We are thankful that life is so abundant, so full of the simple beauties that reveal the wonder of our connections to each other and to those around us. I am humbled by how that beauty still has the ability to surprise me in new ways, a reminder that we only know but a piece of the wonder that is always present around us. The beauty is found in loud moments and quiet, in busy moments and in moment of stillness. I am humbled by how much there is in life to savor, appreciate, learn, know, and do—and for all of our days, we can never even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to love.

Eric helped me with laundry early one morning before everyone else woke up (I have looked closely at this picture, friends, and I think it is safe—I don’t see any unmentionables!!). He was holding one of Katie’s toys and saying, “Kuh, Kuh, Kuh-ta!” Indeed, her name seems to be one of the first words he is working on (in addition to the infinitely cute “Hi, Da-Da-Da” he was saying to Bill a few nights ago—video forthcoming)! I can hear through his language acquisition how special she is to him. My heart wells up.

We went on a family date night to a magic show not too long ago. Katie really loved it! The magician did a locked box trick, and even I was impressed. I love watching magic, not only because I love trying to figure it out, but moreso because I love when I can’t figure it out. Magicians are messengers of an essential truth: so often things may not be what they seem. We are tempted to make judgments all the time with limited information; magic shows remind us how silly that can be. What might be going on beneath the surface of life, or people, or situations that we don’t know yet?

Katie and Daddy at our family date night.

A couple of days ago, we made memories that I will always cherish. I grew up with Nana’s neighbors seeming like a part of our family. I remember all of us around Nana’s table for dinners and celebrations, and her neighbors were always part of the childhood stories and lore my aunts and uncle shared. Nana has had good friendships with her neighbors, all of them doing things for one another, and over time even the neighbors that grew up and moved away became like beloved storybook characters to me. Through Facebook, I was able to “meet” as an adult my mom’s childhood friend Gail Shelly, and my mom was able to reconnect to their friend Desi. We all got together a couple of days ago at Nana’s house. I am in awe of the way life and time work to bring about connections and feelings of kinship among people. I am in awe of how small the forces of time and space really feel, when people seem meant to connect.

Our kiddos got to spend precious time with their Nana. I love my Nana’s smile in this picture—so beautiful.

Sweet sleeping boy sharing time with his great-grandmother. A picture for the ages… Sometimes I am just in awe because I realize that, if the whole purpose of my life was just so that this one specific moment could happen, then that is more than I have earned with my flawed self. And yet, there are so many of these moments, like true gifts to open one after another… Staggers me, the goodness in this life.

Yesterday, my mom and Katie and I went to see the circus! In town for a couple of weeks, Circus Vargas is ending its run soon, and it was pure luck that I happened to see the big top the other day when we went to visit the Easter Bunny. I guess I don’t get to the mall all that much anymore. I haven’t been to the circus since going with Uncle Eric (Aunt Jenny, did you go on that trip, too?). I must have been about Katie’s age. One story Uncle Eric liked to remember when he was alive was how I said, “No see clown! No see clown!” I have only snippits of that circus in my mind, but I remember being with Uncle Eric, and that is the important part.

I really loved this circus, and Katie seemed to have fun, too. The man who balanced a ladder and a shopping cart ON HIS CHIN absolutely amazed me. I don’t know how one trains for that, and I am totally impressed by the work that must take. The circus has a air of mystery to me, and I love that it feels old-world and old-fashioned. I kept thinking of one of my favorite books, Water for Elephants, and was wholly enchanted. We watched the acts with popcorn and cotton candy, and I even liked the clown! Matti the Clown was the first clown I have ever actually liked. He didn’t paint his face all the way, which helped, and he really seemed amiable, good-natured, and had good comic timing. I know all clowns are supposed to seem that way, but Matti Esqueda is the real deal. Best clown experience ever.

Today Katie and Eric and I made homemade oatmeal bread. With Katie on the counter and Eric in the Bjorn, everyone gets involved. Katie loved watching the yeast in progress, and she helped measure and pour almost everything. While it rose on the windowsill, we worked on making homemade butter. Using clean baby food jars, Katie and I poured some cream inside and took them outside to shake and shake while Eric played on the grass. After a little while, we had homemade butter!! So yummy! We talked about how this connected to one of our favorite books, Little House in the Big Woods. Eventually the oatmeal bread came out of the oven, and we delighted in its warmth with the chilled butter and a little kosher salt. I even gave Eric small pieces (he has his third tooth now), and a couple of times he pumped his arms up and down in excitement as the tiny bite was heading for his mouth.

While the kiddos napped (both at the same time today!) I worked on sewing fabric strips for Katie’s blanket. Is there anything more meditative and peaceful than working with square after square of beautiful vintage-looking fabric?