A few years ago when Clara was four years old, I had a friend over for coffee one afternoon. I gave Clara some sidewalk chalk to keep her busy while I chatted with my friend. Clara asked what she should draw. I asked her to draw a picture of the capitol (she did), then Daddy’s work (she did, and she even used a color that was very close to the color of his office building). Then I asked her to draw a picture of Redeemer (our church). When I looked at what she had drawn, I was amazed: she had not drawn a building but had instead drawn people.
I think of this story often, and I thought of it this morning as we walked into our church building. Although I do adore this old building that was given to us in exchange for just one dollar, the church is its people–and it is so deeply good to be with them.
Book club mornings are some of my favorite mornings–because books, but even more so because book club friends are some of my favorite people.
It’s Friday, and it’s been a rather long week. We all needed a little fresh air after school, so we headed out to Holmes Lake to throw some ice on the ice.
You know that really good advice to clean up your space before you start baking? Yeah, I didn’t do that at all today. In fact, I baked on top of a mess and then cooked two meals (one for us and one for a friend) over the top of that mess. When the kids got home from school, it was chaotic. Normally, adding the crazy on top of the mess on top of the mess on top of the mess would have been about three levels too deep for my patience, but today something different happened: I was listening to a playlist of Christmas music (made by my BFF the Lazy Genius); the kids came into the kitchen and had a spontaneous dance party that absolutely delighted me. It was such a small moment infused with a disproportionate amount of beauty. (And lest you think it’s all patience and delight and dance parties over here, they’ve moved on to using the belts of their bathrobes as tails and are playing cats; guess how I feel about that.)
If I were to make a Venn diagram of my kids and the choices they made without asking me this morning, the circles would overlap for Ian and Clara reading books and for Clara and Simon eating cookies for breakfast. And I think all of that is nothing but winning: Ian, Clara, Simon? Win! Win! Win! Reading books on their own? Win! Eating cookies for breakfast? Yeah, that too: Win! Mornings can be so, so hard, and we’ve tried to implement a few things to make mornings easier for now: not picking fights about breakfast, hot lunch for everybody, and teaching Simon to brew coffee are my current faves.
We love to watch The Great British Baking Show, especially this time of year. Today we tried a technical bake challenge (recipe and directions for marbling the frosting here). I mean, it’s baking with kids, so of course there were tense moments and lots of mess. And Clara came in third; there were tears. But overall there was more fun than fighting, more pride than disappointment, and more “look at this!” than “stop that!” I hope they remember days like this as the we-always ones.
I call this one What It’s Like to Have a Brother. Snow shoveling photoshoot inspired today by Rebecca.
📷: Fields Maranville, age 3
This afternoon River tried to teach Simon and me to play Risk. Let’s just say Simon and I could both use some practice. At one point when I forgot to do a key part of the game (one that would have given me “lots of guys”), I teased Riv that I had been counting on him to teach me as we go along. “Look,” he said, “I’m not really used to having to take care of so many people.” Fair enough, Riv, but I’m just saying that miiiight be why you’re crushing us so thoroughly. 😉
Confession: I made Jason hang up the stockings in the middle of our game (Pictionary played like Charades instead of drawing the clues on paper) so that I could have a properly Christmasy backdrop for my DPP shot. Confession #2: I really don’t like any of the pics I took today because I don’t like the lighting in the room. But! Jason wisely reminded me that the point isn’t necessarily to show off mad photography skills and that in my heart I want to pick a photo that is meaningful for what we were up to today/this month, so the chaos of everyone wanting to help hang the stockings it is.