block party

The local blocky party has been around for eighteen years now. In addition to annual favorites, this year's activities included homemade front lawn mini-golf and a bubble truck.

not pictured:
the teenagers (calling Bingo and playing putt putt and helping little people craft cardboard swords and shields...)
the potluck spread -- so many traditional favorites (empanadas! fresh bread! carmelitas! macaroni balls!)
the bounce house and the baby pool, the face painting station and the euchre games
all the grown ups gathered at tables for a shared evening meal


Awe is always an option

I'm still learning to slip into it just by changing where I focus my attention.
bouquets and books and back-to-school parties
modge podge and new mason bees
cupcakes and catching frogs and cross country meets
fresh stone fruit and root beer floats
a yard full of children and cats and insects, all of it...


to first days

The boys went back to school this week, and my heart turned into an accordion.

I watched Hank head into the building, could almost hear his fingers cross. He wore a cargo sized pack on his back and wide open eyes, eager for all that will come next.

The big boys went the opposite direction, toward the middle school, undoubtedly greeted by a whole slew of wonderful adults ready to convey their unconditional faith.

All summer long the boys showed me how to tolerate a mess, how to share time and how to turn myself into an animoji dragon. They've taught me how to tell a joke, how to dance past bedtime, how to meld a hand of rummy. How to redefine productivity, that there is usually no reason to rush, the way it's better to wonder than worry.

I will miss learning with them most days, and so much unfinished summer business still looms.
But the boys are ready to walk in new words, to make big progress in so many small ways.

To first days and next days, to bustling mornings and busy brains, to the blessed weight of it all.



Our family annexed the Virginia beach trip with stops at Colonial Williamsburg, and the naval museum. 
It was HOT, but the boys were fascinated by the brickyard and the blacksmith, the apothecary and the fife and drums, the public auction and historic gardening...
They also really enjoyed exploring the USS Wisconsin, an Iowa-class battleship that served in WWII, the Korean War and Desert Storm.


one week at the golden hour

A week in Virginia afforded me more time to notice things

the way coins sound on a wooden farm table when everyone ponies up for the next hand of Liverpool

how floating in saltwater can suck most of the tension straight out of your shoulders

the way the boys will spend hours grabbing at fish and fleas and crabs, then run to show off every catch

how many times a single swimming child can actually say Watch me! in a five minute period

the way an egg sandwich tastes when it's delivered to your beach chair

the way joy radiates, its tentacles spread like a hungry octopus, when a family gathers

how a young man's interpretation of venomous heightens when a real, live cottonmouth shows up on the path

the way faces glow in the oven light, watching plastic art shrivel and shrink

the way sand on the floor and lemonade drips on the counter don't hit the same nerve as they can at home

all the diving toys, the torpedos and rings, settled on the bottom of the pool after sunset

a father's energy dragging the wagon across the sand, piled high with tents and chairs and coolers and toys, back and forth and back again

how lightning cracks over the ocean, in an enormous sky

the bright yellow bucket, cradling a constant rotation of temporarily captive creatures

the wetness of a happy grandparent's eyes

the way jumping into the pool from the side is universally appealing to toddlers, and universally exhausting for their grown ups

how the soft, warm light feels as the sun begins to disappear