1. Extra Cousin Time.
I have found the best way I can help when my sister is in the hospital is to take her kiddos and try to make life as normal as possible. Make it fun and a little less scary. Let them be kids without real world worries. Friday night sleepover and then Saturday spent at a nearby pond. The air was still summertime warm. The pond was cool, clear and for most of the day our own private beach. The kids explored...finding hundreds of snail shells.
They took turns paddling around on the paddle board and jumping in the water to cool down.
We had a picnic of cucumbers and tomatoes, which we have an over abundance of growing right now. I took more than enough photos of kids on the dock because it was such an awesome view. I kept singing the song "Sitting on the dock of the bay" while taking said photos. Couldn't get it out of my head.
We reluctantly packed up when a late afternoon storm rolled in. Kids were excited to go home to see their parents, but it always feels so quiet after they leave. This morning when I asked Ava how she slept, she replied "A little lonely...no kids sleeping on my floor".
Earlier this week I sat down to make a menu and grocery list for the week. For some reason I had a complete blank and couldn't think of anything. We have so many fresh veggies right now, I want to plan everything around them. I decided to go wild and not make a grocery list or menu. Crazy, right? I figured I'd grab a few staples and just go with "whatever" for meals all week. This could have been a total failure for a type A personality like myself. Luckily it went the other way and has been a complete success. I loved cooking whatever I was inspired to cook on that particular day based on what veggies looked the best. I think I needed some fresh creativity in my cooking and this filled that need. Lots of chopping, sauteing or grilling fresh veggies and herbs. Creating things as I went along. Good stuff.
Layla planted a tiny sunflower seed at the beginning of summer. I believe she got it in a Valentine from her class. Every single day this summer she has taken her watering can and watered that sunflower. The day it sprouted she was so excited. Every week she would give us an update on how it was doing. Each day it got bigger and bigger, but never flowered. Finally, finally it did...
Her patience paid off and she was such a happy girl.
5. A Weekend Home.
After a summer of planned weekends this one at home was a welcomed change. No packing up the car to head to the mountains. No plans. It was awesome. This morning was the first day of Sunday School so we ventured to church. After a summer hiatus from it I wasn't sure how I felt about returning. I did not come from a church going family. A couple times here and there to get the gist, but not regularly by any means. Once we had Ava I thought it important to find a church. I think giving the kids a basic understanding of religion is good and because of my lack of knowledge in it didn't feel qualified to be the one teaching it. I have enjoyed becoming part of our church community and the girls have been going to Sunday School there since they were each three. This past year I have found my faith to be put to the test more. From hearing all the horrible news in our world to my sister being sick, I started to question things. I went from praying so hard on Friday morning...believing so strongly that He would make everything okay...to sitting at church today feeling skeptical of it all. Wondering if I had enough faith to believe even when if feels as if all my prayers were being totally ignored. I looked around at others sitting there, they were listening so intently and seemed so into it. I felt like I didn't belong as I sat there with my cynical thoughts. Of course, sitting in church thinking these thoughts does not give one a warm and fuzzy feeling and so then I felt bad and thought at any moment lightning would strike down through the roof on the non-believing lady sitting in the back pew. However, as I looked up at the skylights for the lightning strike I was expecting all I saw was a bright blue sky and a few white clouds floating by. A feeling of contentment came over me....like it was okay to feel these thoughts. It was okay to question things...He doesn't care. It was okay to pray really hard one day and wonder why nothing was happening the next. That is having faith. I left my skepticism at the door and left feeling a little lighter. If it returns, that is quite all right. That's just life. Best part of the return of church was getting to go to lunch out afterwards. Bonus...it was a beautiful day so we got to have lunch outside with a cold beer. Yes, I did just talk about church and beer in the same paragraph...that's just how I roll.
5. This Guy.
Our relationship, like so many others, has ups and downs. I feel really lucky that it seems to have so many more ups and I am happy with how we handle most of our downs. I'm really proud of him lately. He started back at school this year. Awhile ago he decided he wanted to do something different with his career. He wanted to get out of the corporate world and become a teacher. A lot of people talk big about things they want to do, but he's actually doing it. It may take a few years. It will take hard work. But, he's doing it and I love it. I love seeing him so excited about something. I love the example it shows our daughters...the importance of following your dreams. He teaches Sunday School and today I walked by his classroom and peeked in. I saw him in his element and it made me smile. He makes me happy. I like him very much.
I don't really think this post could have gotten any more random and scattered. I think I should stop before it does.
Hope your week is a good one.