Fourteen years ago, I spent a semester in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was a rich time of learning, exploration, and growth. But holy buckets, was I homesick! I missed my family, my friends, my comfortable routine. And as October rolled around, I missed fall color.
The beauty down the block.
So imagine my surprise and delight when I opened a big envelope from my friend K and a pile of fall leaves spilled out. I can still see them: vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds, a simple gift that brought me a surge of comfort and joy.
Back at home in the Midwest, I get that surge of joy every time I see those colors on a tree. Every. Single. Time. Truly: the tree next to our driveway, the trees we can see through our living room windows, the glorious reds and yellows down the block, the views on Highway 60 coming into Mankato. I get a jolt of happiness every time I look at them. The delight of fall color just never gets old.
Now: if only we could say the same about raking.
Honestly, the photo alone makes me pretty happy, too.
Where is your surge of joy today?
Look what popped up in my The Eye of Facebook Sees All (Pro Tip: “On This Day”) today:
Caption from 2013: “She’s really good at giving him his pacifier.”
Caption from 2016: “My babies! They were so little! And now they’re so big! They are so beautiful! I need to give them the biggest hugs tonight!”
I knew that I wanted to have a second child for my own selfish reasons. (Including, but not limited to, getting people to stop asking, “When are you going to have another one?”) I knew I would love reading and singing and talking and playing with our new baby. I knew I would love watching him learn and grow. I knew he would bring more joy, more wonder, more crazy into our lives.
I did not know– Continue reading
We had a wonderful road trip to Illinois this weekend. The fun included: a visit to the La Crosse children’s museum; an old-fashioned ice cream parlor; a KOA cabin with bunkbeds, a jumping pad, and a pool; a commuter train ride, lunch, and library exploration with family; a dinner date with friends one night; a sprinkler and pool play date the next morning; and sweet Phip’s first birthday party. Truly, it was a wonderful getaway.
It was just as wonderful to arrive home last night. “We’re finally in the right town!” Zoe said as we pulled into Saint James. “Go to Daddy!” Leo said. And we were, and we did, and it was very good.
I always like to hear what the stand out moments are for my kids after a trip. Here is Zoe’s: Continue reading
Leave it to Zoe to get right to the point when describing this (long) weekend’s adventure:
“We’re going to a birthday party, but it’s really far away.”
It’s true! Sister Claire’s Phip (Pro Tip: That’s Philip to some) is turning one, and Zoe and Leo and I are heading to the party. (It’s Mike’s turn to stay home and work / relax / eat mall pretzels.) Along the way, we’ll spend the afternoon in La Crosse and the night in a “deluxe” campground cabin. We’ll eat a lot of snacks and those of us not driving will watch a lot of movies. Continue reading
I’ve been too busy Poppinsing (Pro Tip: of course it’s a word!) this week to catch much of the Democratic National Convention. Luckily, I have the internet to keep me up to date on the most important moments of the week.
For example, the balloon drop.
Seriously, friends, click on that link right now for all the Clinton balloon drop GIFs and memes you never knew you needed. They are truly delightful.
The photos are pretty great, too. For example: Continue reading
When my best friend Sarah (or, as she is known in this house, Baby Jakey’s Mama), took Baby Jakey on a family trip to Poland, his favorite part was . . . the playground. He was just a wee one, so you can’t really blame him. Kids like what they like.
Zoe’s favorite part of our recent Chicago trip–besides throwing the petals for Aunt Claire’s wedding, of course–was probably the revolving door at her grandparents’ building (close second: the cab ride to the rehearsal):
My country baby doesn’t see many revolving doors in her daily life. She had a ball going round and round, first with Mike, then by herself, then with me and Mike. It was a delight to watch her concentration and her joy in the accomplishment.
My friend Lyle (hey, Lyle!) asked me on Monday night, “What has Zoe taught you lately?” I came up empty at the time, but here’s what I learned from watching Zoe go round and round:
Take joy where you find it, and don’t worry what the doorman thinks.
And, oh yes, there’s video:
Where are you finding joy today?
She ditched the butterfly wings before the Kiddie Parade even started but kept the tutu on all day long.
While the jazz band played good and loud, the people milled around, and the sun beat down, we found a shady spot on the grass and sat down with our Thelma’s Frozen Lemonade. We passed it back and forth, savoring each sweet, tart, frosty sip. We grinned at each other. In all that noise, we felt quiet.
She lay back on the grass with a thoughtful, pleased expression on her face. What thoughts does a three-year-old think on a summer morning like this?