprinkle of Ingrid Michaelson's Christmas album.
Still sipping on bulletproof coffee every morning. Snacking on kalamata olives, nuts, organic cheese, fruit, and homemade baked goodies.
A little snacker, holding my hand while he eats nectarines on the back deck after three (inflatable) pool days in a row.
A local first responders appreciation day! Our neighbor is a volunteer fireman and invited us, and it was so fun. Cooper absolutely loved sitting in the firetruck and helicopter, and it was really interesting to see all the exhibits from all the local first responder teams that serve our community. We will be back next year.
Visits to a newly renovated favorite local coffee shop. Loving the iced chai, as of late.
Video chats with my mom. She reads a few books to Cooper (usually bear-themed, since those are always a favorite!) and we get a chance to catch up while he plays. I love this photo she took from our most recent call.
Making lots of messes in the kitchen. Messes stress me out more than I wish they did, but amid the chaos, I always remember, messes can be cleaned up, just one thing at a time. And the time I get with my little helper in the kitchen are some of my favorite moments with him. He loves stirring, whisking, transferring veggies, telling me when the waffle is done (green light), separating strips of bacon, and measuring and grinding coffee beans.
Lots of walks with Cooper, holding hands, visiting parks, picking up BBQ, trips to the library and our local health food store, drives past our former apartment. smoothie dates with dad on Saturdays.
Cooper and Nicholas reading so many books together (usually with some tagalong stuffed bears).
We bought a bike for Nicholas for (a very belated) Father's Day gift. And bonus gift for the family: a bike trailer for Cooper. We live in a very bike-able area, and are already enjoying it so much.
Noticing September light shifts in our home. This is the first September we've spent here. The light is different every single month.
I finished my Lodge sweater! I will have Nicholas take a few photos of it on a cooler morning sometime, and then write a proper blog post about it. Since then, I've mostly been doing some gift knitting.
Trips to downtown with my SIL, Katelyn while Nicholas stays home with Coop. Iced tea from a new spice and tea shop. So many different kinds of cinnamon and pepper and salt, more than I could have imagined.
More crunchy leaves.
I bought mums for our kitchen table, and made some nap time golden milk for Nicholas and I.
And while our days are (mostly) joyful in the smaller things, I won't deny that the heaviness of this world weighs on me. I'm trying to saturate my mind and heart with scripture (I finally committed to a daily reading plan and I'm loving it so far), root my hope in true things, and TRUTH, surround myself with genuine community. We are getting fresh air, and hugging friends, and looking for beauty in the unlikeliest of places.
I loved these words, verses from A Christian Home Hymn, originally written by Barbara B. Hart:
O gives us homes with godly fathers, mothers, Who always place their hope and trust in Him; Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers, Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim; A home where each finds joy in serving others, And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.
My hope is not of this world, so when it frustrates and disappoints, and discourages, may I see that as a prompt to return my gaze back to my Savior, the hope of the world, and see more of the beauty of the work of the Cross, as a result.
A few weeks ago, our little family of four made plans with my father- and sister-in-law for an early Saturday morning at the Lake. When we arrived in the eight o'clock hour, it was breezy, in the low seventies. At this particular beach and time of day, we had our pick of spots; only a few families were there before us. I chose a spot pretty close to the water and Coop dumped out his new beach toys out of his mesh bag and got busy building and digging. Soon enough, Nicholas, who had been parking the truck, and my SIL and FIL joined us.
Here we are, on the very cusp of July, and I've neglected to share about our garden. Nicholas and I had a plot at a community garden when we were engaged back in 2013, but we haven't had a vegetable garden since—until this year, that is. I wanted to share a bit about our garden this year: what we're growing, how we're growing it, and how it's going so far.
If you missed my last post, I shared about the passing of my beautiful mother-in-law. I don't want to continue on in a "business as usual" style, nor do I want to neglect to share about joyful things in our life. Again and again, I'm learning that grief and joy coexist in this life. And what a grace that is! Grief can highlight the joy, make it more precious in my eyes. And so, I wanted to share about a little day trip I took with my SIL, Katelyn, Cooper, and Finn back in mid-May, since it was a good thing, a sweet day spent with some of my very favorite people.