There are morning glories and cups of Yorkshire tea. There are gentle twilights as I, on my back, look up at the darkening blue sky and watch the pepper trees change into silhouette. There are barefoot foot races with my children on the grass, which is by turns prickly then silky then fluttery. There are luncheons outdoors and afternoons full of long light in which all seems possible. There are evening swims, early apples on our tree, and morning runs with hot air balloons high above me.

I adore this moment of the year, right before autumn rustles in, right on the cusp of brisk air and cider and the scent of sweet damp straw and hay. My favorite season approaches, and the birthdays of both of my children are part of this joy: my Lion Boy and my Pumpkin Girl.

It is a beautiful time of year:

Katie is making steady progress with her “big girl” bike.

Eric found the peanut butter jar on a recent morning…

He was pretty pleased… What is it about eating peanut butter straight out of the jar that is so wonderful?

Eric wanted to climb the big ladder…

He has an independent and tenacious spirit, like his mama…

We put up the cloth birthday bunting I sewed last year for his 1st birthday party. His birthday is this coming Wednesday, but I love the festivity of having it up for at least the week before and the week after. It is long enough to adorn all of our patio cover and to lead out into the trees. This is definitely a new tradition…

The kiddos have been loving lunch outside this week.

Beautiful afternoon

Yesterday Eric was so excited to see Nana. As we got out of our car, he said, “My Nana! My Nana!” He always walks quickly to her garage door…

He gives her a hug first thing, without even being prompted. He just loves her. Look at the smile on his face.

Eric was truly excited to see her—that emotion is all over his face. He is such a sweet little boy…

Katie always loves her Nana, her namesake.

We visited with Nana, went with her to the grocery store, ate lunch together, and then went to visit Uncle Ross (really, my great-uncle and the kiddos’ great-great uncle) who is in an assisted living home nearby. He mentioned how nice it is that we bring our “brood” and he remembered that we visited just last week, too, because he said it was nice to see us again so soon. Nana helped him with his fingernails, and we all had the busy hum of chatter and family filling his room.

At the store, I gave Eric the freedom with Katie to walk on his own. At our Ralph’s, I always keep him in the cart, so this is the first time he has ever been in a market with the liberty to wander, albeit under supervision. He loved it, and he did not want me to pick him up much or even to hold hands. So when Nana asked him if he wanted to ride in her cart on the way out, I was a bit surprised when, without hesitating, he piped up with his words of total agreement, “I know!!” (Eric uses “I know” to mean something similar to the word “grok” in Stranger in a Strange Land. To him, “I know” means more than just “yes”—it means something akin to complete harmony and understanding. I have several months of data and observation with respect to this, and I find Eric’s language and expression quite fascinating).

So here was a boy relishing his freedom in the store, but who immediately wanted to relinquish that freedom to be with his Nana in her cart…It was as if he could intuit what that would mean to the both of them to have that special moment. Eric has a pretty extraordinary little golden heart and perceptive ability. Sure, he gets into little squabbles and grabs toys from his sister and all the rest of things that almost-two-year-olds do, but on the BIG things he seems to have an unusual awareness. He especially treats Nana with gentleness: he likes to bring her her cane without being asked and seems to be watching out for her. I was thinking last night while rocking and singing to him before bed that, when the time comes for Nana to leave us, Eric is really going to feel that as much as anyone in our family. I hope they have many, many more years of their friendship and love…

Riding with Nana…

Sunday mornings are my “lazy” mornings, so it has been a pleasure to fit some writing in before the day really gets going. I do need to work on cleaning the house today, oh boy! But why hire out something I have the ability to do myself? I am young and strong. Hard work is good for me, and it feels good to work with my hands to produce a beautiful environment for my family. Anyway, Sunday mornings are the single morning of the week that I don’t pop right out of bed to exercise—-I am either running or biking and weight lifting the rest of the week. Katie woke up about when I did, so I finished reading the news and then we did a bit of reading. We finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and we began The Magician’s Nephew (yes, I know that we are reading them according neither to the originally published order nor to the Harper Collins order—we make our own order here)!

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

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